I’m not actually saving all that much money yet on the wood stove. I’m still making the payments on the loan as well as adding some hardwood. I sort of figured on those items as well as a bit of a learning curve on what wood to buy and how everything would work out in the long run. With that being said I have cut my electric use in half or more this winter so far and even with this early cold snap the wood stove is doing great! One of my goals for 2014 is paying off the stove early and to keep adding hardwoods through the year so that my woodpile is ready and paid off before the winter heating season begins next year. A part of my planning consists of there will be things I don’t plan for and it will add anywhere from 10-30% to the cost of my plans. It’s not perfect but usually the surprises are pleasant ones rather than those that leave you scrambling when you underestimate costs.
My spy reported in and one of my niece’s and family don’t have a grill. It’s probably silly that when I think of a grill or BBQ I think of family and friends getting together but to me that is sort of a cornerstone of family and community. Plus it gives the kids a way of cooking that is not grid dependent. Anyway my spy pumped them for info and seems to think they would love a little gas grill. So I will hit up Dad and see if we can deliver the grill next week or sometime this month for an Xmas present to them. It’s a very nice free standing Char Broil gas grill that I cleaned up and repainted so it looks almost new. I’m still deciding if I want to give them a full propane tank to go with it. I will have to see if I can replace the tank in a reasonable amount of time even if they blow me off. I’m not so worried about the “adults” but they have a little one and making sure the kid gets a hot meal is important to me!
I tried out one of the Bear Creek soup mixes and I have to say it was pretty good. My Mom says if you can find the soup mix under two dollars each it is a bargain and I agree. Two meals for a family four for under two dollars is a bargain and since most of the mixes only need water they would make a very simple and quick meal for almost anyone to prepare. What I’m going to do is repackage the mix for single servings and add them to my GHB and BOB but a family could easily use half a package of mix if they needed to bug out. I don’t think you can overestimate just how much a hot meal can mean to you mental well being when things are tough. Since you have time to plan ahead I think you should try and make things as easy as possible because if bad times hit you need every advantage you can make for yourself.