Our first winner of the Survival Mom of the Month (January) is Peg, aka TexasMama. One reason her entry was selected as the winner was because of the huge amount of helpful information she included! Peg wins a copy of Survival Mom, a $25 Amazon gift card, the DVD set of, “Grow Your Own Groceries,” and a PurifiCup!
Peg says: Our family is prepping mainly for a financial collapse – and possibly a collapse of society once the financial collapse happens. Another possibility is an EMP blast or solar flare but we will not be prepping for that for a while because we need to get some basic survival things done.
What have you done to prepare your family for these emergencies?
One of the first things we’ve done is to build up our supply of canned and dry food from the grocery store. For the last 15 weeks, our car has been in the shop (and we’ve only been prepping for about 10 weeks) – so most of our preps have had to be items we could have my husband bring home on the motorcycle or that we could fit in a small rental car if we rented a car one or two weekends. This has meant we don’t have bulky items like toilet paper, paper towels, etc. stocked up yet.
We currently have probably 2-3 months of food on hand. I’m in the process of making out a 14 day menu plan that I can use to multiply by 26 (2 weeks X 26 = 52 weeks of food for the year). For instance, if I know we’re going to need egg noodles three times during that 14 day menu, then I know that we will need 78 packages of egg noodles to be “fully stocked’ for a year.
I bought a canner off Ebay and it arrived yesterday. I’m also buying new and used canning jars and am going to be working on canning meat that I’ll buy in bulk on sale and from another source that I’ll talk about in a minute. I am also going to be canning butter and cream cheese and possibly some other cheeses so that if the power goes out, we can still have some of these items on hand.
We have bought a Volcano oven. I also plan to buy a solar oven and get our grill outdoors in working order and stock up on supplies for all three ovens (charcoal, propane, etc). Right now I’m not as focused as I could be on these items because I am focused on food storage. Once April hits, I plan to change direction a bit and work on the charcoal, etc. since it will hopefully start being cheaper then. As we enter the picnic season, I’ll stock up on paper plates, cups, etc. too.
Survival Mom’s note: Watch for fantastic sales on charcoal over summer holiday weekends. Very often, Lowe’s has the best prices on charcoal.
Unlike many people who might be reading your site, Survival Mom, not only are we new to prepping but if you count our grocery budget also (since we’re focusing on food storage right now) we probably have a little over $1,000 per month to put towards prepping. I say this because as I share what we’re doing, I don’t want others to get discouraged because they can’t spend as much. We’ve decided to stop putting money in our 401K for a few months to prep and we recently paid off our vehicle.
So here is some of what we’re doing…we have three paydays per month. The 1st is when we receive my husband’s military retirement pay and that pays our mortgage. The first paycheck of his current job of the month is our “lower” paycheck and the second paycheck of the month (paid every two weeks) has about $300 more in it. (We are paying off a loan that comes out of that first paycheck of the month).
Every payday we are currently buying the following things: 15-25 pounds of flour, 5-10 pounds of sugar, 5 gallons of gas to store in a container (w/ gas stabilizer), 20+ pounds of meat to can, a bag of chocolate chips (I am going to vacuum seal these in half gallon size canning jars), large package of toilet paper, $20 of over-the-counter meds for us, 15 of OTC meds to use for bartering/charity ,vitamins, batteries, $10 of candles, matches, lighters, lamp oil (about to start this once we buy some lamps), feminine pads and I’m about to start setting aside $20 for “kid’s items” from Dollar Tree – like some cute teddy bears they had or crayons and coloring books, etc.
I also buy a bag of dog food every payday whether we need it or not and extra cat food. I need to do more about water. We are currently buying a couple of cases of bottled water per payday, plus a 5 gallon water jug to store water plus a couple of gallon water jugs that have water. Currently, lack of water is our current weakness, but I do know that and am working on making improvements.
On our smaller paydays we are/will be buying $50 or so in fish and bird antibiotics online. On our larger paydays we will be getting ahead on our prescriptions (I’m ordering some online). For January our bigger payday is also “stock up on underwear and socks” with 3 packages of each per person – one to be used – two to be set aside. February we’ll buy 2 pairs of sturdy shoes from Walmart or something plus a pair of sneakers per person – to be set aside on the bigger payday. In March we’ll do sturdy jeans – 3-4 pairs per person to set aside. By April I hope to use the extra funds on those bigger paydays to buy things like walkie talkies and other communication equipment along with things that are more “emergency” related. I also plan to use the larger paydays to buy “water bricks” to store water and other water storage containers.
As far as “charity” or bartering, I’m deliberately stocking up at Dollar Tree (where things are $1 or less) on items like anti-diaherreal meds, painkillers, toothbrushes, etc. The packages of medicines are smaller since they are only $1 but this way I can use them to give away or barter as needed. By the end of the year, I’d like to have about $500 worth of meds, etc. set aside for this.
I also have a real heart for the children and what their life may be like after the crash. So I’m stocking up on toys and stuff for the next 3-6 months. Once again, this is just a small amount per payday at Dollar Tree, and once the summer hits, I plan to hit yard sales and look for jeans and sturdy shoes that I can find cheap. I’ll also be checking out thrift stores.
I don’t really want to “barter” for children’s stuff when things happen. I want to be able to give them to children and help make their lives easier.
