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Friday, April 17, 2009

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors: Reinforcing Your Retreat for Long Term Survival on the Cheap, by Q.T.

We've all heard that particular proverb. For those of us reading this venue, we all have a specific mindset that probably keeps that at the forefront of our minds. We have our space. We have our preps. We have spent time and effort placing a lot of emphasis on keeping ourselves one step ahead. So how do we keep out everyone else?. Better yet… how do we keep prying eyes out? Still best, how do we create our sanctuary without drawing any attention to ourselves whatsoever?

We can build a fence, but a fence can be cut. Fences cost money. …Money that perhaps we would like to spend on other things. We could conceivably dig a moat, but if our land isn't flat (let's face it, it's probably not). A moat also isn't much of a deterrent unless it's filled with something particularly unsavory, like crocodiles or piranhas. Furthermore, a moat is going to take a lot of effort, probably employing heavy equipment, and again, costing a great deal of money.

What we really need is something that serves as a hardy physical and psychological barrier, screens what is behind it, costs very little, and mostly takes care of itself. Maybe it could even get more robust as time goes on… Impossible, you say? Perhaps not.

In Europe, one long standing tradition of creating a fence against neighboring property is to plant a hedge. Now before you scoff, push out of your mind the juniper bushes freshly trimmed at waist height. What you want is something a bit more robust. Something wooly and wild and impenetrable…

A customary European hedge is initially a row of one particular type of woody shrub or tree planted about 1-2 feet apart. Once the tree reaches approximately 10 feet in height, an axe or hatchet is used to notch the tree at the base so that it can be bent over, and it is laid over at about a 35 degree angle from horizontal. When the entire row is done this way, the branches are woven and tangled together to form a rough and difficult to penetrate screen. As time passes, new vegetation grows up through the toppled trees and adds height to the hedge, further screening from the neighbors. This was primarily designed to contain livestock.

What we need is a system to keep out a much more ingenious invader than neighboring livestock. We want something that will stop anything short of a bulldozer or perhaps a tank. And best of all, if it's all the same, we want something that looks nondescript and uninteresting to the passerby. If the hungry refugee has nothing to stop and look at, he likely will keep on going. The roving gang isn't even going to slow down if they see nothing of interest. So what we need is something much more robust than the European hedge.

European hedges are often grown from the local native shrubs and trees. Locally, here in the midwest US we have several tree species that would work especially well for this type of application. Your local flora may differ a great deal where you are. My particular favorites for my location are the honey-locust, Osage orange (notably named the "hedge tree", locally), and western red cedar. All three of these are known throughout the region as a pest. They are all fairly prolific and fast growing. The best bet is to look around and see what grows where you don’t want it to. Those will grow into the most robust living fence you can imagine.

I have not made these three tree choices lightly. These trees are chosen because of their quick growth ability, resistance to insects and blights, and ability to interplant very closely with other trees. Hardwoods such as Oak, hickory, and especially walnut, tend to crowd out other trees with chemicals secreted by their roots. However, you can interplant fruits such as mulberry, apples and pears among the locusts, Osage, and cedars.

Now, plant your trees spacing them out in a row approximately 12 to 18 inches apart. Water them. Fertilize them if necessary. Let them grow to about 5 feet in height (tree tubes may help them achieve this height but are by no means necessary). Make sure that all trees are trimmed of most side branches and splits split trunks are pruned to one side or another. This makes the final arrangement easier.

Once the trees have reached the appropriate height ( I said 5 feet, but this is not necessarily the case) you will need to notch the trunks approximately 3 inches above ground level. To notch the trunk, you should take a sturdy knife and carve approximately 2/3 of the trunk out. Alternate which side of the tree you notch, as you will be weaving the trunks together.

Once you have notched your trees, beginning with one pair, lay your trees over to about 30-to-45 degrees crossing in the middle. Go to the next set, doing the same, making sure that you achieve a true weave (in front of one, behind the next, etc). Once done, make sure that where the trees cross the second row is done in the same manner. What you end up with should look a little something like a chain link fence.

Next you need to wait for the tree to grow some more, and repeat the process as it gets taller. Since trees don't grow at angles, it's likely that either your initial stem will grow straight up, or perhaps a side branch will take the initiative to take off. But either way, you will be trimming from a ladder and weaving in the same way.

Obviously, one should grow other things outside the wall. Poison ivy, stinging nettles, thick brambles and rose bushes all serve as a primary deterrent long before anyone actually comes to the hedge. Making it look natural helps all that much better. Eventually your hedge will bush out and look less like a giant lattice and more like an impenetrable wall of vegetation.

