The Survival Mom » Finances http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Sat, 04 Jul 2015 15:53:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Living Off the Grid, (or Close to it) Urban Style http://thesurvivalmom.com/urban-living-off-grid/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/urban-living-off-grid/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2015 07:47:52 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23529 Admit it, you have been thinking about it. Off the grid living. Late at night, at the end of a long day, you have pictured your life off grid. Images of Little House on the Prairie come to mind. Maybe you ponder becoming a long bearded man living in the mountains, content to be a […]

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urban living off grid

Admit it, you have been thinking about it. Off the grid living.

Late at night, at the end of a long day, you have pictured your life off grid. Images of Little House on the Prairie come to mind. Maybe you ponder becoming a long bearded man living in the mountains, content to be a hermit.

You are not alone in your thoughts, as more people are choosing an off grid lifestyle. Some are able to escape the noisy concrete city and move to quiet acreage in the Midwest or another idyllic country setting. However, for many, like me, work and family obligations make that impossible, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to live as off the grid as possible.

Living off grid is defined as being self-sufficient of municipal utilities, such as water, natural gas, electricity, sewer and trash services. Choosing to live an urban off grid life is possible and does have many advantages.

One advantage is knowing that you and your family can be prepared and will be able to survive quite well when a disaster happens. Many have been able to save money on their utilities and purchases. Others have found peace and confidence in their new learned skills along their path to grid-less-ness, but do not conjure up a romanticized version of happily churning your own butter and building an outhouse. Off-grid living, whether urban, suburban, or rural, isn’t the easiest choice you’ll ever make!

Urban living off-grid

The type of home in which you are living determines, in large part, the extent to which you can go grid-free. If you are in a home with a yard, it is easier to become more self-sufficient. Apartment life can accommodate a degree of off-grid living, just in a smaller scale.

An advantage for both types of homes is that everything you normally need in the course of a day or week is close to home. Walking or biking around town provides great exercise and saves money on gas, vehicle maintenance and insurance. Bikes can be inexpensive and easy to repair. A wagon or cart can be added to the back.

Public transportation, like the bus system, can be very economical. Try the various methods of transportation your city offers and know what works best for you. Look into monthly passes, if used regularly, it may save you money. Pay attention to where you go and its location. Combine trips, shop in your local neighborhood and learn of new activities in your community for your family. Libraries, parks, swimming pools, local colleges and recreation centers offer free or low cost entertainment and activities. All of these options will allow you to not be reliant on your gasoline/diesel powered vehicles and the supply of fuel into your community. It will also help you to save money.

Being independent of all utilities may not be possible, but minimizing usage and creating your own electricity can be. Solar panels are one alternative and can be installed on various types of homes. Be aware that an entire house solar system will be tied to the grid and will be vulnerable to the effects of an EMP, should that ever occur.

Another way to save money and energy is to minimizing your electricity usage. Some easy suggestions are:

• Unplugging everything that isn’t currently being used. This will help you realize what you rely on the most and then find ways of coping without that appliance, electronic, or whatever.
• Turning off lights. Try to go for 48 hours without using any lamps or electric lights of any kind. This will help you figure out what kind of lighting you would need in a grid-down emergency.
• Throwing on an extra layer of clothing on in the winter
Hand washing clothes
• Hanging clothes on a clothes line
• Insulating your attic
• Wash dishes by hand
• Close unused air vents
• Swap regular bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs

Going off-grid with your water and food supply

We need to use water for cooking, cleaning and washing, we just need to be wise about our water usage. Whether your water comes from a well or the city, less is better. Try some of these simple methods to reduce your dependence and cost of water:

• Short showers, maybe shower at the gym. A 5-minute shower can save you up to 1,000 gallons per month.
• Have a 5 gallon bucket in the shower to hold any water that is running while you find the right temperature for your shower. Use this water for plants or flushing the toilet.
• Keep a clean dishpan in the kitchen sink. It will hold the running water you use when washing hands and rinsing veggies.
• Use this water for your garden or washing dishes
• Install water saving shower heads, faucets and toilets
• Use a rain barrel system to collect water for your garden

Begin to minimize your dependence on grocery stores by growing your own food as much as possible. Start small with just 1 vegetable and 1 herb. If the plants don’t seem to be thriving, try using more or less water, a fertilizer (consult a nursery), but be sure to make notes. Growing food to any large extent is extremely difficult and can take years to master.

Apartment balconies can hold pots for vegetables and you can build vertical growing systems. In a home, you can plant in flowerbeds, allot a spot in your yard for a garden or add containers for additional space. Learn how to vertical garden and utilize the fence and exterior walls of your home. If you do not have the space to garden, consider community gardens. The are a low cost option and give you an opportunity to know your neighbors. Another option is to arrange with a neighbor that, in exchange for the use of their backyard for your garden, you’ll give them a percentage of the harvest and cover the cost of water, fertilizer, seeds, mulch, and the like.

Choosing to become more self sufficient and rely less on the grid can be an overwhelming thought. It is a lifestyle choice, a commitment to use less, save money and prepare. Take these suggestion and implement them into your life one by one. You will find more money in your budget to stock up on food and other emergency supplies for your family as you implement urban living off-grid. Maybe this will increase your savings so you can get that acreage in your favorite rural countryside.

*Check with city and county codes before going partial or off grid.

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52 Weeks Savings: June brings sunshine and summer deals http://thesurvivalmom.com/52-weeks-savings-june-sales-and-bargains/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/52-weeks-savings-june-sales-and-bargains/#respond Wed, 03 Jun 2015 16:30:49 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23448 In June, we celebrate summer, Father’s, graduations, weddings and Flag Day. It marks the halfway point of the year and on the 25th, it will only be six months until Christmas! Maybe this is the month to start making a holiday gift list and begin looking for bargain-priced gifts, well before the shopping rush begins. […]

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52 weeks savings challengeIn June, we celebrate summer, Father’s, graduations, weddings and Flag Day. It marks the halfway point of the year and on the 25th, it will only be six months until Christmas! Maybe this is the month to start making a holiday gift list and begin looking for bargain-priced gifts, well before the shopping rush begins.

There are loads of great June sales and bargains. Here’s what we’ve tracked down for you.

