The Survival Mom » Finances http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:21:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Prep Without Going Broke! 3 Ways Prepping Saves Me Money! http://thesurvivalmom.com/3-ways-prepping-saves-money/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=3-ways-prepping-saves-money http://thesurvivalmom.com/3-ways-prepping-saves-money/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 10:00:02 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=14830 It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the new gadgets and gizmos out there tempting you to buy them – and the preparedness industry is no exception. If you’re not careful you could be talked into spending $5000 for a year Read More

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save money prepping

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the new gadgets and gizmos out there tempting you to buy them – and the preparedness industry is no exception. If you’re not careful you could be talked into spending $5000 for a year supply of food, $15,000 for solar panels, and even $36,000 for your very own survival shelter!

Nothing is wrong with any of those things, but it can leave many people ready to give-up before they even start. Too many times we make the mistake of focusing on how expensive prepping is or, even worse, go broke trying to get there.

It doesn’t need to be that way – you can prep without going broke! In fact, it can actually cost you more if you don’t prep! Prepping saves money!

Since our family decided to prep, prices for everything have gone up, but our bills have gone down. We’ve been able to spend less and save more – something that has always been very difficult for us to do.

Prepping can save you money too, and lots of it. Here are 3 of the ways I’ve noticed it’s made a difference in our wallets.

3 Ways Prepping Can Save You Money:

1- Become a Do-It-Yourself Person

I never considered myself a do-it-yourself person, but when you realize you can pay $100 to have someone do something for you, or $1 to do-it-yourself, it just makes sense!

I’ve realized that preppers, on the whole, are very much about learning how to do things for themselves. That’s just part of being prepared. You never know if you’ll need a doctor, mechanic, or a handy-man, or even if they’ll be available if the time comes. You don’t have to wait until a worst-case scenario to use the skills you learn – you can start using them now! This will help you save big, because if you’ve been to the doctor or mechanic lately, they aren’t cheap!

Other than skills, learning to make & fix things can help you too! I’m constantly impressed with all the DIY projects I see people do. There are too many to name, but if you’re interested in making something instead of buying it, I’m sure there is a tutorial out there for you!

Some of my favorite DIY projects we’ve done include making a rocket stove, building a bow, & even sewing our own poo wipes. ;-) – I told you there are tutorials for EVERYTHING!!!

2- Get Huge Savings at the Store

Out of all the areas, the money I save from shopping (or more like NOT shopping) is the biggest! When I say I don’t go to the store often, I’m not talking about only going twice a month, but I’m talking about only going twice a year!

Stocking-up, which most preppers do, can really help you save big! Here are a few ways how:

  • Buy in Bulk – When you’re stocking up on food and supplies you can buy in bulk – and bulk pricing is usually significantly less than buying in smaller quantities.
  • Buy at the Best Prices! – If you’re only buying things a few times a year, you can buy when the prices are at the lowest. Therefore, you’re not stuck playing the grocery store game. You can play the coupon game instead.
  • Save on Gas – When you have everything you need at home, you’re not having to make last minute trips to the store for little things. Depending on how far away you live from the store, this can add up to a lot!
  • Not buying Extra Stuff! Maybe you have control over yourself and your kids when you go shopping, but sometimes I give in – I let them talk me into new shoes or a bag of Cheetos, and I usually find a cute necklace or something for the house. Even those these purchases may be small, they add up when you look at the entire year! Since I rarely go the store now, I’ve noticed my extra spending category has decreased quite a bit. Now if I could just figure out how to stay off Amazon I would be set!

3- Live a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle (instead of a Self-Indulgent One)

One surprising thing I noticed when striving to be more prepared: I stopped caring about keeping up with the Jones’. My priorities and focus definitely took a turn – I believe for the better.

No longer was I working towards a bigger house, nicer cars & more vacations, but instead I started spending extra time and money on starting a garden, learning new skills, and teaching my kids how to prep. One of our new mottos is…

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!”

I feel striving towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle helped me to embrace my cheap side and be proud of it! I’m fine with the fact that we don’t have the nicest things and my kids aren’t being spoiled to the max. I feel our society is becoming an entitled one, and I hope to not add to it.

Besides my focus changing, striving to be self-sufficient opened up a whole new world to me. There were so many things that never even occurred to me I could do for myself – grow my own food, raise chickens, make my own soap and laundry detergent, and so much more!!!

Has Prepping Saved You Money?

What do you think? Let us know how!

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Summer Jobs for Teenagers: Responsibility & Dedication Building Blocks http://thesurvivalmom.com/summer-jobs-for-teenagers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=summer-jobs-for-teenagers http://thesurvivalmom.com/summer-jobs-for-teenagers/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:00:15 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=14785 Whether you consider yourself a prepper, a survivalist or are simply striving to be self-sufficient, the basic building blocks for all these are responsibility and dedication. We teach young children these things through chores, extra-curricular activities, positive reinforcement and most Read More

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Summer Jobs for TeenagersWhether you consider yourself a prepper, a survivalist or are simply striving to be self-sufficient, the basic building blocks for all these are responsibility and dedication.

We teach young children these things through chores, extra-curricular activities, positive reinforcement and most importantly, by example. As children grow older, it is important to encourage them to be responsible and develop a life-long commitment to hard work.

