Thrift Tips for Stretching a Buck in a Tough Economy

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How to Survive a Layoff

Don’t panic. With a little “belt tightening” and a realistic plan, you will make it through this…

Being laid off, under employed or just watching your paycheck buy less and less at the store has become a reality in most homes. As businesses are downsizing, more and more work gets sent overseas and energy prices continue to sore, what can you do when you realize your income is not able to comfortably sustain your family?

Here are several practical tips…

Don’t Panic
First, in any survival situation, and trust me, being laid, under employed or broke half way through the month off can be a very real survival situation… Rule #1 is “Don’t panic.” So: step back, take a breath, sleep on it, pray and trust that you are going to make it through this.Store Up Some Food

Plan Ahead and Network
This is where having gone to the ant and observed their lifestyle comes in handy (Proverbs 30:25 & 6:6 – The Good Book).  It is a really wise rule of thumb to be prepared for what you think may never happen.

In our home, we have a decent stock of food that we lay by for the possibility of joblessness – which we actually have lived through multiple times.

Little Blessings From Others…
One winter, at the beginning of our years of wedded bliss, before we had  chance to think through anything wise, we wound up jobless with two little ‘uns.  That winter stands out in my mind as precious because we were fed almost entirely by a friend who was a delivery person for a food supply company…

People would reject a bag of flour that had a tear in it or cans that were dented.  He had a ministry of feeding many needy people like us with surprise deliveries of this food which would otherwise have been thrown away.

So, in our need, God supplied. Over the years, we’ve done a lot of networking and bartering.  Someone else might raise what you need and perhaps you have a skill you can trade for something. Or vice-versa.  Bartering is a great American tradition and it knits people together in a way passively forking over greenbacks can not.

Seek Out Local Resources and Encouragement
We have a wonderful Mennonite community and country store near us through whom we can order bulk foods.  They never look to profit on this, only to serve and it has been such a huge blessing in being able to order large quantities of food to stretch our budget and lay things aside at the same time.  Another place we are extremely fond of is a local surplus food store.

Bulk food is still affordable when you have a good source...

Bulk food is still affordable when you have a good source…

They resell those dented cans and just-expired foods at amazing prices so that we come home with a lot of food for not much output.  I’ve been to a store like ours in another locale and it was a rip-off.  So make sure you’re actually getting a deal.

Roadside Stands Can Be a Fun Surprise

Roadside stands are a great value

Roadside stands are fun and are often a great way to stretch a buck…

Folks who run roadside stand often go to produce markets and then bring their haul to reasonably resell. Roadside stands usually offer a great value when compared to grocery stores…

But better yet, find the wholesale produce market!  But be ready to process all the food you’ll buy there!  It’s an auction-like atmosphere, a lot of fun and a way to get semi-locally grown produce in bulk quantities.  Make sure you have your stamina that day because you may have to wait until the end for what you really want to get.

So search your area for resources like these.  Ask around…people who are thrifty are everywhere, you just have to find them!

I learned about the produce market from one of these folks!

Find Encouraging People in Tough Times
Look around  for people to whom the almighty dollar is in its proper place – at the bottom of their priorities.  These are the people who will keep your spirits from plummeting during hard times because they understand what is really important (people) and will reach out to help others.  This is where churches are supposed to shine, but unfortunately, impersonal, demeaning, mismanaged government programs have  usurped this privilege… and honestly, at times the church has fallen short, some being more occupied with things like “building programs” than building people.

But there are still some great, others-minded churches out there, and some wonderful loving folks who go to them. If you need help, seek them out.

Do It Yourself – Canning, Dehydrating & Freezing
Having a garden and canning, dehydrating and freezing what you grow is also an invaluable way to stretch a food budget.  It also allows you to have things laid up for that rainy day or week or month or year.

Our traditional way of “putting up” food for the future is a laborious but rewarding venture. However, as I learn more about nutrition (other posts to come), I am realizing that canning will give me food on my shelves, but its nutritional content is minimal, having been processed with heat for long periods.

Canning is a great way to preserve food

Canning is the traditional way to preserve food… but dehydrating is easier.

Dehydrated foods keep indefinitely if dried properly.  Dehydration uses a very low heat and air circulation to lock in nutrients and enable you to have what is called, “living foods” kept on your shelf.

So dehydrating is MUCH better than canning from a nutritional perspective.

Because you’re not dependent on electricity to preserve your “goodies” after they’re dehydrated, it is better than freezing.

  • Get my article on dehydrating – Coming SOON!
  • Here’s the food dehydrator that I use – Click Here

Freezing is also a better way than canning to preserve nutrients, but with freezing, you have a dependency on electric – which can go bye-bye at any time.

