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Prepping 101

10 Ways to Save Money

In an effort to help you get out of debt I have come up with some ideas to help you do just this.  I am sure there are many more and I would love for you to comment on what you have done to save money so you can pay down your debt.

  1. Cook at home often: If both the husband and wife work, this is likely to be very difficult. Try once and week and move to more days from there.  I have found if I sit down with my wife on Sunday evening before we go to bed and plan out what to cook for the week it is easier to cook at home.  This reiterates the need to have some food storage.  Having food available makes it easier to plan out meals.  Knowing the meals in advance and posting them will allow whomever comes home first to start making dinner knowing the food is already available.
  2. Brown bag lunch at least a few days a week: We can use lunch to engage and network but it comes at a cost.  Try bringing your lunch with the leftovers from dinner to help save money.  Lunches can easily exceed $10 a day.  Twice a week is $1000.
  3. Make a list before going shopping:  Without a list you will buy items that you simply do not need. Even worse is when your forget to purchase the actual item you came to the store for in the first place. If you plan on cooking at home, pre-plan a rough menu and make a list before you go grocery shopping.  Even better is to continue to store food then when you go to the store you are only getting what is on sale and what you need, thus avoiding impulse buys.
  4. Buy in bulk whenever possible: When it comes to non-perishable items, buy in bulk whenever you find something on sale. For such items, shopping at warehouse stores like Costco, Sam’s Club etc can save you quite a bit of money, provided you stick strictly to your shopping list when you shop at these places.  My wife uses coupons and shops when the item we need is on sale.  Thus she is double dipping.
  5.  Pay off debt: Like beating a dead horse around here.  Having some extra money will allow you to pay off this behemoth.  Never to look back.
  6. Borrow instead of buy, use thrift stores: This can be for books, rental tools, neighbors tools, holiday clothing.  Thrift stores are great for finding those costumes you use once.  Don’t be ashamed, many people throw out good jeans and shirt at thrift stores.  Often they can be bought at $1.
  7. Think before you buy: Many of the things you want to buy do not seem all that necessary.  Wait at least 48 before you buy.  Check prices.  Decide if something else can take its place.  Is it really needed or do you just want it.
  8. Keep your car as long as possible: Pay cash for your car and keep it 10 years.  Continue to make a car payment to your savings account.  When you have repairs you can use this account.  When you feel you need a new car you will have enough cash to buy it. Along with this is do regularly scheduled maintenance. Do not skimp on or forget to do regular oil changes. Remember to check the air in your tires often. These small acts can significantly lengthen the life of your car, giving you years of use.  I have  a diesel truck with 250,000 miles on it and it runs like a champ.  Maintenance is key
  9. Toss spare change into a glass jar . I save about $200-300 a year by putting spare change in a glass.  We use it for Christmas presents every year.  This is a great way to save for things without actually having to do much of anything.
  10. Use sales and coupons. Using sales and coupons along with copy canning will save tons.  Buying only what you need of things which are on sale is the way we shop.  We go to the store only to buy fresh items we do not store.  We will spend about $600 a month for a family of 5
  11. Plant a garden.  Here is a freebie.  Having a garden is like printing food.  It costs almost nothing for seeds and provides a summers worth of food.  It is fresh and oh so good for you.  It is also part of your preps.

What are some other things you have done to save money?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Companion Planting for Your Garden

Spring is now here and it is time to start planting in your garden.  I want you to think about your garden as a whole system rather than individual plants.  When we think about it as a system we begin to understand how nature goes about planting plants.  Nature does not plant carrots in a row.  We have a bean plant growing up an apple tree.  Squash covering and holding moisture for corn.  Understanding the symbiotic nature of the plants will enable us to plant more plants in less space with fewer chemicals and less water.  How about them apples  for a lazy garden.

I (to the dismay of my wife) am a lazy gardener.  I want to plant and then harvest.  If I had my preference, I would not plant either, but I will take what I can get.  Therefore I am always trying to find ways to have plants compliment each other to get maximum yield.  I have found by succession planting and companion planting I am able to decrease my workload and pests and increase my belly.

Companion planting is one way to increase the food on my table.  The following are some good companion plantings.