In short, push those teenagers to get summer jobs!

Strict child-labor laws exist to ensure the safety and well-being of minors in the workforce so be sure to read up on those before nudging your teen to get a job. Generally, 16 is the age required to obtain employment without special work permits.

Some Chick-fil-A restaurants hire teens as young as 14 or 15.

However, other restrictions may still apply for those under 18 or even 21 years of age such as: working in a retail establishment that sells tobacco or alcoholic products, industrial businesses that operate heavy machinery or locations that may handle hazardous materials. Visit the Department of Labor website for more information on youth labor laws and be familiar with laws specific to your state as well.


Great beginner Summer Jobs


Mowing Yards/Lawn Care

Lawn care is a great way for teens to turn summer chores into summer cash. By the teenage years, your teen may already be mowing the family lawn and have years of experience helping mom pull weeds.

Parental Considerations:

  • What type of lawns you will permit your child to mow? Are you okay with your teen mowing steep hills, large acreage, etc.?
  • Who provides equipment? Are you willing to allow your teen to tote your Lawn-Boy all over town or do you prefer they find clients who provide their own mowers?
  • What type of lawn care is not acceptable? Are you okay for your child to use weed killers, pruning equipment, etc.?

Washing Cars

Washing cars is generally a fun way to make money for the teen circuit. A small initial investment may be required to purchase items needed such as cleansers, brushes, and towels or start off with an all-inclusive beginner kit such as Armorall’s Car Cleaning Kit  and build on product as you go.

 Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Attire – Discuss the importance of being professional and how working in a bikini may not be appropriate.
  • Discuss with your teen what they should offer based on their capabilities and availability. Detailing the inside of a vehicle requires a lot more work than hosing down the exterior and should be charged accordingly.
  • Give your teen a business boost by purchasing their start up product for them or consider having them pay back half once they have a few jobs under their belt. Discuss with them the importance of setting back a little ‘working capital’ that will be needed to replace expendable supplies.

Local Farms & Greenhouses

Farms and greenhouses are always looking for extra help and cheap labor during the peak summer season and this could be a great summer job for teenagers. Some will advertise for summer help and others may pass the word along through the grapevine. Do not be afraid to mention on social media sites or make phone calls to your friends and family that your teen is interested in finding some outdoor work.

Some farms/greenhouses may have always had their own children and/or children of other family members and friends help them out, but as life gets faster, help gets harder to find. Don’t be afraid to ask the clerk at your favorite farmer’s market or plant stand if they need any summer help or know of anyone who does.

Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Hydration – Farming/Gardening is hard and dirty work. Be sure your teen packs plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the long, sweaty day. Consider making Frozen Neck Wraps to help stay cool in the blazing summer sun.
  • Realize the outstanding prepping potential and self-sufficiency skills this type of work brings.

Local Pool Summer Jobs for Teenagers

If your town has a pool, aquatic center or water park, then they will always need lifeguards and concession workers. Local watering holes may advertise for their summer help, but if you missed the boat, check with your local city council or village hall to be directed to the right contact to apply.

Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Lifeguard training and certification can be pricey and classes are few and far between. However, the inconvenience can be well worth the effort as lifeguards are often in short supply. Check with your local YMCA or Red Cross to be directed to lifeguard training and certification classes near you.
  • With this training and certification, young people can help coach swim teams or give private swim lessons. These are both for-pay positions.

Babysitting

Babysitting has always been a popular job for teens and is no longer reserved for Friday and Saturday nights. During the summer months, teens can land a babysitting job taking care of younger children while mom and dad are at work.

Babysitting today is way beyond the cliché image of a teen girl chatting on the phone while the little ones destroy the house in the background. Today, it is common to find that parents want a sitter who can not only care for their child, but also provide an enriched environment that includes age-appropriate games and learning activities that keep the child engaged throughout the day.

The American Red Cross provides different levels of babysitter training and pediatric first aid to help prepare older teens and adults to provide the best child care.

Parental Considerations:

  • Clientele – Who will you allow your teen to sit for? Friends, family, neighbors or others?
  • How many children and what age(s) do you feel your teen can handle?

Dog Walking and Pet Sitting

Another oldie but goodie! Plaster a few flyers in areas common for dog walking, land a few clients, build a schedule that works for everyone and get to walking. Be sure to schedule a preliminary meeting between pooches if walking more than one dog at a time to be sure they get along to avoid potential dangers.

Vacationing families very often need a pet-sitter. This could be a viable and profitable option for older teens who can drive to their clients’ homes and are responsible enough to spend the night, if necessary, while the family is away.

Some Red Cross locations offer Pet First Aid classes, but if that’s not available, there’s a great pet first aid app for smartphones.

Parental Considerations:

  • Safety – What locations are okay for your teen to walk safely alone?
  • What breeds are forbidden and is your teen strong enough to control each dog?
  • Is your teen okay with properly handling and disposing of the doggie bags?
  • Is your teen mature and responsible enough to manage one or more pets in a household without supervision?

Local Aid Agencies

Check with government agencies such as your county Department of Job & Family Services or Community Action. Places such as these may offer junior training programs. Teens are placed with partners throughout the county for job training and experience and are paid the state minimum wage. Typical jobs through these kinds of programs may include:

  • Placement with local town or city maintenance crews mowing, weed eating, watering flower gardens, etc.
  • Working with nearby schools and their summer janitorial staff.
  • Placement with other government agency offices learning office fundamentals such as filing, answering phones, data entry, customer service, etc.

