Hydroponics – A Small Garden with Big Benefits

(Editor’s note:  Today’s post is about a subject that interests me greatly:  hydroponics, because it works well in small spaces.  The post is written by Chris Wimmer, aka Captain Hydroponics)

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is generally translated from the Latin and Greek languages meaning “working water”.  The Greeks and Romans described this farming technique this way because the water was always in motion. A more modern way to explain hydroponics is growing plants without soil.  A variety of mediums are used in place of soil which is soaked in a nutrient rich water solution.

Benefits of hydroponics

I could probably list well over a dozen benefits but I’ll just list the most important:

  • Improved food independence
  • Shorter growing cycles
  • Improved yield
  • Less space required

The reason you are able to basically grow more food, faster, and in less space is due to the direct exposure of nutrients to the roots.  Traditional soil based gardening requires the plants to seek out the nutrients in the soil which actually takes a lot of effort which could be used to grow more vegetation, flowers and fruit.

The basic parts of a hydroponic system

Hydroponic systems come in many different ‘flavors’ but all have a few key common components. 

Grow Tray:  The plants grow in a tray that is filled with an inert media which acts as a soil substitute. Common media includes coconut fiber, gravel, and rockwool.  The media provides root stability and the right mix of oxygen and water.

Reservoir:   A holding tank for the nutrient rich water which is pumped onto the roots of the plants.

Pump:   A small pump to push the water from the reservoir to the grow tray

Timer:  The real beauty of hydroponics.  A timer can help automate your system which can make it virtually maintenance free.

Ideal crops for hydroponics

Almost anything can be grown hydroponically however some plants do better and are simply more practically.  Stick with compact plants that you harvest above the ground.

Some great examples include:

  • Herbs (Basil, oregano, Thyme, etc)
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach

 How hydroponics can be done in small and creative spaces

Hydroponic plants can be planted twice as close as compared to soil based planting as they will not compete for soil nutrients.  They only need enough vertical space to grow up.

hydroponics1

Another great way to maximize your plantable space is to be creative.  Do you have an outside empty wall?

wall hydroponics

Photo credit: Plants on Walls Blog http://plantsonwalls.blogspot.com/2010/06/aquaponic-garden-tower.html

  What about a sunny window?hydroponics2

  A few final tips to simplify getting started and ensuring success…

  • Start small.  You’ll learn a lot from your first experience and can apply that to your next planting.
  • Use seedlings from the local nursery if you have never germinated seeds.
  • Ensure the location you select will receive at least 12 hours of sunlight and maintain a temperature in the low 70’s.  If this isn’t possible than plan to have supplemental light and heat.

Now that you have heard the basics are you interested learning more?  You can read more at my personal hydroponic blog (http://captainhydroponics.com) or I’d recommend checking out instructables (http://www.instructables.com/id/Hydroponic-Soda-Bottle-System/).  Both have some very detailed hands-on ways to set up a hydroponic garden.

About the Author: Chris Wimmer is an urban hydroponic hobbyist who grew up in the Oregon country side enjoying the open spaces. Chris shares how he uses hydroponics to maximize his small Chicago urban garden space on his blog:   CaptainHydroponics.com

 

 

Avoid Boring Survival Food: Include Spices and Seasonings in Food Storage

Avoid Boring Survival FoodThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Once you’ve stored at least a couple of weeks worth of food and water, you’ll want to store a few of your favorite spices and seasonings.  Though it would not be life threatening to leave them out, your survival storage diet would become quite monotonous without a few basic spices.

Start with the basics such as salt, sugar, pepper.  Then add a variety of spices and seasonings such as: cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, basil, oregano, parsley, chicken and beef bouillon, cumin, bay leaves.  Store only the ones you know you are going to use.

How long do spices stay fresh?

