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How to build your food storage if you are poor

How to build your food storage if you are poor

Self-sufficiency is not a financially dependent lifestyle

I once heard a man say that reasons are excuses which are packed full of lies. And when it comes to prepping there is not such a bigger excuse than that of financial obligations. Many would be preppers and survivalists do not start because they reason that the financial obligation for prepping is too much. However, if one were to understand that the money spent on groceries and produce is far more than that of the self-sufficient individual, then they would be more apt to build their food storage. Here is how you can build your food storage if you are poor.

Understand and re-allocate your funding

Produce is marked up 70% or more to account for the loss and damage of the products in shipping. The average American spends nearly $151 on food[1]. Out of this a person spends $23 a week on junk food and fast food[2]. Now, the average small garden startup is $70. It does not take a great deal of math to calculate that re-allocating your fast food funds into a 3 week savings to start a garden is a wise choice. This is the first method of securing and building your food storage. You have to have your own way of providing your own food in order to sustain life in a catastrophic event.

Buy in Bulk

There is a misconception that bulk items are more expensive than single serve items. On the contrary, many of the bulk items that you can find are cheaper per serving. When you are building your food supply take some of the bulk and put it aside for your food storage. Where this is not a quick building method, you will gain some storage on your food and you will do so as you shop for your everyday needs.

Become a coupon King/Queen

There are a TON (and by this I mean thousands upon thousands) of coupon sites out there. Some stores still provide cut or print coupons for products. The odds are that if you have a particular food that you like, a coupon is available to get that food for a discounted price or for a buy one get one free. All you have to do is dedicate a bit of your time into finding the coupon. Do not go crazy with the coupon collecting. You have other needs which will need to be addressed such as water storage, survival skills, and your disaster preparedness plan. However, if you keep a coupon book of items you want and look for locations that offer multiple coupons and discounts, you can get your food items for a very low cost and build up your food storage.

Barter

For some reason the word barter has been associated with cheap in today’s society. Bartering was long established before our monetary system and it will be again if the financial system collapses. If you have a marketable skill then you have a skill that can be bartered. Where bush crafts and such do provide a self-sufficient way to do so, you can barter your services out even if you are a dentist, doctor, graphic artist, or stay at home mom. Unless you are a vegetable (and I do sympathize with those people) you can get up and do something that someone wants. The best part is, it will not cost you anything but your time.

Trade your skills for dehydrated meats and fresh produce that can be canned. Where that pie or cake may look good, it really has no place in the food storage plan.

Use the government to fund your aquaponics system

This is one of those situations where you can use the government to your advantage. I am not talking about going on food stamps or any other government reliance program. I am talking about your taxes. If you are poor then the odds are that you fall below the bracket of paying into your taxes and you get something back, this is especially true if you have dependents. In this scenario, if you get money back from filing your taxes spend that money on setting up an aquaponics system instead of going on that yearly vacation or getting that new car. Where the startup costs is a bit high, the food is pretty much never ending.

Buy Seeds

Seeds

Seeds

Granted, you will need to have a survival bag with at least 3 days of food and water in order to survive. And if you have the survival skills to hunt and fish, then you should be good to keep yourself alive. Adding seeds to your food storage is a cheap method of storing up food. While you may not consider seeds to be food now, they will yield a crop later. Ensure that you have organic seeds (not hybrids) which can be planted in various seasons for the best results.

Eat less and store more

Those living on a very tight budget can store food with one simple concept. Cut your portion size down. It is a proven fact that the majority of Americans over consume. The obesity level is through the roof. Cut your portion sizes down and you will not have to consume as much food. This will open up the door for you to either store the food which is not used or to use the funds from the savings to buy food to store.

There is no reason why anyone cannot build up a food storage. Regardless of whether you are rich or poor it comes down to your own willpower and motivation. Finances have nothing to do with it. If you want to be a prepper than you will find a way to become one, anything else are just excuses packed full of lies. Remember, you are the only one that can ensure your survival.

[1] According to gallup.com and thepeacefulmom.com

[2] Based upon statistics of a $1200 a year consumption

Winterize your car: Items to keep in your car during winter months

Winterize your car: Items to keep in your car during winter months

Winterization goes beyond the vehicle to consider the driver and passengers

Winter is a festive time of year for any person. Yet, with the season also comes the cold weather. And where you may be a seasoned prepper and survivalist, you may not be up to date on winterizing your modern day equipment, specifically your car. There are several ways in which you can drastically minimize the risk of damage to yourself or your vehicle with these easy to follow winterization tips.

