Monday, December 26, 2011

I did not plan to post till after the first of the year but....

    I did get a few new followers, I'd like to welcome you all and thank everyone who stopped by to read this blog.  I hope it has helped and perhaps sparked some ideas for you!  I especially like to thank Kevin S. and the Survivalblog for the link, I am overwhelmed by the response. 
   I have plans for adding another blog that will focus on not just building but sustaining for the future. But I'll keep this one going for my little twist on prepping on the cheap and while being disabled. I can't say we will win but we sure can keep stacking the deck in our favor.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Planning for the future or at least for next year!

    I did get a few items I felt I was lacking mostly toilet paper, paper towels and feminine products another 10 pack of lighters from the Family Dollar store that have tested out okay. A lot of cheap lighters break easily and the only way to know if they are any good is to try them out. So far the lighters are dying from fluid running out and not because they are breaking or losing the flint.
   I stopped by the "Lighthouse" today and gave them $30.00 for whatever... At this late in the year they can put that cash to use better than what I could give them in goods. I'm not up to the 10% I want to give but I'm giving them about 5%-8% for the last 2 months. It's been hard as it is all to easy to want to say I can't afford giving. But that would be an excuse for my own selfishness.  To be honest I can think of all kinds of things I could do for myself with that money. Not because I need to but because I want to spend it on me!
    Had some very bizarre things happen as far as finding stuff this last week. One item was a Debit card while walking in the Mall. I notified the Mall officials that I found it and then told them I was taking it to the issuing bank after my walk. I gave them the name on the card in case someone called lost and found at the Mall then took the card to a local branch of the bank and turned it in to them. Today, I found some crumpled up dollar bills by a kiosk at the Mall and turned into a clerk/kiosk owner who said she thought she knew who might have dropped the money.  I hope she is correct as times are tough and a couple of bucks may not be much but it can mean the difference between a gift given and nothing at all.
    I'm a firm believer in what goes around comes around, karma or you reap what you sow.  I do the what I think is the right thing and usually good stuff happens for me.  If  nothing else I feel good about myself as a person and that is good enough for me. I'm not always right, I just do my best.

Take this time to enjoy the holiday season assess what you have done and what you would like to accomplish next year. Count your blessings and enjoy time with family and friends. I will post again after the first of the year and we will begin the new year with vigor and hope!
God bless

At loose ends and a little bummed out.

   A dear friend has passed away, and she was a grand lady and my inspiration for this Blog. She gave me the kick in the butt and long distance virtual hugs when I needed them.
She was my Auntie Mame, full of life and wisdom. I'll miss you Linda!
Hugs, Jamie

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm starting an additional Blog

This one will be via wordpress and I'm intrigued with the old general store /trading post.
This blog will  continue for prepping on the cheap, but I will be looking toward the future after the collapse and what I will do to make a living and how to rebuild.
As you know I'm disabled and it kills me that I'm so dependent on SSD and the VA. I can't imagine life will get any easier as throughout history in an economic collapse folks like me get hit hardest first. Then poverty starts to trickle up to the middle class. As they say "Top down, Bottom up"  That sounds a lot like a vice to me! I really don't want to get squished in the middle.
I'm still thinking about the business plan and how I can make it work. A lot of the store will be for me to build my prepping, but I think as barter and trade store could work as an alternative to the big box stores. I'm trying to make it work for me on me preparing and also help others out. Don't get me wrong. I want it to pay at least for my efforts and energy, I want profits to pay my way and to get off the "Dole"  I'm a capitalist. But I don't need a lot to live on happily and if I can help other folks out and not get squished in that vice I'll consider myself successful.
I hope it works, if it does you can do the same thing! If it doesn't you will know not to try it or at least learn from my mistakes. A new year is coming up and things are going to change drastically. You got to look at what you will need to do in the future instead of stinking your head in the sand and hoping things get back to normal. Normal is joke and does not exist. You adapt and move ahead or you are stuck making buggy whips in a world of cars.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More good shopping news

