7 Ways to Prepare for a Financial Crisis

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The Great Recession officially ended in June of 2009–over 8 years ago–and since the United States has never gone over 10 years without a recession, something tells me hard times are just around the corner. If you’re not prepared for a financial crisis, it’s time to get started. And even if there’s never another recession, […]

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JOBS: Preparing for Job Loss…steps to move onward & upward [Updated]

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Yes, I am living it right now. I made a decision and quit a job with the state of Wyoming, moved to Nashville with everything I owned (that I hadn’t sold or gotten rid of) and started from scratch again. Had a job building corporate Dell PCs for two weeks, but after knee surgery 6 months […]

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Top 5 Easy-to-ID Edible Mushrooms for Beginners

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Edible Mushrooms for Beginners

There’s something otherworldly and mysterious about the world of fungi, which is part of the reason taking the dive into wild mushroom hunting can be so intimidating. Even after becoming an avid plant forager myself, I held off from expanding into mycophagy, or wild mushroom foraging, assuming it to be more “advanced” than plant foraging,. . . Read More

The post Top 5 Easy-to-ID Edible Mushrooms for Beginners first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

JOBS: Preparing for Job Loss…steps to move onward & upward.

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Yes, I am living it right now. I made a decision, and quit a job with the state of Wyoming, moved to Nashville with everything I owned (that I hadn’t sold or gotten rid of) and started from scratch again. Had a job building corporate Dell PCs for two weeks, but after knee surgery 6 months […]

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Money Mondays: When You Don’t Have Time to Cook

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com One of the biggest reasons people give as to why they don’t cook at home is, “I don’t have enough time.”  I can certainly relate.  I work full time, and write this blog after hours.  After a busy day at work, it is really hard to get motivated to do anything, much less cook a dish that takes a long time to make.  But the family still has to eat dinner and eating […]

The post Money Mondays: When You Don’t Have Time to Cook appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

10 Ways to Get Survival Supplies When You Have Almost No Money

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Prepping for a disaster can be expensive. While fully-stocked private bunkers and steel safes full of weapons and supplies are great for the wealthy, low-income people need to be able to survive when the SHTF, too. Thankfully, prepping for tough times doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you are looking for a way to get […]

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15 Things You Should Be Hoarding (And Why)

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Nearly everyone has a drawer, closet or room filled with, well, stuff. The word ‘hoarding’ generally evokes terrifying images of a house overflowing with useless junk – newspapers from the past thirty years, every can or bottle the hoarder has ever drunk from, and a seemingly endless supply of containers, wires, screws, and other things […]

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Frugal noodle

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frugal

Let’s use our frugal noodle to come up with some frugal ideas. For me personally, I’ve grown up frugally, I didn’t know or even understand it when I was younger, I just knew we didn’t throw things away until they were used up, worn out and even then it was probably saved for parts. We didn’t call a repairman when things broke, my dad fixed it, we didn’t go out to eat, my mother cooked, and she cooked from scratch. For us, it was just a way of life, we didn’t have the money to pay someone else to do the things we could do for ourselves. I suspect that even if we had been wealthier, my family would have still been the same way, frugal.

Being frugal is about saving money, but it’s also a mindset, here are some of the ways to be frugal, I suspect it will remind you of your grandparents 🙂

1. Save jars. Frugal people never throw away good glass (or even plastic) jars or containers, especially if they have a good lid and a wide mouth. When we moved off grid, I remember bringing out a few boxes of empty jars.

2. Buttons, did you grow up with a button jar? I did. Every button was saved, even if it was just one button, they are infinitely useful. If you have a shirt that is going into the trash, be sure to cut off all the buttons and save them.

3. Fabric, even small fabric scraps are handy, from patching things to quilts, fabric scraps are very handy to have around. I even save the legs of jeans I cut off for shorts.

4. Newspaper, it has so many uses after it’s been read, from wrapping gifts, crafts, cleaning glass, filler in boxes for moving or shipping…

5. Bread ties, this so reminds me of my dad, we had this junk drawer (don’t laugh, you have one too), it was full of straightened bread ties, they are great for tying other things together.

6.
Rubber bands, this was one of the other things in the junk drawer, all sorts of rubber bands, they are so useful, and if nothing else, you can make a rubber band ball to keep you amused. Of course, rubber bands have a limited life, especially out here where we live, it’s so dry that the rubber becomes brittle, so they have to be used quickly…

7. Hardware, drawer pulls, hinges, screws, nails, anything that you could take off of anything that would be tossed in the trash, again this was stored and found in that junk drawer, or perhaps in a small glass jar.

8. String, I have fond memories of this piece of wood with a long length of string wrapped around it, it belonged to my dad, he would dole out a length of string to use for what he was working on, but he didn’t cut it, it was often one of his projects where he would need a straight level line, then he would carefully wrap the string back onto the piece of wood. Occasionally he would have to cut a piece to use in something, it was always done with care so as to not use too much. Other string, if quality string and long enough, it would be wrapped up and saved.

9. Food scraps, when cutting up vegetables, carrots, onions and the such, the bits that are cut off can be frozen, when you get enough, you can make a very tasty stock, either a vegetable stock, or used with meat trimmings to make meat stock. You can also compost what’s left over to enrich your garden.

10.
Time, it’s the one thing that can’t really be saved and yet it can, it can’t be put up for later, you can’t make more of it, you can waste it, but understand it’s a most precious and valuable commodity, once gone, once it has passed by, you can’t get it back, so make the most of the time you have each day, it’s not a matter of getting more done, but make the things you do during the day meaningful things.

What about you? What do you do that is frugal? What would you like to do that is more frugal? Let me know below in the comments.

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Money Mondays: 10 Ways I Save Money with Baking Soda in My Apartment

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com We haven’t had a Money Mondays feature in a while so it’s time for another one!  Everyone knows about using a box of baking soda to avoid odors in the fridge, but many people stop there in spite of all the known uses for baking soda. I’ve read hundreds of tips, and not all of them work for me.  I know you can brush your teeth with it, but I am not ready […]

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27 Ways To Prep When You’re Poor

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I’ve known many people who talk about prepping for disaster but never actually do it. Their reasons vary, but the reason I hear most often is, “It’s too expensive.” While it’s true that stocking up on supplies can cost a lot of money, that’s no reason to give up on prepping altogether. There are many […]

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Save Money with Increased Self-Sufficiency

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Becoming more self-sufficient can help you save money in so many different ways. Perhaps the original driving force behind becoming more self-reliant wasn’t money, but once you start developing skills and independence, it just might become a pleasant side effect.

Of course there are so many different ways to increase your self-sufficiency, and most of these aren’t going to happen overnight. But let’s take at five things that your great-grandparents probably did, and that you can do, too, in order to save money.

Grow it, keep it, use it and don't forget about the sun. Five tips for increasing self-sufficiency while saving money. Try the free solar calculator to find out what you need.

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Grow It Yourself

This is DIY, except with food! You can grow your own fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs. There are a variety of different ways that you can grow your own food, including planting your own vegetable garden, growing non-hybrid vegetables and harvesting your own seeds, and using square foot gardening techniques in order to grow a lot of food in very small spaces. You don’t need a hundred acres and a team of horses to grow your family’s food.

Want to get even more self-reliant and frugal? Homemade compost and composted manure are fabulously frugal, even if you need to get them from someone else. Just be sure to source your compost and manure locally.

Potatoes and winter squash, in my experience, grow with almost no attention, and a 10 pound bag of seed potatoes can easily become a hundred pounds or more of storage potatoes in your root cellar! The frugal way is to plant the potatoes that sprout over the winter.

Did you know that you can get varieties of many fruit trees that can grow in a large planter pot? What’s more frugal and self-reliant than an apple tree? Well, an orchard, to be honest. The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is always ‘today’.

Frugal gardeners don’t like being bound to short growing seasons. Build a greenhouse, or pick up a kit that lets you put one together quickly.

Go Au Naturel

No, no, no – leave your clothes on. That’s not what I meant.

There are SO many ways that you can use renewable, natural resources in order to be more self-sufficient AND save a boatload of money.

Do you heat with wood? (If you can, you should.) Instead of buying split wood, buy it in chunks or even logs and split it yourself. As a comparison, we can buy 8′ lengths of hardwood logs for about $100 per cord. Split wood that is ready to age, though, is well over $300 per cord, and aged firewood – I don’t even want to ask anyone.

How about water? I realize that there are some areas where rainwater harvesting is restricted for a variety of reasons. (Just as not everyone is about to burn firewood) But if you CAN harvest your own rainwater, do it! Rainwater is great for watering your garden. That’s a common bit of advice. What you might not know, though, is that rainwater is soft water and therefore fabulous for washing your hair and for cooking dried beans! Just make sure you filter the water well if you’re using it for beans.

And then there is … the sun! It’s funny how often we ignore it because the sun is one of the best ways to increase your self-sufficiency in so many different ways. The most obvious, in my opinion, are solar panels.

I despise paying electricity bills. If you find yourself sending hundreds of dollars every month to the power company, and especially if you then deal with power outages throughout the year, you might be wondering if there’s a better way.

There is. Install solar panels and get a solar array set up for your home, and say goodbye to power bills. If it works for us, here in dark and cloudy Nova Scotia, where we average something like two hours of sunlight a day in December … it can work for you.

Try this fun, simple to use solar calculator!

The power of solar goes beyond solar electricity, though. Some people heat their homes entirely with solar heating panels, and solar water heaters do away with the cost of your electric or gas hot water tank. And don’t forget that retro-progessive, solar-power method of clothes drying – hanging them out on the line.

Grow it, keep it, use it and don't forget about the sun. Five tips for increasing self-sufficiency while saving money. Try the free solar calculator to find out what you need.

Be Like Old MacDonald

No matter where you live, you can probably figure out a way to raise some livestock. Even apartment dwellers can raise a few bunnies or rent a field and barn to raise some pigs.  Some of the most common small livestock are chicken and ducks, sheep, goats … and even bees. Chickens and ducks provide eggs, meat and manure. Goats or small cows give milk, pigs essentially turn compost into bacon, and bees make honey.

It goes farther, though. Goats and sheep (provided you have the right breeds) can provide you with materials for spinning, knitting and crochet. If you learn to spin wool into yarn, you can make some of your own blankets and clothing. Snuggle under a warm wool blanket on a cold winter’s night and you might think that you’ve discovered how to spin straw into gold!

Store It

There’s no sense going to the work of growing all of that food unless you know how to store it. If it’s possible, consider building a root cellar. Learning to can foods means that you can preserve a lot of what you grow or cook and enjoy it all year.

Use and Reuse

You’ve probably heard that slogan from World War II – Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. When you use and reuse whatever you can as much as possible, you reduce waste and find new and creative ways to do things. Not only does this increase your self-sufficiency, but it will save you a lot of money.

There are many ways that you can become more self-sufficient. Be conscious of alternative techniques to improve your health and well being, your impact on the environment, and your wallet, and you may find other ways to increase your self-reliance as well.

20 Things You Should Never Throw Away

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With all the garbage piling up in our landfills, everyone should take the time to recycle whatever they can. Especially if their local government provides recycling bins. But even if they don’t, it’s still worthing finding ways to recycle and upcycle used items, if only to save a little bit of money. Odds are, you’re […]

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Doomsday Preppers? You’ve GOT to be kidding me…

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This post was written exactly 4 years ago, on my Facebook page. I still stand by it. Rich Fleetwood – February 7, 2012 · Riverton · Watching “Doomsday Preppers” on NGC this evening, with an as objective as possible viewpoint. I’ve been doing this stuff myself for 20 years, and in my position and experience, with the […]

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Is Your Energy Bill Eating Too Much of Your Money

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Is your power bill out of control?

How do you get a lower energy bill when it is out of control?

It doesn’t matter where you live. I have a friend in South Africa who worries about her power bill, too. As we are moving from an off-grid cabin in the woods to an on-grid house that has never been renovated for energy efficiency, the thought of money trickling away through the power line is at the front of my mind! Where we live, there is no time-of-day billing, and we pay a base rate (somewhere around $10/month, I think) plus $0.148 per kilowatt hour, which gives us the second-highest electricity rates in Canada.

If you’re in Ontario, congratulations, you’re #1.

It’s no surprise that you’re trying to figure out ways to cut expenditures. The logical place to look is your living costs, and a major cost of living is your energy bill.

Most of us don’t receive our power bill and immediately think “Oh, well, that’s not too bad!” (Unless you’re totally on alternative energy like solar)  If you’re looking for some very actionable tips on a variety of utility bills, head over here. If your energy bill is much larger than it needs to be, you might be running it up in ways you don’t even notice.

Now who am I to tell you how to get your power bill down? Well, for three years we lived in an off-grid cabin in the woods and we learned how to make the most of our limited electricity. At the height of the summer, we had about 2kwh of electricity per day. Since moving our family of six to a 2800 square foot, 4 bedroom house on grid, we’ve gone to an extravagant 16 kwh daily. (We’re still getting used to living in this big house – that will go down!)

When you do things that waste energy, you’re also throwing away your money.

Decide you’re going to fervently find and address all the ways you’re leaking energy and money at home. The enjoyable result of your diligence will be some relief from those large electric bills!

Check out these hidden energy drains that eat up your funds (and I know you do at least one of them!)

Leaving your cell phone and electronic tablet chargers plugged in all the time

This might come as a shock but did you know that even if you don’t have your cell phone or tablet plugged in at the other end, these chargers are using energy?

Speaking of chargers, if you leave your cell phone charging after it reaches 100%, it continues to waste valuable energy. So, avoid plugging your cell phone in at night before you go to bed. If you do, it will be draining wasted electricity all night.

Not changing air filters often enough

Have you vowed to change your air conditioner/furnace filter monthly but then don’t do it? Your blower is trying to get precious warm or cool air to you through the vents. But the air can’t get through to be sent through your house if your filter is all clogged up with dust bunnies, pet hair, and dirt.

However you set reminders – your planner, your cell phone or Google emails – make sure that you’re reminded to change your filters on the first of every month.

If appliances don’t have to work hard to heat and cool, you’ll save dollars.

Using appliances that aren’t Energy Star

As you probably know, the Energy Star rating signifies reduced energy utilization to run the appliance, which is a good thing that saves you money.

Even though it probably isn’t economically feasible to run right out and replace all your major appliances with Energy Star appliances, it does make sense to replace old, worn-out appliances with Energy Star products. Insist on Energy Star products when you’re shopping for new appliances.

The seller of our new house included all of her appliances. They’re not old, but they’re not Energy Star. We’ll be keeping our eye out for sales!

Having standard incandescent light bulbs

Do you avoid compact fluorescent bulbs? If you were to replace the 3 most used lights in your home with LED or compact fluorescent bulbs, you would be pleasantly surprised with the results on your electric bill.

Here in Nova Scotia, if you qualify as low income (less than $30K annual income for a family of four, I believe), Efficiency Nova Scotia will replace all incandescent lights with LED without charge. Check to see if your local government has a similar program.

Appliances, gadgets, lamps, televisions, and more that stay plugged in all the time

Although it might be a hassle to unplug and plug in things frequently, the electric companies stress you can save some money if you only plug in items when you’re actually using them.

It might be a bit more exercise to plug and unplug things, like the coffeepot, toaster, lamps, televisions and the like. But you stand to save considerable energy and dollars if you do.

Water heaters set at too high a temperature

Sure, you like to take a hot shower, but does it have to be that hot? Think about the fact that if you set your water heater for 130 or 140F, then it is constantly trying to keep all of the water it holds at that temperature, not knowing when you’ll need the water. You can see how that would waste energy and cost you money.  And there is a increased chance of children or the elderly accidentally burning themselves.

Instead, reduce the temperature setting to 120 degrees. You’ll save quite a bit.

Of course, this only works if you have a gas or electric hot water heater. If you are heating your home with hot water (as is the case in my new house), the water is automatically heated by the furnace and arrives at your tap piping hot and anti-scald devices must be added to all taps and showerheads. In that case, lowering the temperature would reduce the effectiveness of your heat.

In fact, we will be looking into installing a small electric hot water tank to use during the summer – that way we can turn the furnace off entirely in the summer and keep the hot water tank at 120F instead of 160F+.

