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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Newbie here. I just can't believe that here in the US that things would get so bad as to what everyone here is preparing for. It is so hard to wrap my head around it or that it could come "soon". Yet, ever since August, I have had this gut feeling that perhaps things are not going so well and that maybe I should start doing something although I knew not what to do. Then I found some information on Peak Oil and from a story from a Russian about how the US could have an economic collapse like the USSR did. I was shocked. But maybe a bit longer than that, there is this deep longing in my heart for a simpler life. From reading these posts, it seems many feel similarly.

Can I give you my situation as briefly as I can and you give advice to what I should do? I have some ideas already after only finding this site last night but I'd like some more views from experienced people

My husband is all for considering preparations but I don't think HE will actually do much of it. That, like all things organizational in our house, will fall to me. He was in the military for 8 years and did survivalist training. He hated it but he can be helpful with some information should we find ourselves having to eat bugs or something! :D:

If things were to go badly soon, I guess we would stay here in our house. The town we live in KY has about 18K people but we are close to Lexington, which has about 275K and about 90 minutes from Cincy (pop unknown but larger than Lex). Even here in the "suburbs", it is fairly rural. I can be in a fairly unpopulated place in about 10-15 minutes.

We own our home. Well, us and Wells Fargo. We owe on our cars and on a credit card. One car and the CC will be paid in 2 years. With our debt load, we can't really afford to sell and move somewhere else or get different jobs. We could sell everything but it wouldn't cover the debts we have in full. I guess should things go really bad, we lose the house. I have 2 really good friends, both with their houses/land paid for. One lives in town and she's a Veterinarian. Good place to stock up on first aide supplies, meds, etc. And she knows more than most human Dr's I know. My other lives on a small farm, good place to learn to grow food, etc since she and her husband are great at such things. She taught me to can and freeze veggies and fruits this summer. Once again, I just had this "need" to learn it. I think either would let us go there in a pinch. Oh, and my right next door neighbor is a very good friend and widow. My husband and I watch out for her. She is starting to stockpile her own food.

Our current status is we have made no plans, stored very little extra, tho I think we could easily survive for a couple of weeks on what's in the house. I already store extra food for my 4 dogs and 6 cats., especially after the pet food debaucle. After reading the posts on pets, I have a game plan formed for them. Now I just gotta get us together.

As for cold, my husband was in Bosnia for a time so we have a couple VERY WARM coats and sleeping bags for cold weather. Honestly, I will suffer more in the heat than the cold. We have a charcoal grill only for cooking right now when the power is out.

What happens if TSHTF and we are still in debt?
What would you do if you were us? Stay for a while in the house or try to get to a friends? Do you think we could be relatively safe in this smaller community realizing no where might be truly safe? Or get to a much smaller, more rural area? We can't afford to buy anything more remote right now.
What is recommended for cooking? I plan on buying a shotgun for protection for myself for Christmas. I am comfortable shooting one but not had much experience in much else.

Ok. Sorry.. this is much longer than I anticipated. I am so new to this and trying to get some guidelines set in my mind as to my specific situation. Thanks for your indulgence and any advice you have. I am sure I will have more specific questions that I hope you will let me ask later on. I know. Just what you wanted to hear!:eek:

C
 

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I'm new to this stuff too. We're not in a position to buy something (homestead) or stock our pantry quickly for that matter so we are just doing what we can. I guess we can be thankful that we've noticed the shift in the things going on and it's time to get to work. Good luck on getting your preps ready.
 

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I first started getting food in the house by getting frugal. Cooking from scratch, buying store brands and stocking up on sales can save you some money which you then use to buy more frugal food.

Cooking with dried beans two times a week, for example, saves you a bit of money and teaches you how to cook with beans.

Making cornbread, muffins or bread from scratch instead of buying the very expensive store bread saves you money and teaches you to work with the basics.

dehydrating and canning allows you to create your own long term stores at near grocery store prices.

If you usw your concerns to change your lifestyle, it ends up not costing you very much money at all in the beginning.
 

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Happiness is 2 at low 8
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Unfortunately it's unlikely your debt situation is going to change dramatically in the short term. I'd suggest you work on your PLAN, first for a month, then for 3 months, then for 6 months etc. Your PLAN should include a place to go (looks like you might have that covered), next it should cover staples, water, rice, beans, canned goods, etc. This can be done $20/$30 a week. Each time you go to the market spend an extra few bucks on a second can of carrots, a couple extra cans of tuna, Beenie Weenies, whatever you normally buy, get an extra can or bottle. Before you know it, you'll have a month's worth set aside.

Not to downplay your money situation, but keep in mind you can only take care of what you can take care of. They, whoever "they" is, are not going to throw you out in the cold until months after you stop paying the bills, but if the food is gone, the job is gone, the grocery shelves are bare, then you're in a tough spot in a hurry...