Food Service & Retail

Working in the food service or retail industry is a great way to add job experience to a teenage resume and openings are often plentiful. Fast food restaurants and pizza joints are often brimming with teenage employees and usually willing to hire those with no prior employment history.

However, the work can be downright dirty. Those entering the food service industry must be willing to clean public restrooms and greasy equipment as well as deal with numerous amounts of local patrons. Flexibility is typically a little tougher with these first-time jobs as your teen will be at the bottom of the totem pole and the establishment will have specific operating hours needing coverage.

Parental Considerations:

  • The Public – All walks of life may come in contact with your child and often times, have access to their name.
  • Is your teen mature enough to work in team-oriented environments in a professional and adult manner?

Overall Parental Considerations

  • Transportation for non-driving teens or driving teens without a vehicle:
    • Are you willing to help get them to and from work on time?
    • Will they have access to mom or dad’s car to transport themselves?
    • Are you able to help with transportation if it conflicts with your own work schedule?
  • Are you willing to accept your teen’s responsibility to work as scheduled when it comes to summer family events such as reunions, vacations and picnics?
  • Understand that many jobs are cash money such as babysitting and washing cars and therefore may not meet the minimum wage. Do not expect your teen to enter the work force with a high-paying salary but be sure they are paid a fair and honest wage for fair and honest work.
  • If your child is still too young for summer employment, pay attention now to where you see teens currently working so you have a better understanding later where to begin, and begin teaching them basic job skills at home, such as cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, making change, and telephone communication skills.

Be sure to talk about the importance of employment with your child. Make sure your teen understands that they are to behave in a mature manner and be responsible. Express the importance of being punctual, staying off devices and working hard.

Teenagers will be introduced to a new level of accountability beyond the classroom and consequences could result in loss of employment and an early black mark in ways of references for future job considerations. Discuss with them how to handle any potential conflict in the work place and to respect co-workers; including those who may have different life-styles, beliefs and personalities.

Most importantly, teach your teen how to handle their new financial gain responsibly and provide an ample amount of positive reinforcement as they embark on this new journey.

Would you like fries with that?

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What’s your threat: A personal financial disaster http://thesurvivalmom.com/personal-financial-disaster/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=personal-financial-disaster http://thesurvivalmom.com/personal-financial-disaster/#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 11:00:36 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=14672 It’s happened. You’ve just found out the main breadwinner in your family is now unemployed or maybe their hours have been cut. Either way, you’ve joined a growing club of Americans who are dealing with a loss of income, and Read More

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financial threat rectangleIt’s happened. You’ve just found out the main breadwinner in your family is now unemployed or maybe their hours have been cut. Either way, you’ve joined a growing club of Americans who are dealing with a loss of income, and all the hardships and stress that come with that membership. On one hand, you aren’t alone facing this financial disaster, but on the other, this isn’t a club that anyone wants to join!

Or, maybe in your case, it’s the discovery that health insurance premiums have tripled or, perhaps, an unexpected medical crisis has left you with a mountain of bills.

Whatever the cause, you’re facing a financial disaster.

Seeking solutions

Once the shock, tears, and other emotions have had their turn, it’s vital to search for solutions and put into place an action plan. Your family’s well-being and nothing less than its future depends on this.

If you find yourself in a panic mode, give my 16-Second Survival Breathing technique a try. If it works for the men and women in Special Ops, it can certainly work for you in a moment of panic!

It’s so important in this process to remain calm when the kids are around. I don’t recommend lying to them about your financial situation, but kids, especially young ones, cannot completely understand something as complicated as a family’s finances. They often take things literally and worry needlessly, like the time my kids found out that friends of ours had lost their house.

“How do you lose your house?” was a question I had to answer!

So, when the family is together, breathe your 16-second survival breath, if you must, but do your best to not give in to tears or a panic attack. You don’t want to add fearful children to your list of problems to solve, and at the end of the day, it’s solutions you need.

Income and out-go

I always feel better when I’ve taken some sort of action. It beats fretting and digging into a gallon of Blue Bell ice cream! If you’re dealing with a financial disaster, you, too, must take action, and developing a Family Financial Plan is part of that.

Check out this worksheet from my book, Survival Mom. It’s ready to download and print out.

A Family Financial Plan doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t necessarily need the assistance of a professional. You just need to take a look at the 2 main components of your situation: income and out-go.

How much money do you have coming in?

How much money is going out?

The first answer is likely the easiest one to answer. If you’ve lost a job, your income takes a dramatic plunge! However, there may still be severance pay and/or income from unemployment, disability, and other sources.

Write it all down, no matter how pathetic those numbers might appear. Somehow, when something is written down, it loses its power of intimidation.

The next step is to determine your family’s expenses, or, if you’re single, your own personal expenses. If you use a debit card for most of your purchases and for paying bills, this step is very easy with an online session at your bank’s website. Every single expense is listed there for easy categorization. If you haven’t gone through your monthly expenses in a while, you may very well be shocked at how quickly unnecessary expenses add up.

What if you don’t use a debit card but rely mostly on cash and checks? You aren’t off the hook, but it will take a little more effort to go through the checkbook and any receipts that you’ve kept.