When it comes to saving costs to run your home, consider doing something about the above drains on your electricity and wallet. You’ll feel great when you do what you can to reduce your energy and budget expenditures every single day.

A lower energy bill makes everyone feel better.

SurvivalRing Radio Podcast – Show 103 – Jan. 20th, 2017

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Friday night’s  show is done…news of the day, homesteading tips, frugality, home security, and brain science…understanding how your brain responds to danger…and how to make it better. SurvivalRing Radio…we’re gonna make it out alive….catch the podcast here… http://www.freedomizerradio.com/blog/2017/01/survivalring-radio-01202016/ As always, you are invited to be part of the show every week, either calling in, emailing […]

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Start New Year with a New Family Budget

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Do you need a family budget that works for you this year? I can see you squirming. You’re not the only one. For singles, creating a budget is relatively easy. They tend to have a good handle on how much money they have coming in, and when tracking expenses, they only have their own to think about. Of course singles can overspend, too, but it’s at least a bit simpler to see where the income and outgo are. But creating a family budget is a whole new ball game. Most families have multiple sources of income, so it’s not as

30 Cheap and Brilliant Dollar Store Hacks

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Saving money isn’t just about finding good deals–it’s about finding cheap alternatives. For example, rather than buying a terrarium, you could make your own out of picture frames. And instead of buying a mini grill, you could make your own out of lasagna pans and cooling racks. Here are a few more ideas: Turn pool […]

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More Food from the Wild and Your Yard – Graft Fruit Trees!

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LoquatVeneerGraft4

Despite a smashed thumbnail, the author bravely grafts a loquat tree in his food forest.

I once did a horticultural analysis of a property way out in the scrublands. The owner had good clean water, no real neighbors, a great location… and hot, fast-drying, mineral-poor sand that was really, really bad for gardening.

There was no couching it. I had to tell him: this area just won’t cut it for most of your planned annual gardening projects. It will barely support much in the way of fruit or nut trees.

What it did have was a decent amount of native American persimmon trees. They were dwarfed by drought and stress, but they were strong and alive. That said, I saw very few with fruit.

With antive persimmons you deal with a variety of drawbacks. Unlike their cultivated Japanese persimmon relations, they’re dioecious. That means you have male and female trees – and you need both to get fruit. The male won’t make fruit but it does provide the pollen that allows the females to fruit.

Japanese persimmons are self-fertile, plus they make hefty, sweet fruit that’s very worth growing. They’re also regularly grafted onto American persimmon rootstock.

Seeing the wild trees gave me an idea: why not use the existing trees as rootstock for Japanese persimmons? They’re already established and growing in poor soil, making them a perfect support for a higher-producing and delicious variety of improved persimmon!

Sometimes our first observations aren’t the best. You might see a crabapple with lousy fruit in your yard and think “I hate that thing! I’ll tear it out and plant a good apple in its place!”

Step back and think about it: maybe that tough tree is a resource you can use. With grafting you can go nip some twigs off good apple trees and just graft them onto the tree you don’t like. If it’s a happy and healthy mature tree, use it! If you can graft fruit trees, you can grow more food for less money.

Another interesting factoid to consider: you know those stupid ornamental pears people grow for the blooms? You can graft REAL pears onto them. There are folks doing that in California right now by illegally “guerilla grafting” street trees:

Doesn’t that change the landscape a bit? Ornamental trees are generally a non productive liability… productive trees are a serious asset. If you’ve got ornamental pears, plums, peaches, apples, etc… why not switch them up by grafting on some good varieties?

Grafting In Local Woods and Property

Here’s another thought for you.

In my neighborhood there are wild persimmons growing here and there around the block. Some of these are on empty lots and in unused property with absentee owners. We don’t know how bad things are going to get in the future so it makes sense to grow as much food as possible near our houses… even if that food is on other people’s land right now.

Wild persimmon fruit is only found on 50% of the trees (since the other half are male). That fruit is about 1″ in diameter, plus it’s astringent and seedy.

I have Japanese persimmons in my yard that make fruit that looks like this:

Hachiya1

That fruit is as large as a beefsteak tomato and just as delicious (if not more so).

Though the legalities are rather grey, I don’t think anyone would really mind if I were to take buds off my Japanese persimmon tree and graft them into the wild trees here and there around the neighborhood. People will find it rather puzzling, sure – but be upset by it? I doubt it. Heck, at the very worst all I’ve done is improve somebody’s tree. Hehhehheh.

Just thinking out loud here. In your local woods you may have quite a few trees growing which could be judiciously improved, turning them into fruit-production machines rather than marginally useful wild specimens.

Grafting Is Easy

I know what many of you are thinking: “All the above is nice, Dave… but I don’t know how to graft fruit trees!”

I understand that feeling. I was in your shoes for a long time. Grafting was something that seemed… complicated. Planting beans? No big deal. Drying fruit? Easy.

Grafting? OMIGOSHNO! THAT LOOKS HARD!

Well… it takes a little whittling experience (unless you go this route)… and a couple of decent tools… but it isn’t really hard. If you’d like a quick illustrated guide, click here. Though it states that wood should be dormant, I’ve been able to successfully graft in summer here in Florida, at least on loquat trees.

One of my favorite (and most successful) ways to graft is called “veneer grafting.” At my site you can see how I saved the genetics of an improved loquat tree hit by a string trimmer by grafting some of its buds onto some seedling loquats.

Don’t worry about messing up. We all mess up. There’s no harm in trying something new.

This spring I grafted a big, sweet improved plum onto a sour native plum tree. I did five grafts – one took:

WildPlumGraft1

The leaves on the grafted plum variety are about 10 times the size of the weenie leaves on its native plum host. The author finds this strangely hilarious.

Now, in the fall of the same year, that branch is about 3′ long. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to have it bear fruit this coming spring.

Get yourself a sharp pocketknife, some pruning shears, a roll of grafting tape and your courage… then start experimenting.

Grafting can help you get food from unproductive trees and lots – harness it and you’ll be just that much more prepared for an uncertain future.

Save

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63 Practical Tips to Live a Frugal Life

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63 Practical Tips to Live a Frugal Life Did you know that no matter how much money they make, more than 70% people in the US have less than $1000 in savings? Crazy, right? What’s more interesting is that this doesn’t have anything to do with income. Even people who are making more than $100,000 …

Continue reading »

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5 Ways to Make Candles Last Longer

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com Candles are both decorative and functional.  We tend to use more candles beginning in Thanksgiving and throughout the fall and winter seasons.  They give a great ambiance at the dinner table or throughout the house, and can be used as emergency lighting in a power outage. Soy candles are said to last longer than regular wax candles.  Quick tip:  For emergencies, choose long lasting candles, and don’t forget to store matches next to […]

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Gift Giving on a Budget

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The most memorable Christmas of my childhood was the year my parents bought the house where we grew up. They closed on it in September and, when Christmas time arrived, they had absolutely no money for presents. But my father had done a carpentry job, building a barn, and had the scrap wood from it. Mom had been taking on sewing jobs and had plenty of odd pieces of fabric. That year, we received the wooden toy box and doll bed that my children still play with, plus homemade doll clothes and blankets. Other gifts that have stood out are

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The Traps Retailers Use to Get You to Exceed Your Christmas Budget (and How to Avoid Them)

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traps-retailers-use-to-get-you-to-exceed-your-christmas-budget

As adults, we’ve all discovered the painful truth that it isn’t Santa Claus paying for the big stack of ever-more-expensive presents under the Christmas tree. It’s us, and we’ve learned … Read the rest

The post The Traps Retailers Use to Get You to Exceed Your Christmas Budget (and How to Avoid Them) appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Roll Your Own Cigars

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If you don’t see tobacco as important to survival, I feel for you.

I’ve been growing it for years (and you can too) and during the worst days of the crash, when I was unemployed, watching friend after friend go broke and seeing folks lose their homes right and left… a good cigar was one of the few simple pleasures that made things better, at least for 45 minutes or so.

That’s not to say I was rolling my own. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to master that skill – but this video has given me some hope that I will one day:

The packing of the interior seems to be where my attempts always fall short. I’ve noticed that the elasticity of the tobacco leaf on the interior wrapper also presents problems, though I’ve been working on hydrating it better and my last couple of attempts did quite a bit better.

Sometimes it’s “try, try again,” especially when you don’t have a teacher locally.

If you don’t think you can manage to roll cigars, you might try making your own pipe tobacco or even grinding snuff with a coffee grinder. That works really well and ladies totally dig the snorting and sneezing associated with this arcane pleasure.

If all else fails, it’s pretty easy to roll a cigarette, too, but I don’t go in for those. It just doesn’t pack the “awesome” that a cigar does.

Trust me, though: if SHTF, tobacco is going to be a highly desirable commodity, no matter how it’s processed or consumed. Learn to grow it, at least – then pray you can find a Cuban friend to roll it for you.

Save

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Frugal Holiday Meals – Celebrate without breaking the bank!

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The idea of frugal holiday meals may sound like an oxymoron, because we’re usually talking expensive turkeys and extravagant abundance, but it really isn’t so impossible. No matter what holiday we’re talking about – from Thanksgiving to Christmas to Easter (or whatever other holidays your family celebrates) – an abundant celebration need not stretch your budget beyond its breaking point. Even when we stopped celebrating the commercial aspects of Christmas, I have always refused to let go of my big – okay, huge – Christmas dinner. I have always tried to follow my mother’s holiday tradition of having guests at our

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Freeze Your Buns November Update

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My goodness, have we been in our new home a full month? We still sometimes feel as though we’re rattling around in all of this space. Let’s see what has happened, at least regarding our heating fuel. Floors We pulled up carpet in the living room and the rug in the dining room. The boys decided to pull up the carpet in their own room – all by themselves. The dust and dirt and even mold that I found in a supposedly clean carpet makes me anxious for when we get the rest taken up. Unfortunately, bare wood floors are

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He’s alive…and part titanium! Plus, the very core of preparedness

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Me after no sleep after surgery…19 hours later…Advertisements I wrote the below about 6 hours ago while trying to find some semblance of sleep. Considered it a brain dump towards that goal, and found I needed to thank a lot of folks on Facebook who knew this surgery was hard-fought for, difficult to reach, and […]

50 Interesting Facts About Life In The Great Depression

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Although the Great Recession is officially over, our economic problems have just begun. Wall Street and the Federal Reserve essentially papered over the systemic problems that led to the stock market crash in 2008. They may have kicked the can down the road, but they are almost out of road. I believe shortly after the […]

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Your Getting Started Guide To Fall Gardening Like Your Life Depended On It: Part I

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I used to wait for spring with bated breath. I would watch for a good day for tilling, go out and buy a bunch of transplants and seeds, and then have a wild and crazy weekend tearing up the earth and putting everything in the ground.

Thinking ahead? Naw… I had Spring fever! I wouldn’t think much about gardening until the seed catalogs started arriving… and then I would mostly browse and dream.

My nice garden beds were a good supplement to our diet but they weren’t a huge part of it. I was playing around with pretty beans and purple peppers, a few garlic plants, an heirloom corn I wanted to try… but it was haphazard and not planned for a long-term food security situation.

About a decade ago I realized how shaky the world was getting and knew things had to change. I also realized that just tearing up the ground and tossing fertilizer around wasn’t the way to ensure our piece of land was going to be healthy and strong enough to grow all of what we might need in a crash.

Even if you do work hard to build the soil, growing “all you need” is a tall order and it’s one even I haven’t reached yet… though every year I get closer. In 2015 I hit 1,000lbs of produce from our gardens (counting the random produce my children ate before it hit the scale) for the first time and the curve keeps going up.

The reason? I now work on preparing year-round by clearing and digging new patches of land, producing compost, planting fruit and nut trees and testing crops to find varieties that will go through the cold, the heat, the pests and the many diseases that want to rob us of our gardening sweat and toil. Much of this knowledge and experimentation culminated in my Survival Gardening Secrets course.

This fall, Chet and I want you to get ahead of the curve and get growing on a larger scale that takes less money out of your pocket and puts more produce on your table.

Here’s how you can build a fall garden – and an upcoming spring garden that will keep you fed through the year.

Let’s start with chickens.

Chickens Are Gardening Machines

When you pull out the gnarled remains of your summer tomatoes and squash, why not let chickens do the hard work of preparing your fall garden plots?

Get a good chicken tractor or fenced area in place around that plot and let those claw-footed tilling and manuring machines go!

My friend Larry built this simple chicken tractor for about $150:

He raises a good portion of his large family’s meat in there while improving his lawn. If you did the same thing with a garden plot, you’ll reap the benefits of all that turning and manuring. Chickens will compost in place while ridding your garden plot of stinkbugs and cutworms. I’ve pulled out a mess of spent vegetable plants from a garden bed and have been amazing to see just how many destroying insects are crawling around in the suddenly uncovered shade area beneath the brown stalks. Chickens turn those pests into eggs!

While this is a GREAT approach if you have a flat lawn, this sucker gets real heavy to pull through loose garden soil, up hills, in and around tightly planted Orchards or over raised Garden beds, which is why Chet Created these plans for a more light weight Chicken Tractor:

The Ultimate Portable Chicken Tractor

(Chet’s Chicken Tractor Blueprints Can Be Purchased Here)

Paul Gautschi of Back To Eden fame has a different approach. He uses his chickens to make good soil in their pen, which he then sifts and takes to his garden beds. If you have a big problem with predators snagging your Kentucky Fried goodness, this is another approach worth considering:

Kill the Weeds While the Sun Shines

I used to avoid using plastic in my gardens. Then I discovered its power for weed killing and I haven’t looked back.

If you have an area you’d like to garden but you haven’t gotten around to tilling it yet, summer and fall are the time to use the remaining heat of the sun to get it ready for later.

Get yourself some thick sheets of clear plastic and put them over the area. Pin down the edges with rocks or logs and let the sun create a weed-destroying greenhouse effect that will kill what you don’t want without removing the good biomass of all those weeds. They’ll bake and put humus into the soil beneath that plastic, then you can get out there and loosen the soil with a broadfork (this one from Meadow Creature is my favorite) or spading fork, then get planting when you’re ready.

When you till you turn up a lot of seeds that are waiting in the ground. When you kill with tarps this is less of a problem. I used to prefer black plastic until I saw some tests that were done side-by-side. Now I’m in the clear plastic camp.

An Alternate Approach

If you want to kill the weeds and really improve the soil long-term (and if you don’t have a big problem with pests like snails and slugs in your area), sheet-mulching is a good approach. The downside of sheet mulching is how much material it takes to cover a large area. If you have a friend with a tree-trimming company, great. If not, it’s not easy to get everything you need.

I successfully knocked out a persistent patch of Bermuda grass by putting down a double layer of cardboard and then stacking a foot of tree company mulch on top of it for a year. Back when I tilled that same area I had a very hard time keeping the grass from invading my beds and sapping the life from my tender domesticated vegetables.

Get Digging

One of my favorite ways to improve the tilth of the soil and reduce the water needs of my crops is to deeply double-dig garden beds. This is hard work but it’s good work. If you double-dig a garden area it adds more oxygen to the soil, improves the drainage and helps your crops delve deeply with their roots so they can get what they need in the soil.

I once did a test where I created a perfect square foot garden bed and a double-dug bed in sand that had only been amended with a half-inch of compost on top. The double-dug bed gave us about the same yields but needed a lot less watering. It also ate up a lot less compost, as a “proper” square foot bed is 1/3 finished compost. That’s too much pile-turning for me!

If you dig a garden bed well and then don’t step on it, it can stay loose and friable for a year or more. Pick areas where you can expand your garden beds while you’re planting your main beds in the fall, then get digging. If you’re not going to plant them right away, cover the area with tarps – or even better – woven plastic professional landscape “fabric” and then they’ll be ready to go when you need them. You can also dig beds and plant them with bags of beans, peas, rye, buckwheat, lentils, fava beans, chick peas, mustard or wheat seed from a local organic grocery store with the bulk bins. That’s a cheap way to cover the ground to keep out weeds while improving the soil at the same time. Sometimes I make a big seed mix from these bins, scatter it on the ground and rake ‘em in. As a bonus, you often get a bit to eat from these beds.

Double-digging is time consuming but when you dig a bed here and there on nice days, you’ll find eventually that you have a lot of long-term space in which to plant.