Develop a plan. Continue to refine your plan. Then execute your plan. The time to make decisions is NOT when you're under the gun to react. The time to make decisions is when you can think logically instead of only emotionally.

Allan
 

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i'm in Kentucky too and in a similar boat. I'm in college, and realize what's coming but my parent's don't and refuse to listen to me. We own our own home and have no debt but they refuse to stock up on foods or buy more guns, all we own is a shotgun. I've been looking into retreats for myself via a tent and the woods. LMAO
 

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60 yrs in spite of gov.
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As PFTW says, practice being frugal. Since I have started visiting these sites I realize that how my wife and I live is like a foreign language to a lot of folks. those dollars go as far as you can. Getting use to things now is better than doing it cold turkey when SHTF. Theres a some good people on this site and a lot of good info. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone! Don't get me wrong. I am not defeated but am trying to get SERIOUSLY motivated to do whatever I can. I am not one to shy from a fight! If we get thrown out eventually, then we do and hopefully, we should have a place to go. And if we can bring food, then that certainly helps. I will take stock the next several days of what we actually have and do some of the things listed here. I need to organize and centralize what's important. If things go south sooner, we'll manage. Now if things wait until, 3 or 4 years, we'll be rockin!!

Kellinga, yes. I am very grateful I have seen something shift. Good luck to you too.
HFTB-PFDW and Alan, Great suggestions. I am forming "the plan", now that I know I need to have one, other than our get outta debt in 5 year plan (good plan, just might not get to finish it if the SHTF).. Smallgame2100, good luck o you. And MattiasJ, that's tough when the children get it but the parents don't. Best Wishes! HA! I was looking at those, like, 4 season Arctic tents! It's really funny you said that!!

It just helps to have a little "personal" pep talk. I appreciate it.
 
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Buy a bunch of canned stuff you use anyway. 5-6 or $700. will buy a lot of food....and this is important: keep it in a place where you will not use it day to day.

In a couple years (or a year) move the things you bought into the pantry and begin using them....and go buy more for storage.


The folks at CostCo won't even bat an eye at you.
 

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I have control issues
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WHen you do your regular grocery shopping, buy a couple extra items of things that you normally buy. Also, watch store sales. A lot of times, you can get some really good deals. Buy generic or store brands rather than "national" brands on most items. Quality is usually comparable, but there is a BIG difference in price. However, be prepared to read labels and compare ingredients and nutrition information. While you are comparing labels, also check expiration or "best by" dates, and get the item with the longest shelf life.

When you get home, check the "best by" date on the product, and write it on the front of the label in dark permanent market, then store it. use this to help you rotate your stock. I keep my extras on shelves in the basement, and when I need to replenish my kitchen cupboards, I bring up the items with the nearest expiration date. New stuff that is purchased goes downstairs, with the closest expiration dated items in front, later dated items in back.

Just do this on your regular shopping trips, and you will build up your supply fairly quickly.

Another thing that I do, is after I get the groceries home, items such as flour, sugar, pastas, etc. get vacuum sealed prior to storage. (I leave them in their original packaging, and put the whole package through the sealer. This not only extends the shelf life, but seals out moisture, bugs, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow. Thanks Again!! American Chestnut and IceFire, very, very helpful!! Especially dating them and vacuum sealing in the packages.. Never thought about it. Forhimaboveall, thanks for the link to the video. The Mormons know how to store food, I am finding out! And Humungus, ACK!! No WAY!! Besides, the two old ones are skinny and not much there. HA!! Just kidding!!! I could never eat my babies! It's everyone else I'd have to keep from eating them! LOL!!! Especially my husband, he loves most of them, but I am sure one or two would start looking tasty after a while!

I think one thing that I have read over and over is stock up on things your would normally eat. I read people are buying and storing things we would never eat normally. Now, I may stock up on beans which is something I don't buy but I love them, hubby doesn't. He's a meat and taters man. Hey, do you think I could give him a can of Vienna sausages and some potato flakes and he would be happy?? LOL!!!

You guys rock! I am already starting to feel more confident. I got a new notebook and have already begun writing things down.

C
 

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I don't vacuum seal, I haven't found a sealer with the combination of high reliability and low price that suits me. I do the mylar bag and oxygen absorbers, the only equipment you need with those is an iron - and they are cheap.

What I have done with beans is to work them into the menu. My chilis have a slowly increasing amount of beans as do my soups and stews.

You are only prepping for two though, so you might be better off home canning a lot of meat. I do that, and the rows of canned meat give me a nice secure feeling. The beef stew. chili and such from the Ball book are dinner time favorites here.
 

