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Posts Tagged ‘stockpiling’

I have firsthand info on this, so be forewarned. There is a pumpkin shortage looming.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/11/19/libbys-pumpkin-shortage-stymies-thanksgiving-tradition/

Some of the grocery stores in Hot Springs already have bare spots where the canned pumpkin used to be, with signs saying there will be no more available until next harvest.

If you have not yet stocked up on canned pumpkin and you use it even semi-regularly, this would be a good time to put it back if it’s still available in your area!

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Outstanding list courtesy of Highlander at:  http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=36711

You could also buy ALL of the following items for around $200.00.  There is no excuse not to get started!

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For just $ 5.00 +/- you can buy the following storable things:

FOOD ITEMS

* Five packages of Idahoan instant potatoes (flavored)
* A case of ramen noodles (20 pkgs)
* five cans of sardines
* five gallons of purified water
* nearly two cases of bottled water
* four cans of peaches, pears or fruit cockatail
* 2 jars of mandarin oranges
* five pounds of rice
* three to four pounds of spaghetti
* Two cans of spaghetti sauce
* three bags of egg noodles
* eight packages of gravy mix
* four cans of whole or sliced new potatos
* four cans of green beans or at least three cans of carrots, greens, peas or mixed veggies
* Two cans of Yams
* six cans of pork and beans
* one 40 ounce can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew
* Two 12 ounce cans of chicken, tuna or roast beef
* One 1lb canned ham
* three cans of refried beans
* three 12 oz cans of raviolis or spaghetti O’s.
* Two 12.5 ounce cans of Salmon
* Five pounds of Oatmeal
* Four packages Dinty Moore heat and eat meals
* five packages of corn bread mix
* Four pounds of Sugar
* Five pound of Flour
* 1.5 quarts of cooking oil
* three one pound bags of dry beans
* two cans of apple juice
* a jar of peanut butter
* two boxes of yeast
* two bags of generic breakfast cereal
* 10 8 oz cans of tomato paste/tomato sauce
* four cans of soup
* four cans of Chunky soup
* 8-10 pounds of Iodized salt
* two bottles of garlic powder or other spices
* Two boxes of kool aid
* A can of coffee
* 2 bottles of powdered coffee creamer

Non-Food Items

* one manual can opener
* two bottles of camp stove fuel
* 100 rounds of .22lr ammo
* 25 rounds of 12 ga birdshot or small game loads
* 20 rounds of Monarch 7.62×39 ammo
* a spool of 12lb test monofilament fishing line
* 2 packages of hooks and some sinkers or corks.
* artificial lure
* two packages of soft plastic worms
* three Bic Lighters or two big boxes of matches
* A package of tea lights
* 50 ft of para cord
* a roll of duct tape
* a box of nails or other fasteners
* a flashlight
* two D-batteries, four AA or AAA batteries or two 9v batteries
* a toothbrush and tooth paste
* a bag of disposable razors
* eight bars of ivory soap (it floats)
* a box or tampons or bag of pads for the ladies
* two gallons of bleach
* needles and thread
* a ball of yarn
OTC Medications (at Dollar General)

* 2 bottles 1000 count 500 mg generic Tylenol (acetometaphin)
* 2 bottles 500 count 200 mg generic advil (ibuprofen)
* 2 boxes 24 cound 25 mg generic Benadryl (diphenhydramine HCI)–also available at walgreens under “sleep aids.”
* 4 bottles 500 count 325 mg aspirin
* 2 boxes of generic sudafed
* 4 bottles of alcohol
* a box of bandages (4×4)

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If you are like me, you struggle trying to determine how much is “enough” for your supplies and food storage.  How many rolls of toilet paper should you have put back?  How many cans of green beans?  These are the questions many of us who stockpile lay awake at night thinking about.  Although the food storage calculators online are a very good starting point, you do have to customize your storage for your own personal preferences.  Not everyone will use 50 pounds of green beans in a year, but some families might use twice that.

