There is more to preparation than having food, water, and climate control (we covered that in Frugal Prepper – Part 1). There is the problem of where to put it all once you have it. What will you do for laundry or cooking without electricity? What good is a generator without fuel? For apartment dwellers these issues are compounded with our lack of room for storage. Luckily there are ways around all of these issues if you want to be a prepper.
I know of people who build sheds in their backyard to keep all their preparation supplies. This doesn’t fit into the budget for everyone. Also some of us are apartment dwellers and as a result have no backyard. For those of us that are in the latter living situation, there are still places we can store our supplies. Canned goods can be stored in entertainment centers, under beds and sofas, and in closets. You could also go vertical by putting your canned goods on book shelves bought cheap at thrift stores. Just make sure you distribute it across your home in a manner that the weight of your storage won’t cause it to crash through your downstairs neighbors ceiling.
If you’re crafty, you can also create bean bag chairs that will hold your packages of beans, peas, lentils, rice, or other bagged dry goods. These can be anywhere in your home and serve a purpose other than storage.
Check Out Youtube
Youtube is a great resource when it comes to frugal preparation. So far our family has found videos showing how to make a homemade swamp cooler inexpensively that we could run on our homemade generator that requires exercise instead of fuel. The generator can also be made inexpensively and be used to charge a 12 volt car battery which our camp stove can run off. You can even learn how to make a camp toilet, which will be very much needed should the worst happen to your plumbing.
Electricity Free Items
I have already mentioned the camp stove that runs off a car battery. It costs about thirty dollars on Amazon last time I checked. Another thirty dollar purchase is a hand cranked washer for laundry. If you add a few drying racks you have a laundry system that didn’t cost too much and doesn’t rely on electricity. It can also save you money during non emergency life if you are looking for ways to keep more money in your wallet. It may cost a bit under one hundred dollars for these items, but that’s much less than a generator and the fuel required to run it.
Buy In Bulk
Get a card for Costco or Sam’s Club and buy your canned and dry goods in bulk. It will cost less and give you a good jump on having an actual surplus. Make sure you buy food that your family will actually eat. Your toddler still won’t like canned asparagus in a crisis. Don’t forget things like toilet paper. As your gain your surplus, use what you have and replace it regularly so that it doesn’t go bad.
Most of the time to save money means to not spend it on frivolous items and getting rid of clutter. Other times it means to invest in very useful items and keeping things on file. Here are a few helpful tips in line with the latter school of thought.
Fire and smoke detectors don’t cost very much, but are often over looked when it comes to being prepared. They not only can save lives, they can save money. The more your family is prepared the less likely your insurance will deny your claim should the worst happen. Make sure your detector is functioning properly and has batteries. Also consider getting a carbon monoxide detector. Check on Amazon. There are various CO detectors for any budget. They can save your family’s life and save on medical expenses.
Last but not least, if it’s in your budget, consider getting a security system. The sign in your yard by itself has been known to deter those who would break in. For those extra bold individuals who would break into your home it notifies your security company who will in turn notify the police. It will cost less than replacing things in your home that have been broken or stolen.
Phone numbers are the first numbers that come to mind when it comes to saving money. Calling a store or company with a question is far more cost effective than making a trip across town to do the same thing. Even if you end up needing to go to their location, your time will be saved because the details of your visit have been taken care of over the phone. Also keep medical numbers, roadside assistance numbers, and family numbers on hand. These will save you money in emergency situations.
Confirmation numbers are the second numbers to keep around. When you pay a bill over the phone always write down your confirmation number of that payment on the bill and then file it. If you ever need to prove you have already paid a bill, your bill and confirmation number will be at your fingertips. You could also use your bank statements in a pinch if you need to. Without proof of payment, however, you may end up paying the same bill more than once.
Contracts of Service
Another item you need to keep on file are service agreements. Did you agree to a data limit on your internet? Are you stuck in the contract for a specified amount of time? Are you entitled to free maintenance? All these questions can be answered in your service contract. The same goes with your lease. Will you be fined for hanging things off your balcony? Your lease should be able to tell you.
Some of us have the goal to be prepared for anything. We are ready should a zombie invasion take place, that’s how prepared we are. Being that prepared can be costly. After all we are preparing for a future time without paychecks to go along with a month to years worth of resources on hand. Never fear though, because as a creative, frugal mastermind your lofty prepping goals are still within your reach.
Having water is something that we take for granted. It comes out of the faucet and we use it for everything. We use it for cooking, sanitation, and drinking. It’s necessary to reconstitute baby formula and some types of medications. If, for some reason, we lost our access to clean water if would be a disaster. It would be off the store shelves faster than you could blink.
That’s why preppers look for ways to store water. Forget water beds and pools that you have to add chemicals to the water that wouldn’t be ideal for drinking. Some of us don’t have those potential water storing items anyway. Instead, use liquid containers that you already get from the store. Soda bottles are ideal. You won’t be spending more money because you already have bought the container. Just wash it out and fill it at the tap. Don’t use milk jugs that may leak and cause your family a personal little water crisis. And don’t use old juice bottles because those aren’t safe from bacteria growth from even the slightest bit of fruit juice residue left in the container. No matter how much you wash those you’re at risk. But soda bottles work fine because there’s nothing really organic enough in soda to develop into bacteria growth. (Which makes you think… but that’s a whole other topic.)
Dollar stores are the ideal place to find candles, soap, and some first aid supplies. If you are preparing seventy two hour kits (which you should because it takes FEMA at least 72 hours to arrive to help after a disaster, or if you have to evacuate you need to be prepared to take care of yourself at a shelter for at least 3 days, just in case) the dollar store is a great place to find your children activities that will pass the time in a shelter or at home with the power out. It’s also a good place to find food substances that will fit into a back pack if you need to travel. Dollar stores will keep your costs down and still meet many of your family’s prepping needs.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of summer or the middle of winter. The outside climate can cause issues when the power goes out. It’s more severe in some places than it is in others, but being used to climate control we need to be able to control our climate when the power goes out. One way to do this is to put tin foil on our windows. It keeps cold air from seeping through the windows, or a least slows the pace of which it seeps. In the summer it reflects sunlight and heat away from your home.
Cloth solutions are also a good part of preparation in regards to climate control. Use curtains to add extra insulation to your home. A good curtain can keep both heat and cold at bay. Also, you can never have enough blankets. For some family fun during a black out build a blanket fort in the living room and have a family living room camping trip. It will allow your family to share body heat which will be contained by the fort. That aside, it will be a good diversion for your children.
Crafting with children doesn’t have to be expensive. Most paints, play dough, and even crayons can be made at home. There are other things in our homes that make great crafting supplies. Unfortunately many of them get thrown away. The next time you throw out one of these items stop and think about its crafting potential.
Milk cartons are great for making bird feeders or making a planter. They are sturdy enough to be hung from a balcony or tree. The are fun to paint and easy to poke or cut holes in. If you have the type with the twist cap top, that part can be used as a funnel when filling other items. A carton with top cut off can even be used as a storage container for craft supplies like paint brushes, colored pencils, chalk, and crayons.
Soda bottles can also be made into bird feeders and planters, but they are more versatile than that. They can be cut as scoops, with the top as a handle. They can be taped together top to top to make the soda bottle whirl pool. This can be made even more fun by adding a few drops of your favorite color to the water in your bottles. With a little paper mache, paint, and a pair of scissors they can even be made into creative piggy banks.
A cereal box can be turned into a robot with toilet paper roll arms and legs. If you cut them up you can use them to create buildings and props in shoe box dioramas of farms, cities, or what ever your heart desires. Or you can use the inside of boxes to create bedroom signs or create homemade picture frames. Toilet paper or paper towel rolls can be cut to create play dough cookie cutters or rolling pins.
Egg cartons are a good way to store an egg shaped amount of play dough without mixing the colors. They are also a great way to separate and store paints you are using during crafting for a quick clean up.
Saved and cleaned up jars are great for jar gifts, storing homemade laundry soap, and other jar crafts. Just clean them out and keep the lid. Take off the label and whatever adhesive was holding it on. Decorate them as you see fit and use them in your jar craft the next time you use one.
I didn’t realize it until very recently that my dear little toddler was helping me to save money. Part of it, I admit is my own paranoia, but a big part of it is the activities he chooses to engage in all by himself. Here’s what I mean.
The last thing I want around my house with my little guy running around is a bunch of harmful chemicals he could get into. So now I swear by vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. Since I cook with these three ingredients anyway they already were kept in stock at my house, but now I’m not buying their toxic cleaning counterparts.
Dry erase crayons can be used on (you guessed it) dry erase boards over and over again. Saving me money on coloring books and printer paper. That isn’t all. They come off walls, furniture, and fabric much easier than regular crayon or even marker. While I am still trying to teach my little guy not to write on my laptop I can still get his artwork off my screen quite easily.
