10 Tips to Save Money to Buy Prepping Supplies

baby steps week 2 priceMost preppers are not people with loads of cash in the bank. Preppers tend to be a frugal group of people who are doing what they can to prepare to survive an apocalypse of some sort. These are the people who won’t have the luxury of jetting off to some safe place or building an elaborate bunker system. Preppers are the folks like you and me who live simple lives and are just doing the best we can in this often unstable, crazy world.

If you want to get more serious about prepping, but are not quite sure how you can budget the money to buy what you need, these tips will help you make it work. Stocking up a year’s worth of food, water and other important gear doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that is done over a period of time. It may take years to get what you need. The idea is to keep adding—never stop.

1. Cut out at least one coffee trip to Starbucks or Dutch Brothers. If you can, skip the coffee shops all week and make your own at home. Invest in a $100 machine so you can make delicious coffee in seconds. You will save time and money.
2. Skip the freezer meals and spend a few hours each week preparing meals from scratch. You can make casseroles and other meals on a Sunday, pop them in the freezer and heat during the week. This will save you money on your grocery bill.
3. Shop at thrift stores or buy second hand things like clothing, shoes and other necessities. You can find name brand, high quality items if you are willing to put in the time and effort to look.
4. Buy in the off season. Be ready to shop the clearance shelves after holidays. You can get winter gear in April for a fraction of the cost and use it the following year.
5. Cut out the cable or other television service. Really, TV is garbage anyways and you could be doing so much more with your time. If you need something, spend $15 a month and buy a Netflix or Hulu subscription.money challenge jar
6. Make a serious effort to cut your utility bills. Turn off lights, shorten showers, air dry your laundry and so on. Every $10 you save on your electric bill can go to prepping.
7. Make an effort to grow a garden. It can be container gardening. This gets you in the practice of growing your own food and can help save money on your grocery bill.
8. Pack your lunches. This is going to save you a small fortune every week. If you must, treat yourself to one lunch out per week.
9. Carpool or consider riding a bike to work or to run errands. Public transportation is another option. No, it isn’t always convenient, but if you can save $25 a week on gas, just think of how much food you could put on your shelves.
10. Use coupons. Most stores are moving to digital coupons, which makes it so much easier to use at checkout. You don’t have to worry about clipping coupons, printing or forgetting them at home. Before you make any purchase, do a quick Google search to see if there are any coupon codes available.

Every penny you save counts. Just remember, the extra money you have at the end of the week should go to your prepping. Don’t splurge and go shopping!

When Your Preps are Threatened

thunderstorm-567678_640We have all experienced the wrath of Mother Nature on some scale at one time or another. She can be a violent, temperamental beast and strike without warning. In some cases, we are fortunate enough to get a little inkling of what she is up to thanks to modern technology and various imaging tools. This week, it is Hurricane Matthew storming across the Atlantic and wreaking havoc as it goes.

For preppers along the south eastern coastline, it has to make you a little worried for your stockpile. For those not in the direct path of the hurricane, it should make you think a little harder about how you will secure your own stockpile in case a natural disaster heads your way. What happens if you have to evacuate? Do you have a backup plan?

Your stockpile is meant to be used in the case of a natural disaster, like a hurricane, so you need to make sure it will weather the storm with you. That means you need to do everything you can to make sure your stockpile is safe from the weather.

  • Store your food in 5-gallon buckets with lids that lock on tight. This will help protect your food from any water damage that may happen in a flood. If your roof is damaged in a hurricane, the buckets will keep your food dry.
  • Secure your shelving units to the wall with anchors. You don’t want your shelves to fall forward, possibly popping the lids off buckets, bursting cans or breaking jars.
  • Add a piece of 1×2 or a thick rope across your shelves to keep things from sliding off if there is an earthquake or even strong enough winds. If your home is seriously damaged, you want the majority of your supplies to be okay.hurricane-67581_640
  • Put your food storage somewhere that is fairly secure and well-supported. If you are using a root cellar or basement, make sure major flooding won’t be an issue. This applies to underground shelters as well. If it is in a spare room, put plywood over the windows, just in case the glass breaks.
  • If you can, put a tarp over your shelves stocked with food and secure with ropes or bungee cords. This is just another layer of protection for your supplies. It may also make it easier to find if you need to dig through the rubble.

While you can’t control Mother Nature, you can take steps to protect your investment. If you weren’t able to evacuate and an area is hard hit, you are going to need those supplies They will be extremely valuable. Every layer of protection you add will help.

 

Take the Time to Plan Your Prepper Garden

vegetables-861363_960_720It is exciting when the sun starts to really shine in early spring. The promise of warmer weather and long days outside with your family and friends is alluring. You may already be dreaming of the succulent strawberries you will be picking from your garden in a matter of months. After the berries there will be plenty of fresh vegetables to snack on or throw into a salad. This is all very exciting and it can run away from you if you are not careful.

