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What can be done to prep with no money?

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Shanna_Redwind, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Shanna_Redwind

    Shanna_Redwind Monkey+

    What suggestions do you have for someone to prep with no money? Right now there is absolutely no extra in the household budget, and in fact we've gone through the small food store that I had built up.

    We grow vegetables for sale at market, and I freeze the leftovers (not sustainable I know, but I haven't got into canning yet.) I have a small personal garden. We grow quite a number of potatoes, so we have them through the winter.

    We live on a small lot in the country in an old house. Should the power go off, we have no backup, but we would have (inconvenient) access to both a shallow well and a cistern.

    If the neighbor doesn't cut us off, we would still have access to natural gas for cooking. Hopefully we could trade for it.

    A small thing, but I think important (and inexpensive) is that we have solar garden lights that can be turned off so I can charge them during the day and use them sequentially through the night.

    What can I improve with no money? (or very little)
  2. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    check out your shopping habits... do you buy lots of processed food?, food that is easy to cook?... many items like rice can be purchased in different forms, from instant, parboiled, meal in minutes,etc to simple long grained white rice... the plain white rice is the cheaper of the lot and costs less.... Sams and costco will sell in in 50lb bags that are cheaper per lb than your local grocery store... Dollar stores also have items that are good for preps at a decent price... also use coupons... ask the local school libraries and local libraries for their coupons when they put the papers out you can get them for free this way...

    BTPost likes this.
  3. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    You might take a look at the food that you are preparing. You will save money by making biscuits from scratch instead of using canned biscuits or bakery mixes.
    Same thing with making spaghetti instead of canned chef Boyardee stuff.
    You can make red beans and rice for a fraction of the cost of Zatarains'.
    You get the idea.
    The easy way to build your food storage is by copy canning.
    You buy one or two more of your favorite cans of food than you will use before your next trip to the grocers. Eventually you will get some food storage built up.
  4. Shanna_Redwind

    Shanna_Redwind Monkey+

    Thanks for the quick replies

    I don't buy much processed food, really. The past couple of months we've been finishing up the last of the deer from the freezer, it's pretty much gone now but I've been buying meat when I can find it for less than 1.99 a pound and throwing it in the freezer. I don't buy chef-boyardee because you're right, it's just too expensive (oh, but I love their raviolis. I get them as a treat for myself occasionally.)

    I'm from Canada, and while there are a few good coupons out there, couponing here is not the same as in the States. Very few retailers will double, and for the most part the store brand is still cheaper even after using a coupon.

    One thing I do need to do is use beans more. It isn't something that was part of either my or my husbands life, and so they're going to be a challenge to introduce.

    Beyond the food prep suggestions, I'm wondering if there are suggestions for projects that would be really cheap to implement. I'm not necessarily looking for the full instructions right here in this thread, just ideas and maybe a direction to look.
  5. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    garden, can, dry, smoke, cure, recycle and reuse, these things are basic and go a long way
    thats what ive been doing all my life
    if it has to be boughten, you cant replace it when theres no stores or grid
    best thing you can do is learn to do for yourself
    Kingfish, Sapper John and RightHand like this.
  6. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    Having been there and done that, are you on a written budget and stick to it? Can you and/or your spouse find a PT job somewhere? (yes, despite this economy I know I could find something, in fact I worked PT for 3 years at a local gun shop/range to help get my family out of debt)
    If you are on a budget and it's really that tight, you have to do 1 of 2 things. increase the monthly income or decrease the spending.
    Copy canning is great, still do it to keep stock of items, making from scratch, more time involved but a much better product in the end.
    Sell items you don't need/use, sell so much the kids think they're next (if you have kids).
    Starting small is great, not everyone can go buy a years supply of everything they need right away. Keep at it, soon you'll replenish your small food store and have much more.
    E.L. and Tracy like this.
  7. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    cant replace a freezer, they arent something a DIYer can do
    but theres lots of ways to keep food without freezing
    icehouse, springhouse, root cellar, coolbox... if you need one of these ask around
    meats can be cured, canned, dried, salted and smoked for long term storage
    most grains and beans can be dried
    fruits can be canned, dried or made into things that keep
    like fruit leathers or wine
    all may be labor intensive but they are well worth doing
  8. thebastidge

    thebastidge Monkey+

    Reading is pretty cheap. There are lots of books in the library and the most important tools are in your head.

    E.L. likes this.
  9. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I agree, a root cellar is a particularly valuable addition if you don't already have one and then grow crops to fill it and yourselves. Since you don't can yet, learn. Make your summer bounty last a full year. Buy in bulk whenever possible - you might even start up a trading group with friends so one of you buys a 100 lbs of flour and then trades 50 lbs of it with a trading partner for a comparable amount of one of their bulk purchases. Beans and legumes should be a staple. Keep a soup pot going on the stove at all times. Make your own bread - easy and hardy. Invest in or make a wood burning heat alternative and cut or scavenge wood to feed it. Record every penny you spend, no matter how small an amount, and see your spending habits in a true light. Take in ironing - when I was young and very broke, I ironed for lots of people, particularly elderly ones, and made quite a bit of cash at it. Offer your snow shoveling and lawn mowing services. Knit, crochet, sew and sell your wares. Start a Co-Op.

    Pride goeth before the fall. None of these ideas has any glamor but they can be life sustaining when one is holding on by a thread
    E.L., Tracy and beast like this.
  10. Shanna_Redwind

    Shanna_Redwind Monkey+

    Thank you so much for all the suggestions. Some I already do, and some I will definitely be starting. Every little bit helps.

    It's great that you're so welcoming to a newbie on the board.
    E.L. likes this.
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    We were ALL newbies at one time, or another, except the Founders.... So you just as Welcome, here, as the rest of us..... We all had to start and learn the ropes, and most of us, are more than willing to share, what we have learned, from the experience. If you don't ask, we will not know what you need..... So, Just ask......
  12. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    No exceptions for the founders, either. We started out slamming ideas around, maximized our posts to get a search engine boost, and started growing from there. We've had more good ideas and thinking come in later than we ever had on our own. I think even our startup guy (melbo) never thought of some of the things that have popped up, and he doesn't sleep thinking up new stuff.

    Dig into the archives, Shanna. Lots of short money ideas in there. Some where, there's an answer to almost any question, "just ask."

    (Don't forget yard sales as a place to find "inexpensive" hardware --. I'm on the hunt for a dehydrator and pressure canner. The hunt for new tricks is part of the prepper lifestyle.)
    E.L. and BTPost like this.
  13. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Learn what is edible in your own area.

    My guess is the Great Depression outlasted anyone's preps. It is warm, you have internet access, identify edible and medicinal plants in your area. Learn which native plants contain needed vitamins. Check out the local fish and game learn their habits. Keep your firearms skills up; tracking a bleeding deer or the rabbit which runs away to die isn't fun.
    There is a lot more to do than just stockpile food; be able to survive without touching your stash. Japan is a good example of my thought process.
    BTPost, RightHand and Gray Wolf like this.
  14. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    Good idea on the edible plants. Here on our little homestead, we have Purslane and Miner's Lettuce, and dandelions have been known to make their way into our salad bowls!
  15. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    lol, i was a newbie at 6 years old
    been livin this way a long time
    still dont know enuff tho
    thats why im here
  16. Shanna_Redwind

    Shanna_Redwind Monkey+

    I throw purslane, black medic, pigweed, lambs quarters and radish leaves into the salad sometimes. I have to be careful not to throw too much in or the kids complain.

    When I have a bunch of radishes that I didn't pull in time, I let them go to seed and throw the pods in with a stirfry or peas.

    I do need to learn more of the edible wild plants though. (And develop a taste for them. Dandelions, even before they bloom, make me shudder)
  17. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I love dandelions - much like Italian Chicoria. Toss with a little oil (I use oilive oil but veg oil if $$ are short) and fresh garlic or little garlic powder
  18. Sapper John

    Sapper John Analog Monkey in a Digital World

    Shanna, dandelions are great...besides the obvious of eating the tops, you can use the root bulb to make "POOR BOY" flour...just mash the root up really well and let it dry...after it dries out, pound the root into the consistency of flour and use it as you would regular flour...once you adjust to the flavor, I think that you would really like it...
  19. Illini Warrior

    Illini Warrior Monkey+

    Tons and tons of free training that are both SHTF oriented and could improve your work $$$$$ situation ...... check with your various college /universities about free programs and tuition aid programs ..... some government agencies have training programs for first aid /rescue volunteer purposes .........
  20. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Even cities are filled with squirrels, pigeons, and feral critters. There is plenty of basic food aka protein available. Other items would be harder to get and those are what I stock up on. Plus comfort food for short term situations. :D

    FWIW, in a survival situation, the definition of feral would be not mine. ;)
    Hispeedal2 likes this.
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