If you keep them in your cupboard in the original package, you can count on herbs and spices staying fresh for about a year to two years.  After that, the flavors will start to deteriorate.  Although they won’t turn completely bad (I’ve used them over the two year mark with good results) they will not be as flavorful as when you first bought them.  The older they get, the blander they get, until there is no point in keeping them.  It recently tossed out a few spices I never used after the initial recipe, after I noticed

Enemies of spice storage

Just like other food storage items, keep spices away from heat, light, moisture/humidity and air.  It’s best to keep them in an airtight container.

Long Term Storage

To make them last longer than two years, you can repackage spices and seasonings for long term storage.  I stored a few seasonings for long term by repackaging them in mylar bags, the same way I stored bulk foods.  The only difference was I used small mylar bags

Don’t forget to label and date your stored items.

Here is another method to store spices, nicely illustrated over at Are We Crazy or What:  Storing Herbs and Spices for Long Term Storage.

Final Tips

  • Seeds, roots and leaves will last longer than powder form, but will need a grinder for use.  I stored the powdered form to avoid the extra step.
  • For best results, rotate your stored items after a couple of years.
  • As with other food items, keep your stored spices and seasonings away from chemicals such as gasoline, kerosene etc. – these fumes can permeate and contaminate your food storage.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Vote for Me!

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

 

 

Where to Hide Valuables in an Apartment

Recently, one of our awesome readers, Sara, brought up a great question:

I was wondering if you could advise me for a particular apartment security measure?
I live in an apartment, but I am unable to drill holes into the floor. I am wondering what kind of safe I could buy and how I could secure it? This safe would ideally house a laptop and a few files. 
Hypothetically, if a thief were to access the safe in an empty house they could pick it up and carry it away if it is found, right?
I thought this was a timely question, as I have been thinking about writing about this subject.  Thanks for the question Sara!
Know What You’re Up Against
Ideally, a sturdy, hidden safe that is bolted to the floor would be a great place to hide valuables, but is not feasible in an apartment due to lease restrictions.  Normal safes are available, but can easily be picked up.  I used to have one, and it only weighed about 20-30 pounds – easy enough to carry.
Before getting into good hiding places, first we have to consider what motivates thieves:
1.  Their goal is to steal money and valuables.  If they had time, they would turn the place upside down looking for stuff.
2.  They need to get in and out quickly.  We’ve read before that a robber takes 8-12 minutes to steal as much as possible in that short amount of time.
3.  They also know the most common hiding places:  in the master bedroom, in the back of the closet, under the mattress, the medicine cabinet (prescription drugs may be attractive as well)  or in a toilet tank.
Knowing the above, it might be a good idea to leave a small amount of money or jewelry that is easily found; they may just rush out and take that, leaving the rest alone.  The small loss would also spare you having the entire place torn apart.
Here are a few ideas for hiding spots:
Safety deposit box
Many people still keep a safety deposit box at their neighborhood bank, but the downside is, you can only access your stuff while the bank is open.  There is always a chance the bank would be closed when you need you items the most.
Furniture with a hidden compartment
Furniture with hidden areas have been around for a long time, and they are still around.  The downside is they tend to be on the expensive side.
Here are some examples:  (Note:  we are not affiliated with this company-just pointing out the product)

Hidden in plain sight

Oil can safe

Oil can safe

Also known as diversion safes, they are fairly inexpensive and come in many varieties.  They tend to be small so you can only hide a few things.

Of course you’d have to hide the diversion safe among like items in a book shelf, kitchen or tool box.

Tip:  Don’t hide the item in another attractive item even if it’s in plain sight.  I’ve seen some mantle clocks that have hidden compartments – some a very pretty and eye-catching, and extremely portable.  I’d also stay away from hiding stuff inside radios or other electronics – they may steal that too, taking your item inadvertently and discovering it later!

Do it Yourself

  • Make a book safe  You can keep it among all your other books, and you can take it with you even while traveling.
  • Hide your item among frozen food in your freezer; maybe in a baggie within frozen raw meat that is large enough
  • Conceal item within a vase that has dusty fake flowers
  • Hide in a toy that is in a large toy box

The key is to remember where you hid it.  I’ve hidden a few items so well I couldn’t find them for months!

You should also tell someone you trust, to avoid them accidentally throwing the item away or selling it in a garage sale.

Will You Need Companions During a Collapse?

Why you need companions during a collapseThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A few months ago we traveled with another family to enjoy the snow for a few days.   Each family took their own vehicle.   On the day we were scheduled to leave, it snowed heavily the night before.  We were apprehensive we would not be able to get to the road without a snow plow, and there were none available.  Our vehicle made it just fine, but our friends’ car got stuck in the deep snow.  Fortunately we were able to tow them out.

This event got me thinking about the need for companions when things get rough.   While the idea of the “lone wolf survivor” may be appealing to some, the reality is life would be so much tougher if you had to go at it alone.

Safety and Security

The old adage about “safety in numbers” is true, but only if you pick the right companions.  They would have to be people you can trust.

In one of the books I recently read, Going Home by A. American the main character originally did not want any companions in his journey.  But one of the travelers who wanted to tag along reminded him he would need to sleep sooner or later and someone should watch his back.  This was a convincing argument.  No matter how good at self defense or how well-armed you are, when you go to sleep you are vulnerable.  Having others keep watch would be much safer.

Even during normal times, a neighborhood watch group can help protect the neighborhood from thieves and other criminal activity.

Food gathering and preparation

People can split chores according to their expertise:  some people can hunt, fish, garden, while others can prepare food.

Skills

Another good reason for having companions is to share skills and expertise.  If you know someone with a medical background, or other skills such as building and construction, sewing, canning, etc. you can help each other or barter your time.

Now that we realize the benefits, the real challenge is really getting to know your community.  Unfortunately, most communities especially in big cities are not close knit – some neighbors who have lived next door to each other for years barely even know their neighbors.  A few ideas to consider:

  • Take the time to get to know who’s around you.   I’m not saying you should tell the neighborhood about your prepping but at least get to know who’s who and build rapport with them.  It takes a while to find trust worthy people.
  • If you don’t think they are reliable find some other like-minded friends or family members and develop a relationship.
  • Don’t be heavy handed in trying to convince people to be prepared; if they are so inclined, you will know.
  • Once you find people you trust, even if it’s just one other family, make plans to communicate with each other and get together in the event of a dire emergency or collapse.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Vote for Me!

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

Read this Before you Toss out Expired Medications

Read this Before You Toss Out Expired Meds

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I mentioned a few weeks ago I’d be clearing out and rotating my supplies.  Upon opening the first aid bucket, we found a lot of over the counter medications that were at or have reached their expiration dates.  The boxes and seals were unopened, so I was hesitant about throwing them all out.  So I reached out to our community experts, Dr. Joe Alton, aka Dr. Bones of www.doomandbloom.net and Dr. James Hubbard aka The Survival Doctor to find out their thoughts.  I gave them a list of the medications in my storage.  I did not expect a response from both, after all doctors are busy so I thought if I get one response it’ll be great.   I was fortunate to get a prompt response from both!   Both were fine about my posting their responses.  Here is what they said.

From James Hubbard, MD, The Survival Doctor

Most solid medicine stays good long past their expiration dates. Some studies have shown antibiotics, in particular, can be quite effective for several years. Usually, the worst thing that happens is the effectiveness of the medication gets less with time. I recommend buying medicines with the farthest expiration dates available, staying refreshed by using the ones closest to expiration date for everyday use, and immediately replacing those with a newer medicine. Store all in a cool, dry place. Moisture and heat can make many medicine deteriorate much faster than they otherwise would.
Here’s a link to a 2000 Wall Street Journal article. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB954201508530067326.html?dsk=y  The Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP) is the study usually mentioned when citing prove that medicines last longer than their expiration date. And here’s another article that has tables that cite specific medicines and their extension times. http://www.ofcaems.org/ds-Stability_Profiles.pdf
Dr. Hubbard did suggest I could start a new supply and buy new ones remembering what I wrote above.
From Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones of www.doomandbloom.net   
Dr. Alton sent me a file:  http://www.ofcaems.org/ds-Stability_Profiles.pdf
listing the results of testing on expired medications.  He said, “It has all the meds listed, and I think it includes many of the medicines you mention in generic form. I would say this about aspirin: if it goes bad, it tends to smell a little like ammonia (just a personal observation on some very old meds).  Otherwise, I wouldn’t throw them away.”Here’s another article I wrote October 2012 about some interesting tests on some drugs found in a storage room of a pharmacy that were 28-40 years expired:

October 8, 2012 — An analysis of 8 medications indicates that most of the active ingredients they contain were present in adequate amounts decades after the drugs’ expiration dates, according to results from a study published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine. 

Lee Cantrell, PharmD, from the California Poison Control System, San Diego Division, University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy, and colleagues used liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to measure the amounts of the active ingredients in the medications. The medicines, which had expired 28 to 40 years ago, were found in a retail pharmacy in their original, unopened packaging.

To meet US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, an active ingredient must be present in 90% to 110% of the amount indicated on the label. Drug expiration dates are set for 12 to 60 months after production, even though many compounds can persist far longer.

In the new analysis, 12 of the 14 active ingredients persisted in concentrations that were 90% or greater of the amount indicated on the label. These 12 compounds retained their full potency for 336 months (Dr. Bones 28 years) or longer. Eight of them retained potency for at least 480 months (dr. bones: 40 years). Dr. Cantrell’s team was unable to find a standard for homatropine, 1 of the 15 ingredients.

Only aspirin and amphetamine fell below the 90% cutoff. Phenacetin was present at greater than the cutoff in Fiorinal (butalbital, aspirin, caffeine, and codeine phosphate, but was considerably less in Codempiral No. 3. The authors attribute the deficit in Codempiral to conditions that led to preferential degradation of phenacetin because of its amide group, compared with codeine, which is also in Codempiral but is more chemically stable.

Three compounds persisted in greater than 110% of the labeled contents: methaqualone (in Somnafac), meprobamate (in Bamadex), and pentobarbital (in Nebralin). These relatively high amounts may reflect degradation of other components of the compounded drug, the fact that the samples were produced before FDA-instituted quality control measures in 1963, or inconsistencies of the analytical techniques between when the drugs were compounded and now.

The new findings are consistent with the efforts of the Shelf-Life Extension Program, which has extended the expiration dates on 88% of 122 drugs tested so far. Extensions range from 66 to 278 months.  “Our results support the effectiveness of broadly extending expiration dates for many drugs,” the researchers conclude. They also point out that extending shelf life can significantly lower costs to consumers.

Limitations of the analysis, the investigators write, include an inability to confirm the storage conditions of the drug samples, as well as imprecise dating of the samples. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

 **************************

For the preparedness community, this information is very important, as it lends credence to what I have been telling you all along:  get your medical supplies together, and don’t throw out drugs in pill or capsule form just because they have passed their expiration dates. 

What did I end up doing?

I kept most of the bottles of aspirin and acetaminophen, rotated them for use now and bought fresh ones for the emergency supply.  I tossed out items that had changed in appearance and odor such as  liquids that appeared darkened, bottles that had tablets that were crumbling.

My thanks to Dr. James Hubbard and Dr. James Alton for their prompt and thoughtful responses.   The prepper community is fortunate to have their expertise to help guide us regarding these issues.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Vote for Me!

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

 

 

Spam for Survival Storage

can of Spam

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

For anyone who has never tried Spam, it is a canned meat by Hormel, made of pork shoulder and ham.  It looks like a pink brick when you first take it out of the can.  A lot of people hate it, but there are a great number of fans out there.   My parents actually introduced me to Spam.  Since they were kids during World War II, they grew up eating Spam as a special treat.  Meat was scarce back then so having a little meat, even from a can, was a good thing.  My Mom made me Spam and cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise on white bread up until high school when I got too “grown up” to bring Mom’s lunches to school.

spam-pieces

When our family visited Hawaii a few years ago, we found fast food places like McDonald’s actually served Spam, egg and rice for breakfast. We tried it and it was pretty good.  They love Spam they actually had a Spam Festival.

