Monday, November 1, 2010

Preparing with very limited funds‏

Hi Ferfal, I have been following your posts since the Frugal board eons ago and would like to thank you for your dedication and insightful contributions you've made over the years. IMHO no one can truly speculate what the future will hold but only by learning from someone's own experience can we truly educate ourselves and ultimately prepare.

On that note I must ask your advice on how best to prepare on an extremely limited budget. I am currently employed but make just enough to pay the bills, am living pay check to pay check and have a child on the way. I, like everyone else following your blog, know the value of protecting yourself and your family. Though being in tough times financially makes it difficult to save and maintain a sufficient cache of supplies.

Are there any alternative ways that I can start building a nest egg of supplies without going completely broke in the process? I currently have a months worth of freeze dried food (for one person) a .380 with 500 rds, a various minor emergency "tools" in case SHTF. I had to recently sell my .40 Taurus and collection of junk silver in order to pay the bills. I feel that if SHTF today i would be OK if it where just myself, but with a child on the way, I fear it is not enough. Being a family man I'm sure you can relate. Any advise would be much appreciated.

Thank you for your dedication,

Seems like you’ve been into survival and preparedness for some time now. The knowledge you’ve acquired is in itself pretty important.

Truth be told, other than some basic supplies you don’t really need much more. Food isn’t that expensive and even on a limited budget you can slowly work up towards a good food cache. Buying bulk on discount and using coupons even saves money compared to just going once a week or so and buying what you need for just a few days. I assure you that if you organize your purchases you’ll soon start saving money at the same time you stock up. Food is never wasted money, you’ll eat it anyway. Water is pretty cheap and you can use pop soda bottles, if you don’t drink much of those many food chain stores usually have perfectly fine food grade containers that they just throw away. Ask around and see if a manager will let you know when you can come by and pick them up. Some of the food grade containers these stores throw away have good lids and can be used for staple food storage as well.
While its important to work towards making more money or finding other sources of income you can still do a lot. Check out this post I wrote some time ago, Free Prepping http://ferfal.blogspot.com/2008/12/free-prepping.html
There’s lots of free stuff you can do.
Working out can be free, running or riding a bike is something you simply can do for no money at all, and getting into shape and staying healthy is one of the often overlooked aspects of survival and preparedness, yet so often neglected.

 Improving your interpersonal relationship with your wife/kids/family/friends/ neighbors? Smiling and being nice to people is free last time I checked and SHTF or not you’ll be glad you’ve improved the relationships with the people in your life. Remember that a lot of living during tough times is coping with stress, its mostly a mental game, not a “how many tons of guns and ammo you have” game.
You’d be better off if you have just bought a Glock 9mm instead. First, its just the best gun money can buy, shoots cheap big bore ammo, and finally something that is of interest when in a tight budget: You can dry fire a Glock all day without problems. Not all guns are this reliable. If you can I’d sell the gun and ammo and buy a trade in Glock. 380 ACP is expensive so a gunstore or someone in a gunshow or pawn shop may be interested in trading. I’d much rather have a Glock and a box of good ammo that any 380 ACP and 500 rounds. 

For some extra emergency cash, try looking around the house for stuff you simply don’t need and start selling it. Yard sale, ebay or pawshops, most houses have a good amount of stuff that simply isn’t getting used, and even if you don’t have much lying around I bet you could make a few extra hundred bucks.
A baby isn’t cheap, so it sounds like making more money is one of your priorities.
You can avoid a lot of spending by asking friends or family that have kids for some of the baby stuff they aren’t using any more. Its usually left in an attic in perfectly good shape just collecting dust and most folks will be glad to help out.
Baby clothes cost money, they need a lot of it and since they grow up so fast used baby clothes are in most cases in very good shape.

When it comes to stocking up food, work towards foodstuffs that can be eaten by the baby as well when he gets older. I’m thinking mostly porridge oats, powdered milk, cornmeal, wheat, canned vegetables, etc. Food that is adequate for babies is often very nutritious for adults as well. Fish and strawberries, those are usually the foods that the doctor allows when the baby gets older.
When we got married and had our first son, we where indeed in a tough budget and we did many of these things. I also remember that for some time meat was just too expensive for us, so my wife ate it when she was pregnant and I ate something else. Tough times.
Hope this helps some, take care and good luck!



Anonymous said...

Good Luck, Jason!
When my wife & I 1st got married 20 years ago we didn't have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of! We learned to live cheaply and now things are really very good for us!

