Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Family's Progress

The last several days have been good for stockpiling, because my family and I came into a little extra cash – nothing big, but enough to make some progress toward our food- and gear-storage goals.

We shopped sales, like we normally do. One of the local grocery stores had all sorts of great stuff on sale. Canned goods that are normally two bucks or more were ten for ten dollars, so we stocked up on everything from canned pinto beans to tomatoes. We also got a buttload of bacon because it was on mad sale. Extra salt, pepper, and other spices went into the shopping cart, along with staples like rice.

I grabbed a crank-powered, LED flashlight because, even though we have batteries and several flashlights, diversity isn’t a bad thing. However, the marine flashlight is still with the get-home bag, because the body’s square (and weather resistant). If I have to put it on the ground to, say, change a flat tire in the dark, I don’t have to worry about it rolling into a ditch, or running out of juice because I didn’t crank it long enough.

There are even more Ziploc bags here now, too, along with tin foil and wax paper. We added more sandwich bags, too, for lunches. I’ve decided, this semester, to take lunch to school instead of hitting the dollar menu at Wendy’s. I’m saving only two bucks a week, but still: that will buy a few cans of veggies, or some rice. Why spend the money on a crappy burger when I can contribute something to the family’s food stash, right?

The local Walmart is finally carrying a store-brand version of Excedrin Migraine, which is fantastic news. Walmart’s version comes in two packs of 100 pills each…for four dollars. I can’t get one tiny bottle of Excedrin Migraine for that price, so I grabbed two boxes. If this stuff doesn’t work (that, however, is doubtful) for me, someone might barter with me for it later.

Mom and I stopped in at the flea market. We filled two plastic grocery bags with paperbacks for about twenty dollars: a great deal when you consider how much we love books around here. When there’s not much else to do but read, we’ll be basically set, I think.

While we were there, I looked for cast-iron cookware. We found a pan that was made in Taiwan, and didn’t look very sturdy or well made. A skillet from China was automatically ruled out because it didn’t look any better than the other one. Mom prefers Wagner or Lodge for cast-iron cookware, because she knows and trusts those brands. Do any of you have other suggestions? Is there another brand that you’ve found to be reliable, well made, etc.? Mom prefers cast iron without wooden handles, incidentally, and she has no problem seasoning the cookware herself.

I did, however, find an IBM “M” model keyboard for two bucks. For those of you who don’t know: these keyboards are the “clicky” kind, and hold up for years and years. Some people are still using the same ones that came with the IBM computers they bought YEARS ago. I had to order an adapter as well as a replacement buckle-spring assembly (a key on the number pad is stuck). However, I still made out like crazy with this one, because these old keyboards cost at least fifty bucks on eBay and at sites that specialize in refurbishing and reselling them.

Besides: I can’t get a new keyboard for two bucks, plus my other expenses, and new ‘boards definitely don’t hold up to all the typing that I do. (English major…freelance writer…survival blogger…I’m at the keyboard several hours a day.) The new ‘boards – even “nice” ones – die within two years, if that long, despite good care and maintenance.

When you come into a little extra cash, take it to the grocery store: even if it’s only ten extra dollars, that money will put you closer to your food- or gear-supply goal. Buy extra batteries for the flashlights, or stock up during one of the local grocery store’s canned-goods sales.

But even when you don't have that bonus money, buy something extra - give up some small thing that you don't have to have so that you can afford to put away some food or other necessities. It might not SEEM like you’re doing anything when you come home with only a small amount of extras every week, but keep going. Every time you add to the stockpile, you’re giving yourself extra time to either ride out the situation that we’re facing…or get the other plans up and going (like the garden).

Stay focused, stay motivated, and stay safe, folks. Every time I look around, it seems like the world’s getting nuttier and nuttier. We don’t have to be part of that, though!

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“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
-George OrwellAnimal Farm