Get Composting Now

Composting used to be a chore for me. Now that I’ve realized Nature doesn’t care all that much about turning and aerating and that jazz, I’m having a lot more fun. After over a decade of extreme composting experiments, I even wrote a popular book on it. I’ve composted meat, sewage, pasta, paper and all kinds of other naughty things and my gardens just keep getting better and better. There are two main ways I compost without much work.

The first way is to choose a garden bed that I think could use some help and then start piling up compostable materials there, like this:

The other way is even cooler. It’s borrowed from the Koreans and isn’t anything like most compost most Westerners have seen.

All you do is find materials you want to compost and throw them in a barrel of water to rot down and ferment. I pick highly nutritional items such as urine, manure, moringa, seawater and comfrey to start with, then add whatever else I have around. Like this:

That looks insane but it works.

Let that rot for a few months and then thin it out as a liquid fertilizer for your gardens. It’s the bomb and it grows some danged good corn. Corn is needy, so if that crop likes it… imagine how the others will do!

On the downside, it smells horrible. Get a clothespin for your nose and don’t worry about it. And don’t pour it right on anything you’re about to eat. That’s nasty. It’s best for the establishment phase of a garden up until a few weeks before harvest. It’s also powerful growing magic for fruit trees.

One thing you absolutely DON’T want to do is buy compost or manure for your gardens.

Why? Because a lot – and I mean a LOT – of compost, manure and straw now contains persistent long-term herbicides that will utterly wreck your beds for a year or more. Don’t believe me?

Just ask Karen about her tomatoes.

Yikes.

I’ve read a lot of stories like this now and it happened to some of my own beds almost 5 years ago. Don’t let it happen to you.

BONUS IDEA: Plant Fruit Trees!

Fruit trees are really cheap compared to their potential yields.

What is an organic pear worth? Maybe $2? Imagine getting 400 of those from a tree you paid $25 for! That beats the heck out of most investments. Yet many of us don’t want to wait the 5-10 years it takes for impressive yields on fruit trees.

I used to feel that way… and then I got older. I plant on being here in a decade. Don’t you? Then get planting.

Plant more fruit and nut trees than you ever think you’ll need. Every fall, plant more. Go, drop $500 on fruit trees. Seriously. Get them in the ground, mulch around them, water them for the first year or two… and then, each spring as you plant your new garden beds, watch them wake up and grow. Eventually they’ll bear a few beautiful fruit. And then more and more and more. You can dry and preserve them. You can turn them into wine or hard liquor with a still. You can barter with them. You can fatten pigs on the fruit that falls. You can make incredible pies and cobblers, serve your children sun-ripened apples and peaches.

Look – just do it. Don’t wait to plant. Plant now and in the future you’ll look back and thank the “you” that is reading this right now.

Conclusion

We haven’t even covered all the potential vegetables you can plant in a fall garden yet… but what I’ve shared in this post will hopefully get you thinking long-term about your survival gardening plans. Get those chickens working. Get those weeds torched. Dig some new beds. Start some batches of compost. When you have the proper groundwork in place, your cabbages and turnips will almost grow themselves.

And so will the purple peppers (shh!).

Want More Survival Gardening Ideas?

Grab a copy of my Survival Gardening Secrets course that teaches you how to grow enough food to feed your family, even after the gardening centers close and you can no longer buy seeds, fertilizers, or pesticides to keep your garden alive.

Click here to access Survival Gardening Secrets

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The Reality of 2 Weeks of Food Storage

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The thought of food storage can be very overwhelming, especially if you are new to being self sufficient. You have just realized the need for food-storage and the dangers of what is happening in the world. So now what are you going to do about it? You may find some very good answers in the video below.

The best answer that I have is research and lots of it. You Tuber ObessivePrepperAz shares her thoughts on an easy and affordable way to start off making sure you have two weeks’ worth of food. She walks you through how to calculate food storage for your family and points out some very helpful hints.

However, ObsessivePrepperAZ is just touching on the bare minimum you will need in her video, but by adding things like rice or noodles to some of your storage you can turn one can of soup into a pot of stew. Her tips and secrets are very helpful for a beginner prepper.

She focuses on how many cans of Campbell Chunky Soup you would need for one meal a day. One of her viewers suggested a very effective way to stretch those cans to feed four people 2 or 3 meals per day. That is a LOT more than one can of soup for one person.

“Tip: Double that food storage with one bag of rice, one bag of dried potatoes, and two packs of cubed bullion. Take two cans of that chunky soup, add I cup rice OR potatoes, and a bullion, add at least 3 cups water; make it into a large pot of stew. Feeds four, 2-3 meals per day. Stew is salvation.”

We hope you enjoy her suggestions and please feel free to comment some of your tips and advice to help the newbies!! We all have to help each other become reliant on ourselves.

The Reality of 2 Weeks of Food Storage

 

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Money Mondays: Should You Keep Receipts?

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com One of the challenges of staying organized in a small space is dealing with receipts.  Receipts from purchases, bank transactions seem to keep multiplying and cluttering up pockets, wallets and purses.  It is tempting to just get rid of them.  However, I have found you need to keep receipts for a certain period of time before discarding them. Dealing with receipts: Cash machine transactions:  When I use the ATM I keep them for […]

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Unplug and Save

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Have you ever heard that you can save a whole lot on your energy bill just by unplugging your unused appliances? But really, how much could you possibly save by unplugging everything when you’re done using it? 
Just how much money can you save by unplugging appliances? More than you might think.
If it’s not in use can it really be using that much energy? Well, you’d be surprised at just how much energy you can save simply by unplugging those unused appliances.

What Draws the Most Energy

Your TV and coffee maker which are powered down individually might not draw that much energy, but all of these electrical appliances together are still drawing power and can add up to 10% to your electric bill each month. And in general the biggest drains on your power even when they are powered down is any device with a remote control.
Also anything with an external power supply, a charger (for your phone or gaming device), anything with a continuous display (an alarm clock, microwave, or oven with a digital clock), laptop computers, and cable boxes (especially with an integrated DVR) are all huge offenders. They use an average of 9 watts to 44 watts of electricity even when powered down.

Older appliances will use less power when not in use because they aren’t doing anything.

A washing machine without a digital display has nothing to power when not in use. But of course the older appliances then have the unfortunate fate of not being energy efficient when they are in use.

The drawing of power when appliances are not in use is something that is beginning to become a thing of the past.

Many newer TVs and electronics are drawing less energy when turned off because of energy star guidelines.

How to Know Which Appliances to Unplug

Obviously you can’t unplug everything when it’s not in use. Your alarm clock is probably something you need to keep plugged in at all times unless you switch to a manual alarm clock. Your cable box with the DVR in it is set to record things at certain times, so unplugging it might cause you to miss your scheduled recordings.
Your refrigerator and programmable coffeemaker are obviously appliances that are completely useless should you unplug when they aren’t in use – in particular your refrigerator. For these appliances the best way to save on your energy cost is to make sure you check the energy star ratings. You will need to check for the standby ratings on the item before you purchase it.
Of course there is one other option – get rid of your refrigerator. Yes, it’s possible.
But the TV and DVD player and your computer are all items which can be unplugged when not in use. Probably the easiest way to accomplish unplugging these items is to have them attached to a power strip which has an on/off switch. Flip the switch when you’re done using the items. And with a quick flip of the switch you can power everything back up.

We are off-grid and count every watt of power. Because of this, we turn off everything at night. Yes, quite literally, we turn off all the power for the house! Obviously, we don’t have any appliances that need to draw energy continuously.

One thing we have learned, if you are turning off your entire computer system, is to turn them back on in a certain order. First, turn your modem back on. Then, once it has booted up completely, turn your router back on. Finally, turn on your computer.

You likely aren’t going to see huge savings, but you should see a 5-10% decrease in your electric bill if you begin turning off all appliances and devices when they are not in active use. And just think about what would happen if all of your neighbors cut back and unplugged from the wall. The effect it would have on the environment as a whole would truly be impressive. 
And with something so simple, who wouldn’t want to save even $5 a month on their electric bill?

Budgeting – and following a budget – seems like it should be easy. Unfortunately, too many of us struggle with it. Like the tiny bits of electricity that add up on our monthly bills, the money seems to trickle away, untracked and unaccounted for.

The skills can be easily mastered, but most people have not been taught the basics of personal finance. Make no mistake – frugality and personal finance is something that can and should be taught!

Enroll in Common Cents and join me for a 16 week course that will take you from budgeting through mortgages and identity theft. Each week includes videos, slides, printable affirmations and of course a detailed lesson. A private Facebook group provides ongoing support and training for all students.

Enroll today in Common Cents!

Could you handle economic collapse?

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Welcome! You’re concerned about the economy and I have to say – I don’t blame you. No matter where you live in the world, the news is unsettling. Countries are going bankrupt, currencies are collapsing and there is no sign that anything is going to be improving soon.
We don't like thinking about the possibility of economic collapse, but it is increasingly likely as the world economic system destabilizes. Be prepared and survive.
When the economy begins taking a turn for the worst, knowing what to do to survive is absolutely essential, and this can change depending on the conditions you find yourself in.
In any scenario, though, saving up enough money and resources for basic sustenance is the first step. This preparation will reduce your dependency on your job and grocery stores.
Ideally, with zero income, your existing savings should be enough to sustain you for at least six months, and even then, it would be better to be able to rely upon alternative income sources to generate additional earnings.
Economic collapse - could you handle it? As currencies collapse and countries face bankruptcy, this is a reality many of us should prepare for.

When the Government Takes a Nose-Dive, Don’t Follow!

These preparations will enable you to stay afloat and even prosper in the worst financial conditions:

Consider your current lifestyle in terms of your future

Do you and your family spend money like there’s no tomorrow? If you do, when tomorrow does come, you’re likely to find it particularly difficult. Making a few changes now can vastly strengthen your situation.
Start thinking about what’s really essential for you and your family and budget for these things. Once you have these necessities taken care of, then you can include non-essential luxuries in your budget.
Look for ways to supplement your income and save even more. If there’s anything that you can be certain about, it’s that you surely can’t have too much money for the difficult times that may be looming ahead.

Accumulating gold and silver is particularly smart since the current currency may yield little to no value in a failed economy.
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Stockpile essentials

Having the basics, like food, water, and tools, will enable you to survive. Having extra to sell or trade will help you prosper.

Ensure you’re sufficiently stocked up on food supplies, water, hygiene items, and other basic necessities.
If you can purchase a piece of land outside the city, especially one with a fresh water supply, you’ll have access to, and the means to produce more, fresh food and water.


Strengthen your survival skills

Survival skills are things like living off the land and natural medicine. Your community may offer inexpensive classes to increase your knowledge and skills.
In an economic collapse, these skills will not only help you survive, but others will gladly pay for your services as well.
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Don’t be a lone wolf!

While the urge for you to “go it alone” may be really strong, the truth is that surviving all by yourself will indeed be a difficult and cumbersome task. This is something that I have repeated over and over again.
Historically, humans have always flourished the best when they worked together.

Being able to work together with others will be among the most important survival skills that you can have at your disposal.
Strengthen your bonds with your friends or neighbors and make plans together. For example, you could stockpile complementary items to share. Take note of the different skillsets among those you know and trust.
As cold as the world may become prior to an economic collapse, your kindness and compassion towards others will certainly pay you dividends you would’ve never expected otherwise!
Yes, you can survive – and even prosper – if the country suffers a financial collapse. Starting on these preparations now will give you greater confidence in your ability to provide for your family in the years to come.

5 Things You Need to Know About Debt

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Welcome! It’s so wonderful to see you. 

These days everyone is looking for ways to reduce debt and save money, and you are likely just like the rest of us – wondering how you can make that happen in your life. It is certainly possible to wipe out your existing debt and learn how to live your life within your means.

If you want to get out of debt, you need to know your enemy. Here are five things that you need to know about dealing with debt.

Here are five tips that will help you on your way to debt free living

Stop using credit cards

One of the leading factors in the current economic crisis is people buying things on credit they cannot afford. The next thing they know, they find themselves unable to do anything more than make minimum monthly payments.

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 Minimum payments will keep you in debt because every month interest continues to accrue on your original balance. A $1,000 balance on a typical credit card can take 22 years to pay off if you make only the minimum monthly payments!
·Don’t fall into the trap of credit card debt. Instead, avoid the hassle and expense by paying cash for the things you buy. If you want a big-ticket item, save the cash before you make the purchase. Only buy when you can afford to pay for the item in full before you bring it home.

Credit cards have their uses and I use one. It is extremely difficult to run an online business without one. But if you cannot pay your credit card off in full each month, set it aside and use cash at least until you have your finances under control.

Need to learn more about Saving, Making and Managing Money? You need Common Cents!

It's possible to get rid of debt and live within your means, but first you must know what you're dealing with. Here are five things that you need to know about debt.

Buy luxury items with cash

We all have extras and luxuries we want, but using credit to get them is a dangerous path to take. You’ll get much greater enjoyment from the extras in your life when you pay cash, rather than ongoing monthly payments.
Nothing takes the excitement out of a new toy or nice vacation more than the large payments that strain your budget month after month.

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Create a realistic budget that includes debt repayment

The first step in gaining control over your debt is creating a workable budget. Rather than stifling you, a budget can bring you freedom! You’ll know where your money goes and you’ll set a spending plan so you can continue buying the most important things in your life.
Your budget should take into consideration all facets of your lifestyle, including housing, food and household items, utilities, savings, recreation and debt repayment.
If your budget doesn’t include room for debt repayment, there will never be enough money to pay off your debt. Take control of your financial reality by working with a realistic budget every month. Before long, you’ll see your debt diminishing while your savings grow.

Need to learn more about Saving, Making and Managing Money? You need Common Cents!

Seek the help of a professional credit counselor, accountant or financial planner

The best way to be sure you’re making sound financial decisions is to seek out the help of a financial professional.
Credit counselors, financial planners and accountants are experts in the areas of savings, debt repayment, investments and tax deductions.
Implement each of these areas into your finances to eliminate financial strain and secure a stable financial future.

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Negotiate better rates with the banks or credit card companies

Many people assume they have no choice but to accept the interest and finance rates offered by their banks and credit card companies, but that isn’t always the case!
Talk to the people at your financial institutions. You may be surprised at how willing they are to budge.
If your credit is in good shape or you’ve made steady, progressive strides to improve it, you may be able to get lower interest rates on your debts.
You might also receive higher interest rates on your savings, giving you a double shot at eliminating your debt entirely and moving forward with your finances in a positive direction.
You can repair your debt problems and learn to avoid creating them in the future. These five steps will point you in the right direction and get you started on a new path to financial freedom and prosperity!

Money Mondays: If You Don’t Have a Job, Make One Up

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 Written by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper This article first appeared in The Organic Prepper With unemployment rates skyrocketing, going out and finding a new job can be nigh on to impossible these days.  This is only going to get trickier as the government continues to force businesses to increase the minimum wage. Workloads that used to provide employment to two people are now forced onto one. The work performed gets shoddier as the one employed person struggles to keep […]

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17 Urgent Preps For Under $100

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If you’re reading this, you no doubt want to be prepared in case of a widespread disaster. But if you’re like most people, you probably don’t have a lot of money. Hopefully you can come up with $100, but how prepared can you actually get with so little money? More than you think. Although you […]

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Money Mondays: Can a Crisis Like Venezuela’s Happen Here?

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  This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com You can’t help but feel bad about the citizens of Venezuela, as they suffer under miserable economic conditions:  People waiting in lines all night and day to buy basic necessities, formerly middle class people having to hunt dogs and cats in their neighborhood for their next meal, with widespread rioting and looting. But can it happen here?  This post certainly got my attention Coming Destruction? Alan Greenspan Warns “Venezuela Under Martial Law […]

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On a Frugal Grocery Budget? The Prices of These 10 Foods Have Skyrocketed in the Past Year

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With the crazy instability of the economy these days, nearly everyone has a frugal grocery budget as they struggle to cut expenses where they can. Those of us who are … Read the rest

The post On a Frugal Grocery Budget? The Prices of These 10 Foods Have Skyrocketed in the Past Year appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Learn About 5 Habits Of Successful People To Become One

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habits of successful peopleSuccess is not a destination. Success is achieved on a daily basis and our routines go a long way towards determining our ability to achieve our most important goals. But how exactly should we go about that? Perhaps people that have already proven to be extraordinary individuals can teach us something on the topic. We have listed five habits they stand by for, and perhaps by adopting them you too can become a high achiever! Read on to learn more:

1. Don’t Be Scared To Read

Reading is sometimes considered to be the exclusive domain of the nerd, but highly successful people typically make time to enjoy a good book or simply read up on a topic that they are not already familiar with. Bill Gates makes sure to read for at least an hour a day, while Mark Cuban believes that reading for three hours a day is a key to his success. By reading, we are able to learn more about the past mistakes of others, as books provide us with a road map to steer clear of these errors. If your excuse is that they’re too expensive, look into Discountrue coupons and you will discover that you’re able to shop at many popular stores such as Kohl’s or Abebooks on a budget.

2. Getting Up Early

It can often seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day and if you are not waking up in a timely fashion, time slips away even more easily. Getting up early is difficult, which is why it is important to lay the proper groundwork. Don’t fall into the habit of looking at screens before bed, as this affects circadian rhythms. Don’t use your snooze button and be sure to make a to do list to start off your day with.

3. Avoid Becoming a Couch Potato

Even though a successful person can easily afford to obtain cosmetic surgery or other treatment if they’ve let themselves get out of shape, they will typically do everything in their power to take care of themselves. Why is that? A successful person knows that achieving their goals starts with the proper fitness and dietary regimen. Regular exercise keeps the mind sharp and allows us to click on all cylinders.

4. Working When You Don’t Want To

Spoiler alert: successful people do not always want to work. The difference between someone who is successful and someone who is not? Their willingness to push through these types of emotions and force themselves to work anyway. The next time you are not in the mood to work, push yourself for an extra 15 minutes. It’s a great way to develop positive momentum.

5. Keep Distractions To A Minimum

Checking e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, these are all massive drains on our time. A successful person checks their e-mail and their social media accounts, but they do not keep tabs open and do not monitor them constantly. The best course of action is to set aside a designated period each day to check in on them, so that you are not wasting valuable work time.

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25 Prepper Items To Look For at Flea Markets and Thrift Stores

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If you’re interested in preparedness, flea markets and thrift stores can be goldmines. Everyday, people clean out their garages or attics and give away things they don’t want, completely unaware that many of the items they donate are valuable to preppers. These items end up in secondhand stores […]

The post 25 Prepper Items To Look For at Flea Markets and Thrift Stores appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Dollar Store Prepping

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Dollar Store Prepping

Most of us don’t have a ton of extra income, so when it comes to prepping, it often takes a back seat to every day expenses. After all, Jay Leno used to have a segment called “Things found at the dollar store”. There were creepy toys, and my favorite, a small toilet, that when you lifted the lid, had lip gloss in it!

 

 

 

Dollar store items are often overruns, have minor defects, and often are major brands. Here is a list of things to look for in dollar stores.

  • Over the counter medications. Why spend five dollars or more when you can get aspirin. Acetaminophen, allergy medications, Imodium, triple antibiotic cream, (We even found some with zink and some with silver.) and more for a dollar! Here is where a smart phone comes in handy. You know that for a dollar you aren’t going to get 100 pills, sometimes only a few, so check the prices and compare with other stores.
  • Band-Aids, gauze, tape, elastic support bandages, wrist, ankle and knee supports. Don’t forget the icy hot muscle relaxing pads. I keep them in my suitcase, for when I overdo when I travel, and my bug out bag, too.
  • Security items: Door stops can keep, or delay people from entering a door. I use them in hotels as well as putting Band-Aids over hotel room peep holes so no one can spy on you.
  • Board games. Yep, checker, backgammon, playing cards, and balls. Boredom is bad, especially when there are kids.
  • Hoola hoops and jump ropes are good exercise in a small space, like a bunker or a tent.
  • Clothes line is good for more than clothes.
  • Plastic tubs galore! Good for storage, washing yourself in, washing clothes and dishes…
  • Buckets
  • Cleaning supplies of all kinds.
  • Zip lock and other plastic bags
  • Blanket and garment storage bags.. not very thick but they keep the bugs out.
  • Duct tape, electrical tape, wire, nails and screws, screwdrivers and wrenches, flashlights, little pocket fans, garbage bags.
  • Small bags and even kid sized backpacks.
  • Food! I have found tuna, salmon and spam in foil pouches, which are great for bug out bags. Protein in a lightweight, slim pouch.
  • Boxed milk. Yes, it’s real and tastes good. Their expiration dates are months away, unlike regular milk, does not require refrigeration, but don’t get them hot, and they even last longer in the fridge when opened.   I keep it around for when I don’t  want to make a trip to the store.
  • Condiments: all kinds can be found here including sea salt, mustard with turmeric, hot sauce, spaghetti and sauces, parmesan cheese, ( check the cellulose levels ) spices..food boredom is bad for people in survival mode. Ever gone to the kitchen hungry and just didn’t want anything you had on hand? That’s food boredom. So when you prep, remember to get a huge variety of things you and/or your family, eat every month, like Mexican, Asian, Italian. Juices, powder drink additives..avoid ones with equal! (aspartame) and spices to pep the taste buds.
  • Clothes: Think socks, gloves, and hats.
  • Little miniature cloth wash cloths shrunk to the size of a small block, that when placed in water, spooing! (often called towels and have cartoon and super heroes on them.)
  • Pets: Food, collars, leashes, litter, pee pads. Which are great for kennel liners.

We have seen lots of brand name food and merchandise at dollar stores, sometimes it was made for a foreign country and did not sell well. We have gotten t-shirts, towels, lots of kitchen stuff, aluminum pans.

The cooking bags you sometimes see during the holidays can be used as crock pot/pot liners for easy cleanup. Really good when water is in short supply.

And speaking of the Holidays..seasonal items are always a time to get deals, like nuts for cheap, $1.00 solar yard lights, etc.

 

Things not worth getting:

  • Potting soil, you get about 5lbs for a dollar when Lowes and Home depot have 20lbs for less than $3.00.
  • Seeds..I have bought them several times and never had anything produce. So, poor quality seeds.

Never knew you could get so much eh? And different locations of the same stores will often have different items, check out stores around you and when you travel. Dollar Tree stores have where you can order cases online, and have them shipped for store pickup, for free.

Now grab those dollars and go shopping!

Guest post by Gwen!!

The post Dollar Store Prepping appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Foodie Friday: Snow Day Edition

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Welcome to Foodie Friday, snow day edition!

This feature will be chock-full of all things food related: news, preservation, and delicious real food recipes.  As always, I really hope you’ll share your links and ideas in the comments below. As well, we’ll have a question of the week on each Foodie Friday post.

Cookbooks

How are you going to use the ingredients in your food stockpile? If you are new to preparedness or using the pantry principle to save money, check out The Prepper’s Cookbook. It’s loaded with ways to use up your beans and rice, tuna, and dehydrated foods.

Do you have a grain-free kitchen?  More and more people are going lower-carb and reducing their consumption of grains. I got Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple for Christmas and I absolutely love it. Since my family is not Paleo, specifically, I adapt the recipes that use alternative milks to use the raw milk I have at my disposal.

Foodie Friday News

GMO Potatoes will soon be on the market. Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll soon have another genetically modified food to dodge. The USDA and the FDA have put their stamps of approval on a new spud, modified so that it doesn’t brown or bruise. The potato was engineered for use in fast food restaurants and potato chips. Thus far, there is no evidence that these taters are in your local supermarket, but I have little doubt they’ll soon appear in a processed food aisle near you.

Imported shrimp raised on pig feces approved for American consumers.  Remember the outcry recently when Congress decided we had no right to know the country of origin for meat sold in American grocery stores?  Well, here’s another reason you might want to know where your food is coming from. Just approved for our consumption is a special shrimp from Vietnam. The shrimp are fed a diet of pig poop, then tossed into tubs of ice made from water so dirty that the local government advises consumers to boil it before drinking it. Then, the shrimp are packaged and sent here to us. Bon appetit.

Has your favorite food brand sold out?  It seems like there are a million different brands at the grocery store, but the sad fact is, many of the brands you find out there are simply different labels from a handful of parent corporations. Check out this article to see if your favorite brand is part of a conglomeration that may lobby against GMO labeling (because they use GMOs) or have otherwise questionable business ethics.

Food Preservation

What’s better than a piping hot bowl of stew in the winter?  You don’t have to get a grocery store can of soup with questionable ingredients to enjoy stew as quickly as you can heat it up in a pot. Learn to can your own, using healthful ingredients you know you can trust. One of our family favorites is home-canned Hungarian Goulash. Check out the easy instructions here. (This recipe is from my book, The Organic Canner.)

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Does a big canning marathon seem overwhelming? I love canning but it can be time-consuming, messy, and a whole lot of work! Here are 15 sneaky tricks to make a canning marathon go a lot more smoothly.

Here’s a quick, thrifty way to add shelf stable veggies to your stockpile. Many preparedness pantries are lacking a sufficient supply of vegetables. The freeze-dried ones can be prohibitively expensive. This time of year, many frozen vegetables go on sale at the grocery store, but in a power outage, those would be at risk within a day. The solution? Dehydrate frozen veggies that you pick up at the store. Here’s how.

What to Eat This Week

What should you eat if the power goes out? With a huge storm bearing down on the Eastern United States, it’s a good bet that some folks will lose power. If you don’t have a back-up cooking method, you’re going to want food that you can eat immediately, without the need for cooking. Here’s a list of some of our favorite no-cook foods.

After playing in the snow, warm up with rich homemade hot cocoa.  Don’t touch those little packets. Making hot cocoa from scratch only takes a couple of extra steps. This recipe is positively decadent and you probably have all of the ingredients on hand. (You can substitute whatever mik and sugar that you use in your home.)

Or, make fancy coffee. If you’re like me, coffee is your favorite cold weather beverage. But please, skip the unhealthy grocery store creamers. Instead, be your own barista and make one of these 25 tasty and non-toxic homemade creamers.

Have you made homemade noodles yet?  If not, you’re totally missing out. Not only are they absolutely delicious, but when you make them yourself, you’re guaranteed to have food with wholesome ingredients. Here’s an easy 4 ingredient recipe with flour and this one is a gluten free recipe without all of the weird gums.

Do you have a bread recipe that uses only food storage ingredients?  In the event you can’t get to the store for a while, it’s important to have recipes that use the shelf-stable ingredients that you have on hand. This incredibly easy, mouthwatering artisan bread uses only 5 common pantry ingredients. For diabetics or others who are avoiding grains, here’s a unique and easy grain-free bread recipe – you’ll want to stock up on the supplies to make this one!

It’s a homemade stew kind of weekend.  Wherever you happen to be this weekend, it looks like the weather will range anywhere from chilly to downright BRRRR….this simple real food beef stew will provide a comforting and delicious meal to warm you to your little pink toes. Serve it over homemade noodles or with one of the homemade bread recipes above.

Products

Are you looking for a high quality cocoa for your food storage? Look no further. Check out Frontier’s Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Powder.

Got milk?  Unless you have a dairy animal, you may want to store some powdered milk for emergencies. Unfortunately much of the dry milk available is from cows treated with hormones and antibiotics, so it’s important to shop carefully. Food for Liberty offers some very high quality options. They offer a certified hormone-free choice as well as a premium organic one, depending on your budget. Both are offered in larger quantities at better prices, too.

Foodie Friday Sound-off: What is your favorite cold-weather meal?

This week’s Foodie Friday question: When the snow flies and the mercury drops, what is your favorite thing to make to warm up your family?

Somehow, an entire dozen muffins vanished at my house during the night, and I’m not sure if it was teenagers or the dog, so it looks like I’ll be doing some more baking in a few minutes. Are you doing some scratch cooking or food preserving this week?

Dish with me in the comments below!

The post Foodie Friday: Snow Day Edition appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Five Dollar DIY Survival Shelter (Video & Transcript)

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Video By: Black Scout Survival
Please support their channel by subscribing here

Transcription provided by American Preppers Network

Number of speakers: 1 (Jack)
Duration: 8 min 23 sec

Five Dollar DIY Survival Shelter

Jack: “What’s going on guys? Black Scout Survival here today and I’m gonna show you how to make a 5 dollar shelter, survival shelter or bug out shelter kit. All you need is just a few items.

“You can put it in a bag just like this so it’s all contained but you’re gonna need duct tape, an emergency blanket. You can use a cheap Mylar. Para cord and a 55 gallon drum liner.”

“With these few really cheap items you can make a very good shelter that will keep you warm and dry in a multitude of different situations.”

 

“So let me put it together. So the next thing is, you’re just gonna open up your bag and find the bottom of it. So this is the bottom there and the opening is here. So what I’m gonna need to do, and this doesn’t have to be pretty. Lets fold it in half and I’m gonna take my Leather-man multi tool trauma sheers here but you can just use a knife. Just cut this bottom portion off and it doesn’t have to be pretty like I said. It doesn’t even have to be even just as close as possible. By doing this you are essentially going to be making a tube tent.”

“Now that you’ve cut that whole you now have a tube tent you can run your para cord through and have it rigged to the tree already. This pretty much is how your gonna make your ridge line for this shelter.”

 

“Ok, now I have rigged this up through the tube, the trash bag we made into a tube shelter. I put a truckers hitch on this side and a bowline on this side. The next thing you’re gonna do is kind of situate it where you want it at. Then take your duct tape, this is single side duct tape. I mean not single side, its stuck to a piece of paper so it’s a flat pack. That’s what they call it.”

“Now what you’re gonna do with that is just tape up the top of your edge here that way it stays in place. You’re just gonna kind of run your finger across the top to make sure that it is very on the line.”

“So now its not going to move there. So now we have the shelter all put together. I just basically ran para cord through the inside of the shelter and then I used tape to keep it up. I used stakes but you don’t have to. You can make your own in the field. I’m gonna get in the shelter and show you.”

“Do you see how there is a little bit of room underneath it. It has a lot of room. So basically that is for you to put debris under the shelter so you’re not sleeping on the ground. It will give you insulation. You definitely want that in a cold whether environment. So just pack as much debris, make sure there’s no sticks or anything like that. Just some leaves or pine straw. Give about four to six inches thick.”

 

“Also, if it is raining or something like that you will notice I put it at an angle so the head is higher than the feet. You can tape with that duct tape, the whole front end closed so you still have ventilation in here so you’re not gonna suffocate yourself. You can keep it pretty much water proof or keep the bag together sealed up and just run the line through it and make a whole for the line and duct tape the hole up.”

 

“Now also, another thing you can do is taking the emergency blanket and wrap inside this top guideline, this ridge-line and drape it through there so you have a complete water proof, wind proof shelter and also have that 90% reflective of the emergency blanket. I’m gonna go ahead and get in here.”

 

 

 

“And now I’m just gonna go ahead and open up this emergency blanket and show you how easy it is to wrap this inside of it. Now you want to have the doorways open because of the insulative, I mean the condensation in here. It will give it a breeze so you don’t get wet.So now you see we have the reflective Mylar on one side reflecting that heat. It’s gonna keep us warm.”

“So guys that was the $5 bug out or survival shelter. You know survival shelters should be small and easy to carry with you. This one, depending on what bag you use and stuff like that you can actually wrap it down small enough to put in your back pocket. The thing is if you also get a fire going out here it will kind of simulate the old war Kochanski super shelter because this side is open or doesn’t have the blanket on so it will reflect off that other side and keep you warm. This thing was so hot for just a few minutes I’m pouring sweat now. It’s definitely for very cold environments. Nonetheless I hope this helps you.”

“Please check us out on black scout survival.com. Make sure you subscribe to our channel. I try to put out a few new videos every week. Thanks for watching.”

 

This Transcription is available for copy under the Creative Commons By-ND license.  You may copy and re-post this transcription in its entirety as long as original links, affiliate links, and embedded video remain intact, including this CC notice.

The post Five Dollar DIY Survival Shelter (Video & Transcript) appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Still Think the Economy is “Recovering”? Walmart Is Closing 269 Stores, Including These

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The economy is collapsing around us, and if you aren’t already prepared, it’s time to get with it ASAP, because Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores. If that doesn’t ring loud, clanging warning bells for you, then nothing will convince you of the need to prepare for economic collapse.

