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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Homemade Pepper Spray


Things You'll Need:

* 2 tbsp hot red-pepper powder (grounded) 1/3 cup of rubbing alcohol 1/8 cup of baby oil 2 small glasses Thin cloth (paper towel/coffee filter) Mortar for grinding (spoon will work if necessary) Small empty spray bottle (e.g. lens cleaner solution bottle or fragrance bottle) Rubber gloves (optional)

Step 1

Put on rubber gloves if you've opted to use them for safety. Pour the 2 tbsp of ground hot red-pepper powder into the small glass.
Step 2

Pour all of the rubbing alcohol over the red-pepper powder. Use the mortar, or spoon, to stir and grind the solution for at least 10 minutes. If using a spoon, you will want to ensure that the red-pepper powder is completely dissolved before ceasing to stir. A spoon will not grind the powder as good as a mortar will. A blender may also be used to do this, but you may lose some of the solution by using a blender.
Step 3

Add all of the baby oil to the mixture after you've finished mixing for 10 minutes. Stir this new mixture for at least two minutes.
Step 4

Place your cloth (coffee filter/paper towel) on top of the second glass. Press the middle of the filter down into the cup a little bit to prevent spilling. Slowly pour the mixture into the filter and allow it to filter down into the glass. This may take a few minutes as the mixture may not filter quickly.
Step 5

Take the top off of the small spray bottle. After the mixture has completely filtered into the second glass, pour it into the spray bottle. Close the spray bottle and wipe it down with a paper towel. Spray the mixture into the sink to ensure the tube of the sprayer fills with the spray. Remove gloves.

Safe? Deposit Boxes

“Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word 'safe' that I wasn't previously aware of”- Douglas Adams (British Writer, 1952-2001)

We all have important papers that we want preserved; life insurance, house title, car title, birth certificates, and so on. Losing these in a house fire just makes your loss and burdens even worse. So for generations, the advice of planners and preparers has been to keep your important papers off-property in a bank’s safe deposit box. But not anymore…

Many states, like California, are desperate to find money to pay for bloated budgets and they have discovered that unclaimed public property is a great revenue source. According to an ABC investigation, How Safe Is Your Safe-Deposit Box?, the California courts have issued injunctions barring the state from seizing any more property (like safe deposit boxes) until it made reforms. In a conflict of interest, California has changed the “no contact” period that triggers seizure from 15 years to 7, then to 5 and currently 3. (They even tried to reduce the waiting period to a single year.) On top of this, the state had not bothered to inform anyone that your safe deposit box is about to be taken by the state and IMMEDIATELY auctioned off or destroyed. It stopped sending notices to rightful owners because, "It could well result in additional claims of monies that would otherwise flow into the general fund."

Read the full story of How Safe Is Your Safe-Deposit Box? for tales of lost stocks, land rights, and valuable heirlooms. Family fortunes sold for a pittance at auctions to feed the state general fund.

Bottom Line

How do you protect yourself?

  1. Make contact with your bank, your brokerage firm, etc. at least once a year, in a way that creates a paper trail. Make sure they have your current address.
  2. If you own stock, occasionally vote your proxies or take other steps to keep your stock ownership active. Stay in touch with your broker or brokerage company.
  3. Write a list of all your accounts and keep it with your will, so your heirs will know where to look.
  4. Consider insuring valuables even if you keep them in your safe-deposit box. That way, you're covered financially if the bank or state makes a mistake and empties your box. Plus, safe-deposit contents have been known to be destroyed by fire or flooding.

If you want to search for unclaimed property in your name, check out the following links for more information:

National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators


Getting Your Finances In Order

Re-post courtesy of Matthiasj from Kentucky Preppers Network

Running a strict budget could be THE most important part of living a frugal/preparedness-minded lifestyle. The goal is to save money, prep like hell, and cut out all the waste. I follow a mainly cash only budget plan modeled after the advice Dave Ramsey gives. The idea is that you use cash all you can, which allows you to physically see your money leave. It's a lot harder to spend cash than to swipe a card.

The first step to getting your budget set up is to figure out your monthly income. No matter how large or how small your income is a budget WILL benefit you. Next you need to map out all your expenses. This includes everything from your cell phone bill, to your water bill, to grabbing a cheeseburger at McDonald's. *Warning: Once your expenses are mapped out you might be surprised to see all the waste.

After every monthly expense is mapped out they need to be categorized. There are two expense categories; committed expenses and non-committed expenses. Committed expenses are your monthly bills that you couldn't "live without." This doesn't include monthly trips to the salon or a case of beer every Saturday. Although it would include you’re electricity bill, water bill, grocery bill, and insurance. Non-committed expenses would be eating out, vehicle maintenance, purchasing clothes or other non-essential items. *I say clothes are non-essential because most of us have a closet FULL and don't need anymore.

At this point your jaw should drop when you realize all the money you waste in any given month. From eating out to "junk" purchases. Even the little things add up from a coke at work to a snack on your break. Look at all the waste and pledge to remove it. Stop eating out, stop buying more junk that you already have, and cut down on your bills. Television is a huge waste and who watches that junk? There are endless amounts of commercial free TV on the web. Keep your internet, ditch the TV.

Your committed expenses need to be broken down to a weekly or bi-weekly figure (however you get paid). So each paycheck before anything is spent or saved the money for that week's committed expenses gets taken out. Then remove your savings. The amount you save from each paycheck is up to you, but even if it is only $1 a day, GET IN THE HABIT OF SAVING. I would suggest saving most of the money outside of your committed expenses (assuming those are the bare minimum). Before starting your savings account an Emergency Fund must be established.

Your emergency fund is your "rainy day" fund. It's there when things come up unexpected. This allows you to take care of it without dipping into money for bills or savings. You would use your emergency fund if your car broke down and needed repairs, home repairs, or medical care. The amount in your emergency fund is up to you. I suggest keeping it in cash and at least $2000 especially for families. This would cover most vehicle issues and other things. Take the money you are planning to save each week and put that towards your Emergency Fund. Once it’s where you want it, then put that same amount to the savings account to build it up. *I would suggest working towards a goal of having 3 months wages in your savings account.

So the concept is simple, as soon as you get paid take out your committed expenses (bills & food) and the majority of the rest save. It's okay to have a little fun money or Over Budget money. Over Budget money is used if you want to go out and eat, buy a video game or something outside of the normal budget. Make sure the over budget money is a small amount so that you don’t overdo it. This is your main source of spending money so spend it wisely and keep it at a minimum.

The committed expenses need to be separated into the payment type. I pay most of my bills online with my card, which is fine. Only use your checking account and debit card for this purpose. Keep just enough in the account (adding from each paycheck) to pay the bills when they're due. All bills that you can't pay with a card take the cash out as soon as you’re paid.

The bills to pay with cash need to be kept in an envelope. Each envelope labeled with the type of bill. When the cash is withdrawn after payday, put it in the envelope and don't touch it. This way, if you're monthly electric bill is $100, and you get paid weekly; put $25 cash each week into the envelope and at the end of the month pay it. This doesn't affect your bank account, savings account, or over budget money. And that's the beauty of it. You don't have to worry about paying bills because the money is there.

Click here to see a sample budget chart

*This is assuming you have little to no debt. If you have any debt, you're best plan of action is to cut everywhere you can and get out of it quick. Buckle down and spend every extra penny on paying down the debt. Pay down your biggest payment first. Then use that money to pay on the next biggest payment; and so on.