Showing posts with label preparedness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label preparedness. Show all posts

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Prepper's Dehydrator Handbook Book Review


(This book was sent to me to review. I am not being paid to review this book, however, there will be affiliate links attached to this review. There is no pressure or expectation to purchase anything unless you feel like this book would be an awesome addition to your library!)

One of the major areas of food storage is dehydrated food. Dehydrated food lasts a long time stored properly. However, this area of food storage can be a little tricky. Can you dehydrate that food? For how long should it be in the dehydrator? How do you store it once it is done? How do you use it again?

Those are some good questions, but my friend Shelle Wells has the answers for you in her book, Prepper's Dehydrator Handbook: Long-Term Food Storage Techniques For Nutritious, Delicious, Lifesaving Meals. She covers all areas of dehydrating food. She tells how to dehydrate food even if you do not have a dehydrator (but you should have one!).

She covers all sorts of foods to dehydrate in this book too: herbs, vegetables, fruits, meat, frozen fruits and vegetables, and more. She covers how to make your own fruit leather. She also tells you how to make your own powdered soup that you can just add hot water too for instant soup! She also gives you great recipes to use your dehydrated deliciousness to make some great dishes and desserts.

This book will be a very important book in my cookbook collection as well as a great reference book for my food storage. I found this to be one of the most complete books on dehydrating that I have seen or owned. I think you will find this to be a very important part of your food storage books too.

In addition to this book, Shelle also offers a free three-day mini-challenge so you can master the three fears of dehydrating! I suggest you check it out!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Five Types of Items You Should Not Have in Your Preps


When you first start prepping, you are just focused on accumulating the goods. You think you need so much stuff and there is a lot of advertisements that will convince you that you need a lot more.

You know you need to focus on skills, but in the course of learning the skills, you still need the stuff to learn them. Everywhere you turn, you need things to be prepared.

However, you are not always sure what to have on hand to be prepared and what not to have on hand to be prepared. As we become more experienced preppers, our tastes and needs may change too. We end up having even more things on hand to be prepared. More things than we need or even want to have on hand.

In the course of time and experience, we find out what not to have in our preps. We learn what things are useless or could be replaced with more suitable and better items. Sometimes we learn this the hard way in a crisis or situation and sometimes we have the chance to learn before that happens.

Five Types of Items You Should Not Have in Your Preps

1. Anything you do not know how to use or will not use now. So many preppers have items in their preps that they have no clue how to use. This can be anything from a crank radio to small solar panels to weapons to generators. You need to be familiar with and know how to use your preps. If you don't know how to use it now, how will you be able to use it in an emergency?

The same goes for any preps you will not (or refuse to) use now, but have just in case you might be forced to. What is the point of having them then? You should be familiar with and ready to use anything you have in your preps. If you will not use them now because you are not comfortable with them, then why have them?

I see this a lot with the weapons that preppers possess. They have guns that have never been fired or even loaded. They have no idea how to load, shoot, or clean the gun, but they have a gun just in case. It will not do you any good if you don't know how. That goes for all your preps. You need to know how to use them and practice using them. Otherwise, don't have them because you or they will be dangerous without the knowledge and practice of that item.

2. Anything that is single use and not imperative to survival. A lot of prepping items are single use: food, soap, bullets, etc. Those things are also important for survival. However, a lot of new preppers accumulate gadgets that are cheaply made or are only single use. In a short-term situation, that would be fine, but in a long-term situation that could be disastrous.

Your tools in prepping should have more than one use if at all possible. You should be learning about all the different ways to use those items. Preppers should also carefully consider whether the items they have set back for preparedness are really essential to survival. Many things can be used in a pinch, but they are not really preparedness items.

An item I see a lot in preparedness lists are solar lights. I have even included them in lists, but here is the thing about solar lights - they need the sun to power and charge them. They are worthless during a snowstorm because there is no sun to charge them. They may provide some light, but they will never be better than a good lantern or a candle. They also do not get a good charge in the winter which will shorten their light life on days when the dark is longer than the light. So solar lights are not really essential to your prepping items because there are better items to replace them.

3. Anything with a short shelf life. This applies to mostly food storage but can apply to more. A lot of food storage should be food with long shelf lives so you can have plenty of food on hand and not have to worry about spoilage. However, I see a lot of people include what they have in their fridge and freezers as part of their long-term food storage. That is okay to do, but when the freezer quits running or the power is off for an extended period of time, your freezer food just became perishable. You might have a generator to keep it running, but for how long? 

Your long-term food storage should be items that you can keep on the shelf and be able to store for at least a year, but 2-10 years is better. If you are planning on the meat and vegetables in your freezer to be part of your long-term food storage, you need to can them. If you can them, they just got an extended shelf life that will not depend on whether you have power or not to stay edible. 

4. Anything electronic or relies on electricity to run. A lot of preppers use electronic means to store information, important documents, and reference materials. While that sounds like a good idea, in theory, most preppers lack the long-term abilities to charge and maintain those electronics. You may not think about long-term power outages or a power surge taking out your electronics, but when it does, you will be out of luck.

Print out and purchase paper reference materials. You can still store your information on flash drives, SD cards, ebooks, and tablets, but keep a paper copy as a back-up. Keeping some basic reference books on hand will also give you a peace of mind.

The same goes for tools and other items you have as part of your preps that require electricity. If your drill requires an extension cord to run, it should not be part of your preps. A battery powered drill is better, but will still need electricity to charge the batteries. Unless you have a solar panel to charge those and adequate sunlight, your drill should not be part of your preps. A hand powered drill would be a better option, but you need to use it to understand how much work it will take to power it.

5. Seeds and roots. Survival seed banks are very popular items for sale online nowadays. They are usually a good purchase for the price, but there is one thing they leave out in the advertising. They are usually not good for longer than a year or two. Most seeds lose their rate of germination after a year or two. Even if the seeds are stored in mylar with an oxygen absorber, they will not last any longer. While having one or two of these packets on hand is not a bad idea, you should be learning how to save seeds yourself so you can continue to plant a garden for the next year.

While some seeds do last for longer than a year, you need to be aware of what seeds those are. Most seeds need to be planted and replaced in your stash every year. I also see people keep roots and tubers in oxygen absorbers and mylar bags in their preps. This also does not usually work out because they will either rot or dry out and will not produce when planted. If you want to plant items that need roots or tubers to get started, plant them now. Most of those items are perennials anyway so you can plant them now to get them started. You can always save a few potatoes back every harvest to start the next year's crop. Just don't try to save them as part of your preps.