There are lots of ways to cook Spam, but here are my favorites. 

Spam and rice 

Slice Spam into thin slices.  Fry in a bit of oil until browned and sprinkle sugar on top, and a few drops of soy sauce.  Serve with scrambled eggs and white rice. 

Breakfast sandwich

Make a breakfast sandwich with Spam, a fried egg and American cheese between two pieces of sliced bread.

I’ve had good results pan-frying Spam as well as cooking it on the grill, oven or convection oven.   I know it comes fully cooked but I prefer is cooked crisp and slightly browned.

This is not a paid endorsement and I have no connection to Hormel.  I am always on the lookout for inexpensive foods with have a good shelf life that the family likes.  It comes in various flavors such as bacon, black pepper, turkey, jalapeno and hickory smoke.  I think Spam is a worthy addition to the larder, as it is actually pretty tasty if you cook it the right way.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Vote for Me!

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

Surviving an Economic Collapse – Advice from Mark Goodwin, Author of The Economic Collapse Chronicles

American MeltdownMark Goodwin, who runs Prepper Recon has written two books in The Economic Collapse Chronicles:  American Exit Strategy and the recently released American Meltdown.  With all the fears about economic collapse, I was glad to have the opportunity to interview Mark about his thoughts on the best way to prepare.

1.   What do you think are the most likely disasters to prepare for and what is the best way for a beginner to be prepared?

I believe in preparing to survive without systems of support. Those types of conditions can be triggered by a hurricane, earthquake, EMP, solar flare, or socioeconomic upheaval. With that being said, I think the most likely scenario to trigger tough times is an economic collapse. I think the current monetary policies of the Federal Reserve are creating a massive amount of destructive energy in financial markets. The M2 money supply is around $11 trillion. That is up 57% since the beginning of the crisis in 2008. These are the types of things done by banana republics like Zimbabwe, not by the central bank of the world’s reserve currency. Zimbabwe, by the way, had a hyper-inflationary currency collapse, just like every other country in the past who has tried to print their way out of economic hardship. Argentina in 2001 suffered a similar fate, the Weimar Republic went through the same thin after World War I. It always ends the same. Now the US is doing the same thing and hoping that this time it will be different. Well, I hope this time is different than the other 599 fiat currencies that have failed throughout history, but I highly doubt it. If it is, from a statistical view, it would be considered an extreme outlier. Statistics tell us that the odds of a currency collapse are close to 100%.

For a beginner, the best thing you can do is to get on a budget. It doesn’t sound as cool as buying a bunch of guns and long term storage food, but it will keep you from creating your own persona SHTF moment. We don’t know what the meltdown will look like. For many folks, myself included, it has already meant losing a job and having to reinvent yourself. That is much easier to do if you have some savings and are already living within your means. If you are spending everything you make right now, you can’t survive a 10% pay cut, much less The End Of The World As We Know It.

2.   For an average person, what are ways to prepare for an economic collapse?

To prepare for the turmoil associated with a currency collapse, I am diversifying my assets away from dollars. I try to keep a portion of my assets in silver and gold. Unlike the 599 currencies throughout history that have failed, silver and gold have maintained their status of being stores of value since Genesis 13:2 which says “Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.” That is pretty much the beginning of time.

I am looking to purchase a bug out location. I hope that is something that will turn out to be a good investment. I hope to use it as a vacation spot and to be able to harvest timber from the land. There are several ways to monetize your bug out property between now and the apocalypse.

3.   What would you advice city dwellers on improving their chances to survive a disaster?

I recommend balancing Operational Security or OPSEC with getting out there and forming community. No one can survive on their own. OPSEC means not telling people that you are preparing and it seems to be juxtaposed to forming a community, but there is actually a middle ground. Don’t invite all of your neighbors over to show off your new gun. Instead, get to know your neighbors and get the conversation started. You can initiate conversation by talking about things that threaten your area. If you live in California, you can start talking about earthquake preparedness. If you live on the east coast, ask your neighbor how well they are prepared for a major hurricane. Most anyone can talk about the recent chemical spill in West Virginia. Ask your neighbors what they would do if they had no drinking water for a week.