Food sales

June is National Dairy Month, which means there will be sales on ice cream, cheese, butter, milk, cream cheese, yogurt and popsicles. Most of these freeze very well, so it is an easy thing to stock up on. June is Turkey Lovers Month, so there should be sales on turkey deli meat (whole turkeys are cheapest to buy around Thanksgiving).

Cookout supplies are also on sale, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, buns and charcoal. If a charcoal grill is one of your alternate cooking options, it would be a good time to stock up on it. Soda, iced tea and bottled water also go on sale. Bottled water is a great thing to have on hand for almost every emergency. I keep a case in our vehicle during the summer months for when we are out and about.

Watermelon goes on sale during June, and there will be good deals on lots of seasonal produce. Consider going to farmer’s markets or researching what u-pick farms are near you to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. It can be preserved by canning, freezing or dehydrating.

TIP: Think about what desserts you might want to have in the winter months and get the fruit for it now.

Here is what is usually in season in June:

June Household Sales and Bargains

Tools, tools and more tools: with Father’s Day, the typical gifts for dad are on sale. Cologne and menswear will also be on sale for this occasion. Dishes and kitchen appliances should be on sale to coincide with wedding season. Graduations start winding down in June, so the party supplies will be on sale, which can be used for future parties or for food storage supplies.

TIP: Paper plates are a very handy items in an emergency. They don’t need to washed, so you avoid wasting valuable time and water, and you can either shred and compost them or burn them in a campfire. The best thing is that paper plates from any past holiday or birthday party work just fine for this purpose!

For household items, some small electronics like camcorders and computers should be on sale. Both are good items to have on hand for keeping track of inventory for personal and insurance purposes. Carpeting and indoor furniture are usually on sale in June.

Women’s underwear, bras and lingerie are a hot item in June, since Victoria’s Secret holds its semi-annual sale in June.

And, as always, be on the lookout for gifts! Sooner or later, a birthday, bridal/baby shower, wedding, or some other holiday will surprise you, and when that happens, most of us usually go into the panic-shopping mode! That’s the mode where we don’t care how much something costs — we just need to get that gift today! Don’t be that crazy-eyed lady at the mall! Shop ahead and look for the bargains posted here in this article as well as the entire, monthly 52 Weeks Savings series on this blog.

Outside the home

Gardening items start going on sale in June. It is never too early to start planning next year’s garden. Stock up on seeds and gardening tools. Seed planters are handy along with organic fertilizer. June is Rose Month, since most are in bloom. This can mean lower prices for roses and rose bushes in June.

Sports and Fitness

Summer sports gear and swim gear go on sale in June. Many people tend to focus their exercise outside in June, so indoor exercise equipment goes on sale and some gyms may offer discounted memberships. June is hosts National Fishing & Boating Week and National Get Outdoors Day, so local parks and recreation departments may offer special and possibly free activities for those days.

Events                  

Taking a staycation this year? Check out this link for a list of blogs for fun things to do in different states: .

June is also National Aquarium Month, so if you have a local aquarium, they may offer deals.

Some stores and restaurants like to participate in specific special days, so keep an eye out for deals on the following days:

June 5 – National Doughnut Day

June 7 – National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

June 10 – Iced Tea Day

June 18 – Go Fishing Day

June 20 – Ice Cream Soda Day

June 27 – Sunglasses Day

Flea markets and yard sales gear up this month and are a great way to find deals on almost any item. Here’s a list of 21 things to always be on the lookout for.

Activities for Children

Summer reading programs are in full gear in June as schools let out for the summer. Check your local library and local bookstores to see what they offer. For a list of stores, theaters and online programs, visit http://savingdollarsandsense.com/free-summer-reading-programs/.

Several stores also offer children freebies as a reward for a good report card. Ask your local stores if they do anything for report cards or, for a list, visit http://savingdollarsandsense.com/good-report-card-freebies/.

Check local hardware and craft stores for children’s make-and-take events.

Register at www.kidsbowlfree.com to get children up to 2 free games of bowling a day at your local bowling alley.

Some movie theaters offer discount movies during the summer. Check your local theater for prices and movie listings.

Money saving tips

In the summer, close blinds and curtains to keep sun out on hot days to reduce cooling costs. If possible, dry clothes outside on a clothesline to avoid running the dryer. Take a different approach to summer meal planning and incorporate meals that are light, such as salads that incorporate fresh ingredients, or that involve cooking outside on the grill or over a fire pit.

If you have a solar oven, Sun Oven, or want to make a DIY solar cooker, this is prime season and a great time to learn this skill before a power outage or some other disaster happens. Using a solar oven will help keep your kitchen cooler and you won’t be using any electricity at all.

By the end of June, you should have $325 saved if you’re following the weekly savings plan (25 weeks). If you have extra right now, perhaps going to a higher week in the chart and putting that money away would be a smart thing to do. Take things one day at a time and focus on what you can do and what you can enjoy.

If you’re on Facebook, it’s not too late to join our very active 52 Weeks Savings Club for tips and encouragement.

Saving money is a daily lifestyle and the key is having a good attitude. Take pride in what you have already saved up and learn from any mistakes.

Take advantage of June’s deals and start looking forward to a fun summer. Come back next month to see what deals July offers to help you save AND prepare!

52 weeks savings challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

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52 Weeks Savings Plan: April showers bring May bargains http://thesurvivalmom.com/52-weeks-savings-may-sales-and-bargains/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/52-weeks-savings-may-sales-and-bargains/#respond Mon, 04 May 2015 17:31:41 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22969 The world seems to come alive in May – flowers bloom, gardens are planted, seniors graduate, mothers are celebrated and the wedding season begins. The month even ends with Memorial Day weekend, ushering in summer. May is also a great month for deals. Here are the holidays you’ll see in May: May Day (1) Teacher […]

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May sales and bargainsThe world seems to come alive in May – flowers bloom, gardens are planted, seniors graduate, mothers are celebrated and the wedding season begins. The month even ends with Memorial Day weekend, ushering in summer. May is also a great month for deals.

Here are the holidays you’ll see in May:

  • May Day (1)
  • Teacher Appreciation Week (4-8)
  • Star Wars Day (4 – May the Fourth Be With You)
  • Cinco de Mayo (5)
  • Mother’s Day (10)
  • Armed Forces Day (16)
  • Memorial Day (25)

May is also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and National Bike Month.

May food discounts and bargains

The month starts and ends with two big food holidays – Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day. This month, you can find deals on:

Ground beef

Hamburgers

Hot dogs — These freeze well.

Buns

Condiments (ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, relish) — All have a long shelf life.

Salad dressings

Chips

Ice cream

Popsicles

Frozen pies

Soda

Bottled water — Stock up on several cases. They have a long shelf life and can become part of your water storage.

Mushrooms — These can be dehydrated.

Cheese — Most cheeses freeze well.

Watermelon — Believe it or not, this can be dehydrated.

Salsa — Long shelf life.

Tortillas

Refried beans — Canned goods have a long shelf life that extends beyond the date stamped on the can.

Baked beans — Stock up for summer picnics and holidays.

Frozen Mexican food

and many other food items associated with those two holidays.

There will be deals before and after as stores compete to get people to buy supplies at their stores. Look at weekly ads for loss leaders.

Chocolate and food sets for Mother’s Day should be discounted after the day is over. Chocolate can be stored in canning jars, along with an oxygen absorber, for longest shelf life. You can also use a vacuum sealer, such as a Food Saver, to vacuum the oxygen out of the jar.

Foods in season

You can also find deals on food that is in season in May. The following fruits are in season:

The following vegetables are in season:

  • Okra
  • Zucchini
  • Rhubarb
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Radish
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Corn
  • Green beans

May sales and bargains in the household department

Party supplies like disposable cups, plates, napkins, utensils and table clothes will go on sale after Memorial Day. These are great to stock up for any emergency – small or big – or any future parties. Graduation party supplies will also go on sale and can be stocked up on for any future graduation celebrations. Look to stock up on solid colors of these paper goods so they can be used for other holidays and celebrations. As well, patriotic patterns can be used for Memorial Day and Independence Day.

Mother’s Day gift sets, such as spa supplies, fragrances, jewelry, crafts, candles and photo frames, will go on sale after Mother’s Days. These can be stocked up on for future gifts like birthdays and Christmas (less than 9 months away!).

Wedding season also st the start of wedding season also leads to discounts on household products like coffee pots, cookware, vacuums, massage chairs, foot spas and other small household electronics. If you have a favorite electronic that goes on sale, it might be a good idea to get a backup for when your dies or breaks. All of these items make great gifts for birthdays, Father’s Day, and Christmas. Also, in many parts of the country, October is another big wedding month, so you might want to buy a great gift now to give to the lucky couple later.

There may still be some winter items on deep clearance, such as linens, shoes, boots, jackets, coats and clothing. Spring clothing will start to go on sale as the summer items come out. Spring clothing can be lightweight jackets and long-sleeve shirts, which are both very smart items to keep in an emergency kit, since they are useful year-round. You’ll also find sales on umbrellas and rain boots.

May is also the time for new mattress models to come out, so older ones go on sale. Preppers underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep. If you’re exhausted and unable to focus, you’ll have a hard time dealing with emergencies.

Discounts can be found on pet supplies, cordless phones and refrigerators, too. Look around the house and check your inventory to see if any of these discounts can help you get better prepared for any emergency.

Getting outside with May sales and bargains

In May, there is a focus on the yard and grilling once you step outside. Lawn mowers should be on sale this month, along with gardening tools and supplies. Stock up on seeds and keep an eye out for plants that are discounted because they need a little extra TLC. Compost buckets might be among the items on sale and composting is a great way to reduce waste and create your own garden fertilizer. Watch for sales on hoses and gardening tools, too.


Check out these great May bargains!
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Grilling is a great way to cook when you lose power. Grilling supplies such as charcoal, lighter fluid, utensils and grills should be on sale this month. These supplies are also great for providing a backup method for cooking food if the power goes out.

Insect repellant, sunscreen and sun hats should be on sale in May, along with outdoor furniture. Sunscreen is a good thing to have in a bug-out bag any time of the year. Beach toys should be on sale, which can be used to keep children entertained outside or bought for future gifts.

Sports and Fitness

Athletic apparel and shoes should be on sale as people start getting re-inspired to work out with the nice weather. The emphasis on fitness will last all month with May being National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Gyms and fitness facilities may offer free classes or trial memberships.

Keep an eye out for bicycle workshops and activities for National Bike Month. Local groups may hold bike rodeos for children to check helmets and teach bicycle safety. Bicycles and accessories may even be on sale in some stores. Bicycles can be a good way for a family to bug out when vehicles are not usable.

Events

Camping and outdoor gear should be on sale this month as people gear up to get ready for camping season. Some people plan to camp during Memorial Day weekend to kick off the summer. Camping gear is useful for bug out bags and for tornado shelters. Having a camping mattress to sit on in a basement during a tornado watch can make life a little more comfortable. If there is going to be severe weather during the night, it might be a good idea to have your family “camp out” in the basement. It’s always a good idea to test out camping gear before having to depend on it for living with it for good.

Flea markets and yard sales gear up this month as people have been spring cleaning or are preparing to move. Here’s a list of 21 things to always be on the lookout for at yard sales.

Some stores don’t announce free activities or giveaways until right before the event. Keep an ear out if any stores around you will celebrate comic book day on May 4, hoagie day on May 5, beverage day on May 6, apple pie day on May 13 or hamburger day on May 28.

Activities for children

Some summer reading programs start in May. Check your local library and local bookstores to see what they offer. For a list of stores, theaters and online programs, visit Free Summer Reading Programs.

Several stores also offer children freebies as a reward for a good report card. Ask your local stores if they do anything for report cards or, for a list, visit Good Report Card Freebies.

Check local hardware and craft stores for children’s make-and-take events.

Register at Kids Bowl Free to get children up to 2 free games of bowling a day at your local bowling alley.

Some movie theaters offer discount movies during the summer. Check your local theater for prices and movie listings.

 

By the end of May, you should have $231 saved if you’re following the weekly savings plan (21 weeks). If you have extra right now, perhaps going to a higher week in the chart and putting that money away would be a smart thing to do.

Saving money is a daily lifestyle and the key is having a good attitude. Don’t focus on what you can’t do – focus on what you can do and what you can enjoy. Take pride in what you have already saved up and learn from any mistakes. Take each day as it comes and keep saving!