Honestly, the most important prep you need in your preps is common sense. With common sense, you will be able to understand what you need and don't need in your preps. In addition to common sense, gaining and having knowledge will improve your ability to decide what you need and don't need.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
Prepping Is About The Little Things
10 Ways You Can Be A Self-Reliant Prepper


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

20 Books To Give Your Favorite Preppers (and Non-Preppers) For The Holidays!


One of my favorite gifts to give and receive for any holiday is books! Almost everyone reads books. Beyond that, reading increases knowledge, brings pleasure, and is generally a good way to relax. 

These are my favorite prepping fiction and non-fiction books to read and to give. You can give most of them as an e-book, but I recommend a hard copy to keep in the home library. If you can give the e-books as a downloadable book, this would be good too so the recipient can download and print the book. 

You will see fiction and non-fiction on this list. While most preppers like non-fiction, non-preppers will enjoy fiction books more. Sometimes the fiction books do more for opening the eyes of non-preppers than any talking to them will do! 

20 Books To Give Your Favorite Preppers (and Non-Preppers) For The Holidays!

1. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Wesley, Rawles. (This is my favorite prepping book ever!)

2. Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse by James Wesley, Rawles (Fiction and the first book in a fantastic series!)

3. Going Home: A Novel (The Survivalists Series Book 1) by A. American (Fiction and another great series.)

4. One Second After by William R. Forstchen (Fiction and the first book of another great series)

5. CyberStorm by Matthew Mather (Fiction and being developed for a movie)

6. 36 Hours (The Blackout Series Book 1) by Bobby Akart (Fiction and an author with at least four great series)

7. The Longest Walk by Ron Foster and Pat Lambert (Fiction and very eye-opening!)

8. Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Live-Savings Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living by Jim Cobb (Non-fiction and another fantastic resource to get better prepared)

9. Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath by Ted Koppel (Non-fiction)

10. The Prepper's Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster by Bernie Carr (Non-fiction and this would make a great stocking stuffer!)

11. Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios by Lisa Bedford  (Non-fiction)

12. A Year Without The Grocery Store: A Step by Step Guide to Acquiring, Organizing, and Cooking Food Storage by Karen Morris (Non-fiction)

13. Just in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient When The Unexpected Happens by Kathy Harrison (Non-fiction)

14. Prepper Supplies Checklist: A Simple Guide to Emergency Preparedness by Nettie David (Non-fiction)

15. The Prepper's Canning Guide: Affordably Stockpile a Lifesaving Supply of Nutritious, Delicious, Shelf-Stable Foods by Daisy Luther (Non-fiction)

16. Holding Their Own: A Story of Survival  Book 1 by Joe Nobody  (Fiction)

17. Going Off The Grid: The How-To Book of Simple Living and Happiness by Gary Collins (Non-fiction)

18. Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready for Any Emergency or Disaster Situation by Linda Loosli (Non-fiction)

19. Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook by James Talmage Stevens (Non-fiction)

20. The Prepper's Yearbook: Prepare for Emergencies Large and Small with 5 Budget Friendly Tasks Per Month by Erica Nygaard (Yours truly! Download and print!)

There should be something for everyone on this list. From the non-prepper to the experienced prepper, you should be able to find something for the special people on your list! 

(This post is riddled with affiliate links that support many authors who also happen to be friends and associates of mine! Please consider supporting one of these fine people who do this for a living and with the purpose of wanting you to be better prepared. Thanks!)

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts: 
Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook: Book Review
The Survival Savvy Family: Book Review 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Prepping Is About The Little Things


Prepping can seem like such an expensive adventure. Many people think that in order to be a good prepper you need the big things: a whole house generator, a safe room, a bug out shelter in a hidden location, every gun known to man with several hundred rounds for each gun, and more. With that thought, we scare away more people from prepping or feeling like they are prepared because they don't have the biggest prepping ticket items.

In fact, I don't have any of those things. I wish I had a generator. Truth be told, a couple of different guns too. However, I don't have them and I still am considering myself a prepper.

You will hear plenty of "experts" tell you that you need to be able to be off-grid and be able to completely unplug from the grid if you can at a moments' notice. That can be very expensive also considering most people either need to purchase a new house, build a home, or retrofit their current dwelling. Most of those experts do not exactly admit to the fact that it took them years to become off-grid and the amount of work it takes to be off-grid.

Admittingly, I would love to have an off-grid home with solar panels and a wood stove/boiler system. However, again, I don't and I still consider myself a prepper.

You will also hear a lot of preppers telling you that you need to be homesteading in addition to preparedness. The reasoning behind this is so that you are not suffering much when the food supply is interrupted and you can be self-sufficient. You need to be growing your own food, raising livestock, and living on an acreage somewhere.

This one I am guilty of. I have been homesteading and do so in addition to my preparedness. However, this may not be a possibility for a lot of people who want to prepare. While it is a great addition to my preps, I have no illusions that I can supply all my food needs with what I raise and the eggs my chickens lay. I would need to grow a lot more and get a rooster so I can repopulate my chickens.

Having the big ticket prepper items is not what preparedness is all about. Being off-grid or being a  homesteader is not what prepping is about. Being a survivalist who can live in the woods for weeks at a time is not what prepping is about. They are nice things to learn, practice, and live because they are things that will enhance your preparedness. 

Prepping is about the little things. Prepping is about the skills you learn, the items you need to have in an emergency, the knowledge of what to do in most situations, the daily habits, and the life you live in general. 

Prepping is about having plenty of food and water on hand to take care of your basic needs. Prepping is about having a shelter, being warm, and having some light to see by. Prepping is about being able to fix and mend most things. Prepping is about being to thrive and survive with what you have and making the most of what you have.

The reality for most preppers is that they cannot afford the big things. They cannot afford to move. They can not afford to build or renovate a home. Most of us are still living our normal lives with our regular bills, family expenses, and other daily living expenses. We cannot afford the big things. We can try to save up for them, but we also need that savings for any emergencies that may come up (which is prepping, by the way).

Prepping is 100% personal effort. You get to make prepping as big or as little as you want it. You get to explore what interests you and you get to do what is best for you and your family. If you are happy and comfortable with having two weeks worth of supplies on hand to withstand most emergencies, great. You are still way ahead of most people when it comes to crisis time. If you want to go further and prepare for more, you have the right to do.

However, prepping is about making sure the basics are covered. We may call it little things, but they are the things that will save your life and keep you out of the FEMA/Red Cross lines.