If you listened to the State of the Union address (listen for free) last week, you heard President Obama accuse those who criticized the financial situation in the United States of  “peddling fiction.” However, with oil prices plummeting, stock markets around the globe tanking, and businesses shutting their doors left and right, it seems that the only peddler of false tales is our fearless leader himself. When the biggest retailer in America is struggling to stay afloat, I call BS (Baloney Sandwiches) on the notion that “our economy is recovering.”

Since last year, Wal-Mart, that ubiquitous symbol of American discount retail and bad taste, has seen its stock value plummet an almost unfathomable $80 billion.

Walmart Is Closing 269 Stores

Today, it was announced that Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores across the globe by the end of January. (Or as they like to call it, they are “sharpening their portfolio.” These stores are the ones in the United States.

#2173: 14331 Count Rd. 99, Headland, AL 1/2

8/2016

#2524: 5502 Monterey Hwy, San Jose, CA 1/28/2016
#2011: 18 Apple Way, Ashford, AL 1/28/2016 #2949: 151 E 5th St., Long Beach, CA 1/28/2016
#2165: 952 E. Lawrence Harris Hwy, Slocomb, AL 1/28/2016 #5457: 8400 Edgewater Drive, Oakland, CA 1/17/2016
#2186: 407 West Washington St., Abbeville, AL 1/28/2016 #2960: 4101 Crenshaw Blcd., Los Angeles, CA 1/17/2016
#2235: 6361 Hwy 72 East Gurley, AL 1/28/2016 #3507: 2701 Port Covington Drive, Baltimore, MD 1/17/2016
#2260: 87395 US Hwy 278, Snead, AL 1/28/2016 #3496: 5825 W Hope Ave., Milwaukee, WI 1/28/2016
#3769: 3530 Cathedral Caverns Hwy, Grant, AL 1/28/2016
#3779: 10188 Hwy 431 South, New Hope, AL 1/28/2016 Supercenter Date closed to public
#2498: 720 N Hwy 71, Mansfield, AR 1/28/2016 #3814 6525 Glacier Hwy, Juneau, AK 2/5/2016
#2578: 3500 Mulberry Hwy 64 W, Mulberry, AR 1/28/2016 #763: 7201 Aaron Aronov Drive, Fairfield, AL 1/28/2016
#2601: 814 W. Main, Charleston, AR 1/28/2016 #4584: 10400 Highland Rd., Hartland, MI 1/28/2016
#2669: 1531 E Hwy 64, Coal Hill, AR 1/28/2016 #4369: 1010 Martin Luther King Pkwy., Durham, NC 1/28/2016
#3819: 8848 N Hwy 59, Van Buren, AR 1/28/2016 #2837: 4350 N Nellis Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 1/17/2016
#3878: 5 Hwy 124 West, Damascus, AR 1/28/2016 #4342: 22209 Rockside Rd., Bedford, OH 1/28/2016
#4217: 154 E Roller, Decatur, AR 1/28/2016 #2606: 721 US Hwy 321 BYP S Unit, Winnsboro, SC 1/28/2016
#3032: 905 S Gentry Blvd, Gentry, AR 1/28/2016 #883: 14091 FM 490, Raymondville, TX 1/28/2016
#3033: 800 1st Ave SE, Gravette, AR 1/28/2016 #5493: 7480 Padre Island Hwy, Brownsville, TX 1/28/2016
#3034: 881 W Buchanan, Prairie Grove, AR 1/28/2016 #5478: 8201 N FM 620, Austin, TX 1/28/2016
#3358: 1113 S.R. 20, Interlachen, FL 1/28/2016 #597: 7075 FM 1960 Rd W, Houston, TX 1/28/2016
#4265: 1209 East Wade St., Trenton, FL 1/28/2016 #3811: 61 Plaza Drive, Kimball, WV 1/28/2016
#4267: 15726 SE Hwy 19 Cross City, FL 1/28/2016
#4228: 560 S. Broad St., Ellaville, GA 1/28/2016 Neighborhood Market Date closed to public
#4229: 1041 S US Hwy 1, Alma, GA 1/28/2016 #5783: 117 Audubon Drive, Maumelle, AR 1/17/2016
#4234: 155 West Washington Ave., Ashburn, GA 1/28/2016 #5642: 2408 Lincoln Ave., Altadena, CA 1/28/2016
#4251: 398 Barrow Ave SW, Pelham, GA 1/28/2016 #5688: 6820 Eastern Ave., Bell Gardens, CA 1/28/2016
#4254: 907 Marianna Hwy, Donalsonville, GA 1/28/2016 #3086: 701 W Cesar E Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, CA 1/17/2016
#4261: 290 Albany Ave. West, Pearson, GA 1/28/2016 #5690: 2045 E Highland Ave., San Bernardino, CA 1/28/2016
#4263: 142 S. Valdosta Road, Lakeland, GA 1/28/2016 #4173 12120 Carson St., Hawaiian Gardens, CA 1/28/2016
#3065: 3636 N Broadway St., Chicago, IL 1/17/2016 #5002, 8196 West Bowles Ave., Littleton, CO 1/17/2016
#3039: 225 W Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 1/17/2016 #3021: 2253 S Monaco Pkwy., Denver, CO 1/28/2016
#3369: 900 East Ross Ave., Clearwater, KS 1/28/2016 #2303: 333 N Main St., West Hartford, CT 1/28/2016
#4353: 505 Housatonic St., Burlington, KS 1/28/2016 #5856: 601 N West St. STE 100, Wichita, KS 1/28/2016
#4360: 705 N High School Ave., Columbus, KS 1/28/2016 #5860: 9831 E Harry St., Wichita, KS 1/28/2016
#4361: 1105 East 15th St., Ellsworth, KS 1/28/2016 #5873: 4794 E 13th, Wichita, KS 1/28/2016
#4362: 120 West Rosewood St., Rose Hill, KS 1/28/2016 #3097: 8235 SW Apple Way, Portland, OR 1/17/2016
#4651: 605 Orchard Drive, Hillsboro, KS 1/28/2016 #5995: 17711 Jean Way, Lake Oswego, OR 1/28/2016
#3755: 1445 Old Highway 13, Mamou, LA 1/28/2016 #3306 1220 Gallatin Ave., Nashville, TN 1/28/2016
#4634: 1506 Main St., Colfax, LA 1/28/2016 #3171: 2218 Greenville Ave., Dallas (Greenville), TX 1/28/2016
#3753: 620 North Hwy 26, Lake Arthur, LA 1/28/2016 #3451: 2740 Gessner Rd., Houston, TX 1/28/2016
#3815: 501 West Hwy 90, Iowa, LA 1/28/2016 #5985: 2201 West Southlake Blvd., Southlake, TX 1/28/2016
#3839: 9181 Hwy 67, Clinton, LA 1/28/2016 #4126: 1901 S. Texas Ave., Bryan, TX 1/28/2016
#3849: 920 Avenue G, Kentwood, LA 1/28/2016 #5986: 4268 Legacy Drive, Frisco, TX 1/17/2016
#3879: 1495 Obrie St., Zwolle, LA 1/28/2016 #3030: 3850 N 124th St., Wauwatosa, WI 1/28/2016
#4647: 515 3rd St., Independence, LA 1/28/2016 #3031: N88W15559 Main St., Menomonee Falls, WI 1/28/2016
#4269: 224 E Hwy 76, Anderson, MO 1/28/2016 #5698: S14W22605 Coral Drive, Waukesha, WI 1/28/2016
#4270: 508 N Cliffside Dr., Noel, MO 1/28/2016
#4282: 33597 State Hwy 112, Seligman, MO 1/28/2016 Amigo Date closed to public
#4289: 414 N Elm, Clever, MO 1/28/2016 #2343: 7B Calle Munoz Rivera, Villalba, PR 1/28/2016
#3856: 410 2nd St., Belmont, MS 1/28/2016 #2347: Bo Salto Arriba, Utuado, PR 1/28/2016
#3863: 2795 Hwy 371 N, Mantachie, MS 1/28/2016 #2342: PR 14, Parque Industrial, Coamo, PR 1/28/2016
#3865: 420 E Lee St., Sardis, MS 1/28/2016 #3667: 1 Ave Monserrate STE 1, Carolina, PR 1/28/2016
#3866: 28191 Hwy 15, Walnut, MS 1/28/2016 #3684: Carr 180 KM 0 HM 2, Salinas, PR 1/28/2016
#4294: 519 W Veterans Ave., Derma, MS 1/28/2016 #3689: Centro Com Rio Grande State, Rio Grande, PR 1/28/2016
#4296: 7104 Will Robbins Hwy, Nettleton, MS 1/28/2016 #3697: Carr 165 KM 4.7, Toa Alta, PR 1/28/2016
#3211: 509 Dr. Donnie H. Jones Blvd W, Princeton, NC 1/28/2016
#3249: 511 N Mckinley St., Coats, NC 1/28/2016 Sam’s Club Date closed to public
#5024: 6043 US Hwy 301 S, Four Oaks, NC 1/28/2016 #4903: 941 Grinnell St., Fall River, MA 1/28/2016
#3257: 112 N Main St., Broadway, NC 1/28/2016 #6648: 1110 Fall River Ave., Seekonk, MA 1/28/2016
#5015: 908 E. 4th Ave., Red Springs, NC 1/28/2016 #6665: 495 Summit Drive, Waterford, MI 1/28/2016
#5017: 7670 Clinton Rd., Stedman, NC 1/28/2016 #6681: 25 Pace Blvd., Warwick, RI 1/28/2016
#7207: 1400 B Broad St., Oriental, NC 1/28/2016
#5138: 702 S. Wall St., Benson, NC 1/28/2016
#2500: 945 Monroe St., Carthage, NC 1/28/2016
#2573: 303 S. Goldsboro St., Pikeville, NC 1/28/2016
#6997: 632 W Swannanoa Ave., Liberty, NC 1/28/2016
#3007: 139 N Hwy 49, Richfield, NC 1/17/2016
#3036: 1593 NC Hwy 86 N, Yanceyville, NC 1/28/2016
#3037: 905 SE 2nd St., Snow Hill, NC 1/28/2016
#3080: 182 NC 102 W, Ayden, NC 1/28/2016
#3121: 189 Hickory Tree Rd., Midway, NC 1/28/2016
#3756: 124 E. Columbia St., Okemah, OK 1/28/2016
#4633: 19250 E Hwy 66, Luther, OK 1/28/2016
#2456: 2310 West Main, Prague, OK 1/28/2016
#2462: 1600 West Hwy 66, Stroud, OK 1/28/2016
#3766: 2324 Seran Drive, Wewoka, OK 1/28/2016
#3767: 812 N Clarence Nash Blvd., Watonga, OK 1/28/2016
#1250: 9032 Hwy 14, Gray Court, SC 1/28/2016
#3798: 7013 S Pine St., Pacolet, SC 1/17/2016
#2375: 4718 Nashville Hwy, Chapel Hill, TN 1/28/2016
#2413: 523 N Military St., Loretto, TN 1/28/2016
#4301: 400 North Main St., Cornersville, TN 1/28/2016
#4306: 934 Hwy 79, Dover, TN 1/28/2016
#2345: 721 Dale Evans Drive, Italy, TX 1/28/2016
#2349: 221 S State Hwy 274, Kemp, TX 1/28/2016
#2363: 504 W Pine St., Edgewood, TX 1/28/2016
#2364: 301 Hwy 69 S, Whitewright, TX 1/28/2016
#2410: 122 Commercial Ave., Anson, TX 1/28/2016
#2461: 1003 Telephone Cir., Merkel, TX 1/28/2016
#2779: 5 N 14th St., Haskell, TX 1/28/2016
#2863: 1010 N Main St., Winters, TX 1/28/2016
#3820: 501 N Main, Godley, TX 1/28/2016
#3822: 416 N Third St., Grandview, TX 1/28/2016
#3832: 420 S US 69, Leonard, TX 1/28/2016
#3834: 428 N Dallas St., Palmer, TX 1/28/2016
#4312: 440 E Pine St., Frankston, TX 1/28/2016
#4316: 1787 US Hwy 259 S, Diana, TX 1/28/2016
#4320: 1005 Texas Avenue E, Waskom, TX 1/28/2016
#4327: 870 Taylor St., Hughes Springs, TX 1/28/2016
#4331: 914 North Main St., Lone Star, TX 1/28/2016
#4338: 504 WL Doc Dodson, Naples, TX 1/28/2016
#4343: 12522 Fm 1840, Dekalb, TX 1/28/2016
#4345: 114 Redwater Boulevard West, Maud, TX 1/28/2016

Zero Hedge isn’t shy about pointing fingers toward the last straw for the struggling retail giant: “Behold: the effect of an across the board minimum wage hike.”

Even if you hate Wal-Mart and the corporate greed it stands for, another 16,000 people will find themselves out of work by month’s end.

The financial crisis is also rippling across Canada. As the Canadian dollar declines in value, the effects are felt as prices for imported goods like food and other necessities skyrocket.

Are you prepared for the impending collapse?

If you haven’t been busy preparing already, there really is no time left to lose. Take these steps immediately.

  • Take your money out of the bank ASAP.  If you still keep your money in the bank, go there and remove as much as you can while leaving in enough to pay your bills. Although it wasn’t a market collapse in Greece recently, the banks did close and limit ATM withdrawals.  People went for quite some time without being able to access their money, but were able to have a sense of normalcy by transferring money online to pay bills or using their debit cards to make purchases.  Get your cash out. You don’t want to be at the mercy of the banks.
  • Stock up on supplies.  Make sure you are prepped. If you’re behind on your preparedness efforts and need to do this quickly, you can order buckets of emergency food just to have some on hand. (Learn how to build an emergency food supply using freeze dried food HERE) Hit the grocery store or wholesale club and stock up there, too, on  your way home. Once you have these emergency supplies stashed, focus on filling in the gaps in your supply as quickly as you can.
  • Load up on fuel.  Fill up your gas tank and fill your extra cans also. Right now, the price of oil is dropping. Use that as an opportunity to stock up, because quite often, fuel prices skyrocket in the wake of a market crash. Be sure to store it properly for both safety and longevity.
  • Be prepared for the potential of civil unrest. If the banks put a limit on withdrawals (or close like they did in Greece) you can look for some panic to occur. If the stores dramatically increase prices or close..more panic. Be armed and be prepared to stay safely at home. (Although this article was written during the Ferguson race riots, civil unrest follows a similar pattern regardless of the cause.)
  • Be prepared for the possibility of being unable to pay your bills. If things really go downhill, the middle class and those who are the working poor will be the most strongly affected, as they have been in Greece during that country’s ongoing financial crisis.  This article talks about surviving if you are unable to pay all of your bills.

Is your local store on the list?

I don’t do much shopping at Wal-Mart, because I dislike their corporate ethics. (I know, complete oxymoron. Sometimes I find myself limited by the English language.) However, the loss of these massive stores will cause an immediate crisis in many communities in which they’ve driven all of the Mom and Pop stores out of business. Locals will have no choice but to travel to purchase their necessities, the unemployment lines will swell, and our already thinly stretched social assistance system is likely to reach the breaking point.

Resources for Preparing for Financial Collapse:

Good luck, friends. I hope you’re ready.

The post Still Think the Economy is “Recovering”? Walmart Is Closing 269 Stores, Including These appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

The Sweet Spot of Frugality

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The Sweet Spot of Frugality Everyone wants to save money but few people want to sacrifice their comforts. They want to have their cake and it eat, too! The real trouble people have is finding a good balance for being thrifty, frugal, and smart with their money and resources. Most tend to go to an …

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It’s Time for a Personal Audit of Your Frugal Living Budget

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By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

When is the last time you sat down and took a very close look at your budget? And by close, I mean an accounting of every single dime you spend, including that drive-thru coffee and the paperback you bought that you could have borrowed from the library. There’s no reason you shouldn’t run your home like a business, and that includes keeping detailed financial records and performing a personal audit of your frugal living budget.