Have Water in the car

water bottles

Crazy as it may sound, you need to have water in your vehicle. In the event that you are stranded somewhere because of a roadblock, downed tree, the apocalypse, whatever, you will need to have some water. Now, keep in mind that during the winter the temperatures can get to below freezing. Allow some space for ice expansion in the container to keep it from breaking. Store the water in a blanket to reduce the chances of it freezing.

Granted, you could live off the water from the snow for a while, but then again there may only be cold temperatures and hard ground.

Have a mobile air generator

Tire pressure fluctuates in the cold weather. You may have the ideal pressure when you set out on a trip, but because of the cold the air can reduce in the tires. You will find this common especially if the car has been sitting for a day or two (say at a hotel or campsite). A mobile air generator gives you the ability to pump up your own tires and regulate the pressure in the tires. There are several different air generators available. Most are electric and work off of the cars voltage plugs. However, you can find gas and even diesel air generators if you look around.

A shovel

Unseen dips in the terrain can quickly become a hazard to your vehicle. Having a shovel is a great way to keep you from getting stuck for too long. Granted, if you have a large SUV  or Truck you may need to use that tow cable to pull yourself out of a ditch or a hole. Those that just get too much snow around the tires or underbody of the car can use the shovel.

A chainsaw

I would venture to say that most people have not considered a chainsaw as part of the car winterization process. Yet, more people get stranded by fallen trees and debris during the winter than during any other time of the year (apart from maybe tornado season in Kansas). Now, I am not saying that you should start cutting on trees that are over powerlines or cause a threat to your health if you try to clear them, but if there is a tree that is blocking the road or close to falling on your car or another vehicle, cut it down and cut it up. If you have a large cargo area, take some of the wood for firewood for later.

A 5 gallon container of gas

Why 5 gallons? Typically a vehicle can hold anywhere from 10 to 20 gallons of gas. A 5 gallon tank will sustain you long enough to get to point B without painting a huge sign on your car that says “break in here and take my extra stockpile of gas”. If you want to have a backup for the entire tank, use small containers or lock down your large container. Remember, you will also need to take into account any tools and generators which rely upon gas.

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

As a prepper, you are familiar with first aid and with first aid strategies. You also understand that the cheap kits that adorn cars are little more than novelty products to make consumers feel better about their purchases. Have a spare tactical first aid kit in your vehicle. This is imperative. For one, you are maximizing your chances of a successful winter by eliminating the excuses of not having a specific medical supply to help you in an emergency. Secondly, you are establishing an alternative place for your first aid to accompany your disaster preparedness plan. DO NOT use your primary first aid kit from your bug out bag.

Alcohol (closed container)

Let me be very, very clear here. In NO way do I promote drinking and driving and in no way do I promote having an open container in the car. Both are illegal in most states (drinking and driving is of course) as well as dangerous. That being stated, alcohol does not freeze and can provide you with an emergency source of liquid if needed. Do not get beer as this really has no purpose in a survival situation or in winterization. Use a strong alcohol like whiskey or vodka. Again, KEEP THE CONTAINER CLOSED AND STORED AWAY FROM THE DRIVER. If you have to use it, discard the bottle and do not drive till you are 100% sober.

Steel Wool and a Mobile battery charger

I would venture to say that 75% of winter problems with a car have to do with the battery. In most cases the battery is drained and the car just dies. There are a few ways in which you can go about checking your battery.

Lick your fingers and touch both terminals (NO, NO, DON’T THAT WAS A JOKE)

  • First try to turn the engine over. If you get some power and then the lights fade off or there is a slow dying it is probably the battery. If you get an abrupt dying of the interior lights it could be the battery or it could be the alternator.

 

  • Pop the hood and look for any visible signs of buildup on the terminals of the battery. This will be a green like substance. Do not touch it as it is battery acid and corrosion and not good for the skin. Instead remove the terminals from the battery (with the engine turned off) and use the steel wool to gently remove the build-up.

 

  • Most mobile battery chargers have a gauge which will tell you the power of your battery. Note that you will always have below 100% unless it is a brand new battery. If you find the numbers to be 10 to 50% then you need to use the charger to power up the battery.

 

These are but a few ways to keep your car and yourself ready for the winter season. Of course, you should do the proper and regular maintenance such as oil changes, fluid checks, and fuse checks. Remember, as a prepper/ survivalist you need to be ready for a catastrophic event at any time. That includes in your car in the winter.

 

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Top Survival Priority: Water or Shelter?

Top Survival Priority: Water or Shelter?

Where should you be setting your priorities in a survival situation?

Survivalist and preppers understand that the essentials must be covered in order to sustain them should there be a catastrophic event. Sure, planning has gone into making a bug out bag and there have been some skills which have been honed in order to achieve this, but which element should be the top of the top? Should you focus on your food or your water as your main priority?