So they aren't so little really. They are more important than having all those big-ticket items that most prepping "experts" will tell you need to have.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
10 Totally Free Prepping Things To Do
10 Prepping Goals You Should Be Setting For The New Year


Friday, November 2, 2018

55 Ways To Save Money on Your Utility and Water Bills


The single biggest expense most households have are their utility and water bills. Sometimes those two bills combined are more expensive than the mortgage. Sometimes those two bills are the same as the mortgage and monthly groceries. In other words, they are just expensive.

In the twenty plus years of paying for a utility bill and growing up in a house that was very conscious of its water and electrical use, I have learned some tips and tricks to drive down the costs of those bills. Some of these tips will not cost you a thing and will provide immediate results. Some results will not be immediately seen. For some of these tips, you will need to pay to save. You will need to purchase items will that will pay for themselves in the future.

I realize some towns/cities/companies have minimum usages for utilities and water. If you are above the minimum usages, you want to get down to those if you can. You can also call and try to negotiate the minimum usage amount, but most places do not allow that.

55 Ways To Save Money on Your Utility and Water Bills

1. Shut off the lights. Most houses are lit up like they are a light show. If you are not in the room, shut off the lights. Use lamps, oil lamps, or candles instead of overhead lights to save money. During the day, use natural lighting.

2. Unplug the small appliance especially the ones with lights or a display. They draw power even though they are not in use.

3. Hang your laundry instead of using the clothes dryer. You can hang inside or outside depending on your weather. Hanging inside during the winter also provides some needed humidity too if you live where it is cold.

4. Plant trees to shade your home. Tree shade keeps a home cooler and is better for the environment.

5. Fix your leaking faucets. You lose a lot of water with a leaking faucet. If you have well water, you are losing electricity too by keeping the well pump running.

6. Use low flow showerheads. These also help save money and you still have good water pressure for a great shower.

7. Clean or replace the faucet aerators (screen on the end of your faucet) to use less water.

8. Replace old dying appliances with new (or newer) energy efficient ones.

9. Use your grill or firepit to cook a meal instead of the stove.

10. Have a no television, no electronic times of the day. Extend this further by having a no television week every month. Not having the television on will save money and using electronics less will save on charging times.

11. Plastic on the windows during the winter to cut down on drafts and keep the house warmer.

12. Set the thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer when you are gone from the home.

13. Set the thermostat two degrees lower than usual in the winter and two degrees higher than usual in the summer to save money.

14. Get an energy audit done by your local utility company. They will tell you where you can make changes and often you get a free kit for the having the audit done. The audit isn't always free though.

15. Turn down the water heater to 120 degrees or lower yet. You can still take a hot shower with 120-degree water.

16. Set a timer for showers. Most people do not need more than ten minutes for a shower. Teenagers seem to forget this so set a timer.

17. Only flush your toilet every 2-3 trips. You know the saying, "If it is yellow, let it mellow. If it is brown, flush it down." You do not need to flush the toilet every time you pee. Worried about pets or toddlers? Use a toilet lid lock so they can not get into the toilet.

18. Put a brick covered in plastic wrap in the toilet tank to reduce the amount of water needed to flush.

19. Have a leaky toilet? Replace the seal, replace the float, and/or replace the toilet. If you are replacing the toilet, definitely spend the money for the low flow toilets. Most of those toilets use less than two gallons of water per flush.

20. Save the warm-up water from your showers. You can use this normally wasted water for flushing toilets (shut off the water to the toilet first) or watering plants.

21. Check your water heater. Have the water heater serviced or learn how to service it yourself. Flush the water heater out once a year to remove sentiment. If it is over 20 years old, consider replacing it with a tankless water heater or something much more energy efficient.

22. Warm your water heater with an insulated blanket if it is in an unheated basement or room to reduce heat loss from the tank. You can also wrap the pipes coming from the water heater to prevent heat loss further which causes your water heater to work harder.

23. Set up a rain catchment system. Catching rainwater to use for watering lawns and plants is certainly going to save you a lot of money. Some cities/townships/counties/states do not allow for this practice so check your local laws. You may need to have it flow into hidden tanks if you want to do this.

24. Check the seals on your doors. You can lose a lot of hear/air from doors that are not properly sealed. Replace the seals if you can. If they are doors you do not use, seal them off completely.

25. Close off rooms you do not use. Unless there are pipes in those rooms, you can shut off those rooms. Close off the heat vents and close the door. You can always open them back up and turn the vent on again if you need to use those rooms.

26. Switch out any old electrical plug-ins and light switches. Most of them become weak over time and do not securely hold the plugs in right.

27. Use thermal lined or insulated curtains to keep rooms cool or warm depending on the season.

28. Use solar power whenever possible. You may not be able to purchase a large system, but you can take advantage of solar chargers or small solar panels to run small appliances.

29. Use a wood stove or a wood cookstove instead of electric or gas to keep your home warm and cook your meals. Some insurances do not allow wood stoves so you will need to check into this and maybe switch insurance companies.

30. Fill your sink with water when washing dishes. Fill one side or a tub with wash water and the other side with rinse water. You waste more water by running the faucet than you do with just filling the sink.

31. Use draft stoppers on doors. If you do have a bad seal on a door or an inside door leading to an unheated area, you can make or purchase a draft stopper to seal off the door better.

32. Wear more clothes in the winter and fewer clothes in the summer. Most people do not want to be uncomfortable. However, you can add layers of clothes in the winter to keep the heat bill down. There is also nothing wrong with wearing a fleece jacket, stocking cap, and fingerless gloves inside the house in the winter.

33. Add more blankets to beds in the winter to keep the heat down overnight.

34. Only shower every other day if you can. A good deal of people do not need to shower every day. Most kids under the age of twelve only need to shower or bath 2-3 times a week. Most people just do not get dirty enough or gross enough to shower every day. However, if you do get really dirty and/or sweaty every day, shower. If you have an illness in the house, please shower or bath as often as possible.

35. You do not need to wash your bedding every week. Save your water bill and wash your bedding every 2-3 weeks. If you are worried about the sheets being gross, shower before bedtime or sleep on a towel.

36. Only run full loads of dishes in the dishwasher and full loads of laundry in the washing machine. With most washing machines, you can at least adjust the level load to keep the water usage down. However, you will save money on your electrical bill by only running these machines with full loads.

37. Kids do not need a full bathtub to get cleaned. Save your water bill some more by only using no more than five inches of water in the bathtub. If they are toddlers or preschoolers, you can use even less water.

38. Keep rooms clean and uncluttered. If the rooms are dirty and cluttered, they will take more energy to heat because they are trying to heat your stuff too.