Take advantage of May’s deals and start looking forward to a fun summer. Come back next month to see what deals June offers to help you save AND prepare!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STOP! Don’t Throw Away These Treasures! http://thesurvivalmom.com/dont-throw-trash-into-treasure/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/dont-throw-trash-into-treasure/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 07:00:23 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22212 Storage and preparation can both be pretty expensive. It would be a shame to throw away items that would save us money when you can turn your trash into treasures, but that’s what we do every day. Many items that we throw out can be used to create tools and even appliances that we could […]

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Stop! Don't Throw Away These Treasures! Turn Your Trash Into Treasures.Storage and preparation can both be pretty expensive. It would be a shame to throw away items that would save us money when you can turn your trash into treasures, but that’s what we do every day. Many items that we throw out can be used to create tools and even appliances that we could use in our storage, while camping and in emergency situations.

Turn Your Trash Into Treasures.

Soda And Juice Bottles

bottlesSoda bottles are great for storing water in, but that isn’t all they are good for. They can be cut into other tools as well. Just cut the top half off and turn it upside down and that soda bottle can become a funnel. You can also cut it into a scoop. The top can be used as the scoops handle. Use different sized bottles to get different sized funnels and scoops.

Twist Ties,  Rubber Bands, And Grocery Bags

Sometime we need to seal opened items in our storage. We use bucket and old oatmeal canisters (another good item to keep off the throw away list). When you don’t have those items available there are some temporary but quick fixes to sealing storage items. For items like an open flour or sugar bag, place a grocery bag over the top to of the open ingredient bag and slide a few rubber bands over the two, leaving plenty of space before the end of the grocery bag.

Items such as small open bags of rice or beans use twist ties to re-close them and them keep them in a tied grocery bag. This reduces the chance of creepy crawlies finding their way into your small open bags. Find ways to use these items before other items in your  storage.

Candle Wax

That wax left over from candles can be used to water proof matches. You just melt the wax and dip the matches in. You could tie ten matches together and water proof them all at once, but I have found the water proofing is more complete when each match is dipped individually. Lay them out on wax paper to dry.

Jars

Candle jars are the best type of garbage to keep around. You can use them to sort nuts and bolts. You can use them as a resealable grease jar when saving drippings to make your own candles. They can be used for storing dry goods. All in all they hit the double use jackpot.

You can also reuse old food jars to can your next generation of food storage. You just need to clean and sterilize them. YouTube has a great video for this: How to Sterilize and re-use old glass jars for preserves and jam.

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Paper

Junk mail, newspaper and old school papers can be shredded and pulped to create your own recycled paper. An easy YouTube video to follow for this: How to make recycling paper. I spread the pulp over a screen (like a window screen)instead of plastic wrap. I feel it gets the water out of the paper pulp faster.  Then you let it dry in the sun and remove it from the screen. It may be thicker than store bought paper, but you have your own home made recycled paper. This paper can also be used to make all sorts of other items that you may need ranging from bags to baskets from following the directions of YouTube videos.

Boxes

Always save boxes. Boxes simply used as they were meant to be used is enough reason to keep them, but they can be used for other things as well. Boxes can be used for storage containers. They can also be used to transport storage items.

Boxes can also be used as the main body of a box oven. The best video I have found for instruction in making a box oven is on YouTube: Gourmet Cooking in the Wild- Box Oven Chicken. This video not only shows how to construct the oven, but also shows how to cook a chicken in the oven.

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52 Weeks Savings Plan: April discounts are here! http://thesurvivalmom.com/52-weeks-savings-plan-april-discounts/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/52-weeks-savings-plan-april-discounts/#respond Sun, 05 Apr 2015 20:17:08 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22482 Spring is here and with it comes lots of fun and activity in April – and lots of great things on sale. Don’t let the joke fall on you on April 1. April sales are no laughing matter! Passover starts April 3 and Easter is April 5. Taxes are due April 15. Earth Day and […]

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52 Weeks savings plan discountsSpring is here and with it comes lots of fun and activity in April – and lots of great things on sale. Don’t let the joke fall on you on April 1. April sales are no laughing matter!

Passover starts April 3 and Easter is April 5. Taxes are due April 15. Earth Day and Administrative Professionals Day is April 22. Arbor Day is April 24.

TIP: Expect a tax refund this year? Now is the time to start thinking how you would use any tax refunds you may receive.

Awesome food sales to expand your pantry

The biggest food sales are going to happen right after Easter. Ham, candy, baking items (like flour, yeast, chocolate chips, mixes and frosting), eggs, mustard, pre-made breads and dough, pies and pie crusts should be on sale. Organic foods and mushrooms are also April food sale items. You should find deals on produce like lettuce, red peppers and tomatoes if the weather stays warm where they are grown.

One friend buys pastel colored Easter candies and then uses them for different holiday celebrations during the year. Pink foil wrapped Hershey Kisses, for example, are perfect for Mother’s Day, a wedding shower, or a girl’s birthday party. Pastel M&Ms can be separated into different colors for different holidays and celebrations. If you’ll be storing chocolate candies long term, be sure to check out the video at the bottom of this article.

Produce in season for April are:

  • bananas
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • green beans
  • honeydew melon
  • lettuce
  • mangos
  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • leeks
  • peas
  • pineapple
  • rhubard
  • spinach
  • strawberries

Household sales to assist your 52 Weeks Savings Plan goals

Indoor kitchen appliances will go on sale as people move to cook outside with nice weather. Consumer Reports can help you compare appliances, models, prices, and product reviews.


Cookware, cookie cutters and Easter-themed linens, plates and supplies round out the kitchen deals for the month. Pastel colored paper goods are nice for stocking up since they can be used for birthday parties, wedding and baby showers, Mother’s Day, and more.

Rain gear, swim gear, spring clothing, sneakers and winter gear (coats, boots, clothing) go on sale in April. Winter bedding is also on sale before it clears off the shelves.

Spring beauty products will also be on sale. If you find these at super-bargain prices, they’re great for stocking up, long term since they generally have long shelf lives.

Spring cleaning will prompt sales on organic and natural cleaners, as well as vacuums. Deals can also be found on home improvement supplies this month. With spring storms and hurricane season ahead of us, check into what supplies you might need to storm-proof your home. It’s better to do it now, before your home is actually hit with devastating weather.

