Money Mondays: How to Survive When You Can’t Pay Your Bills

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This post first appeared in The Organic Prepper

How to Survive When You Can't Pay Your Bills

By Daisy Luther

Let’s talk about poverty.

I don’t mean the kind you’re talking about when your friends invite you to go shopping or for a night out and you say, “No, I can’t. I’m poor right now.”

I don’t mean the situation when you’d like to get a nicer car but decide you should just stick to the one you have because you don’t have a few thousand for a down payment.

I don’t mean the scene at the grocery store when you decide to get ground beef instead of steak.

I’m talking about when you have already done the weird mismatched meals from your pantry that are made up of cooked rice, stale crackers, and a can of peaches, and you’ve moved on to wondering what on earth you’re going to feed your kids.

Or when you get an eviction notice for non-payment of rent, a shut-off notice for your utilities, and a repo notice for your car and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about any of those notices because there IS NO MONEY.

If you’ve never been this level of broke, I’m very glad.

I have been this broke. I know that it is soul-destroying when no matter how hard you work, how many part time jobs you squeeze in, and how much you cut, you simply don’t make enough money to survive in the world today. Being part of the working poor is incredibly frustrating and discouraging

It is a sickening feeling when you’re just barely hanging in there and suddenly, an unexpected expense crops up and decimates your tight budget. Maybe your child gets sick and needs a trip to the doctor and some medicine. Perhaps a family member is involved in an accident and can’t work for a few weeks. It could be that your car breaks down and you need it to get back and forth to work because you live too far out in the country for public transit.

As our economy continues to crumble, these are the situations going on in more homes across the country every single day. It’s simple to believe that the people suffering like this are just lazy, or not trying, or are spending frivolously. No one wants to think that these things can occur through no fault of the individual.  Why? Because that means these things could also happen to them.

Every time I write about crushing poverty, someone adds the comments section a smug declaration about how people need to get an education, hang on to a job, buy cheaper food…there’s a litany of condescending advice.  I’m sure this article will be no exception, and please, if you’re in the situation I’m describing, let the criticism roll off of you.

The advice I have may not be popular, but let’s talk about prioritizing your payments when you can’t pay your bills.  I am not promoting irresponsibility here. It’s just math. When you have less money coming in than you have obligated to go out, you will not be able to pay all of your bills. It’s that simple.

First, do a quick audit of your financial situation so you can see where you’re at.

This list of priorities assumes that you have some money coming in, but not enough to meet your obligations. When things improve, you can try to catch up, but for now, you simply have to choose survival. I suggest the following order of payments.

1.) Pay for shelter first

Your number one priority is keeping a roof over your head. That roof may not be the roof of the house you are in now, though, if your circumstances have changed and you can no longer afford it.  If you can still manage to pay your rent/mortgage, do so in order to keep your family housed.

If you rent, and your rent is a reasonable price, make this the first payment you make from your limited funds. You really, truly don’t want to be homeless and moving is expensive. Try your best to stay put.

If you own, consider your property taxes and insurance as part of your mortgage, because if you stop paying any of these, your home will be foreclosed on.

If you can’t pay your mortgage, property taxes, and insurance, you have a while before the home gets foreclosed on and you are forced to move out. If this is the case, it’s absolutely essential that you put aside money for the place where you’ll move should you have to leave your home. You’re going to need first, last, and deposits in many cases, particularly since your credit isn’t going to be stellar due to your financial situation. When you are in this situation, it can be difficult to force yourself to save money when so many things are being left unpaid, but if you ever hope to bail yourself out of this situation, you absolutely have to do this.

The laws vary from state to state, (find the specifics for your state here) but basically, this is the timeline:

  • When you make the decision to let your house go back to the lender, you will have a month or two before they send you a notice of default.
  • From that point, you usually have 3 months before the foreclosure proceedings begin. During those 3 months, you should be saving the money you would normally be putting toward your mortgage.
  • At some point, you’ll get a notice to vacate the premises.
  • When this happens, you have two options. You can choose to move to  a different home, or you can file for bankruptcy, if you feel your situation is such that there is absolutely no way out.
  • If you file for bankruptcy, the home can’t be re-sold by the lender for 3 more months, giving you more time to put aside money for your move.

Should we all pay the bills that we have promised to pay? Of course we should. Our word is very important. Remember, though, that the information here is for people who are in a position in which they DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY.

So, the bottom line is this: either pay your housing costs or put aside money for future housing as your first expenditure.

2.) Buy food

You have to eat, and so do your children. If you don’t eat, you’ll get sick, and then your situation will be even more dire.

  • Stick to simple, wholesome basics and cook from scratch. Beans and rice have fed many a family.
  • Tap into your inner southerner and make inexpensive, filling meals like biscuits and gravy.
  • Make soup to stretch just a few ingredients to feed a family.
  • Save ALL of your leftovers, even the ones on people’s plates. Add them to a container in the freezer and make a soup from that at the end of the week.
  • Clean up after the potluck at church. Sometimes you can take home the leftovers.
  • Don’t skip meals to stretch your food further. You need your health and your strength to overcome this situation.
  • Go to the library and check out a book on local edibles. Go foraging in the park or in nearby wooded areas.
  • See if your grocery store sells out-of-date produce for use for animals. There’s often a fair bit you can salvage and add to soups or casseroles. (This is the only way we were able to have vegetables and meat during one particularly painful stretch when my oldest daughter was young.)

In a worst-case scenario, food banks are an option as well.

3.) Pay for essential utilities

You should be cutting your utility usage to the bare minimum and using every trick in the book to keep your bills as low as possible.

If your utilities get shut off, it’s going to be difficult to cook from scratch and you won’t be able to keep leftovers from spoiling. You need the water running from your taps to drink, cook with, and clean. Depending on the climate and the season, heat may be vital as well.

If you can’t ay the entire bill, call the utility companies and try to make payment arrangements. If your utilities are shut off, then you will have a hefty reconnection fee on top of the bill.

Another point to remember is that our culture believes it’s absolutely necessary that all homes be plugged in to the utility system. If you have a work-around, like wood heat and hand pumped well water,  and decide that your utilities are not essential, you need to be prepared to face those whose opinions differ. Some cities have condemned homes which are not connected to the grid, and if you have children who are of school age, sometimes a “concerned” teacher or neighbor has been known to report your situation to the child welfare authorities. (Recently an off-grid homeschooling family had their children removed from the home by police.)

4.) Pay for car/work necessities

What must you have in order to keep working? For me, it’s the internet, since I work online.  All of my clients contact me via email and the work I do requires that I be able to send it to them and research things online. I live in the country, so driving to the library on a daily basis would cost more than my monthly internet fees. For another person, this necessity might be the cost of public transit or keeping their vehicle on the road so that they can get to work.  Choose the least expensive options to keep yourself working, but maintain your job-related necessities.

5.) Pay for anything else

After you’ve paid all of the above, if you have money left over, now is the time to pay your other expenses.  These expenses include debt that you’ve incurred, contracts you are involved in (like cell phone plans, etc.)  Choose very carefully how you dole out any remaining money.

  • Keep one phone going, with the lowest possible payment. This is necessary for work, for your children or their school to contact you in the event of an emergency, and as a contact point for your financial situation. Compare the cost of a cell phone, landline, or VOIP phone. Every family member does not require a phone – you just need one. (I actually did go for a couple of years with no phone at all, but I’m uniquely antisocial and had email by which I could be reached.)
  • If it’s at all possible, try to use the snowball method made famous by Dave Ramsey to pay off your debts and bail yourself out of your situation. Being free from debt will allow you to live a much freer life in the future.
  • If paying off debt is not possible, try to make the minimum payments.
  • If the minimum payments are not possible, you may have to default, at least temporarily, on debts.
  • Buy some pantry staples.  If you can add some extra rice or cans of tomatoes to the pantry, it will help see you through this tight situation.
  • Be relentless in deciding what will be paid and what will not. This is not the time for arguments like, “But it’s our only form of entertainment” or “We deserve this one luxury.”  Cut all non-essentials until things improve.
  • Focus on the most frugal options possible.

Things will get better

I’ve been down this road.  I really get it. It saddens me to see people I love in this situation now.

These books can help. I found them to be life-changing when I was broke, and the lessons have stuck with me throughout my adult life. You may be able to find them at your local library.

Finally, if you are in a situation in which you can’t pay your bills, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry about…

  • The embarrassment you feel when you can’t afford to meet someone for coffee
  • The sick feeling of seeing the bills pile up on the counter and not being able to do anything about it
  • The knot in your stomach every time the phone rings and it’s a 1-800 number that you KNOW is a bill collector
  • The stress of knowing you can’t remain in your home
  • The fear that someone will say you aren’t taking care of your kids and they’ll be taken away
  • The humiliation when people don’t understand and think it’s all your fault
  • The hopelessness of watching the bank account empty out the day your pay goes in, and still having a dozen things unpaid
  • The overwhelming discouragement of having fees assessed on top of debts you already can’t pay
  • The anxiety over what tomorrow will bring

It will get better. You’ll find a way to make it work. You just have to survive while you make it happen. Maybe you will pool your resources with another family, or get a raise, or find a cheaper place. But you will find a way.

Life may not be exactly as it was before, but it will be good again.

 

About the Author:
Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter.




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Solo Stove Titan Review

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I am always looking for a lightweight, portable stove that can be used for emergencies as well as for backpacking, so I was excited to try the Solo Stove Titan and matching Solo Pot.

Solo Stove Titan Review2

What is the Solo Stove?

The Solo Stove Titan is a wood-burning stove.  It is larger than the Solo Stove Lite which I tested years ago.  You can use biomass such as small twigs dried leaves etc. as fuel for the stove.  It is designed so that air is pulled through the bottom vent holes of the combustion chamber, fueling the fire at the base, and rising up to the top air holes of the burn chamber.

The Solo Stove Pot 1800 is the pot that is designed to fit with the Solo Stove Titan.  It is an aluminum pot, very lightweight and durable.  It has a pour spout and double fold out handles.  The Solo Stove Titan can fit inside the pot for space saving and easy transporting.

Solo Stove Titan Review

Both items come in their own stuff sack.

The Test

I tested the stove and pot in an apartment balcony.  First, I gathered up twigs from the grounds around the apartment complex.  I made sure to gather the twigs and branches while they were plentiful, before the gardening crew came to clean up.  There was no shortage of dried out branches to be found.

Next, I broke off the branches to pieces, approximately the size of my finger.  Once I had a nice pile, I was ready to start the fire.

  1.  Set the stove on a clear, level area, away from the wind.  If the stove is not level it can potentially topple over especially if you have a full pot sitting on top of it.
  2. Remove the cooking ring from the top part of the stove.
  3. Fill the combustion chamber with twigs.  As a fire starter, I used a cotton ball soaked with petroleum jelly, which I nestled among the twigs.Solo Stove Titan Review3
  4. I then used a single match to light the fire.  The petroleum jelly covered cotton ball instantly caught fire, and the surrounding twigs started burning as well.
  5. Soon, the fire spread to the top of the stove and I set the pot of water to boil.Solo Stove Titan Review5
  6. I started adding more twigs to keep the fire going.  There was a small amount of smoke from the burning wood, but not nearly as much as a campfire would make.
  7. Within seven minutes, the water was boiling.

I used the pot to cook ramen noodles which only took another two minutes.

The Solo Stove Titan and Solo Stove Pot 1800 worked very well.  I was impressed that the small amount of twigs I set aside was more than enough to fuel the stove.  It was also very easy to start the fire and maintain it.

After cooking, the stove and pot were covered with soot from the fire, but they were easy enough to clean with dish soap and water.

Both are very lightweight but have a sturdy construction.  I can see myself taking both items on my next backpacking trip.  I am also keeping them as a backup cooking method in case of a power outage.  I like the fact that I do not need propane or butane to get the fire going; all I need to do is pick up a few twigs in branches outside and I will be all set.

If you need a portable stove for emergencies, camping and backpacking, that uses readily available fuel, check out the Solo Stove Titan and pot. My thanks to Solo Stove for being an Apartment Prepper sponsor, they help the site free!   Tell them Apartment Prepper sent you!

Solo Stove

 

© Apartment Prepper 2016

 




Disclosure: This is a professional review site that sometimes receives free merchandise from the companies whose products we review and recommend. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

 

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Dealing with Trash in a Disaster

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A couple of weeks ago, trash pickup in our apartment complex was suspended for two days due to severe storms.  The trash compactor area quickly filled up and people were leaving trash outside the enclosed area.  The whole place was filthy and reeked of rotting garbage.  It only takes a couple of days between pickups for those apartment bins to fill up to overflowing.   It got me thinking that garbage would be a big problem in a disaster situation.

Dealing with Trash in a Disaster

Thinking about trash disposal is not the most glamorous side of emergency preparedness, but is worth some consideration and planning.   With literally tons of trash being generated daily, what would happen if garbage collection in your area were to be interrupted for a period of time?  Or if there were an economic collapse and cities could no longer afford to pay for scheduled trash pickup?

If trash collection were to stop for an indefinite period of time, accumulating garbage in the streets will attract flies, rats, cockroaches and other pests.  These pests carry disease, and it will only be a matter of time before an epidemic starts to spread.

Stock up on short term waste disposal supplies such as:

  • large heavy duty trash bags – lawn and leaf bags, or construction bags
  • an extra garbage can or two
  • bleach for sanitizing
  • gloves you can use for handling trash
  • insecticide for pest control

Longer Term Options

Burn it.  Burning trash is not be a good option in the city due to the danger of fire.  It would be even worse in a grid down situation, if there is no fire department available.

Bury It.  You may have to find an empty lot to bury the trash.

Composting.  You can deal with organic wastes such as food scraps, by composting. This can be done outside if you have a yard or in a bucket.

Recycling and Repurposing.  People will find new uses for all sorts of items if the shops were closed or if they have no money to buy things.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to form new habits and minimize our garbage output.

  1. Start being conscious of how much is getting thrown out in your household.  Are you overly dependent on packaged goods such as frozen entrees?  Try cooking from scratch and you will notice how much less waste and trash it generates.
  2. Think about how you recycle or re-purpose certain items.  I save 2-liter soda bottles and 64 ounce juice bottles for water storage.  I reuse plastic grocery bags on a daily basis.  I also keep spray bottles with the plastic nozzles so I can make homemade cleaners.
  3. Minimize food trash by using up leftover food instead of throwing it out.  Find uses for fruit peels, reuse coffee grounds etc.
  4. Get into the habit of consolidating and tearing up large pieces of garbage into smaller more manageable pieces.  As a bonus benefit, you will save money by using less garbage bags.

© Apartment Prepper 2016

 

 




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Money Mondays: Five Free Things You can Do to Be More Prepared

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

The most obvious aspect of being prepared is the acquisition of supplies and gear.  But that is not all there is to it.  There are many things we can do that are just as important and should not be skipped in favor of the more exciting activities of buying beans, bullets or band-aids.

5 Free Things You can do to be More Prepared

Here are 5 free things you can do to be more prepared

1.  Take Inventory  Make an inventory of everything you already have in terms of emergency supplies.  Get a notebook and check all your hiding places.  Separate your items into various categories:

  • Water
  • Food
  • First Aid
  • Lighting
  • Fuel
  • Cooking backup
  • Safety/Defense
  • Emergency Shelter
  • Communications
  • Go-Bag
  • Cash

You might find you are already well prepared in one area such as First Aid, but lacking in others.  How many days worth of water do you have?  What backup water purification do you have? How much ammo do you have?  Do you have a backup can opener?  This is not an all-inclusive list but meant to get you thinking about where you are, so you can continue in your progress.