My child has little need for brand name stacking toys. What need does he have for those boring things when he can reach my canned goods. There is little need for the music toys when he can shake an oatmeal container with some dry rice in it for a rain stick and then set it down and beat on it like a drum with a wooden spoon.
I no longer need to be motivated to run up and down the stairs nor do I pay a gym membership that allows me to use a machine to simulate such an action. Now one minute of silence is all I need to motivate me to do those stairs. This doesn’t include tickle time, the sporting event that is bath time, or the great ab workout I get when I watch my little one mimic my efforts at yoga. I laugh that hard.
How do your kids HELP you save money?
Colors have a culture of their own. They are symbols for life, death, and different types of energy. They have various significant meanings. They can have an effect on us without even knowing it. That’s why some companies will use some colors in advertising and signage. Keeping this in mind what certain colors symbolize and mean can help us combat a corporation’s use of them.
To Save on Groceries
Stay away from red. Red is said to inspire hunger when we see it. That’s why it’s used in so many fast food and convenient store logos. While that can’t be avoided in public settings, it can be avoided in your own home. Decorate your kitchen and dining room in blues to suppress hunger. Less hunger means less eating. Less eating can lead to a lower grocery bill.
To Focus at Work
Red is a highly intense color. It’s so intense the human body responds to it with a higher heart rate. Breathing even becomes faster. It’s a hue that can fill someone with energy. Yellow is a good color to help people concentrate on what they are working on. It’s important, however, to be careful with the color yellow. As happy as a color yellow is, it has a tendency to be the room color when people choose to fight.
I learned that almost any color can cause someone to spend money. If your a risk taker, red is more likely to get you to make that impulse buy. If you are looking for a reliable company, blue says that they are honest and can be trusted. If you’re a young girl pink says this is the item for you. It’s important to be aware of what demographic you fall into and how color may be used to affect you in an advertisement.
Some colors can mean a variety of things and thus are highly used. For example, black can mean just about anything. It could mean authority or it can mean death. It would be useful in marketing to a professional or to a goth for a clothes company. In the end it may depend solely on what the color means to you.
Most women love to treat their hair with luxury. Wisely, not all of us want to spend the money for a regular salon routine when it comes to our hair. Luckily we don’t have to. There are alternatives to high cost hair care and most of them can be found in our fridge, cupboard, or in our local grocery stores.
Skip the shampoo and just use baking soda and water. Really it’s that simple and is great for your hair.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great rinse and conditioner. Due to its acidity it has a way of pulling gunk out of your hair. It leaves hair soft and manageable. It also has a great plus for those of us with brown hair. It brings out the red highlights in their hair. All three of these advantages are natural for those who are trying to remove some chemicals from their hair routines.
Corn meal can be used as a dry shampoo in a pinch. If you do a lot of camping, are having water issues at home, or are just out of shampoo, you can use corn meal to absorb the oils in your hair and give you an extra day or so before shampooing.
If you want to use a less amount of conditioner, then try using a shower comb. It helps to distribute conditioner throughout your hair. A shower comb also helps remove loose hair and reduces the chances of knots and broken hair.
A blended up avocado mixed with some mayonnaise is said to repair damaged hair. Use a comb to distribute the concoction through your hair and leave it to sit for ten minutes. After that just wash the mixture out of your hair.
Gardening can be a great hobby with a product that you know you will use either in decor or edibles. It can also be quite a money sink, but what if there was a way to reduce the amount of money you invested into your garden, produce less waste, and reap the same results? There is such a way to garden.
What is Bag Gardening?
In traditional container gardening, you use a pot to grow your plants. In bag gardening, you skip the pot. Instead, you plant your seed, seedling or plant cutting directly into the bag of soil that you would have used. Just cut an X in the area of the bag you would like to plant, add enough water to moisten the soil, and add your plant. This can help you save money in a number of ways. Best of all if you are an apartment dweller or move a lot in the same area, or just want to move your plant across the yard, your plants are extremely easy to move.
No Need For Containers
When you have a bag garden, you don’t really need to have other containers. You only need to cut a hole in the bag to add water and place the seed. In fact depending on the size of the soil bag you get, as well as the size and number of plants you are growing, one bag could hold more than one plant. Just cut a hole for each seed and make sure you leave enough room for the plant to grow.
A potting soil bag usually is made from a material that holds moisture inside. As a result you will need to water you plants less and use less water while you are watering your plants. In fact, with a bag garden your concern would most likely be over watering. Poke a few holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain. This will reduce the chances of mold or mildew taking hold of your garden. A bag garden is ideal for those of us who want to grow plants, but also want to keep our water bill down.