You need to spend some time planning your garden so you can maximize space. If you plan accordingly, you can use every inch of space and get the most out of your garden this year. This is important for every gardener, whether you have acres to plant in or just a small patch. With the smaller area, you need to make the most of your space so you can grow plenty of food for your family. With a bigger space, you want to be careful you don’t randomly plant here and there and end up wasting water and dealing with more weeds and pests than you can keep up with.food-960070_960_720

There are some programs you can find online that allow you to input what vegetables you want to grow and a rough diagram of your gardening space. The programs generate a plan for you that maximizes space and ensures you are planting companion plants together. The programs also help you avoid planting enemy plants together.

If you are not interested in using a computer, sit down and sketch it all out. This will help you figure out where to start planting when it is time. Don’t plant vegetables that you will not eat. You don’t have to plant broccoli if it isn’t something you and your family will not eat. It takes up space for nothing. If you live in a climate that makes it next to impossible for something like pinto beans or peppers to grow, consider using the space for something you know will grow and be ready for harvest before the weather turns.

5 Must-Have Staples for Your Prepper Storage

file0001706313190Every prepper will have their own idea about what should be put on their food storage shelves. That is okay. That is actually very good. No family is going to enjoy the same foods. We all have our preferences and by now you probably know the rule about only stocking what you eat today. With that said, there are a few foods that every prepper should have tucked away for a SHTF situation. These are foods that provide the necessary nutrition needed to stay alive. Not all foods contain the protein you need to keep going. With fresh meat limited and an inability to run to the grocery store, you must have these foods on hand to keep your body in good shape.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a comfort food as well as packed with protein. A little goes a long way. It is filled with a variety of vitamins and minerals that will help keep your body strong as you get used to taking on more manual labor.

Brown Riceteriyaki rice rice-315239_960_720

Brown rice is healthier than white rice, but if you can only get your hands on long-grain white rice, it will suffice. Rice will give you the energy you need to keep going. It is rich in iron as well as protein and the calories you need, which will help keep you healthy and strong.

Dried Beans

Pinto beans are an absolute must. They store for decades. They are very filling and high in protein and fiber. Again, it is all about getting the biggest bang for your buck when you are eating for survival. Empty calories are not going to help you.

Nuts

Lots and lots of nuts are an excellent source of protein, fiber and good carbs. They are filling and so easy to eat when you are on the move. Before you head out on a hunting trip, fill your pockets with some mixed nuts, almonds, cashews and sunflowers are ideal.

Sprouting Seeds

Alfalfa sprouts or broccoli sprouts are nutritious and can make a plain old sandwich taste spectacular. A tiny bit will go a long way and they are super easy to sprout. All you need is a paper towel and a few days.

These are five things every prepper will want to start stocking up on. Rice and beans can be prepared in a variety of ways so you don’t get bored. The sprouts add flavor to a dull piece of bread. Nuts are great for satisfying that need to snack and peanut butter, is just good all the way around.

What’s In Your Emergency Food Storage?

food pantry-1It never hurts to recheck what you have stockpiled in your emergency food storage. If you are new to prepping, you may be trying to figure out what you should be stocking up on. It can all be a little overwhelming. Do you stick with a lot of canned food or do you invest in lots of dried foods? There is no right or wrong answer. Every family will eat differently. The key is to stock up on food that your family eats today. Don’t waste your money buying a bunch of food that your family would turn their nose up at should you put it on the table for dinner tonight.

Survival mode in a chaotic situation is not the time to experiment with the tastebuds of your family. They need the food they know and love. They need their comfort foods to help make them feel at ease and even a little normal. Look at your pantry and start making notes. When you go grocery shopping, look at the stuff in your cart. THAT is what you are going to put on your shelf.

The following list includes some of the things you should add to your stockpile. These are items that are inexpensive and can store for very long periods of time, decades even. They are rather generic and can be used to thicken up soups, stews or even make casseroles. You can certainly get your family to eat that.healthy freeze dried food

Beans—pinto, white, black
Rice
Oats—great for thickening up soup
Freeze-dried dairy products—butter, cheese, milk; this is the only way to store these items long term
Variety of spices and seasonings, a little salt goes a very long way to making a bland dish edible
Peanut butter
Jam
Flour
Pasta noodles—go for a variety and not just spaghetti
Wheat—only store this if you know how and are willing to grind it up to make flour
Canned fruits and veggies
Canned meat—Spam will be very popular, don’t forget tuna, chicken breast and sardines
Jerky
Dried fruit and veggies

This is a basic list. Don’t store a bunch of canned food and ignore the dry stuff. Canned food is typically high in sodium and there is that certain mush quality that will get old very quick. Freeze dried foods are a little more expensive, but they give you a lot more options.

