Poor and Prepping : 5 Ways to be Prepared

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!

Educate Yourself

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
  • Peroxide
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • baby wipes


  • Package of Tampons (these are handy for bullet wounds, women’s menstrual cycles, fire starters, and straws) UNSCENTED
  • Ketchup
  • 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
  • Candles
  • 1 gallon distilled white vinegar
  • batteries
  • bleach

(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!

Intelligent Investments

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
  • Alcohol
  • Peroxide
  • Irrigation syringes
  • Blood clotting packs
  • Scalpel
  • Forceps
  • Long Tweezers
  • Bent snips
  • Nasopharyngael airway
  • Chest seal (HALO)
  • Battle Dressing
  • Tourniquet
  • 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:

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Hunker-Down says:

    Since we found M. D.’s blog it has led us to so much survival information. Your comment about printing information in preparation for the loss of the internet is important. We are starting on our sixth 3-ring binder.

    What animal supply stores do you shop at for medicines?

    • Grannytraveler says:

      I buy mine from Cal Vet Supply. Have used them for the past couple of years and no problems. I think I found out about the site through the Patriot Nurse Youtube videos which I highly recommend.

      • Patriot Nurse has a lot of valuable information on antibiotics
        I have used Cal Vet Supply to purchase fish antibiotics as well – I also use Canadian and Mexican Pharmacy’s to buy antibiotics without a prescription.

        • Yeah , the internet pharmacies are good for that , avoids our whole crappy system .

          • Their pen-vi-k was cheaper than any pharmacy in my area too. Including shipping! Sad…

    • If you own a mac , anything you see on a web page can be turned into a .pdf . Select print > click on PDF at bottom LH corner > select destination = your done ! ………….digital libraries are important also . If you have a reader , make sure to get a solar charger . Solar chargers are expensive , however , they are also very easy to make DIY , it all depends on if you hook them together in series or parallel to get the voltage you need .

      • On a windows machine you can install PDFCreator or CutePdf and do the same. It simply installs another printer.

        • Winomega says:

          I haven’t messed with it too much, but Foxit will print to PDF and supposedly allow you to edit it.

      • Another tip on that , if you run across an article that crashes when you try to do that …….just switch to a different browser .

  2. I do have a question. In the situation of needing to use a pressure cooker instead of an autoclave for sterilizing medical equipment…how many pounds of pressure for how long?

    • eHow has a page on using pressure cookers to sterilize things like Mason jars and the technique requires using some kind of rack to keep the items suspended above the water in the pressure cooker. I’m not sure I would trust this homemade method to get anything truly sterile enough for performing surgery. I think that anyone living anywhere but at high altitudes could just sterilize stuff the old fashioned way by boiling it vigorously for 15 or 20 minutes in clean water – that should be enough to sterilize scalpel handles and forceps that have already been well scrubbed with soap and hot water. I would then store the items in a jar of high proof vodka to keep them clean.

      • Pressure cookers are a great asset in lieu of an autoclave! Just remember altitudes – the pressure will be different (check your manuals). Also there is the “fire and alcohol” technique, used only when you’re far from a sterile environment.

    • If your in a situation with no power , the field hospitals in WW2 had stainless steel boxes ( a little bigger than a butter dish ) with a raised screen at the bottom to lay the instruments on , with a candle heating the bottom of the box . Apparently , when the cover was on , it got hot enough to kill anything on the instruments . Something like that could be made with a little ingenuity . What Im not clear about is weather or not they used a small amount of water in the box to steam .

      • T.R.,
        I suspect there would not be any water, as that would limit the temperature to 212 F, which is probably too low for proper sterilization. Most autoclaves require 250 F for 15 minutes @ 15 PSI, so I suspect this type of sterilization unit would need to get to at least 250 F.

      • As far as I knew they had the box, but burned ethanol hot enough to sterilize? Not sure what else they used, but I know it looked semi- like a cross between an ink well and a canteen in a box. I’ll have to ask my dad about it, he still has one (might be a great item to toss into my BOB!) 🙂

    • Here ya go , this one is Russian , but everybody used their own versions in that time period .