Like anything, this process can be as big or as small as you want it to be, and it's all about how much you put into it. I envision two hedges side by side about ten feet tall. The inner hedge mostly fruit trees and honey locust, while the outer hedge is made up primarily of cedar and Osage orange. Between the two is a wall made up of old tires with one sidewall cut out, filled with sand. The tire wall is about 5 feet tall and serves as a bullet stop for stray small arms fire. Above the tire wall the two hedges have been intertwined to hold it all together. The occasional observation post (OP) has been fashioned into the design and only accessible from the private side (inside) of the wall.

With a setup like this and an alleyway to a locked gate, access could be controlled in such a way that the vagrant who wandered in would automatically be covered and unable to escape. In the same respect, anyone who attempted to raid a place reinforced in such a way, would encounter a lot more resistance than they would want to, if in fact they even knew it existed.

Obviously this process takes time. Lots of time. And that is its primary downfall. Time may be something we all lack in these uncertain and trying times. It also takes a lot of work. Hard work. Expect to have scars. Consider that as better than the alternative.

For those of us who may have that place in the woods, and are just biding our time, this might be a thing worth doing, even if just for facing a public road. If one life is saved because of this information, then it has all been worth it. Good luck and God bless to all of you.

Original: http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/04/good_fences_make_good_neighbor.html

Six of the best places to stash your cash

Toys. Burglars generally don’t bother to look for money in kid’s bedrooms. A stuffed animal with hidden cash sewn in or an envelope taped to the bottom of a toy box will frequently be overlooked.

Picture Frames. Hide money behind a picture frame on the wall.

Rugs. Almost nobody will look under the center of a carpet (the edges, maybe; but not the center: too much work).

Electric sockets. There’s a lot of unused space behind the switches and electric outlets on the wall. How to hide money in a socket? First, turn the main power off! Place the stash in the corner and insulate it with a tape. Be careful, failing to insulate anything made of metal you put inside a socket may cause a short circuit.

Upholstery. How to hide money in the underside of chairs and sofas: Remove the staples, fit a couple of Ben Franklins inside, staple again.

Books. Avoid encyclopedias; old hard-cover romance novels work well.

Source: Clinging to the raft: Tips from a Burglar

Related Articles:

Know Your Neighbors
Layoff Survival Guide
Gerald Celente on the Global Economic Meltdown

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SurviveTheWorst/~3/gUFcS4L3opY/six-of-best-places-to-stash-your-cash.html

Are you ready to Flee?

Earlier today I posted an article, Adapt or Overcome. This posting highlighted the struggles that Nechama Tec endured in order to survive the onslaught of the Nazi Party. Literally thousands of Jews were murdered from her home town. Her family was only one of three family's that survived. They survived because her parents decided to take on a false identity and become Christians, all in the name of survival.

Then I read an article over at Survival Blog about leaving the country. This article highlighted the Adapt or Overcome post and showed, me at least, that prior preparations are the key to surviving an unexpected change in political direction.

One thing is certain. Ideologies such as Conservatism, Christianity, and Liberty are becoming increasingly unwelcome in our country, at least with the federal government. Click here to read the report for yourself. Today, Tea parties are being held all across this nation, as the people are attempting to make themselves heard. I believe their cries are falling on deaf ears.

Like young Tec's hometown, the situation can turn on us, overnight. Those of us on the wrong side of the political spectrum can instantly become public enemy number one. Are you ready, right now, to get out of dodge, should the need arise? Not sure? Then ask yourself the following questions.

  • Does everyone in your family have a passport or visas?
  • Do you have cash, on hand, in the currency of the country you wished to flee to?
  • Can you speak the language of your destination country?
  • How long does it take to get a visa to the place to where you wish to flee?
These were just a couple of thoughts I had after reading Survivalblog's post. If fleeing is part of your plans, you need to have a working knowledge of your new destination. Pay attention to how they dress, speak, local traditions and customs. If you bug out to a different country, the last thing you'll want to do is stand out.

Related Articles:
Bugging Out...Camping Style
Buggin In... Buggin Out
Bugging Out When the SHTF
No Bug Out Place to Go

Original; http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SurviveTheWorst/~3/n3UFZCWahcE/are-you-ready-to-flee.html

Food and Water Storage Information

The Best Survival Gun

There are a great number of lists advocating one type or firearm over another as the best survival gun. A different viewpoint may well be in order to determine the best survival gun. There are certain qualities that have little to do with the actual firearm that should be taken into account in order for a specific firearm to be considered the best survival gun. A set of guidelines for determining the use of any firearm as a survival gun should be given priority in your security and defensive efforts.

Survival Firearm Guidelines


If the firearm is not readily accessible when you need it, it probably won’t be of much help to you in a survival situation. The pistol in the night stand or the shotgun setting in the corner will be of greater use than the rifle tucked away in a gun cabinet.