A couple of other things that I’ve done is to join Shelf Reliance as a representative. This will allow me to buy many of the emergency items we need and get commission from them (along with commission from our food) which will save me money in the long run. I bought their Harvest can rotation shelf unit to help us keep track of our inventory.
I’ve started couponing – largely from buying coupons on Ebay. I try to stick to items that we use and that have good coupons – like the 33 coupons I bought (and they were a bit pricey) for large cans of Maxwell House coffee (one of my weaknesses). The coupons cost me about $100 – BUT – the coffee is worth about $330….so it was worth it to me to spend that money. I’m sharing a picture of some of the coupons I bought…I try to pay no more than 20% of the amount of the money I’ll be saving – unless it is something we’ll REALLY use (like the coffee).
Looking back – it seems hard to believe how much my life has changed in the last few weeks. Some of the upcoming things I will be doing (along with learning to can in January) is to work on my HAM radio license (starting in February), work on learning about essential oils and herbal medicines (starting in March), work on gardening and then canning the produce (most of the summer) and possibly work on storing up what I need to make candles and soaps, etc. in the fall. I will also be learning to shoot a gun.
I’m sending a picture of some of the books I recommend along with listing a few below.
“299 Days: The Preparation” is a must-read in my mind. This is a fairly new series by Glen Tate – so far four books are out in the series and this is the first one. Glen’s book changed my prepping as he helped me to calm down and to use some of the local stores like Dollar Tree, etc.
“One Second After” is another must-read in my mind. It helps you see what life can be like after an EMP attack and there are things we don’t think about – like where will get the medications, birth control pills, etc.
“Lights Out” is almost as good the above two books – a bit more fighting, etc. – but it is the story of a community that bands together to take care of each other – once again – after an EMP attack.
Beyond Collapse – a 400+ page free book that can be downloaded at: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6e3oH1LuRvzeGZlTHRkeHZQSkk/edit?pli=1 This was one of my first exposures to think about life “after” a collapse…about how a society rebuilds, etc. This book gave me the idea that I want to stock up not only for us – but for bartering – and for helping others. I LOVE this book and want to buy a hardcopy of it.
LDS Preparedness Manual – another FREE resource you can download.. http://www.ldsavow.com/PrepManualGeneral.html I HIGHLY recommend this – particularly for everything you learn about food storage. I am not LDS and there is a bit of doctrine, etc. in the beginning of the book but I found the checklists and information on stocking up food to be invaluable and have printed up many of the sheets from this book.
Where There Is No Doctor – I didn’t know you could get a free pdf of this book when I bought it online – still yet – I’m glad I got it! http://hesperian.org/books-and-resources/ – also check out “Where There Is No Dentist”
You can see other books that I’m recommending in the picture – the titles are pretty descriptive!
www.thesurvivalmom.com is the first website I check every day.
www.foodstoragemadeeasy.net – they have an awesome book/program on food storage that I bought on Black Friday and love!
www.preparedsociety.com – the forums are AWESOME – I check in here several times a day – especially the food and foraging section
http://everydayfoodstorage.net/ – not a total favorite but has good stuff too
I used to visit www.shtfplan.com every day (I still visit it often) but I found it upset me and got me all worried. I would share links to it with my husband and my adult son and they both said that it seemed like the site was designed more to stir up people than to give useful information. It was actually my son who recommended that I visit Survival Mom every day instead because I get ideas of what I CAN do instead of getting scared of what MIGHT happen.
http://rainydayfoodstorage.blogspot.com/ – I wish there daily updates on this but I like this site a lot too
What advice to you have for new Survival Moms who want to prepare their families as well?
First of all, decide what it is you want to prepare for. For instance, if you live in a hurricane prone area, you may not want to prep to “shelter-in” and may need to focus on bugging out. If you live where there are frequent blizzards, you may need to shelter in and not bug-out.
In our case, we are concerned about the economy and society and believe that there will be a major collapse. While we do talk at times about bugging out, we’re focusing right now on sheltering-in and being here in our community even though we don’t know people that well. Because of this, instead of focusing as much on bug-out bags and tents and sleeping bags, etc., we’re focusing on food storage (my mom lived through the Great Depression and used to talk about what life was like), on water storage, and on some weapons to protect us. We want to add in a generator later on and I want to do some EMP-related stuff like having walkie talkies and shortwave radios, etc. stored in safe places. But those will come in time. Knowing where you will be staying / bugging out to is a key thing.
Ask yourself what resources you have. This includes financial resources but also time and skills. What can you give up – to prepare? For instance, I will be giving up some of my internet time to can meats in bulk quantities. We don’t go out to eat as much so we can put our money into food storage. Perhaps you have items you can sell to bring in more money.
Create a plan. Figure out the parts of prepping that matter most to you right now. Food? Water? Shelter? Safety/weapons? First Aid?
Even if you don’t have a lot of money to prep – you can still make small choices that will help you prep – for instance – watch the sale flyers and buy your foods when they’re on sale (in larger amounts) or even start as my son has – by buying an extra case of water and putting it aside….or buying a couple extra cans of soup and setting them aside.
YOU CAN DO IT! Yes, it will take time and energy and at times you may feel afraid. But bit by bit and piece by piece it will start to come together.
Just one thing….start today…right now.
Don’t just read about being a prepper – BECOME A PREPPER!