*What 6mos. of Preps Has Done For Me*
When I joined Alpha/Rubicon about 6mos. ago I thought I was of the mindset to get thru most emergencies. I had a little extra food set aside for both the two legged and four legged creatures of my household, milk jugs and soda pop bottles filled with water, batteries, candles, propane for the barbi, some meds, and emergency first aide. I had a couple of weapons and a little ammo. I thought I was set. In looking back, we were good for about 3 weeks tops. Amazingly, better off than most folks I know. I thought I was really on top of thingsÖ..NOT!
When I joined I did as I was told. Introduced myself, got as involved as I was able, took to heart the multitude of advice I received, and tried to behave respectfully considering the obvious knowledge and graciousness of the group. I immediately considered myself fortunate to have found this sight. Soon after joining I was contacted and welcomed by my local team leader and advised on how best to proceed. I received so much good advice when I posted on the main board that I hardly knew where to start. I soon realized that I had a lot of work ahead of me. My husband is a Contractor, small one-man operation, and felt so-so about stalking up and preparation. We are in our mid-life, pretty newly married, own a house in town, donít have much savings, and live on a moderate income.
I printed out, read, and reread the responses to my posts. Since at the time we joined we were pretty flush I started looking for bargain buys on such things as vacuum packers, canners, some freeze dried foods that I couldnít or didnít know how to can, vegetable seeds, ammo, water storage containers, BOB info, medical supplies, solar energy and NBC supplies. I read articles and, since my husband doesnít particularly like computers, printed out and put in a binder ones for him to read. He took a liking to alternative energy so I encouraged him in that area.
I set my priority to building at least a 3mos. food supply for our little household and enough water on hand to last 1 month for 2 people, 4 dogs, and two parrots. In doing this I soon realized that I needed some good old knowledge from days gone by. It just so happened that it was fall and everybodyís garden was overflowing with vegetables, so this non-domestic person decided to take on the challenge of learning to can. I found a deal on a couple of pressure cookers, found a country gal who was willing to teach me how to can and put up Tuna, Peaches, Salsa, Chicken, Roast Beef, Hamburger, Chili, and a few other things. I have also seen but not tried some recipes for butter and cheese here on the Rubicon. It really isnít all that difficult. I watch yard sales for canning jars, there are a lot available in the off-season. The other little thing I do is buying a lot of canned spaghetti sauce. I make sure the jars can be used for canning when they are emptied.
With the vacuum packer (which I watched Ebay for and got a good deal on) I cook more food than the two of us need. I vacuum-pack and freeze or can the extra. I have also vacuum-packed cereal, spices, coffee, flour, sugar, and in general just a lot of dry goods that I bought at the bulk food store or on sale.
I soon found that I am able to hit the canned food store once a week and selectively choose what is on sale. I pick up things we like to eat a case at a time paying cash for it always staying within the food budget now. I generally buy such things as soup, Chile, hash, vegetables, fruits, sauces, dry goods, dog and cat food, frozen foods, eggs, meats, household supplies such as detergents etcÖ I buy in bulk and store beans, powdered milk, pasta, rice, spices, etc. I particularly watch for canned meat sales now. I think the only thing I donít buy on sale right now is Milk, which is a must have for me. I am over the 3mos. supply goal.
From the moneyís I have saved on groceryís I have been able to stock up on ammo. I took the advice on the recommendations from other Rubiís on what I should have on hand and with a little planning and watching the sporting goods sales we are good on everything but shotgun ammo. Thatís because I bought my hubby a shotgun for Christmas and he is shooting it up faster than I can buy it. But, thatís a good thing cause heís a good shot and we are practicing together. He now appreciates the fact that since our finances have gotten a bit tough due to the problem with the housing market we are not so flush and can still go out shooting together. Not to mention he is eating as well as he ever has.
My other serious consideration was water. We have many rivers around us so I figured we could always make it to the river for water. Well this is true, we have motorcycles so I thought we could always rig up something to go a few miles to the river to retrieve water. In the mean time I have found some other reasonably cheap solutions to have water on hand. Remember I live in town. I found empty 20gal. drums from a local natural food store, used to make beer with, for $5.00 a piece. I am told you can also go to the local Pepsi or Coca-Cola factory and get them as well. Bottom lineÖ. after picking up a few of these and watching yard sales for 5gal jugs we have about 200gals. Of water stored in our garage not really taking up all that much space. Our latest goal is to purchase a water purifier but we are short on funds at the moment. This will be the next thing we buy to purify the river water.
Some of the other things we have accomplished since we started are that we both have wanted to be independent of the grid in an emergency. We have been able to pick up a couple of reasonably priced 60 watt solar panels, a 1200 inverter, and a couple of deep cell batteries. Much more needs to be done here.
We have found several 5gal. gas cans at garage sales so we now have 50gals. of gasoline treated and stored. We also have about 100gals. of propane on hand.
I bought two large garbage cans on wheels that I store my extra dog food in. Each one holds 2 Ĺ 40lbs bags of dog food in. I also purchase canned food from the canned food store to mix it with. Since August we have many cases of canned dog food on hand. All of this can be easily loaded into our BOV or BOT in our case because it is on wheels. Every time I buy some canned food for the humans I get a case for the dogs. The cost really isnít that much more. Along this line I made up an emergency kit and BOB for the animals as well. Several months back I started acquiring a little extra bird food every time I bought some (we have 2 parrots), really not even noticeable financially at the time. I now have a 5 gal. bucket of extra feed.
We have gathered other things such as an emergency bag for each vehicle, a short-wave radio, some NBC supplies and equipment, more medical supplies, N100 masks, 1years worth of vegetable and herb seeds, and a nice little cash stash gathered from spare change and small bills tucked away here and there.
Doing all of these things has been a real blessing due to the fact that during the last four months our income has been cut to the point we have really had to tighten our belts. Because one of the first things I did when I started getting serious about this deal was buying extra storable food every time I went shopping. Between that and my canning and freezing it only took a few months to get to the point where we were able to only buy those things we like on sale. We are getting by on a very small food budget, eating as we always have, and so far, not depleting the food storage. In fact, I am still able to add to it although, not by much.
I accomplished this by:
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