39. If you are using the oven, try cooking multiple things in the oven at the same time to conserve power. If you are baking a casserole, plan to bake bread or bars at the same time. You can also put potatoes or vegetables into roast for another meal.

40. Have blankets available to use and cover-up. You can keep the heat lower while everyone is just sitting in the living room watching television.

41. Wear clothes more than once to keep your laundry down and use less water. Most of our clothing can be worn more than once (yes, undergarments are the exception). Unless you get gross and dirty, you can wear clothes at least twice if not more. You can wear the same pair of pajamas all week.

42. Open your windows instead of using the air conditioner. Most people need to air out their homes on a regular basis anyway. Unless you live in a really dirty area or have severe allergies, you should be opening your windows to save money.

43. Look for opportunities to shut off your heat or air conditioning. Unless it is really humid or hot (over 85 degrees), I keep the air conditioner shut off and will open the windows if I can. The heater gets shut off if the outside temp is over 60 degrees during the fall, winter, and spring. Most of the time, the heater will not run anyway because the inside temp will stay over 65 degrees during the day, but I like to shut it off and see how long we can go before turning it on. Once the inside temp drops below 58 degrees, I will turn it back on.

44. Are you using a small appliance for something you can do easily by hand? You can really nit-pick here, but you could use a manual can opener inside of an electric one. You can use a whisk instead of an electric mixer. The list goes on, but you are trying to save money. The little savings add up too.

45. If it is winter, keep moving. In the winter, we tend to get colder because we sit more. We naturally want to hibernate or do as little as possible. However, to keep your body heat up and the thermostat turned down, you need to keep moving. You can deep clean a room, clean house daily, and more. Just keep moving around.

46. If it is summer, consider energy conservation for yourself. In the summer, we tend to do things that make us hot and sweaty which causes us to turn the thermostat lower to stay cooler. Keep the heavy work for morning or late afternoon/evening. If you feel the need to heavy, sweaty work during the day, consider a cool shower or even an outdoor solar shower bag to cool off instead.

47. In the summer, cook outside or eat cool meals. Heating up the house will make us want to adjust the thermostat. Keep the cooking outside if you can. If you are a canner or caterer, consider installing an outdoor kitchen to keep the heat outside.

48. Unplug electronic devices after they are done charging. Most chargers still keep drawing power after they are done charging. Unplug them or put them on a power strip you can shut off so they are not drawing power anymore.

49. Use slow cookers, toaster ovens, and electric skillets instead of using your stovetop or oven. They use considerably less energy than a stovetop or oven.

50. Replace your standard light bulbs with a CFL or a LED bulb. Some bulbs are better than others, but all of them will save you money over the incandescent bulbs. I will say this: from experience, it is far better to invest money in the LED bulbs and get a better quality for better lighting. Going with cheap bulbs will more than likely result in less quality lighting.

51. Consider changing your outdoor lighting to LED or solar lights. We also use dusk to dawn lights and motion sensor lights. We replaced and added a good deal of our outdoor lights last year with no impact on the utility bill because we choose LED and solar lights.

52. If your furnace or central unit is over 20-25 years old, consider replacing it. The newer systems use considerably less energy and have many more options to make them a better fit for your home.

53. Insulate your attic. A contractor friend told me one time that most people could save a lot of money if they would just insulate their attics. A lot of homes have uninsulated attics and lose a lot of heat through those attics. Make sure you have at least 8-12 inches of insulation on your attic floor to keep the heat escaping through your roof. Be sure to check your insulation every few years because it can settle and collapse.

54. Borrow and use a kill a watt monitor and find out if you have any appliance or electronics that are sucking power without you being aware of how much. You would be surprised how much aquariums and dishwashers use.

55. Consider replacing your thermostats. After a time, they become unreliable and could be heating your house or rooms warmer than they should be. We replaced one a year ago after realizing that the room seemed very warm. Using a thermometer, we discovered the room was really almost 80 degrees instead of the 65 degrees the thermostat was set at. Every year, you should be checking to see if they are accurate by using a thermometer and checking the temperature.

This is just some of the ways you can save money on your utility and water bills. Some of these may be too extreme for some of you and that is okay. Some of these may cost too much money for you now to implement them. That is okay too. Just take care of them when you have some money saved up.

There are many, many more ways to save money on your utility and water bills too. I plan to have a part 2 coming, but I would love to hear your ideas! Please leave them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,
Erica

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Start Saving Money by Having A Poverty Mindset: Learn 25 Ways To Extreme Living and Saving! 
What Place Does Extreme Frugality Have In Your Life? Can You Live In Extreme Frugality?


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

10 Ways You Can Be A Self-Reliant Prepper


When you first start prepping, you think you have to spend a lot of money to be prepared. And in some ways, you do need to spend money to build up your food storage and purchase some necessary goods. However, at some point, spending money will not continue to make you a better prepper.

Being a good prepper is about learning the skills and using your knowledge to cope and survive in any situation or crisis that you are faced with. While being prepared for a large-scale disaster is a good thing, being prepared for the everyday situations and your own personal potential crisis takes more skills and knowledge than you could ever think possible. You need to become a self-reliant prepper.

Being able to rely on your own self is so important in prepping. A lot of preppers have groups or people that they can rely on and that is great. However, being a self-reliant prepper can bring a lot to the group too. So if you are a lone wolf or apart of a prepper group, being a self-reliant prepper is important.

10 Ways To Be A Self-Reliant Prepper

1. Buy used goods. This may not seem like a self-reliant skill, but it is. You are doing your part to stop the cycle of consumerism and keep perfectly good items out of the landfill. Beyond that, buying used goods helps the person or business you are purchasing them from. Usually, the person or business selling the used goods is a local person or a small business owner. By purchasing their items, you are helping to support the local economy and increasing someone else's self-reliance.

Here's the thing about prepping and being self-reliant: You may be able to produce most of your own goods and make things stretch for a very long time. However, at some point, you will need to purchase/trade/barter for some goods. You will need your local economy and you need to get to know your local economy. If you establish these relationships now, you will have a better chance of doing business after a crisis or an SHTF situation.

2. Mend your own clothes and other broken items. Fixing and mending items is a skill that most self-reliant preppers treasure and seek to grow every chance they are presented with. By fixing and mending your own things, you are decreasing your dependence on the economy. You should be fixing your own things instead of buying new every time something breaks.

3. Learn new skills - learn to be self-reliant. Self-reliance is not something you are born with. Some people may be more naturally inclined to be self-reliant, but most people have to learn how to be self-reliant. If you were raised in a self-reliant family, you are a step ahead of most people. However, not all is lost. You can learn skills and become self-reliant. Self-reliance is a conscious choice that you make every day. Learning new skills only increases your self-reliance.