If you use cash for expenses, keep track of those for at least a couple of weeks in order to get an idea of where that money is going.

If you haven’t guessed, the next step is to separate necessary expenses from those that are not truly necessary. This step takes a lot of guts because it may involve favorite activities, family traditions, and some of the small luxuries that so many of us take for granted.

Eliminating these expenses may be painful, but there’s also the possibility that the loss is temporary. I remember having to cancel my children’s music lessons because the extra money just wasn’t there, but the loss wasn’t forever. And, admit it, you’ve probably become accustomed to little luxuries that you won’t miss one bit once the initial pain has gone away.

Some folks call this, “living simply.

Opening up streams of income

Believe it or not, even in the toughest of economic times, it’s still possible to earn a living, and sometimes, a very, very good one. The concept to begin applying is to look for multiple ways to earn money. I explain this in more detail here.

After you’ve cut every expense you possibly can and you’ve researched creative ways to prepare yet another meal of rice and beans, it’s time to consider how your family can bring in extra income, and it doesn’t involve a paper route!

The easiest way to bring in some extra cash is through selling anything of value that you don’t want or need any more. Ebay, Craigslist, and local yard sale websites are an easy tool to use. If you love yard sale-ing, you might consider looking for yard sale bargains and re-selling them online or add them to your own stash of yard sale items. If you’re a smart shopper, you might turn a very nice profit.

Direct sales companies are enticing, but be careful about signing on the dotted line unless the initial investment is very, very low and you have at least 10 friends who have committed to being your first home party hosts. I spent 18 years in the direct sales industry, know every trick in the book for booking parties, recruiting new sales people, and up-selling, and I can tell you, it’s not all that easy to maintain this type of business, much less getting started.

What about mystery shopping? Well, I’ve done that, too! Generally, there’s a lot of effort involved with highly detailed reports required within a very tight time frame. This is best left to those with lots of time on their hands, a reliable vehicle, and plenty of gas money. You’ll need all 3 to turn even a small amount of profit.

A part-time job can bring in enough extra cash every week for groceries, and if your kids are teenagers or older, they can earn money for their own expenses, including that cell phone service that just wasn’t a necessary expense in the Family Financial Plan! And, two part-time jobs isn’t a bad idea, either.

Behind all of these suggestions is the critical notion of constant movement. You may start out working part-time at Waffle House or washing windows on the weekend, but doing something is energizing. Sitting at home, watching TV and playing video games is a sure route to more of the same: countless hours watching TV and playing video games. Neither of those activities will ever result in the solutions you and your family desire.

Assess your own skills and knowledge

There’s one more strategy for bringing in extra income, and it involves the bank of skills and knowledge you’ve acquired.

There are a lot of people who want to learn how to can food, make jelly, speak another language, or learn CPR. If you have mastered just about any skill, you can teach it. If you can produce a quality product, you can sell it, and the internet makes this easier than ever.

If you’re a walking encyclopedia of herbal remedies, you can turn that into a side business by offering classes or writing articles for websites and magazines and ebooks. Learn how to quilt and you can not only sell your quilts but you can teach others to quilt. Start a quilting blog and earn money from advertisers and affiliate sales.

One woman in Phoenix has turned her lush suburban homestead into a very successful business, delivering organic vegetables, goat cheese, and fresh eggs to upscale customers who happily pay her prices.

Are you an expert hunter or fisherman? Have you considered advertising your skills as a hunting guide or fishing instructor?

All these skills and hundreds more can help add income to your budget when you teach them! Offer classes to a homeschool group. Call a community college or a community center to find out how to teach

There is no limit to where your skills and knowledge can take you. Here’s my master list of practical skills. See which ones you have mastered, or could become an expert in a short amount of time and consider how they could be turned into an income source.

Do accept help when it’s offered

If your child or grandchild suddenly collapsed in a busy mall, would you refuse help offered by a doctor or nurse who happened to be there that day?

Of course not! In a crisis, you need all the help you can get.

Well, a financial crisis is no different. I encourage you to accept all offers of help from unemployment payments to EBT cards, food banks, and anything else your community, church, and circle of friends has to offer. Most people who offer help see it as a privilege and a way to pass on a blessing.

If you’re uncomfortable with this, and most self-reliant minded people are, then look for ways that you can help others.

Attitude is everything

Everyone experiences a setback, sometimes many setbacks in their lives. If your attitude about this financial setback becomes one that brings your family together as a tighter unit, and you find yourself able to focus on the good things that life brings with it every day, you’re already on your way to recovery.

Attitude is everything, and a common refrain heard from those who lived through the Great Depression, “We didn’t even know we were poor,” illustrates the difference attitude make. Your attitude is contagious.

Saving money and cutting back on expenses can become a game, with everyone wanting to get involved. When I serve a home cooked meal, I tell my family, “There’s $40 we didn’t spend at a restaurant!, and we all cheer.

Our culture continually tells us the lie that we must constantly be acquiring in order to be happy and successful. Face that lie with the truth: it’s not STUFF that is most important in life.

What if the financial disaster hasn’t hit yet?

There are communities around the country where unemployment is relatively low and, perhaps, a bit of true economic recovery has occurred. If your family is still enjoying a stable income, it’s nevertheless wise to begin thinking, “What if…?”