Prepper Gardening During a Drought

self-sufficient gardensWith droughts gripping a large portion of the nation, preppers are struggling to keep their gardens green and growing. A prepper garden plays a pivotal role in establishing a food storage. Without a garden, you are forced to rely on the grocery stores and pay ridiculous prices. It is only going to get worse considering many of the farms that supply that grocery stores are caught in the nasty droughts as well.

Preppers can keep their garden going by changing up the way they do things. Even the oldest dogs (preppers) can learn new tricks. These tricks will come in handy when the tap is dry and watering your survival garden isn’t as easy as turning on the faucet.

1-Put in a serious effort to keep the weeds down and away from your plant base. Weeds are water hogs and the little water your garden does get will be stolen by the weeds who are just as thirst as your plants.

2-Use pine needles, dead leaves, compost and even old newspaper around the base of your plants to keep the ground moist. The sun bakes the earth and evaporates the water quicker than your plant roots’ can absorb it.

3-Use soaker hoses or make your own out of an old garden hose. Poke a few holes along the defunct hose and lay it on the ground. The water will go right to the roots and not spray out and evaporate before it ever hits the ground.

4-Don’t waste water by over-watering. Set a timer or pay attention to the clock. Typically, 15 to 20 minutes is plenty of water for your veggies.drought-84611_640

5-Obviously, only water during the early morning hours or late at night. If you are a night owl, water throughout the night. Take advantage of the sun being down and it’s evaporating rays put away for the night.

Keeping your garden watered will help you control the bug population as well. When your plants are weak and thirsty, they are prone to disease and pests. Have you ever seen a lot of grasshoppers in a lush, green area? Not so much. They thrive in the dry areas.

Keeping Your Food Storage Cool this Summer

food pantry-1As you continue to build up your preps, you need to take special care to ensure they are being stored properly. With summer temperatures expected to be hotter than ever, it is even more important you take precautions to keeping your food at an ideal temperature. Canned food that gets too hot will spoil. All of your hard-earned money that was spent buying the food will be wasted. Freeze-dried food may not spoil, but it will certainly not hold up as well in extreme conditions.

Here are a few ways you can help keep your food storage from being spoiled by a hot summer.

1-If your preps are in a room in the house, install a ceiling fan or put a couple of oscillating fans in the room to keep the air moving. Opening a window at night will allow a cool breeze in to help keep the room cool.

2-Cover the windows in the room with heavy curtains. Putting aluminum foil on the windows will also help reflect the heat keeping it from heating up the room.

3-Consider building a root cellar to hold your preps. The earth tends to hold around 50 degrees, which is a perfect temperature for your food. The best part about using a root cellar is it can be used year-round and is also a great place to store your root vegetables like potatoes and onions.air-2260_640

4-Basements will typically remain fairly cool, but they can get humid. Keep a fan running to help circulate the air and prevent condensation from building up on your food. Moisture is not something you want in your food storage area.

Your food storage area doesn’t have to be kept as cool as the rest of the house, but you do want to try to keep it under 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A fan can help circulate the cooler air from the rest of the house into your pantry to keep it at an ideal temperature. Your food storage is too important to let go to waste because of a little heat.

10 Crucial First Steps to Prepping

healthy freeze dried foodIf you have just learned about the prepping movement and decided it is something you want to be a part of, there are some things you need to do first. Prepping in general is a big job. It isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes a lot of time, patience, dedication and investment. You don’t want to just jump in with both feet and randomly put things on your shelves. This is a job that takes careful planning.

The following are the first things you need to do to get your food storage off on the right foot.

1-Start saving your empty 2-liter pop bottles, water bottles and juice bottles to store water in. Water is a priority. You can also buy water containers, but you need to start somewhere and recycling used plastic containers is perfect. Don’t use old milk jugs. They are not durable enough.

2-Determine how much food you need for 30 days. Make an effort to get 30 days of food on hand and then build up from there.

3-Decide how much money you can put aside each month to building up your food supply. Cutting out a night of dining out, skipping a fancy coffee one day a week and other little things will help you find money in your budget to put towards your food storage.

4-Do some research and learn more about prepping and what things you should be stocking up on. There are plenty of eBooks, blogs and websites that have a ton of information for you to browse through.

5-Identify an area in your home where you will store the bulk of your supplies. Do what you need to make it an ideal food storage space, i.e. covering windows, adding shelves, clearing out clutter and so on.food pantry-1

6-Talk about what you are doing with your family. You need everybody on board. This is a job that is too big for you to take on alone. Get your family involved with storing water and putting food on the shelves.