http://myadventuresinselfreliance.blogspot.com/2011/12/some-more-sales-to-save-you-some-money.html
It looks like FM is extending it's sale on NY roasts for $3.47 per pound and Prime rib for $4.88. Folgers has a coupon for $7.99 per can is a bit of drop in price. I'm not a fan of Folgers coffee, I'd rather buy the FM brand of french and European roast. or the Supreme roast for a couple of dollars cheaper per can and I like the taste better.
    I really hate that my checks don't hit before sales I'd like to take advantage of, and I used up my reserve of cash for getting other good buys on stuff I would need in the future. I could have put off a few of those buys on TP and hygiene items as I didn't need them anytime in the next 3 months but they were a good buy and I knew I'd start needing them 6 months from now. 
    I'm kind of glad that silver and gold seem to be bottoming out and I don't have to figure out how to buy some more. Just like anything if it goes on sale I'll get some, but right now I want to stock my "general store" with some more basics I need and stuff for barter and trade. I think prices may kind of bounce along at the new normal but we will start seeing some great buys after the 1st of the year. Most companies boosted inventories in anticipation of a growing economy and I think they will have to start selling just to clear their stock. My opinion only, but we may see some great deals on certain items. Have a list and some cash on hand to take advantage of after Christmas sales.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A little good news on the shopping front!

      This is a new report but it looks like the futures market for Coffee, sugar and cocoa have dropped a little in price and the warehouse seem to have built up excess stocks. While sugar has a long shelf life both coffee and cocoa is more volatile and doesn't store as well long term. There will be some lag time but we could be looking at lower prices in the grocery stores next year.
    I went a little nuts on baking bread last night. 7 loaves and 2 dozen rolls. Six loaves have been double wrapped  and put in the freezer and today I made biscuits and gravy with some of the white rolls. I tried a dried product Country Gravy Mix from Sauce Supreme I got at the dollar store. Not to bad for just mixing it with water and boiling for 2 minutes, don't add salt while cooking but a little fresh ground pepper helps kick up the flavor. I think this would be a great addition to a BOB, BOV or you camping set up along with homemade dehydrated burger, sausage, or jerky,  add dried garlic, onions and red pepper flake. You could make up a nice batch of SOS or biscuits and gravy that takes only water and heat to make.  
    I was feeling a little punky the last few days. I was a little angry at our so called public servants in DC about NDAA and few other things. I think I was having a flare to go along with it. But what was the worse is I was not sleeping well and felt totally dried out. So I thought I'd get a bunch of humidity in the house and use a fan to blow the steam out of the kitchen. It really helped a lot for my nap so I'm boiling some more water tonight and hope it helps me sleep. Next week I'll be adding a humidifier to my shopping list along with a new coffee maker as my old one and my spare both died this week. I'm using one of my stove top percolator for now and it works just fine, plus I have a French press and an enamel camp percolator so I'm good to go.
    Good news! the Lager beer is finally carbonating and finishing up. I prefer the ales for winter but I can see how doing a lager would be a lighter taste for summer time and for folks used to an American-style beer. I'm so glad  I didn't give up on the Lager!
    Last but not least started looking at the seed catalogs for what I'd like to plant for next year. I found a neat heirloom corn that is sweet corn if picked young and then a dent corn if harvested later, a couple of tobacco plants that are very pretty and may do well , A dwarf coffee plant that I'll keep inside with my dwarf citrus plants and we will see if it works out. Going with more root veggies like turnips, parsnips and kohlrabi and see how the do here and how well they store. Talked to a friend that did the 3 sisters planting of corn, beans and squash and she said it worked great in her garden here in Idaho.
     

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Constitution is dead! and the NDAA will be passed!

    We have entered a bad period were we will be ruled by men and not laws. I'm toast,  I'm sure I'm on at least a couple of lists, but you may be safe Firefox has a Private browsing option and an option that shows IP rather domain names.
   I'm commited to this road I'm on. I can't hide even if I wanted to at this late date. I knew could happen I just didn't think it would happen and led by our Congress critters.  Please protect yourselves and practice good OPSEC as many have told you. You will do no service for dying for this Constitution you must live for it!
 
FOLKS WONDER WHY DIDN'T VOTE FOR MCCAIN!!

I do wish the economic collapse would be a bit more orderly.

    I know collapses are never orderly but darnit I've already made my budget and they seem to be moving up the timeline without any respect to my plans. Silver and Gold have gone on sale! I think mostly to elites and the TBTF banks in the EU liquidating paper positions but it is screwing up my time line as I want to get a bit more silver but I also want to get a solar oven and a couple of things for the RV and a Saiga rifle and it's blowing the heck out of my planned spending. I was hoping the sale on PMs would be next year. I'm not greedy but I think having a year's worth of silver on hand figuring about 30 oz. per month is a good insurance policy in case of hyper-inflation and I'm no where close to that ideal. Or you could figure 1 oz. of gold per month. That tends to be the historical figure on money needed to survive in a PM based money system. 
   It's not all bad news or even frustrating news. I did manage to drop my daily Kw usage in electricity by almost 4kw per day average this month compared to last year. No big changes except I turned down the main furnace to 65 degrees and I'm using a couple of space heaters for local heat as needed. I'm all electric on power and light so not to bad overall.
    Plus it's a lousy month for the timing of my disability checks. I really hate how SSD is paid on Wed. based on the last 2 numbers of your SS card. Some months are okay and some months see a long stretch of almost 3 weeks and  then short to a week,  from the 1st (my VA disability) I'd much prefer a 1st and 15th payment method I got used to in the Army. Well it could be worse and that demon Murphy is always lurking. I'm in no danger I'm just whining about inconvenience and doing a little venting.  It does show no matter how well you plan (and I think I do plan well) someone or something will come along and screw it up. Flexible is no longer good enough in your planning you must be fluid.

The EU is in a death spiral, most TBTF banks have invested in the EU

     Please get your money out of any TBTF banks and go local banks or Credit Unions. Bank runs are already happening in the EU and will spread to the USA.
The bankers are hoping for a Santa Claus rally but this in a time to get out of paper and into something real and tangible. Be it PMs or food or farm land please get out of the market now and get back in when you have real protections or can get real assets. From what I've been reading of history of economic collapse it's a long slow slide and about 18 months of the worse be it deflation or inflation. By the worse I mean a daily threat of starvation, lack of power and sanitation. A new normal will appear in time but you have to be ready to get through the critical period. That means having your basics already on hand so you don't have to buy as much in devalued or inflationary currency.
   Have your heirloom seeds and you can augment your food supply or trade the seeds. Know how to make and repair stuff from basic items. Then you can trade a finished product for staples. Suppose a farmer would like some beer made from his grain but doesn't have the skill or equipment to do it,. Or most of his time is spent keeping the farm going. He gives me the grain for brewing and I keep a portion for me to make bread or some pasta and he is paid in beer so to speak  Or you have a solar oven and you can bake and cook with no power cost. You get paid in garden produce or eggs for the use of your oven.
    I'm investing in electric and battery powered tools instead of gas. They have become better in recent years and can be recharged via solar panels. A simple battery powered drill can be a huge physical energy saver. Got a golf cart or one of those electric scooters? It can be recharged via Solar energy. I'm not sure about an electric car, I think you would have to have a powerful solar set up to recharge one of those bad boys. The great thing if I'm completely wrong you still save money and have good tools that you can use. A good heavy duty bike that can handle a kiddy cart or travel baskets make a good back up system for shopping in most towns. Remember think "work horse" not "show horse". Plus it's darn cheap to store extra tires, tubes and parts for a bike compared to a car.
   It won't be perfect and it will take a lot more physical labor to get by daily. But now is the time to get your backup systems in order and practice with them so it's not as bad.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Musical interlude

video
video 
Remember
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video video 
We did it once against a king! You work for us and a reconing is coming
video 
WE love our country!  I can't say we love our politicians.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Doing inventories and pleasant surprises and 18 months of goods

   I really push getting staples and bulk goods and learning to cook and bake with them. One reason is you save a lot of money and another reason is that most folks no longer know how to bake and cook and have know idea how to use whole grains, flour, masa or dried beans to make a meal anymore. If it doesn't come from a box, can or in a microwavable package they are lost. I've made a few  2 week food buckets but they contain staples and will need some additional spices, water and skill to make a meal. I guess it's sort of test if they can use it they are okay,  if not they won't come back for food.  I write a basic recipe on the bag and then it's up to them to make the food.
   Anyway back to the inventories I was getting the general store inventoried and found I was doing much better than anticipated on some hygiene items and clothes I had set back. Found a couple of coats I bought at the Macy's outlet that I completely forgot about and some nearly new Levis I had on hand. I took the really nice Levi's to the guys at the Lighthouse as I said before and kept the coats and I'm starting a clothing area for the "General Store". It's going to be mostly sweats and sweatshirts and undergarments adding in some shoes/boots, slippers and sandals I find on sale. Found a little store that offers 100% cotton T-shirts for $3.00 each and they are colorful and a great 1st layer for staying warm.
   I've been studying economic collapses through out history and about 18 months seems to the critical time frame for it to be fixed or people figure out a new way of doing things and fix in thier minds a "new normal".  Normalcy bias is a huge hinderance for people and they will often wait until it is to late to recoginize things have changed. I do think God has given us warning signs that we need to be ready and when things fall apart they will fall apart quickly.
    If you have basic food and supplies for 18 months. A way to grow and preserve your own food, save your water and secure it. I think you should be okay or at least have a good chance of making it through the chaos. I don't think you can store every thing you may need for 18 months. I know I can't store that much gasoline and I'm darn frugal with fuel. So you need a backup plan like my adult trike for shopping. How to keep food cold or frozen? use evaporation coolers or a DC fridge that has solar panels to power it. Using the weather to your advantage. Yes the winter makes heat tough but your food is safely cool or frozen. In the summer you are warm but your food is at risk for spoilage. You got to can and dig to get your food cool. Or that solar powered DC fridge again!  
   Think outside of the box, toss out what is normal and work on what you need for yourself!
   

Some more sales to save you some money

   Checked out the new Fred Meyer ad. They have some great sales on meat for the holidays. Especially a prime rib $4.88 per pound and a NY roast for $3.47 per pound. If you have your holidays covered and can get afford it this would be a great item to stock up on and freeze for next year. If you are trying to shop as I do you are shopping months in the future. I think these roasts  make a nice Easter or Spring time change of pace.  If you are new to this is a bargain if you ever wanted to do a nice beef dinner for New years or Xmas eve. I still think that Xmas day is for turkey or ham. But it's your holiday have some fun. Freddy's also has chicken 99 cents a pound and I love to throw a chicken in my little rotisserie oven with some spices and then make chicken stock and chicken and dumplings with the leftovers. Homemade chicken stock is great for colds and chicken&dumplings is just plain comfort food and good for your soul.
   I live alone so I can usually get several meals out of any hunk of meat. I'll freeze my stock though many folks can it. I freeze several bags of starting stuff like stocks for Beef and Barley soup to chicken and rice. They can also be starters for a week worth of  meals.
Butter is also on sale 2 pounds for $4.00 a good thing to freeze or for canned butter. It seems Norway is having a butter shortage and prices have jumped. There is even a black market in something as simple as butter. I just walk out the freezer or the General store and look how much I have and get a warm fuzzy feeling. If you have a cow or goat  give it a hug! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I have the oddest feeling I need to change focus and other stuff

     Call it instinct or intuition but I feel almost compelled to get my "General Store" in order and stocked up. No reason in particular as the problems we face are about the same and still the can is being kicked down the road. I felt something similar a couple of months back having cash on hand. Now I feel I need some more of the everyday items like toothpaste, lighters, socks, cleaning supplies and other non-food items you need daily or monthly.
    Another thing I'm feeling I really must do is a good cleanup on the house. Not the ordinary stuff but a wash down the walls,  shampoo carpets, clean and organize shelves type of cleaning. Not that it has happened yet :)
     I'm doing tech support for parents, replaced a DVD burner and installed the software. Fixed Dad's wireless connection, Cleaned up some junk software off Mom's PC and took her laptop home to fix it up for her. She got a new flat screen so I set up the resolution and made the icons bigger so they work for her on the new screen. Move the PC tower and rearranged stuff so everything works on her desk. If you have ever looked at PC cables it looks like they are alive and breeding no matter how neat you try to run them. It's done and I know my Dad is happy he didn't have to do it.
   Dad wrapped up my niece's gift for me, giftwrapping is kind of tough for me to do. So he did it in about a minute. I'm excited for her to get it, it's one of those pillow pet critters with a flannel blanket ready to be used as well. It's a fun and practical gift as well for a munchkin.
     I dropped off  3 nearly new Levis for the guys at the Lighthouse (my designated charity). They are in really good shape hopefully someone will be able to use them. I did keep a couple of older pairs that had faded a bit for the General Store. The 21st I'll get the guys my monthly batch of items. I'm thinking some personal hygeine items like razors, Shaving cream, a personal manicure kit, Shampoo,toothpaste/brush. I know those types of items were always appreciated when the guys got them in the Army in a care pakage. 
   That's all I'm what I'm doing this weekend and week some puttering with a purpose!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lager beer test

Report on the Lager type beer experiment
I was concerned on how the Lager progressed. It was very different than the ale and I used almost the same recipe except for the type of yeast. Much longer conditioning phase compared to Ale.
      1st Taste test The lager has dry taste and the hops are not as pronounced compared to the ale. The ale is all around more robust and the Lager finishes a lot cleaner. I'm going to give the Lager a few more days or a week and see if it needs more conditioning time.
cheers

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How I save money and still have an average American lifestyle

    I never think that there is to small amount of money to be saved. I don't live like a monk or nun giving up everything that's sort of normal everyday stuff. So I'll give you some of the ways I save money that have worked out for me and perhaps it will spark some ideas for yourself.
       TV/Entertainment: I use Dish network "Family plan" that I get for $25.00 per month. It's not on a contract and I'm not sure if it is still offered but if you are not on a contract it is a great deal. Stay away from the 2 year contracts offered by any provider. I know you save a little money up front but if times get tough and you need to cancel you won't incur a cancellation fee. My sister uses over-the air TV antenna and she loves how many channels they now offer and it's hard to beat the price of free.  Folks with an Internet connection use hulu or netflix and can save quite a bit of money after the purchase of equipment. I'm considering this option myself.
      Internet is my primary source for entertainment and if times got tough it would be the last thing I would cut. I can get free TV, books, news it also supports my phone which is a Magicjack that cost $20.00 per year. In today's world having an email, phone or cell  is almost a given. But there are still ways to save, I'm on my Dad's "Family plan" I pay him for the extra line and the cost of the cell and he get's a little help with his cell bill. If your family are living close by this could be a good option that helps everyone out. You can also use a pre-pay cell which I like because there is no contract. If you need a little extra money you can just wait to get a new card and have no additional fees.
     Energy: I live in a cheap electricity state and my home is all electric. My house is very well insulated and if you qualify I'd try to get on the programs that power providers and states offer for insulation. The qualifying standards are a bit easier than most assistance and you can do it as a homeowner or a renter. I'm able to keep the big furnace at about 62 degrees and I use space heaters to add local heat. I turn off the space heater at night, use an electric blanket. I seem to be doing well using this system, but it will be my first full winter to see how it effects my power bill.
     Food: Make it your self is the best way to save money. I'm not saying to give up on eating out but make it a treat and not an everyday thing. My bread costs me around 30-50 cents per loaf to make including power. I can save anywhere from $1.00 to $3.00 per loaf depending if it is an artisan bread plus I think it tastes better than most store bought bread. One of my treats was ordering a pizza delivered and I still do it once an awhile but you are talking about $20.00 for delivery and a tip. For $25.00 I can get a 4-5 pound Prime rib on sale and that is a real treat! and I get the bone in so I can make stock from it as well. You can't do that with pizza, LOL   Tonight I'm making turkey stock from the bones of my BBQ test, got some celery, carrots and onion cut to fit in the pot with a few spices that took about 3 minutes to quarter the onion, cut the carrots and celery in half and it's bubbling away nicely. A lot of the foods I make take time to develop or cook but very little up front work. Heck even my breads only take about 10 minutes of actual work and spend most of the time rising with no input at all from me.
    Cars and vehicles: Buy used, buy with cash or take out the shortest term loan you can afford. If you buy a new car with a loan you are also buying an insurance policy as well on a vehicle that will lose at least 25% or more of it's value once you drive it off the lot. A vehicle is only a tool to get you from point A to point B. Instead of making monthly payments on a loan and comprehensive insurance you can create a monthly fund for repairs and improvements on a used car. Because most new cars still need basic maintenance, tires and brakes and that sort of thing. When you pay off a car start your vehicle emergency fund with the payment amount and if you go to liability insurance stash that away as well. You walk into a car dealership and you have a paid off car, plus cash you have the power to walk away from a deal. You win!

Once you get off the hamster wheel and move toward being debt free it gives you options on what or how you spend your money. You are no longer buying into the commercialism that you are your car, your house but you yourself have value regardless of what you own, and if you are making payment or it can taken from you do you really own it?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Putting an end to your Debt Slavery or the Hard Part of getting debt free.

    Now that you have your total spending you must start trimming it in a sensible way. I did my budget in split between needs and wants. You do your way that works for you but you will need to cut what you live on to about 70% of your take home pay. .
  1.  A place to live should cost about 30%-35% of your total take home pay. Be it rent or a mortgage. You may need to downsize or generate additional income from a room mate but this is your goal. If you can not meet that goal you will have to cut back elsewhere. But place this cost 1st on your budget. 
  2. Energy: the cost to heat and light your home. 
  3. Communication: Phones/ Internet
  4. Transportation: Total costs from gas and maintenance to insurance Licenses and registration
  5. Groceries
  6. Entertainment TV/cable
  7. Debts
How I paid down my debts was Using "Debt-Proof Living" by  Mary Hunt. Arrange you debts from highest to lowest and start paying off the lowest first! Once that one is paid you move to the second but add what money you use to pay the first debt to the second debt and so on. You still keep current with all your debt payments but as you pay each on off you keep adding that amount to the next debt. You will be surprised how quickly you will start getting rid of those debts that are slowly eating you alive.

My aunt is getting herself squared away after her husband had a major heart attack and got into heavy medical debt. She made a list of her bills and started calling them to settle the accounts for around 40% and she got a letter saying it was paid off. She made them the offer and if the bill collector refused the settlement she said thank you and that she would go to the next creditor and see if they would take the lump sum. She paid off 3 credit cards by doing this and now those payment are going onto other bills. You could take a little hit on your credit rating but if you are late with payments your credit rating has already taken a hit.


It is simple if not easy. But I think it is worth it as you will reduce your stress level by a huge amount. You are on your way to making money work for you instead of against you.

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Have you stopped digging and are you ready to start filling that hole?

          This is a big deal to change a mindset that has been pumped into us for going for 50-70 years. You are not your car, house, 401k or your credit cards! You have value, in and of yourself but you must embrace it and stop doing stupid stuff because you were told it was expected of you!
    Let's say you are carrying credit card debt. By paying off even the smallest credit card you will get anywhere from a 7%-21% return. I'm not talking about folks that pay off creditcards every month and many do that and earn bonus points for whatever. I never could, it was all to easy for me to pay just the min. payment. I had a Capital one card before I got sick and now they are always sending me emails about how badly they want me back. Of course they want me back I made the min. payments or was late or went over my limit a couple of times. They made all kinds of money in fees on me. I suck at credit cards, so I don't have any.  Now I save, use layaway or do without and it is that simple. You need to take an honest look at yourself and not compare yourself to anyone else. I only had $7,000.00 in credit card debt and thought I was okay compared to other folks, but it was comparing apples to oranges.
        I want to ask you a few questions before we strt moving forward....
    1. Do you pay yourself first or at all?  Or is all of the money going towards bills and debts?
    2. Do you give to charity first, last or at all  from each paycheck?
    3. Do you think as long you can make the payments everything is good?
    4. Do you live paycheck to paycheck? or try and figure out who will wait the longest before they will cut you off? 
    5. Have you used a credit card to pay a bill or another debt and think you will make it up next month?
    Yes, I know I've played all those games.  The first thing to realize is that you are playing games with yourself. I know I could find all kinds of reasons for what I did or did not do, but I never hurt anyone but myself.

    Now if you really want to take it to the PTBs and the government? To be independent to get out of your debt slavery and are willing to sacrifice to be independent. You can do it, but it's a bit of work. But I'm disabled and I can do it. Mostly it takes a different mindset at first, and getting off the hamster wheel were you go like hell and get nowhere.
    You can start small and build. One bill/debt retire, 1 month of rice, beans and one brick at a time is how Pyramids or any wall is built. It will take time and it will be hard. I think it is worth it, your choice. 

    Debt Slavery and how I got there.

