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Saving as a Prepper Skill

saving moneySaving doesn’t take a financial expert. Most of us live from paycheck to paycheck. If you are fairly new to the survivalist mentality, you are probably thinking it costs a bundle to be properly prepared. With a little creativity, the actual cost of being prepared can become a part of your daily life.

The biggest thing that a lot of people miss is the difference between need and want. If you don’t have the money, time, or space – think about whether you really need it. Simple prioritization and a little forethought can save you a lot. Credit cards are about the worst thing for proper money management. Overuse means people are living beyond their means. It is a little hard to save for and purchase the things you actually need if you’ve bought that big screen TV and are making payments on it. Take a look at the current economy. The housing crisis originated from people living beyond their means and taking the whole economy down with it.

Speaking of practical expenses – go outside and take a look at your car. Is it a little older and you have been thinking of getting a big new SUV? The car payments really aren’t going to be worth it when you can’t afford any of your practical gear. Now while you are looking at your car, think about that Blackberry on your hip. Do you really need to spend that much every month? Is that a need or a want? No wonder we tend to live paycheck to paycheck!

The basics like clothes and food can suck cash away too. How many pairs of jeans or shoes do you really need? Cutting back in this department adds up quickly. As far as food goes, there are tons of ways to save. Growing your own food is one a lot of people skip, thinking it is too difficult or they don’t have a place for a garden. A few planters’ pots along the driveway and growing your own veggies can be that simple. This will keep you from spending the high prices at the grocery store. What about buying generic? When you buy a name brand product, you are buying just that – a name. These are often made in the same factory as the off-brand items, just packaged differently.

Coupons are a bit more time consuming, but the savings can add up in a hurry. Between print publications and the Internet, it is possible to find a discount for just about anything these days. Sure it might just be 50 cents, but 50 cents on ten items adds up. Then add that up over the course of a month, then a year.

When you do purchase products from the store, save the containers! Jars and plastic containers can all be saved and reused. Then you don’t need to waste your money on Zip-Loc bags and Tupperware containers. It sounds simple to recycle these items, but we waste a lot more than we think. Having a compost pile in your back yard can be better for your vegetable garden and save you the cost of commercial products. Old newspapers can be stashed somewhere and used for the fireplace in the winter. More importantly, in the event of a disaster, you have a ready supply of tinder. Boxes can be broken down and saved.

The same goes for other items around your house. From cleaning products to health products, name brands kill a budget. There are a million low-cost alternatives that can trim that budget back. Trimming that budget will allow you to stock up on what you really need. So think about the difference between a need and a want. Then review how you are actually spending your money in a given month. You might be surprised on how much money there is left over for what you really need.

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  1. For the past few years, I have been adding additional non perishable items that I stockpile but rotate.
    I live alone, so it’s easier. I reload all my own ammo and keep my weapons up to snuff. Try not to let my vehicle get below 1/2 a tank.
    Have a generator with a goodly supply of gasoline. I run it each month just to keep it limber. It runs my well pump, my furnace and my refridgerator as well as several outlets. Do change the oil for the summer/winter seasons, but that’s a small matter.
    I don’t have i-pods or all the fancy new gadgets, but have been buying gold and silver coins. If and when the paper dollar tanks, I want real money.
    Haven’t done all this over night. Takes time and planning.

    • where so people store their gold and silver..this part of ownins coins concerns me…please advise..Thx,Anne.

  2. One of the things I have done to cut back is to frequent the DollarTree store near me. This is a true dollar store – nothing cost more than $1. I buy cleaners, shampoo, deodorant, hand soap, sanitizers, body wash, emergency candles, batteries, flashlights, as well as many food items (pasta salads, snack foods, dried beans, peanutbutter, water, syrup, Little Debbies, bread). The list goes on and on. Some of the things might only be a few cents less than the grocery store but it all adds up. During the winter they had what they called “vintage clothes”. I bought 2 blazers for $1 each and, using my at home dry cleaning kit, spent probably 1% of what these would have cost in a department store. Sweatshirts were plentiful and I bought everyone that was my size.

    What I have found is that I need to spend the time to look at everything. Bargains are out there if we just look for them.

    • Melissathompson

      I frequent the dollar stores as well. I like the ((cent Only stores best. I try to go there every payday- and spend about $20 on things for my emergency cabinet. Liek you, I always buy batteries, canned goods, etc there to save. My emergency cabinet contains canned meats, vegetables, canned fruit, rice, instant potatoes, dried beans and pasta. And at Wal-Mart in the camping section, I get propane canisters for emergency cooking, and water purification tablets. Just $20 per payday- I have done this over about 2 years- I’m ready for anything- and it didnt cost a bundle. To do it all at once- I wouldnt be able to afford to store up all that. Also- when stuff is on sale, I always buy a couple extra for the emergency cabinet. Peanut butter, etc. A little at a time is the most affordable way to go.

    • Barb, u in OH? me too – email me, we can exchange info! I am in Belmont county, btw…)

    • Most (?all) of the goods for sale in Dollar Stores if made in China; It might be a good idea to be very careful with such goods as the chemical content of a lot of their stuff tests very bad! Who knows; That may be intentional? Prices are great…..product not so. Even if safe, the quality and just the basi specs are terrible in a lot of Chinese ( and others) made stuff. Examples: their ‘twist ties’ use an embedded wired as all others but the wire is laminated with material that is not flexible! And their metal stuff, like screws; I’ve had to stop using Chinese screw as their allows have too much of something that makes them ‘twist appart if you put any torque on them. BUt the real problem may be really bad in the consumables category? Be careful.

      • Michaelv – I agree. Aside from safety concerns, though, I’m against foreign products on principle. I think this is one aspect of “free markets” that “fails” in the face of global markets. I put those words in quotes because we don’t have truly free markets (think anti-trust laws) and the failure is microcosmic – that is, it applies to a particular region’s economy. On a global scale, free markets *are* working – against national security. For example, I’d rather buy a pair of Carhartt USA made jeans than the now foreign made Levi’s simply because I know the money recirculates into the US. The decision is made regardless of price. Incidentally, I think, our high school economics teachers got their graphs based on self-interest alone, tacitly assuming that the lowest price serves this best interest best. (I’m many years removed from economic studies, however, so please correct me if I’m wrong.) In any case, this is why I avoid the so-called Dollar Stores. From a strictly economic point of view, I simply don’t think the benefits of reduced price outweight the costs – short or long term.

      • I agree about Chinese stuff….especially screws and twist ties! I’d NEVER knowingly eat anything from China. I have more in common with you michaelv as that is my name and mid initial too! Thought that was most coincidental.

    • I do the same thing I love the Dollar Tree. it really saves me alot. I just bought first aid stuff for my storage supply. And they have stuff you can get that at the store will cost more.

  3. I enjoyed this article & like all these comments. Would it be possible for some one to put a list of every thing they have a surplus of and what they still need to purchase? It may seem a bit silly, but I would like all the help I can get and I am sure there are other families that are like me. In the list, please, put EVERYTHING on your list. I would be so greatful. And let us not forget food for our pets. Take care, every one. Gramma

    • Gramma,

      Click this link. It will list the items that I have most of.


        • Very good information RMan! Thanks for sharing!

        • thanks for the list. I think it would be great if everyone posted a version of their list, or different lists
          like what should be in a 3 day pack or short term pack for those who have to get up and run to somewhere else and then what should be in your permanent place (food list, utitlity list, etc) it would be really helpful for young, inexperienced people like me who unfortunately don’t have a lot of help and are starting a bit late. Thank God I have some knowledge and folks like you whom I am learning a lot from.

  4. I think that Gold and Silver will be easily gotten from starving people. The keys of survival are food, Water, shelter, and defense.

  5. They are not inexpensive but if you have elderly or family members with a history of heart issues, you might want to consider a portabled defibrillator. I am planning to purchase one. My grandfather has a pacemaker/defibrillator which saved his life last year. I worry about my grandmother who, theoretically, doesn’t have the heart issue. I am also planning to take a first aid course this year and renew my cpr training.

  6. Read where it comes from before you buy–Wal- Mart Brand Apple Juice, Great Value has black small letters near neck of bottle. Product of China. Try to support your local grocers to get a real value. Latest Kellogg cereal recall –“cereals reached the U.S. in March and was distributed throughout….” We don’t even make Fruit Loops or Apple Jacks. GRRRRR!!
    Grow your own as much as possible and can or freeze anything/everything possible.

  7. My name is Greg.

    I’m an Airline Pilot and a retired Lt Col from the military.

    During my travels I met the woman who is now my wife.
    She was RAISED IN THE JUNGLE and learned how to SURVIVE and live off the grid all her life (prior to meeting me).
    What is most important is a good sharp knife and survival knowledge. The other is team work so you can mutually support one another.