Sales after Easter can supply various crafts and gifts for the upcoming year – baskets, ribbon, decorations, toys and stuffed animals will be on sale. Almost anything that can be used to fill an Easter basket can be used for future birthday party gifts, a rainy day craft or even stocking stuffers. Also, Easter outfits can be bought for future fancy occasions, like upcoming weddings, or for next year’s holiday in a bigger size or two.

Outside the house

Lawn mowers will be on sale this month before the grass starts growing long and people need them. Garden supplies and outdoor furniture will be on sale as well. Garden centers and nurseries will probably have good deals on loss leaders to get people into their locations with the hopes that they will buy more.

Websites, such as Monrovia.com, offer information about plants, growing seasons, and sometimes coupon codes and in-store discounts. Since this is garden season, establishing a garden can be expensive, so shop around and do your research before plunking down a lot of money.

Car care is also an April deal focus. Tires, auto parts and car care supplies will be on sale. Planning a road trip this summer? Prices might be at their lowest for getting your vehicle all prepped and ready for a safe trip.

Electronics

April is a good month to look at electronics because it is the end of the fiscal year in Japan. Computers, laptops, TVs, tablets, digital cameras, etc., are among the items that will have discounts. Think ahead to upcoming gift-giving holidays – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduations – and see if you can find a good deal, along with their accessories.

For preparedness uses, ebook readers, loaded up with survival manuals, fiction, and free classic novels are perfect for Faraday cage storage.

Sports and Fitness

Indoor fitness equipment will still be on sale this month as people start exercising more outdoors with nice weather. You may see deals on summer activity gear as the stores start gearing up for the season – kiddie pools (see 15 prepared uses for kiddo pools), sidewalk chalk, bicycles and swim gear.

Events and Travel

April is Stress Awareness Month and with that comes Spa Week from April 13 to 19. Spas across the country will offer 1 hour massages for $50. For more information, visit www.spaweek.com.

Check local events for any Arbor Day or Earth Day celebrations. Some communities will offer free festivals with family-friendly events, and there might even be free plant or tree giveaways. Also check your local nurseries or parks for free gardening classes. You can even try doing an Internet search for free seeds and see if any companies are giving away sample seeds. There have been a few giving away free seed packet for bee and butterfly gardens.  Home improvement stores will start offering free classes for children on the weekends.

National Parks offer free access April 18 to 19 to celebrate the opening weekend of National Park Week. If you are thinking of going on vacation, now is the time to contact the local chamber of commerce or visitor’s center and ask for free brochures and see if they have any free events coming up.

As you do your spring cleaning, assess what you have and see if you have enough to do a yard sale.

 

By the end of April, you should have $153 saved if you’re following the weekly savings plan (17 weeks). If you have extra right now, perhaps going to a higher week in the chart and putting that money away would be a smart thing to do.

Saving money is a daily lifestyle and the key is having a good attitude. Don’t focus on what you can’t do – focus on what you can do and what you can enjoy. Take pride in what you have already saved up and learn from any mistakes. Take each day as it comes and keep saving!

Take advantage of April’s deals and enjoy the sunshine spring brings. Come back next month to see what deals May offers to help you save AND prepare!

Other resources for you:

Survival Mom’s Hurricane Preparedness Pinterest board

Survival Mom’s Tornado Preparedness Pinterest board

Survival Mom’s Spring Survival Pinterest board

The official Survival Mom 52 Weeks Savings Plan Pinterest board

52 Weeks Savings Club Facebook group

 

 

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In the Midst of a Collapse, Could There Be a Second Chance for Financial Freedom? http://thesurvivalmom.com/in-the-midst-of-a-collapse-could-there-be-a-second-chance-for-financial-freedom/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/in-the-midst-of-a-collapse-could-there-be-a-second-chance-for-financial-freedom/#respond Sat, 14 Mar 2015 23:14:34 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22277 Could our current, shaky economy and a potential economic collapse bring unparalleled opportunities for anyone wanting a second chance for financial freedom? It just might, according to Robert Kiyosaki. I was asked by the RichDad company to review Kiyosaki’s latest book, Second Chance. They provided me with a free copy and payment for my time. This is […]

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Could our current, shaky economy and a potential economic collapse bring unparalleled opportunities for anyone wanting a second chance for financial freedom? It just might, according to Robert Kiyosaki.

Second Chances book review.

I was asked by the RichDad company to review Kiyosaki’s latest book, Second Chance. They provided me with a free copy and payment for my time. This is my first ever RichDad book, so I approached this material with a completely open mind.

The first portion of Second Chance is a bit slow, but a few points hit home and confirmed our decision to homeschool:

  • “If you want to control people’s lives, limit their knowledge.”
  • Of John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie who both sought to influence American public education in a big way, “…critical reports of Rockefeller and Carnegie accused the two men of wanting to break the American spirit — and using the education system to do it.”

Although I didn’t agree with everything in Second Chance, much of it rang true because I’ve seen the results of his warnings, just in the past several years.

Financial Freedom and The American Dream

As a young person, I had every intention of pursuing years of advanced education, working hard in my chosen career, becoming financially stable, and then, at some point, retiring. Aaah, financial freedom at last!

That was The American Dream, wasn’t it? It worked for my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, but in 2008, I realized, it wasn’t going to work for me and my family.

That was when the housing industry in Phoenix, our home town at the time, hit rock bottom, and we were right in the middle of that collapse.  At times he had been so busy fielding phone calls on his cell phone, he scarcely had time to handle all the business. That silent phone was terrifying.

What kept our family afloat was the home-based business that I had started 9 years earlier. That income wasn’t exactly Great Recession-proof, but it saw our family through the next 2 years.

Most People Will Miss a Second Chance

The world is changing and The American Dream has become a nightmare for millions. Unemployed, underemployed, with financial resources drained and on government assistance, they aren’t sure what to do because the old paradigm is dying and any replacement is too out of focus for most to see. As well, normalcy bias still has a grip on the majority of folks who still believe that financial freedom is just another class, another degree, another promotion away.
That delusion, according to Kiyosaki, is the result, in part, of zero financial education, from elementary school through college. And, he says, it was designed that way.
The purpose of the educational system is to produce employees, consumers, and tax-payers. 
And,

“In reality, the government exists to protect the rich. That is why the Federal Reserve Bank bailed out the banks, not the homeowners.