3.  Please tell us a bit about your background.

I woke up from my normalcy bias in September of 2001. I realized how fragile our system was and understood that I wasn’t as safe as I though. I put together a bug out bag at that time and started taking responsibility for my own security. I think everyone should do that. The police can’t be everywhere at once, and we wouldn’t want them to be. Their main task is to show up and take a report after the crime has already been committed. Hopefully, they can catch he bad guy, but the damage has already been done.

In 2008 I realized how much I didn’t understand about the fragility of the financial system. I went to school and got my Accounting degree and independently studied our economic system. The more I learn, the more I want to be prepared. Two years ago, that turned into a passion for teaching others and I started PrepperRecon.com. Last year, that grew into a podcast where we have had some awesome guests like, James Rawles, John Rubino, Glenn Tate, Doug Casey, David Morgan, Ferfal, and Bernie Carr. All of those interviews are available to stream or download in the archives section on Prepper Recon by clicking the Prepper Recon Podcast tab at the top of the page.
I love prepper fiction, so I started writing it last year. I try to weave my knowledge of economics, politics, and survival into an action-packed tapestry of fast-paced, post-apocalyptic fiction. I think prepper fiction can be a useful tool for waking folks up to the need to prepare. I think it’s a great tool for seasoned preppers as well. It forces us to consider how we would deal with the situations in the book. We questions whether our preps and training would be adequate to survive the scenario.

5.  Any plans for other books?
Book Three of the Economic Collapse Chronicles will be out this summer. I may attempt a practical survival manual if the Lord opens the right doors. The first book of my next trilogy should be out by next winter. Whereas the Economic Collapse Chronicles pre-supposed the meltdown to be caused by incompetence and buffoonery on the part of the Federal Government, the next trilogy will look at the collapse as being a planned event.

Mark is giving away a copy of American Exit Strategy and American Meltdown.  To enter, just leave a comment regarding:

Are you concerned about a possible economic collapse?  How are you preparing?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, March 8 at 8 pm Central.*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.
THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Vote for Me!

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

Monday Musings: 3/3/2014

Monday Musings 332014This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps. 

First the updates:

Who won Prepper Pete Prepares?  Stephanie won the book.  She shared the following comment:  We are just now starting our kids on official preparation stuff, but, having several kids in of family, they have always had chores and have been taught how to cook at appropriate ages. We are starting with different ways of making fire and moving on to finding water and making shelter. Older kids should heave extensive preparation/survival knowledge and little ones should be brought up with it as a lifestyle. We hope to do just that.

Lots of info in one place.   I am happy to belong to the Prepared Bloggers group – you’ll find a wealth of information from this great group of bloggers.  https://www.facebook.com/PreparedBloggers

Now for the links…

Storage facilities and prepping  The author Jay MacDonald contacted me and a few other bloggers about storage facilities – check out http://blog.sparefoot.com/5457-doomsday-prepping-storage/

Here’s a good deal if you are interested in Ham Radio:  Ben at Advanced Survival Guide.com told me about this.  They do this program every year in hopes that it motivates folks to get their Ham ticket.  The Centerfire Antenna 2014 Ham Incentive Program begins on March 1st 2014 and ends on June 27th, 2014.

To defray the cost of the FCC Exam fees, Centerfire Antenna and US  Dipole are offering a $15.00 discount to all first time US hams and US hams that upgrade their license before the 2014 ARRL Field Day. You are eligible for this offer if you receive your first call sign or an upgraded license between March 1st, 2014 and June 27th, 2014.