I have a practical suggestion which may make things a bit easier.  There are a couple of ways to do this, one of which will take more time but will be much more accurate.  Bascially, you need to keep track of how much you use of each item in a year, or at least within a specified period of time so you can calculate a year’s usage.

One method would be to keep a running list all year of everything you use – from cans of veggies, soup, potato flakes, canned milk, etc. to toilet paper, shaving cream, soap, razors, toothpaste, etc.  This method will be more time consuming, but will be spot on if you are determined to know exactly how much your family uses in a year’s time (and disciplined enough to keep track of everything).  Creating a list in Excel or Word and posting it in a prominent location (a magnetic clip on the fridge works great) will help make the task easier.

The second method (and my personal preference) is to write the date on an item when it is opened, and when it is used up, see how long it took to use it, and calculate accordingly to see how many you use in 12 months.  For example, say you open a tube of toothpaste in the morning (Jan 1st).  Write the date on the tube with a sharpie marker, and when the tube is used up (say January 31st), you know your family averages a tube of toothpaste in a month.  Buy 12 tubes and you’re good for the whole year.   I find it helpful to keep a running list of what we have onhand and how many I still need to purchase to achieve our storage goals.

Last night, I started working on new lists for the coming year and was determined to see what areas of our storage still need work.  I did some number crunching and decided our family averages about 4 rolls of toilet paper a week, which works out to be 208 rolls a year (4 rolls/week  x 52 weeks/yr =208 rolls).   We buy the big Northern packs at Sam’s Club which have 36 rolls per pack.  If we purchase 6 packs, that will give us 216 rolls which (theoretically) should last all year.  It will be interesting to see if this actually works out to be correct when I do a tally next December.

If you have tips for what works for you and your family, I’d love to have you share them with us.

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I recently had the opportunity to review several products offered by the company Shelfreliance, including their Cansolidator Pantry.  I’d like to thank Shelfreliance for their generosity in allowing us to sample their items and give our readers our honest opinions.

The Cansolidator Pantry is a front-loading system which will hold up to 40 cans and automatically rotate them.  The system is customizable and can be used either stacked or horizontal.  Overall dimensions of the product are:  Height: 11″, Width: 20″, Depth: 16.5″.

While I do think the Cansolidator is innovative and could be a great organizer for some people, I will say there are a few issues with it.

In order to use the stacked configuration, there should ideally be a 6th track or one of the levels is virtually useless for standard-sized cans. When using the Cansolidator horizontally, it would be helpful if the brackets were a tad longer to enable the use of standard-sized vegetable cans all the way across. As I currently have mine configured, it is limited to 2 sections of vegetable-sized cans, and 2 sections of soup-sized cans. Any other configuration on the horizontal level left us with a section that was too small for any of the other canned goods we currently use.

Also note that you would need to store the same type of canned food within each section of the unit – otherwise you will have to unload it to get to a particular can.

For people who need help organizing their food storage, I think the Cansolidator could be a feasible option. If your pantry shelves are not very deep, it could be a potential problem as it does require more shelf depth than some people have. I originally tried it in my own pantry, and had to move it to another shelving unit for that reason. However, the Cansolidator does do what it says it will do – I was able to get 40 cans into the unit with no trouble.  (Granted, in the same amount of space, I could store more than 40 cans without the unit – just a side observation.)

Overall, the Cansolidator is sturdily built and should last through many years of use.  Check your measurements carefully before ordering to be sure it will fit your pantry shelves.  It is priced at just over $40 (not including shipping), which may be out of some folks’ budget given the current economy.

Pros:

  • Rotates food automatically
  • Organizes pantry so that it looks less “cluttered”
  • Holds 40 cans with no problem
  • Sturdy and easy to put together

Cons:

  • Design needs some tweaking to get a usable configuration for most standard-sized cans
  • Unit is over 16″ deep, which may be an issue for folks with narrow shelving
  • Unit takes up considerable space, which would hold more than 40 cans of food
  • Price could be an issue for some families

The freeze dried strawberries offered by Shelfreliance are fabulous!  We have a few other food items we have not yet tested, but will be adding notes on them shortly.

