Saturday, August 28, 2010
I was thinking just how much food could be bought for $700 or $800. I feed a family of 3 or 4 or 5 or however many people show up at mealtimes for much, much less that what the government will give. I spend about $300 a month for food but I am buying for the present and also the future.
For example, today I bought several different varieties of pasta totaling 15 pounds. I also bought 15 cans of spaghetti sauce. The pasta cost .85 a pound and the sauce was .78 per 26 ounce can. For under $25 I bought somewhere between 15 and 30 meals. If I figure 25 meals that's a dollar a meal. Not a dollar per person but a dollar per meal! Now you may say that that's not enough food for a meal and you are right. Remember, I have a garden and the fruits or vegetables served for the meal came from the yard. I usually make a loaf of bread. That costs about .15 - .25 depending on what I put into it. Then there's milk if I don't make a fruit drink. That's .75 per quart. So a full dinner for somewhere between three and 5 people costs TWO DOLLARS.
Breakfast this morning was eggs from our chickens, nectarine/plum/orange juice, and raisin bread (homemade of course). I went all out on the bread and put cinnamon sugar into the batter. Breakfast cost twenty five cents this morning. I fed five people this morning but it wouldn't have mattered how many we served. I don't always get away so cheap at breakfast. The kids do like eating cereal. I buy sugar junky cereal because they like it. I buy the stuff in bulk. It costs about .12 per ounce. I let them have two ounces. With their milk a cereal breakfast will cost about a dollar. Even if I make pancakes or waffles or something, breakfast doesn't usually cost more than a dollar. The most expensive breakfast? ONE DOLLAR.
What about lunch? Today our friend treated us to a pizza. We also snacked on the free stuff at Costco. Otherwise lunch isn't a big deal. It's either left overs from the night before or a sandwich of some sort. With tuna shrinking to a five ounce can it's hard to get three sandwiches out of it. But we still do. Sixty cents for the tuna. Bread is about 10 cents since it's home made. Milk, another quarter. Depending on how many people are eating. TWO DOLLARS.
Now you may say what about meat? You are right. We do eat meat. I just don't spend a lot. When I was growing up we'd each get our own steak each night. If I did that now we'd spend between ten and twenty dollars a day just for meat. No, not us. We have friends that hunt. We fish. At the most we spend about a dollar or two for meat. TWO DOLLARS.
I've just explained how we spend between five and seven dollars a day for food. That's around $200 a month to eat well. I'm feeding at least four people each day and I spend around $300 a month. The other hundred is being used to increase my food storage. If I was getting food stamps and WIC I'd have an extra $500 a month!!!!! I'd be putting lots of food away for a rainy day.
Do people who receive food stamps eat this way? Of course not! They can buy all sorts of things. Soda, candy, potato chips, steak each night. I know because some of our neighbors eat this way. They also throw away a lot of wasted food. They waste because they didn't have to pay for their food so they don't associate having to work hard for it.
This column today isn't to put down folks on food stamps. Not at all. I'd like you to try to rethink your eating habits. Try to get back to the basics of eating. Each dinner should have either rice or beans or pasta. Take a piece of meat the size of your fist and make it feed your entire family. Pretend it is 50 or 75 years ago. Would the food you just bought be something that was eaten daily? Was it even invented back then? I know that we have fruit and vegetables grown here at home. Spend a dollar or two per day on fresh fruits and vegetables. I don't mean the two dollar a pound stuff. I mean the fifty cent a pound. Buy a pound of carrots, a pound of cabbage, a pound of bananas, and an apple or two. That's two dollars.
See if you can eat for THREE DOLLARS per person per day. You should be able to eat like kings! The rest of the money you get on your food stamps should be able to be put into food storage.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
A trick that we have around here is that when everything is laundered and put away there is a place for it all to go. There are enough hangers, enough drawer space, and enough shelf space. What I have found is that most people hate doing laundry so they don't do it often. Then they need so many clothes that they don't have the space to put it all away when it's clean. Nothing more stupid than to wash your clothes only to keep them on the floor or bed or sofa to get tossed around and thrown back into the laundry because nobody knows if they are clean or dirty.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
We like to eat, don't you? I don't like to spend a lot of money on food. It's not that I don't have the money to spend; it's that I don't want to. I'm not always successful though. After all, I'd rather eat at In-n-Out than make hamburgers at home. So once a month we will go out to eat at some cheap place.
