This is a guest post by “Zaeda” and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.
- Educate Yourself
- 1 + 1 = Stockpile
- Taking Care of “Business”
- Intelligent Investments
- K.I.S.S. & Thrifty!
Many American’s working full time with car payments, mortgages, disabilities, student loans, and other financial insufficiency’s, believe it’s impossible to Prep. I can tell you from personal experience it is very, VERY POSSIBLE! Patience and good organizational skills as well as a little bit of work will get you in a great place – also making you of supreme value if SHTF and you don’t have a plan C.
Your plan C is education, skills, and knowledge.
No matter how little money you have, your knowledge can be vastly rich and useful! First I suggest taking a Free CPR courses through the American Red Cross. Everyone in your family should know the basics of CPR as well as the Heimlich Maneuver. Just because SHTF doesn’t mean no one will choke or need resuscitation. Also, look into your community hospitals – I got to sit in for free during a “caregivers” course for families of people receiving bone marrow transplants. The course was amazing – even gives you knowledge on how to properly change bandages, give saline injections, clean ports, and many other medical tidbits.
Study, read, and learn valuable skill’s, such as: Human Anatomy and Physiology, Veterinary Medicine, EMT, Intermediate, and Paramedic skills, Automotive, Metal Working, Aquaponics, Solar Energy Guides, Wind Turbine Guides, Composting, Homesteading, and one that many preppers overlook “Ocean Water Distillation” (making ocean water drinkable and usable on crops). There is a vast majority of topics that can make you extremely valuable and able to barter your knowledge if you find yourself in a Plan C scenario.
Textbooks are NOT cheap if they are new – buy used, look for them at thrift stores, garage sales, and online sites such as half.com, textbooks.com – you do not need brand new books!!! I buy ones that are at least 5 to 10 years old. You’re not at a disadvantage if the books are not new. You just want to learn as much as possible. There are many, many books out there. Not to mention you can use them for a fire,toilet paper, or insulation if worst comes to worst.
1 + 1 = Stockpile
So, you can barely make it through the weeks with the necessities (Groceries, toiletries, etc)? I have the same problem, it’s tough with the economy and prices on items. I have a few simple things I do to supplement my stockpile. Whether it’s weekly shopping or bi-weekly shopping try picking up simple long term storage items such as an extra bag of rice, dried beans, oats, and legumes. Buy powdered milk, and SALT (salt is valuable for various reasons including curing meats to last longer). For only a few extra dollars you can start your stockpile. What I like to set aside – a few examples:
- 1 case of bottled Water
- 1 or 2 rolls of toilet paper
- 1 roll of paper towels
- 1 package of napkins
- 1 bag rice
- 1 bag dried pinto beans
- 1 bag lentils
- 4 to 6 extra canned goods (canned tuna in OIL, canned chicken, spam, canned ham, soup’s, fruit’s, vegetables, etc.)
Buying in bulk is cheaper in the long run, but if you cannot afford to spend the whole $20.00 to $30.00 on rice, beans, or oats buy them in pound bags you can afford.
I freeze my bags of rice for 3 days, pack them in clean sterile mason jars with BAY LEAVES and “Oven Can” them. Rice weevil’s dislike bay leaves!
- 2 bar’s soap
- 1 #10 can of freeze dried anything
- Small laundry soap
- Two textbook’s
- Rubbing Alcohol
- baby wipes
- Package of Tampons (these are handy for bullet wounds, women’s menstrual cycles, fire starters, and straws) UNSCENTED
- 1 or 2 Spices
- a bottle of booze or a few packs of cigarettes (we don’t smoke or drink , but we buy them as barter items)
- 1 shampoo and 1 conditioner
- 1 gallon distilled white vinegar
(I always keep 4 used bleach containers filled with water – in case we cannot flush out toilets, just pour the water into the holding tank or right into the bowl and wala!) (If you go on vacation and stay in a motel/hotel save the soap, shampoo, and other toiletries in your preps!)
