While some are cheering that the Government shutdown has ended, I’m not very happy about us playing this game again in Jan 2014. I’m not one of those people that want the collapse to happen so we can fix it and move on. I believe it will be quite bad and everyday before it happens is another day to prepare and for people to wake up. If you are on a limited income or dependent on the government for that income like me, not getting a check is darn scary and I am fairly well prepared. Three months is not a lot of time to get prepared if you are on a limited income or are living paycheck to paycheck. I’m not going to go through all the things you should have on hand but you will need to prioritize to get the most out of each dollar you spend. I figure covering some of the great multi-taskers and a couple of items I like would help anyone get the most bang for each dollar!
- Vinegar: You can buy a gallon of White vinegar for $2.00-$3.00 and it has many uses from cleaning windows, clothes, setting dyes, drain cleaner along with being a good source of vitamin C, great for marinades/salad dressing and cleaning fresh vegetables. Do a search and you will be surprised at all the things vinegar can do.
- Baking soda: From cleaning to baking, upset stomachs, toothpaste and great for putting out fires baking soda is a must for any prepper. You can buy this cheap and have several boxes on hand. Baking soda is great for odor control for kitty’s litter box or if you need to use a portable/bucket toilet. Like vinegar do a search and you will see that baking soda is a great multi-tasker.
- Construction grade garbage bags: I prefer 3 mil thick at least on these bags. Besides being good for cleanup can blackout your windows or even be used as a temporary repair if a window is broken. They are very light weight and can be used as a tarp/tent in your BOB, filled with some water and set out to absorb the suns heat as a solar water heater. Place it in the poo bucket as an additional barrier, close off rooms for some one that is ill or to retain heat. Since these bags are much stronger than everyday trash bags they are great for holding trash if the trash trucks are not running. Heck you could use them as washing machine for light loads by adding a few clothes, soap, a bit of water close the top and massage the water through the clothes. Use your imagination and I bet you will find all kinds of uses for these bags and while they are a bit more expensive than regular garbage bags they hold up to more abuse and weight.
- Newspaper: Can take the place of paper towels on a lot of jobs from absorbing oil to cleaning windows. When shredded it make a good temporary insulation or works as a “Brown” in a compost pile. Makes starting a fire much easier and can even be rolled into paper logs for a fireplace or wood stove. Free or cheap via advertising papers like the “American Classifieds/Thrifty nickel” or your own subscriptions. If you aren’t saving news paper start!
- Buckets: I have found you can never have to many buckets and you can store a lot of them in a small space. Check out the bakery and deli at your local mega-mart and see if they give away or sell used food grad buckets. Most farm and home improvement stores sell 5 gallon buckets for $3.00-$5.00. You are probably going to be moving a lot of stuff with muscle power and these buckets make that easier. Depending if the bucket is food grade or not you can store bulk foods, start a small indoor garden, move water, use them as a sink/shower or as a toilet.
- Non electric alternatives: Can openers, get a heavy duty one and not the dollar store special. I managed to break the handle of one of the dollar store types and I’m not exactly all that strong. Coffee maker, I like the French press type instead of a percolator because of cost and the French press type never boil over. Bow saw, Will cut wood if you need to clear a road or your yard and are great for trimming limbs in your yard year round, get several blades as backup.
- Cash on hand: You got to pay bills and buy stuff and folks are required by law to accept FRNs. Put whatever you can afford of small bills in your GHB, BOB and in a different pocket or area of your wallet or purse. I would suggest $20.00 or smaller bills and add a little change like a roll of quarters. If you are in a store or at a gas station and the money system goes down you can still pay cash and get the heck out of there before folks start to freak out. Start saving those dollars if you haven’t already, don’t eat out, forget the latte, pack a lunch. Take only enough cash with you for what you need to buy that day. You might be surprised by how much money trickles through your finger a little here and a little there.
Now these a few things I have used to save money and become better prepared. I love multi-taskers because they save money as well as storage space.