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Friday, February 27, 2009

More money saving tips

Below is on the comment section of the site, I thought I would repost the idea's here because they are terrific, and important to remember.

A few other tips:
Whenever we put something in storage, we write the expiration date on the lid/package with a Sharpie - it makes it a lot easier to find the date in the future Then we organize by that date. That way we can rotate things that are approaching the expiration date.

Don't forget to buy some toiletries whenever they're on sale. You might still want to brush your teeth or wipe your butt once in a while!

Your right, hygiene is very important.

Thanks for contributing to the site,, your idea's are always welcome!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Financial tips on how to stock up

One of the hardest parts of stocking up is being able to afford the extra supplies. To get your finances in order you have to budget. You have to know exactly what is coming in and going out. Some people say they budget, but yet, can't tell you how much they actually spend a month in groceries, they have a budget for groceries, but never actually keep reciepts and add up exactly what they spend. Do it for a month and you may be surprised, i was. For one month I used my debit card for all purchases including food, pop, candy, gas, eating out and any errands with the exception of monthly bills, which were checks. At the end of the month I added up our expenses in seperate columns. I spent $100 more on going out to eat then I thought and i spent $300 a month extra in groceries than i had budgeted for. And i spent $50 more a month in gas than I budgeted for. That was $450 more in one month than I thought. i always thought I was pretty frugal until that time. If you don't like to use your debit card and pay cash for everything, put all your reciepts in an envelope and save them for one month.

My next goal was to cut out things I considered a luxury. This was hard. I had to define what is a want and what is a need. I've had the same spending habits for years, but I made a decision, I was going to cut the expenses for my family. We cut out eating out completely, I cut out all comfort foods, i made a grocery list and did all my errands that day instead of running somewhere everyday. This really helped cut down our expenses. Once we knew our actual budget we started going back out to eat once per month. We put back about $75 a month into eating out and comfort foods - after all, you can't give up everything! All I'm saying is be selective.

My next goal was to tackle our food bill. I spent alot of money on the kids food. As i looked over my grocery reciepts I found alot of things I could make instead of purchase. All these years i just bought their food at the grocery store and because life was always busy I never gave it a second thought. I bought some Amish cookbooks and started cooking alot from scratch. Including most of the snacks we eat in the house. Here is some of the money saving tips I have done to cut down our budget.

-cookies/snacks for the kids

-their cereal in the morning

-I learned to water bath can for their fruit

-I learned to pressure can for stews and soups

-I bought a clothesline ( retractable to take up less room - this saved $30 a month on the electric bill)

-I freeze left over meals that can be reheated another day

-bought a food saver to package flour, salt, etc.

-made my own jam

-bought powdered pudding instead of pudding cups

-made bread from scratch instead of buying specialty loaves

The last item is a catagory in itself and deserves some attention. The biggest monthly spending expense I cut out was purchasing commerical laundry soap. This is my biggest beef against consumerism,, purhasing commercial products and paying more but getting less quantity. Instead of spending $25 a month in laundry soap, I now spend about $40 a year, simply by mixing it myself. Here is the recipe,

1/2 cup of Borax
1/2 cup of super washing soda
1/3 bar of Fels Naptha. - you can use Ivory if you can't find fels naptha

Grate 1/3 of the Fels Naptha into a container with your measured out borax and Super Washing Soda. Mix ingredients together and use.
The directions say to use 2 tbsp. of soap per load. I use about 4 tbsp. per load.

If you research making your own laundry soap there is a recipe for making your own liquid soap. I would suggest to you not to use it, which is why it is not listed here. From my reserach, you cannot melt down commercial soap (like fels naptha) without releasing harmful chemicals into the air. We want to cut down costs, but not to the risk of our health.

Using these cost cutting measures enabled me to purchase anything at the store while the items were on sale. I make use of the 10 for $10 sales, save-a-lot for some things and Sam's Club for basic staples. Now, I only purchase food items while they are on sale, using coupons help also.

If anyone would like a recipe for anything either leave a comment or e-mail me and i will be happy to share with you. If you have a cost saving measure you have found useful, e-mail me and i will post it on here to share.

Our next topic will be gardening and we will focus on Hybrid seeds versus heirloom seeds.

Rain barrels in Michigan

I am thinking of getting rain barrels this summer to help ease the water bill with summer watering for the garden. If you have a water purifyer the water it can be for a lot of other uses. My problem was any water barrel i found was over $100 each. To expensive.

