Archive for February, 2010

How to Build Your Food Storage On Only $5 a Week

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Think you can’t handle the price of food storage? Think again.

I was over at LDSPreppers today and found a great post in the forums by “AZPrepper”. He basically came up with a list of $5 food items that you can purchase each week for a year to build up your food storage for you and someone else.

Although he mentions that some of the food costs may have changed, the general concept and estimate should still be worth your while.

Here’s the list of what to buy each week:

  • Week 1: 6 lbs salt
  • Week 2: 5 cans cream of chicken soup
  • Week 3: 20 lbs of sugar
  • Week 4: 8 cans tomato soup
  • Week 5: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 6: 6 lbs macaroni
  • Week 7: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 8: 8 cans tuna
  • Week 9: 6 lbs yeast
  • Week 10: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 11: 8 cans tomato soup
  • Week 12: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 13: 10 lbs powdered milk
  • Week 14: 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
  • Week 15: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 16: 5 cans cream of chicken soup
  • Week 17: 1 bottle 500 multi-vitamins
  • Week 18: 10 lbs powdered milk
  • Week 19: 5 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • Week 20: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 21: 8 cans tomato soup
  • Week 22: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 23: 8 cans tuna
  • Week 24: 6 lbs shortening
  • Week 25: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 26: 5 lbs honey
  • Week 27: 10 lbs powdered milk
  • Week 28: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 29: 5 lbs peanut butter
  • Week 30: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 31: 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
  • Week 32: 10 lbs powdered milk
  • Week 33: 1 bottle 500 aspirin
  • Week 34: 5 cans cream of chicken soup
  • Week 35: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 36: 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
  • Week 37: 6 lbs salt
  • Week 38: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 39: 8 cans tomato soup
  • Week 40: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 41: 5 cans cream of chicken soup
  • Week 42: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 43: 1 bottle 500 multi-vitamins
  • Week 44: 8 cans tuna
  • Week 45: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 46: 6 lbs macaroni
  • Week 47: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 48: 5 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • Week 49: 5 lbs honey
  • Week 50: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 51: 8 cans tomato soup
  • Week 52: 50 lbs wheat

He also mentions that some weeks you will have leftover change. Instead of spending it, put aside the change each week to be used for the weeks you may need more than $5 (like for wheat, milk, etc). Also be sure to lookout for sales. This way you can jump ahead and cross items off the list where there are great bargains.

After you have completed this list, you will end up with:

  • 500 lbs of wheat
  • 180 lbs of sugar
  • 40 lbs of powdered milk
  • 12 lbs of salt
  • 10 lbs of honey
  • 5 lbs of peanut butter
  • 45 cans of tomato soup
  • 15 cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • 15 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 24 cans of tuna
  • 21 boxes of macaroni & cheese
  • 500 aspirin
  • 1000 multi-vitamins
  • 6 lbs of yeast
  • 6 lbs of shortening
  • 12 lbs of macaroni

I calculated that this amount of food has around 1,249,329 calories which based on a 2000 calorie a day diet will provide enough food for two people for 312 days! That’s almost one whole year for two people on $5 a week! Even if the price was double that, at $10 a week you’re only paying around $40/month in grocery bills. Try to beat that…

Hunting Under the Radar? Try the .22 CB Cap Round

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

If you’ve already taken my advice and purchased yourself a 22 LR rifle (like the Ruger 10/22 which is my favorite) or already have one, you probably love how quiet the 22LR rounds are compared to most other ammunition. But despite being relatively quiet, they are still noticeable to within a few hundred yards by others around you.

22 CB Cap long (left), 22 CB Cap short (right)

Well short of using a suppressor (silencer) which may not be legal in your area, there is a super quiet round available for your rifle that you may not be aware of. It’s called the 22 CB Cap (short for “conical ball cap”).

While not as powerful or accurate over long range as the 22LR round, it is still powerful enough to take small game such as rabbit or squirrel and provides the added advantage of being no louder than a pellet gun (and perhaps even less so). The reason for its silence is due to its minute propellant charge (in many cases it’s just the primer with no gunpowder) which results in a low muzzle velocity of around 700 ft/s (subsonic).

The advantages of this kind of round in a serious survival situation (urban or wilderness) are obvious. With a report no louder than a pellet gun, the .22 CB Cap round gives you the benefit of being able to easily take smaller game — even in a congested urban area — without anyone the wiser (Pigeon anyone? yummy…). It also allows for target practice without bothering the pesky neighbors.

One of the main disadvantages of the .22 CB Cap is that it won’t cycle most semi-automatic firearms. Since the round doesn’t provide enough power to cycle the bolt, each round must be fed manually, one at a time. Despite this major disadvantage I still highly recommend adding a box or two of .22 CB Cap to your store (and some for your second tier kit while your at it) when silence is of primary importance.