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If you look at everything that needs to be done to prepare your family for hard times, it can be almost overwhelming.  I’ve decided to break my “to do” list down into more manageable tasks, and focus on what I can realistically accomplish in a day.

Today, I’m dehydrating a#10 can of mixed vegetables.  The can originally weighed over 6 pounds (with liquid), and by the time it’s completely dried, it should easily fit into a pint size jar.  This saves valuable storage space and also extends the shelf life of the veggies.

Another day, I plan on pressure canning a batch of pinto beans so they’ll be handy whenever I need them.  I love storing dried beans, but there are times I’m running behind and forget to soak them.  Having a few jars canned will help make some quick meals later on.

I also need to take a day and break down some larger sized purchases into smaller bags and vacuum seal them.

A little here and there adds up in the grand scheme of things.   The important thing is to actually start.  At the end of the day, I have a sense of accomplishment knowing I’ve done something positive towards my goal of being self-sufficient.

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I am going to try to post money-saving deals each week as I find them.

For this week (Dec 1st), at our local Wal-Mart I found Green Giant cut green beans and also sweet corn for .50 cents a can (regularly $1.43/can at our grocery store).  Needless to say, we bought several cases!

Wally World also had Kraft boxed macaroni and cheese for .50 cents a box.

To break that down for a variety of budgets:

For $34.00, you could add 20 boxes of mac & cheese plus 48 cans of food to your storage.

For $20.00, you could do 10 boxes of mac & cheese plus 30 cans of vegetables.

For $10.00, you could do 5 boxes of mac & cheese plus 15 cans of vegetables.

Having peace of mind knowing you have something put back to feed your family – priceless!

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If you’ve watched the news lately,  you know the economic outlook isn’t good.  I hope I’m proven wrong, but I really think we’re in for some hard times ahead – worse than most of us living have ever had to go through.

The housing market in this country is nowhere near hitting bottom yet.  It can get a lot worse, and from what I’ve read lately by some leading economists, we’re not out of the woods by a long shot.  No one knows exactly what the outcome of this will be because what’s happening is unprecedented, and it’s on a global scale this time and not limited mostly to our country (as was the Great Depression in the ’30s).  I am not trying to cause a panic by saying that, but I do tend to be a realist.  After the stock market crash in 1929, the papers the next day were saying everything was fine and to keep investing as usual.  As Suze Orman says, “Focus on what you HAVE, not what you HAD.”  The stock market is not the safest place for your money to be, but that’s a whole other post.    😛

There are some things you can do to help get yourself and your family through this a little easier.  This is by no means a complete list, but some no-nonsense ideas that can serve as a buffer.  It’s time for everyone to get practical about their finances and way of life, and as Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.

1.  Pray. I mean that sincerely.  Ask the Lord to guide you and give you wisdom to make good decisions.  Whatever happens with our economy, I take comfort in knowing that God is still in control.  Nothing happens to us that does not go by His throne of grace.  If He says we can go through this, then we can.  That doesn’t mean it will be painless or easy.

2.  Pay off as much of your debt as possible. Consider downsizing to a smaller home if need be so you can more easily pay your bills.  If you have a two-income family, could you make it if one of you lost your job?  If the answer is no, then you need to reconsider some priorities.

PAY OFF YOUR CREDIT CARD DEBT.  Start with the smallest amount first, then when that card is paid for, take that payment and move to the next bill.  Eventually, you will get it paid off, but you need to KEEP it paid off.  It will also give you a huge sense of accomplishment as you pay off the bills, and have fewer payments to make each month.