4. Grow your own food and supplies. This is one of the most important things for being self-reliant. You need to be able to grow your food, have the ability to grow your own food and be actively practicing how to grow your own food. If you are able to, you should be raising your meat too whether that be just rabbits and chickens or even larger livestock. You should also be trying to grow herbs, medicinal plants, and more to provide for your needs.

5. Make your own things. We have already talked about mending and fixing your own things, but you also need to know how to make things too. Whether you are building a fence, building a shed, sewing new clothes, making salves and remedies, and more, you should be learning how and actively practicing these skills as much as you can to be self-reliant.

6. Cook from scratch. This may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people have no idea how to cook from scratch. They don't know how to take vegetables from the garden and make a meal from them. They still buy a lot of junk and/or processed foods from the store. Learn to cook from scratch now and actively use these skills every day. There may be some ingredients that you can not produce yourself like baking powder or baking soda. However, being the good prepper you are, you will have a good stockpile of those ingredients you cannot produce yourself!

7. Use your own power instead of gas or electric. In the case of a crisis or an SHTF, you will need to learn how to do a lot of things yourself because of fuel shortages or a lack of power. Being a good self-reliant prepper, you will understand that you may need to use your own strength and muscles to get the job done. Now would be a good time to start thinking of ways to do things yourself and getting into shape so you can. You can also set up solar and wind power solutions to produce your own power, but sometimes you will need to conserve those too. I would make sure you have hand tools to fix things and be purchasing or building non-electric/non-fuel powered items to do the work.

8. Read  - increase your knowledge. Learning and doing is some of the best ways to increase your knowledge, but having a library of books will give you the knowledge you need to start learning and doing. I would encourage you to build up a physical library with several good reference books. You can find a lot of books used through eBay, Amazon, thrift stores, and garage sales. Then you should sit down and read at least 1-2 chapters of a book a day to help you in your quest for self-reliant living.

9. Learn to make your own medicines, cures, and remedies. I also know this has been brought up already to learn how to do, but this needs its own discussion. We talked about growing your ingredients and making your own salves and remedies. However, you need to be growing your knowledge of how to treat simple ailments and injuries. You should be making and using things to help boost your immunity, help with colds and coughs, treat ear infections naturally, and more.

You should be lessening your dependence on conventional medicines and doctors if you can. You should be eating well and being active as well which helps your overall health tremendously. Too many people run to the doctor for things that could be dealt with at home because they want a quick fix. Most illnesses cannot be treated with a quick fix, but with home remedies and time.

Resources: 
Prepper's Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils, and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor by Cat Ellis
The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not On The Way by Joseph and Amy Alton

*I am not a medical professional. If you have serious ailments and injuries, you should be seeking medical intervention. Some things cannot be cured at home and even the pioneers sought medical attention when necessary.

10. Simply life - want less, need less. We are so accustomed to giving what we want when we want it. We often buy or procure a lot of things we don't actually need. We own a lot of things we don't use. We see the latest prepping (or other) gadget and think we need to have it to be prepared. The truth is we don't need nearly as much as we think we do.

Being self-reliant does not mean you need buildings and a basement full of junk. The two things you need most in your journey to be a self-reliant prepper is your brain and your hands. The rest of the things you need to be self-reliant are tools and things that will help you be self-reliant. There will be tools and things you need. You need jars for canning. You need tools to fix things. You need candles, lamps, and flashlights for lighting.

I could keep going on, but you need to distinguish between your needs and wants. Then, to be self-reliant, you need to want less and try to need less.

This all being said, you want to be a self-reliant prepper. However, this has its limitations too. You shouldn't be so self-reliant that you cannot or will not ask for help if you need it. Sometimes the costs of doing something yourself is far more expensive than just buying the item or hiring the work done. Only you will be able to know the difference and act accordingly. Sometimes you may not have the knowledge on how to do something and need to learn. You should not be so prideful and into your self-reliance that you cannot ask someone to show you how to do that particular skill. You should not be afraid to ask for help.

What ways do you practice being a self-reliant prepper?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
Grow and Raise Your Own Food Now So You Can Learn From Loss and Failure Now Rather Than Later
What Are You Prepared To Live Without? 


Sunday, October 28, 2018

For Better or Worse, I Am Not The Same Prepper I Was Five Years Ago


Lately, I have been going through a lot of stuff. You might say I have been decluttering, but the truth is I have been taking stock of what I have. I have a lot of supplies. I took stock of what I owned, what I should purchase, and let go of a few things. The same goes for books, papers, notes, and anything else prepping related. I took notes on prepping things five and ten years that I find are no longer relevant to me and have let them go. I have preparedness items that I know now I will never use and have found new homes for them.

Nowadays I don't keep every darn thing that comes in my path in the event that I might use it someday. I don't want to look like a hoarder so I carefully consider what I keep and will use. I don't want to have so much stuff that I can't find what I need to use especially in a time of crisis. I am learning to say no to a lot of free things if I can not think of a good reason to have them. Once upon a time though I was not like that. When I first started prepping and even a few years ago, I would take and keep almost everything offered to me. I might be able to use it.

To say that I am not the same prepper that I was five and ten years ago would be an understatement. I am a different person nowadays with different priorities, focus, and viewpoints. We all change after a while and that is usually a good thing.

What has changed in my prepping?

I have more knowledge and skills. I have broadened my interests in prepping and branched out into homesteading and self-sufficiency. I can do so much more than I could five years ago.

My priorities have changed. My life has changed a lot in five years. I now have two adult children with their own lives. We have lived through the college years and will be doing so for another eight years with the youngest two. We have high school for another four(ish) years. I don't have little kids to worry about anymore unless you count the grandchildren. I am a little more focused on prepping for fewer people with the idea that I could be preparing for more people being here. However, now I buy Christmas presents for the adult children with an eye towards prepping minded gifts.

The more prepared I think I am, the less I worry about world events. While I still do worry about problems with our own country, what happens on the world stage worries me less. I still gear my prepping towards job loss and national financial crisis as well as weather-related events. I am still preparing for pandemics, power outages, grid down events, and having to be without services for a period of time.  I still gear my prepping towards learning skills, gaining knowledge, and stockpiling.

However, while I may be worried about what could happen, I don't panic about it. I am secure in my way of thinking, how much I have prepared, and what needs to be done. I don't let fear and panic control my prepping and drive me to make foolish purchases. If anything, I ask myself if I could live without it or have something else to substitute in its place. I find myself being a lot more creative in my prepping.

