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Monday, November 22, 2010

Proven Methods For Walking the Financial Tight Rope

a slow cooker Oval Crock Pot
These days, making the family budget work is an art form in itself.  Let’s be honest, times are getting hard and we are all starting to feel it.  There are times when it seems that no matter how much money you save, there is nothing left from your paycheck at the end of the month.  This mainly due to extraneous and unforeseen expenses such as medical bills.
Slashing the family budget is a daunting task where the end product is frustration.  Some have tried bundling their services, cutting back on extras such as movies and eating out, and some are beginning to see the wisdom in clipping coupons.  As much as the above mentioned can help the family budget, some of us are going a step further in our endeavors to save a buck.

7 Ways to Help a Person Save a Buck

Remove the phantom charges.  Did you know that when you leave your appliances (computer included) plugged in to the electrical socket, they still consume electricity?  You can reduce your electricity charges by 10%, simply by unplugging the kitchen appliances, tv and computer.
Buy food staples in bulk.  Learn from businesses, they save more money buying in bulk than they would buying individual products.  Use what you can and store the rest for another day. Due to the increasing food prices, it’s a postive way to buy your food staples at the most economical price.  This is a great time to start an emergency food supply.  Foods such as flour, sugar, oatmeal, and popcorn can be bought in bulk quantities at discounted prices.  Instead of paying $2.50 for a pound of sugar, you can buy 25 pounds at $13.00.
Create a rotating refrigerator – Just like rotating your stored preps every 6 months, rotate perishable food items in the refrigerator.  Foods such as produce, eggs and meat every week. If no one has eaten the fresh fruit or vegetables you bought last week, dehydrate it and store it for another time.  Each household wastes close to $600 a year on spoiled food.  Start making an effort to cut down on this.
Go Vegetarian a few nights a week.  Who said that you have to have meat with every meal?  Buying meat for every meal is expensive.  Making a few vegetarian dinners will save you money.  For instance, make a vegetarian pizza.  It’s filling and healthy.  Or make use of those beans and make a vegetarian chili!
When you do buy meat, make sure it’s on sale:  When you see deals for meat, buy them and do one of these tricks to and save it for a rainy day:
  • Freezing meat in a marinade can be enjoyed at a later time, as well as be a life saver on those days that get away from you. 
  •  On weekends, my family enjoys eating buttermilk pancakes.  I always make an extra batch and freeze them for weekday breakfasts when we are running late. 
  •  Another way of saving time is to freeze a crock pot meal.   Adding some vegetables, meat, rice or potatoes and spices and freezing it will save 20 minutes in preparation time.  Just take it out of the freezer and put into the crock pot and viola!
  • Another easy solution to free up time is to take frozen vegetables and add a cheese sauce or a herbed butter sauce and freeze it for another time.
Homemade is better tasting and cheaper.  Let’s be honest, a lot of the products we buy are to make our lives easier, but can be costly.  Find ways to make it yourself.  For instance, make your own granola mix to make for healthy snacks.  This can later be make into granola bars, cereal or yogurt toppers.  Another easy snack to make is homemade fruit leathers.  The kids love them and they are healthy.  It’s a win-win situation!
Do-it yourself . Start simplifying your finances by doing things yourself.  Mow the lawn yourself, fix the plumbing and wash the car by yourself.  There are great how-to articles, as well as helpful neighbors who would be more than willing to help you out if you need some pointers.
Go solar!  Some of us can’t afford all the solar gadgets, but that shouldn’t stop you from harnessing the power of the sun. Dry your laundry outside on lines to save money on the electricity bill. Furthermore, doing your dishes by hand will cut down on electricity used by the dish washer.
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James Wesley Rawles on EMPact Radio this Wednesday

Place your calls to “the Rawles” – LIVE Q&A - this Wednesday, 11/24/10 at 12:00 Noon
Missiles off the California coast (maybe the East coast too) – the threat of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack... North Korean nuclear enrichment... Financial markets unstable...Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq conflicts... Terrorists in our skies?... Pandemics...Solar flares with coronal mass ejections?  Where is all this turmoil leading?  
James Wesley Rawles, national best seller of the books How to Survive the End of the World  as We Know It and Patriots, curator of SurvivalBlog.com and one of the most respected experts on survival in the nation today will join hosts Dr. Peter Vincent Pry and Ross Howarth as the featured guest on “the Peter Pry Show” on EMPact Radio (www.empactradio.com) for TWO HOURS on Wed., 11/24 starting at Noon (Eastern).  He’ll be taking your calls and answering your questions either by phone or website chat line (you need to register to use this feature).  Can’t call in?  Submit your question now via e-mail to: radio@empactamerica.org.
To learn more, visit www.empactradio.com.  EMPact Radio is a production of EMPact America.  Based in NY (USA), EMPact America is the country’s largest non-partisan, non-profit organization for citizens dedicated to protecting America from a man-made or natural electromagnetic pulse (EMP) catastrophe and other threats.
You and your family need to be ready for almost anything.  Wouldn’t participating in this show with Jim Rawles be a smart thing?  Tune in to hear from one of the foremost experts in survival and continuity of civilization and take the opportunity to have him advise you and address  your questions and concerns.  With all that’s going on in the world you won’t want to miss this show.

How to Seal a Mylar Bag in a 5-gallon bucket


Fill and seal a Mylar bag to use inside of a cheap five gallon bucket for long term food storage.
Unless you are finding food grade five gallon buckets for free from your neighborhood bakeries, etc.., instead of spending the money on food grade buckets, spend the money on cheap five gallon buckets at your home improvement center and use the extra cash you save on that purchase to buy yourself some Mylar bags, Oxygen absorbers, and Gamma Screw Top Lids.
The Mylar bags will completely seal the food. The seal, along with an oxygen absorber will eliminate any buggies that may already be in the food, and keep the food fresh in the absence of oxygen.
The Gamma lids lids will make your life much easier when it comes time to break in to your five gallon buckets for usage. They also seal air tight with a rubber O-ring gasket on the ring and the screw top lid.

How to seal a Mylar bag for long term food storage

If using a Gamma Screw Top Lid, snap on the gamma ring to the top of the bucket.
Insert a Mylar bag designed to fit a five gallon bucket.
Dump the food stuff into the Mylar bag to keep for long term storage (e.g. long grain white rice). Be sure to leave about an inch space from the top of the bucket to ensure that the lid will screw on, and the excess Mylar bag material will stuff inside.


Add a 2,000 cc oxygen absorber to the filled bag. Oxygen absorbers come new in a sealed bag. When the bag is opened, the oxygen absorbers should be used immediately and any extras should immediately be stored in a glass mason jar.

Use a flat board or any flat smooth object to lie underneath and across the open end of the Mylar bag. This will assist making the seal.
Use a hot Iron to press and seal across the open seam of the Mylar, while stopping just short of the end, leaving an opening to burp out the excess air.
An Iron heat seating from three-quarters to full heat will work OK. The Iron will not melt the Mylar to goo, so don’t worry. My Iron has remained clean throughout. Run the Iron across the seam a few times while pressing mildly.
Burp out the remaining air that is inside the Mylar bag through the small open end that has not yet been sealed. The oxygen absorber will pull out the rest of the air afterward, so don’t worry about squeezing all the air out.

Position the open Mylar corner at an angle compared to the original ironed seam, place the flat board underneath and Iron across a few times to make the final seal.
Fold the excess of the Mylar bag into the five gallon bucket and wait 12 hours before checking back to be sure the oxygen absorber pulled the remaining air out of the bag. This will let you know that the Ironed seal is good to go. The bag should have a vacuum crumpled look.

I like to leave a nutrition note inside the bucket. Definitely be sure to label the outside of the five gallon bucket with the ingredient as well as the year and month. I like to use white artist’s tape, which sticks well to things and is perfect for labeling.

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Modern Survival Blog

Check Those Winter Vehicle Kits

Taken in Megeve, France
With winter fast approaching and freezing weather already having hit much of God's country it would be a good reminder to spend some time tomorrow winterizing your vehicle kits. Don't let those water bottles freeze. Reduce them by half and squeeze the sides in so if they do freeze they will have room to expand. Make sure you have warm clothes and what ever type of hand warmers you like.

Don't forget to check the anti-freeze with a hygrometer so you know how low you can go. Limbo anyone? You can pick them up at any auto parts store and they are pretty cheap.

A large bag of kitty litter can be used if you get stuck in the snow. While it won't always work it can give you some traction on snow and ice. A small snow shovel can come in handy as well.

Finally, if you do get stuck don't forget to only run your engine 10 minutes out of every hour. Make certain the exhaust is clear and snow hasn't covered it. And leave your window down about an inch so some fresh air can circulate while you're running the engine.

Ya'll know the drill so I just thought I'd toss out a reminder.
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"Bugout Versus Hunker" Short Story by Christopher Young - Chapter 3

At charles house, his wife also thought he lost his
mind. The fire in the wood stove was a good idea,
the house would start to get cold. But filling
barrels of water in the cellar. That was a bit
much. Well, she was warm in the bed, and soon fell
back asleep. Soon, Charles came up from the cellar,
and slipped into bed. Minutes later, they were both
sound asleep. Charles woke again, about 2 AM to go
pee. He went to the bathroom, and then down the
stairs to put more wood into the  wood stove. He
also took a moment to stop on the way up, and look
out the front windows. Again, not much happening.

Where it was all happening was in Butch's truck.
Butch had the news and information radio station on
the radio, and was busy trying to find out anything
he could. He had the CB radio turned to channel 19,
so he could talk with the truckers. He had his wife
scanning the channels on her FRS walkie talkie, in
case they could pick up any local chit chat. Butch
was loaded for bear, he was taking this very seriously.
Butch was mentally reviewing the list of things that
had to happen for a successful bug out. Load up the
wife and kids, and the bug out bags. And the
unregistered handgun. He was going a safe speed,
slightly under  the posted limit. Butch stopped for
a stop sign, and then as he started out from the
intersection, the "check engine" light came on. Butch
looked down, and wondered what was with that. The
truck was in perfect running order. Then, he noticed
that the gas gauge was reading less than 1/4 tank of
fuel. "Honey, didn't you gas up the truck after you
took the kids to soccer?" But it was obvious that
she had not. No matter. He had credit cards, and
some bug out cash. They would have to gas up the

Butch knew where the was a gas station on the way
out of the city. But, it had closed at 11 PM, and
there was no one there. He drove another mile and
found another gas station, and this one was closed
also. Across the street was yet another gas station,
and it was also closed. There was a 24 hour truck
stop, about two miles up the road. Butch turned
onto a side street, and headed for the 24 hour
truck stop. Somehow, this wasn't what he expected
to be doing, going to gas up the truck instead of
bugging out. At the truck stop, there were a couple
guys standing around the front door, so he knew it
was open. He pulled the family hauler up to the
pump, and put the nozzle into the fuel filler.
Slipped his credit card in, but the pump screen
was blank. "POWOFF" called one of the guys near
the door. "What?" Butch asked. The man replied
again, and Butch finally realized he had said
"Power off!". Of course, what an idiot. No gas
stations would be pumping gas, because the
electricity had been off.

No matter. Butch had a 5 gallon gas can in the back,
thanks to the instruction of Samurai Sam, the
survivalist. Fortunately, Butch was prepared.
They would be fine. Butch opened the back of the
truck, and dug around to find the 5 gallon gas can.
It was under the gas cans, and case of MRE. When
he pulled the gas can out, it felt surprisingly
light. "Honey? Why is the gas can empty?" "Oh, I
don't know. I think I used it to fill the lawn
mower. I was going to fill it back up before you
got home from work."

Butch realized that the lawn mower holds about
a gallon. The 5 gallon can must have been used
more than once, to fill the lawn mower. This
wasn't just a one time thing with the mower.
Butch got back in to the truck, not feeling all
that good about things. Well, gasoline or not,
there would be mutant zombie hordes before too
long, and they needed to be going.

Butch restarted the truck. The "service engine soon"
light was now blinking, and the dash board was
making annoying ding ding noise, like the cabin
"seat belt" sign, in an airplane. The clock on
the dashboard read 2:17 AM. Butch unclipped the
CB radio microphone. He pushed the microphone
transmit button and said into the mic "Breaker
nineteen, this is Samurai Butch. Anyone know any
gas stations that are open and pumping?" A voice
came through the speaker. Told him that with power
off, no stations would be able to pump fuel.
Butch pressed the transmit and asked "Well, do any
of them have backup generators?" The reply was
"Negatory, driver. They can't charge more for gas
during emergency, so they don't spend the extra
money on generator. The anti gouging price laws
and all, driver." Butch thanked the other driver,
and put the mcirophoe back on the clip. With a
deep sigh, he pulled he shift handle down to Drive,
and slowly took off. His wife silently  started
to cry.

At the news studio, at the all night cable TV station.
The power was off. One of the news anchors remembered
the box of holiday candles that they had from the
Christmas celebration. They weren't allowed to use
them, due to fire regulations. But, this is an emergency.
The station's oldest anchor reporter managed to find his
way down the hall, and find the closet. Using a battle
scarred Zippo lighter, he had enough light to find the
candles, and light one. From one candle, lit another
one. And started to hand them out. A ringing phone was
heard, down the hall. Strange. The phones went off, with
the power. Then, he remembered the boss had a couple of
direct line phones, in case the key system power was
down. He went down the hall, and answered the phone.

The news and information station was transmitting on
part power. During the Cold War, the Government had
paid for a backup generator, which was diesel powered.
They had a 275 gal tank of diesel fuel, which would
run the generator for several days. The tank was nearly
full, the fuel supplier had just topped it off. The
generator only used a couple gallons a year, for the run
tests. Due to some old law, the generator had been
maintained and run every couple month, and it came on
dependably when the power winked out. The generator was
about 50 years old. But with regular oil changes and run
cycles, it was still in good running condition. Several
lights in the building were operating off the generator,
and also the telephone system. The news people were
keeping notes on legal pads, and were answering the phone
lines. Four phone lines were all lit up. And the one secret
number that was known only to management and staff. The
news wasn't cheerful. The food riots were in all major
cities, but the suburbs were unaffected. The city people
had burned some of the buildings in the city, and had shot
at police and firemen.