Make Your Own Laundry Soap!!!
Did you know that with a few basic very inexpensive ingredients you can make your own laundry soap?  I’ve been making my own for a few years now and it works great!

The Clothing Budget – What?
Well, we’ve been married about a quarter century and we’ve never had the prescribed clothing budget that you see in all the ‘how-to-make-a-budget’ books.  In fact, we’ve never had most of their categories!

Save money on cloths - go to a thrist shop

Going to Thrift Shops can eliminate the need for a clothing budget…

I can count on one hand the times I’ve purchased new clothing (excepting underwear, of course!).

I simply cannot bring myself to drop the amount of hard-earned money called for to buy things new.  Seems like bad stewardship to me for the purpose of vanity.

So, yeah – we shop at the exclusive places like Goodwill and Salvation Army.  I actually find it fun!  You can often find something that appeals to your fancy in a way you’d never imagined and it’s like a scavenger hunt/ surprise party every time you go!

Remember: Always try things on – even at a thrift shop, why waste money on things that don’t fit right?

Sometimes I look longingly at people who have wonderful store-bought clothes in just the right style I wish I could wear, but I really do pretty good at the thrift shops.  And if you’re clever with a needle, you can jazz up a simple second-hand tee shirt quite amazingly!

“My Secret” Resource For Everything!
I cannot write an article such as this without celebrating the age-old yard sale!

My “secret” resource for almost everything…

Oh my, if you look through my house, almost everything in it has come from a yard sale or was a gift.

You simply cannot tell that we have only two pieces of store-bought furniture. I have had many compliments on our eclectic décor and we have never been without what we need- in large part, due to yard sales.

Homeschool your children?  Yard sales offered us a plethora of low cost resources and teaching aids.

We always had a craft table full of fun things to make and do – compliments of other people cleaning out their craft supplies.

I still rely on my $50 23-cubic-foot Montgomery Ward deep freeze I got years and year ago when it was already old.

Outfits can be put together for a couple dollars. And one year I got a whole new wardrobe of brand new shoes that some lady who had a shoe fetish was getting rid of!

All of my canning supplies – yard sales.  Yard tools – yard sales.

Christmas, birthday, baby and bridal shower gifts – yard sales (think ahead!). I’m pretty sure people looked forward to seeing what would be in my shower bags because I always found such unique and wonderful things!

You don’t have to be a skinflint and can, in fact, be very generous, when you learn the art of yard saling.

One Last Tip – Take 21 Days…
Every time you go to spend any amount of money, no matter how small, ask yourself: “Do I really need this?”  If it is a need, ask: “Is there any other way I can meet this need without spending money?”

Resist impulse buys - wait 21 days

Resist impulse buys – wait 21 days

If it is a large purchase – a great rule of thumb is to wait 21 days to a month.  Sit on it.  Train yourself against impulse buying this way.

At the end of the time period, you will likely have moved on and your marriage may even benefit from this frugal, selfless practice!

Okay… Just One More tip: Leverage the Internet for Bargains…

And NEVER, EVER… purchase anything on the Internet without first doing a Google search for the name of the company you are going to buy from, followed by the words, “coupon code.” You’ll be amazed at how much you can save scrounging for a few minutes trying coupon codes.

Oh, and check Amazon before you buy online. We purchase most of our non-food necessities through Amazon because we get free shipping and find that we usually save 10% or more verse other online shops or local retail stores and we save gas and time shopping. Plus our credit card info is in one place and not spread about.

The internet is loaded with resources on how to do all sorts of things like make your own electricity,  find ways to fuel your car cheaper, heat your home for less, decorate on a budget, use simple ingredients like a gourmet, etc.,etc.  (I think my husband has some links to this kind of stuff around this site, too.)  And these are just a few of a plethora of ways to stretch what you have.

Just make sure you get all your info together in hard copies because well, who knows how long the internet will last?

Until next time…

~ Carin

The US in Syria: Boots on the Ground or Get the Heck Out?