More details are available at the Centerfire Antenna and US Dipole websites-click on the links below:

http://www.CenterfireAntenna.com
http://www.USDipole.com

Do it yourself solar power  You can buy solar chargers, but for those who want to learn how to do it yourself, here are a couple of interesting links:

Make your own solar power generator for less than $300

 How to Build a DIY Solar Laptop Charger

Here comes credit card debt  Adding to credit card debt when income is already dropping does not bode well but that is what’s happening.  See

 Personal income faces first year-over-year drop since recession ended: As incomes collapse, spending via consumer credit begins to increase.

I really need to stock up on this   Tea tree oil has so many uses, it’s a great addition to your emergency supplies.

9 surprising uses for tea tree oil

Even more uses for tea tree oil here

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Vote for Me!

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

Update on Homemade Vanilla

Homemade Vanilla  3 months

Homemade Vanilla 3 months

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Back in November, I started my homemade vanilla project.  Now that it’s been three months, I wanted to let you know how it’s coming along.

Every couple of weeks, whenever I remember to do so, I swirl the mixture around a few times.

The mixture has now turned a much darker brown.  As far as smell, the vodka smell is still lingering, but the vanilla smell has gotten much stronger.   I don’t think it is ready though, I feel it needs to sit for another couple of months before the flavor is strong enough to add to baking mixes.

I’ll let you know what happens!

Quick reminder:  There is still time to enter the giveaway  for Prepper Pete Prepares.   

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Vote for Me!

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

This Number Impacts you More than You Know

Application DeniedThere are always a lot of prepper discussions about relocating to a safer area, or purchasing rural property, but there is one factor that is often left out:  actually qualifying to buy or lease that place.  Whether you are an apartment dweller or home owner who is trying to move, there is one thing, besides income, that will always be a requirement when you are ready to apply for a lease or buy property:  your credit score.

Why you should check it now:

  • Your credit score is a big factor in determining whether your application to rent a new apartment or qualify for a loan to buy a property is accepted.
  • Many potential employers also check credit scores during the hiring process, so the score could impact your chances of getting a job.  This does not seem fair but that the way it is.
  • Credit history is also considered for calculating auto, renter’s or homeowner’s insurance premiums.  I know.  When I found this out I was shocked.  Insurance companies seem to feel that persons with bad credit are more likely to file a claim.
  • Another good reason to check your credit score is to watch for any signs of identity theft.

How to get a free copy of your credit report

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) entitles you to a free copy of your credit report each year.  Go to www.annualcreditreport.com  

Be careful if you are just searching online and try to get a free credit report from just any site- there are a lot of scams out there that try to lure you into ordering your report from them, but lock you into a paid subscription.  To be on the safe side, go the the Federal Trade Commission website for more information on getting your free credit report.

One free site that a friend recommended to get a quick look at your credit is creditkarma.com   They show what TransUnion, one of the big three credit reporting agencies reflects about you.  I gave it a try and I did not get any solicitations or suspicious tactics.

You won’t really be able to clean up your credit report completely, but you can point out any errors you find to the credit reporting agencies and they will research the items.  You can also have them add a explanation from you.   This process takes time, so ideally, if you haven’t checked already, you should do this 60-90 days before making a big purchase or moving.

What is a good credit score?  Generally a score above 700 portrays “good credit management” to a lender.

Money saving tip:

Every apartment or landlord will ask for an application and charge you a non-refundable fee to pull your credit.  The fee ranges from $25 to $40 (per person, so it’s double if you are applying with a spouse or partner)  and therefore can get pretty steep especially if you apply to several places.  If you get rejected, your application fee is not returned.  Before shelling out the money, try to find out the minimum score that they will accept.  Ask if they work with people that are below the cut-off, such as charge a higher rent, or if they reject them completely.  If yours is well below the cut-off, then you know you are likely to get turned down.  Save yourself the money and keep looking.

If you are buying a property or vehicle, some lenders work with people with less than stellar credit, but may do one or more of the following:  approve the loan at a higher interest rate, ask for a co-signer or a higher down payment.

Being prepared means identifying potential pitfalls that might trip you up.  Having a bad credit score could hurt your future chances for a job or a place to live.   That is why it is important for you to check it once a year.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Vote for Me!

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!