  3. I’ve been buying mason jars every trip to the grocery store lately. DH tends to gift jam and especially my pickled peppers, so my stock tends to be depleted rapidly. The prices are outrageous right now and always get extra lids all thru the year. That’s one thing I would advise the prepper on the cheap… I use them for storage, canning, making up spice mixes, holding extra homemade liquid soap, freezing soups, storing dehydrated fruits and stuff like that…. Omg, forgot about the grapes conditioning in dehydrator…gotta go!!

    • It may not be “Cheap” but the “Family Dollar” has a few different size mason jars for under $8.00 – I buy them monthly since I use them for my dry store items (I oven can rice, wheat, oats, legumes, and beans). I store them wrapped in bubble wrap in a large plastic tote. Each dated so I can use the oldest first!

      The goodwill, am-vents, salvation army and other thrift stores, as well as garage sales, estate sales, and craigslist are wonderful assets to getting your hands on a lot more jars. (and many other needs) I also buy new tops, one can never have to many!

      • Sw't Tater says:

        Just watch out for the prices at thrift store jars, sometimes they are more costly there than to buy them new.I often see them for 1$ each with no bands or lids, at least if you buy them new they have a ring and lids. Some places think if several persons are seeking items it gives them the right to double the price.

    • Shai;
      You can purchase bulk canning lids(metal)through Lehman’s, or you can purchase reusable lids through Tattler. Every so often they have a bulk sale, where you can pick up a mix of large and regular.
      I used the Tattler lids for pears last year, and they are still doing their job. I am planning on picking up metal through Lehman’s as the commissary prices are good but the other is a whole lot better. I just want to make sure if it goes phooey that I am covered.
      Kerr came out with 1/4 pints, picked those up for the left over jam and not wasting a pint jar.

      • The thrift store in my area doesn’t seem to have jars, and ordering online means shipping which usually comes out to higher or equal to purchases in box stores. I prefer the Ball brand as ther cheaper varieties sre the ones that tend to break on me in the canner..
        I am looking to make a bulk purchase of the Tattlers, been waiting on someone’s testimonial, and I think I’ve got it!

        My MIL got me stared on canning when I married into the family, and now she can’t do that sort of thing after she had a stroke several years ago, I have “inherited” the position! I have the family pickle recipes and DH’s uncle’s recipe for pickled jalapeños. Most of the family is happy just to eat them when visiting, so not worried about spreading them out that way. I just grind my teeth when my hubby speads them out to people who will likely toss the jars in the recycle bin, even though he is supposed to tell them to give them back! Hmmm, maybe a label on the jars to return when empty.. Not holding my breath!

        • Winomega says:

          Shai, do you have an Ace Hardware in your area?

          Many store / website combinations will ship your order to the store for free.

  4. axelsteve says:

    Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to check in my area. I recently bought a 2 burner Coleman stove for 2 dollars at a garage sale. I told them that it was missing some parts (which it was) so the let me have it for 2 dollars. I told them that bass pro or Cabelas sells a lp conversion kit for it for about 20 dollars. So the missing gas tank is no problem. I bought a nice bob for 5 dollars that was never used and still had the tags on it. My son now uses it.

    • Awesome scores! I too have gotten great coleman gear dirt cheap. I also bought a folding wagon for $5.00 new in the box – was retail $119.00 – I was elated!

  5. JP in MT says:

    I suggest something similar to all those who are expressing an interest in prepping. You don’t need to have a lot of money to make a lot of difference. Just start. I recommend they start with something like your +1 buying. Then look at what services you use that you don’t control, and start planning on mitigating them. Plus up here, it gets cold, and most people think they will just stay inside. Within 48 hours it will only be less windy in most houses (trailers are another thing) not much warmer.

    • I forgot to add coupon’s – I use them regularly. Buy one get one free sales are the best! I use one and put the other in my prep’s. Not to mention it doesn’t cost anything extra!