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Remember the high hopes for the “Arab Spring” in 2011? It’s almost forgotten now, apart from one grim legacy – the Syrian Civil War. This has now been raging for

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How To Make A Tin Can WiFi Antenna to Extend your Communication after an EMP

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Editor’s Note: After an EMP or CME (Corronal Mass Ejection) the world will go dark and silent. However, if you have your faraday cage ready and packed with all essential electronics,

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US Official Procedures Before SHTF. How to Know Before It Hits

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In any major disaster or SHTF situation, there will always be two critical forces that respond: the government and you. Knowing what the government will do and what you should

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5 Things You Need to Do When There’ll Be No Rule of Law

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Mention a dystopia to most people and they’ll probably think of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Thought Police and Big Brother. That’s understandable, because there are worrying hints of it in our

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It’s High Time You Started Worrying: The Rich Are Becoming Preppers

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Prepping has an image. It’s not very fair, but it is persistent. When the average person thinks of a prepper they think rural homes, with chickens running around the yard or

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3 Major Threats Facing the U.S. By the End Of 2017

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There was a time when writing about the threats we face as a nation was little more than conjecture. Many long-winded articles often injected fear into the reader based merely

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MSK-1: The Ultimate All-Purpose Knife that Could Save Your Life

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Website - MSK-1 Cover

When I launched the MSK-1 (Multi-Scenario Knife) on Kickstarter – May 16th, 2016 – All I knew was that Jeff Freeman and I had poured everything we had (for TWO years) into designing, building and testing – what ended up being a very special, all-purpose, survival knife. Now it was time to release MSK-1 to the world… but I had no idea if anyone else would feel the same. So, if I am honest, I was a bit nervous as I clicked, “Post Campaign.”

Support Began Immediately

I posted the MSK-1 Campaign on Kickstarter at around 2:00 AM EST to make sure everything was working properly. To my surprise (as I was still working on the campaign content), people were starting to mysteriously find the MSK-1 and pledge. This was all before I had even told anyone it was live. That was the “ahh haa” moment when started to understand the power of crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter.

Since the Kickstarter launch on May 16, the outpouring of support and encouragement for this project had been humbling, sweet and more than just a little overwhelming.

Ultimate Survival Tips Knife – Crushes Kickstarter Goal

Our original goal was to raise $15,000 – which was met in less than two days. With the help and support of many, MSK-1 has now raised over $100,000 being over 600% funded with 16 days to go in the Kickstarter Campaign (as I write this). That’s nuts! It’s been crazy ride for sure. See “live” stats for the MSK-1 Kickstarter campaign below…

Having exceeded our goal, MSK-1 (and the MSK-1 Mini Neck Knife) are going into production, so MSK-1 is available for Pre-Order now!

DISCOVER the “Rest of the Story” and Pre-Order MSK-1 Now – on Kickstarter…

See What Knife News Has to Say About MSK-1

knife news screen shot


If you would like to be part of the team that is bringing MSK-1 to the world – you can pledge to this campaign starting as low as $2.

Thank you for your help and support!

Warmest Regards,

David Sig-150px small

Founder / Owner

Ultimate Survival Tips

What Do Interest Rates Tell Us About the Future Economic Crisis?

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Economics is a rigorous subject. Not because it is an arcane discipline with indecipherable mathematical formulas but because so many people has a vested interest in manipulating the conclusions of

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Off to Africa to Help Neema Help the Disabled Gain HOPE

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  Neema Website 3Friends of Carin (my wife) and I have asked us to come to Tanzania to shoot a video to bring awareness to the plight of disabled and handicapped folks in Africa and how their micro-enterprise mission – Neema Crafts – is bringing hope to those who formerly had none.

Carin and I will be at Neema Crafts the entire month of August and have started raising funds to get to Africa, shoot and produce this video.

We are donating our time and talent to this project, so we only need about $5,000 (for both Carin and I), which will cover travel, lodging, food, and the full production of the video.

If you would like to partner with by helping with a financial gift, below is a link to make a donation.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and support!  ~David

The Seven Diseases That Will Wreak Havoc and the One That Will Completely Vanish When SHTF

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Disease comes in many forms. It is not only bacteria and viruses that cause disease. Cancer, as we all know is a prolific killer in today’s world and autoimmune diseases,

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2016 – Ultimate Survival Challenge – Level 1

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The ONLY 3-Day – Family Friendly – Survival Training in the USA That Covers:

UST-Fall-Survival-Class-Underpaint-Final-1000pxThe Core 4: SHELTER – FIRE – WATER – FOOD +

+ Wilderness First Aid + Navigation with a Compass, the Sun and Stars + Hand to Hand Self Defense (And Disarming an Attacker) + Primitive and Modern Survival Weapons (Including Firearms) + Bug Out Basics + Choosing Survival Knives and Gear + FREE Food and Medicine (AKA Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants) + How to Survive ANY Crisis or Disaster + Family Survival Tips + How to “Process” and Cook Small Game Animals… AND MORE.

You’ll Even Craft Your Own Bow Drill Kit AND Make Fire With It – So FAR, We Have a 100% Success Rate With Our Students – Come On Out AND Help Us Keep a Perfect Record!!!

Only ONE Date in 2016 – SO DON’T MISS OUT!

LOCATION: Wellsboro, Pennsylvania USA

STARTS: Monday July 11th 2016 @ 1:00PM EST

ENDS: Thursday July 14th 2016 @ 2:00PM EST

COST: ONLY $295 / Person Until March 31st, 2016 (Regular Price $495)*

*EARLY BIRD Registration ENDS March 31st, 2016 / April 1st to April 30th – $395 / After May 1st – $495

The ULTIMATE SURVIVAL CHALLENGE – LEVEL 1 is a FUN yet INTENSE Training that Packs Over 40 Hours of VITAL Urban and Wilderness Survival Skills into 3 Days. Along the Way We Will Surprise You With Individual and Group Skills Challenges that Will TEST (and Reinforce) What YOU Have Been Taught AND Give You the Opportunity to Win Your Share of Over $700+ in Survival Gear and Prizes.

FAMILY FRIENDLY – We LOVE Families! Moms and Dads, Sons, Daughters (13 Years Old and Up) and Grandparents… All Will Enjoy our “SAFE” Friendly and Wholesome Training Style and Camp Environment – Where You Will Be Able to JUST Be Yourself, Enjoy the Beauty of the Pennsylvania Mountains and Be Encouraged Regardless of Your Skill Level.

Your Instructors: David (Founder of Ultimate Survival Tips) will be joined by Craig Caudill, founder and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School, and Clint Jivoin, Primitive Survival Skills Trainer and Writer for the American Survival Guide.

We’ve boiled down decades of experience to bring to you only the most practical and effective – survival methods, strategies and gear.

Survival Skills You’ll Discover:Side Photo Collage-Website-Promo-2

How to Build Primitive, Hybrid and Modern Survival Shelters

– 6 Steps to Increase Your Chance of Surviving Any Crisis

How to Find, Collect and Purify Water through Primitive and Modern Techniques

– 7 Priorities of Urban and Wilderness Survival

– Hand to Hand / Survival Self Defense and Disarming Basics

How to Obtain Food through Survival Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Methods

– Basic Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants

How to Start and Build a Sustainable Fire Using a Wide Range of Methods

BONUS Sessions Will Include:

– Everyday Carry, Bug Out Bag and Emergency Kit Essentials

How to Select the Right Survival Gear

– Primitive, Hybrid and Modern Survival Weapons

– And a Lot More…

PLUS! See Today’s Top Survival Gear and Knives

Don’t worry, even though this course is jam packed, you’ll have plenty of time to check out David’s extensive personal collection of TOP survival gear and knives. If you’re nice, he might even let you try stuff out so you can discover which gear is the best for you!

View from Our Survival Camp

View from Our Survival Camp Location

Where Is It?

This training is hosted in the Beautiful Endless Mountains of Wellsboro Pennsylvania.

NOTE: You will be provided with the location of the training AND what you need to bring following registration.

When Is It?

STARTS: Monday July 11th 2016 @ 1:00PM EST

ENDS: Thursday July 14th 2016 @ 2:00PM EST

Craig-NavCost / Food and Lodging:

Meals are provided and FREE tent camping is included adjacent to our primitive camp area where most of your training will take place.

The cost is $495 $295 per person through March 31st 2016*.

*EARLY BIRD Registration ENDS March 31st, 2016 / April 1st – April 30th $395 / After May 1st $495

Notes: There are restroom and shower facilities available to all at the training. If you have special lodging needs, we have modern lodging facilities available. Contact us for details.

Who Should Attend?

This training is open to men, women, and responsible supervised youth WITH parent or guardian (13 – 17 years old), law enforcement, first responders and military members OR anyone who wants to learn a wide range of essential survival skills in a short period of time – in a SAFE fun and family friendly environment.

Primitive ShelterWhat Should I Bring?

After you register, you’ll be provided with directions to the training location and everything else you need to know to have a fun, safe and fulfilling experience – including what gear you should bring.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL – $295 Per Person + A FREE Limited Edition Survival Knife for the FIRST 15 People to Sign Up**

**The first 15 people to sign up will get a limited edition, Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife (one of David’s favorite knives) engraved by the manufacturer to commemorate your survival training.

Don’t Wait – Register Now!

We are limiting class size to ensure that everyone gets adequate hands-on experience and one-on-one time with our instructors. I don’t want you to miss out – so don’t wait – register today!

Free Heating – How To Build a Solar Heater Using Aluminum Cans

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Have you ever thought of how much you actually spend on heating during the winter? This original solution was created in order to reduce heating costs in places where you

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How Much Does a Nuclear Bunker Cost?

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How Much Does a Nuclear Bunker Cost? I know that having a nuclear bunker might sound like too much even for the most dedicated preppers. But this is only because

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