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Monday, November 1, 2010

Prepping On The Cheap

Isn't it amazing how quickly situations can change?  When I started prepping nearly 3 years ago, things were still 'good'.  The stock market hadn't yet crashed.  Food prices were low.  There were no rumors of shortages or hyperinflation.  I was a little worried about the quality of our food, but otherwise, it was good times in Happy-Town.  Fast forward 3 years and now we're on the brink of collapse with joblessness, foreclosures, homelessness and bankruptcies rocketing toward scary, unknown frontiers.  With a major mid-term election only hours away, I feel like I'm always on my toes.  Always watching, listening.  Now that my husband is laid off and commodity prices are ticking upward, resourceful prepping is more important to me than ever.  I'd like to share a few ideas that I find useful for prepping on the cheap and then I'd love to HEAR FROM YOU!   YOU are the lifeblood that's keeping Ohio Preppers Network alive and without you, well, I'm just talking to myself. 

Anywho, I'll be the first to admit that I'd love to sit down and write up an order for a years' supply of food and necessities and order it from one of those wowwy-zowwy preparedness websites, but that simply isn't in the works for me.  I can't afford it, and if I could afford it, I don't know if the frugalist in me would allow it to happen.  There are so many great ways to find necessities free or cheap in your own backyard!  Here are just a couple suggestions.

Freecycle:  If you haven't joined your local Freecycle, what are you waiting for?  It's a wonderful resource for finding what you need and purging what you want to get rid of.  You do have to register to participate, but beyond that, you choose your level of involvement.  Got a pile of old magazines, out-of-date clothes, gadgets or gizmos taking up valuable space?  Freecycle them!  Looking for food-grade 5 gallon buckets, wool blankets or backpacks for bug-out bags?  Post on Freecycle and more than likely, you'll find what you're looking for.  Freecycle is also an invaluable resource for seasonal goods.  Like bales of straw and pumpkins...post for them the day after Halloween and you'll be surprised at the responses.  I've come away with seasonal fruit like pears and Serviceberries, strawberry starts and raspberry canes.  And once in a while, I'm able to bless someone with that desperately-needed item they're looking for.  It's a win-win situation! 

Craigslist:  This is probably a no-brainer, but what a great place to look for gently used goods.  As always, be careful who you talk to.  Craigslist is full of scam artists and cons, but you can find a wide range of prepping necessities online.  From plastic barrels for rain catchment to woodstoves and everything in between, Craigslist is a great place to search before you shell out the money for new items. 

Menards/Ollies:  I've heard great things about Menards, although we aren't blessed with one locally.  From what I understand, there are some amazing deals to be had through their rebate program.  Combined with low prices, the rebate program further reduces your out of pocket and sometimes, the items are even free!  I'm sure Shelly will chime in and give complete details (right, Shelly?)  We have an Ollie's store nearby and if you watch what you're doing, you can come away with some real steals.  Again, Ollie's offers a frequent shoppers card allowing for special discounts and rebates.  Check them out!

Yard sales/Tag sales/Auctions:  These must be a prepper's best friend.  There is simply no better place to find good wool items, camping and outdoor supplies, non-electric appliances, storage units, oil lamps and the like than at yard sales.  Say what you want, but people don't know what they have!  We live in such a wasteful, lazy, convenience-based environment, people see no use for a pressure canner or Grandma's canning jars.  Why use that camp stove when they can simply eat out?  And who wears wool sweaters when you can just turn up the heat?  Well friends, their loss is our gain.  WE see the usefulness in those items and will gladly take them off their hands for a pittance of what they're worth!!!

Bartering:  While not exactly a resource, bartering is a very important skill!  Some of my favorite finds weren't purchases, but bartered goods!  Like an old concrete laundry sink that I use outdoors for cleaning root veggies and dirty children - I traded a trailer full of concrete fill for it.  An old treadle sewing machine that just needs some TLC - a dozen jars of homemade fruit butter, pickles and jam.  When you're bartering, especially with friends and neighbors, you just can't be afraid to ask.  What may be meaningless to you, may be invaluable to them.  And really, can you think of a better time to brush up on your bartering skills than NOW while you don't need to rely on them?          

Grandma's house:  That sounds shameful, but hear me out!  My grandparents survived the Depression and WWII,  a couple economic downturns, the gas shortages of the 70's.  The know how to survive.  They know how to make do when need be.  They know quality goods never go out of style.  I bet Grandpa still has that old cast iron hand-cranked meat grinder he used to process home-raised beef back in the 40's.  And I bet Grandma still has that 1935 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook-the one with recipes that didn't call for pre-made ingredients.  And somewhere in the basement is Great-Grandma Mary's schoolbooks from the 1880's....the ones that really gave you an education.  I'm not suggesting that you rob Grandma blind.  I'm not suggesting that you take items when Grandpa isn't looking.  I'm suggesting that you ask about them.  If your grandparents are anything like my grandparents, they'd love to see you putting to good use something they found helpful in their younger days.

Well, there you go.  Those are my favorite resources for prepping on the cheap.  In the times to come, when you can't just get online and charge what you want,  I think resourcefulness is going to be an important skill set, so you might as well start now.  Now it's your time to share: what are your best tips for prepping on the cheap?             

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1 comment:

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Great article, Andrea! You have some great ideas there. I also love CVS and Walgreens for great freebies!

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