An unloaded gun can be useless in a defensive situation if the ammunition for it is not easily accessible. An unloaded firearm is a safe weapon and depending upon the situation may be entirely appropriate but a loaded one is the most dangerous. You should be able to access and load rounds for your firearm quickly if needed.


Being comfortable with the ways in which your firearm handles and its capabilities and limits will only help you in your hunting or defensive efforts. Can you quickly clear a jam? Do you know how to keep it clean or do simple repairs? An unfamiliar firearm may not be your best choice. Heavy recoil from an unfamiliar firearm can be more of a deterrent than a benefit. You will need to be comfortable in its operation and use. There may not be time for instructions in a survival situation.


Practice, practice, and more practice. If you can’t hit what you are aiming at, you may be better off with a pocket full of rocks than a loaded firearm. Practice is the best way to become proficient in its use.


If you are not comfortable with the fact that you may have to use your firearm in a defensive situation, you may be better off exploring other options that are more suitable for you.

Whether it’s a .22lr pistol or an AR-15, an SKS or a .410 shotgun, the best survival gun will be the one you have easy access to, plenty of available ammunition, knowledge and proficiency in its use and are comfortable using in any required survival or defensive situation. The choice of which gun is the best for survial should be a choice you make to fit your individual circumstances.

“Beware the man with only one gun….”

Staying above the water line!


Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/03/best-survival-gun.html

Simple Survival Tips - Camping Gear

Closed cell foam pads are a great piece of camping gear. They can cushion the ground to make your sleeping bag more comfortable. They also make a great insulator to help keep you warm when the ground is cold. They are also a great piece of gear for your survival if injured.

Closed cell foam pads can be used to immobilize an injured limb such as an arm or leg. The closed cell foam pads work great to cushion an injury, help give it support, and won't hamper circulation of the injured body part. They can even be used to wrap a set of brokens ribs in an emergency. They are simple to modify and are relatively inexpensive.

Having gear is great! Having alternate uses for your gear is a good thing.

Staying above the water line!


Original; http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/03/simple-survival-tips-camping-gear.html

Survival Kit Essentials - The Whistle

One of the items that everyone should have in their survival kit is a whistle. As a signaling device for when you are in trouble it is unmatched. When hiking with my children when they were younger, I always made sure they had a whistle on a lanyard that was with them at all times.

Long after you’ve gone hoarse from yelling or screaming, a whistle will continue to function and be heard a lot quicker. A shrill high pitched whistle will carry a long ways and be heard when your voice may not.

I still carry a whistle on my keychain as part of my EDC (every day carry) and have for years. There is nothing that can quite equal a whistle when getting someone’s attention.

I also have a Silva Four-in-One-Tool that I got from Cabelas in my BOB (bug out bag). It’s a combination whistle, thermometer, compass, and magnifying glass in a compact unit that weighs less than an ounce.

Here is a link to the Four-in-One Tool:

Cabelas Four-in-One Tool

The best thing I like about it is that it will stay above the water line because it floats!

Staying above the water line!


Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/03/survival-kit-essentials-whistle.html

Riverwalker's Gear - The Machete

New Machete

Machetes can be very useful tools. I like to use mine when I'm practicing what I call "Rural Bushcraft" at the farm. Your choice of any tool should be determined by its ability to perform the job. A tool that can't perform in the manner you require is going to be next to useless otherwise.

My new machete that I obtained from our local Ace Hardware affiliate has replaced my old machete. It's basically the same size at 22 1/2 inches in overall length with a blade length of 17 1/2 inches. It also cost only $6.99 plus tax whcih makes it somewhat cheaper than the big box store brand cost of my old one. It is also twice as heavy but that is not a problem. Its main use is for clearing small saplings of cedar and mesquite from the fence line at the farm and is a lot easier to pack than a chainsaw. It also does a terrific job on grapevines which I have more than enough to deal with at the farm. It also has a hardwood handle that has the plastic handle on my old machete beat hands down. It's a comfortable grip for me and that's important for obvious safety reasons. No way do I want a big sharp blade to get away from me. I'm kind of fond of my body parts!

The only problem with my new machete is that it didn't come with a blade sheaf. I plan on making a home-made holding tube out of some scrap 3" pvc pipe and some old strap material that will allow me to carry it on my back. This will make it a lot easier and safer to carry.

Old Machete

Pictured above is my old machete. It has the typical black plastic handle you find on a lot of the garden variety machetes that are out there. It is also relatively lightweight and although it is a lot easier to carry as a result, it doesn't really get the job done.. While it probably does a decent job on banana leaves, it's not been much use to me around the farm when I'm cleaning around the creek bank or clearing brush and small saplings along the fence line.

Choosing the right tool for the job will make your work a lot simpler!

As the blind monk says in the old Kung Fu TV series "Choose wisely grasshopper!"

Staying above the water line!


Original; http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/04/riverwalkers-gear-machete.html

Summer Survival - Learning to Pace Yourself

Many people are not used to working or playing outdoors in an environment with extremely high temperatures. The best way to get used to the higher temperatures of summer is to start off slowly. If it becomes necessary for you to work a little faster or harder, gradually increase your pace. Don’t attempt to do it all at once if it’s not absolutely necessary. This will allow your body to adjust to the demands of working in a hotter environment. Learn to set a pace for yourself in all your outdoor activities in the summer heat.

If you are working in the heat and suddenly your heart starts pounding, you experience a shortness of breath, feel weak or light-headed; you will need to discontinue all your activity immediately. These are signs that you may be experiencing the beginning of a heat-related illness. You will need to stop and rest before continuing any type of activity. Don’t risk suffering a heat-related illness that could endanger your health. Find a cool area, or at the very least a place in the shade, and rest until your body has had a chance to cool down before resuming your activities. Always remember to drink plenty of fluids.

Use a little common sense and be summer smart! Learn to pace yourself!

Most heat-related illnesses can be avoided by taking some simple precautions.

Staying above the water line!


Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/04/summer-survival-learning-to-pace.html

Free Shooter's Correction Target Download

For those of you who are interested in obtaining a correction chart overlay for your targets to assist you with your shooting skills, I am making available a copy of the Correction Chart from sportshooter.com. Sadly, they are no longer on the net at this time. The Correction Chart is in the public domain as long as you keep the logos intact. Please feel free to download this target and pass it along to all your friends who may be interested in improving their shooting skills.
You can also download the free guide to pistol shooting:
Staying above the water line!

Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/04/free-shooters-correction-target.html

Summer Survival - Protection Items

In the heat of summer it is best to choose lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing. A wide-brimmed hat will also help to provide shade and keep your head cool. A good pair of sunglasses will also help to protect your eyes from being damaged by harsh sunlight. It is also good to remember that sunburn will affect your body's ability to cool itself and may cause a loss of essential body fluids or a fever that can be potentially harmful to your health.

Sunburn can also cause severe pain and can severely damage your skin. There are a variety of sunscreens and lotions that are available to help reduce the risk of getting sunburned. The protection that they offer against sunburn will differ according to their type. Check the sun protection factor (SPF) number on the label of the sunscreen container. Select SPF 8, at a minimum, or higher to protect yourself adequately from the harmful effects of sunburn. Apply sunscreen before going outdoors and reapply according to package directions. It is also good to have a sunburn treatment containing aloe vera to help treat your skin if you do become sunburned.

It also doesn’t hurt to keep an umbrella handy. Umbrellas not only keep the rain off but can offer excellent shade if there is no natural shade available. Don't forget your bandana! It can be moistened with water and placed around your neck to help you stay cool.

Always remember to keep a container of water handy and to drink plenty of fluids during your outdoor activities in the summer. Survive the outdoors safely!

Got summer protection?

Staying above the water line!


Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/04/summer-survival-protection-items.html

The Future of Visits

Okay. I am not talking about visiting people, but rather that monthly friend that comes to visit most women. After a 5 year hiatus from my visits, I was recently reintroduced to the joys of menstruation. I was one of those lucky few who have no sign or hint of menstruation during nursing — thus the extended time between…. For those of you who are disgusted by the discussion of menstruation, go ahead, leave and come back tomorrow!

Most women menstraute for about 40 years (from first menses to menopause). I am about half way in between, which means I have about 20 years left of visits from my monthly friend. I know most women use disposable pads or tampons during menstruation. I, however, use cloth pads. See, I calculated how many disposable pads I would need to last the next 20 years.: 5-7 days of menstration at an average 4-5 pads a day=35 pads a month (perhaps on the high side) . Menstruation comes every 28-35 days. That is 420 pads a year. Multiply that by the number of years that you have to menstruate. My mother was still menstruating when she passed away in her 50s. So, I estimate that I have 20 years left. I would use 8400 pads in the next 20 years. That is a lot! Now if you want to prepare for economic hardship or peak oil by storing up on pads, you would have to store that many.

Are there any other females in your family? I have two daughters — one of which is menstrauting and the other is not yet. They have about 40 years of menstration each. Yep. We would have to have a storehouse of pads to support us through our menstruation. Who has room for that? I certainly don’t. I would rather store something useful, such as wheat, over menstrual pads.

What is someone to do when faced with the possibility of a future without disposable pads? Think about it — for most of us, our mothers or grandmothers (and certainly our great grandmothers) lived before the invention of disposable pads. They got by. How? By using rags (the term “on the rag”), or other bits of cloth which would serve as something washable and reusable until the next period. I use cloth pads — (gladrags and lunapads are two popular choices to purchase). You can also make your own pads.