There is a WRONG way to be prepared, especially if you’re hoarding everything but essentials, Make sure to add things you eat, use, and need – there are plenty of guides out there make sure to research and find the best plan for you. Make sure the food you buy is something you LIKE – it makes rotating your stock easy. When you add even 1 extra item into a beginning stock within a few months you will be amazed at how your prep is building. I like to use the large plastic tubs with lids, as they are more organized. Please note – you need extra space to put your preps.
Taking Care of “Business”
One of the avoided topics in any “off-grid” or SHTF scenario if human excrement. Let’s face it, no one wants to talk about going to the bathroom. There is a book by Joseph C. Jenkins “The Humanure Handbook“, he takes you deep inside the bowels of the issue! Gives you a way to dispose excrement, not by throwing it into an outhouse as “waste” but using it as nature intended – while taking the myths about poop out of the equation and making it an interesting topic, as well as providing a way to build a suitable long term composting toilet for $25.00. You may think it’s disgusting but if SHTF who expects public water service? This is a comprehensive guide on the topic and an interesting read.
Lets face it, no matter how prepared we are, during TEOTWAWKI situation the toilet paper will eventually run out! Personally, I don’t want to use leafs, magazine paper, or my hand! (YUCK)! Lets say hello to “Family Cloths” This isn’t a new idea by any means. What it is essentially is reusable cloth toilet wipes. You can either buy them pre-made or be budget conscious like me and make them yourself from old flannel sheets, old washcloth’s, towels, etc. I do not use family cloths – but I am making some and setting them aside with my preps. If I do decide to use them I would want to have a small bathroom plastic flip lid garbage can 1/2 filled with bleach-water to put them in for sanitary reasons. Remember that if or when you use a family cloth – they will need to be washed in hot water and sun bleached.
Ladies, we also have to be prepared for our menstrual cycles. There are a lot of viable options now, even semi-permanent ones without having a complete hysterectomy. Just like toilet paper, no matter how prepared you are – eventually the pads, tampons, and panty liners will be gone. Say hello to Diva Cup! www.divacup.com there are two sizes available check the web site for size information.
The Diva Cup has been around for a few years. Imagine how much money you could save! Yes the diva cup cost roughly what 6 months of pads or tampons would cost – but you save money in the long run! The $5.00 to $10.00 you spend on your menstrual cycle needs can now be used towards food preps, knowledge preps, etc! There is also a second option, similar to family cloth, there is cloth reusable maxi pads. You can find them at etsy, or make them yourself! Again, you save money in the long run.
For Family Cloth Patterns and Cloth maxi pad patterns – simply do a web-search for “free family cloth pattern” or “free cloth maxi pad pattern” Print them for future reference!
Investing what little money you have in a proper manner will pay off. Select new items carefully. Many things you may need can be found in thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales. However, there are items you will need to invest in eventually. One way to achieve extra funds to buy brand new goods is change – yes CHANGE! Enjoy your change, don’t rummage for it. Every single time I receive change I put it into two piggy banks one for silver coins the other for penny’s. I coinstar them yearly – last years haul was close to $350.00, yes $350.00!!! I purchased my water storage tower – which was one of my major investments. Instead of scrimping and saving, I just didn’t touch my change as tempting as it was.
Water is THE most important intelligent investment in prep’s hands down, you cannot survive without it. Investing in water storage is the best investment you can buy. 4 days after I purchased my water storage unit – we had a water main break 1 street over. We didn’t have running water for 3 days. Talk about timing! I’m thankful my husband and I filled it the day we had it installed.
Food reserve is the next intelligent investment. As you’ve read it’s quite easy to buy a few items weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly. Adding a few items at a time is essential when you’re on a budget and struggling! Wal-mart also has long term food cans cheaper than anywhere else. You can find a #10 can of corn with a 25 year shelf life for less than $10.00. “Augason Farms Emergency Food” If they don’t sell it at your local store – you can order it online. Long term shelf stable food is a must! Canned goods only last so long.
