July 21, 2017

Frugal Preparedness

 

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Anyone involved in preparedness knows that it can quickly get expensive.  This doesn’t need to be the case.  Here are a bunch of tips for prepping on the cheap.

 

Don’t be a Gear Snob

While having top of the line gear is often ideal, you’re better off having something that will do an efficient job than holding out for that perfect item.  For example if you have nothing for home defense, you’re better off buying a used 20 gauge shot gun for $75 than holding out for a $1500 AR-15.

Another idea that came to mind is purifying water.   While I love our current method of purifying water, we needed a tax return to afford it.  Until then, we would have boiled water or used bleach.  That’s mot ideal but it would have gotten us by.

 

Don’t be a Brand Snob

When it comes to things like toilet paper, I have my favorite brand, but we have cases of other, less expensive brands, stored.  I’m not trying to be crude, but if there is an event that makes it so we can’t go buy more TP from a store, anything short of tree bark will seem like a blessing.

 

Coupons

Trudee really started couponing last year and has saved us a ton of money.  Sometimes saving 30% on a weekly grocery bill.  If you’re building a pantry, coupon like your life depends on it.  It might mean going to more than one grocery store, but it can easily be worth the trip.

 

Sales and BOGO (Buy One Get One)

This might sound like a no brainer, but when there is a sale on an item, stock up.  Grocery stores often have “buy one get one free or half off”. I have also seen “five for $5” or “ten for $10”.  These are great opportunities to stock up.

 

Discount Groceries

We have a discount grocery store called Aldi’s.  From talking to others and my own experience, if you get produce from them you should consume it quickly.  However, canned and frozen goods should be just fine.

 

Craig’s List, Free Cycle

Looking online, you can often find free or inexpensive gear.  This would be a great way to stock up on camping gear, and other preparedness related items.

 

Flea Markets, Garage Sales and Auctions

These can be a great resource for getting gear.  You can often haggle to get the asking price even lower.

 

Copy Canning

I learned about copy canning from the video Urban Master Volume 1 “The Home”, created by the late Ron Hood and his wife. The process is very easy and is as follows:

  1. You decide you want chicken noodle soup for lunch so you take a can out of your pantry.
  2. Add chicken noodle soup to the shopping list.
  3. When you go to the grocery store, you buy two instead of one. (If you used two cans, you guessed it, you buy four.)

This is a great way to build your pantry to the point where you’re at the maximum amount of any item you want to store. Then you simply move back to buying just one when you use one.

 

Dollar Stores

While not all dollar stores are created equal, I would wager I could survive for a week or two based off on the items at most dollar stores.  I didn’t say I would enjoy it, but I would survive.  Others might have this as well, but Dollar Tree has a section of their website called ”Emergency Supply Checklist”..

 

Big Box Stores

Costco and Sam’s club can be great money savers.  If you can’t afford a membership, consider going in on one with another family.  You might always need to go shopping there together, but it would be worth it.

Do you have any tips for frugal preparedness?  If so please add them to the comments section!

 

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Basics of Bartering

Bartering is a skill that many of us aren’t used to, or very good at. We see a price and accept that as the amount we must pay.

In much of the world, bartering is a part of daily life. The same could be said in a prolonged survival situation. The economy of Argentina was much like that in America prior to 2000. Their economy has since collapsed and barter has become a common means of purchasing. In fact I read somewhere that people would cut links off a gold necklace and trade the links.

When I was in the Navy, I spent time in Hong Kong and in Dubai. Neither place was what it is today. That being said, if you didn’t barter, you got ripped off in many cases. I have a hard time with the concept, so I followed the lead of some friends who had been there before. Here is what I have learned about bartering from those experiences and since then.

 

What is Currency?

Jack Spirko has helped me define what currency is and what it is not. Currency is not the dollar bill in your pocket or even the precious metals you have stored away. Currency is the value you place on something.

Let me paint this picture: Inflation has skyrocketed and the price of gas is $6.00 a gallon. The price of many foods is 50%-75% higher than a year ago. I have been growing a garden and have expanded it. I’m willing to sell or trade with my neighbors. Pete has some cash and some rice that he would like to trade for some of my tomatoes.

Since the cash isn’t worth as much but is still useful I could charge him accordingly. It’s value may still decrease. I have been prepping and don’t need any more rice, so Pete doesn’t have any currency that I value.

Dan lives a bit further out of town and has a small chicken coop. Dan and his wife both love tomatoes. Since we both have something the other has placed value on, the tomatoes and chickens will be our currency. We just need to sort out the details. I could take eggs, chicken meat, or maybe have him raise a couple for me, so I could start my own coop.

In short, currency is whatever you, or someone else, might place value on. The most common currencies are, of course, dollars or the national currency in your nation, as well as precious metals.

If you’re a pro, please add any additional suggestions to the comment section

Let me share that I’m not very good at bartering. That being said, below are some things I’ve learned.

 

As Kenny Rogers says, “Know when to hold them, when to fold them, know when to walk away and when to run.”

When bartering, both sides are trying to get the best deal they can. If both parties are honorable, they can both walk away happy. However, you should have a price or trade in mind that you’re willing to pay, with some wiggle room on either side.

 

When to hold them

If you know the value of what you have and are offering it at a reasonable price, don’t stray too far from it. The same can be said if you make a fair offer on an item that you know the true value of. This is bartering, so remember the wiggle room I mentioned. Don’t stray too far from your original offer.

 

When to Fold them, and when to run

These two are the same but I like the song and thought using it was clever. Sometimes people will make an offer that is ridiculous. Just say “no thank you” and walk away. If they were testing you, they’ll come back with a legitimate offer. If they’re a fool, they’ll probably go off about how the item your offering is subpar or, if they’re the one selling, they’ll go on about how their item is the best blah, blah, blah. Unless you really need the item, let them keep it.

 

When to walk away

There are times when buying or selling, when walking away can show the other party that their offer wasn’t serious and that you’re not willing to consider it. The catch is that you may end up keep walking away and losing out on your chance at the item, unless you want to go back and meet their offer. If you do go back, the party now knows how much you want it. You’ll probably have to pay their full asking price. Sometimes the other party will modify their original offer and you can barter for a fair exchange.

Here is a list of skills and items you could use for bartering.

 

If you’re a pro, please add any additional suggestions to the comment section.

 

Filling Your Pantry by Copy Canning

Preparedness Tip:

I learned about copy canning from the video Urban Master Volume 1 “The Home”, created by the late Ron Hood and his wife. The process is very easy and is as follows:

  1. You decide you want chicken noodle soup for lunch so you take a can out of your pantry.
  2. Add chicken noodle soup to the shopping list.
  3. When you go to the grocery store, you buy two instead of one. (If you used two cans, you guessed it, you buy four.)

This is a great way to build your pantry to the point where you’re at the maximum amount of any item you want to store. Then you simply move back to buying just one when you use one.

Here are some links to other articles on food storage, these can help in stocking your pantry as well.

Food Storage Part One: Why Store Food And The Rules For It.
Food Storage Part Two: The Kind Of Foods That You Can Store
Food Storage Part Three: Shelf Life of Staples.
Food Storage Part Four: The Process and Enemies of Food Storage.
Food Storage Part Five: How much food should you store and where should you put it all?
Food Storage Part Six: Tips On Stocking Up and Affording it all.
Food Storage Part Seven: Food Boredom to Survival Cooking .

 
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