        The USA has become a nation of Debt Slaves. I'm not talking about your basics of food, energy and basic living costs. I'm talking about your debt payments, Mortgage, car, Adult and kids toys bought on credit. If you can't leave a job because of debt bills you are a slave. If you can't leave an are to get another job because you can't sell your home because it's underwater. You are a slave to your home. The powers that be lied to you, and if you are like me you lied to yourself. Your house would always go up in value and would be easy to sell or refinance and you could use it as a giant piggy bank. That college degree automatically got you a good paying job, that 401k or pension would always earn at least 8%, sound familiar? Except there were no guarantees in the fine print and I snookered myself because I wanted to believe it was all true!
       I'm not saying this to give a reason not to pay your bills. No matter what the PTB's said I was the one that signed my name to the contract and if it was at all possible I would pay off all of my debts. Thankfully my parents helped me out and  I was able to pay them back. But you have to remember the first rule of holes is to stop digging. Cancel your credit cards, if you want to keep a credit card to replace a broken appliance or for a big repair bill for your car you are already making a mistake. That is why  you have an "emergency fund". I'm sure a lot of folks say you have to have credit. But who are they? Banks, stores, Visa and Master card. They make money off of you having credit. So they are not the best folks to believe. Just 3 years after almost destroying myself financially I was able to get a car loan from my credit union. Remember it's not forever, but it will take some time and sacrifice but you can fix your debt.
       You must make a budget but before you make a budget you must know where your money is going. For 1 month keep every single receipt of what you spend even if it's a pack of gum. If you stop for a burger, a coffee that needs to be tallied into your food budget. At the end of every week total up then do a total for the month. I bet you will see quite a lot of your money trickle away from you bank account. Now that you see where your money is going you can now work at putting money where it needs to go towards your debt. The fastest way to have more money is not spending it. It is that simple, it's just not easy! But it will become easier with time and practice.

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Using what I've learned about preparing and using it with Money

        One of the reasons a lot of folks say they can not prepare is that they don't have any money for preparing. I find this is just an excuse for most folks. My opinion is that most folks are in denial about what is happening in the economy and that they don't want or know how to change how they live. Changing the way you think about money is very difficult because so much of our emotions seem to get all worked up when we think about it. But money is nothing more than a commodity like beans or beef, flour and rice. It's only good for what it can do for you and what you can trade it for. You can't eat money!!
        On page http://myadventuresinselfreliance.blogspot.com/p/start-here.html  It shows you how for less than $200.00 you can start on the food, water and your BOB. You can do it on an installment plan of buying one item a week, every 2 weeks or a month. But you can do it, if you make more than I do! If you are making less or have more than one person in your household you are eligible or already on food stamps and that should make it somewhat easier. This by no means a complete list, you need to add what you like to eat additional veggies, fruits and meats. It's to get you out "Panic Mode" and get you thinking logically instead of emotionally.
         I think of my pantry as my own "General Store". I can shop there at any hour and the shelves are not cleared in 2-3 days in any emergency! Just like any store you have to have an inventory and know your costs and when to restock. This mindset works for me, I know my store has everything from duct tape to sugar, toiletpaper to sweatshirts. What you put in your own general store depends on what you normally buy. As you add skills you will add items to the inventory of your store.
        Yes in a round about way this brings me to the point about money. Just like any shopkeeper you will need money to keep your store stocked. You will need a little understanding of the markets and commodity futures so you can anticipate rising costs and how to stay ahead of inflation. For example Coffee had a very poor harvest last year and I'm sure if you are a coffee drinker you have noticed the spike in price. If you bought 12 cans in Feb.of this year you would be saving almost $2.00 a can compared to today. This a good example of how being prepared saves you money instead of costing you money.
        I myself was terrible about saving cash. Oh sure I usually had something tangible to show for it, from food, a canner or jars. But that cash always found a way to trickle out of my checking/debit card account. That was bad as I needed to start building an "Emergency fund" of 3-6 months of expenses. So what I did is start buying silver. I had to take an additional step to change my silver back into dollars to buy something. That additional step forced me to think if I really need that item more than dipping into my silver/emergency fund. I also went to a cash basis instead of using checks or the debit card. It was a lot harder for me to break a 20 dollar bill than to swipe my debit card. Whatever is the most inconvient way for you to spend money use that method. You need to think hard before you spend your money it's to darn valuable for you to waste!