Here are a few tips from my book, Survival Mom, that will help you prepare just in case there’s an income loss in your family’s future:

1. Cut back hard on unnecessary expenses now.

2. Begin living as though your income were cut by one-third.

3. Pay extra on your utilities each month. Try to get 3 or 4 months ahead. This is money in the bank should the worst happen.

4. Use coupons and store sales to stock up on several weeks’ worth of food, toiletry items, and cleaning supplies.

5. If your job is currently secure, put in extra effort to make yourself indispensable. Figure out how to make your boss look good!

6. If you have credit card debt, make minimal payments, for now, and stash whatever you can in a savings account.

7. Learn a new skill or brush up on old ones that might be useful to bring in another stream of income.

A financial disaster doesn’t have to mean the end of the world if you keep your wits about you and focus on what can be done to keep your family thriving.

 

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Survival Survey: Shopping & comparing the dollar stores http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-survey-shopping-comparing-dollar-stores/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=survival-survey-shopping-comparing-dollar-stores http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-survey-shopping-comparing-dollar-stores/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 21:30:13 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=13168 Dollar stores can be very useful when looking for items for emergency kits and overall preparedness. I’ve scoured the aisles of various dollar stores and left with everything from office supplies to canned foods. Once I was able to stock Read More

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dollar stores

image by www.CourtneyCarmody.com/

Dollar stores can be very useful when looking for items for emergency kits and overall preparedness. I’ve scoured the aisles of various dollar stores and left with everything from office supplies to canned foods. Once I was able to stock up on a large quantity of Himalayan pink salt.

We haven’t done a Survival Survey in quite a while (where I ask a question and you answer!), but I’m really interested in your experiences with the various dollar stores around the country. The most widespread seem to be:

  • Dollar Tree
  • Family Dollar
  • Dollar General
  • 99 Cents Only
  • Real Deals Dollar Store

How do these dollar stores compare with each other? Do you have any strategies for shopping at certain stores on certain days? What survival and preparedness products have you found?

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52 Week Savings Plan: March prepping bargains to keep your savings on track http://thesurvivalmom.com/52-week-savings-plan-march-prepping-bargains-keep-savings-track/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=52-week-savings-plan-march-prepping-bargains-keep-savings-track http://thesurvivalmom.com/52-week-savings-plan-march-prepping-bargains-keep-savings-track/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12972 If you are on the 52 Week Savings Plan, then you are likely looking for super savings on just about everything you buy! The month of March brings with it opportunities to save on all kinds of items that will Read More

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PicMonkey Collage 52 weeks 2.4If you are on the 52 Week Savings Plan, then you are likely looking for super savings on just about everything you buy!

The month of March brings with it opportunities to save on all kinds of items that will help you become more prepared for everyday disasters and worst case scenarios. Here’s a summary along with some helpful links.

(Be sure to print out this chart to track your savings!)

1.  Frozen foods

When you find these at rock bottom prices, especially if you have accompanying coupons, then buy, buy, buy! March is National Frozen Food Month, and you’ll find coupons in the newspaper as well as in the special Sunday coupon fliers.

Why frozen food? Well, you can stock your freezer with frozen veggies and fruits, in particular, but take that a step further and dehydrate those foods for a much longer shelf life. After all, when the power goes out, just how much meat and frozen foods can you eat in a 48 hour time span?

Dehydrating frozen veggies and fruits is the absolute easiest way to preserve food. Spread the frozen food on a dehydrator tray and push the ‘start’ button. That’s it. The foods have already been washed and chopped for you, so you save on all that prep time. For larger pieces of food, broccoli, for example, cut the large pieces in half before dehydrating.

Store your dried food in canning jars along with an oxygen absorber or vacuum pack the jars using something like a Food Saver. Store the jars in a dark, cool place for the longest possible shelf life.

2.  Winter coats and cold-weather gear

Stores want to get rid of this, you want to buy it at super-low prices for next year. It’s a win-win for everyone! Shop online as well as in local brick-and-mortar stores, and be sure to store your winter purchases somewhere where the clothing will be safe from insects.

Also look for items like snow shovels, hand/foot warmers, and ice scrapers.

3.  Craft supplies

March is National Craft Month, so look for coupons to stores like Michael’s, JoAnne, and Hobby Lobby. You may find products to organize your emergency supplies, plain t-shirts (buy the kids brightly colored ones so they’ll be easy to find in a crowd), yarn and other supplies for crochet and knit, sharpies, supplies to keep kids busy during power outages, and super glue.

4.  St. Patrick’s Day treats

If you love corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes, then this is your month! All these foods can be canned, and both cabbage and potatoes are easily dehydrated.

To can corned beef, you’ll need a pressure canner. Although this gigantic pot looks intimidating, canning expert Diane Devereaux says that canning meat and chicken is the easiest thing to can. Here are two recipes to get you started:

5.  Spring cleaning supplies

Again, watch for coupons and store sales, but for some reason, product manufacturers think that all of us will be spending our beautiful spring days indoors, busily scrubbing and cleaning…stuff.

image by Pink Sherbet PhotographyThat’s not my idea of fun, but you will likely find very good prices on all sorts of cleaning supplies for stocking up. Some to use now and some to set aside as part of your preparedness efforts.