The need to prepare and constantly be doing something is so ingrained in me that it is just second nature. I will never sit back and think I am totally prepared. I doubt I will ever get to that point. However, I am still constantly preparing and I don't give it much thought. Learning new things has always been a passion of mine so I don't question learning something new in the name of preparing. I just think of it as learning something new and fun. I am always buying a few extra things and pursuing the clearance racks for extra preps. If I see a good deal at the grocery store, I stock up and put it in my food pantry. To me, that is just part of my shopping.

I like to challenge myself now. How long can I go before going to the grocery store? (Right now, two weeks if I am planning ahead. I still have two hungry teenagers!) How many ways can I stretch food? How many ways can I preserve food? What can I use in place of (something) so I don't have to go to the store? Can I grow it or make it myself? Can I fix it myself? What would I do if the trucks couldn't run or the power was out?

I just don't panic much anymore. I don't let fear drive my prepping purchases. There are things that worry me and I prepare for them. However, I don't find myself running to the store just stock up because so and so is happening. Usually, that thing that caused me to panic turns out to be nothing that is going affect me. Prepping is an insurance policy for what could happen, but worrying about the end of the world or a nuclear holocaust is not going to serve me. Most likely, those events would not be events that you could be prepared for even if you did survive. Nowadays, I just focus on what I can control and worry about things that are more likely to happen than the world ending events.

Why do I say all of this? I see a lot of new preppers who are literally worried about everything when they start prepping. I can certainly understand and relate to their panic. They weren't prepared and now it feels like they need to be prepared for everything by tomorrow. They don't really understand when experienced preppers say to take prepping one day at a time and focus on doing a little every day. Someday they will lose that panicked feeling and realize that they can prepare at their own rate unless something like a hurricane is coming their way.

(Want to prepare, but don't know how to start? Check out my book here about prepping on a budget and in a year!)

You can only do what you can when you can. You should not rack up credit card debt trying to be prepared all at once. While having stuff and a food stockpile is great, learning knowledge and skills will benefit you just as much if not more. While it seems like you need to be prepared by tomorrow because there are fear mongering preppers who will tell you that, you don't need to be. Likely, what you are preparing for will not happen tomorrow or the day after that. If you are facing a natural disaster, you need to be prepared as soon as the first warnings from the local weather service indicate some bad is coming. Even then, focus on the basics. Two weeks of food and water. Make sure your shelter, warmth, and lighting are ready to go.

One of the biggest things that have changed in my prepping is that I really want to see other people prepared. I used to not care if others were prepared, but that has changed. The more people that are prepared means the better the prepper community is. While there are a few "crazy" preppers, mostly it is people like you and me that prepare for the common every day things that could happen. The more experienced preppers want to see and help new preppers as much as we can. We did not prepare in one day or even one month. We don't expect others to prepare that way either.

So yes I am not the same prepper I was five years ago. I wouldn't want to be because I have grown a lot as a person and a prepper. I know what direction I want to go to prepping and I love the directions prepping have taken me. I love the people I have met in real life and online who help and encourage so many people in their prepping journey. I am thankful for the groups and forums that help and guide new and experienced preppers in their quest to be better prepared. Prepping is so much more accepted now than just a few years ago and that has changed prepping for the better.

So now I have a few questions for you. How have you changed as a prepper during your prepping journey? How long have you been prepping?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
I Have Been Prepping For Five Years, Now What? A Review Checklist for the Long-Term Prepper
The 10 Cold, Hard, Ugly Truths About Prepping


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

What Direction Should You Take In Prepping?


I am at a little bit of a crossroads in my preparedness journey. I know which way I lean in prepping, but I am now in a bit of a indecision. I know what I want to accomplish, but how far do I want to go?

I have spent (or wasted depending on your viewpoint) a fair amount of time on prepping groups and forums. For the most part, people just want to be prepared for everyday life and the craziness that can happen. They want to know they have the supplies on hand and the knowledge to survive 1-6 months without suffering much. They want to be able to handle natural disasters, some manmade disasters, job loss, financial impacts, and health scares. They want the comfort and the knowledge that they will be fine if something happens.

Most people will stop there in preparedness. There is nothing wrong with that. Actually, if all people wanted to be prepared to that level, the world would be a better place. Agencies like FEMA would be used for their true purpose in disasters and not to save and feed the people who didn't want to be prepared. If you lost your job or had a bad gardening year, you would be able to feed yourself without a lot of hardship. If you were without water for 2-3 days, you would still be able to have water to drink and cook with. Life's problems would be hard, but manageable with your preps.

However, there are preppers who would like to take their preparedness to the next level so to say. Most of the time, in their pursuit of prepping knowledge, they realize they want to be more self-sufficient, more self-reliant, and more independent. They want to learn about and become homesteaders, survivalists, and/or off-grid living enthusiasts. They feel the need to be more reliant on themselves to be prepared and less reliant on a system that looks like it is doomed to fail.

Prepping creates a sense of independence that cannot be replaced by anything else. You are reliant on yourself and know that in most situations you can care for yourself and your loved ones. You won't need to be saved. You won't be waiting for family, a government agency, or a private organization to have water, food, clothing, or other goods. You might not have everything you need, but you will be able to take care of the basics. That is a good feeling.

Some preppers want to take that sense of independence a step further. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I encourage it. I started out being interested in food storage and going from there to homesteading and self-reliance. I like being able to grow and preserve my own food. I might not be able to produce all my own food, but I won't go hungry. I enjoy raising chickens for eggs and will be venturing into meat birds. I take pride in having 3-6 months of food stockpiled in case of hard times. I enjoy that sense of independence and learning the skills that will help me even more in the future.

There is no right or wrong way to prepare despite what other preppers may tell you. I will tell you to keep going the way that feels right to you as long as you are not infringing on my rights or other people's rights. If you are happy with just food storage, water storage, emergency supplies, and a way to shelter and heat your space, good for you. You are miles ahead of most people in an emergency situation. If you want to take that preparedness further and explore survivalism or homesteading, good for you. You might find out you like it or you might find out you aren't cut out for that life. Your choices are only for the benefit of you and your family. Being prepared is for the benefit of the greater good.

Now there are some directions in prepping that I will not condone. Some people just plan to stockpile guns and vehicles so they can steal from hardworking folks. Stealing is wrong in any form. I have a hard time condoning it even in times of chaos. Terrorizing people to get what you want is wrong. Threatening people to give you what is theirs is wrong. For those who have marauding as their prepping plan, you really need to rethink your plans. You might not like what you encounter from those folks who actually did the work.