For those of you who prefer tampons, there are additional options. Tampons really can dry you out, so things like a DivaCup or a Keeper work well — they capture the fluid instead of soaking it up. You remove the item dump and clean and reinsert. I figure for a lifetime, you may only need a few. Again, less of a need to have your own warehouse for menses!

I realize that some of you may not be ready for the nondisposable route toward dealing with your monthly visits, however, keep this in the back of your mind. The time may come when you need to figure out something else (do you really want to spend extra money on something to throw away?) Keep some around — just in case!

Original: http://simplicityfirst.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/the-future-of-visits/

Test Your Gear Before You Need It

Having a closet full of survival and camping gear is a great insurance policy facing the current economic collapse. I have accumulated a good supply of assorted supplies, as well as the needed items to go camping. So I decided to take a couple nights and camp out in the field behind my house to give my gear a good field test. I got the chance to test out my new tent, sleeping bag, flashlights, and a lot of stuff in my get home bag. It was a great learning experience and was a lot of fun getting to somewhat "rough it" with my pack. It's important to be familiar with your gear, including how to pack it into your ruck and how to set up and take down your tent, so if the day comes that you actually need the stuff, you will be familiar with it.

I went out on a Friday afternoon and cut plenty of firewood with my folding Sierra Saw. These saws work great and will cut through branches like you wouldn't believe. I cut a large pile of wood with only the saw and it worked great. I started my fire with my fire steel and cotton balls soaked hand sanitizer. It quickly created a flame which lit the small branches that got the fire going.

I went out with my pack, and set up my tent a few hours before dark so I could take my time and get familiar with how to set it up. My tent is a High Peak South Col, 4 season/3 person tent. It comes with the tent itself, and a full rain fly. It had plenty of room for 3 people to sleep in, and fit myself and my gear with no problems. I have an all purpose tarp that I put underneath the tent for extra protection from the ground It did not provide much insulation but kept the wind out and is a good quality tent.

I have a High Peak Summit 0 degree sleeping bag that I used on both nights along with a foam sleeping pad underneath me. The bag kept me completely warm even when the temperature dropped into the mid 30's. It was pretty cold in my tent but my sleeping bag and the sleeping pad kept me warm and comfortable. It's important to know what the temperature is going to be when going out for a camping trip. This ensures that you bring the correct sleeping bag, and the right clothes that you need. When outside at night around the fire I had on my 3-layer Army ECWS and never got cold sitting outside.

A few things I have purchased and took with me really made things a lot easier. They aren't necessary but are cheap and will really come in handy. The first item came in handy is a LED Headlamp. I purchased a 21 LED Headlamp from Meritline.com. It is extemly bright with a long battery life and makes doing things at night so much easier because you have both hands. I also got a 33 LED Tent Light from Meritline, it might seem like a waste but it really comes in handy if you wanted to read or when your doing things in the tent at night, one of those will light up the whole tent and they have extremely long battery life.

For food I took a couple MRE's with me to eat for dinner along with my cheapo Mess Kit and Hobo Utensil Tool. I cooked the meals over my Alcohol Stove with the mess kit and also was able to make coffee and tea.

All in all it was a great learning experience and I got a chance to test out my gear and everything went surprisingly well. Most would call my supplies "cheap" but if you know how to use what you have then it works just as well as the expensive gear. It's essential to know how to use your gear in the field and testing out what's in your bug out bag or your camping gear is the best way to learn. You don't want to head into the woods never having set up your tent or getting a chance to try out your supplies. Part of having the prepardness gear is actually knowing how to use the stuff you have. This will make it a lot easier to make decisions if the situation came where you had to use the supplies.

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KentuckyPreppersNetwork/~3/gA6BySQTkNE/test-your-gear-before-you-need-it.html

Save Money and Build Your Food Storage With Coupons

Part of the prepper mindset is cutting back on expenses and saving money. Most realize you can turn lights off when you leave a room or take shorter showers and conserve water, but most don't realize how much money you can save by using the coupons that supermarkets provide customers with. Coupons are a great way to cut your food budget down and start building up your food storage. The Huff Family blog made a post about deals they got using coupons and gave the link to a great coupon website, Pinching Your Pennies. This website is a place where people can post local coupons, internet coupons, and even exchange coupons that come in the local paper. There are a lot of coupons out there, and a lot of money to be saved with not much work involved. Most Sunday papers include lots of coupons that most throw away, but Pinching Your Pennies has a great write up about how to use coupons to save money and build up your food storage. It's worth a read and is posted below.

Coupons 101

Is clipping and using the grocery coupons in the Sunday newspaper a waste of time? No! Using coupons, smart shoppers have learned how to live on a grocery budget of $50.00 a week! Savings may be small in the beginning but with knowledge, time and practice coupon shoppers are saving more than ever imagined. Even if you don't NEED to pinch your pennies, you can still have more than you ever thought you could!

Accumulate Coupons

The first step to these terrific savings and successful coupon use is accumulating coupons. Each week there are usually two different coupon inserts in metropolitan newspapers with a third insert available once a month. Having multiples of each coupon enables a shopper to take advantage of the great deals in bulk. This helps build a food storage. Obtaining multiples of coupons is not difficult. Family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are great sources for obtaining multiple coupon inserts. There's a great trading forum here at PinchingYourPennies.com, where you can trade the coupons from Sunday paper that you can't use, for coupons that you can.

Another source of coupons is the internet. Printable coupons and coupon offers can be found at many manufacturer and coupon related websites. Many manufacturers also offer coupons which are sent post mail.

Additional coupons and in-store savings can be found at most grocery stores. Coupons commonly called blinkies are available in red machines set up in aisles in the stores. Also, apply for grocery store courtesy cards. Most grocery chains have these complimentary cards which provide extra discounts and savings at their stores. These discounts can be combined with coupons for maximum savings.

Get Organized

The second step to successful coupon use is organization. There is a variety of ways to organize and maintain coupons. Successful coupon users have a place to keep and organize the coupons. This can be a box, binder or flexible file. Plastic flex-type coupon organizers can be purchased at many stores. Many coupon users make their own binders using a zippered binder filled with photo pages or sports card pages. A box with dividers can be made or purchased. Whatever is used, the coupons are divided and placed in categories which provide for easy location while shopping.

There are many methods to saving and cutting the coupons and inserts. Some coupon users will cut all coupons and file them in their coupon organizer. This way all of the coupons are available when shopping. If a surprise deal or sale is found, the coupon is ready. Others cut only the coupons they are sure to use and leave the rest in the coupon inserts. When a sale or deal on a specific item occurs, they can go back to the insert and cut the needed coupons. If doing this, find a way to file and organize the inserts. Print or write out a list of which coupons are in each insert.

What is Food Storage?

The third and most powerful step to successful coupon use is called building a food storage. When a great deal is found, buy in bulk. This is why accumulating multiple coupons is necessary. Buying a lot of one thing at a great price can lead to never having to pay full price again. For example, buying six months of cereal at a great price means cereal will not need to be purchased again until you run out. This can be done with many food items and most household goods.

Use Coupons Wisely

Using coupons wisely is another key to successful coupon use. There are many ways to do this and maximize the savings. The first way is to avoid using a coupon just because it exists. If there is a coupon for an item that is not a great deal and is not needed, do not use it. Unused coupons can be traded. Expired coupons can be sent to military bases overseas where they are valid six months past the expiration date.

Watch the sales at different grocery stores. Pair the sales with the coupons to get great savings. Many times items are just a small fraction of their original price when this is done. Here at PinchingYourPennies, we compare ads and coupons for the grocery sales each week. This takes less research by the coupon user and provides a place for other coupon users to share deals they find each week.

Know the coupon policies at local stores. Stop at the customer service desks and ask about their coupon policies. Some stores double and triple the value of coupons. Some stores will combine a manufacturer's coupon with a store coupon. If a store has a coupon in their ad or in store and there is a manufacturer's coupon for the same item, both can be used. Two manufacturer's coupons can not be combined. There are some stores that accept competitor's store coupons.

Read each coupon carefully. Most state "one coupon per purchase". Each item bought is a purchase. If 10 of an item is purchased, 10 coupons for that item may be used. It is rare for a coupon to state "one coupon per customer".

When coupons are collected, organized and used in these ways it is easy to slice your monthly grocery budget in at least half. One PYP user has done just that.

Misti's Story

“When I first started using coupons our monthly grocery budget was around $700. That included food, cleaning supplies, paper products, diapers, etc… It took a while before I really started to see my budget go down. I don't think I noticed a difference in the amount of money I was spending for 5-6 months. But there was a huge difference in what I was bringing home. Over time, I started to see my budget come down. It was slow at first but I decided to cut $50 off each month and see what happened. After another 7-8 months, I had the budget for the same items down to $250 a month. After having a fourth child I increased the budget to $300 a month and that is what I spend now.” Misti M. of Toole, UT

Tips of the Trade

Successful coupon shoppers also use the following tips to maximize their savings.