Even the most dedicatedly thrifty people can get off track, particularly when times are good. You figure that you just got a big bonus check, so it’s not going to hurt to go out for ice cream. Then you go to the store and decide, you’ve got extra money, so maybe you’ll just buy whatever you want instead of adhering to your normal weekly budget.  You decide to live a little, enjoy life, and the next thing you know, all of that extra money is gone and all you have left is a few extra pounds on your waistline or a new frivolous gadget.

And you’re right, indulgences are absolutely fine from time to time, as long as they don’t take away from your necessities. But instead of working the treats into their frugal strategies, many people get completely off track when a bit of extra money comes their way.  If you aren’t careful, indulgences can become habits that can undo your progress towards a frugal, debt-free lifestyle.

As the economies of the world take hit after hit, it’s not a far stretch to believe that it could also happen here. Michael Snyder recently issued a “red alert” for the second half of this year with regard to our economy. We’ve been watching as the price of every single item in Greece has a 23% tax added to the top while wages and pensions are cut by as much as 40%. In Venezuela, basic goods like toilet paper and laundry soap are increasingly hard to come by and outrageously expensive if you can find them. While many believe it can’t happen here, we’d all have to agree that getting a job – a good one, not minimum wage – and keeping it, is far more difficult than it used to be. As well, prices are skyrocketing due to droughts on one side of the country, increased fuel prices everywhere, and floods on the other side of the country.

After moving and incurring some unexpected expenses, I had to sit down and take another look at my finances. My expenses have changed because I’m in a different house, so I had to take this into consideration and completely revamp my current budget. But it doesn’t take a move from the suburbs to a farm to change your expenses – many times, things start creeping up so incrementally we don’t even realize it’s happened.

It’s time to do a personal audit on your finances.

Figure out exactly where you are

How do you do most of your spending? If it’s with your debit card, it will be pretty easy to get started immediately.  Simply print out your records for the last month, and then move on to the next step.

If you spend a mixture of money from your bank account and cash that you have on hand, you may have to get a notebook and start tracking your spending, then move on to the next step in a couple of weeks.

It’s vital to note every single dime you spend. Like a leaky faucet in a bathroom few people use, it’s those tiny but consistent drips that add up to an astonishing amount of gallons of waste.

Now, organize your spending into categories.

I use categories, then subcategories:

1.) Fixed Expenses:

These are expenses that don’t change from month to month, like: mortgage, rent, property taxes, cable bill,  car payment, insurance.

You can then break these down into 2 subcategories.

  • Necessities
  • Optional expenses

2.) Variable Expenses:

These expenses can be adapted to fit your financial situation, and sometimes even eliminated if necessary (obviously the need for things like food can’t be eliminated, but you can spend more or less money when adjustments are needed): food, utilities, clothing, gasoline, entertainment.

Again, we can break these into subcategories based on how vital they are.

  • Necessities
  • Optional expenses

All of your spending will fall into these categories and subcategories.

Now please don’t misunderstand. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little bit of luxury spending that you’ve budgeted for so that it doesn’t put you behind on necessary spending.  We get new clothes, take vacations, and go out to dinner from time to time – you just have to make sure the spending works within the confines of your budget.

Now, establish your minimum for living expenses.

For this calculation, add up your fixed necessities. This is the amount you need to keep a roof over your head, your car in the driveway, and any other regular payments that you make to keep those two things going.

Then add up your variable necessities. There’s some wiggle room here, because we can always dial back our groceries, the amount that we drive our vehicles, etc., but we have to add some of this in to our calculations.

So in a financial worst case scenario, this is the minimum amount of money that you need to maintain some semblance of your current lifestyle. This amount needs to be set aside each month before another penny is spent Everything you have on top of this is gravy.

What can you cut without making much of a difference in your lifestyle?

Oftentimes you’ll immediately identify numerous ways you can reduce your spending without making any major changes whatsoever. Perhaps it’s something small like taking your coffee with you in the morning instead of going through the drive-thru at Starbucks. Maybe you can switch from cable to Netflix.  Almost none of these will change the quality of your life in any substantial way, but they can add up to a great deal of money saved over the course of the year.

One mistake I often see when people are taking charge of their budgets is that they discount the small changes as not worthwhile. But really, I believe it’s the small changes that can make the biggest differences because with consistency they add up to a pretty big sum. Check out this article on small changes that result in big savings.

Not only that, but getting into the mindset of choosing the most frugal option can go a long way towards changing your life.  When you can make a game from saving money, you learn to reduce waste, be more creative, and think outside of the “normal” parameters. When my oldest girl was a newborn and my husband lost his job, I stumbled upon The Tightwad Gazette books at the library. Amy Dacyczyn’s common sense approach to frugality was a life-changing lesson that has stuck with me through 20 years of the financial roller coaster of life. (If you haven’t read these books, I strongly recommend that you do – her series has been combined into one giant compendium of thrift that every person should have on the bookshelf.)

What could you cut if you needed to make a more dramatic reduction?

Looking at your list of necessities, this baseline amount is for maintaining your current lifestyle. But what if things REALLY fell apart? What if there simply wasn’t enough money to keep living the way you have been?

That’s when you have to rethink your necessities.  And if you have a clear picture of your finances ahead of belt-tightening time, it’s going to be a lot easier to do this when times are tough.

Here are some cuts to consider:

  1. Move to a smaller house.  Contrary to popular belief, no child ever died because he or she had to share a room with a sibling.
  2. Relocate to a small town.  Is it worthwhile to commute to a job in the city from a smaller, less expensive location? This can give you the added opportunity of homesteading and providing for many of your own needs.  Click HERE to read about what you need to know before making such a move.
  3. Get rid of your late model year vehicle.  Look for a decent used vehicle that you can purchase with cash.
  4. Cut back to one vehicle or even no vehicles.  Sometimes public transit and your own two feet can provide all of the transportation you really need at a fraction of the price of owning a vehicle.  This varies by location.
  5. Stop using credit cards.  This goes for any type of lending system that requires you to pay interest.  Stop accumulating debt.
  6. Don’t eat out.  Limit meals out to no more than once a month or special occasions.  Even better, don’t eat out at all.  Dining out, even at a fast food place, is at minimum 4 times more expensive than the same meal prepared from scratch at home. (And far less healthy!)
  7. Look for free or low-cost entertainment.  Consider a family YMCA or community center membership instead of gymnastics clubs or private tennis lessons if you need to enroll your kids in some activities. Go hiking, have picnics, explore parks, go to the library, and find out what’s offered for free in your hometown. Learn to enjoy productive hobbies like canning, carving, and needlework. Switch from cable to Netflix.
  8. Use the envelope method to budget for shopping trips.  For back-to-school shopping or Christmas shopping, decide how much you want to spend.  Put that money in an envelope.  As you shop, place each receipt in the envelope.  When the money is gone, it’s gone.  If there’s something else your child desperately wants, then they need to decide what item they’d like to take back to get it.  Be firm and stick to your guns.  This has the added benefit of teaching your children to budget.
  9. Reduce your monthly payments by cutting things like cable, cell phones, home phones, and/or gym memberships.  Look at every single monthly payment that comes out of your bank account and slash relentlessly.
  10. Shop using the stockpile method.  Shop only the sales and simply replenish your stockpile.
  11. Eat leftovers.  Have you ever stopped to think about how much food you throw out every month?  You can often provide a few “freebies” every month by carefully repurposing your leftovers.
  12. Stay home.  By spending more time at home, you will spend less money.  You won’t be grabbing a bottle of water, going through drive-thru for lunch or putting fuel in the car.  Learn to treasure you time at home with loved ones – it’s worth more than money.

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list – when you look at your personal expenditures,  other ideas will present themselves.

It turns out, money actually CAN buy happiness.

Being frugal doesn’t have to be a sentence to a grim reality. When you relieve the financial pressure, you’ll be amazed at how much brighter your outlook becomes. When you “need” less, you will be happy with the simple things. The peace that comes from financial security can’t be matched by any number of expensive herbal calming teas, pricey gym memberships, tropical beach vacations, or meditation classes.

Money actually can buy happiness (well, peace of mind, anyway) – but it’s the money you DON’T spend that buys it.

Recommended Reading:

The The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget

The Prepper’s Financial Guide

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: It’s Time for a Personal Audit of Your Frugal Living Budget

About the author:

Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter

Filed under: Economy, Prepping

Once-a-Month Shopping Challenge Update: November

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I’m happy to announce we survived Thanksgiving, a trip, and a houseguest without straying too far from our Once-a-Month Shopping Rules.

Last month provided numerous challenges for our new lifestyle, but in the end, our pantry stockpile still increased while we spent less money.  We had an unexpected vacation to attend a wedding that resulted in some meals out that were not strictly planned for, but that really couldn’t be helped. There is only so much you can carry on a plane (we didn’t check any bags), so the options were “eat out” or “starve”. Once we returned home, things were more easily manageable.

Thanksgiving went without a hitch. I took a turkey breast, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and whole cranberries from the freezer, took sweet potatoes from the cold room, and whipped up a fairly traditional meal. Because of some health concerns, our family eats mostly grain-free now, so I omitted stuffing, carby side dishes, and baked goods. We finished off the meal with decadent, homemade chocolate pudding, made from raw milk and farm fresh eggs, with a few pantry items to complete the recipe. (Not the best photo from my phone, but there it is in all it’s yummy glory.)

Thanksgiving dinner

We brought my oldest daughter home with us from our trip. She recently finished college and is working in Canada.   I did make one “unauthorized” trip to the store to pick up some items that she needed for her stay, but didn’t add to our grocery supply during the trip. (It nearly killed me.)

What I Learned in November

When I took the trip to the store, it was right around Thanksgiving Day. People were shopping frantically, with carts that couldn’t even hold all of the food people were buying for their impending feast. I know that normally, in years past, I’ve made an extra shopping trip for holiday dinners and spent between $100-200 for one gargantuan meal and snacks throughout the day. Everything had to be fresh, I required special ingredients for a new dish, I picked up the occasional conveniently premade veggie tray, and (- oh – look – that looks absolutely delicious!) got tempted by an impulse purchase.

This year, our Thanksgiving feast didn’t take a whopping chunk out of our grocery budget. The food was a bit simpler, while still delicious. While everyone had plenty to eat, there wasn’t so much food that we felt sick afterwards, laying victim on the couch in a semi-coma.

Societal pressure and Madison Avenue advertising companies have turned special occasions into a time of overconsumption. People spend too much, they eat too much, and they put too much stress on themselves to create the most outrageous meal the family has ever seen, constantly trying to outdo previous years.

In news from the barn, I learned that ducks grow and eat more (duh), so I had to make an early trip to the feed store because I was a few days short in my supply. I grabbed what I hope is one extra bag so that I can be ahead a little bit this month.

What I Spent

This month, despite everything that went on, we spent about $400 on food. My pantry and freezers are incredibly full and December’s bill, following up, was only about $300, even with purchasing items for our Christmas Eve appetizers, Christmas morning breakfast, and holiday dinner. I expect January’s bill to be even less, since I will have plenty of farm-fresh meat in the freezer and will mostly be purchasing fruits and vegetables for the freezer.

How is your challenge going?

Making the change to once-a-month shopping has been an amazing boon to our budget. We’re spending less, eating healthfully, and learning more about what we need in a food supply than ever before. I’m shocked by how much our pantry supplies have grown since I thought we would actually end up depleting the stockpile.

Before I began shopping once a month, as we approached payday, my bank account dwindled to almost nothing. With this new method, I seem to have money left at the end of the month instead of month left at the end of the money. I’m completely convinced that this is the best way to shop. Instead of making this a six-month challenge, this is just how we are going to shop from here on out.

Some blogger buddies have joined the challenge. Check out how things went during Month 2 for Erica at Living Life in Rural Iowa and Michelle at Indigo on Basil.

What about you? If you’ve joined us in the challenge, how did November work out? Are you seeing a difference in your grocery bill? What about in your overall budget? Are you spending more money or less money? Were you able to navigate Thanksgiving with what you had on hand?

Please share your experiences in the comments below.

The post Once-a-Month Shopping Challenge Update: November appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Managing Your Budget During Preparation

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Managing Your Budget During Preparation

Preparing for disasters of any kind can be expensive, especially on a budget. Getting food, fuel, medication, and other needs stockpiled in a safe, durable location requires a major investment. Philosophically, we know it’s worth it, but in practice, we still have to make the dollars and cents work out in a sustainable way.

The best way to save money is not to waste it. The very real urgency of threats can cause us to rush through the planning and execution of our preparation. But the things you do to prepare are the most important things you’ll ever do to provide for your family, because the whole goal is to be ready in case the world’s economic and transportation systems fail. You must be able to survive independently.

So how do we invest wisely? We must do things correctly and not get in a hurry. Think about the provision of power. If you have solar panels, is all the electrical work properly connected? Do you have spares for expendable things like fuses and light bulbs? Study your backup generators and other power sources. Make sure you have the knowledge, tools, and supplies to make repairs yourself.

What about construction projects? Do you have good drainage, proper footings, and well-built projects? Can you get by without outside contractors? Think of the full spectrum of disasters that may come, and consider how you rely on others to respond. If you have 24 inches of snow, you’ll need to be able to clear it yourself. If heavy rains bring mudslides or flooding, you’ll have to be self-sufficient. Investing in a Bobcat skid steer at Fastline will position you to handle these critical needs without waiting on someone else, and in the meantime, you can put it to work in your everyday activities.

So apart from the actual construction of storm shelters, bunkers, and so forth, how do you keep yourself financially afloat until disaster strikes if you’re on a budget? After all, it’s one thing to max out the credit cards and mortgage the farm if you know the financial system will collapse in six weeks. It’s another thing entirely to know that it will happen but not know when. It does you no good to have your house ready for an economic collapse if you are foreclosed on before it happens.

Keeping expenses in check without shorting yourself and your family largely centers on controlling the costs of expendables in your preparation activities.

Preparation stockpiles involve a number of non-perishable items, but others do have a shelf life. We know to try to keep plenty of medication on hand for ordinary aches and pains, stomach issues, and so forth. But over-the-counter drugs like these can’t be kept indefinitely. They should be replaced well ahead of their expiration. Simply rotate stock; keep your older medicine in the house for daily use, and place new purchases in your stockpile.

Gasoline is another example. While the goal is to reduce reliance on outside petroleum, there will nevertheless be a need for you to have at least some fuel on hand. And despite the fact that oil products were in the ground for millions of years without being hurt, they are still perishable and should be rotated periodically. That includes not just stockpiled fuel but also any that is already in the tanks of vehicles or equipment.

If you have gas-powered motors that haven’t been used in a while, start it and let it run for a while. It will help clean the engine and give you the chance to check on its function. Then drain the remaining fuel for use elsewhere, and put fresh gas back in the tank.

It can be a big waste of money to let these expensive items expire, but even more problematic is that you will be without them when you need them.

Being ready for disasters and other crises includes flashy things like weapons training and first aid. But the mundane things can be just as important. Make sure you manage your budget correctly.

 

 

This article first appeared on American Preppers Network and may be copied under the following creative commons license.  All links and images including the CC logo must remain intact.

The post Managing Your Budget During Preparation appeared first on American Preppers Network.

How Our Homegrown Thanksgiving Went Horribly Wrong

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I’ve previously written about what a rough year for gardening it has been here in California for many, due to the drought, the lack of forageable food for wildlife, and an incredible heat wave. This Thanksgiving, my gratitude goes out to the local farmers that have been more successful than I, who have made our impending feast possible.

Our Homegrown Thanksgiving Challenge

At the beginning of summer this year, my best friend and I decided to plant our gardens with a goal in mind. Our families always get together for Thanksgiving, so this year, we would grow ourselves a homegrown feast. Anything we couldn’t raise ourselves, we would procure within 10 miles of home.

We started out great.

BFF had planted potatoes, corn, pumpkin, and melons.  Although I got a late start because of a move, I had a lovely herb garden, a fig tree, bean plants, some zucchini, several winter squash plants, and an abundance of tomatoes.

Early in the season, both of us were invaded by deer. Despite our fencing, despite the Deer-B-Gone sprays, despite the smelly pee that we bought from the nursery, the deer decimated Round 1 of my garden in one evening. BFF’s corn, pumpkin, and melons, were likewise inhaled by those persistant, relentless, tick-infested jerks.

“Well, we still have potatoes, tomatoes, squash, herbs, and figs,” BFF said consolingly.