7-Create a plan of action for when things do get crazy. You don’t want the family diving into your food storage and having a feast. Talk about what you will do when it is time to rely on your emergency food supply. Rationing will be necessary.

8-Add a few things from the attic, your garage or your storage to your emergency storage. You probably have extra blankets, winter gear and tarps lying around. Put those things into your emergency storage and you will already be on your way. It is a good way to see just what you have by keeping it in one place.

9-Plan a weekend or a day to head out into nature with some of the survival gear you have been picking up. Practice using your gear. This is absolutely crucial. You must know how to use the various tools that are going to save your life.

10-Come up with a backup plan or a bug out plan. If your home is compromised, you will need to leave it and retreat to a secondary location. If you have a secure secondary location, you will want to divide your preps. The old saying, “don’t put all your eggs into one basket” applies here. Don’t put all your preps into one spot—just in case you have to bug out!

Home Food Preservation in Winter for Emergency Food Storage

dried_fruits (2)Food is expensive and it doesn’t appear to be getting any cheaper. You still need to do what you can to buy extra food to put in your emergency food storage, but how can you possibly manage when you are barely getting by? The key is to make use of every bit you have. Home preservation is one way you can store food without spending a lot of money.

There is some equipment you will need to buy up front, but once you make the initial investment, the rest of the equipment you need is very minor. The following is a list of things you will want to keep your eye out for. When you see the items go on sale, snatch them up. Don’t be afraid to buy used. You can get some pretty good deals in the off season. Typically winter and early spring are when canning and home preservation are in a bit of a lull. This is when you can look for the items at thrift stores and on clearance in big box stores.

What You Need

Dehydrator
Pressure canner
Smoker
Jars, bands, lids
Jar tongs
Funnels
Strainers
Sharp knives
Pectin (optional) check expiration dates
Pickling spices
Jerky spices
Wood chips for smoker

With the items listed above, you can make anything and everything you need to stock up your food storage. Your garden is probably not producing in the middle of winter, but there are still plenty of things you can preserve.

If you are a hunter, maybe you have taken a deer or other animal. Make jerky out of the meat in your smoker or dehydrator. You can also can some of the meat to make stews.
Did you make a big turkey for Thanksgiving? Don’t throw out the bones without making a delicious, flavorful stock. The stock can be canned and will make an excellent additive to stews and soups in a survival situation.

canning
Are your root crops from fall looking a little old and beginning to soften up. Act quickly and preserve the food before it rots. Dehydrate or can carrots and beets. Potatoes are very difficult and extremely risk to can, so your best bet is to either freeze them or dehydrate them. There are plenty of potato dishes you can make and pop in the freezer for a quick dinner option in the future.

Keep the idea of saving every bit top of mind and the next time you are looking at tossing extra food out, you will think twice. Get creative and you can surely come up with a way to combine a few leftovers to create a stew that can be canned. If canning isn’t an option, toss the leftovers in the freezer for a quick meal. Every penny you save by preserving leftovers can be put towards your emergency food storage goal.

Pest Control for Your Emergency Food Storage

You are investing a lot of time and money into building up an adequate supply of food that will feed your family after disaster strikes. The money you spend on buying food, water and other emergency supplies is taken from your family budget, but you do it knowing that you are making the best decision for your family’s long term needs. You can’t afford for the food you have been setting aside to be eaten and destroyed by pests. Pests like mice and ants are everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you live in a shack or a million dollar residence. Mice are not concerned by your zip code. They go where the food is and you are putting a lot of food in your house.

pantry essentialsWhat can you do to keep them out of your food?

Your best bet is to keep your foods in 5-gallon foodsafe buckets with sealable lids. Mice and ants cannot get to the food when it is in the heavy plastic buckets. You can add an extra layer of protection and lengthen the shelf life of your food by placing it inside a Mylar bag and sealing it before placing it in the bucket.

Another trick is to add bay leaves to containers of food. Put a few at the bottom and a few more in between the layers. Apparently, the strong herb smell is off-putting to various pests and they will keep out. Why not put bay leaves inside your Mylar bag that goes inside your bucket? It won’t hurt anything, it is extremely inexpensive and it gives you a freshness guarantee.

Setting out mousetraps and bait for ants or cockroaches is another option. This can take care of the pests that are sniffing around your food storage. Although some people are okay picking out evidence of a mouse invasion and others are okay eating food a mouse has crawled on or nibbled on, it really isn’t sanitary. If you don’t have to share your food with critters, don’t!mousetrap

Essential oils like peppermint and orange oil dabbed on a cloth and hung from the shelves is another natural deterrent. You can also add about 10 drops of either oil to a water bottle and spray the perimeter of your food storage. The smells are too strong for the pests and they will stay away.