We have a garden. We raise animals. We enjoy this except for when the weather is really hot or really cold. This means that we enjoy our outdoor activities about half the time. This is fine for now because we don't have to take our garden or animal raising seriously at this time. But we can switch to the serious mode in any instant. The garden will be ready if we need to commit more than 30 minutes a day.
Our garden is big. Others have seen my garden and comment about why in the world would I grow as much food as I do? I can food from the garden. I always have a year or two supply on hand plus what we get to eat fresh. I also vary the garden each year. A couple of years ago I grew about ½ acre of corn. That is a lot of corn considering we weren't selling any of it. We ate corn raw straight off the stalk. We cooked corn for dinner. I froze a bunch on the cob. We picked bushels which I steamed then dried. The kids took off the kernels. We then stored the dried corn into buckets. We had about 100 pounds of dried corn. There was an awful lot left. What did I do with the rest? We gave plenty to the local homeless shelter. The rest went to feed the animals. They liked it.
Our animal collection is pretty basic. We can't have too many because we don't have a lot of land to support them. I'll talk about our animals another day. I've read some pretty ridiculous things on some survival sites about animals. I don't want to raise chickens or rabbits in my garage. I don't want to eat the squirrels that try to invade my garden (I said try…I'm a good shot).
We also have fruit and nut trees. I can't think of a better gift to give someone than a fruit or nut tree. This I will also talk about another day. The variety of fruits capable of growing in my neck of the woods is amazing. I could eat a different type of fruit each day for a month without repeating. More on this in the future as well.
Monday, August 16, 2010
You may think TEOTWAWKI will happen somewhere else and not in your neck of the woods. After all, you survived (you fill in the blank). Whether you live in an area with hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, winter storms, or in my case, none of the above, few people have been inconvenienced for more than a couple of weeks at most. People may have lost their homes due to a catastrophe but there wasn't mass starvation or total anarchy to go along with that home loss. Even the LA Riots were relegated to a small area.
I can't really say what made me start thinking about having a self sufficient household. Perhaps it was in the 1980s when one of my friends belonged to LDS church. I was fascinated by their food storage programs but I didn't like that they emphasized using four basic items: wheat, powdered milk, honey, and salt. My friend had these items but they were stored away in containers and never used. I didn't think that a crisis time would be a good time to start trying how to make gluten. I knew there had to be a better way.
But it's not just about food. It's also about your home, your safety, and your peace of mind - both physically and spiritually. In the worst case scenario there may not be food, water, fuel, power, or civilized society. Most sites tell you to head for a small town or near wilderness. You are advised to buy a big chunk of property with a spring and a rarely used dirt road as your entrance. For most of us this isn't feasible, yet we also want to be ready for whatever the future entails.
Our family won't pack up and move – at least not for the next half dozen years. I suppose I could quit my job and move away with not much money in the bank hunker down somewhere else. But I have to weigh the value of us moving to a distant place or staying where we are, which is near family, friends, and our religious community. There is value to having the kids spend time with their cousins each week and going to religious training each week. So we stay on our couple of acres in this medium sized town in our highly populated state of California.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
What If today was the last day that the stores were open and full of supplies? What If the fuel supplies were cut? What If the electricity went out for good? What If I couldn’t get my propane tank filled? What If my family had to live on what I had on hand here at home? What If? What if I woke up tomorrow morning and realize TSHTF while I was sleeping? What if TOMORROW was the day? No advance warning…
When I broach the subject with my family or friends they just laugh it off, yet they’d all choose my house to shelter at when their ill preparations went sour. They would all congregate towards my property and expect that we’d all be able to survive together. They all naively assume that because I have a few acres we’d somehow all be fine. I know very few people that I would want to live with for the short term, let alone the long term and in a stressful situation. My What If scenario does not include adding people into our household who have nothing to offer. I don’t need someone whose only ability is to complain about having to follow household rules or who wants to sit around and play video games all day.
But bringing the What If back to this moment. I’m not ready. I’d like to think I am, but in reality life would be very difficult if the power went out and the stores shut down tomorrow morning. So since I admit I’m not ready, and to be fully prepared will take months, ok let’s get back to reality, years since I don’t have unlimited funds or unlimited time. Where does that leave you? Either you just give up and say you’ll just keep reading blogs and pray that TEOTWAWKI won’t happen where you live or you get serious about preparing for yourself and your family. NOW!
This blog will post stories of what we have done, what we are doing, and what we plan on doing in the future. Stay with us and learn.