6.  Junk food

March brings with it March Madness and with it, discounts on all sorts of junk food for sports fans. The only effective way to lengthen the shelf life of junk food is to repackage it, either in canning jars using a food vacuum sealer or in jars/mylar pouches with oxygen absorbers.

If your family typically eats junk food and you can find it at super low prices, you might as well stock up, keep it under lock and key, and then use it up over a period of a few months time. As long as it’s stored in a cool, dark location that is free from pests, the food should last at least 6 months.

7.  Easter ham

Follow these instructions for canning ham, so you’ll have it all year long. Go ahead and freeze some as well, but be sure to cut it into meal-size chunks before freezing.

If you can, hold off on buying Easter candy until after Easter. That’s when you’ll be able to scoop up bags of pastel colored M&Ms and boxes of Peeps. Why stock up on candy? They’re comfort foods for a lot of people and can be vacuum sealed for a nice long shelf life.

8.  Produce in season

Continue to think canning and dehydrating while watching for best prices on these foods:

Keep saving your coins and dollars and stay on track with your 52 Week Savings Plan!

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52 Week Savings Plan Revisited http://thesurvivalmom.com/52-week-savings-plan-revisited/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=52-week-savings-plan-revisited http://thesurvivalmom.com/52-week-savings-plan-revisited/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 18:42:05 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12952 Last year in January I posted this article on a 52 week savings plan. I want to encourage all of you to try it again this year! Even though it’s the second week of February, don’t panic! It’s not too Read More

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Last year in January I posted this article on a 52 week savings plan. I want to encourage all of you to try it again this year! Even though it’s the second week of February, don’t panic! It’s not too late to start! According to the plan, by the last week of January, all you needed to have saved was $15. Add $7 more for the first week of February, and you’re completely caught up until the end of this week when you’ll want to put $8 more aside. If you stick with it, you’ll have $45 saved by the last Saturday of the month and you’ll be off to a great start. After completing the full plan, you’ll have a nice pile of cash ($1378 in all) ready for anything from car emergencies to a small vacation!

52 Week Savings Plan

Don’t worry if you’ve never done much saving before. As I wrote about previously here, you aren’t alone. However, that doesn’t change the importance of saving money. The 52 week savings plan is a great way to get started on saving even if you have very little experience.

So how ’bout it? Will you commit to setting aside some money every week for the next year? Have you ever done this plan or a similar plan in the past? Join the discussion at the SurvivalMom forum!

Download this cool savings chart here.

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Did you know you can’t eat paracord? http://thesurvivalmom.com/know-cant-eat-paracord-precious-metals-giveaway/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=know-cant-eat-paracord-precious-metals-giveaway http://thesurvivalmom.com/know-cant-eat-paracord-precious-metals-giveaway/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 06:25:18 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12579 One of the most common comments I hear in prepper and survival circles when the topic of buying gold and silver come up is, “Well, you can’t eat gold and silver! I’m stocking up on food!” Storing food is important Read More

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One of the most common comments I hear in prepper and survival circles when the topic of buying gold and silver come up is, “Well, you can’t eat gold and silver! I’m stocking up on food!”

junk silverStoring food is important and is something I’ve often written about. However, you can’t eat paracord, water purifiers, or survival knives, and all these things are accepted without question as survival staples.

I think precious metals should be included as a fundamental staple. Here’s why.

Sooner or later, every culture known has developed their own fiat currency. Even on the isolated tropical island of Yap. Most preppers would view Yap as the perfect bug out location. It has fresh water on the island, there’s a wealth of fish available, as well as plenty of tropical produce. It’s a location where self-sufficiency is a given and what one islander needs, surely another islander has, and the two can barter.

However, many years ago the islanders discovered the need for a fiat currency, and what they resorted to were giant limestone carvings, similar to the shape of a doughnut. The larger the limestone doughnut, the wealthier the individual.

Even with all the fish, tropical produce, and fresh water the island offered, its residents realized they needed something that was universally accepted in trade.

Many preppers and survivalists around the world are counting on a barter system to provide their needs in a SHTF scenario. I’ve written about the limitations of barter here and  here.

In some cases, yes, barter will be a great option for meeting needs and wants. However, what happens when none of your neighbors and friends have what you need or they have it and don’t want to give it up?

Just like the residents of Yap, a currency of some sort will develop sooner or later. Junk silver is an affordable form of a fiat currency that has intrinsic value because the coins are 90% silver, and it very well may become a widely accepted currency in an economic collapse. At that point, the American dollar will have little value.

I talk about junk silver in this podcast, if you’d like to learn more.

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I take 2 weeks off and all hell breaks loose http://thesurvivalmom.com/take-2-weeks-hell-breaks-loose/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=take-2-weeks-hell-breaks-loose http://thesurvivalmom.com/take-2-weeks-hell-breaks-loose/#comments Mon, 21 Oct 2013 10:03:54 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12551 WARNING: This is an editorial, of sorts, and contains some snark. Hi everyone! I’m back. Early in October, I decided I needed to set aside some time to work on a book project (more about that later) and take some Read More

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WARNING: This is an editorial, of sorts, and contains some snark.

Hi everyone! I’m back.

Early in October, I decided I needed to set aside some time to work on a book project (more about that later) and take some time relaxing. Over the past few months, we have worked toward moving our family and all our belongings and animals to Texas, a daunting undertaking with more than a few setbacks.

image by OakleyOriginals

image by OakleyOriginals

The last week, in particular, has been amazing. I’ve been in Park City, Utah, enjoying brisk autumn weather in the company of my kids. Hubby had to work.

My own complicated circumstances, though, pale in comparison with the turmoil our country has endured this month. From wild-eyed EBT users emptying Walmart shelves, to the USDA directing states to stop funding EBT cards and renegade Park Rangers, it’s been a wild month.

If we ever wondered how our fellow citizens, at least some of them, might respond to a truly SHTF scenario, I think we got a really good idea from the Walmart event. In case you weren’t following the news, here’s what went down.

On October 12, customers using EBT cards in 17 states discovered, to their horror, that when they took their carts of food and other products to the cashier, their cards were declined.

Now, I’ve had that happen to me before with my debit card when I wasn’t paying attention to our bank account balance. It’s not fun, and many of these people have truly fallen on hard times. With record numbers of Americans unemployed or underemployed, I’m sure that some of you have had to sign up for government assistance. There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it.

However, there’s another whole group of people who eagerly take dishonest advantage whenever the opportunity presents itself. In Walmart employees were instructed to go ahead and let these shoppers shop. Well, they ransacked the store, filling multiple carts with anything and everything, promising store employees that yes, indeed, their EBT card would cover their purchases once the glitch was fixed.

One woman who swore she had more than enough on her EBT card to cover the $700 worth of merchandise in her carts had only a .49 cent credit.

Here’s the official explanation for lapse of EBT card funds:

“Xerox, which is the vendor for the EBT systems across Oklahoma and other states, experienced a power outage that caused the system to go down.” — Sheree Powell, Director of Communications for Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Hmmmm….

I happen to know that buildings that house banks and other “critical systems”, have engineers available 24/7, so things like this don’t happen. They regularly have drills and multiple back-ups to their back-ups, so I’m highly, highly skeptical of this explanation.

Then just days later came news of the infamous USDA letter. It instructed states to stop transferring EBT funds in November, which would effectively cause millions of families across the country to experience the same scare as those EBT shoppers on October 12. I’ve searched the internet for more details and verification, and the letter is legit. It was referred to in this Utah news report, and I’ve read through it twice.

Just as worrisome is this report from Massachusetts that if the shutdown had continued, the state wouldn’t have been able to continue rent payments to landlords of Section 8 housing.

And if that wasn’t enough, armed Park Rangers blockaded open air monuments, set up barriers so Americans couldn’t even view Mount Rushmore, and then harassed a busload of elderly tourists, refusing them even the opportunity to use a restroom!  Shameful and embarrassing.

What a mess!

So, while I was relaxing and basking in a hot tub, miraculously, the shutdown came to an end and (some) Americans breathed a sigh of relief. But, the budget problem wasn’t solved. Not hardly. As a matter of fact, our government hasn’t even operated on a budget since 2005! There are no constraints, no financial rules to follow, and nothing was solved just because the players in this game arrived at a temporary resolution.

Well, there’s always at least one lesson to be learned in any type of event, so here’s what I learned.

1.  At the first sign of any type of disruption in our banking system, stay away from malls, stores, banks, and, especially, Walmart. If you aren’t prepared to hunker down for the duration, whether it’s a few hours or several weeks, then it’s too late and you’re in trouble. Making an emergency trip to the store to stock up after the fact leaves you wide open as a target. I mean, do you really want to be pushing a full grocery cart through a parking lot when dozens of angry people haven’t been able to access funds, whether by EBT, Visa, or otherwise?

By the way, a “disruption” could be reports of banks limiting their hours, closing early, setting limits on the amount of withdrawals, or a “bank holiday.” All are warning signs that something is seriously wrong and a signal to be as fully prepped as you possibly can be.

2.  Bureaucrats, by nature, are heartless. In a single letter, millions of people were threatened with starvation by the very government that promised to give them the support they needed. In a collapse, expect no help whatsoever from official channels. If some form of help happens to come your way, say “Thank you,” ever so nicely and move on.

3.  If Park Rangers, of all people, can be turned into an armed force, willing to go to the extreme measures we witnessed during the shutdown, then so can all the other various branches of government that we think exist to protect and serve us. After all, we pay their salaries, right?

Public servants, I believe they’re called.

This particular Ranger doesn’t look too thrilled with what he’s been ordered to do, but then he obeys orders after all.

I hope you’re convinced that it’s time to be prepared for a crazier-than-this future.  At the very least, in a corner of your home, begin stashing canned foods, soap, over-the-counter medications, toilet paper, and other necessities. My book, Survival Mom, details how to prepare your home and family.

Another financial crisis is right around the corner. It could be another shutdown scare, Congressional budget battle, stock market crash, bank closures, or a complete collapse of our banking system and economy.

What we don’t know is what the full impact will be. So, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. That’s what every Survival Mom and Survival Dad can do.

