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I need some advice on how to prep when you're broke! I have a family of 4 and have put together a very minimal BOB and a small bit of canned goods and water. (I've been a prepper in my mind for a long time. Just not in my wallet!) it seems like every time I get a little bit stored, we have to use some of the groceries to make it to payday. I guess I can call that "rotating my stock" but I can't ever get ahead. Suggestions please!
 

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Your on the right track. I find myself using stored gas for my van when the cash runs low.

At least you had food stored to help your family through the low spots. That is your emergency, you dealt with it.

Buy what you can, when the extra money allows it, and try not to worry. You are at least 90% ahead of the rest of the people out there. Stay on course.
 

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AquaHull is exactly right, you are 90% ahead of most familes out there. Since you have access to a computer, check out craigslist in the "free" area. Many cities have a curbside free classified. Check local classifieds for deals in your area as well. Do you have land for a garden? If not, search on here for bucket gardens. Do you hunt or fish or know someone that hunts/fish so they can take you on the next outing? During deer season, you can "rack" up a lot of beef and split it with your hunting partner. If you drink 2L sodas, then save the bottles for extra water for water storage. If you have items that you can sell that you no longer use, then sell on ebay, craigslist or have a yard sale.

BTW, welcome to the forum!
 

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I agree with Aquahull and Survival. Look at the positive here...your prepping is already paying off if you've needed to dip into your reserves. That's what it's there for (when you need something to eat and do not have any other means of getting food). At least you had something extra to get you by until payday. However, I know what you mean.

At Walmart, you can get 1-pound bags of dry beans and white rice for roughly $1-$1.50. Every time I would go there to buy groceries, I'd pick up an extra bag or two. Now I have about 50 lbs of white rice and 50 lbs of various dry beans stored up. You can also get salt very cheap, as well. When we had some extra money saved up, then I purchased some mylar bags and oxygen absorbers online (ordered just enought for my rice and beans to begin with).Then I purchased individual cans of soup, canned chicken, Spam, canned vegetables and Chef Boy-r-de over the following weeks (just buy an extra can or two or three when you can.) That is how my food supply started.

Also, the holidays are fast approaching. If you have family members asking what they can get you for Christmas, tell them flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, a propane stove from Wal-mart, extra small bottles of propane, etc.

Most of my stored medical supplies come from the dollar store (The Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar). I NEVER pay more than $1 for each item - band aides, medical tape, gauze, Neosporin, anti-itch cream, peroxide, alcohol, etc.

For clothes for the bug out bags, go to the Goodwill, thrift store or yard sales. Most people don't have enough clothes to take away from their closets now. And clothes are expensive enough to buy new for everyday wear. Our BOB needs to contain items that we won't miss or need each day. So you can get the more expensive items - jeans, shirts, coats, etc - used. I also bought extra blankets for the vehicles from the Goodwill.

Hopefully some of these ideas will work for you, too. I understand how frustrating it is getting started. You want to buy months' worth of everything from the start. I am still a very newbie prepper and after all these weeks have finally accumulated one month's worth of food and water. Hang in there and know that you are not alone!
 

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Welcome to the forums, they are all right, and coupons and sales have been saving me just saved 46% of $50 so every little bit helps, I save my 2lt bottles like survival said they will rack up. Just follow these guys, they know what they are talking about, and don't worry about the money situation I am in the same boat have family of only 2 but I have not worked going on 2 months so it crazy out there. Do what you can when you can all we can do....
 

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It sounds like you are getting plenty of advice on stocking up... so let me add some advice in other areas. Prepping is also about knowledge. Since you obviously already have access to the internet, spend your free time researching. This forum is a great source and the people on it are more than willing to answer any questions you have. Youtube has become a super valuable source of info on prepping. But... don't watch one video per subject and think you have the answers. There are plenty of idiots out there... but their videos are classic example of what not to do... or how to overcome common mistakes. by watching a variety... you get a better idea of what to do and that may help you in the future.

Second.... start putting your knowledge to use. Start planning bug out routes.... start planning what supplies to purchase with any emergency funds you have on hand if things start getting ugly out there. Plan a bug out location. Start planning personal BOBs and vehicle BOBs and slowly fill them in as money becomes available.

Make prepping a fun family event. Take the family to the woods.... and make it a friendly competition to start a fire with one match... to find edible plants... to find animal tracks... to identify trees, animals or birds. If you have a digital camera.... start taking the family on local hikes to get to know the area... take photos of the land that will help you identify and learn the area and pics of plants to take home and identify. A camera is a great reason to get out and get in shape.