“From my point of view, millions are already in a great depression.”

For a very long time, I’ve been saying that TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), is happening right now for millions and millions of families, and their lives will never be the same. Nor will the futures of their children.

Looking for that Second Chance at Financial Freedom

After presenting a pretty dismal and accurate assessment of our nation’s current financial status, Kiyosaki goes on to present his idea of a Second Chance for those who are willing to face a new reality and level of risk. He believes that in chaos lies opportunity, for those who are ready and are aware of what is coming.
“You cannot get out of the way of things you cannot see moving toward you.”
— R. Buckminster Fuller
Second Chance continues with challenging questions and encouragement to branch out as an entrepreneur. This has made me realize the importance of training my kids to think as entrepreneurs, not just as employees.
There is room for disagreement with what Kiyosaki presents in Second Chance, and the nature of the book requires a good deal of simplification, but the overriding message is that the future may bring amazing opportunities. Many, perhaps most of us, would welcome a second chance at financial freedom, and our eyes are wide open to the unsteady ground on which we now stand.
By the way, Robert Kiyosaki has been a prepper since at least 2011, so he doesn’t just warn people of potential disaster. He prepares for it himself. I respect that.

Summary of Second Chance

Second Chance is a very easy read, much of it in a Q&A format. Included are graphs and charts that illustrate Kiyosaki’s points, and for anyone following economic news, they’re painfully familiar.
This book has propelled me to take a look at my own efforts and goals as an entrepreneur and make sure that my kids enter their young adult years with a solid education in finance, something very few students receive in school, especially public schools.
What have you done to position yourself to survive and grab hold of a Second Chance? I’d love to hear your stories!

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52 Weeks Savings Plan: Watch for these March sales! http://thesurvivalmom.com/march-sales-discounts/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/march-sales-discounts/#respond Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:00:19 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21772 March brings with it the promise of spring and some special March sales on purchases that can help you both prepare and save money. Two holidays that will generate some special savings are St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, and Palm Sunday, on March 28. We have a late Easter this year, but retail stores […]

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What to buy in March -- deals and steals to help you stay on your budget. www.TheSurvivalMom.comMarch brings with it the promise of spring and some special March sales on purchases that can help you both prepare and save money. Two holidays that will generate some special savings are St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, and Palm Sunday, on March 28. We have a late Easter this year, but retail stores will still be pushing Easter related discounts.

Food sales to watch for

You may still be able to find some Valentine’s candy and decorations tucked away in stores. Remember to store them in airtight containers, away from light and heat. Mason jars work very well for candy and can be sealed with a jar attachment for Food Saver machines. I prefer the wide mouth attachment and using wide mouth jars, just because they are easier to fill.

With St. Patricks’ Day on March 17, you will find corned beef and cabbage, carrots and eggs on sale March 18. You can buy at least two corned beefs and have one for dinner and freeze one or more for later. Cabbage is good to make and can sauerkraut and there will be some really great discounts on cabbage and potatoes. There may also be St. Patrick’s Day treats, baked goods and alcohol sets on sale.

Stocking up on alcohol, even if you’re a teetotaler, can be helpful for making things like tinctures. I’ve stocked up on vodka, in particular, because of its many non-martini uses.

March is also National Frozen Food Month. There will be deals on all varieties of frozen foods and coupons in the newspapers and online for these items. With proper storage, frozen food can last a very long time. You may want to vacuum seal items that you plan to keep for more than 6 months. Some fruits and vegetables are even fresher when they have been frozen at their peak.

And, dehydrating frozen food is the easiest thing ever. You’ll need a food dehydrator, it can be inexpensive or top of the line, and bags of frozen fruits and veggies. Here are details for drying that food. Be sure to store it in either vacuum sealed canning jars or vacuum sealer bags, and keep in a dark, dry, and cool location.

Some good online coupon sites are:

Fish and seafood will also be on sale this month as it’s the Lenten season. These can be canned using a pressure canner. Follow the safest canning instructions.

According to Premeditated Leftovers, these produce items often go on sale in March:

  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • artichokes
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbages
  • chard
  • celery
  • leeks
  • collard/mustard greens
  • fava beans
  • chicories-radicchio
  • sunchokes
  • spring garlic
  • spring onion
  • lemon
  • blood oranges
  • red grapefruit
  • tangerines
  • navel oranges
  • kiwi
  • d’anjou pears
  • strawberries

Produce in season are the following according to Premeditated Leftovers. You might be able to buy them in bulk from food co-ops, such as Bountiful Baskets, and at farmers markets.

  • apricots
  • bitter melon
  • honeydew
  • limes
  • mango
  • oranges
  • pineapple
  • strawberries
  • broccoli
  • lettuce
  • zucchini
  • rhubarb
  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • okra
  • spring peas
  • yellow, white and red onions

Household bargains in March

Winter gear may still be on sale in some places, but you will start to see the spring and summer gear taking their place. Linens and blankets may also be on clearance. Calendars and planners should be leaving the shelves this month, so look for deep discounts on those items.

With spring around the corner, people will start thinking about spring cleaning. Cleaning supplies, as well as home fragrance supplies, will go on sale. Fragrance items will include candles, diffusers and sprays. These make great gifts, so stock up on a few for early Christmas shopping.

Humidifiers will still be on sale this month, too. If you have ever been congested, you know how handy humidifiers can be. If you find a good deal, it wouldn’t hurt to have one as a back-up.

Jewelry can often be found on sale in March because there is not an occasion like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day creating a demand. If you can find a deal, you can stock up on future gifts or stash things away for bartering purposes.

St. Patrick’s Day is another good time to find plates, napkins, tablecloths and decorations. Think ahead to Easter and see if any of the toys could be used in Easter baskets. Green tissue paper could be cut up and used as Easter grass or saved for Christmas.

Electronics

Digital cameras and small consumer electronics (MP3 players, DVD and Blu-ray players, etc.) should be on sale this month, along with TVs, to make room for new models. These items can be used for entertainment and for documenting household inventory. Most digital cameras also have video recorders on them. Having an MP3 player and/or portable DVD player in your shelter area or bug out bag could provide comfort (or distraction) for children during an emergency situation.