I figured out how to keep the deer at bay. I got an enormous dog that served to terrify them out of my garden. “Checkmate!” I screamed at them, waving a fist in the air as they grazed on the hill and laughed at me.

I replanted, secure in my belief that I had won the battle against wildlife.

The wildlife had the next laugh, because, GOPHERS.

Like something out of a sci-fi movie, my squash plants vanished, one by one, getting yanked in their entirety down a hole at the roots. At the rate of one per day, they were simply gone.

“We still have potatoes, tomatoes, herbs, and figs,” said BFF. “We’ll just get some meat from a local farmer and it’ll be a great meal.”

I replanted yet again, even though it was far too late in the season, and then came the heat. And by heat, I mean the day after replanting, it reached 115 degrees in my little garden. My new transplants didn’t have a chance in the world.

Then, despite my efforts to keep it alive, my fig tree died, most likely from the epic drought here in California. I salvaged not a single fig, as it was too early in the season for them to be picked and ripened.

“Well, thank goodness we still have potatoes, tomatoes, and herbs,” I said to BFF.

Then my formerly thriving raised beds of herbs and tomatoes began to mysteriously wither. Once lush and green, those poor plants were just keeling over where they stood.  The mystery was solved when one day, from the barn, I looked down the hill and saw the dog, that noble protector of the garden and frightener of deer, hiking his leg and PEEING ON MY HERBS AND TOMATOES.  Not just a little trickle. A drenching.

I called BFF to express my dismay and she said, “Well, I have some more bad news. The deer ate all of my potatoes.”

I asked, “How could that have happened? Deer don’t eat potatoes. I read that. I READ THAT IN MY GARDENING BOOK.”

I began to sympathize with the Pilgrims even more than I had in grade school history class, when my mom had to pick me up from school because I cried so hard I threw up on Tammy H’s desk when I learned about all of those people dying of starvation. (What!?!?! I was a very sensitive child!)

At this point, our homegrown Thanksgiving is going to consist of a couple of tomatoes, an eggplant, a handful of jalapeno peppers, and some eggs.

An omelette. That’s right.

Thanksgiving dinner will be an omelette for 10.

We’re holding out the fervent hope that some Indians show up with non-GMO corn.

Happy Thanksgiving, from our house to yours.

The First Thanksgiving

The post How Our Homegrown Thanksgiving Went Horribly Wrong appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

21 Things You Can Do To Prep That Are 100% FREE

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I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again: You don’t have to be rich to be a prepper. Yes, you’ll have to save up and spend some money, but there is much more to preparedness than buying survival supplies. In the following article, Dan Sullivan proves this […]

The post 21 Things You Can Do To Prep That Are 100% FREE appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Why Green Cleaning Is Frugal

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Another great one by Chaya Foedus:

Edna is our cleaning contributor to Pantry Paratus; she is back with a persuasive piece on making your own cleaners as a way to cut down on your budget! If you are new at green cleaning, or have not even begun yet, there are a few very important things you need to know about it…

Continue reading

The post Why Green Cleaning Is Frugal appeared first on Pantry Paratus.

Little House on the Prairie Craft: Old-Fashioned Hand Warmers

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When I was one of the lucky bloggers chosen to receive a package from Andover’s Little House on the Prairie-inspired fabrics, my daughter couldn’t have been happier.

A long-time fan of the series of Little House books, as well as the television show, she insisted that the craft we use the gorgeous new fabrics for be something Laura herself might have used. (By the way, you can win your own goodie bag from Andover – see the details at the end of this post!)

Since we used to live in Canada, the books that always seemed the most relatable to my children were the ones in which Laura described the long, cold winters of her childhood.  In Little House in the Big Woods and The Long Winter, the Ingalls family used a variety of methods to keep their hands warm, including putting baked potatoes in their pockets and stuffing heated, fabric-wrapped rocks into their hand-muffs.

With the first frost hitting our part of California, Rosie decided that the perfect Little House on the Prairie craft would be hand warmers from the beautiful, vintage-looking fabric. As a homeschool mom, I decided this would be a perfect learning experience for school credit. After all, it combined literature (the Little House books), Home Ec (a part of our curriculum that most public schools don’t teach anymore), and technology, since Rosie would be putting together the tutorial, a first appearance for her on the website.

Using two of the fabrics, she stitched little pillows that she then stuffed with rice.  These can be heated up in the microwave if you use one, or they can be placed near the woodstove in a heat-resistant ceramic crock so they always stay warm. Another alternative is to place them in a clay flower pot on a heat vent in your home. (Be sure not to block the entire vent with this.) Use your own judgment (and check with an adult). Please don’t set your house on fire.

Place a warmer in each of your mittens or in your coat pockets to keep your fingers toasty, no matter how cold the weather is outside.

How to Make Old-Fashioned Hand Warmers

by Rosie Luther

This is a great craft for those who are just learning to sew. There’s no pattern, just a set of directions that you can modify to meet your needs and to use your available fabric. A larger version could be made to use as a heating pad for sore necks.

1.) Decide what size you’d like your handwarmer to be, then cut a rectangle of fabric twice that size.

handwarmers step 1

2.) Fold the fabric over, double. then iron it to make clean edges.

handwarmers step 2

3.) Hem the edges of the fabric, then turn it wrong side out and sew two sides closed.  For the third side, leave an opening that you can fill with rice.

handwarmers step 3

4.) Turn your little pillow right side out. Then, use a funnel to fill the pillow with rice.

handwarmers step 4

5.) Hand sew the opening closed.

Heat your handwarmers, then go outside for a walk in the snow!

completed project

How to win a HUGE gift package from Little House on the Prairie and Andover Fabrics

Would you like to win your own goodie bag full of these fabrics, books, and other Little House awesomeness worth nearly $400? Andover has paired with the Little House on the Prairie website to make this happen!  Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you don’t win, do not despair. GO HERE to find a store selling the Andover Fabrics Little House on the Prairie line.

Comment below and let me know what you’d make with these lovely vintage-style fabrics!

The post Little House on the Prairie Craft: Old-Fashioned Hand Warmers appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Episode 76 Debt Is Slavery

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Debt is Slavery

Debt is Slavery

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Debt is Slavery

This week we tackle the issue of Debt. How debt enslaves you. How freeing it can be to escape from under debt. Mike and I both have become debt free at fairly young ages.

We share some tips on how to get free. How to stay free from debt. Also we talk about some frugal tips.

 

 

Links

Deadly DIY Guns Hit Sydney Streets

Bills To Legalize Weed

Slavery Of Debt

 

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The post Episode 76 Debt Is Slavery appeared first on Survival Punk.

The Prepper’s Bookshelf: The Penny-Pinching Prepper

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Prepping can be a pricey endeavor. In fact, one of the most common reasons that people give for being unable to prepare is the cost of it. After all, if you are living paycheck to paycheck, how can you possibly put aside enough money for a year’s supply of food and a bunch of emergency gear?

Penny Pinching PrepperThe latest book by Bernie Carr tells you exactly how. Her new book is called The Penny-Pinching Prepper: Save More, Spend Less, and Get Prepared for Any Disaster and it deserves a place on your prepper’s bookshelf.

 

Even the person who isn’t totally sold on preparedness will be able to get on board with Bernie’s helpful tips. From budget shopping to DIY projects, she walks the reader through all aspects of preparedness on a very frugal budget.

The book discusses everything from building a food pantry to home security, all without breaking the bank.

Bernie also highlights old-fashioned skills like cooking from scratch as a doubly beneficial way to save money and increase your self-reliance.

Here are just a few easy solutions offered by the book:

•Stock a prepper pantry on $10 a week
•Build a stove from used tin cans
•Create a water filter with two free 5-gallon buckets
•Craft a lamp that burns inexpensive vegetable oil
•Devise a storm shelter using 10-cent trash bags

No matter what your setting or your financial situation might be, you will find practical suggestions in this book. It neatly straddles the line between a frugality guide and a prepping book and would be a great gift to inspire someone who is new to the preparedness lifestyle.

About the author

Bernie runs the popular website ApartmentPrepper.com, where she writes about family preparedness for the city dweller living in a home that is different from the usual prepper retreat. In her bio, she writes, “Many preparedness sites that I have read gave me good information but much of it is geared toward people who own their homes or have a retreat.  While this is one of our goals towards which we are working, we are currently not there yet.  So I needed to do something in order to feel more productive.  There are some steps we can take now to become better prepared and self sufficient, while living in an apartment in a large city.   I am writing this blog to help not only myself but others who are in the same situation and want to have more control.”

A Place on the Prepper’s Bookshelf

Check out Bernie’s new book. You’ll enjoy her down-to-earth writing style and her thrifty advice. No matter how tight your budget is, The Penny-Pinching Prepper will get you started on your journey to preparedness on a dime. It definitely has a place on the prepper’s bookshelf.

The post The Prepper’s Bookshelf: The Penny-Pinching Prepper appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

5 Liquids That Can Be Used as Alternative Cleaning Solutions

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Disaster preppers and the like believe on the importance of self-reliance, which is initially a necessary attitude in life since we need to be able to prepare ourselves not just for disastrous events but for an impending economic collapse as well.

For one, many people consider being prepared firsthand for all situations an advantage for when there is shortage in supplies; expect that prices will skyrocket as well. Most times we take a second look on cleaning supplies, but here in this article you don’t need to buy so much of the commercial cleaning solution.

Here are some of the natural liquid cleaning solutions that can be of much greater use.

Distilled White Vinegar

vinegarWhite vinegar is popularly known as ythe all-purpose cleaning ingredient and a neat trick on carpet cleaning in Brisbane is that they mix vinegar with water as their cleaning base. This ingredient has proven that it has countless uses for you in your household other than cooking; and with that reason it should hold the top spot for your essential ingredients to have as a priority item when restocking items.
Cider Vinegar

Another acidic ingredient that proves its versatility is the cider vinegar. From cooking, beautifying up to disinfecting as well as cleaning, cider vinegar should be one of the things that you need to include in your everyday stock of supplies. In addition, it also has helpful health benefits since it aids in digestion, and bloating while also curing sore throats and nasal passages for when you are experiencing coughs and colds.

Lemon Juice

lemonLemons, limes, and oranges! These citrus fruits work wonders for your stainless steel kitchen stoves, kitchen sink and even kitchen counters. Naturally, their acidic elements known as citric acid or citric acid crystals are a great disinfectant which kills bacteria and germs 99% of the time. It is commonly used in removing grimes and rusts from sinks and faucets.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This liquid solution should be added to your medical supplies as well since not only does it help in cleaning and disinfecting your wounds, it also a great green cleaning addition to the household. You can use it anywhere, in cleaning your cutting board and the interior of your refrigerator and dishwasher. Because this ingredient is non-toxic, hydrogen peroxide is mostly used for cleaning storage spaces where you place your dishes and food.

Water and Baking Soda Mixture

baking sodaOne of the primary ingredients may not be liquid but it works just as effectively when mixed with water. In addition you can also add a bit of cider vinegar for this and it doubles the efficiency of disinfecting the dirty countertops and works well as a substitute for laundry detergent. Adding ½ cup of baking soda with water for your wash is a natural way to deodorize the clothes and neutralizes the odor from all your clothes.

We need to teach ourselves and take a disciplined action of making plans to keep their food supply stocked and their essentials in top condition. We will never know what the future brings us but it never hurts anyone to be prepared for such events.

 

Author Bio

Randolph Hoover and his family were originally from San Diego California but he is currently studying Business Administration in Umea University in Sweden. His reason for writing is to redeem the uplifting feeling reminiscent of a swallow fluttering through the skies while the cold breeze of the alps flow through him as he wins a writing competition he joined back in junior high, or to stop conversing with his pet dog Munchkins during night time. He does freelance work for several clients such as Electrodry and others. When he’s not busy, he spends quality time with his family and friends during the rest of his time.

 

This article first appeared on American Preppers Network and may be copied under the following creative commons license.  All links and images including the CC logo must remain intact.

The post 5 Liquids That Can Be Used as Alternative Cleaning Solutions appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Try a treadle!

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By Michelle Foster

singerSo you’ve got the food and you’ve stored the water. You have bug out bags and a resupply plan. You have learned how to bake bread and have chopped your firewood. Great! You’re way ahead of the game. May I suggest another skill you might want to add to your repertoire? Try sewing!

Sewing is an often overlooked skill that is very handy to have. Whether you just want to make repairs, hem a pair of pants or sew an entire outfit from scratch, you have to know how to sew.   With a little practice, you can make quilts to keep your family warm, repair a tent to stay dry, craft curtains to stop drafts or make pillows for a sick room. Knowing how to sew can mean the difference between staying warm and comfortable and being miserable.

While you can certainly sew by hand, it’s a lot faster and easier to use a machine. If you live off-grid or if the grid is down, your best bet is a treadle sewing machine. Many of these iron ladies are going on 100 years old but still can provide reliable service in almost any environment. I have seen costumers for re-enactment groups drag them into field tents so repairs can be made on-site. They are made almost entirely of cast iron and are extremely durable. They are easy to use and maintain and require very little care. Interested? Here’s how to get started:

 

  1. Shopping

Singer.Model27.TreadleTableYou’re first job will be to find a treadle sewing machine. Etsy, Ebay and Craigslist are all good places to start. You can also try flea markets, thrift stores and antique markets. Take your time and you should be able to find the complete package of legs, cabinet and sewing machine for less than $100. Many cabinets have been destroyed so that people could make tables with the legs. Often, the machine itself was just discarded. Finding a complete set can be tricky but is often easier than piecing together all the components you need a bit at a time.

There are a few things to consider while you are shopping. Make sure you pick a well-known brand that was popular. Singer and White are both good choices. Choosing a popular brand ensures that you will be able to find replacement parts and accessories. Try to get a machine with a bobbin, not a shuttle. Shuttle machines are quite a bit older than bobbin style machines and can be hard to maintain. Try to get one without too much pitting or rust. Push the treadle and see if it still moves and turn the wheels to see if they move. Avoid anything that is too bound up.

Finally, look for machines with straight, low-shanks. What is a shank, you ask? It is the bar that sticks down out of machine itself that you attach sewing machine feet to.   Most Singers and White are low-shank machines. Feet are attached with a thumb screw from the side. Avoid slant shanks (running at a diagonal) and machines that have feet that snap on from the back. Both are very hard to find feet for.

 

  1. Supplies

indexAfter you find a sewing machine and bring it home you’re going to need machine oil, some rags and maybe some kerosene for the clean-up. You can buy the machine oil at a fabric or craft store or you can buy 4-in-1 oil at a hardware store. First, dust the machine, cabinet and legs well. Use a stiff brush on the treadle to dislodge any dirt or chunky stuff. Put some machine oil on the rag and rub onto any metal you see in little circles. Resist the urge to use stronger household cleaners! These will ruin the finish and lead to more problems down the road. Use orange oil or another moisturizing product on the wooden cabinet.

If the machine is really dirty, you can use kerosene to clean it. You can moisten the rags and rub the machine just like you did with the machine oil. Or, if it is filthy, take it out of the cabinet and soak the entire thing in a bucket or tote filled with kerosene for a few days. No, I am not kidding. I have seen this method recommended on a number of sites as well as in Singer sewing machine manuals from the time period. Once everything is cleaned, make sure each joint is oiled well.

For ongoing use, you are going to need a small screwdriver for adjustments, two pairs of small pliers (one with smooth jaws and one with teeth), extra bobbins, a package of rubber O-rings and a length of leather sewing machine belt. An awl would also be handy. You should be able to find everything except for the belt at a craft or hardware store. I had to order the belt for my Singer 66 from Amazon.   For most machines, you will need a belt that is 3/16” thick and rounded on both sides. If you have room to store it, you can buy a 100’ spool of belt for a very good price. The belt should come with some hooks you can use to attach the cut ends of the belt.

 

  1. The basics

A treadle sewing machine only does one thing: make straight stitches. You accomplish this by pushing the treadle up and down with your feet. This moves the large wheel attached to the legs which, in turn, moves the small wheel on the sewing machine itself. The first task you must accomplish, then, is to figure out how to put the belt on and connect these two wheels. In general terms, you wrap the belt around the large wheel, feed it through some guide holes on the top of the cabinet and around the little wheel on the right hand side of the sewing machine itself. Punch holes in both ends of the belt and feed the hook through. Test for fit, crimp down the ends of the hook and you should be in business.