Finally... work on your positive attitude. The reality is that most people feel lost and that they don't know what to do. You'd be surprised what some good old common sense will do for you in a survival situation. Set up some "scenarios" for yourself and have the family discuss ways you could solve them.... from the obvious to the "we only have these items so what do we do" situation. And don't discount your children. Their opinion counts from multiple perspectivef: First... kids have a simple way of looking at things that usually gets straight to the problem. Second... by showing that you value their opinion... even when you find some answers personally ridiculous or goofy... you encourage them to participate in your prepping and it provides you an opportunity to correct them (i.e. educate them on what you have already learned).

Just my 2 cents...
 

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I've added my survival food into a couple meals a week to get my system used to it and to make sure it doesn't go bad. Only store what you'll eat, it'll take a few tries to get it right and to find something palatable.

Canned chicken,condensed chicken noodle soup,ramen noodles and cream of mushroom soup all mixed up is tasty for me. Add some broccoli or green beans or peas for color.

It doesn't take much energy to cook the ramen noodles and the rest just needs to be warmed.

A can of chunky style soup over ramen nooldles is quick and easy.

I don't use the sodium flavor packet that comes with the noodles either.
 

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I have a insulated soft side 6 pack cooler with tuna in foil, cheese and crackers, some apple cinnamon health bars, single serving peanut butter that I take out each day to the van for travel and bring in each night. That way I always have food with me.

I'll let you decide if I have any personal protection equipment with me.
 

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For years my wife and I lived on my paycheck alone, as a warehouse worker then as warehouse manager. We never had money for "extras" that some people take for granted. Big TV's, smart phones, fancy cars, new clothes other than work jeans, etc. We were, in fact still are, the so-called working poor.
But we perservered, scrimped, saved, made do and did without. And did it with no help from the government.
When my wife goes grocery shopping, she only buys whats on sale; and uses coupons as well. When canned green beans are 2 (or 3) for a dollar we buy 12 cans. Next week some other type can goods will be on sale, buy 10 or 12. When buying rice, big bags (25# or more) are cheaper in the long run. Dehydrated potatoes last a long time. There are certain aisles we avoid - like where they stock the Cheetos and potato chips.:-D
We eat a lot of spagetti - it's cheap.
She bakes bread, grows vegetables, and living where we do, we are able to keep chickens for the eggs.
We have not had credit cards for 25 years, if we can not pay cash we don't need it.
You have mentioned that you have used some put-back food to make it until payday. That's what it's there for - an emergency. Do not feel guilty for using it.
One important thing you should not overlook is mindset. I know it's not always possible to remain positive, but try not to get stuck in a rut.
I personally say the Serenity Prayer a lot:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change.
The courage to change the things I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference."

Good luck, and don't give up.
 

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For years my wife and I lived on my paycheck alone, as a warehouse worker then as warehouse manager. We never had money for "extras" that some people take for granted. Big TV's, smart phones, fancy cars, new clothes other than work jeans, etc. We were, in fact still are, the so-called working poor.
But we perservered, scrimped, saved, made do and did without. And did it with no help from the government.
When my wife goes grocery shopping, she only buys whats on sale; and uses coupons as well. When canned green beans are 2 (or 3) for a dollar we buy 12 cans. Next week some other type can goods will be on sale, buy 10 or 12. When buying rice, big bags (25# or more) are cheaper in the long run. Dehydrated potatoes last a long time. There are certain aisles we avoid - like where they stock the Cheetos and potato chips.:-D
We eat a lot of spagetti - it's cheap.
She bakes bread, grows vegetables, and living where we do, we are able to keep chickens for the eggs.
We have not had credit cards for 25 years, if we can not pay cash we don't need it.
You have mentioned that you have used some put-back food to make it until payday. That's what it's there for - an emergency. Do not feel guilty for using it.
One important thing you should not overlook is mindset. I know it's not always possible to remain positive, but try not to get stuck in a rut.
I personally say the Serenity Prayer a lot:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change.
The courage to change the things I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference."

Good luck, and don't give up.
That is so true, my parents and now me live the same way. I believe a lot of people have to live like this. The 99% they call us..
 

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This is the way both my wife and I were raised as well. Our parents went thru the Depression and then WWII.
 

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i'm in the same boat as Nobodylistenstome.

I am prepping with nearly no money..i usually have 3 jobs but i lost 2 this summer..so i am not only living hand to mouth (this money doesn't come in a lump) but i am trying to start a stockpile. i am kicking myself for not starting it when i was a tad bit more flush.