Don’t buy a brand new vehicle – buy an older model or at least a program car only if you HAVE to.  If the vehicle you currently have runs great and is paid for, keep it.  You will save a bundle.  If you do have to buy a new car, consider gas mileage and maintenance costs.  A Hummer may look really cool, but how will it look sitting in your front yard on blocks because you can’t afford to put gas in it?  Gas will eventually go back up.  Learn from our recent $4 a gallon lesson – it should have been an eye-opener.

Don’t buy furniture (or any other large purchase for that matter, i.e. bass boat, 4 wheeler, or any other “toys”) unless you absolutely HAVE to.  If you can make do with what you have, then do it.  I’d dearly love to have new living room furniture, but I won’t spend the money on it because I have a feeling we may need that money to live on.  A new couch will not feed my family in a crisis.

3.  Cut up your credit cards. If you feel you have to have one card for emergency use, put it in a bowl of water and freeze it so you don’t have instant access to it.   If you can’t pay cash for it, then don’t buy it.

4.  Have some cash in reserve, preferably onhand. Fireproof safes are relatively inexpensive at Walmart for the smaller ones and are easier to hide within your home.   I’m not saying pull everything out of your bank, but I do think you need to consider that the FDIC has HALF the amount of money onhand to cover all of the deposits in the US at the current time.  People in the ’30s lost everything when their banks failed.  Now I know that since the FDIC (a private institution, btw – not gov’t owned) was instituted, no one has lost a dime on their deposits.  I’ll give them that.  But what if your bank went belly-up and you didn’t have access to your money (i.e. debit card, checks, savings, etc.) until a new bank took it over?  Could you still put gas in your car or food on your table in the short term?

5.  Stock your pantry deeply. I’ve posted several times here about stockpiling food.  You could have $50,000.00 in the stock market, but will that feed your family if you didn’t get a paycheck next month?  Canned goods will keep for a couple of years (check your expiration dates) and rice, beans, flour, etc. will keep for literally years if stored properly.  Buy what your family eats, rotate your stock so you eat the oldest first, and keep like items together so you can find them more easily.  Learn to cook if you don’t know how.  You’ll save a ton of money by not eating out as often.  Also don’t forget to stock things like toilet paper, medications, personal hygiene items, etc.  You know you’re going to need and use them – why not buy extra?

6.  Learn how to defend yourself personally and your home. If food gets scarce, people will do anything to feed their families.  Buy a firearm and learn how to use it.  Buy extra ammo.  Take a self-defense course.  Evaluate your home and see what security measures need to be taken to improve the safety of your family.  Could your front door be easily kicked down?  What areas of your home are vulnerable?

7.  Have backups to your backup plans. Don’t rely solely on grid-powered methods of cooking, heating, drinking water, etc. in the event of an emergency.  If the power goes out for an extended period of time (even a week or two), you must be able to heat your home, cook food, and have clean drinking water.  If you have electric heat, buy a gas or wood heater for backup.  If you are on public water, consider storing at least two weeks’ worth of bottled water for emergency use.  A gas-powered generator is also a good idea, but you must have extra gas onhand to run it.  Gas grills can be used (OUTSIDE ONLY) to cook food year round.  You can even heat water on them to take a bath if you had to.  Disregarding such fundamental necessities will leave you extremely vulnerable.  Think outside the box – most people are so complacent they never think of “what if” until it actually happens.

8.  Learn new skills. This includes baking bread, gardening, sewing, hunting, fishing, quilting, knitting, soapmaking – anything that is useful and practical in making your life more comfortable in the long run.  Skills require time and practice.  You don’t want to wait until an emergency to learn how to hunt and kill a deer, then skin and butcher it to feed your family.

9.  Get fit. Now I’m preaching to the choir on this one in particular, because it’s an area I’m still struggling with, especially with the holidays approaching.  Fit people are healthier, get sick less often, look better, feel better, and are usually happier.

10.  Live simply, love deeply. Spend time with your family, and take time to unwind.  The breakneck speed most of us live with is not healthy.  Learn to say “no” – you don’t have to be involved in every activity.  Don’t waste time or money on things that don’t really matter in the long run.

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