  • Asparagus and Basil
  • Carrots and peas
  • Corn and squash
  • Cucumber and corn
  • Onions and carrots, lettuce
  • Radish and peas
  • Peppers and onions

Along with companion plantings there are plants which should not be planted by each other.

  • Beans and onion
  • Cabbage and Dill
  • Carrots and Dill
  • Corn and Tomatoes
  • Onions and peas
  • Irish potato and squash, tomato, cucumber

There are also plants which are beneficial to your garden pest control.

  • Onions and garlic are natural pest repellers.   Plant in the midst of your veggies
  • French Marigolds kill bad nematodes.
  • Mexican Marigold.  Do not plant near brascia.
  • Four o’clock for Japanese beetles.
  • Chrysanthemum for nematodes.  Also provide some shade
  • Mint repels moths, aphids and attracts beneficials.  Very invasive so please plant in a pot.  I speak from experience.

Herbs for culinary use, beneficial insect use, and they smell great.

  • Rosemary.  Best used dry.  Attracts beneficials.  Use in bread.
  • Oregano.  Takes forever to germinate and grow but once in the ground it spreads well.
  • Basil.  Wonderful smelling.  Dried basil reminds me of summer.
  • Cilantro.  Mine overwintered.  Great in mexican dishes.  I use mine to make fresh salsa.

It is always good to plant as many beneficial flowers as possible.  Salvia is great for bees.  Marigolds, Nasturtiums are also great flowers to put in the garden.  Nature has a system for everything.  Try to make your garden a system not just 5 veggies planted in rows.

Prepping 1o1

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Can finishing your basement be considered prepping?

When you think about prepping, do you think about stuff in the future?  Do images of piles of food and clothing and water come to mind?  How can finishing your basement be considered prepping?

My reasoning is this.

  • I am saving my marriage by finishing a project my wife would like to have done.
  • Having an unfinished basement is undesirable if I sell my home.  More finished square footage equals more money.
  • I am learning valuable skills like carpentry, electrical, plumbing, tile, plus others.
  • I am saving money by doing the work myself.
  • My kids can now go downstairs and mess up the downstairs instead of the upstairs.
  • I have made new friends in the neighborhood by having them help me and learn new skills.
  • Did I mention my wife is happier when the basement is finished.

The underlying issue with prepping is, will it make your life better even if nothing goes wrong.  I think if we evaluate things through this lens it will make it easier to determine if what you are doing is worthwhile.

I know finishing my basement will put more equity into my home.  It will provide knowledge of how to fix, build and repair my home if in the future these things need to be taken care of.  It shows my children things must be worked for.  Sometimes you do not have the money to do things so you must learn to do them for yourself.  I think you gain a better appreciation for the work other people do and what it really costs.

Building things allows your mind to create.  My kids have had a wonderful time laying out their rooms.  It also forces you to plan ahead.  This may be the most important skill set gained from this endeavour.  We have had to look ahead and determine things we had not originally thought about.  We have decided to run natural gas to our appliances for future use.  We have expanded the bathroom so three girls could use it.

This project has also taught me about preparing for the future.  We have children growing up and they will need some space for them and their friends.  What will their needs be?  What will it be like when they leave?  Will we still want the layout we have now.

Too many times we prepare for the disasters we think may come and forget to remember we have families and loved ones to prepare for also.  It is important to have a refuge from the outside world where we can bond with family and friends.

Next time you have a spouse resisting your preps, tell them you want to fix up the house a little.  Explain to them what it means to have a house which is comfortable and livable and up to date.  Maybe you might find someone a little more receptive to your next project.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother


10 Simple Steps Toward Living the Prepping 101 Lifestyle

Today we talk about 10 simple steps that people can take toward making life’s road a little smoother.
Today we talk about…