    We have a farm on a TROPICAL ISLAND and we are considering having people come to it to LEARN basic to advanced SURVIVAL techniques along with Survival Planning.
    Does this sound like something of interest to anyone?
    Let me know via this site and I will look into developing it further

    Be Prepared.

    • Sounds good Greg.

      TuffTee 🙂

      • Absolutely!!
        Have you ever thought abt writing a book to shar this knowledge
        with everyone?
        I’m an author & could help you do it….

    • it does sound interesting, but are you also going to cover survival skills that will include survival in different climates. I am in MASS but at the end of my lease will be taking my kids up north to the Vermont mountains where I grew up. I don’t know what will happen in the future, whether it will be a military strike that causes devastation of the land, or whether the earth’s climate itself will change from years of human-effect, but I feel that the climate is going to be a hurdle. Where ever people are, the weather will probably be intrinsically severe. Will you then be covering winter survival, since your wife has (only) jungle survival? I think both might be necessary.

    • also, I dont know about anyone else, but I am a single parent and can’t really afford to go somewhere right now. Would you consider developing a survival training video and podcast it? Or a DVD or something in material form for those who are unable to make a trip?

  8. If you have never hunted this is a good time to learn.Take a course in Urban fighting,take a gun course,learn how to can your own food. Try a compostable toliet if you own your own home. Learn these skills no matter how old you are . These are all going to be need before to much longer.

    Good Luck

    • Indeed, nothing gets your attention more than when you can’t flush the ol’ toilet…if anyone has ever lived off of a municipal water system, with their own water system (pump/pressure tank, etc) they know how much it SUCKS when the power goes out and with it the ability to flush the terlet. A composting one is a great idea. Fortunately, we have an RV that could be our little home away from home but even then, holding tanks can only do so much.

      I think the advice about urban fighting is very sound, and the gun safety course is a no-brainer, but so many people resist getting friendly with Mr. Smith & Mr. Wesson–the anti-gun lobby has been very effective at brainwashing our citizens, and we know why….

      • redsonya59 – I have no training in urban fighting or gun handling. I’ve never owned a gun or needed to be in a fight. I’ve always thought of a fire-arm as more of a liability than a benefit – perhaps I’m short-sighted? What do you suggest? In other words, what gun should I buy? Who should I contact for training? Where do I start? And why do you think I should? (I’m saying that in all sincerity, btw.) I’ve never needed to protect myself w/ lethal measures before, but you think it’s advisable? Because of the current administration? Or what?

  9. Transport.

    Allot of money can be saved on fuel ect, if you consider “car share” for your journey to work. You can literally 1/2 your fuel bill if your lucky enough to have a fellow employee living close by who you can divide the travel costs with.

    Bikes are also good idea – free fuel (sweat), no insurance, cheep maintenance.

    TuffTee 🙂

  10. Learned a great way to save money from a local consumer advisor: never ever spend a $5 bill. I started
    doing that about 3 years ago and I’ve paid for 2 vacations to the bach and covered all Christmas expenses
    for 2 years.
    Many times I’d receive two $5 bills in change instead of a $10 bill. I fold the bills over in my wallet so I
    won’t spend them, go home and throw the $5 bills in a box. Obviously I had to stop using my debit card
    and carry cash, but it has worked for me. It’s great in January when there are no Christmas charges on
    my credit cards. Also, I never spend coins and throw them in the box. If I pay $1.01 for an item I use
    bills only (never the $5 bills) and the coins add up much quicker than I ever imagined

  11. I’m not sure how often this forum is read because the most recent post is 8-9 months old. Anyway let me give another way to save bucks. Harbor Freight sells a EZFill propane coupler for about $15.00. I refill my old small propane containers. The little hand held ones that hold 16.4 OZ.. I pay $2.20 for a gallon of propane. I refill my small containers for 27.5cents each. last time I saw them in Wal-Mart they were 2 for $5.99, or $3 bucks each. I asked some camping friends for their old containers. Now I have about 20 containers filled ready for action. I also have about 8, 5 gallon propane tanks (form BBQ grills) filled ready for use. I just need to convert my 5000 watt generator to run on Propane. Gasoline goes bad in a number of months and may be in short supply in an emergency. The MacCoupler address is

  12. This website is like a breath of fresh air. Truth and honesty and humility are a great place to begin. We can then learn from each other. Thank you for all your openess and generous information. I hope to contribute down the road.
    Thank you.

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