The second thing you will need to do it learn how to oil your sewing machine. Put a drop or two of oil on every joint you can see. Don’t forget the treadle! There are also little holes along the top of the machine and on the flat bed that are for oil. Put a drop in each hole. If you aren’t sure where to put the oil, you can use Google to find the manuals for most sewing machines. These manuals should show you what to do. Make sure you keep extra oil on hand since you’ll be using it a lot. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of oiling each time you have finished sewing for the day.

Another task you will need to perform on a regular basis is to run bobbins. In case you are a complete novice, here is a brief explanation: a sewing machine has two threads, one on the top and one of the bottom. The bobbin goes on the bottom. Whatever machine you buy, make sure you learn how to run the bobbins and use the bobbin winder. I recommend you buy extra metal bobbins, not plastic ones. The plastic ones crack and break too often for my taste. There are bobbins that are flat and those that are slightly domed so make sure you get the right ones for your situation.

 

  1. Extras

2d9a462There are a lot of extra things you can buy for your treadle sewing machine once you have the basics down. There are lots of different feet for different purposes and accessories that will expand greatly what you can do on a treadle machine. These extras can usually be purchased at the same store you bought your sewing machine from. Some of the most popular feet include zipper, cording and quilting feet. There are also hemming feet that are great for finishing edges. A company called Griest makes a very nice set that is appropriate for most people.

There are also more complicated “feet” called attachments. These include zig-zaggers, buttonholers, darning attachments and more. Most people will probably want to get a buttonholer and a zig-zagger because they are used so frequently and on so many sewing projects. One word of warning: attachments and feet are made for particular shank styles. Make sure that you know what kind of shank your machine has before you shop for any extras.

 

  1. Parts and service

As I mentioned above, there are some supplies you’ll want to keep on hand. These include oil, tools, belts, O-rings and extra bobbins. These are just the basics. Having a treadle machine won’t do you any good if you don’t have the consumables. Keep a selection of items in your sewing kit to be prepared for a variety of tasks. At a minimum you’ll need thread in a variety of colors, fasteners like snaps, buttons and zippers, interfacing, a seam ripper, scissors, replacement sewing machine needles, hand needles and a decent how to sew book. It might also be a good idea to keep some extra bolts of an all-purpose fabric on hand along with some patterns for basic pieces of clothing.

I also recommend that you stock a few replacement parts. One way to do this is to buy a second machine that is identical to your primary machine. Then you can just switch out parts. If you don’t have the space for this, another option is to order parts and keep them in a box in a closet. If you choose this option, I would recommend getting extra tension discs and springs, clamp washers (inside the little wheel on the sewing machine), a few thumb screws, feed dogs and an extra bed slide. You will not find these at your local fabric store but there are places you can order replacement parts online. Just Google vintage sewing machine parts to find dealers.

If you are lucky enough to have a local sewing machine repair store or sewing center, they should able to service almost any vintage machine. You might get some odd looks but most technicians can handle the kinds of repairs you would need. For the purpose of being self-sufficient, though, I really recommend that you try to figure out problems yourself. One nice thing about old sewing machines is that they are relatively simple. If you are patient, you can usually locate and correct most problems.

 

Summary:

I hope I have convinced you of the value of keeping a treadle sewing machine on hand and given you the basics you need to get started. They are awesome, hard-working machines that are great for everyday use. They will work in any environment and require only minimal maintenance. Consider adding one to your household and you will be rewarded with years of happy and reliable sewing. If the worst happens, you will have the means to cloth your family and will have a skill to barter with. With a little practice and a little patience, you will be churning out projects on your vintage machine in no time!

 

This article first appeared on American Preppers Network and may be copied under the following creative commons license.  All links and images including the CC logo must remain intact.

 

michelle

 

Bio: Michelle Foster lives in Kentucky with her husband and cats. She has been sewing most of her life, thanks in large part to her patient mother. She takes great pride in cultivating old-school skills like sewing, knitting and cooking. She has written a book called Sew Like Your Grandma: Using the Singer 66 that is available on Amazon and provides more details on using and serving a treadle sewing machine.

 

 

The post Try a treadle! appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Once a Month Shopping Challenge: Checking In

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If you decided to tackle the Once a Month Shopping Challenge, you’re probably a few weeks into it by now. (If not, please join us! Learn the details HERE.) How’s it going?  Here’s an update on our challenge.

Food supplies

When I began the challenge, it was a whim at the spur of the moment. This month wasn’t really thought out or well-planned. (I’d love to act like I was more organized than this, however, nope. It just sounded like a good idea at the time.)

At the beginning of the month, I spent $316 on groceries for us.  I stocked up mostly on freezer items, including some meat, vegetables, and fruits.  Astonishingly this has been all I’ve needed and I still have a lot of food left moving into next month.

Since I knew that I wasn’t going to be going back to the store this month, I’ve been especially cognizant of leftovers. I’ve either used them very quickly or packed them up for the freezer to be reheated when we need a quick meal. I currently have vegetable beef soup, Asian pork roast, and potato-corn chowder in the freezer, ready to become “fast food” the next time I don’t feel like cooking from scratch.

I have spent more time in the kitchen this month, too. Like most families, we ate the snacks and treats within the first week to ten days.  Since then, I’ve made mountains of dehydrator veggie chips in various flavors, some homemade cookies, and some 3 ingredient fudge. (My dehydrator has proven invaluable for making tasty snacks!)

I’ve also done a substantial amount of canning. A friend of mine gets the remnants of a farmer’s market for her pigs, but lots of the food is still human-worthy. As much of this as possible gets canned up for the winter. We’ve had lots of tomatoes and zucchinis to process.

The only thing I really miscalculated was coffee. Of course, since I have an addiction problem a passionate love for coffee, I had lots of whole beans stockpiled, however, that meant breaking them out of their mylar packaging and grinding the beans with my weird grinder that has the shortest cord in the world, so short that I have to hold it right beside the plug on the wall and run it with one hand. (Now I understand why the silly thing was on sale for just a few dollars.)

I heard about a killer sale on an item that we love having in our stockpile. I did break my no-store rule to pick up an abundance of canned pumpkin because the price was so incredibly low that I just couldn’t pass it up. For the princely sum of $5, I added more than enough to last us through a year of pumpkin-goodie-gluttony. This will be there for back-up when I run out of my own home-canned pumpkin cubes.

I ran completely out of oregano somehow. (I thought I still had a pound of it kicking around, but was unable to find it.) I was making marinara sauce at the time and ended up having to use thyme and basil instead. It was still yummy, but I need to inventory my spices and place an order.

Animal supplies

We did well for the goats, the chickens, the ducks, and the cats, but the dogs are running low on food. We only recently got our big dog, a 150 pound Great Pyrenees/Anatolian mix, and I underestimated how much he consumes. We’ll make it, but just barely, so this coming month, I’ll double up on the dog-food purchase.

Other supplies

We ran out of a few of our store-bought cleaning supplies and made homemade pantry versions instead. Here’s a recipe for a dishwasher/scouring powder, and I also made a white vinegar and orange spray cleaner for counter-tops and surfaces.

My daughter is using her newly acquired sewing skills and some things she has on hand to make a costume for a Halloween party she will be attending. We may need to head to a thrift store to pick up some items to complete her costume. I live too far out in the boonies (and behind a gate) to worry about trick or treaters, so there’s no need to pick up anything for that, either.

It really helps that we’ve reduced our use of disposable items lately and invested in one-time purchase replacements for them. (Get the details HERE.)

Our list for next month

As we get closer to the holiday season, it’s going to be a little bit trickier to get everything in one shopping trip.  Next month we’ll be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner here, so I’ll have to plan the dinner early in order to have what I need for this meal.  We have plenty of frozen fruits and vegetables still, and are picking up half a pig from the butcher in about a week, so really, our actual shopping trip won’t be that big.

I have some paper goods that I need to pick up, and if the budget allows, I may try to pick up enough animal food for an extra month to stash in the barn, just so we have more on hand.

We really didn’t have to break into the preps that much, just for coffee and a spice mix.

The summary

We were pretty well-prepared and my estimate for what we consume was actually a little bit high. I’ve cut my food bill in half, quite literally, by simply staying away from the store.  I’ve found some places to tighten up, but the real challenge will occur over the coming two months, with Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’re doing more crafts and needle skills, which is a lovely and relaxing change. I have to mention it again – we’ve saved a FORTUNE this month.

How did your first few weeks go?

Did you join the challenge? How did things go? Did you run out of anything?  Were you able to come up with a work-around or did you need to pick something up? Please share your update in the comments below!

The post Once a Month Shopping Challenge: Checking In appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Join the Once a Month Shopping Challenge

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What would happen if you only went shopping once a month?

Would you become more organized? Would you become more creative? Would you become more mindful of waste? Would you save a ton of money?

That’s what I want to find out with the Once a Month Shopping Challenge

For the next 6 months, my family and I are doing one shopping trip per month of each type. So, the feed store, the grocery store, and a trip for general merchandise. (Since Christmas falls in here, we’ll make an exception by adding a couple of shopping outings for the holidays.)

Here are the benefits of once-a-month shopping:

The financial benefits

As prices go up, it’s easy to spend a little here and spend a little there until you are shocked to discover that you have nothing left.  The easiest way to prevent that might be to stay away from temptation.  Going to do your shopping only one time in a month will help you stay away from those impulse purchases that always seem to hop into the cart. It will be easier to keep track of your spending if it’s all in one large trip. After we moved, we got into the habit of “just stopping to get one thing” several times per week.  This has added up, and our grocery bill is absolutely out of control.

When you set yourself a monthly budget, it can be difficult to keep track if you run to the store all the time. But when you shop once a month, you can withdraw the cash you need to purchase your items and stay within your budget more easily. This will also encourage you to dip into your stockpiles for those additional items that you might need to get through the month.

The organizational benefits

If you know you only have one shot at getting all of your supplies for the month, you’re going to be far more organized about that shopping trip. You’ll be forced to calculate your needs in advance so that you can get everything you’ll require. You’ll need to consider things like special events that are coming up during the month (are you celebrating any birthdays or holidays?), guests that may be arriving, and outings for the kids that might require snacks or certain supplies.

During the month, you can keep a list as you discover things you’d normally “run to the store” to pick up. This list can be fulfilled during the next monthly shopping trip, at which time you may discover you that you already found a satisfactory substitute for the missing product.

The creative benefits

When you shop only on a monthly basis you’ll find that there are many ways to skin a theoretical cat. If you run out of an item during the month, it’s time to put on your problem-solving hat and come up with a replacement that doesn’t come from the store. Maybe you can repurpose something you already have. Maybe you can create the item out of supplies you have on hand. Maybe you can find it at a yard sale, borrow it from a friend, barter for it, or simply live without it.  Whatever way you find around the missing item, it’s sure to get your wheels turning.

The preparedness benefits

If you’re a prepper, now’s the time for you to really put a few things to the test. There’s nothing like once-a-month shopping to put the amount of supplies you need to survive in perspective. This will also help you to see the holes in your preps when you discover that you only had enough of some vital element to last for 3 weeks instead of the infinite stockpile you thought you had. Learning to live without running to the store is much akin to a lockdown due to bad weather or civil unrest.

The “rules”

You can change these around to fit your family’s needs, of course, but following you can find our family’s guidelines to the Once-a-Month Shopping Challenge.

We are allowed one trip for each of our needs: groceries, animal supplies, and other supplies. These may all be undertaken on the same day, or they can be split up based on the way your family gets paid.

Supplies that can be obtained outside of regular retail environments are exempt. For example, if you barter with a neighbor, purchase some craft supplies at a yard sale, or go get a bushel of apples directly from a local farmer, these things don’t count as “going to the store.”  This is a way you can make up for a shortfall in your supplies while still abiding by the “no stores” rule. However, ordering a new item from Amazon or another online retailer would be considered cheating.

We’re allowing two meals out per month. This might be Chinese takeout, pizza delivery, or a restaurant meal.  A meal out can break up the monotony and help you stick to your no-stores challenge. Based on your budget and your family’s habits, decide if, and how many, meals you’ll have out.

Don’t hesitate to break the rules if it’s a matter of health or safety. Obviously, I don’t want to see your dog starve for a week because you underestimated the amount of dog food that you required for the month. Nor would I want someone to go without safety goggles at a new job until the end of the month. Adhere to the no stores rule only if it makes sense.

Who’s with me?

I’ll be inviting some of my blogger friends to participate in this and will post links to their stories about the challenge, so be looking for it!

Who is with me on this challenge? I’d love to hear your plans to limit your outings to the stores. What exemptions will be necessary for your situation? It’s a lot more fun to embark on a challenge like this when others join in! Let me know in the comments if you’re going to participate!

The post Join the Once a Month Shopping Challenge appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Monday Morning Half-A*s , oops, I mean Quarterback

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Back at my house for a while and it ain’t 100% voluntary. Stuff happens. I’m about to have a new housemate for a while.

Here’s an important fact to remember: Just because your kids are over 21, have moved out, working, and gotten married, you still might get a call sometime, and suddenly get a housemate again. At least, in my case, it will be “free” help cleaning and moving stuff into storage. It’s hard saying “no” to your kids, sometimes.

On a more “prepper-y” note,

Campingsurvival.com is still cleaning up pre-relocation, and still has great deals on “unpopular” colors of 550 paracord, and other stuff they don’t want to load onto trucks. Check them out. I have been buying from them for years, and consider them a very trusted source.

I picked up a Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Knife after reading a review in the Sierra Club magazine in the OR waiting room back in June. It’s far from perfect. Too short and too thick in the spine to be a great cooking knife, not at all a weapon-type blade, and, as stated in many reviews, the sheath is a DISASTER (I’ll post a fix-hack soon), but all-in-all, a very good general-purpose camping/outdoor belt knife. I really like the Japanese “santoku” blade shape. It won’t replace my 50-year-old Herter’s “Canadian Belt Knife”, but it’s still a damn good tool.

If you have an “away from home” kit (and you should), think about including a “heavy-duty” set of sewing/stitching needles (a cut-down plastic cigar tube is a great holder). In addition to “sewing” needles, a sailmaker’s needle. a big upholstery needle, some blunt embroidery needles (both steel and plastic) and a marlinspike (I use an aluminum “shrimp deveiner” with a blunted and polished tip) weighs about 2 ounces and can be REALLY handy when dealing with cordage. A stitching awl, needles and waxed nylon thread doesn’t hurt, either.

Keep on preparing, and don’t let the stuff make you crazy (or crazier).

5 Foods You Can Easily Grow in your Backyard

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Another great one by Chaya Foedus:

This is an inspiring guest post with the effect of getting us all to start small and branch out from there.  There is so much we can do–even 10-15 minutes a day spent growing food will save you real cash and nourish your family.  Enjoy! If you want fresh and organic options for your meals,…

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DIY Tile & Grout Cleaner

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Another great one by Chaya Foedus:

Our guest post today is from Edna, who is a maintenance expert.  Be sure to read more about her at the end of this article; but in the meantime, let’s sparkle!  You know that my advice would always be to try the safest, most natural remedy first.  Edna gives us a few to choose from…

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Two Is One and One Is None: What is your Single Point of Failure?

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Another great one by Wilson Foedus:

Some technical difficulties range from “Wow, that was annoying,” to the type of events that can make you want to lose your religion.  The constant prompts to “listen carefully as our voice menu options have changed” annoy me, because I am constantly caught up in the spin cycle of man’s evolution for automated phone answering…

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…and we’re back…News from Rich and SurvivalRing…

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Hi folks, It’s been a while since my last post, although I’ve been in the backroom of SurvivalRing every day for months, keeping things tuned, tight, backed up, and secure. I’ve thought about posting a lot of things, and often I was poised and ready to add my thoughts to the blog, and at the […]

Kitchen Self-Sufficiency Skills: 11 Places to Start

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Another great one by Chaya Foedus:

Some of us might jump into the middle of this list of kitchen self-sufficiency skills; some might have more to learn. I personally find I am overwhelmed with what I don’t know, but that once I have a plan to tackle something I can shake off the paralysis. If the light-bulb has come on over…

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