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Perhaps you might consider building a 3 month supply of what you normally use and then consider long term storage items such as wheat, dried milk, beans and long term staple storage items. Couple of reasons for this ;
1. If your forced from your home your not aking alot of water.
2. As you grow in the knowledge learn to cook with these staples, there healthier and they stretch.
3. Continue to pay your bills as you should but gently save your money, what i'm saying is don't over pay becasue if you lose your car or home all that extra you payed will be lost to you, but if you save cash and things don't go bad then you have the cash to apply to your debt anyway.

I'm a meat and Potatoe type myself but I've eaten wheat gluten flavored with TVP that tasted Just like ground beef so much so that i didn't know the difference. Little background I've raised cattle all my life and butchered my own for years. if done right its great...................
Once again Knowledge coupled with some resources produce superior results. For a survival weapon consider a Ruger 10/22 rifle ammo is cheap and is very deadly in the hands of a skilled marksman. A 12 ga. is good as well. Garden tools at garage sales or on sale good investment. In a mass depression lender won't want you to abandon your property because it protects there interests.
The only downside to this is if your at the front of the curve like right now people are being thrown out but if things worsen it will be in there best interests too keep you there. Just make sure you can stay put long enought for this to begin and include you.
Good luck...........
your on the right path
 

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Wow. Thanks Again!! American Chestnut and IceFire, very, very helpful!! Especially dating them and vacuum sealing in the packages.. Never thought about it. Forhimaboveall, thanks for the link to the video. The Mormons know how to store food, I am finding out! And Humungus, ACK!! No WAY!! Besides, the two old ones are skinny and not much there. HA!! Just kidding!!! I could never eat my babies! It's everyone else I'd have to keep from eating them! LOL!!! Especially my husband, he loves most of them, but I am sure one or two would start looking tasty after a while!

I think one thing that I have read over and over is stock up on things your would normally eat. I read people are buying and storing things we would never eat normally. Now, I may stock up on beans which is something I don't buy but I love them, hubby doesn't. He's a meat and taters man. Hey, do you think I could give him a can of Vienna sausages and some potato flakes and he would be happy?? LOL!!!

You guys rock! I am already starting to feel more confident. I got a new notebook and have already begun writing things down.

C
That video is cool, but I would just save the money and buy more food with it, personally.

Although, come to think of it, I am a decent carpenter, and anyone with skills could se the way that shelving unit is designed and build their own, much cheaper.
 

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Hey Red...one more thing that I did. I made a 2 week calendar menu - each meal was broken down into the things I needed to make it...ex: spaghetti: I use 1 can paste and one large can of chopped tomatoes, spices, ground beef (if available) and about 1/2 lb noodles. On my calendar, spaghetti is made weekly so I know I need 52 cans of paste and tomatoes, 26lbs of spaghetti. Of course as you figure your entire menu the number of cans may increase. In reality, I need atleast double the paste and tomatoes for chili, soups, etc. Then I was able to determine what we need for an entire year. It's not perfect, but it gave me something to look at and work towards.
 

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Prep the best you can. You are 95% ahead of the general population by you acknowledging that there is something coming that could change our lives forever.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have canned beans, tomatoes and such but never meat.. Hmmm.
HFTB-PFTW, I will research that. My ball canning book doesn't have it but if you have a link, I'd appreciate it. I will research on my own, also.

Noisynick, we are current on all bills (ahead in some) and have never been late so in that, we are doing ok. It took us a few years but we figured out debt is a bad idea! We were actually getting ahead before my hours were cut. :( But, I am looking for a part time job to fix that. We also had decent equity before the housing market took a dive. Luckily, we still have a little but not enough to pay everything off should we sell it. I like your idea and may buy some of the dry things you (and others) talked about and begin experimenting with them. I have lots of small garden tools, a few big, like hoes and rakes and the toolbox in my garage is MINE, not my husbands. Bwahahaha. My dad only had 4 daughters. We learned how to fix things, thankfully!

Trainedtosave, liked the "idea" of that storage unit but I certainly wouldn't spend the money on it. I was also checking out what was stored in it for ideas. I am looking at my scrap lumber pile to see what I could make to hold all my new food storage. Right now, I don't even know where I am going to put it but I have found several ideas already.

Kellinga, LOVE the idea. We can work with that.

Bernie, thanks for the continued encouragement.

I am getting more help than I ever thought. Thanks so much for sharing. It's one thing to say you will help, but another to actually do so. I, for one, appreciate everything.
 

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you are really better off getting your own new Ball Blue Book -

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1661,135183-249197,00.html

that looks like what is in my book.

You can get a pressure canner that will hold 7 quarts for around 80 dollars - well worth it in my opinion. Decent commercially canned meats are very expensive, you quickly make up the cost of the pressure canner if you are trying to get months worth of food on hand.

I own this canner:
http://www.canningpantry.com/presto-pressure-canner-23qt.html
I've seen this in Walmart
 
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