The purpose OF my Long term storage is to get me over the humps when there is no income. It will still be there when the SHTF, but by feeding it and tending it regularly, i can add to it when i can and then fill it back up when i can. This isn't my 1st time prepping but 30 years ago we didn't call it this and everyone just stored food as a habit.

I read a post on another forum about the $5 prep. Which is a list of ALL the possible things you can buy for $5
surprisingly if you have $5 a week to put towards prepping you can do a lot.
for me, sometimes $5 is a big deal..i just went through Sandy with $2 in change.

But the idea has given me a lot of inspiration that even if i add ONE $1 item to my long term storage once a week, that's 52 things in there instead of nothing.
 

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Don't get discouraged. Everyone goes through a rough patch in life. Put on your big guy pants and dig in.... Like others said you had food to fall back on so you were prepared. Everyone started with no stockpile but it will grow. and faster than you think by just adding a little at a time. Also you can find canning jars on Craig's list and can fruits, veggies, meats etc. when you have an extra buck or two. Read read read. You will be much more knowledgeable on many subjects. Being prepared is different for each individual. I would say you done well.
 

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When canned green beans are 2 (or 3) for a dollar we buy 12 cans. Next week some other type can goods will be on sale, buy 10 or 12. When buying rice, big bags (25# or more) are cheaper in the long run. Dehydrated potatoes last a long time.
This is a great example of the basic idea behind watching sales and couponing. Your goal is to purchase items at the lowest possible price point. When you see a great sale, go out and see if there are any coupons that you could use on the item too. Ebay.com can be a good source for buying coupons online. Also thecouponclippers.com and Coupon Dede's website. They all sell coupons in bulk to.
 

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This is a great example of the basic idea behind watching sales and couponing. Your goal is to purchase items at the lowest possible price point. When you see a great sale, go out and see if there are any coupons that you could use on the item too. Ebay.com can be a good source for buying coupons online. Also thecouponclippers.com and Coupon Dede's website. They all sell coupons in bulk to.
Plus, my wife learned that all the sales items repeat in a cycle. I think it's like every 6 or 8 weeks, I don't know, but she does. So, if you enjoy, say, lima beans, don't buy them at regular price, they'll be going on sale soon.
Once a month our Sunday newspaper has lots of coupons, she will spend an hour or so going thru them all clipping those that we can use.
Another very important thing - those who are fortunate enough to still be employed should pack a lunch and not eat carry out 5 days a week. My wife always makes extra of whatever the evening meal is - that will also be lunch for both of us the next day.
 
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Welcome to the forum, erasergirl.
Don't be shy, come on in. The coffee's always on.
 

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Coupons and sales. If you follow some of the online couponing blogs, you'll catch sales where food items come out to extremely cheap or even free after coupons.
I agree! Here's an e-mail address of a blog I subscribe to. The lady who runs it name is Tiffany and she was once featured on one of those extreme couponing shows. The website address is: mylitter.com email address: [email protected] I joined it thinking I was going to buy a boatload of groceries for pennies. While I did not do that, I did manage to save a substanicial amount on groceries and some of the coupons and tips she sends me actually had me getting stuff for free. If I was diligent and applied her suggestions consistantly, I'm confident I would be even more successful at extreme couponing. I am going to try to attend one of her workshops very soon. (she's right here in TEXAS) There are a lot of great suggestions on this thread. Thanks all!
Kind regards,

punch
 

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All extremely good advice . I find the dollar general store the best of the three dollar stores. Especially for soups, spam, canned ham, little weinies , rice, noodles, speggetti sauce, cheese, and first aid items. Since my wife is from Indonesia, we do eat a lot of rice. So, I buy minimum size of about 10 lbs. Extra long grain White rice keeps and tastes the best. I keep about 100 lbs of rice on hand at all times. Also store a lot of egg noodles which really go with just about anything . If you can , every time you go to the store, even if you only have a couple of extra dollars, buy canned foods with it that you like to eat already.

I would also look into "camping equipment" so to speak. Flea markets , garage/yard sales and look for clean used coleman stove, lanterns etc and try and go with the white gas types. You can buy one gallon of Coleman fuel for a few dollars, and it will run your coleman stove and lantern for days on end. Cheap investment for cooking and lighting., I don't know if they still make them, but coleman used to make a coleman oven that sits on top of the coleman stove and works very well. I had one years ago for family camping and it was fantastic. You could even bake bread in it. Especially corn bread. mmmmmmm
 

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My plan is to start with a weeks supply of everything I would need in case of natural disaster (fire, blizzard etc) and build from there. What would I need for a week without power or water? Things like dried food, water filtration, stove, enough clothing and bedding to get me down below 0 degrees, firearms and ammo.
 
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