Medical Supplies and Antibiotics
I wouldn’t want to buy a used medical kit… Who knows where the items have been? Yes, it’s possible to sterilize certain items – but others not so much. You’re going to want a good kit which should include
- Instant heating pads
- Instant cold compress’
- Medical suture kit
- Emergency dental kit
- Irrigation syringes
- Blood clotting packs
- Long Tweezers
- Bent snips
- Nasopharyngael airway
- Chest seal (HALO)
- Battle Dressing
- Sterile Gauze in various sizes
- Liquid skin
- Pocket resuscitator
- Medical Bag
Again, there are more items you can add. I buy items one at a time on a monthly basis for my medical kit.
Many people don’t realize that some animal supply stores sell regular antibiotics that humans take. So yes, it is possible to purchase them without a prescription. Most price “per-pill” I just buy in increments of 30 when my husband and I take a night in, instead of going out to dinner.
DO NOT TAKE any antibiotic you haven’t been prescribed or taken before! A lot of antibiotics have sulfa or penicillin in them. Allergies to these can be deadly! If you’re unsure of your allergies to medications speak to your doctor.
If you do not have a weapon, this is another intelligent investment! Buy new, and learn how to disassemble and reassemble the gun for cleaning – after purchase make sure to buy ammunition. Buying a gun used can be risky – I’d advise NEW, as there is no way to “test” a gun when purchasing it second hand, unless you’re in the country. You would be surprised at what would entice some people to help you learn about guns. Simply ASK! Some people who are avid hunters and gun enthusiasts don’t mind helping a new gun owner – just last week my husband took a new friend to the range to shoot and learn gun safety. It also doesn’t hurt to offer up a 6-pack, a home cooked meal, or a box of ammo – it’s still a cheap lesson.
K.I.S.S. & Thrifty
K.I.S.S. “Keep it Simply Sustainable & Thrifty”. You don’t need to break the bank on a million different survival books local libraries have a vast majority of knowledge! If your local branch doesn’t have what you’re looking for either look it up on the library website, or have someone assist you to see if a different branch they work with has the title. 99% of library’s will hold, ship, and call you when the book is in for FREE. If you cannot find the title still, check www.half.com, www.textbooks.com, www.amazon.com,
www.betterworldbooks.com/used – there are many sites out there that have cheaply priced used books.
Make Thrift Stores a part of your weekly shopping, you can find troves of useful items cheap! Mason jars, oil lamps, wool and denim clothing and fleece blankets, tents, wagons, rain gear, cast iron pots and pans, silver utensils, old fashioned hand powered kitchen utensils/appliances. and many, many, other important items. You would be astonished at the discounted prices. I’ve gotten an amazing amount of items that will be invaluable in the future. Thrift store shopping can be a huge asset to you – especially if you’re on that tight budget like me. However, do wash the items immediately. Especially cloth type items.
Remember, every person is prepping for certain disastrous scenario’s. Choose a method that makes sense to you and what you are prepping for, not someone else’s preps. I live in snow country so I prep for a blizzard – I also believe that someday our economy is going to collapse causing a SHTF scenario.. You may live in Earthquake country and believe that am EMP attack or solar flare EMP is inevitable. My Blizzard preps wouldn’t make sense in Earthquake country – so rely on yourself, and the VAST information that is out there to help you along the way. Also, PRINT helpful blogs, articles, how-to’s, and other valuable information – if there is an EMP, no more internet.
This is an entry in our nonfiction writing contest – This contest will end on June 29 2013 – prizes include:
- First Place winner will receive – A $250 dollar gift certificate courtesy of LPC Survival that is good for $250 off anything on their site, A WonderMill Electric Grain Mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads, and a $150 gift card for Winchester Ammo from LuckyGunner.
- Second Place winner will receive – Two Emergency Seed Banks (stored in military ammo cans) with over 33 varieties of non-hybrid garden seed courtesy of The Survivalist Blog.net from M.D. Creekmore’s personal seed stash. A $260 value.
- Third Place winner will receive - a one year subscription to Personal VPN service courtesy of unspyable and a copy of my book 31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness.