Money Mondays: Save Money in a Week

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SaveMoneyinaWeek

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

We had an unexpected car repair and the expense threw off this month’s budget.   To find additional funds to add to the prepping budget, we went on a “No spending week.”

Here is what we did:

  • Take out enough cash for gas during the week.  You know roughly how much gas you use to get to and from work, and possibly an errand or two.  That’s it.
  • Pay bills that are due normally (I would never recommend getting behind on your bills-that would set you back further.)
  • No spending for groceries for the whole week.  We used whatever was already in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry but did not break into the emergency food storage.
  • No eating out.
  • No shopping for any new items
  • No spending on movies, or any other entertainment.
  • Avoid spending even on small items such as request for birthday lunches for coworkers, cookie sales etc.

How did we do?

We did surprisingly well.  To tell you the truth, I wasn’t worried about the no shopping and no entertainment spending but I was dubious about not spending any money on groceries.  I always end up running to the store for milk or other ingredients I forgot about but this time I stood firm about not buying anything at the grocery store.  I found enough ingredients in the freezer and pantry to create menu items, substituting when necessary.  We ran out of chips and other snacks but otherwise did not feel deprived at all.  I needed to send a birthday card in the middle of the week, but instead of going to the card shop, I created a handmade card instead.

Cash savings:

No Grocery shopping:  $100

Not eating out:  $40

Gas savings from limiting errands  $20

Total saved:  $160

I’ve received emails in the past from readers who feel they are unable to prep due to lack of funds.  I hope this idea helps others find other ways to save money for prepping.  I honestly thought this would be too difficult for a family to do, but it turned out to be very doable.

Give it a try – you might find you are able to save more money than you thought.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2016

 







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How to Avoid Catching Dengue Fever and Zika Virus

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How to Avoid Catching Dengue Fever and Zika Virus

photo credit: zancudo via photopin (license)

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Lately there have been a slew of mosquito borne diseases in the news.  Hawaii has had an outbreak of dengue fever, and now, the Zika virus is causing illness and even birth defects.

Even if you don’t live in areas where dengue and Zika virus are prevalent, there are other dangerous diseases that can affect you:

  • Malaria
  • Brain inflammation/encephalitis
  • Yellow fever
  • West Nile virus
  • Chikungunya

A simple bite can cause severe itching and rashes.  Pets can also fall victim to mosquito borne diseases:  dogs and cats can get  heartworm disease from a mosquito bite; horses can also be afflicted by encephalitis.  I did not give a thorough description of symptoms, but the CDC has a whole section devoted to Mosquito Borne Diseases

Mosquito-Borne Diseases can easily spread during a disaster

While things are “normal” we can rely on cities and counties to protect against the problem but in the aftermath of a disaster there may not be services available.  If services such as trash pickup, street cleaning are not maintained, the problem could get worse.  If potholes are not filled, pools and other water sources are not treated properly they will become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

How to protect yourself

If at all possible, avoid traveling to areas that have the mosquitoes that carry the virus.  At this time, the Zika virus is widespread in Brazil and a few other countries; travelers are advised to exercise caution.  One the other hand you may already have travel plans that you’d rather not cancel.  I probably would not pass up a trip to Hawaii even if they have the dengue fever carrying mosquitoes.

Avoiding mosquitoes is your best defense.

What Attracts Mosquitoes?

Moisture and standing water are the obvious ones, and we’ve all heard public service announcements to check the premises and eliminate any puddles.  But mosquitoes are also attracted to few other things:

  • Sweat
  • Carbon dioxide – you give off more carbon dioxide when hot and exercising
  • Lactic acid – also given off during exercise, and after eating salty foods
  • Floral or fruity scents
  • Dark clothing
  • Dark and dense foliage

Eliminate Possible Breeding Areas

Mosquitoes breed in standing or stagnant water such as empty pots, puddles, gutters, pet bowls, empty trash cans etc.  Check your yard and even your balcony.  Remove all possible areas where they can breed.

Ways to Repel Mosquitoes

I know there are many commercial products containing DEET that are effective but I was interested in less harsh remedies.  I’ve tried citronella candles, but have had limited success – your experience may vary.  Here are other ways to avoid getting bitten:

  1. Wear long pants, shirts with long sleeves, and apply insect repellent on exposed areas.
  2. Ceiling fan or floor fan:  When on “fast” setting, fans can generate a two-mile an hour wind, that mosquitoes are unable to fly against.
  3. Thai lemon grass plant:  If grown inside or outside the house, this herb repels mosquites naturally
  4. Catnip oil: Pro – known to work better than DEET and for a longer period;          Con – cats may follow you around.
  5. Herbal Armor Repellant:  This contains a combination of herbal oils and has gotten rave reviews from testers.  Also available for pets.
  6. Avon Skin so Soft with Picardin:  Although originally marketed as a skin moisturizer, the product was discovered to have bug repelling properties.
  7. Dryer sheets:  Some users report great success by rubbing dryer sheets, bu the downside is you get white powdery stuff on you.  I am a bit “iffy” on this due to having allergy prone skin, but I thought I’d include it for informational purposes.
  8. Other essential oils such as peppermint, citronella, tea tree, clove oil, cinnamon oil, lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, or a combination.

Please be aware that even “natural” remedies may have side effects.  Exercise care when trying them out and make sure you test a small area for allergic reactions.  Also, some herbs such as tea tree oil are not recommended for pets.   Any repellents have to be reapplied after sweating, swimming, applying sunscreen, and after a couple of hours once absorbed by the skin.

© Apartment Prepper 2016



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Non-Stick Survival Cookware

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Non-Stick Survival Cookware

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Finding cookware that will cook food efficiently in any environment can be a challenge.  It should cook food evenly, with all types of burners, whether you are using gas, electric or a campfire.  It also needs to be sturdy and long-lasting.

I think cast iron cookware fits the bill.  For anyone who is unfamiliar with cast iron, they are the black heavy iron pans that have been around for hundreds of years. 

My mother-in-law actually introduced me to cast iron pans.  Whenever I helped her cook anything in her kitchen, I marveled at how her cast iron pans cooked everything so well:

  • They distribute heat evenly
  • When well seasoned, they work like a non-stick pan, or require very little oil.
  • The same plan will cook well with any type of stove:  electric, gas, you can even stick it in the oven and make bread in it.  In an emergency, it will work well over an open flame. 
  • The pan adds iron to your food, which helps avoid an iron deficiency.
  • Because they so sturdy, they will last a lifetime, and you won’t need to spend money for replacement pans.

Back then, I used Teflon pans, but found that once they get a scratch, they peel and flake.  When overheated, fumes from Teflon are known to cause flu-like symptoms, and the long term effects are unknown.  After I saw how much better the cast iron pans heated through, I tossed out all my Teflon pans and asked my mother-in-law to help me buy some.

She did not take me to a cookware store; instead she took me to Goodwill, where she has found the best cast iron pans for her own kitchen.  People would toss them out thinking they were inferior to Calphalon or other name brand cookware.  Being of a frugal nature, she encouraged me to find second-hand deals instead of full priced items.

If you are in the market for one, try getting it used at stores like Goodwill, or shop online at Craigslist or Freecycle first.  If you are just starting out, I would recommend choosing a slightly rusted cast iron pan, to make it easier on yourself. 

How to season a cast iron pan

  • If you have a new pan, just wash and rinse, no scraping needed. 
  • If you are working with a used, slightly rusted pan, wash with a strong dish washing liquid and scrape out the rust with a steel wool.
  • Dry completely with a dish towel.
  • Coat the pan with cooking oil all over.  I have used vegetable oil, olive oil or peanut oil
  • Turn the oven on low heat, around 250 degrees and leave the pan in the oven for 4 hours.  Do not leave unattended.  It may get a bit smoky if the heat is too high.
  • Turn of the heat and leave the pan in while it cools.
  • Repeat the process over a few months until the pan turns black.  You now have a well-seasoned pan.

Cast iron pans are available pre-seasoned.  You don’t have to go through the process if you don’t feel like it.  Just remember the pan should not be left sitting in a sinkful of soapy water.  It should be rinsed and dried after use and coated with a thin layer of oil.  I’ve recently started coating my pans with coconut oil and it adds a nice flavor to the food.

They are still fairly inexpensive, around $11 for a non-seasoned pan, and about $19 for a 10 inch pre-seasoned one.

I have found you can make the best steak in a cast iron pan.

Whether you buy it used or start out with a pre-seasoned skillet, you’ll be pleased with they way they cook.  With proper care, cast iron pans last for generations.

© Apartment Prepper 2016






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Money Mondays: How to Find Extra Cash from Bills

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How to find extra cash

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

We want to add to our preparedness fund, but the budget is tight.

I mentioned in an earlier post we cancelled cable and found several free or lower cost alternatives.   It’s been a couple of years and we do not miss it at all.  I actually wish we had done it sooner.

How to Find Extra Cash by Reviewing Your Bills

Now we are reviewing every bill line by line to see if we can either lower them even more.

Rent statement

I always thought the rent statement would be the same every month as long as you pay it on time, until this past month when I looked at my statement online and found it to be $100 over what I expected to pay.  You can believe I was at the leasing office the very next day to find out what was going on.

The office manager kept saying I did not pay my water bill on time and it was all for past months’ bills.  I asked for a line by line printout of the charges.  When I looked at it closely, I found the office was charging us a late fee of $60 ($10 for each day it was considered late) plus the actual water bill of $40.  I told the manager I never got a bill for the $40 water bill and I asked him to check their records again.  He did not believe me at first, but grudgingly checked.  Just as I thought, I was right:  they got behind in sending the bill, instead charged it directly on the account and started accruing late fees.  They took off the $60 late fee and I paid the $40 water bill that was legitimately owed.

I am glad I checked the rent statement online and found out the error before it got any worse.  If I had not gone over the charges line by line, I would not have known they had made a mistake.   Even with their online billing system, landlords make mistakes too, so always question bills that don’t seem right.

Savings:  $60

Internet and phone

One bill that got a lot of scrutiny was the bundled internet/phone bill.

One reason we went with one provider was the “bundled” plan offered a hefty introductory discount.  After one year, the monthly bill went to the regular price.

As a result of our line by line scrutiny, we decided to cut out the phone service.  We looked at the minutes used for a few months.  It turned out we did not use the home phone that much, and instead used the cell phone for most calls.  Total saved:  $20

The most interesting part was the internet bill.  After comparing our bill with the posted rates on the company’s website, we realized we were being overcharged $10 per month because the company was charging us for a higher bandwidth than what we actually had.  Amount saved on the internet bill:  $10.

Total saved:  $30 per month.  Now the company owes us several months worth of credit on the internet service for overcharging us.

Electricity

Next came the electricity bill.   We compared months were we spent a lot versus months that we did not spend so much on electricity.  We decided to increase the temperature in the summer so that the air conditioner doesn’t turn on frequently.  Similarly, we are keeping the temperature around 65 degrees this winter and just bundle up instead of turning on the heater.

Total saved: around $20 for adjusting our habits.

In Texas, we can shop electricity providers as soon as our contract ends.  We usually have at least a six-month contract.  As soon as that period ends, we once again compare rates and change providers.

So if you are looking for extra cash, it may be worth your while to check every bill you get for accuracy, and review your expenses to see if you can eliminate some of them.

Cell Phone

Our cell phone plan contract ended and we shopped around to see if other carriers offered better deals.  We found out our carrier already had the best rate for our usage and coverage.

However, we did find a way to cut down the bill by going to a lower data plan.  I called up to check on our monthly usage and found we were barely using data.  I asked the rep for alternatives that would be a better fit and she suggested a lower plan that was closer to our usage patterns.

Total saved:  $30 per month

If you try this yourself, review a few months worth of bills and take note of the changes month by month.  Don’t do it when you are rushed, but when you have time on your hands to concentrate.  Get your partner and the family involved so you can discuss changes in advance.

© Apartment Prepper 2016

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Situational Awareness Exercises

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Situational Awareness Exercises

Written by Cory Hinton

This article first appeared in Survive The Wild

Something Doesn’t Feel Right

We’ve all had that nagging feeling that something just doesn’t “feel right” in situations, and wanted to get out of them as fast as possible. And what’s more is that there have been people who reportedly admitted that they had this “feeling” that they ignored right before something bad happened to them or someone close to them.

How would you like to train that sense to work for you?

That’s what we’re going to go over in this article. We will address what the root of this feeling and or skill is, if it’s worth acknowledging and how to train it to improve your sense of situational awareness to detect when and how things could go array in any situation.?

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • What Situational Awareness Is
  • The Uses For Situational Awareness
  • How To Train It
  • Best Practices For Use

What Is Situational Awareness

The grassroots definition of situational awareness is the ability to observe and pay attention to what’s going on around you at all times. 

Our good friends over at theartofmanliness.com likened this ability to be constantly aware with the movie character Jason Bourne. Who when avoiding capture as a lifestyle had to be constantly aware and cognizant of what was going on around him, and had to determine the threat level of all situations.

The military often refers to situational awareness as “the bubble”, as in what’s going on in your immediate vicinity. And should you loose the bubble your chance of human error and mishaps spikes dramatically. The Coast Guard credits 40% of mishaps with loss of situational awareness.

Photo Via: ModernSurvivalBlog.com

So we know now that situational awareness is the ability to be cognizant of our surroundings, and the threat level of the elements in our surroundings. Knowing this can put you ahead of 60% of the population, to beat the other 40% let’s dive deeper.

Levels Of Situational Awareness

Photo Via: ArtOfManliness.com

Condition WhiteThis is when you’re the average american walking through the mall on a Saturday afternoon, not a a care in the world at all. No thoughts of what could go wrong or who’s being suspicious. Needless to say, this is the condition you should avoid at all cost!

Condition Yellow This condition is most commonly known as being in “relaxed alert”. Which is when there’s no perceived danger but you are keeping your eyes and ears open to potential mishaps. We will go over what “baseline” is later, but just know that this should be your baseline when practicing to improve situational awareness.

Condition OrangeYou’ve noticed an obvious threat and are going through what you should be doing in your head or are preparing for action. When responding to a threat, no matter how large, this should be the condition you stay in. If you become more excited and get carried away that’s when mistakes get made. So when you respond to a problem keep it orange.

Condition RedRed could be the most dangerous of these conditions, because it represents anger. And when one acts out of anger it’s a recipe for disaster, not many people do things their most proud of when they’re in this state. So if you notice you’re becoming more angry than just involved, cool it down. The phrase “I wasn’t thinking” is often used in this state.

Grey / Black ConditionThese two are very closely linked, they represent fear and paralyzing fear. And the presence of inaction is often just as damaging as poor action, so don’t let this condition overcome you at all if possible. There are times when those we love might be put in jepardy and we are frozen due to our love for them and not wanting to do something that would hurt them. Bust just remember that action will beat action most of the time!

Some information via: stratfor.com

Personal & General Uses For Situational Awareness

Obviously if you’re in the military there’s a great need to be mindful of your surroundings to avoid unnecessary casualties, but what if you’re a mom who’s wanting to watch out for her kids.

Enhancing your sense of situational awareness will increase your ability to be more present in day to day situations, and will help you to make better decisions in your life. This skill isn’t just meant for covert operatives or government assassins after all.

It’s just another way of increasing mindfulness?

Applying situational awareness in your personal life will allow you to become more observant in general and not flippantly walk into situations that could potentially present a high level of risk to you and your family. I’m sure you could find use in that couldn’t you? If you’re a prepper with lots of goodies at home, this skill could prevent you from walking into an ambush and having all you’ve worked so hard for removed from you.

Personal Benefits

  • Families Safety Is Elevated Due To Your Enhanced Ability To Pay Attention
  • Ability To Anticipate Needs And Actions Of Those Close To You
  • Adapt To Situations Quickly

General Benefits

  • Memory In General Will Improve Over Continued Practice
  • Will Be A More Valuable Person In Your Community
  • Lead A Safer More Focussed Life

How To Train Situational Awareness

As we said before, the ability to use situational awareness as a skill isn’t reserved for the expert military and government assassins out there. It’s something that can be trained and coached with some effort and practice.

There are a few key points you need to understand first

Position Is Everything

If you can’t see much when you are trying to improve your awareness then there’s not much to improve on. You’ll need to make sure that when you go somewhere new that you work your way to a vantage point that allows you to see as much coming and goings of others as possible. Sitting at the front of a room with the crowd behind you is an awful place to position yourself.

Yellow Condition

Once you’ve worked your way into a great vantage point you’ll want to make sure you’re in the Yellow Condition, which is when you’re tuned into the environment around you and are taking in all the sights, sounds and emotions of the room.  Don’t act like a crazy or paranoid person who’s eavesdropping on everyone’s conversation trying to gain some “intel”. Just stay open to what’s going on around you. Be cool.

Establish The Baseline

Everywhere you go will have a certain feel or mood. For example if you’re walking the streets of New York the baseline would be people looking down, walking with purpose and keeping to themselves. If you saw someone walking more briskly than others, looking over their shoulders every few steps and just didn’t look right then you’ve found someone who’s above baseline.

Have A Plan

So you’re in a familiar environment like a church on Sunday, you’re towards the back, looking around and have established a baseline. You notice someone who’s broken the baseline of happy commutative person and that person is briskly walking toward the front of the sanctuary. What do you do?

Some information Via: itstactical.com

Analyze the places where you’re a regular and have plans for scenarios that break the baseline. If you go to a coffee shop everyday where people ride their bikes and you notice that today a car that’s still running in front of the shop with multiple men in it that seem anxious then it might be a good idea to have a plan for this and other scenarios.


Situational Awareness Training Exercises

Memory Exercises For Situational Awareness

Memory exercises in general are a great idea for improving situational awareness, along with healthy “brain games”. Memorization is a great place to start to increase mental sharpness, and can come in handy when you loose your grocery list. Start by memorizing things like a grocery list or food orders to start with, once you get that down expand it to more difficult things that have more variables.

Drawing a map from memory will also help with memory exercises. And keep in mind that all of these things together will increase brain function, which in turn increase overall situational awareness. That is of course assuming that your focusing on training situational awareness at the same time.?

Study Human Behavior

Van Horne, the author of Left Of Bang (a book that outlines how the marines and other military personnel improve their senses), explains that there are 6 human behaviors that allow soldiers to quickly identify threats on the battlefield and engage when necessary. The most important is when people try to “act natural” this is almost impossible unless you are completely comfortable in your environment. Once you notice someone is having a hard time being natural that should raise some questions.

Read more about the other 5 behaviors here

Mock Scouting Trips/Expeditions

? These can be the most fun once you get some real experience. Make a mission in your head, starting with a target, have a specific description for the target down to the sock color. Set up a location and time frame.

Now comes the fun part, go on your mission! It may sound childish but you’ll see after a few times that it truly can be a great training exercise. Focus on not being a creeper though, if the person notices you staring and you make yourself obvious then you’ve been “made” and you loose. ?

Body Language Indicators For Situational Awareness

?This could be the largest factor to keep in mind when enhancing your situational awareness. A person’s body language is something that is controlled on a subconscious level. You’ve heard stories of men who are on trial for murder, and when asked if they committed the murder they would verbally say “no” but their heads would nod up and down as they spoke. 

Two postures should be kept in mind when considering situational awareness, and this will be when you’re glad you paid attention in geometry. They’re concave and convex body positions. Concave is the guilty one, because ill intentions can’t be hidden even from the criminals own heart. So those with a body type that seems to be sulking and shifty is your perp.

Where as convex means that a person’s posture is directed outward with nothing to hide. So that person has laid it all on the table emotionally, proving their innocence with their actions. This won’t be a hard and fast rule, but with practice you’ll be able to notice these subtle differences from person to person.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Situational awareness is a state of mind that has to be cultivated daily to perfect, otherwise you’re just making rash accusations and look paranoid. So make it a daily habit to stay vigilent and to maintain a Yellow Condition state of being no matter where you are so that you and your family will not be caught by surprise.

In the end you’ll realize that most “threats” aren’t real for the average American, but there are times when they are real, and you need to ask yourself if you’re going to be the one that’s watching out for others to make sure the wolves don’t take the sheep.?

As humans it’s the duty of the strong to protect the weak, as a species though it’s our duty to ensure that the weak don’t lead the strong.?

About the Author:

My name is Cory and I’m the admin of Survive the Wild. I grew up in the heart of Texas outside Waco (yes wacko Waco), with a family of marines. The only thing that hindered my joining is a hearing imparement that disqualified me from being in infantry. 
But I’ve trained and interacted with them my whole life, discussing military strategies, the state of our nation and of course prepping as our right and duty. 
I also work with retired firemen and EMTs who are avid preppers. And the added benefit of their medical expertise helps to give insight to areas that I’m not exactly an expert in yet. 
Which is why I have this site and choose to share my learnings with others. I hope you find this site helpful for your situation and that you’re able to help others by sharing as well. 
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Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Hiking Boot Review

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Lowa_Review_1

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Produced in collaboration with SoleLabz.com, where James and colleagues review trail and tactical footwear.

A few words about LOWA (the company)

Being founded in the 1920s, Lowa Company is one of the oldest in the field. It all started in a village of Jetzendorf in Germany when Lorenz Wagner started producing its Brogue Oxford Shoes.

The manufacturing process stemming from Bavarian mountains paired with the quality offered in well-stitched Norwegian shoes turned out to be a winner. The expansion of its facilities was merited as soon as the late 20s and the company just built steam from that moment on.

Lowa is known for its high-quality man-made materials and its many innovations.
Just to name a few:
· They first introduced polyurethane into the business
· The first sole made of vulcanized rubber
· The first sole injected with air…

The company is still located in the village it was founded in, and they’ve celebrated both their 90th anniversary and being the largest rural employer in 2013.

I could go on for pages about Lowa alone, but let’s cut to the chase and see what makes these hiking boots tick.

Here are a few Renegade hiking boot specifications directly from the manufacturer – its fact sheet

The materials used are leather/synthetic combo. The uppers are made out of nubuck leather, which means you’ll pretty much get all the benefits of the full-grain leather with a shortened break-in period.

The shaft from the arch measures 5 inches, heel 1.75 inches and platform approximately 1 inch.

Lowa goes out of its way to stress the footbed that features a “climate control” function, and I’m really eager to see its performance during the testing. The midsole is PU (polyurethane foam) Monowrap Framed, making Lowa one of the rare manufacturers featuring products without EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate).

The shank is full nylon which adds (so they say) to the overall stability of the boot.
Vibram Evo outsole – which is just fancy expression for a patented pattern of the lugs aimed at optimal stability and grip.

Let’s put these on, start testing and see if climate control really works.

Lowa Renegade GTX – my review of the hiking boot

 

Initial thoughts

LowaBox1

The first thing I noticed about the Lowa Men’s Renegade boots was the light weight.  When I received the box, I was not sure if they were the boots that had arrived.  The box seemed light.  But when we opened it, sure enough these were the Lowas but they are just super lightweight.  They are definitely lighter than other boots we’ve tested.  The boots look well made.

Lowas in box1

The boots were tested by Apartment Prepper son.  We hiked on a trail along a waterway.  It had rained prior to the walk so the trail was muddy.  We also walked along the street and pavement.

Lowas on trail1

Fit

The boots fit well;  the size that was recommended was 1/2 inch above the normal size.  In this case, he wears a size 10 so size 10.5 was ideal.  It turned out to be perfect with wool socks.

Comfort

The shoe felt immediately comfortable for walking.  As you know, we live in Texas where it gets hot and humid.  Although it was fall at the time,  the temperature was still in the low 80s.  After hours of walking, the feet did not feel hot at all.  That climate control really works!

Traction

The shoe had great traction with any surface, whether on cement, asphalt, soil, grass etc.

Flexibility

The shoes felt flexible, yet gave great foot support.  They did not pinch the feet.  We hiked for several hours and did not get blisters or chafing, even if the shoes were brand new.

The only time he felt slight discomfort was for driving.  The scree collar (the higher back part of the boots, that protects your Achilles tendon and ankle from chafing) felt a bit stiff when positioning the foot on the accelerator and brakes.  However, this could be the only part that needs some breaking in.

Water-resistance

Lowa Easy Clean1

The boots got very muddy during the walk so we tested how hard is it to get the dirt out.

The boots are easy to clean:  just wiped the shoe with a well paper towel and the boots were clean again.  We took a photo of the clean boot and the dirty boot side by side.

Lowa Side by side1

We poured water on one of the shoes.  The water immediately beads on the surface.

Lowa Water Beads1

Priced around $230 for the pair, I consider them to be mid-priced, as I have also seen boots that are much higher priced.  I am very budget conscious, but I feel they are worth it, as they are high quality boots.   The Lowa Renegade is an excellent boot for hiking and other outdoor activities, and would also make good bug-out shoes in case you had to walk out of the city.

 

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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Money Mondays: How to Save Money with You Tube

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How to Save Money with You Tube

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

In the last month or so, I have found You Tube to be a great resource that has helped our save money.  We started looking at videos to help us do things ourselves, rather than pay someone else to do it.

Here are actual ways I saved money with You Tube:

Resize a watch band   I have a watch that I have not been able to wear because the metal band is too big for my wrist.  It is one of those fun accessory watches, not an expensive one so I did not want to spend $20 to have the jewelry store resize it.  I checked You Tube and found a couple of videos on how to resize a metal watch band using common household tools.  All I needed were: needle nosed pliers, a push pin and a small hammer.  My multi-tool came in handy.  I did the instructions step by step and was able to resize the watch successfully.

Total savings: $20

Tips:

  • Watch at least three videos to get the whole picture.  I found that getting different perspectives help you decide the best steps to take for your needs.  One video may leave out a step that ends up being valuable to you, while another one may give you yet another tip the first one didn’t cover.
  • Do not try this on expensive, irreplaceable watches.  I did not mind trying it on the $12 watch, since I did not want to spend $20 to get it adjusted.
  • Take your time and do it step by step.   Follow along the video if you have to.

Hem a pair of jeans I bought a pair of jeans at a thrift store that fit really well but were too long.  The local tailor charges $15 to hem a pair pants, which would have costed more than the $5 I spent on the jeans.  My Mom taught me how to shorten pant legs, but I never tried hemming jeans because I did not want to lose the stitching on the hem.  I searched You Tube, found instructions on “how to hem jeans by hand while leaving the original hem” and watched a few videos that got my attention.  I tried it myself.  With only a basic sewing kit, I was able to shorten the jeans and keep the original hem.  I was very pleased with the results.

Total savings:  $15

Tips:

  • If you do not know how to sew, first watch basic sewing videos and practice.
  • Buy a basic sewing kit before you get started.
  • Just like the watch example, I would only recommend trying this out on an inexpensive pair of pants, especially for your first time.

Cut hair  Apt Prepper son got a very short haircut that requires a visit to the stylist every 2-3 weeks.  I told him to try and keep it to once every six weeks, as these visits could start adding up.  He watched several You Tube videos showing how to cut your own hair.  He then bought a hair styling kit from Walmart for $20.  Thereafter he started buzzing his hair himself and now does it on a regular basis.

Total savings:  $20 a month

Tips:

  • If you’ve never tried it before, don’t start cutting your own hair right before an important event or appointment such as a job interview, wedding, reunion etc.  If you mess up, you will regret it.  The best time to try it is during a vacation when you have no plans to go anywhere.
  • Use the proper tools:  only use scissors or tools that are meant for hair styling.  Buying a hair styling kit is worth it.

These cost saving chores worked for us, but they may not be your preference.  You may find other activities more to your liking.  Your results may vary so do a lot of research before launching your DIY project.  The best way to approach this is only try these projects that have minimal risk, but have maximum gain.  You’ll gain some skills and save some money in the process.

© Apartment Prepper 2016






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New Feature: Money Monday

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New Feature Money Monday

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Hi everyone!  I have been posting blog updates and links with Monday Musings for a while now, but I noticed the readership has declined over the years.  This time I am trying something different:  Money Mondays.

Every Monday, I will post money saving or money making tips that will help you save or earn cash to fund your preps.   Let’s face it, prepping for emergencies involves some expenses but it is not always easy to find the extra funds to do so.  So I have decided to write about ways to save or earn extra money that have worked for me or someone I know.  Even if you only save $10 for that week, that is still $10 you can use to buy canned or bulk foods, a few rolls of toilet paper or first aid supplies.

I hope you like the new feature.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2016

 

For more money saving tips, read my book:

Bernie's Latest Book




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LifeStack Storage Giveaway

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Bernies Lifestack Giveaway1

Three lucky winners will be chosen: each winner will get a set of five LifeStack Storage containers (1-gallon size).  Check out the review of the containers here:  Lifestack Storage Containers Review
Giveaway Terms and Conditions
This Lifestack Storage Containers Giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Friday, January 8th, 2016  at 5:00 am (MDT) and ends on Friday, Jan. 15th, 2016 at 5:00 pm (MDT). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let’s be prepared for the unexpected!
Below is a list of other blogs participating in the giveaway – please stop by and visit!
Food Storage Moms      http://www.foodstoragemoms.com/
Geek Prepper                 http://www.geekprepper.org
Backdoor Survival            http://www.backdoorsurvival.com
Homesteading Hippy       http://thehomesteadinghippy.com
Living Life in Rural Iowa  http://livinglifeinruraliowa.com/
MP Offgrid Living    http://madtownpreppers.blogspot.com/
Pasteur Deficit Disorder    http://www.pasturedeficitdisorder.com/
Preparedness Mama   http://preparednessmama.com
Preppers Survive     http://www.prepperssurvive.com/
Blue Jean Mama   http://www.bluejeanmama.com/
 The Bread Geek  http://thebreadgeek.com/
The Things I Love Most    http://thethingsilovemost.com/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Lifestack Storage Containers Review

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LifeStackStorage_Containers

When I first heard about Lifestack Storage Containers I was immediately interested on how they would work.  Living in an apartment presents challenges for water and food storage due to limited space and I am always looking for solutions.

What are Lifestack Storage Containers?

They are watertight, stackable 1 gallon containers that store food and water.  The containers are BPA free, and can be filled with either water or storable bulk items such as sugar, salt etc.

The plastic is lightweight but durable.  The containers are opaque and therefore protects from light.

Review

I received four storage containers for review.  I filled all of them with water from the tap.  I sealed each of them tightly.

WaterStorage_tap

These containers can be very handy and useful for storing water.  I placed them vertically in various tight spots, such as next to the refrigerator, between furniture etc.  They fit well and stacked on each other, maximizing the space.

WaterStorage_Underthebed

I also tried storing them horizontally under the bed. I closed the lid tightly.  To make sure I can clearly spot any leaks, I placed a piece of paper and a towel underneath.  After a few hours, I noticed a few water leaks on the paper.  I did check with my contact at lifestackstorage.com and he indicated “upon further testing and use I discovered that if I tightened the lids as tightly as possible (even when they feel they’re on tightly, they can still be tightened down even more), the leakage stopped.

I have found in other tests that most water containers leak when stored on their side, and therefore I always recommend storing water in an upright position.

If you were storing solid items such as oats, salt or sugar, then there would be no issues of leakage if you were to store them horizontally.  However I have not personally tested them for long term storage of bulk items, but I intend to give you an update when I do.

WaterStorage_dresser

 

Other than that, I found that Lifestack Storage Containers are ideal for storing in tight spaces.  They are sturdy and stack well.  Store water or other solid bulk items in the Lifestack Storage containers and keep them upright in a cool, dark place to protect the contents.  The containers connect together and are very thin, allowing you to store several containers in a tight space.  I think Lifestack Storage Containers are a great storage option for anyone who lives in a small space such as apartments, condos, tiny homes or RVs.

WaterStorage_fridge

The giveaway

Please visit the next article for details on the giveaway.

© Apartment Prepper 2016





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