Some people just plan for others to do the prepping for them in exchange for leading a group of preppers. They believe they have the knowledge of skills and leadership to be in charge. They know better than anyone how to distribute resources and assign jobs. I don't believe in this direction of prepping either. Sure, prepping communities are a good thing and strongly encouraged by most preppers. However, if you are not actively stockpiling, prepping, and practicing yourself, you should not expect others to do the work for you. What happens when your plans fall apart? What if you can't meet with your team? Then you will be a prepping leader without preps.

Whatever direction you choose in prepping, choose the direction that feels right for you. Only you can decide how far you want to go. You might decide to just stick with food storage and emergency supplies. You might decide to have more than a month's worth of food and want to have six (or longer) months worth of food. You might decide to install a rainwater catchment system in addition to storing water in containers. You might decide to start gardening or set up a homestead. You might decide to learn more about being a survivalist.

There are a lot of directions you can go in preparedness. The choices are for you to make. You have to decide to do what is best for you and your family. You have to decide what feels right. Just know this - you have already made the decision to start preparing and becoming prepared. You are already doing the right thing. Anywhere you decide to go from here is only going to make you a better prepper.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
For Women, Prepping is More Than Just Being Prepared
10 Non-Perishable Food Preps You Should Be Buying Every Month

Saturday, October 13, 2018

For Women, Prepping Is More Than Just Being Prepared


Everyone should be preparing. Young and old. Men, women, and children. Everyone should be preparing. However, I especially encourage women to be preppers.

Women can be seen as being weak, irrational, incapable, and more derogatory terms that are not even remotely truthful. Women can be seen as the weaker sex. Women can be seen as less than (anyone) which is just wrong considering all the progress that has been made towards equality. What makes this doubly wrong is that history has shown that women have run large households, did the barn chores, ran businesses, did all the outside work, and were more than capable for filling in for the men when wartime or other problems happened.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a feminist. I will never be unappreciative about a door being opened for me. I will never turn down a nice dinner out or be mad because I got flowers. I will also never turn down a guy who wants to carry something heavy for me. None of those things make me think that I (or another woman) am less than capable or being demeaned. It means a guy was raised right to do something nice for a woman.

Prepping helps people to think about what could happen and be as ready for it as much as they can. Prepping is actually a natural fit for women. Women are usually thinking ahead to anticipate their needs as well as the needs of others. The wiring in most women's brains is set for thinking ahead and being ready for it.

When you become a mother, you think of everything you might and will need for the baby. When you leave the house, you have all the things you think you will need for yourself, your significant other, the baby, and/or other children. If you have a partner or spouse, most women will think of their needs as well or more than their own. That is being prepared for anything that may happen.

In a way, women are natural worriers but we don't always realize it. However, being a worrier helps to be a better prepper. When you worry, you think of everything that can happen or you may need. Then you gather those things and have them with you or stored in your home/bag so you don't have to worry anymore. That is being prepared.

In the prepping community, women are encouraged to be prepared but often encouraged to be more like the men. Men tend to prepare in many different ways, but they have a tendency towards survivalist and bushcrafting skills. While it is worthwhile for women to know these skills, I think women are better suited to be prepared for everyday problems as well as long-term problems. We tend to think about what could happen today, tomorrow, and in the future in a more domestic atmosphere. There is nothing wrong with this thinking.

Women can and do think about catastrophic events, but the reality is that natural disasters, job loss, income loss, loss of support and community tend to worry women more than the grid going down or a solar flare. Again, not that we shouldn't be worried those cataclysmic things, but the things that would affect their daily lives and their reality now worry them more. Again, there is nothing wrong with this thinking.

Being prepared for women is more than just being prepared. For women, preparedness gives them a sense of safety and security. If something bad happens, you know you can handle it. You have food and water to provide for yourself and your loved ones. You have the supplies on hand to weather most storms (literally and figuratively). For women, feeling safe and secure is two of the best feelings in the world. Being prepared only enhances those feelings.

Many people (including husbands, partners, and family) do not understand why women prepare or even start preparing. People don't always get it that women want to have a sense of safety and security. By prepping, women create that sense of safety and security. For most women, we want to know that we are taking care of our loved ones the best we can. We want to create those feeling for everyone around us. That is why women should prepare and why we do prepare.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts: 
You Have Lessons To Learn From Those That Survived The Great Depression
10 Ways To Prep When Real Life Gets In The Way


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Small Batch Canning: Saving Time, Money, and Sanity!


Wouldn't it be wonderful if you had time during the garden harvest to can all day, every day? When you see super awesome deals on produce at the store, you could purchase them and can them right away when you get home?

You don't have that kind of time? Me neither.

A lot of people ask how I get so much canning done when I am busy with a full-time job and kids. I have a good sized garden and we like to eat fresh produce from it. However, I plant tomatoes and cucumbers with the sole purpose of canning them. I like to take the extra garden bounty and preserve it so we aren't wasting food. However, I don't have time for marathon canning sessions. Even on the weekends, I have plenty of other things on my to-do list besides canning.

I practice the time-saving practice of small batch canning. If I can preserve something every day or night, I can get a lot of canning done. I can keep up with my garden better by small batch canning.  I am not waiting for a lot of tomatoes to be done at once. I can wait for 6-9 pounds of tomatoes to be ripe and can them according to my recipes.

When the beginning and end of the gardening season occurs, I can also use small batch canning to keep up with the garden. Did I mention I am not a fan of food waste? I don't like watching the garden to wait for enough to can when I can do a few jars here and there. I do put away some produce in the freezer to wait for enough produce to can, but I try to avoid doing that because of the quality of the product after it has been frozen.

With small batch canning, I can use a lot of shortcuts or I can spend more time on a recipe. Since I am not one for complicated canning recipes (and have a strong love for Mrs. Wage's packets), I choose to do simple canning recipes that do not take a long time to cook on the stove. I don't mind long canning times, but long cooking times and long canning times can take more time than I have on a weeknight. I also like that I can experiment with different or unusual canning recipes if I have the ingredients on hand. You might like to make the standard strawberry jam, but with small batch canning, you can make strawberry vanilla or strawberry blueberry jam. You are only making a few jars which means you have less waste if you don't like the new recipes.

How does small batch canning save money? Wasting food is wasting money which is heartbreaking to a frugal person. By small batch canning almost every day, you save money and help to prevent food waste. You might think you are spending more money on electricity and/or gas by canning every night. However, you are using the same amount of power as you would be canning all day for several days.