Don't forget good ol' beans and rice, Jason. And peas, potatoes, etc, in short, the basics. We cook nearly everything from scratch, & regard the frugality as an intellectual challenge with practical rewards and benefits. The food is healthier and better-tasting, too.

Also don't forget the library for cheap entertainment.

There are also bargains in garage sales and thrift stores, I got all of my iron free weights at garage sales for practically nothing. Also you can do push-ups etc with your feet on stairs, gradually setting your feet on higher stairs as you get stronger, or feet and arms on chairs, dips, bench dips on chairs, things like that. I've invented exercises just by thinking about how to work with what I already have available to me. Don't forget about isometrics, Pilates, stretches too.

Same with books, very cheap (for now) these days. One of my very favorites is "How to Live Well on Practically Nothing", this book made a real difference in my life. Not just budgeting tips.

Also, I keep my nose in the wind. I constantly stay aware of the social trends in my area, and the employment market in my career, nation-wide.

Remember, Tough Times never last, Tough People do!

Eric in Michigan

Anonymous said...

Just my comments in support of your goals and actions:

Start small. Be super organized. Learn great "values" versus cheap prices. Priortize what you want to do and how - meaning keeping a list and constantly revising it. Read voraciously. Avoid debt as if it were poison (if I had learned that one earlier I could have avoided so much pain in my life). Seek opportunities to make additional income - i.e. "side work" to help pay for things above and beyond your budget. Have a budget. Always spend less than your income. Have an emergency fund of 3-6 months of net income. Associate with people who think as you do - they may be able to help out in support of your goal(s). That goal is to fundamentally be as independent as humanly possible. The target is different for each person in each country and at different life stages. Rejoice in being able to "not drink the kool aid" when the propaganda surrounds us. Thank God for the internet and people like FerFAL. We have more information available to us today than was imaginable only a decade ago.

I think our grandparents had these all down pat. We're painfully relearning them. I think of them as "midwest" values that were the core of the US culture for most of the 20th century.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great advice Fernando and Eric, learning from personal experience is invaluable!
That's why I enjoy this blog more than any other.

Garage sales are my absolute best friend, I have managed to get most of the baby clothes from there saving hundreds if I where to buy them retail. Though that's where most of my money goes now after bills and food of course lol.

Regardless of how things are heading I remain hopeful about the future. I believe that God never throws anything at you that you can't handle.

The line between middle class and poor in the USA is becoming shorter everyday. Soon it won't be how many cars you can afford but whether you can afford to provide food and shelter for your family that defines it.

And the ones that can do that the most efficiently will become the new middle class.

Take care you guys, thanks again!
- Jason

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
I'm doing like you; I'm just a few years ahead.
Planning is everything, having a budget that works, knowing where to buy your stuff.
Networking with friends and their friends to get stuff that has been on the attic for years is good too.
And look out to better-paying job opportunities or ways to develop in your current job!
I don't know if your wife is going to work after a few months? Every penny she brings in is one penny extra!
Cheers, Ed

russell1200 said...

I wouldn't go over kill on the pistol ammo unless you are practicing with it.

If you get in enough fights where you are close enough to use 100 rounds of pistol ammunition you are not likely to be alive very long.

I would focus on food items. They are the easiest to use in non-collapse situations. Your one month supply is excellent for FEMA type disasters.

Don't stock up on extra formula until you figure out what the little one can stomach. Some of them are very particular about what they can handle.

Somebody already said:

beans and rice
and my personal favorite was peanut butter and jelly with an apple for lunch.

Anonymous said...

I love that you gave your pregnant wife meat as you ate beans. Now that is a real man.

Anonymous said...

The handgun is handy, but for those in the city with zero time and money to train, for home defense, the shotgun is a better choice. The Glock is the best for the money, and get one if you can, but the shotgun is easier to aim and a less than well place hit can incapcitate, stopping the fight. It may take many rounds from a pistol for the same effect. A Remington 870 or Mossberg 550 12ga is the best bang for the buck and affordable, yet a used $50 single shot will work. 00 Buck is typically 9 x .32 caliber lead balls fired with a single pull of the trigger.
But before putting out more money on a weapon, get the food.a

Adventures in Self Reliance said...

Check out http://www.grabtheapple.com/forum/ladies-lounge/quick-and-cheap-shopping-list-for-prepping-1/
at the Grab the Apple forum.
Plus all kinds of ideas for prep/survival.
I am prepping on the cheap, but have been very successful. I have not be able to afford everything I want but I sure have got everything I need.