Video games might also be on sale this month as the holiday sales have started to wind down and the games are now considered “old.” You might also be able to find used copies of recently released games in stores. Video game systems and accessories may also be on sale, too.

While The Survival Mom isn’t a huge fan of video games and reliance on electronics, they can make our lives easier in many ways. If you find a really good bargain on these, consider buying them to store in a Faraday cage.

Sports and fitness gear for the

Gym memberships and workout equipment will go on sale in March as people start going outdoors more. Getting in your best physical shape possible is an important part of being prepared.

Winter sports gear, including ski and snowboard equipment, will be on sale since it’s the end of the season, but in many parts of the country, it’s going to be a while before the snow melts!

Travel Bargains

Luggage goes on sale in March since it is not considered a big travel month. A new set of luggage is a great wedding or graduation gift, and if you find a really sturdy suitcase on heavy-duty wheels, consider it for an emergency kit/bug out bag option.

March can be the best time to find a weekend getaway deal or cash in miles for an airline ticket. Since it’s the end of the ski season, you can find deals on lift tickets and at ski resorts. Again, these are fun excursions for anyone, but for the penny-pincher, they make great gifts AND you’ll be saving money.

By the end of March, you should have $78 saved if you’re following the weekly savings plan. If you have extra right now, perhaps going to a higher week in the chart and putting that money away would be a smart thing to do. You can  make the 52 Weeks Savings Plan work for you with a little customizing!

The key to being a winner when it comes to saving money is to pinch pennies wherever you can with purchases and then put even small amounts saved in your savings stash.

TIP: Now is the time to start thinking how you would use any tax refunds you may receive.

Enjoy March and its deals, but look forward to April when we’ll see some great bargains tied to Easter (April 5) and spring to help you save AND prepare!

Resources mentioned in this article

 

 

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30 Uses for Phone Books http://thesurvivalmom.com/30-uses-for-phone-books/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/30-uses-for-phone-books/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:00:56 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21373 We all get them dropped off one (or more) times every year — big, thick phone books. But what to do with them now that we just look up phone numbers on Google or we have them stored in our cell phones? Here are some creative uses for phone books our readers came up with for […]

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Use unwanted phone books in lots of creative ways!  www.TheSurvivalMom.comWe all get them dropped off one (or more) times every year — big, thick phone books. But what to do with them now that we just look up phone numbers on Google or we have them stored in our cell phones?

Here are some creative uses for phone books our readers came up with for phone books – actual, paper phone books.

In the House

Emergency toilet paper (Note: may not be the best for your pipes or septic system.)

Stack them under the table cloth to elevate a nice centerpiece.

Fold pages at angle from top outside corner to mid at center to make a door stop

Bullet-proof your house! Build 6-foot book shelves along all exterior walls within your house and line them with phone books. They make the best bullet stops there is, and it makes you look like an intellectual.when people stop by. Another option to do build these “bookshelves” alongside the front and back doors. It’ll give you something to duck behind when you have unwanted company…with guns.

Stack them to create a make-shift booster seat.

Insulation

Washing windows

Hollow one or two out to make some hidey holes for valuables

Wrap Christmas decorations and other fragile items to protect them in storage or shipment.

Wrap compost in  it to carry to the bin, then just throw the whole thing in so you don’t have to worry about washing a dish or bucket out.

Uses for phone books in arts & crafts

Floor cover for little artists

Tear out the pages and use them for papier mâché

Coat pages in petroleum jelly. Roll them up and dip them in wax. Makes emergency candles that are also waterproof.

As a teenager I would use them as scrap books. Cover them with all kinds of art.

Save them and turn it into paper snow flakes. It’s what I do with my used non returnable textbooks

Pattern paper

Origami practice

Outdoors, Fires, and Animals (Pets)

Firestarters

Target practice

You can pack them in a box or wrap them up together for a safe backstop for dry fire practice with a gun.

Bullet penetration/expansion tests

Mix with ashes and lamp oil or kerosene to make fire logs

Tear out a few pages and stuff them into empty toilet paper tubes. Great firestarter.

Cage liners, especially shredded, for rabbits, birds, feral cats, etc. (better if mixed with hay)

Lay under tomatoes, under the straw for weed help

Tear them up and use them to smother weeds, putting mulch on top. Works better than the black plastic stuff, and the best part is that they degrade completely.

Use with this awesome tool to never run out of seed pots!

Shred for compost (except for the cover, which was probably treated with chemicals)

Worm bin

And the most shocking answer of all:

Using a phone book for its intended purpose is better than a smart phone. The phone book gives you more choices and you’ll always have it handy. Use a PostIt Note to bookmark pages you use most often, and if your eyesight isn’t the best, keep a magnifying glass handy!

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What is junk silver? http://thesurvivalmom.com/junk-silver/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/junk-silver/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 08:00:25 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21420   Do you have a coin jug at home? Perhaps it isn’t a jug, per se, but a coffee can, glass jar, or maybe even an old fashioned piggy bank? It might be holding far more money than you realize! If you spend much time surfing various survival/prepper message boards and other forums, you’ll no […]

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What is junk silver and should I buy it?  www.TheSurvivalMom.comDo you have a coin jug at home? Perhaps it isn’t a jug, per se, but a coffee can, glass jar, or maybe even an old fashioned piggy bank? It might be holding far more money than you realize!

If you spend much time surfing various survival/prepper message boards and other forums, you’ll no doubt run across the term “junk silver.” People want to know, “What is junk silver? And, should I buy it?”

The term refers to coins containing a high amount of actual silver, unlike most common coins minted today.

Here’s the cool part. If you have a coin jug at home, odds are you probably have at least a few junk silver coins in there. While you won’t see them every day, they do still crop up regularly.

What is junk silver?

Here in the United States, junk silver coins are basically any coin (except pennies and nickels) minted in 1964 or earlier. Given that half-dollars and other larger coins are somewhat rare in most of our daily lives, we’re basically talking about dimes and quarters. If a coin is categorized as junk silver, it does not have any numismatic value to collectors.

The value in junk silver is the silver itself, not the coin’s appearance.

The only silver nickels in recent history are the “wartime” ones produced in 1942-1945. Even then, they only contain about 30% silver, whereas most junk silver coins contain 90% silver.

