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Monday, August 29, 2011

The Construction of Secret Hiding Places

Original Article

I love alternate views of our normal notions of domesticity and home economics. On a recent trip to the book section of a large surplus store I noticed our first book The Urban Homestead right alongside books on burying weapons caches, wiring solar panels, acting as your own dentist and assembling SKS rifles. We certainly have exciting company on this journey.

One book in particular caught my eye, The Construction of Secret Hiding Places by Charles Robinson. You can download a pdf of this book for free here. Of course the fact that this info exists in book and interweb form means that the secrets aren't, well, secrets anymore. Nevertheless, I'll never view a stairwell, baseboard or that useless space under the dishwasher in quite the same way again.

Do you have a favorite secret hiding place? Anonymous comments are welcome . . .

10 Things To Do With Your Money

Original Article

Here are a few ideas of what to do with your money, from a practical-preparedness-frugal point of view.
(Not all inclusive, of course)
Ground rules:

Do not spend into debt. Spend only what you have available to you.
1. Set aside the money that you need for the bills that are required to be paid. This requires that you figure out first, what your monthly bills total. That means figuring out a budget. It’s not very hard to do. The point is, first set aside the money that needs to be paid on your bills, and then consider moving to step #2. Hopefully you have some left over after the bills.

Tip: If your cable costs $80 a month, see if you can do without some of the premium channels and instead get it for $60 a month. Cha-Ching!
2. Save an amount of your leftover money, until you have enough cash saved up to hold you for a time, in case of an emergency, or if you lose your job. 6 months worth of cash to cover bills is an excellent goal. Start small though – set a goal for 1 month worth of bills. Then 2…
Tip: Don’t feel as though you have to devote every extra penny each week to building this goal, unless you want to use all of it for that. For some, it is motivating to witness a pile of money growing.
Tip: It is much more motivating to take the cash money that is leftover and keep it at home in a safe, instead of putting it all in the bank. Actually ‘seeing’ the pile of cash grow is more motivating than watching the electronic numbers of your bank account. Besides, interest rates are so low right now that you really won’t get much of anything in a typical savings account.
3. Use cash for the groceries and things that you normally purchase each week, instead of a debit card or writing a check. When you use cash, it is very ‘real’ when you hand over the money to the clerk. Trust me, it makes a big difference and will help you to control yourself.

Tip: If your paycheck is direct-deposited, withdraw cash money from the ATM each week in the amount that you normally would spend with your debit card at the grocery store, etc…
4. With some of your leftover money, purchase extra food items that are a regular part of your diet. Food prices will only continue to go higher as the dollar continues to be debased. You cannot go wrong by buying more food now rather than later. Start with a goal of 1 month extra food, but build towards 3 months, then 6 months… It’s not that hard to do, and you will feel good about it when you look in your cupboards or pantry and see all that food.
5. Think about the consumable supplies that you go through each month and purchase more of them as extra storage. Things like toilet paper, soaps, trash bags, coffee filters, plastic wrap – aluminum foil, etc…
6. Productive tools and supplies that will assist you while growing and managing a home garden from germination to production.
7. Tools and supplies that will assist you while repairing things around the house, or purposed towards building or cobbling together solutions around the home and yard.

8. Items that will help provide security for your person, family, home, and property.
9. Extra gasoline, propane, diesel, etc… for your vehicle and fuel-powered items. Purchase proper storage containers (e.g. 3 or 5 gallon gasoline jugs). Know the number of miles that your vehicle gasoline tank will get you, and realize that a 18 gallon tank will require six 3-gallon containers, which may be more than you first thought (the number of containers).
Tip: Use an additive like ‘Stabil’ to prolong the life of gasoline in storage.
10. Splurge. So long as you are, for the most part, smart with your money, it is important to occasional splurge on self-indulging items or ‘toys’. Treat yourself once in a while. It is important.

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Extended run gas tank for Honda / Yam genny

one red generatorImage by kylemac via Flickr

Original Article