The Easy Answer

Focus on Shelter.shelter2 This may come as a shock to some people, but the reality of the situation is that you have already acquired your water for the first 5 days. Granted, this will not sustain you for the long run and you will need to find a water source, but if you have done your prepping and planning strategically (meaning that you have not waited until a catastrophic event has occurred) you already have located a sustainable water source.

What would cause you to need to find alternate shelter from your plan?

Your disaster preparedness plan should have a definitive location for your shelter and your water. However, the area can become compromised based upon several factors. These can include:

  • Military presence around your location is too strong – There is a theory that the closer you are to danger the safer you will be. This is not true in a catastrophic event. If your shelter is too close to a military base of operations, you will more than likely be found and seized.
  • Other Preppers have acquired the spot – Yes, you could fight to the death over the area, but this is really not the way that you want to start out your survival. The only way that I would say that you should duke out the survival spot is if you have erected a structure such as a bunker and another person has tried to occupy it.
  • Catastrophic Situations have unpredictably made the area insecure or unyielding – In a catastrophic event you will not be able to predict with certainty how the terrain will be affected. Should you find that the area in your disaster plan is unsuitable, you will need to go to another location.

Shelter should be sought over water as the environment is going to be harsh. As you are looking for an area in which to live, simply finding a spot that has water is not going to be sufficient. You need to ensure that there is a food source, water, a means of getting out quick if needed, tactical advantages, vantage points, the proximity to dangers, egresses, natural lighting, and the condition of the soil (just to name a few).  Now, keep in mind that during a catastrophic event, you will be battling against the terrain as well as everyone else to find a spot. The best solution: Find multiple spots prior to an event occurring.

The more difficult answer

Where shelter is a priority and will need to be found in order to keep you from over exertion, dehydration, as well as provide the basic functionality of a shelter, water may be the top priority depending upon the conditions. Should an event occur and the heat index rise to a substantial level you will need to find water and find it quickly. Granted, you will need to find a shelter to keep from getting sunburned and dehydrated, but without water you will die anyway.

shelter1

You should not spend more than 2 days looking for shelter. If you have to think of water vs shelter and you have a 5 day pack, you need to ensure that you will be able to allot time to finding water. If after the end of 2 days you have not found s sustainable shelter, you will need to just make do with what is available and seek out some sustainable water. You do NOT want to totally deplete your bug out bags water prior to finding a renewable source of water.

It’s all about the location

Finally, when you are thinking about your survival plan consider where your plan is located. Are you depending on wilderness survival? If so, you will need to focus on the shelter first, as water is more abundant in the wilderness (usually). Are you planning for urban survival? Water will be your main priority as there will be plenty of abandon buildings and structures which you can choose to take shelter in. Look for residences with external water heaters as a quick way to gain access to stored and safe water.

Be prepared and you will not have to prioritize

Where you cannot fully plan for the worst situation, you can be prepared to survive. Preppers and survivalist who have a plan and a backup plan or two should have a few locations selected in various locations which provide ample shelter as well as have a natural water source. Bug out bags should be equipped with tarps and water to provide for immediate shelter and water if needed, but these should be understood to be temporary solutions. Bags which have water straws and water filters can maximize the time that a person can look for a shelter or a route to their bug out location. Do not limit yourself to one plan or have your location around one main river (For example: you would not want to have 15 locations picked along the Mississippi River. If the river becomes polluted to the point of not being able to use it you have 15 useless locations). Diversify your locations around several natural water supplies to maximize your potential for one of the locations to be functional in a catastrophic event.

It is in the best interest of the prepper/survivalist to perform checks on their shelter and water locations. Revamp your plan if you find weaknesses in your plan or if the shelter and water desirability change (for example a 4 lane highway is constructed cutting you off from accessing your shelter without compromising your safety). Prepare, plan, re-plan, and you should survive.

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How to Improve Your Sense of Direction

Did you know?

A quarter of the cars on the road right now have GPS systems.

This should mean it’s almost impossible for someone to get lost, right?

Wrong! People still get lost all the time. In survival situations, you need to be able to get around without your phone, GPS or any other technological advantage and know which way to go. What would you do if your phone died and your only source of direction was through the phone? Would you be lost?

Would you know how to get to safety?

This article is going to help you improve your sense of direction and improve your chances of getting to safety.

how to improve your sense of direction

 

There are a lot of factors that determine your directional skills. It has been proven that directional orientation is an acquired ability. This means you’re in luck!

Whatever your current aptitude, even the stubborn men out there like myself, you can learn how to improve your sense of direction.

Here’s how you can improve your sense of direction.

At Home

While you will need to get out of your house for further improvement, it all starts at home. Here are some tips on how you can start in your home, starting today.