I was looking over Craigslist and came across someone who was selling them for $58 a piece. In one month one water barrel will pay for itself. I am reposting the ad (with permission from the owner) in case anyone in Michigan needs one. He will be in Ann Arbor March 21st in the early afternoon. Here is the ad:

These heavy duty rain barrels have a SOLID BRASS faucet at the bottom so you can connect your garden hose, an overflow on the side and a hole in the top where you can connect your downspout. The overflow on the side can be used if you want to connect 2 or more barrels together.
These are CLEAN, plastic 55 gallon FOOD GRADE barrels. ** They have never contained anything but food grade products, EVER.
Every rain barrel comes complete with all hardware installed, just add water! The standard color is blue. Also available painted in green or brown to match your house or trim for just $64.
Shipping them individually is very expensive, so here is what I am going to do. I will bring down a trailer load, from West Michigan. I'm not looking for cash upfront, just a verbal commitment and how many you want. I will drive down to Detroit if enough folks show an interest. At that point you you can buy one, two or as many as you requested, and pay for them when you pick them up. Lets help reduce, reuse & recycle. They're great gifts for friends and family also.Only ¼ inch of rain is needed to fill a 55 gallon barrel. 55 gallons can cover about 100 sq feet with 1 inch of water. This can go along way in offsetting garden and lawn watering needs in the spring and summer when water consumption increases anywhere between 50 and 200%. Capturing rain water in a barrel before it hits the ground decreases storm water runoff , which carries pollutants from paved surfaces into our groundwater, lakes and rivers. You can save money by saving rain water - if your water is supplied by your city and you also use city sewer - more often than not the sewer usage is measured by your incoming water. So you are still paying sewer fees on the water that you use to water your lawn, your garden, and wash your car! SAVE RAINWATER, SAVE MONEY, SAVE the ENVIRONMENT! The barrels could pay for themselves in the 1st year.


You can click on the link here to e-mail him, or you can e-mail me and i will get your order to him. Be sure to specify how many you will want and what color. Keep in mind BLUE is $58. GREEN or BROWN is $64

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why Prepare?

Years ago when a person would hear the word "prepare" or "survivalist" various images would come to a person's mind. Maybe someone in a military uniform or a person stockpiling food, water and guns, and you would chuckle to yourself thinking you would never be like that.

And you may not want to be. But I will tell you something those people won't be doing. They won't be going hungry, they won't be standing in soup lines, they won't be defenseless when crime skyrockets, and they won't be struggling as much as other people when the government crumbles. Why? Because they prepared for rough times. Because they *prepared*. Not neccessarily for a government takeover, but in case of any situation. An economic collapse and financial collapse is deemed *any situation*.

If there was ever a time to prepare in Michigan, this would be the time. Unemployment is in double digits here, more people are applying for state assistance, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve started with the word "Recession" and changed it to "Deep Recession" the next word would be "Depression". Now is the time to take control of your life and future. Now is the time to prepare.

Michigan is going through a change that we haven't seen in my lifetime. Gone are the days of thinking we deserve certain luxuries, and gone are the days when a good excuse will get you out of a situation that you don't want to be in, and gone are the days of self entitlement, easy credit and the easy road. I keep hearing local people say " I can't wait until this is over". My question to them is "Who says it's going to be over any time soon?". And who do they expect to come in and make this mess go away? They never seem to have an answer.

The good thing is it's never to late to start preparing and providing for your family. If you have come upon this site and don't know where to turn, keep up with this blog and i will teach you from the beginning to end. When you get to the end you will wonder why you didn't start a long time ago!

Next topic will be getting your finances in order.

Welcome to The Michigan Preppers Network

Thank you for viewing the Michigan Prepper's Network. There is finally a place we can come and have a virtual network in one place. I am very excited about this.

One of the most exciting things is this network is for all of us to distribute information to each other, for experienced prepper's to lend a hand to new preppers, and for new prepper's to know it can be done.

Please feel free to e-mail me with any topic you would like to see on this blog. If there is a topic you want to know about, chances are other people will want to know about it so don't be shy to speak up and leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.
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Kathy will be operating the the Michigan Preppers Network. Welcome Kathy!! If there' s anyone who would like to to be a Team Member and Contribute, Please leave a comment.
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