* When at item is Buy One Get One Free, often two coupons can be used.
* If the coupon says "off any size", its often more profitable to use it on the smallest size.
* If the store is out of an advertised sale item, get a raincheck. Use it later with coupons.
* Keep a list of needed items.
* Plan your meals around items in your food storage.
* Avoid trips to convenience and corner stores.
* Don't shop when hungry. This will reduce impulse buys.
* Remember one store does not have the lowest prices on everything.
* Check expiration dates on food items, especially when stockpiling.
* Watch for price discrepancies as checkout. Make sure all coupons are deducted.
* Try different brands. Eliminating brand loyalty increases savings.
* Have fun and be proud of the savings!

Grocery coupons are not the only way to save money while shopping. There are many ways to save money when shopping for almost everything.

Shopping Online

Shopping online provides a new shopping experience for many consumers. Many retailers have websites where they offer the same products found in their stores. There are also many retailers who just sell products online through their websites. Many times items can be found online at great savings. Many online retailers off free shipping or have free shipping promotions.

Most internet retailers offer discounts by providing discount coupon codes for things like free shipping, percentages off or fixed dollar amounts off a purchase. There are many places online that compile lists of these codes for shoppers. There are lists of discount coupon codes for most of the popular online retailers at www.pinchingyourpennies.com. Along with discount codes, many websites like this have areas devoted to sharing internet shopping deals. Recently smart shoppers were able to take advantage of a toy sale at a major internet retailer with discounts of 75% of more and free shipping.

With a better price, no shipping charges, increased internet shopping security, no hassle of going to the store and further discounts available with coupons codes, online shopping is growing in popularity. It has become a first stop for many smart shoppers.

Even with online shopping, smart shoppers do not give up shopping around town. Smart shopping around town can also provide great savings. Planning ahead saves shoppers money when shopping locally. Watch for sales and clearances. Know where local stores keep clearance items. Watch for end of season sales. Shopping at the end of a season for items needed the next year provides huge discounts. Become familiar with the sales cycles, know when different things are typically on sale. For example, many things such as mattress sets are typically on sale for the best discounts in the fall.

Shopping Around Town

Knowing the pricing policies of local stores is also important. Some stores have low price guarantees or match other store's advertised sale prices. Know where to find information about sales and clearances around town. Again, websites like www.pinchingyourpennies.com can help with this. Many local deals and sales at stores are shared between readers. Even shopping locally can be a money saving experience.

Whether it is using grocery coupons, internet shopping or shopping locally, simply knowing how to shop and where to shop is the key to shopping smarter and realizing amazing savings. With the right knowledge, shoppers can pinch their pennies and never pay full price again.

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KentuckyPreppersNetwork/~3/GI6qSoDpLnA/save-money-and-build-your-food-storage.html

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Delicious Instant Potato Soup Recipe

I promised that I would provide more potato flakes recipes and this one's a keeper:

• 4 slices bacon, diced
• 1 medium onion, chopped fine
• 1 carrot, sliced fine
• 2 ribs celery, chopped fine
• 1 (10 ½-ounce) can chicken broth
• 2 ½ cups milk (or equal parts milk and cream)
• 1 ½ cups instant mashed potato flakes
• Salt and pepper
• 2 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

Place the bacon in a 2-quart Dutch oven or saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add onions, carrots and celery; cook over low heat until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.

Add chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add milk. Gradually stir in instant potatoes, blending smoothly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Gently heat soup to desired temperature; do not boil. Add more milk if soup seems too thick, more flakes if too thin. Serve topped with green onion and reserved bacon. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 152 calories (32 percent from fat), 5.4 g fat (2.7 g saturated, 1.7 g monounsaturated), 14.9 mg cholesterol, 7.9 g protein, 18.2 g carbohydrates, 1.7 g fiber, 480.5 mg sodium.

Potato Flakes can also be substituted for cornstarch or flour to thicken gravy and sauces, and it works perfectly -- no lumps, no off taste. Same with homemade soups -- add one cup of flakes to 4 cups soup.

Source: Linda Cicero, Cook's Corner

Original: http://preparednessmatters.blogspot.com/2009/04/cooking-with-basic-food-storage.html

72 Hour Kit (Grab and Go) Container Ideas

Why 72 Hour Kits?

72-hour kits or Grab and Go bags are meant to assist you after a disaster. Seventy-two hours is approximately how long it takes to get help after a disaster and for evacuation shelters to get up and running. I worked answering phones at a Red Cross center after Hurricane Katrina. And then later at an evacuation center. Even though it was in Southern California, many people who were without places to live came to California for help. I saw the time it took to get volunteers trained, and then assist displaced disaster victims. There is so much involved that it's mind boggling. However, understand that immediately after a major disaster you will be on your own. You may not see an ambulance or police car for some time as the craziness begins. It takes time for community leaders to get organized. So plan to take care of yourself and your neighbors.

All Emergency Supplies will NOT fit in a backpack.