  • Eat well – Foods rich in antioxidants like blueberries and pinto beans have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain. This helps with improving memory-related tasks like remembering directions.
  • Exercise – Aerobic exercise likewise increases blood-flow to the brain. Numerous studies show that the hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for memory, including spatial memory — is larger in individuals who exercise regularly.
  • Rest Up – Keeping well rested is one of the most important things for all aspects of your life, not just for improving your sense of direction. It helps your brain to more effectively take in and store spatial relationships.
  • Study Maps – Yes, studying maps can actually help improve your sense of direction. By finding and studying a map of your route (even day to day routes) you can visualize your route and note features that you will encounter on your route and how they’ll be in relation to one another.
  • Find North – Keeping the cardinal directions in mind at all times is important. Know which direction your home faces and then use that to orient yourself inside it. Which direction do you face when you do the dishes? What about when you watch TV or sleep? Do you know?
  • Play Games – Games are one of the best ways to train our brain for anything. Activities that require you to exercise your spatial awareness, Tangrams or Pentominoes can help improve your ability to intuitively understand how distances relate to one another.

 

Out and About

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the car or out in natures hiking on trails, here are a few things you can do when you’re out and about that will improve your sense of direction.

  • Visualize – Visualization is one of the first steps you’ll always want to take. Whether you are thinking about driving somewhere or walking down trails, you’ll want to visualize the route you’ll take in as much detail as possible, before you start. Picture specific landmarks and where they are in relation to one another. When you begin traveling, compare what you see with what you’ve visualized. Is your memory accurate? It will get better with time.
  • Pay Attention to the Time – Check out the time before you begin and continue to take note of the time as you pass specific landmarks and once again when you reach your destination. This will help you get a feel for relative distances This will be helpful if you find you’ve missed a turn or went too far. You’ll have a more accurate idea of how far back you’ll need to go.
  • Verbalize What You See – Verbalizing anything helps to solidify the information in your brain. Say each landmark out loud while you pass it to reinforce where it is in your mind.
  • Make Up a Story – Stories are one of the best ways to get our minds to remember information. Connecting landmarks in a story form (even if it’s made up and crazy) can help you to better remember the information.
  • Think Big – When you are going somewhere, try to get a birds eye view of the route on a map. Basically you want to recognize where you are on a map. Relate your position to a fixed frame of reference so you can better acquaint yourself with your surroundings. Always think in the cardinal directions.
  • Take a New Route – Most of us have habits of going one specific way every single day. Our route to work likely hasn’t changed, the same as we don’t usually change the way we go to our family or friends’ houses. Switch up your normal route and imagine different routes on a map, even if its just taking a parallel street a block or two away. This will help you with orienting yourself better.
  • Get a Different Perspective – Many times we’ll forget where we parked our car in parking lots. We tend to blame this on getting older, however there are ways you can improve this. As you walk from your car to your destination, turn around and look back at it every 10 seconds or so. This will help you solidify in your memory where your car is, along with familiarizing yourself with what you’ll be seeing on your return trip. For longer distances like hikes, just increase the interval between backward glances.
  • Don’t Panic – Panicking happens. It’s important to stay calm when these situations occur. People tend to move quicker when their anxious, and that will potentially get you more lost than you already are. If you find yourself lost, remember STOP: Stop, Think, Observe and Plan

If you are someone who has lived your entire life confused about directions, don’t worry.

It’s never too late to start working on your directional senses. Take the time and practice these activities and develop the habit of awareness. Practice this and apply it in your day to day life. You’ll notice that the more you practice this skill, the better you will get at determining directions.

Do you have any other tips that help you with directions?

7 Unique Redneck Camping Tricks

As we all are aware, everyone has camping tips. This article is going to give you a couple tricks for those of you who fancy yourself as “rednecks”.

We’ve got your back when it comes down to unique camping tricks.

While some of these will give you a laugh, others will give you an “aha” moment where you’ll say “why didn’t I think of that??”

 

1. Place Sandpaper on a mason jar lid for strike-able match storage

DSC_75331-1024x682

Find the instructions here.

 

2. Create outdoor candle sticks for easy, portable lighting

camping-checklist

Instructions here.

 

3. Doritos can be used as kindling.

 

4. Put frozen water jugs in your cooler to keep food cold with an end result of water!

camping-supplies

Instructions here.

 

5. Create a pocket-sized oil lamp from a travel shampoo bottle

camping-list

Instructions here.

 

6. Create travel-friendly coffee brewers from filters and floss

camping-recipes

Instructions here.

 

7. Make your own grill out of a tin can

469x1243xcamping-diy-ideas-howtos-lifehacks-26.jpg.pagespeed.ic_.iON7191QR8

Instructions here.

Want a full list of these things? Check out the post at Camp Like a Redneck | 14 Unique Camping Tips