You can also control the amount of money you spend to can your produce. You will have a better idea of how many jars you need and if you need to buy more. You will be able to buy your extra ingredients as you need them or you can stock up at a good price knowing how you need.

Do you need any special equipment for small batch canning? As I talked about in this canning post, you will still need the basic canning equipment as well as canning jars, lids, and rings. However, instead of the big water canner, you can use a smaller stockpot. You can also use an electric pressure cooker instead of the large pressure canner depending on how many jars you are canning. My electric pressure cooker can do four pint-size jars comfortably. I use a washcloth or folded small kitchen towel on the bottom of the pot so the jars do not rattle or bang too much. I like to can broth this way. 

You can also find some great books on small batch canning. These books specialize in smaller canning recipes and allow for safe experimenting in canning. The following books are excellent resources:

The Complete Book of Small-Batch Canning: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round
Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round
The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes

I hope you give some consideration to making canning simpler and less intimidating. So many people think they do not have time to can, but that is simply not true. Just like any other skill, you just need to break it down into smaller sections and do it simply. Small batch canning will definitely help you with that! 

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
What Do You Need To Start Canning Your Food?
The Prepper's Canning Guide Book Review


Monday, September 17, 2018

10 Non-Perishable Food Preps You Should Be Buying Every Month


New preppers wonder what they should be buying for their preps every month. More experienced preppers wonder what holes they should be plugging in their food storage to be better prepared. We all know we should be constantly adding and rotating our food storage every month in order to have a good supply.

Since I have written the 10 Preparedness Items You Should Be Buying Every Month and Top Ten Items You Need For Your Food Storage, I have found my preparedness mindset changing a little bit. I think they are things you should be buying every month that are perishable items and non-perishable items. This list will concentrate on the non-perishable items because those are the ones most important to your food storage.

To explain what I have included on this list, I will give you the criteria. I am making this list as basic as possible. Meaning that you can go to the grocery store and buy these items right off the shelf which means the items are shelf-stable. They will not expire or go bad easily. Most of these items will last beyond their sell-by or expired date if you wish. This list is simple and for beginning preppers. However, the more experienced preppers should take a look at this list too and see if they have holes they should fill in their food storage.

If you want to, you can purchase these items in whatever manner suits you. If you wish to can them yourself, buy them in bulk, freeze-dried, dried, or whatever, you can certainly do that. If there is an item on this list you or your family does not eat, then replace it with something they do eat.

Because the #1 rule in food storage is: Do Not Buy Food You or Your Family Will Not Eat!

I don't care if you think "If we are hungry enough, we will eat it." That may be true, but why would you do that to yourself when you can simply purchase food that you will eat ahead of time!

The quantity of each item to purchase each month is your choice also. Depending on my budget, I will only purchase 1-2 items each or I will purchase a case or flat of that item. I also have a continuous grocery list where I write down when I use up one item so I can replace it right away on the next grocery trip. For example, I use up a bottle of olive oil. I write it down on my list and purchase it on the next trip to the grocery store. If I find myself getting low on an item, I will do the same thing.

10 Non-Perishable Food Preps You Should Be Buying Every Month

1. Salt and Pepper. Food without seasoning, bleh. You need at least salt and pepper to liven up your food. You can also stock up on other seasonings too. You might have ones you think you can't live without like garlic salt at my house.

2. Honey and/or Sugar. If you can live without these things, great. However, most of us cannot live without something to sweeten our drinks with. I also use sugar and honey in canning jams. Honey is also great for sore throats.

3. Beans. Dried or canned whichever you prefer. I like to use both, but in a hurry or being lazy, I will grab a can of beans first. So I stock up on canned beans. Beans are a meal unto themselves but are better with soups, chilis, casseroles, and one pot meals. They also help to fill people up and give energy.

4. Peanut Butter. This is packed with protein and fat which will help give you energy in a crisis. Beyond that, most kids and adults like it and will eat it plain or with bread/crackers. If you are allergic to nuts, look for a substitute like a sunflower butter or coconut butter.

5. Canned meats. As much as we would like to think we can raise our own meat or hunt your own meat when a crisis or situation happens, this may not be a possibility. Again, canned meat such as tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey, and ham will provide a good source of protein which helps give you energy in a crisis.

6. Canned tomatoes, fruits, and vegetables. While the nutritional value of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables is better than canned, eating canned fruits and vegetables is better than eating junk. You can use these in casseroles and salads too.

7. Canned soups, broths, and meals. Sometimes when you have an emergency or crisis, the easiest thing you can do is open a can and heat up the contents. Even if you are in a hurry at night and need a meal, you can save money by opening a can of soup, heating it up, and have a quick meal.

8. Crackers and cereal. Many of you will not think this is necessary, but I have teenagers. Kids like cereal and they love crackers. My kids think saltine crackers and soup go together like peanut butter and jelly. Cereal can range from cold cereal to hot cereal. I like to eat oatmeal and will make it from scratch, but when I am in a hurry or just plain tired, the little packets are awesome.

9. Pasta and rice. Let's face it. There is very little nutritional value in pasta and rice. They are just carbs even if you buy the veggie pasta. However, they help to fill up the hungry stomachs and keep the teenagers from completely taking over the kitchen. They help to keep the meals budget-friendly. They are great to have on hand to make casseroles, soups, and one pot meals. They help to feed a large crowd during a crisis.

10. Coffee and Tea. Water is great for hydration, but it is boring. Most people drink coffee or tea in some way, shape, or form. I like to have a stockpile of coffee, various kinds of teas, and even some instant packets of coffee and tea. If coffee or tea is not your thing, look at getting some drink packets and/or mixes to liven up the water.

Honorable Mention: 

1. Oil. Whether you use olive, vegetable, coconut or other oils, they are good to have on hand and keep a good stock of.
2. Protein and cereal bars. 
3. Pasta sauces.
4. Ethnic sauces and seasonings (salsa, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce,etc.)
5. Chocolate.

Like I mentioned before, you can switch out items and customize this list for your household. Some things listed may not be something you would ever eat while some people could not store enough of that item because they eat it so much. This is a general guideline I use when I go to the store. This is so I can put a meal on the table whenever I need to without completely stressing out over the meal no matter what is going on. The meal may not be very exciting, but the consumers of the meal will not walk away hungry.

Some of you will notice that I did not include such items as ramen noodles, various meals in a box, and macaroni and cheese. You can purchase these, but most of them have very little nutritional value, exceptionally high sodium levels, and feed very few adult people at one time. I don't usually include them in my food storage list for those reasons. However, if you want them in yours, you can certainly do that.

What do you like to store in your food storage?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

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