  6. Great article! Thank you for the time you spent on this. So many folks are feeling the money pinch, and feel like it is impossible to prep when they can barely make it as it is.

    • I know it’s taboo to talk about finances, although I think it’s important to know that my husband and I prep on a little under 14k a year. If we can manage, I think anyone can!

  7. waterboy says:

    Might want to add a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff to the first aid supplies. Great article.

    • Yes! I didn’t add a whole lot, as I have a slue of supplies so far, just by adding one thing at a time. I really need to take an inventory list soon – as to avoid buying unnecessary items in double.

      Although, I did read once that buying in double isn’t a bad idea – which if you think about it makes sense for a TEOTWAWKI situation, if you have 2 or 3 of something and one breaks, no worries!

      Thank you 🙂

  8. This is some great advice.
    On the ‘family rags’ I cut up old tshirts and right now use them for wipes for the baby. I put them in a small bucket with a bit of washing soda and oxyclean and it works, for those of us who cant use bleach.
    I also have some home made sanitary pads, and I put them in the same solution. Drying them in the sun works wonders.

    • I’m a huge advocate for family cloth! Even though I don’t use them, they make so much sense. Wash, use, wash use – recycling at it’s finest!

      I’ve gotten a few yards of terrycloth and flannel for dirt cheap at Joann fabric with the 40% off one purchase coupons. Well worth buying the $1.50 Sunday paper 🙂

  9. R. Earp says:

    http://kissurvival.com/survival-antibiotics/ has a great article on fish antibiotics, but even stores like “tractor supply” have livestock antibiotics – most are in an inject-able state, so you’d also have to buy syringes. Usually Canadian and Mexican companies have non-prescription antibiotics too, takes some research but it’s worth having.

    Other online resources include:

    http://www.vetprovisions.com – check for “non rx antibiotics” they are also inject-able, some may not be for human use – do your research on medications!

    One of my favorite non RX medications supplies is http://mymexicandrugstore.org/index.html
    you can buy 40 250 mg Pen-vi-k for a little under $40.00

    Most tractor/animal supply companies sell different medications, but also check Canadian Pharma’s and Mexico Pharma’s

  10. Zaeda,
    You talk about rotating your stores which is a good thing to do; however, you also talk about cigarettes for barter. I’m not a smoker, but I think that the cigarettes will go stale after a while, and they are I assume not getting used an rotated.
    You also mentioned CoinStar which I think charges a commision for counting your coins (5 or 10% IIRC), so why not just get wrappers from your bank, then count and wrap them yourself. On $300 wirth of coins, that could be $15-30 in commisions or that much more money in your pocket.

    • I vacuum seal cigarettes. They do get rotated ever 6 or so months (my neighbor smokes) and we give him a slight discount. It works for us. I know rolling coins saves money, but coinstar is convenient as we don’t have a bank account. Most banks won’t take rolled change unless you have a bank account!

    • Lantana says:

      OP & Zaeda, several years ago, Coinstar started giving full value for change cashed in for gift cards or eCertificates.

      Here’s their link for participating stores, in case you trade with any of them: https://www.coinstar.com/FreeCoinCounting

  11. Lantana says:

    Nice article, Zaeda–thanks for all the tips!

    Completely agree about tuna in oil–in addition to getting more calories and nutrients, it makes an easy sauce for pasta. Or mix with a squeeze of lemon or lime–or a splash of vinegar (balsamic’s nice)–and it’s ready to top crackers, toast or greens.

    • I forgot to add that’s it’s important to use the oil with the tuna as it holds a lot of the omega 3 fatty acids.

      Thank you Latana, I do use it in pasta dishes! It’s delicious. I prefer olive oil, however, in my preps I buy any tuna in oil. I do have it in water too – but it would go to waste if it were to freeze!

      • Sw't Tater says:

        Try using one can of tuna mixed in oil with one can mixed in water… I do this for tuna sandwiches,drain the water packed one and leave oil on the other, mixing them together completely, it takes less mayo, and I just add a little sweet relish, and maybe a touch of mustard or horseradish..very easy for a quick meal.

        • Lantana says:

          Mustard or horseradish with tuna? That sounds intriguing, Sw’t Tater–thanks for the tip!

  12. Kelekona says:

    I am curious why to get tuna in oil.

    If you are good at all at saving, I would go for getting the bulk packages. Of course, one package at a time means supplies are coming in despite what may happen while saving up for a large package.

    Gather knowledge while it is cheap and free. Has project Gutenburg been mentioned recently? Some colleges also put up free E- course material.

    • Kelekona,

      Thank you 🙂 Yes free E- courses are always a great idea!

      I agree that buying bulk makes sense in the long run, but with so many American’s living paycheck to paycheck, sometimes it’s just not feasible. Personally the reason I didn’t initially save for the bulk buy was because I really wanted to start my preps. Now, I do save for bulk buys~

      On the Tuna in Oil – oil has a higher fat contents as well as a better freezing point. Water freezes before oil’s. Olive oil is a healthy option but if SHTF – I think the extra calories would help! Plus it would ass oils to a prep dish 🙂

      • add** not ass =X LOL

      • Winomega says:

        Zaeda, I also started thinking about oil-packaged fish after saying that. Even if you don’t need the calories. soybean oil is flammable and the can does make a descent lamp.

        Right now, I have more water-packaged sardines than I might be willing to eat in the next two years. (Sacrifices if I get behind on catfood.)

  13. Zaeda,
    Great article! Learning how to prep and to save money while doing it is a big reason why I come to this blog. 🙂

    • Brenda,

      it’s easier than people think. It’s one of the main excuses I hear from some family members: “I can’t afford to” – if we can do it, anyone can!

      • Lantana says:

        Zaeda, I think you’re an inspiration, showing what a determined person can do on even the most modest budget.

        Accomplishing the first few little improvements can get your creativity going, looking for ways to make something out of next to nothing.

      • Sw't Tater says:

        good article..
        Those same people that will tell us ” I can’t afford to…”go on vacations, and waste money hand over fist, ..while those of us that prep are conscious of the value of what we choose to spend.
        I began our stocks by buying 2 or three extra items per trip, some of them 50c, some of them 1$ items,Just depending on what was on sale, and how much money I had . I found a place to get food grade plastic bags, and they just fit in a five gallon bucket. I use two and use regular new plastic buckets when food grade are not available.This has been especially useful for flour and meal.Technically it would be possible to store beans, rice and salt, and baking powder in a single bucket.
        I tried to buy everything necessary for at least one meal weekly/4 per month..1 meal ..being pasta, sauce mix and tomatoes, a can of fruit, two cans of veggies and 2/ 5 oz cans tuna, chicken or ham. When I can find a savings on regular expenses, I use the difference to buy bulk foods, flour ,rice, beans..and any speciality items..honey, extra oil,dried fruit,..etc.

  14. Great post with valuable information. I do have a question regarding the putting the rice in the freezer for three days and then putting it in mason jars with bay leaves. You mentioned to “Oven Can” the jars. What does that mean? Excuse my ignorance.

    • MtnMan,

      You’re not ignorant! Many don’t know about “oven canning”. I am extremely squirmish about any kind of bugs. Even weevils!! (Eww!!). Freezing kills them, but not 100% of the eggs (from what I was told, so don’t hold me to it!) Oven canning them with bay leaves is proven to kill weevils, not to mention it’s handier than a huge 55 gallon drum of grains, rice, wheat, flour, and beans.

      To oven can:
      Sterilize you mason jars
      Dry completely
      Add ingredients (only foods without oils! Dry goods!!)
      Place Jars in oven and turn it to 200 degrees
      Leave in there for an hour – to an hour and 15 minutes tops for larger jars
      Take them out one at a time, so you don’t break them – with oven mits~
      wipe each jar top with a DAMP, not WET paper towel and screw the lid on
      Leave them to cool, as they do you will hear the lids click down into airtight locks. If they do not lock, just use that jar before the others

      Label and date~

  15. Indiana joe says:

    I like the change keeping. I have always kept my change in a jar. If the total of a purchase is 1.04 I give 2 bucks and put the rest in the jar. Easily 350 to 400 a year. Does anyone know how to stop these stupid ads that take up the whole screen on my iPod when reading the blog?