WD-40: The Ultimate Survival Spray

Monday, February 15th, 2010

If you’re looking for a versatile multi-use cleaning/lubricating spray to add to your home storage, look no further than WD-40 (thanks for the idea Linda). Although there are a lot of urban myths surrounding this product’s uses (ease arthritis pain? what are you the tin man?) as well as its main ingredient (its petroleum NOT fish oil) there are still thousands of uses for it around the home, garden and shop.

Here’s the main functions for using WD-40:

  • LUBRICATES: WD-40’s lubricating ingredients are widely dispersed and hold firmly to all moving parts.
  • CLEANS: WD-40 gets under dirt, grime and grease to clean. It also dissolves adhesives, allowing easy removal of labels, tape, stickers, and excess bonding material.
  • PROTECTS: WD-40 protects metal surfaces with corrosion-resistant ingredients to shield against moisture and other corrosive elements.
  • PENETRATES: WD-40 loosens rust-to-metal bonds and frees stuck, frozen or rusted metal parts.
  • DISPLACES MOISTURE: Because WD-40 displaces moisture, it quickly dries out electrical systems to eliminate moisture-induced short circuits.
  • For a complete list (over 2000) of its uses check out this link from WD-40’s website: List of 2000+ Uses of WD-40

Food Storage Made Easy: Never Have to Shop Again

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I’ve recently found this incredible website online that is a perfect fit for keeping the storage items in your pantry chock full. The application is called “Alice” .

The way that Alice works is that after setting up a free account, you specify what you typically buy (choosing from a list of 1000’s of products) and then the program goes to work. Alice organizes all your products based on how frequently you use them, finds coupons and other deals and then sends you alerts when it determines you are running low. It also keeps track of all your expenditures, categorizing and showing you where you’re spending the most of your money. On top of this, the shipping is free!

You might think that since the shipping is free that the prices of the products are more expensive. On the contrary, since the site works directly with the suppliers, it eliminates the middleman — effectively keeping the prices low. From what I noticed, overall the prices are cheaper than the supermarkets (at least where I shop).

Since Alice is still currently in Beta mode, the down side is as far as food items go, there isn’t a complete list — although they are continuing to add to the list (which by-the-way they gladly take suggestions for products) .

Here’s what they sell currently:

  • Cereals
  • Baby Food
  • Dog & Cat Food
  • Granola Bars, Cookies, Crackers and other snacks
  • Dried Fruit (I would make your own since it’s cheaper)
  • Dried Mixes (for muffins, cookies, pancakes etc)
  • Rice
  • Jerkey
  • Dried Soup Mixes
  • Spices
  • Sugar & Sugar Substitutes

The great part about these items is that most of them store fairly well (1-2 years) and don’t require a refrigerator which is perfect for food storage.

Alice iPhone app

For you iPhone users (like me) Alice also has a free app that allows you to not only order and maintain any product from your list but also gives you the ability to scan bar-codes from items that are running low in your pantry. These can be simply added to your cart for easy reordering.

Alice is extremely useful for those of us who use a pantry system for food storage. Our family has about a years worth of long-term food items (good for 20+ years) but beyond that we also have a 3-month supply of constantly-rotating commonly used food (and non-food) items.

Alice seems to be a perfect fit to help keep those items in stock (all without having to go shopping!). I can simply go downstairs to our basement with my iPhone look for those products that we are running low on and scan the bar-code. It will then enter into my Alice product list and I can send away for it. Around 2 days later it arrives at my home. Again, keep in mind that you don’t need an iphone to use the web site.

Overall, here are the main advantages:

  • The service is free
  • Once you’ve set up your master shopping list, using it over and over and ordering is as simple as a click of a button.
  • Alice reminds you when you are running low on products based on the average timelines of consumption as well as find coupons and deals for you.
  • The prices are very competitive
  • The shipping is free
  • You don’t have to worry about constantly checking out your inventory.
  • Now if Alice could only rotate the actual food items in my pantry it would be the ultimate service!

    So check it out, you can sign up or read about it here (by using the graphic link above or this one they’ll give you $10.00 when you buy $50 or more of products): Alice.com

How to Turn Your Non-Fat Powdered Milk into Whole Milk

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

If you’re one of those who can’t stand drinking non-fat powdered milk (or have children that won’t touch it) but still nonetheless have it as part of your food storage — there’s hope. Turning your non-fat powdered milk into whole milk (or 1% or 2%) is a relatively easy process.

From Powdered Milk to Whole Milk

All it involves is a little understanding of chemistry and some extra items that should be part of your food storage anyways.

The only difference between reconstituted non-fat powdered milk and whole milk is the absence or presence of fat (this is what allows non-fat powdered milk to store for so long). But improving the taste by getting the fat back into the milk is not as easy as pouring some in and shaking. I’m sure you’ve seen what happens when you try to combine water and oil.

And now for the chemistry.

In order to mix two liquids together that otherwise would not blend (oil and milk in this case) requires what is called an emulsifier. And two of the most common emulsifiers used in recipes are eggs and honey — both of which are excellent long-term food storage items.

In the tables below I’ve put together some simple recipes that you can use to make 1%, 2%, or whole milk from a combination of powdered milk, vegetable oil and either powdered eggs or honey.

To prepare, just mix the ingredients specified in the tables below according to how much milk you want to make along with the desired fat content. It helps to use a shaker or a whisk but even a fork stirred vigorously works fine.

Keep in mind that the mixture is not homogenized so over time it will begin to separate again. If it does just shake it up, whisk it, or stir vigorously and viola! you got yourself some great tasting powdered milk. Try both recipes to see which one you and your family prefers (I’m partial to the honey mixture). Enjoy!

Using Honey

Desired
Fat Content
Desired
Milk
Honey Reconstituted
Powdered Milk
Vegetable Oil
1% Cup
Quart
Gallon
1/4t
1t
1T + 1t
1 cup
1 quart
1 gallon
1/2t
2t
2T + 2t
2% Cup
Quart
Gallon
1/2t
1/2T + 1/2t
2-1/2 T
1 cup
1 quart
1 gallon
1t
1T + 1t
1/4C + 1T
Whole (4%) Cup
Quart
Gallon
1t
1T + 1t
5T
1 cup
1 quart
1 gallon
2t
2T + 2t
1/2C + 2T

Using Powdered Eggs

Desired
Fat Content
Desired
Milk
Egg Powder Reconstituted
Powdered Milk
Vegetable Oil
1% Cup
Quart
Gallon
1/8t
1/4t
1t
1 cup
1 quart
1 gallon
1/2t
2t
2T + 2t
2% Cup
Quart
Gallon
1/4t
1/2t
2t
1 cup
1 quart
1 gallon
1t
1T + 1t
1/4C + 1T
Whole (4%) Cup
Quart
Gallon
1/2t
1t
1T,+1t
1 cup
1 quart
1 gallon
2t
2T + 2t
1/2C + 2T

How to Build a Self-Sufficient Cabin for under $4000

Monday, February 1st, 2010


This post is sponsored by Prepper Academy, the only preparedness program that shows you step-by-step how to rapidly prepare for the coming hard times — no matter what your income or where you live.


For those of you who dream of one day building a retreat where you can be completely self-sufficient but just don’t think you have the money, well you might be surprised to learn that it may be cheaper than you think.

photo © Lamar Alexander – www.simplesolarhomesteading.com

Lamar Alexander over at Simple Solar Homesteading has managed to build a completely self-sufficient solar cabin for under $4000 and with his $5 ebook, he shows you how you can do it too.

Being curious, I bought his ebook last week to check it out and you get a wealth of information that I think is well worth the 5 bucks. Even if you don’t plan on building a retreat, or don’t have the land yet to do it, many of the tips he shares can be applied to your own residence. And the instructions are really simple to follow.

Here’s what he teaches you:

  • How to build a cabin for under $2000
  • How to build a cabin addition for under $1500
  • How to build a solar panel and generator system for under $1000
  • How to build a solar composting toilet under $50
  • How to build a solarium porch and solar air heater
  • How to build a solar methane generator
  • How to build a rain water and gray water harvesting system
  • How to build a batch water heater under $50
  • How to build a solar clothes washer, dryer, and dishwasher
  • How to build a tipi greenhouse
  • How to build a solar oven under $50
  • How to build a root and/or storm shelter
  • How to build a great garden cart under $50
  • How to build a garden compost tumbler
  • How to install a wood stove in your cabin
  • How to build a portable chicken tractor for under $50
  • How to dig your own water well
  • How and where to find cheap homestead property

Granted, what he teaches you how to build is not some 3000 square foot log cabin but rather something that more resembles a glorified utility shed. But for the cheap cost and especially if you want to build something quick, it’s pretty cool.

And remember, if we were in an extended grid-down situation right now, then I’m sure you’d much rather be like Lamar living in a completely paid-off self-sufficient “shed” then in your dependent-on-the-grid in-debt-up-to-your-eyeballs McMansion. What he teaches here is a cheap way to self sufficiency and economic freedom. Not bad eh?

Here’s a video of Lamar giving you a tour of his place:

And here’s a video of the interior: