Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by FastestWayToPrepare.com, the step-by-step online course that will get you prepared for short, medium, and long term breakdowns in civil order as quickly as humanly possible.
(David’s note: This week, I want to introduce you to Barbara Fix, A.K.A., “The Survival Diva.” You’re going to be seeing a lot more of her, including a novel that we’re working on together that will be released within the next few months. Barbara adds a strong female been-there-done-that prepper voice to the site and I’m excited to be working with her.
Barbara grew up in Alaska, and you guys are going to appreciate her no-nonsense approach to life and prepping. All of my female readers are going to appreciate having a little more of a female perspective and if you’ve got women in your life who have shied away from prepper sites because they’re testosterone fests, please “like” this week’s newsletter on Facebook and share it with them.
With that intro, here’s Barbara)
I enjoyed the recent post Do People STILL Think You’re Paranoid For Preparing? and found myself nodding my head in sympathy while I read it. As the author of Survival: Prepare Before Disaster Strikes, I’ve received my share of strange looks and whispers over prepping. Actually, I’ve come to view being called a Debbie Downer a term of endearment. If you’re struggling with backlash over your prepping at least you can take comfort in the knowledge that the prepper movement is gaining momentum at breakneck speed. Yet staunch naysayers remain surprisingly vocal in calling us out…but don’t let it get you down. Should calamity strike, you can bank on these same people making a B-line to your door at the first sign of trouble. In fact, many of you may have already heard the dreaded words, “I’ll just come to your place if things get bad.”
Well before the meltdown, I began prepping for twenty-three immediate and extended family members on a punishing budget (Northern Idaho is not known for income potential). I’d grown increasingly uncomfortable over having only a few days food in the pantry and no means to survive a grid-down scenario. Since that time, Mother Nature continues to give the globe a one-two punch that has lead to crop damage and centralized mayhem. On the economic front, things have only grown worse while the true unemployment numbers are being misreported–once displaced workers reach the end of their benefits, they are no longer counted. In 2012 home foreclosures exceeded what folks suffered during the Great Depression. And food prices continue to skyrocket with no end in sight due to crop failure, escalated oil prices (agricultural overhead and transportation of crops), and demand for commodities from emerging nations that far exceeds supply. With these events actually making it to the news, even naysayers have had to grudgingly admit it’s not a terrible idea to set aside food, water and basic preparedness goods. It only makes sense to prepare when the alternative leads to the devastation we witnessed during Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Japan to name a few.
If you are determined to prepare, there is good news. Preparedness can be done on a budget, without fear, and it can be done with stealth, so you can get on with your life, knowing you and your loved ones are covered in an emergency. If you have doubts about your budget having enough wriggle-room to prepare, please know that you can! I did; a single woman on a punishing budget. The only home-town advantage I had was being raised on an Alaskan homestead without electricity and running water, where an independent mindset was necessary for survival and an accepted way of life for Alaskans, even today. It didn’t hurt to be raised by a mother who hunted walrus from the Bearing Straight who was so frugal, she’d wrestle a nickel to the ground, squeezing every last ounce of value from it before she let go.
Here are a few tips on how I prepared for twenty-three on a punishing income. (David’s note…PLEASE re-read that sentence and let it sink in. ANY financial excuses that you’ve had up to this point should be put in their due place.)
First Have a Game Plan
You must have a workable game plan to succeed; meaning you must keep your surroundings, income, and abilities in mind–preferably before you start setting aside preparedness items. If you’ve already started prepping only to discover your plan needs revision, no worries. What may not work for your situation can be manna from Heaven for another and those items can be used for barter later on down the road.
Surroundings should be considered before setting aside food storage. Do you believe your area will remain relatively safe should food and water become scarce? If the answer is no, your best food storage plan is likely to be MRE’s, dehydrated, and freeze-dried foods because of their portability should you suddenly need to relocate. Another big plus is they generate fewer cooking odors that can draw looters and worse to your safe haven.
On the flip side, those of you living in a rural area, where looting is less likely, have a wider choice of food storage options such as bulk foods and canned goods.
Tip: We can survive for three days without water, and three weeks without food. When water is scarce and you cannot relocate, consider trading out traditional beds for water beds and keep a siphon on hand. Keep in mind that you won’t want to use traditional waterbed conditioner, you’ll need to drain and refill your bed more often, and you’ll want to run the water through a PURIFIER like a Berkey or a Pur .02 Log purifier before drinking it .
Ability includes having an alternative cooking method. Can you vent to the outdoors, or throw open a window for ventilation when using a camp stove, and if so, will it be safe to do so? Having 300 lbs. of dry beans in the basement won’t do you much good if you don’t have the ability to cook them–dry beans take up to two hours to cook! If you plan to use a camp stove, you should store plenty of propane canisters, or things will go downhill fast! Many die-hard preppers are set up for wood-burning cook stoves. This is how I set up my cabin because I’m on treed acreage that provides plenty of wood for fuel. In more southern locations, a large propane tank is a viable alternative for fuel needs.
Finances is something too many of us have become painfully aware of lately. Where once we may have had enough disposable income for food storage and preparedness goods, our efforts have been diverted to cope with skyrocketing food prices. This may be where sacrifice is called for, where high ticket items can be liquidated and used for prepping—basically converting them into an insurance policy against hunger.
How to Save On Food Storage
Preparedness isn’t limited to food storage, of course, but it’s an excellent place to start. The following are tips that allowed me to purchase a combination of canned, bulk, and MRE’s, dehydrated and freeze-dried foods for 23 people in record time.
MRE’s, Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Foods:
MRE’s are pricier per pound than bulk or canned goods, but when penciling in the costs of alternative cooking, it isn’t as drastic as it may seem on the surface. For the most part, MRE’s are fairly close in price between one provider and another. Where you can really save is shopping sales and searching for the lowest shipping costs. Some vendors offer free or reduced shipping.
Think about dehydrating your own food and storing it in zip-lock bags away from light, moisture and extreme temperature. Growers and pick-your-own farms are an excellent source for the do-it-yourselfer who wishes to dehydrate fruits and vegetables.
Bulk foods are a route many households choose to offset the rising cost of food, saving up to 50% or more. The Grocer Association reports an over 35% increase in bulk foods sales over the past several years and grocers have responded by beefing up their bulk foods, offering everything from spices to pastas to staples. The tradeoff is you forgo the fancy packaging and must store your bulk foods in opaque buckets, away from light, moisture and high or below freezing temperatures (the enemies of shelf life).
Another approach is contacting local growers for bulk foods such as beans, wheat, and corn (to be ground into corn meal). It isn’t unheard of to save upwards of 80% going this route.
Shop the dollar stores. They’re aware of the consumer’s need for affordable food and most are allotting more and more shelf space for canned goods. Dollar Stores are also one of the best sources for storage items such as toothpaste, shampoo, dish soap, bleach, zip-lock bags, paper plates and other preparedness goods. Purchasing at warehouse stores and grocer’s annual or semiannual flat sales can cut your costs in half or better. And don’t forget to watch for grocery store grand openings. Using these easy methods you’ll have your shelves stocked in no time.
Tip: Rotation is a good food storage choice for families. You simply stock up, and once you’ve put aside what’s needed, start consuming and replacing canned goods before they’ve reached their shelf life, which is typically two years (keep in mind this is optimal shelf life—the actual storage life can be years longer).
Pinch Those Nickels
Most of us are busy and clipping coupons or going online for weekly grocer circulars is on par with getting a root canal. But if you want to get those shelves stocked so you can get back to every-day life, you should make time for combat shopping. In the end, you won’t regret it.
Do you have money-saving tips that have worked for you? If so, please share them!
-Barbara (The Survival Diva)