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Old 11-18-2011, 08:14 PM
43 posts, read 39,165 times
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Buy food of the least processed sort to save money (compare the price of a bag of cornmeal to the same weight in corn chips to see what I mean). Cook each meal at home rather than buying prepared food from the deli counter or frozen food section of your supermarket or from any restaurant. Stock up on raw white rice, dried beans, Tang drink, sugar and salt -- these foods keep a long time in a dry, air conditioned room. Tang drink is a very cheap form of Vitamin C. Cooked rice + cooked beans = a complete protein and costs much less than meat. Transfer the sugar and salt to food-safe plastic containers. Buy vegetable oil, canned tomatoes, canned green beans, canned corn and canned peaches in small size cans, a few at a time each time you buy groceries. Use a PermaMarker to write to date of purchase on each food storage item. Make sure you use the oldest food first. Buy clothing from clearance racks or from thrift shops or garage sales -- tis is frugal and is recycling. If you buy simple, plain clothing in solid colors, you can mix and match your wardrobe to get many different outfits. Never buy anthing that has to be dry cleaned. Take good care of your , clothing, learn how to mend tears and remove stains. Buy the best quality leather shoes you can afford -- two pairs of walking shoes with sturdy soles -- keep them clean and well polishedalways wear socks with them, and alternate which pair you wear each day to get the longest use. You can save lots of money by making your own laundry detergent, furniture polish and home cleaners -- there are plenty of web sites that give reipes for these homemade products. Over-pay your utility bills when you can afford to do so -- this builds up a small reserve for times when the cost of winter heating or summer air conditioning exceeds your ability to pay -- if you change address, the utility companies will refund any unused balance on the account. Give up vices/luxuries (tobaco, alcohol, candy, magazines, restaurant meals....). Free entertainment is available at your local library (books, magazines, videos). Always put aside a portion of your paycheck into a savings account -- this is your rainy day fund. Remember to be a good neighbor and make time to volunteer with a local charity or religious group -- these same people, when they get to know you and like you, can be very helpful to you when you need it.
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:31 AM
Location: Durham
1,498 posts, read 1,979,506 times
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Same boat here. Our family is strained financially. Best we can do is stash such food as crackers, peanut butter & canned goods. We eat from the stash & replace it regularly. We keep candles, 2 oil lamps & lamp oil. Have a kerosene heater, keep a 5 gallon can of kero. We have a wood stove & keep some wood in the yard. I get some free wood by watching power line crews, etc & getting wood when they cut tree limbs. Sometimes it is even cut to firewood length.

We have a freezer & watch for good buys on meat, stashing an extra in the freezer. Sometimes we freeze veggies we are given by family/friends. We sometimes can tomatoes we grow.

We are working on having a box or bag of clothes for each family member in case we have to leave the house. I need to start saving some jugs of water also. We do what we can & try not to worry about the rest. I have a few simple firearms too, & a small stash of ammunition, in case of riots, etc. I hope I never have to use them but I would rather have them if my family is endangered.

Having $ helps anyone for sure. But doing something is far better than nothing. I remember news coverage of Katrina survivors; showing up at shelters with nothing but the clothes they had on. Imagine if each person had a bag of peanut butter & crackers. That would at least have been a start.

Please hang in there & do as you are able. You will rest a bit easier knowing you have done what you can. You may also meet like minded neighbors/friends that you can pool resources with.
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:40 AM
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,957 posts, read 16,411,434 times
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Originally Posted by montanamom View Post

I have been a "survivalist" pretty much all my life, having to survive growing up in a semi-dysfunctional household, a marriage to an emotionally abusive man, and have spent the last decade as a single, full-time working mother trying to raise my children and meet our needs on a low income. I know a lot about being frugal, thrifty, resourceful, and have always at least made my best attempt to stay one step ahead of the unexpected. It is my frugality and resourcefulness, plus having the wits to withstand many adversities I never thought I'd face, that have enabled us to survive so far.

However, with the events of recent years, I feel even more of a pressing, urgent need to pay close attention to what is happening around me, and in this country at large. I do not like what I see happening, especially to those of us on the lower end of the economic spectrum, struggling to do the right thing by working hard and trying to be self-sufficient, but the forces seem to be against us at almost every turn. More recently, I see an exploitation of workers, including at my own employer, caused by the economic downturn and lack of decent paying jobs. I fear that my children face a severe struggle to survive and live gainfully.

The problem with most survival blogs that I have found, is that they don't apply to people in my situation. People who still need to work for income, don't make a large salary, don't have many assets or resources to draw from, and are struggling month to month or paycheck to paycheck just to get by as it is.

It's easy to say "Pay off all your Debts", "Save Money", "Buy a Few Acres of Land Somewhere", "Build a Little Log Cabin", etc. That's easy to do if you are fortunate enough to have a good income, or have investment money you can draw from, or are retired and don't have to work for a living anymore.

What are some suggestions for those of us who are "living on the edge" between surviving and not already?

All of the "build your own fortress" thinking is fine ,if you can do it, but being prepared to be fully mobil in an instant is much better since that is the way all will have to live like it or not. (This is a case where people that live on the streets today may have an edge on the rest of us. )

So limit to what you can carry ,for a long distance, what you need and get in shape.
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Old 11-22-2011, 12:20 PM
298 posts, read 654,599 times
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The best suggestion I can give you is to make a plan. Without a plan in place, you will always feel like you are just spinning your wheels and going nowhere.

Get out a notebook, and spend some time on this. It may take months to get the basics in place, but this is the necessary first step. What are your goals with prepping? Write them all down. You should have at least 3 categories: Need, Want, Nice to have. Once you think you have all of your goals written down, take a good hard look at them. Where are you now with respect to those goals? This is where you start your first timeline for making your goals.

Start putting your goals in order. Break up bigger goals into smaller ones. Which goals are more immediate versus which are more of a longer term goal, or even very long-term goal. Once you have them prioritized, then you can start making a plan to attain the goals on your list. Your first priority may be food and water stores. So your plan will be to purchase or make X amount of stores every week (or bi-weekly, monthly etc depending on your circumstances) until you have your desired surplus stored. Even with this you may want to break it down into mini goals. Start with a single week's worth of stores at a time. Once you have that, then start on the next week's worth. Keep this up, celebrating your progress with every mini goal you achieve.

Remember to be realistic when setting your goals and setting them into priorities. Plan for specific events rather than general undefined fear scenarios. Some examples would be food and water stores for times when your financial situation changes (layoffs, injuries,extended unemployment), or other emergencies (storms, evacuations, etc). The first is a longer term goal because it would require more stores to last for an extended period of time, where the second coulod be a smaller goal that also helps towards the bigger goal, since for storms or an evacuation you may need only a week or two in supplies. Don't start your planning by thinking only of big events like economic collapse, meteor impacts, and so on or the picture will be so big and broad you won't be able to feel like you're making progress.

Things you can do that are perfectly valid especially when you have little money and nowhere to run to? Think about how you would make a shelter in your own home. Many materials for this could be picked up for free or for very little. Water storage could be done with free buckets, and a gallon of bleach. A good emergency water storage option is to get a couple of cheap plastic paint tarps, and line your bathtub with it. Leave the excess tarp facing the wall. Fill the tub with water, then fold the excess tarp over the tub hanging over the side. This protects it from contamination and evaporation, yet makes it easy to access. Save empty laundry detergent containers for emergency water storage for non-drinkable use. such as hand washing or flushing the toilet. Trash cans are another good storage method for this.

The important thing when you have little to work with is to become extremely creative. You absolutely must start thinking outside the box. Plan a garden, and if you cannot afford the materials for home canning then dehydrate the harvest. Dried food will not taste the same, but it does last longer and stores in a much smaller area. Some things that dry very well and have high nutrient value (not to mention they are usually quite prolific) are tomatoes and peppers. Buy onions when they are cheap and dry them. Many times bags of frozen veggies are very cheap when a good sale is on. Stock up, and dehydrate them. With frozen produce, you can skip the blanching since that is already done before freezing. Corn and broccoli dry very well and are very inexpensive. But most people don't think of dehydrating frozen foods. They can save a great deal of time and effort, because you don't have all the prep time. Carrots dry well, but are best shredded in my experience. Same with squash.

Anyway, this was just to get you started and hopefully you will not feel quite so hopeless about your situation anymore. Even with very little, one can go very far as long as you have an open mind to creative thinking, and plan out your goals. None of us here are Bill Gates (at least as far as I know, hahaha) so we all have to work towards getting to the place we want to be. And ultimately, we all have to sacrifice things now for the future, as well as compromising with ourselves on needs versus our reality. We can't all afford retreats with the latest and greatest, so we make do with what we have and CAN do instead of worrying about what we can't have or can't do. Those are negative emotions that get in the way of progress. Let go those things you cannot change, and work towards what you CAN change. You can do it, just have faith in yourself. It all begins with the first step. So get to stepping!
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Old 11-22-2011, 01:23 PM
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,149,732 times
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I think planning is definitely the key to prepping on a budget. With food preps, it's best to have a good idea what you're going to make rather than just buying stuff randomly. I'd recommend sitting down and writing up at least 30 different dinner meals and at least 10 breakfast & lunch meals you know your family likes and will eat. You can then tweak the recipes as needed so they can be made from storage foods, and focus on buying/growing and storing the pantry basics and the foods necessary to make those recipes/meals however many times you'd eat them for the duration you're prepping for. Having 50# of flour, 50# of rice and 50# of beans won't do you much good if you don't know what you're making or haven't got the rest of the ingredients or any seasonings.

Also, once you have your meal plan and know exactly what you're shopping for, you can then keep track of prices and quantities. Then you can get a few extra of something when it's on sale or with coupons and through bulk buying arrangements when the prices are exceptionally good and/or you have some extra money. That way you're not wasting money on random food you'll never eat, avoid impulse purchasing, and get the most bang out of your buck while taking as long as your budget allows. Your meal plan will also help you target your gardening and preserving, and purchasing the right supplies for those.

The same goes for other preps, if you track your needs and usage, you'll know what you need and can purchase them as you can when the price is right so that you'll have enough for however long you're prepping for. For example, there's no reason (other than questionable trade value) to stock up on feminine hygiene or infant supplies if you don't have the need currently or in the foreseeable future; or to stock up on a fuel when all your vehicles and appliances use a different fuel... and tracking helps you discover whether you need to purchase or replace items that can use the same fuels so you have less separate fuels to store which lets you buy in bulk at a discount.
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