2.  Back up phone numbers and addresses  We’ve all become too reliant on our smart phones to tell us our contact phone numbers, addresses, directions and a host of other important information.  Make a list of all important phone numbers and addresses both online and on a paper backup.  Most people are dependent on their cell phones to look up any phone number, including their closest loved ones.  It is the easiest thing to do.  But what if you can’t access your phone’s address list for some reason?  I realized this when my phone got completely drained one day.   I wanted to make a phone call from the work phone but the number was stored in the cell phone, which refused to turn on until it was sufficiently charged.  After that incident, I resolved to have backup sources for contact information.  Plan to update your backup lists at least twice a year:  such as soon after New Years Day and around Independence Day or any dates that are easy for you to remember.

3.  Make a detailed family emergency plan.  This involves some information gathering as well as planning.  Do you know your spouse’s schedule, as well as the kids’ school schedules?  Find out your office or schools’ emergency plans.  If an emergency happens in the middle of the day, make a plan on who will pick up whom and where the family will meet.  Write down the plan and post it on the bulletin board or refrigerator within easy reach.

4.  Learn one preparedness skill every month.  Start with basics such as water purification, fire starting, etc.   Many of these processes can be done with items you already have around the house.

5.   Evaluate the current security and safety plans in your home or apartment.  Go outside your home on a random day and look for weaknesses.  Are the windows wide open and anyone can see your belongings inside?  If a stranger approaches the door, will one of the children open it without checking with an adult?  There was an incident in the local area not too long ago when a teenage girl opened the door without checking when the doorbell rang.  Three thugs rushed her; she screamed, the mom rushed out and ended up getting shot.    It is never too early to teach kids to be wary of strangers.   Get the family together and discuss safety plans.

I know this list is not the most exciting part of prepping but they are important activities nonetheless.  It does not always have to cost money to become more prepared.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2016

Updated from a previous post that was originally published on Oct 25, 2011.

 

For more preparedness tips that are budget friendly, read my book:

Bernie's Latest Book




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Know What to Do in a Bug-Out? Check out Driven from Our Homes – The Survival Guide

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Untitled

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Many discussions in survival/preparedness sites are devoted to what to pack in a bug out bag, when is the right time to bug out, what vehicle to use etc.  Without having experienced the real thing (and we hope not to have to), all we can do is prepare and wonder about possible scenarios.  Have you considered the following possibilities?

  • How to react under fire
  • How to do a long range recon, hasty ambushes, booby traps, analysis
  • How to build a prepper group
  • How to drive tactically- convoy driving, reaction to combat, rescue operations, road blocks
  • How to defend your property- control entry points, set up listening/observations posts, harden your house
  • How to patrol- what hand signals to use, how to cross danger areas
  • How to recon- what to look for, how to prepare

Most people have not thought about these nitty gritty details.

This is where the new DVD movie (training video) and book set from Infidel Body Armor Driven From Our Homes The Survival Guide can be helpful.  I received a set for review.  To be honest, I have seen a few other prepper training videos that I was unable to recommend.  I thought I’d give this one a look.

The action training video follows a family who has to bug out to a remote location.  As the movie begins, our main character sees “the writing on the wall.”  Feeling increasingly unsafe in their homes, hearing the news about widespread looting and unrest, he gets a group together to head out to his uncle’s ranch away miles away from the city.

They pack the SUVs and leave the neighborhood with the family, even describing where each member of the family should sit for the utmost safety.

While the story unfolds, the team goes into the whats and whys each action is taken.  The accompanying book goes into further detail.  An Army Ranger combat vet provides the in-scene instruction.  You can rely on the advice given, knowing he has experience in these type of situations.

The video is professionally done and is well made.  While watching the video, you find yourself getting interested in the story, as well as finding out about things you may not have considered.  Reading the book after watching the video gives you further insight into actual details of bugging out.  I liked Driven from Our Homes – The Survival Guide. You should check it out.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2016

 




Disclosure: This is a professional review site that sometimes receives free merchandise from the companies whose products we review and recommend. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. Apartmentprepper.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

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Ham Radio for Apartment Preppers

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Ham Radio

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I received an email from a reader who was wondering whether he could get involved with ham radio while living in an apartment.  Not knowing much about ham radio myself, I did a bit of research on my own, and contacted Mike Fletcher of the Tampa Amateur Radio Club, and was a guest at Family Survival Show not too long ago.  He graciously agreed to answer a few questions.

What is the quickest way for a beginner to learn the basics and how much does it cost?

There are License classes given by many Ham Radio Clubs, by CERT or Red Cross groups and some local government preparedness programs. These classes are usually done over several short sessions or two or three weekend sessions.  Classes usually run from 10 to 20 hours and are often scheduled to end with an exam session where the students take the actual FCC exams for their Technician Class Amateur Radio License. The Test is $15 (+/-) and includes the FCC processing and license fees. Classes may be offered for free or there may be a small charge. The purchase of a book ($15 to $28) may be required but you keep that as a reference book for the future.

–What equipment  would you recommend for people that don’t have a lot of space and have no room for large antennas and such?  What is the ideal location within the home?

The Technician Class license gives you some operating privileges on most of the ham radio frequency bands and full privileges on the 2 meter (VHF) and 70cm (UHF) bands where most of the emergency communication for a local area will take place. The radios for these bands are mobiles mounted in your vehicle with a small (18 inch or so ) antenna on your vehicle as well as base mounted units for your desk with a small 3 to 6 foot fiberglass antenna outside a window. While these base units may not fit well in an apartment community many city bound hams primarily use a handheld walkie-talkie radio for these local channels. The radios range in cost from $100 to several hundred dollars depending on the list of features and accessories you desire.

How do these small radios cover any distance?

While ham radio can support emergency communications without infrastructure and we pride ourselves on that ability, it does not mean that we do not have infrastructure. Most areas have ham radio “Repeaters” which are installed by individual hams or clubs on building tops or towers in the community. Similar to a cell tower, these repeaters on high places receive the signal from your hand held radio and retransmit them from the high tower to other hams that you may want to talk to and then their signal is relayed back to you when they talk..

Ham radio also has a large presence in the “Short Wave” bands where we can talk to other hams around the world by bouncing a signal off of the upper layers of our atmosphere and back to earth thousands of miles away. The technician License includes a very small allocation for this world wide communication but it is there. If talking to other countries is what excites you then an upgrade to the General Class ham license would be the next step. It involves more radio theory but can usually be mastered in classes similar to those we have described.

How does someone find a school?

The best source for Amateur (Ham) Radio training and information is the local Radio Club. Search for Ham Radio in your city, call your emergency management office for CERT and Red Cross related groups, some Radio stores may have info on Ham Clubs in the area or check with www.arrl.org for an ARRL affiliated club in your town.

Our thanks for Mike Fletcher for answering the questions above.

Before you Buy Equipment

Before even considering equipment, the first step to get started is to join your local ham radio club.   They would have equipment that you can get familiar and practice on, under the supervision of a licensed operator.

If you find that you like to get more involved with ham radio, you will also be more likely to find contacts for used ham radio equipment and help you set up your own.

A few more resources:

The AARL Ham Radio License Manual

World Radio TV Handbook 2016

Ham Radio for Dummies

Equipment Reviews from eHam.net

In Conclusion…

I used to think ham radio would be too complicated and out of reach for apartment preppers.  After learning more about it, I now think it is very doable.  And, if you try out equipment with experienced operators before you buy, there is no risk of wasted time and money if you find out it’s not for you.  On the upside, if you find it interesting, you will have an additional mode of communication in the event phones and cell phones don’t work during a disaster.

© Apartment Prepper 2016


Updated from a previous post that was originally published on Oct. 11, 2012

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Money Mondays: Prepping on a Small Budget

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Prepping on a Small Budget

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Getting started with preparedness can seem expensive and daunting.   You see those ads for a year’s worth of food costing hundreds or more dollars and it seems out of most people’s reach.  That could not be further from the truth.  It is easy to get started, even on a small budget.

First, prioritize what you will start on:  Water and food are usually first on the list.  Next comes gear such as water filter, power outage supplies, first aid, defense etc.

Water is easy to stock up.  Pick up a gallon or two each week until you have one gallon per person per day for at least a week or two.  They are only $.99 to $1.00 if you buy them from the dollar store.  Or, you can start accumulating water in cleaned 2-liter soda bottles that you collect for free.  Soda bottles are sturdy and are food grade containers.

As for food, figure out what you can afford to set aside for emergency foods per week:  $5?  $10?  Find foods your family already eats and buy extra quantities consistently each week.

There is a variety of inexpensive ways to become prepared.  The key is to get items as inexpensively as possible, or even for free:

  • Take advantage of store sales such as “buy one get one free” offers
  • Use coupons and go to a store that doubles or triples coupons.
  • Rice and beans are very inexpensive, buy 5 lbs. of each and set aside.  Learn how to cook these basic foods and how to package them for long term storage
  • You can rotate these foods after a few years and use them up.
  • If you have products that you like, go to their websites or call the customer 800 line and comment on the product.  Many companies send coupons or free samples for commenting.
  • Shop at the dollar stores and buy multi-purpose supplies such as bleach, baking soda, salt and vinegar.  You can also buy items for the first aid kit such as band-aids, generic acetaminophen, aspirin etc. (Not affiliated with any dollar stores; I just know some bargains can be had from shopping at these stores.)
  • Scope out garage sales or moving sales.
  • Craigslist is also a good source of emergency supplies.  Just be careful when setting up your transactions and always meet up in a well known public area and not in your or their home.
  • At your doctor or dentist visit, don’t be afraid to ask nicely for samples of your prescription or over the counter medicines.  Most offices receive free samples from drug companies and give them out to patients.
  • If you participate in charity runs or attend health fairs, many booths give out free samples for attending.  You’ll do good, get some exercise and have fun at the same time.
  • Acquiring skills can be free.  If you know someone in the neighborhood or at work who knows how to can, knits, quilts or has some other skill you would like to learn, ask if they can show you how.  Most people are happy to share knowledge.  Or you can learn these skills from YouTube.

If you save money by shopping wisely on the basics, you can then save for more expensive gear such as a good water filter, bug out bag etc.

There are many ways to prepare on a small budget if you get creative.  Now is not the time to spend frivolously.

© Apartment Prepper 2016

For more tips on how to get prepared on a small budget, read my book, The Penny-Pinching Prepper.

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Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…   1 Peter 1:3

May the miracle of Easter fill your spirit with joy.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2016




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Make Your Own Deodorizing Spray

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Make Your Own Deodorizing Spray

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I had tried using deodorant substitutes before, and reported the results on the blog.  I thought it would be interesting to try out a actual recipe and see if it would work.  I found the original recipe on the Root Simple blog.

Deodorizing Spray

Deodorizing spray2

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Tea tree oil and Eucalyptus oil (I used Eden’s Garden but any brand should work)
1 cup of water
Spray bottle

In a small jar, add the baking soda to the water.   Shake it up.  Then add 4 drops of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has anti-bacterial properties but it does have a strong smell.  I added 5 drops of eucalyptus oil and shook it some more.

That’s it!   Carefully pour the mixture into a refillable spray bottle.

To use, spray all over areas you normally perspire and wipe off.  Test on a small area first in case you have some sensitivities.  I like mine as the eucalyptus makes it smell like a spa treatment.  You may prefer a different scent such as lemon or peppermint.

Does it work?

I tried it after a strenuous workout and it worked pretty well.  It did not have a strong fragrance, but it was effective in getting rid of any sweaty smells.  Note that this does not work the same as a commercial deodorant.  It will freshen you up at least for the rest of the day, til you take a shower.    But for the purpose of freshening up, this works just fine, and only costs a few cents to make.

© Apartment Prepper 2016

 

Updated from a previous post that was originally published on Oct 17, 2012.

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The Berkey Water Filter Contaminants Guide

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A lot of people are concerned about the safety of their tap water.   I’ve been to some countries where drinking the tap water can cause an all-day stay in the toilet.  Our tap water is generally safe in most areas in the U.S., but the taste can vary.  I use my Berkey daily instead of buying bottled water.   This infographic from The Daily Prep shows what contaminants the Berkey filters out.

The Berkey Water Filter Contaminants Guide

The Berkey Water Filter Contaminants GuideLike this infographic? Learn how to Escape Modern American Life and be self sufficient at The Daily Prep.

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