 

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Leave your child the gift of “buried treasure”, aka junk silver http://thesurvivalmom.com/leave-child-gift-buried-treasure-aka-junk-silver/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=leave-child-gift-buried-treasure-aka-junk-silver http://thesurvivalmom.com/leave-child-gift-buried-treasure-aka-junk-silver/#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2013 19:26:34 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12520 This post sponsored by Provident Metals, an online seller of junk silver and other precious metals. Visit their website to order your own junk silver. Saved junk silver is a buried treasure Every child dreams of finding buried treasure. Heck, Read More

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This post sponsored by Provident Metals, an online seller of junk silver and other precious metals. Visit their website to order your own junk silver.

Saved junk silver is a buried treasure

Every child dreams of finding buried treasure. Heck, adults do too, thus the popularity of the Powerball!

image by FateDenied

image by FateDenied

Last year I read a report from a fellow whose grandpa had left him a jar of quarters and dimes. Definitely something akin to buried treasure.

That’s a nice little gift on its own, but what made it even sweeter was that those coins were all junk silver — minted pre-1965. In other words, that jar was full of 90% real silver! Its true worth was far more valuable than the face value of the coins.

At the time I said, “Wow, what a great gift,” and felt a little envious.

It didn’t occur to me that I could leave the exac same gift for my children, and that’s what I’m doing now.

I have 2 canning jars labeled with both kids names, and every so often I add a few junk silver coins to each jar.

That silver is part of their inheritance. Who knows what its value will be decades from now or how useful it might be as barter currency?

Just 14 years ago on 9/11, silver was $5 an ounce. When I was a kid and my grandparents were around to save silver coins, it was less than a dollar an ounce!

Today an ounce runs more than twenty bucks.

Junk silver is easy to identify and easy to buy

Any American silver coin minted in 1964 or earlier is 90% silver.

The George Washington quarter we use every day was 90% silver until 1965. Same thing with those Roosevelt dimes and the Franklin half dollar.

One reason I personally favor these coins is because they are so identifiable. With a quick glance at the year stamped on the coin, I know right away if it’s junk silver or not, and so will anyone else in a financial transaction.

If you start checking the coins you have in your wallet and pockets, you’ll quickly notice that finding junk silver among them is nearly impossible. They’ve been snatched up by collectors or pulled out of circulation entirely.

Instead, you’ll do better filling that “buried treasure” jar by visiting either coin stores or buying online.

Do check out online precious metals dealers

Provident-MetalsSometimes I buy junk silver from coin stores, but it all too easily slips my mind or I get too busy to make the trip. Also, a few of those stores are in less desirable parts of town and I’m somewhat paranoid walking out of the store with my little bag of silver treasure.

Provident Metals is an online company that specializes in selling precious metals, including junk silver. I noticed their variety of purchase options and  reasonable shipping prices when I placed an order myself.*  Their website is full of great tutorials, including this article about junk silver and its history.

You can ship orders to other addresses, perfect for grandparents wanting to fill their grandkids’ piggy banks with a little something that will hold its value forever.

Don’t be afraid of sticking your toe in the precious metals pool. I was very nervous the first time I went to a coin store with a hundred dollars in hand. At the time it didn’t make sense to hand over a perfectly good hundred dollar bill in exchange for a few coins, but the value of those coins has increased, while $100 buys less and less these days.

Educate your kids and grandkids

Teach your kids about the junk silver you’re collecting. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should they ever take one of those quarters and put it in the gumball machine!

Today’s teens and young adults have personally experienced the downturn of our economy and want more secure futures. If you teach them about precious metals and then give them that jar of junk silver, they will already be ahead of their peers who think silver is just for piercings!

 

*I was VERY happy with Provident Metals ordering and shipping systems. My order for a couple of ounces of junk silver was shipped the same day the order went in.

 

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New VIDEO conference! “Frugal Back-to-School” TONIGHT! http://thesurvivalmom.com/new-video-conference-frugal-back-school-tonight/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-video-conference-frugal-back-school-tonight http://thesurvivalmom.com/new-video-conference-frugal-back-school-tonight/#comments Tue, 03 Sep 2013 20:20:35 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12416 There’s something new and very cool in the Survival Mom’s bag ‘o tricks! Beginning tonight, Tuesday, September 3, we are beginning a series of video classes for you. Everyone is invited! Tonight’s Video Vibe is all about beginning the school Read More

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moneyThere’s something new and very cool in the Survival Mom’s bag ‘o tricks! Beginning tonight, Tuesday, September 3, we are beginning a series of video classes for you.

Everyone is invited!

Tonight’s Video Vibe is all about beginning the school year on a budget. How do you save money on school supplies, groceries for packing lunches, clothes, and more? This is the time of year when parents are hit hard with sports fees, the cost of school uniforms, expenses for extracurricular activities, textbooks, and the list goes on and on!

Join our panel of experts, who will share creative ideas for saving money, not just this month but throughout the year!

Donna Miller hosts “Surviving on Shoestrings” and will be talking about ways for families to cope during tight times and timely money-saving tips.

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and the founder of The Dollar Stretcher. This man knows every trick in the book for saving money and establishing a sound financial future for your family.

Scott Fitterman‘s area of expertise is using the internet to track down online bargains. He’s the founder of Coupon Cactus.

I invite you to be a part of this live, fun event!

Here is the link you need to click on, just a few minutes before our start time: http://fuze.me/21163135

To really enjoy the full video interaction, that link will ask if you’d like to download the Fuzebox app. Do it! It’s super quick and will make a lot of difference.

SPACE IS LIMITED!

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