    • Winomega says:

      Indiana Joe, scroll to the bottom, see if you can turn on the mobile version.

    • That’s exactly what I do! Even if it’s $1.01, I’ll take the 99 cents in change. It’s great way to set a goal for something at the end of each year, fun too – seeing how much you have accumulated.

      Oh, and we do date out change before it goes into the banks! Just in case we get silver 😉

  16. Donna in MN says:

    I am poor and these lists of goods were too expense for me to buy in your time line frame and in bulk. I bought just a few things a month on sale. Your supply lists are thorough, but it took me a few years and it took patience and sacrifice for me.

    It has taken so long to gather enough food for storage but it became time to use it up before it spoiled. Good thing I bought dehydrated and freeze dry cans that last 20 more years from the savings I made from those sacrifices..

    • I completely understand, my neighbor currently can only prep for $20.00 monthly – It’s difficult yet possible! If you buy different items on a monthly basis, your preps will still grow! 🙂

  17. Buying a gun is expensive , but absolutely critical . Private sales , etc. dont look for fancy , just something to get the job done , if your poor , a revolver is much more affordable than an automatic . Lever action rifles or even pump action hunting rifles can be had for a reasonable price .

    • Go to a pawn shop and check out the single-shot shotguns or .22s. They’re usually in the sub-$100 range and if not, try to haggle with the owner a bit. I have a friend who bought a 20 ga. and a .22 single-shot just by pointing out to the owner that he could free up valuable display space. And he paid less than a c-note for two pretty nice weapons. Granted, they’re not ideal in a firefight, but either could serve to fill the cookpot.

      • True , but if you look around , you can also find things like Win. 1895’s or old pump .270’s for not much over $ 100 . Nothing wrong with either , they just are not popular , with everybody rushing around trying to find semi autos right now , they get passed by . Even a 410 shotgun can be had cheap , same thing , everybody is looking for the 12 g . right now .

        • I’d like to see an 1895 for around $100-around here, you can’t touch anything with “Winchester” on it for less than 900. Same for any decent major-caliber rifle, bolt, pump, or single. You may be able to find a good used pump shotgun in the sub-200 range, but that’s about it.

          Now mind you, this is in my regional market, so I’m not saying you’re wrong at all. But in general, “commodity” firearms such as .22s and single-shot shotguns are going to be your best bet. Oftentimes, you can get a good tube-fed .22 auto for lessthan a good .22 single shot if you shop around.

          • Thats just it , you do have to shop around , many times a person inherits a gun , doesnt want it and just wants to get rid of it . Patience is key , but the deals are out there .

  18. canadagal says:

    At one time,I was living in an apartment complex that was also used by a number of students. Apparently some were foreign students & when they completed the year & were going back home they dumped all their textbooks in the dumpster. I suppose too heavy for flying. We were able to get a lot of interesting textbooks for free. My sister & a daughter-in-law were able to get a lot of free books & other household items by watching the dumpsters at the end of the month when people were moving out of an apartment. They were both surprised that people would throw out such good stuff. Of course these are all free.

    • Wow, amazing! I love it when it’s free! Isn’t it crazy what people just throw away? Most anything in my opinion can be recycled ot upcycled!


  19. 1. homemade maxi pads: A folded up bandanna works too. I used those for YEARS in my hippie days. Very seldom did they bleed through.

    2. weevils: I have eaten weevily rice and oatmeal, the secret to getting them out is they float and the grain sinks. So you swish it in water about 3 or 4 times, and carefully pour off the water with the weevils in it. Cooking would take care of the eggs, but weevils ARE edible. Not only freezing, but if you don’t have power for your freezer, adding some food grade diatomaceous earth kills them too. You can rinse out the DE along with the weevils, but it’s edible too. I wouldn’t advocate eating weevils if you have a choice, but I did so because I wanted practice doing something I might have to do later, and get used to the idea, so that when the SHTF I’m not overwhelmed with all the unpleasantness that hits simultaneously, but can say “Oh, I can deal with that, I’ve done that before”.

    • Very good idea for SHTF! Bandannas have a lot of purposes, and I have a few in my BOB!

      I know weevils are edible, and if worst comes to worst of course I’d eat them rather than starve. Although, I’m hoping my preps and my area are safe and I wont have to BO!

      I wish I had your conviction, I can’t stand bugs near me, let a lone in my mouth LOL 😉

    • Winomega says:

      Penny Pincher,

      I grew up with weevil problems, and I’ve used the floating trick out of laziness. (I wouldn’t even change the water, just skim them off the top.)

      Flour and baking mixes can be put through a wire strainer. (The one with holes slightly smaller than the weevils.) The eggs probably got through, but out of sight, out of mind.

      We weren’t poor, we had cable.

  20. Doris Jones says:

    This is GREAT information! I am going to really use this one. Re: knowledge–Are you aware that you can learn for FREE on line at MIT courseware? MIT offers all their courses on line and it costs NOTHING!
    I am personally taking their Physics courses and you get class notes, videos with professors, even chat rooms with other students and mentoring if you wish. It is UNBELIEVABLE and all for no cost. (If you wish to donate that is fine too as it costs MIT about $4 million per year to offer all these free courses.) With your computer, you can learn all sorts of valuable skills.

    This is a terrific contribution and information by “Guest Blogger” and I really appreciate it. So far, you have MY vote for # 1 in the contest. All the entries are great and I always learn from viewing this blog. Thanks!

    • I had NO IDEA about MIT, and I will definitely be looking into it! I do know that some campuses allow “guests” to ~sit-in~ occasionally – but it really depends on the professor and school policies. I really rely on a lot on knowledge as well as my preps, I don’t want to be the person with no skill, nothing to offer, and nothing to barter with! If you can do something, anything in a SHTF scenario that will make yourself of value, you will survive.

      I appreciate your kind words! 🙂

    • Doris Jones,
      Good point on the MIT Open Courseware. My DD was brushing up on a chemistry class she had already taken and had some trouble with, prior to the final. She reviewed the entire semester for the class on the Open Courseware site while home for Thanksgiving. The class was the same material and with the same professor that she was taking the class with, but had been produced into a video about 3 years earlier. These classes are the actual lectures from the current classes at the institution.

    • Doris, thank you thank you thank you. I also had no clue about this

  21. Freecycle is a web site that literally gives things away , what it is , is people post things they want to get rid of , and things they are looking for . If your hard up for cash , free is always a good price 🙂

  22. FreeRangePagan says:

    This is going straight into my print pile. Thanks 🙂

  23. I am glad that you posted this, currently my wife is a stay at home mom so we are living on just one paycheck in Southern California and it is very difficult. Finding ways to prioritize buying and educate yourself is key to making the frugal life work.

  24. Ok, another little piece of knowledge! Today my husband and I went to Wendy’s (which we don’t do often) but I was at the doctors till late, and we were starving! Well, we each ordered a fry and cheeseburger – I asked for ketchup… HOLY Ketchup, Salt and Pepper! ( had handfuls of each.) Why not throw them into my preps? ABSOLUTELY! Now I know what to do with all the “extra” junk they throw in the bag – I took a food grade 2 pound frosting bucket from my local bakery (which I got for 50c) and started doing this~

    You can also do it with the packages of knife, fork, spoon, pepper, and salt – jams and jellies from other restaurants, ketchup, mustard, mayo, arby’s sauce, horsey sauce, apple butter, any “mini” packet! Just make sure to rotate them slightly quicker than other preps. Just thought it was a good idea, especially for people who are struggling!

  25. print out several ads with your cell phone No. on those little sectons people can tear off and pin them up on all the free local notice boards around your area. The ads should read


    Then turn the lead into money at a recycler and the money into preps.

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