You will need several containers:
1. A personal kit for food, personal supplies, small flashlight, some water, etc. If you had very little time, this would be the one item you would grab, so very important items would be in it. I prefer a backpack for these items.
2. Another for the rest of your water, bedding, etc. I use totes for these as I would only take them if I could evacuate by car.
3. A bucket or tote to carry items the whole family needs to make their next few hours more pleasant. I use a bucket for these items as I would only take them if I could evacuate by car.
4. A family tent in it's own bag. I would take it if I could evacuate by car or if you have a small family you could attach a small tent to a backpack.

When choosing a container for your own personal 72-Hour kit, keep these factors in mind:
1. It should be easy yo grab and go in an evacuation (could be put in a car, or taken with you on foot. I cannot personally carry everything, but I can carry my backpack.)
2. Is able to handle various weather conditions
3. Is as waterproof as possible
4. Size fits various family members based on health, strength, age, and size

Do not wait until you have funds to purchase the perfect container before you start gathering kit items. If all you have is a cardboard box, use it for now. You can get a better container later. These container options are ideas I adapted from the book “Preparedness Principles” by Barbara Salsbury. Recommended are the best, Good are okay, and So-So are the least recommended.

Backpacks: Recommended to Good
Easier to use if you have to evacuate on foot. This is what our family uses.
1. They do not stack well, but can be hung, or leaned against each other on a shelf.
2. Water-repellent, but not waterproof.
3. More expensive (however, watch school clearance sales in September)

A sturdy sewn, not glued, roomy school-type backpack (meant to carry books) is easier for kids to manage. Remember to keep your supplies lightweight. A backpack shouldn’t weigh more than about 25% of the weight of the person carrying it. So if a person weighs 125 pounds, the total weight of the backpack should be no more than 31.25 pounds. Of course it should be lighter if a person does not have strength to carry it. You can see why you may have to put some of your water in another container. Backpacks on a frame can withstand bad weather and rough handling and could carry a sleeping bag. However, those on a frame are not suitable for small children or seniors.

6-gallon Polyethylene Buckets: She recommends (However, I would not put my personal 72-hour kit in a bucket as it is difficult for me to carry. That's just me though.)
1. They stack well
2. Reasonably priced (if you find a used one, don’t get one with strong odors)
3. Waterproof
4. Versatile (could carry water, or use as a seat, washbasin, or even a toilet

Each family could have at least one bucket if you can evacuate by car. Every situation is different. Our family uses two to store our combined Family Emergency Kit items, and we each have a backpack also. Our buckets keep the nice things we might want, but each backpack has its only self-sustaining items. You may need to tape a resin-type wrench on the outside of the bucket to make it easier to open. So think carefully how you would use a bucket. If I could evacuate in a car, I would grab our buckets too. On foot, just my 72-hour kit backpack. I hope I am making sense.

Plastic Storage Tubs: Recommended
Ten or 20-gallon plastic, rectangular storage tubs with carrying handles work well if you can evacuate by car.
1. Stack well
2. Reasonably priced
3. Waterproof
4. Versatile (could carry water at an evacuation center)

Luggage: Good to Recommended
Choose one that is made of sturdy luggage material, not cloth material. Be careful not to overload or it will be too heavy. Keep it lightweight and portable. Wheels are helpful. Since most are not waterproof, keep your items inside in trash bags. Carry-on size is good for a 72-hour kit. This may be a good choice for seniors who might not be able to carry a backpack.

Duffel Bags: So-So to Good
Must be heavy-duty. Some are water-repellent and quite sturdy. Do not use college laundry bags as they are difficult to carry.

Containers that are not recommended:
Tote bags as they are usually too small.
A pproduce box is okay to start with, but replace with a better choice as soon as possible.
Trunks, footlockers, and ammunition boxes are too heavy.
Garbage cans are too heavy, and it’s difficult to get to supplies at the bottom.

Keep your kits accessible and together:
1. Keep your kits in a strong structural area of your home that can withstand earthquakes better like a closet, or under beds or stairways.
2. Keep items close to a door that exits your home. A garage is difficult to get into after an earthquake. However, if this is your area, keep items close to a door. Food items must be able to withstand varying temperatures in a garage.
3. Label your kits with your name or first initial and last name and phone number. We used duct tape and a permanent marker. Can you imagine the number of bags at an evacuation center?
4. If you have small children and have to walk, put items in a stroller or wagon.

Click here for a picture of emergency items stored in a garage.
And click here to watch the video Evacuation: The 10 Minute Challenge

This post is part of a series of posts I'm doing to help you with your 72-hour kits and emergency supplies. Check the side of my blog for more information on 72-Hour Kits
Just added a post about how to create an evacuation Grab & Go List.

Original: http://preparedldsfamily.blogspot.com/2009/04/72-hour-kit-grab-and-go-container-ideas.html