If after looking at the mint date you still aren’t sure if the coin is silver, a silver coin sounds very different from a non-silver one when dropped on a table. The sound is hard to describe but once you’ve heard it, you’ll recognize it pretty quickly going forward.

Why do preppers focus on junk silver?

Why is it important to know about junk silver? Well, for starters, junk silver is a very easy way to get started with collecting precious metals for possible use as alternative currency, should there come some sort of economic collapse. It takes just a few seconds at the end of the day to examine the coins in your pocket before you dump them into your coin jug.

On top of that, junk silver coins are worth far more than their face value. Generally speaking, if you have $1.40 in face value of junk silver coins, you have one troy ounce of actual silver. As of this writing, an ounce of silver is going for about $18.00 or so. I use Kitco to check prices when I’m getting ready to buy.

Now, honestly, that’s not a completely true comparison as junk silver coins aren’t actually worth the full silver spot price. But, those dimes and quarters are worth a ton more than what you’d get from a candy vending machine.

At my house, we have two separate jars, one for pennies and one for all other coins. I’ll usually glance through my spare change, checking mint dates, before tossing the coins into the appropriate jar. But, because I’m human and might miss seeing a junk silver coin, we’ll have one of our children dump out the jar and check each coin before we cash in the change. Often, they’ll find one or two coins we missed. The junk silver coins are stored away under lock and key, just in case we need them someday. If nothing else, they’ll be nice for the kids to have someday.

Resources for junk silver

A Guidebook of United States Coins 2015

The Beginner’s Guide to Gold and Silver Scrap

How to Buy Gold and Silver Bullion Without Getting Scammed

Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios  (I include an interview with a precious metals dealer and information about buying junk silver.)

Wartime silver nickels

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Protect your canning jar investment http://thesurvivalmom.com/protect-that-canning-jar-investment/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/protect-that-canning-jar-investment/#comments Sat, 07 Feb 2015 08:00:01 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21378 I have a problem. Well, I have more than one but this one plagues me on a continual basis.  In my house we have 16 feet.  160 toes and a TON of socks.  So many socks that I’ve given up on sorting and mating them.  Instead they just get tossed into the sock bin.  If […]

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Protect your canning jars from breakage with these tips. | www.TheSurvivalMom.comI have a problem. Well, I have more than one but this one plagues me on a continual basis.  In my house we have 16 feet.  160 toes and a TON of socks.  So many socks that I’ve given up on sorting and mating them.  Instead they just get tossed into the sock bin.  If someone needs socks, they must go to ‘the bin’.

So how did my sock bin end up helping me protect my canning jars? Here’s the whole story.

It’s not a pleasant thing to go to the bin in search of a pair of matching socks because it means several minutes of searching for two that match. The bin is the bane of my existence.  It stares at me whenever I walk past taunting me. “SORT ME” it says. Being the stubborn soul that I am, it gets ‘dissed’ by me nearly every time.

…Until this last time. Not sure why it won this time around, but it was particularly persuasive.  It could have been that my 9 year old daughter was sucked in by  it’s tendrils or just that it was time.  So I sat down and started sorting.

My infamous sock bin.

My infamous sock bin.

Now this is not just a little bin. Seriously, my 11 year old could get in this bin with the lid closed, and often we’d see a cat or two perched on top of the sea of socks. I dug in and was determined to tackle this monster.

You might be wondering why you’ve had to sit through my sock tale.  Well for one, I want the world to know that “I SORTED THE SOCK BIN”  (taking a bow). This is a huge accomplishment, and secondly, the ones that didn’t find a mate still have a food storage related purpose, a useful life left in them.

Protecting your canning jar investment with socks, of all things!

We are going to recycle those socks into something that can help protect our investment.  We put a lot of time, energy and money into our food storage when we bottle something.  This can all be for naught if these jars get knocked around at all.  Glass likes to break if bumped too hard.

TIP: Have you ever thought of canning, or bottling, meat?

I live in earthquake country and at some point, the ground on which I stand is going to start shaking.  If my bottles aren’t ready for that shaking, I’m going to have a big mess and HUGE loss on my hands.

Here is the simple process I used to transform those mismatched socks into something I could use.

Step #1: Cut sock into four parts as shown.

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector. SurvivalMom.com

Cut sock into 4 parts as shown.

Step #2: Toss out the toe and heel portions of the cut-apart sock and save the other two sections for use.

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector. SurvivalMom.com

These are the sock parts you want to keep.

 

Step #3: Use the sock parts as illustrated to help protect your canning jars.

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector. SurvivalMom.com

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector. SurvivalMom.com

Other techniques I’ve discovered for protecting jars

Now there are some great commercial products on the market but I don’t have a ton of money to spend on those, If you do, great!  but I’d rather spend that money on more food for my family. So here are some easy and cheap ways.

Bottle box: Save the boxes that the jars came in,  The cardboard dividers will provide some protection from breakage.

Rubberbands:  Remember this post?  Well here’s another use for rubberbands.  Stretch the wide ones around the top and bottom of the jar to keep them from bumping around in the box.

Socks:  store your jars in socks, one long tube sock and protect 2 quart jars,   or cut them up in to tubes of various sizes to put on the jars.  They can even be rolled up to create even more buffer space or to secure them more snugly into a box.

Old towels:  Put the jars in a box with space in between and stuff the spaces with old towels or rag strips.

Bubble wrap:  Wrap your jars in bubble wrap or the packaging that comes in your mail order boxes.

Apple boxes:  Go to the grocery store and talk to your produce guy.  Apples sometimes come packed with puffy paper sheets in between them,  These are GREAT to wrap around the bottles…and the boxes themselves are a perfect size to fit at least 15 jars.

Sweaters: Wouldn’t that be cute for our jars to wear sweaters? There are some on Pinterest if you are into that type of thing.  I’m not going to the trouble to ‘dress’ my jars like those… but one thing my mom did was to take some left-over fleece from another project and sew it into a tube.  Then she cut the tube into about 6 inch sections.  Each of these were slipped over a jar to prevent that jar-to-jar contact in the box.

So get creative with your jars…or just stuff socks but do something to protect that investment.  Do you so something different with yours?  I’d love to hear other great ideas.

New to canning? You must own a copy of Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving!

If you want to check out products you can buy, rather than make, that will protect your canning jars, take a look at these:

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