  • Plan for disaster based on the simplified threat matrix.  Personal – Community – City.  99.9% of the things which can go wrong will fall into these 3 regions in your life.  There is no sense preparing for a global pandemic when you are not prepared for your wife to lose her income for two weeks because of foot surgery.  I can only say we are trying to cover the basics and once those are done, can we move to larger items.
  • Store at least 30-90 days of reserve food and water.  90% of disasters are personal, this should get you through most of them.  Having reserve food also saves you money and time.  You do not have to buy when you need it only when it is on sale.  You also get the added convenience of having your own personal convenience store in your house.
  • Plant a garden because you can only store so much food.  I want you to learn to grow your own food for a myriad of reasons.  The main two are 1) it supplements what you have stored. 2) It provides a valuable knowledge set.  Having a garden will enable you to extend your food storage for longer periods of time and give yet another piece to the diversity puzzle.  If you have 30 days worth of food and a garden you could extend this up to 45 days or more depending on how large your garden is and what type of climate you live.  Knowledge gained from the garden is invaluable.  From when to plant, what to plant with, pests, beneficial animals and insects, seed saving, food preservation, etc.  All of these skills you take with you wherever you go.
  • Debt is financial cancer, get rid of it. Enough said.
  • Understand you prepare for most disasters the same way.  We do not prepare for a specific event but for a loss of a system(s).
  • Have bug out bag (72 hour kit) for every family member.  Even the dog or cat
  • Have a plan for staying put and for leaving.  You will never know if you have to leave your house or stay for an emergency.  What if you have a storm or hurricane coming and it is better to leave and go to the in-laws?  Take you BOB and go for a day or two.  What if there is a snow storm coming?  Better to stay put and hole up at home where there is food and clothing.  You see we have to prepare for all types of events.  We do not get to pick our disaster.  Life does not give us a phone call and say “Hey, just wanted to let you know your house is going to burn down on March 16.  Have a nice day.”  This is why we prepare for leaving and staying.
  • Practice true diversity in your investment strategy.  Do not put all of your money into a 401k/403b, etc. plan.  This is just as foolish as having all your money in cash or all in gold.  What if the stock market goes up, how is your cash doing?   Same if the market goes down.  Diversity is not having all of your money in paper assets.  Look to stocks, land, commodities, cash, bonds.  Practice true diversity.
  • Learn to protect yourself, your family and your neighbors.  Have a gun (shotgun at minimum).   Most of all learn how to use it.  Go out and practice.  Get good training.  I believe all rights we have are due to the enforcement of the second amendment.
  • Everything you do to prepare should help to make life’s road a little smoother.  If nothing ever goes wrong in your life these things will make your life better.  This is the over reaching goal of what we do here, if your life is great you will be in a position to help some of those who’s life is not so good at the moment.

Remember who you are, and the skills and knowledge in your head are what matters.  What you do and stand for matter.

Prepping 101
Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Getting Started – Changing from a Grasshopper to an Ant

Many ask the question, “How do I get started?”  Prepping 101 is about giving you ideas to get started.

First thing you will need to do is determine where you are in your life before you start prepping. Have you spent your whole life not prepping?  That’s ok you are the normal average American.  How many years have you spent being unprepared?  Be grateful you have awakened yourself.  It took you many years of being unprepared, it will take years to become prepared.  This is now a lifestyle change, not buying more stuff to put in your basement just in case.

You now have to decide where you are.  Start with determining how much food do you have in your home.  List how many meals you have in your home.  Write it down on a piece of paper.  If you want 30 days worth of food you need to know how many days you have to start with.

Start storing food.  Start copy canning.  When you go to the store to buy corn, buy two cans instead of one.  Put the second one in storage.  Do this until you have 30 days worth of food or whatever amount of food you want in your home.

Start making a documentation book.  One in each car, 0ne in the house

  • List of all the people you may want to get a hold of and all the numbers and addresses for them
  • List of services, these are people you call in case of emergency
    • Tree trimming
    • Plumbing
    • Electrical
    • HVAC
    • Roofing
    • Masonry
    • Carpentry
    • Drywall
  • 3 places you would go and 3 routes to get to each place.  All of the places will be far apart.  Make sure you put the names and phone #’s of each place.  If you choose hotels in an area pick 3-4 hotels in each area.  Print out each place from Google Maps with the 3 different ways to get there.  Put it in your book.

Organize your pantry.  You may realize you have more food than you thought.  Now with your pantry organized it will make your copy canning easier.

If you really feel overwhelmed, go to the store and buy some beans, rice, pasta and sauce.  This will get you immediate sense of relief.  You can do this for less than $50.

Get out of debt.  As you know this is something we preach often around here.  Debt makes you a slave to the lender.  I think getting out of debt is so important you may put some of your preps on hold until you get out of debt.  You could easily store 30-60 days worth of food and cash and then all you do is put your money into getting out of debt.  Making a budget is the easiest way to cut money out.  Make a list of your debts in order from smallest to largest.  Start with the smallest and apply as much money as possible until it is paid off.  Take the payment from the last bill and apply it to the next until they are paid off.

Start cutting expenses.  You can always add them back later if you feel they are needed again.  Cut, cut, cut until you can cut no more and then live like this for 3 months and if you want to add something back, do so.

Understand the commonality of disaster and use it to make your preps easier.  What is the most likely thing to happen?  A personal disaster is the most common.  What will having food mean if you lose your job?  What will having some cash mean if you get sick?  What will life insurance mean if you spouse dies?  If you start planning for the most common things you will be 90%. prepared.  We do not plan for specific threats, we plan for the general disaster to happen.

Realize and OWN your plan. No one will have the same plan as you.  If you have your own plan you will not be able to blame someone else for the failure of their plan.  You will also be the one to reap the success of the plan YOU implemented.

Be prepared to protect yourself.  This means having something both lethal and non lethal.  Get training on how to protect yourself and your family.  You may have to start with pepper spray and some self-defense training.  Becoming armed is an increase in responsibility.  Being armed means you are going to avoid conflict at a greater cost.  When you bring a gun to a fight it automatically becomes a gun fight.  Are you ready for this?

Last is understanding your success depends on you.  The ownership of your goals, plans and objectives is in your hands.  I can help make suggestions but ultimately it depends on you.

Go forward with confidence knowing the future is brighter today than yesterday.  The steps you take today are steps moving you closer to your goal of personal freedom and liberty.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

The Freedom of Being Debt Free

The most common threads on this site are and will continue to be, Debt and Gardening.  I know talking about debt is boring so I wanted to come up with a twist.  Society tells us to continue to have debt until we retire and then it will be ok.  But once you retire after a lifetime of using debt it is hard to get rid of.  My father in law has retired and he still has some debt.  This boggles my mind.  How can a man who is 70 think he can continue to take on debt?  Why do we continue to do this?  Why is enslavement something we aspire to?  So today I wanted to write about what it means to be debt free.

Only a few years ago I was in debt, just like many of you.  I sat down with my wife and we discussed what we were going to do about it.  How could we have let this happen?  Then my dad died.  We were left with a small amount of inheritance.  What would we do with it?  We decided to pay off all our debt but the house.  In my head was screaming ‘serenity now’.   I don’t want the stress of having anymore debt.

So my wife and I began the journey of paying off our debt.  We were not able to pay off everything.  As we moved along in our journey, it didn’t seem like it was going to be possible.

I want to tell you what it is like on the other side for those of you on the same journey.  We were able to pay off everything before the crash.  My existing business was cut in half.  I wish I had heeded the same advice in business.  I had debt there I had to work through.  Though the sales were 50% of what they were the year before, I had to take a 50% pay cut.  The amazing thing was we were actually able to make it through.  We had money put away for a rainy day and it was pouring outside.

What I never realized until things calmed down what a relief it was to have no debt.  I was able to put my head down and go to work without having the burden of payments.  I took a hit on my income and survived.  It seems like things are easier though I still do not make as much money as I used to.

I have realized when you have to work because all your money is spent before the paycheck comes is harder than wondering what to do with the extra you have since there are no payments waiting for you.

Victory is the ability to say to your existing job, ‘I quit’.  It is working less with better quality of life.  It is working more and retiring early.  It is realizing you are not a slave anymore.  The freedom and liberty which comes from being debt free is almost like witnessing birth.  Just like kids, I wish I could have 10 of them.  Debt is something I wish I never had.  I am only glad I realized it earlier rather than later.  It is an accomplishment worth sacrificing for.  I know you can do it.  If you do nothing else, getting out of debt will change your mental state.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother