Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Frugality: What It Means Now and What It Can Mean Later

What Is Frugality?

When you hear the word frugal, what comes to mind? I guess that depends on your position on the subject. To me, it means doing the best you can with the least amount possible. I have written various posts on the subject, as it spans across a wide number of topics. Being frugal has to be a mindset in order to work.

For you, it might means spending less on groceries each week by purchasing things that will stretch further. It might mean mending clothes and other home fabrics instead of purchasing new. It might mean conserving energy in various ways. It might mean learning to live with less in the "right now" in order to make sure the "long term" is covered.

Frugality With Food

I cannot stress enough how important it is to practice food preservation in some form or another. There are many various ways, and even subcategories within those ways. For instance, canning is a wonderful method of putting up food. You can pressure can, water bath can, and you can even can in the oven! Oven canning is used mostly for dry goods such as flour, meal and grits. Check out this video on the topic from HamPrepper.

Dehydrating is another great option for food storage for many different types of food. You can freeze foods easily as well, though this option will let you down in the event of a power outage. If you have an alternate means of power, such as a generator or solar system, you should be good.

Frugality With Clothing

We've all heard the old saying, "A stitch in time saves nine!". That means that if you mend something now that only needs one or two stitches, it will keep the hole from getting larger in the future and needing more stitches to close it up. I learned the truth in this the hard way when a favorite blanket of mine became torn. Just a bit in the corner turned into a disaster when I put it in the washer! Most of the stuffing came out and I wound up having to throw it away and clean my washer out to boot!

So when my daughter's goose down blanket got a hole in it, we immediately set out to sew it up. It only took a couple of minutes and there hasn't been another problem since! We've done the same thing with curtains that were coming apart at the seams, pant pockets that got a hole in them, pillows and so much more. 

Instead of purchasing new fabric for mending, I save any and all old clothing that would normally be thrown out. Anything that is stained, badly ripped or torn, or something that has already been mended a great deal (such as jeans with patches), I recycle. I have tubs full of fabric for those "just in case moments" and jars that contain buttons, zippers, elastic and hem pieces. Everything is usually reusable so don't throw it out!

I purchased a variety pack of sewing needles from the Dollar General store that has come in handy more times than I can count. I highly recommend getting it for your supplies if at all possible. It only cost a couple of dollars and believe me, I've already gotten my money's worth! It contains needles for repairing gloves, carpet, awnings, upholstery, tents, car seats, knit fabrics, elastic and more. Also, I recommend buying spools of thread in various colors whenever you see them on sale. 

Frugality With Energy

One of the things some people are still surprised to hear from me is that I do not own a microwave. In my own opinion, not only does it makes things too simple, it also consumes a lot more energy than you might think. Even a small one operates at roughly a thousand watts. At about .10 cents per kWh, if you use that microwave for about one hour per day, you will spend almost forty extra dollars each year. It may not sound like much, but when money is tight, every little bit counts!

You can multiply that by two if you're using a clothes dryer. How many loads do you go through each day? A medium sized family can easily do at least two loads per day, which doubles it again. So hanging clothes out to dry isn't going to save the world, but it might save a few dollars you could easily put somewhere else.

Something else that people don't often think about is the energy used when devices are plugged in but not operating. Coffee pots, microwaves, DVD players and so much more. My rule of thumb is that if there is a light that stays on all the time, you can unplug it when you're not using it. Again, this is not a life changing amount of money, but when you add all the little things up, you're sure to see a big savings. 

Benefits of Learning To Live With Less

If you practice a lifestyle of frugality, you are far less likely to suffer as much in the case of an emergency or catastrophe. You will already be use to living with less, so if you lose power or something similar, you will get along better than those who have practiced posh living their entire lives. Not that it can't be done, it's just much simpler.

It's also possible that adding up all the savings will give you the ability to stockpile a bit of cash. If things go south at some point in the future, cash could well become a commodity and will be worth much more than it's worth now. Especially if you save it somewhere in your home instead of in a bank or account of some sort.

If you believe that nothing bad will ever happen, you're not as likely to accept an idea like this. And you might be right. You may never see a major world catastrophe in your lifetime. However - and again, this is me personally - I would rather live prepared than be caught unaware.

I hope this little article has helped you in some way. If so, feel free to pass it along! 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Fourteen Everyday Household Items That Can Improve Outdoor Survival

By Karen Roguski

There are so many items that you use everyday that can improve outdoor survival, help achieve a missing item in your camping kit, or make it easier to eat outside. More often than not survival items can be just about anything if you take the time to think outside the box a bit.

That being said here are our top fourteen everyday household items to help make life a bit easier, dryer, safer, and all around more functionable.

  • Shower Curtain or Garbage Bag
An everyday shower curtain or garbage bag can have numerous uses. They can be used as a ground tarp, shelter, a means to catch rainfall, or a watertight means of storing items.

A fun outside the box idea can be digging a hole and then use the shower curtain or garbage bag as a liner - instant outdoor bathtub.

  • Watch
Besides simply a means for telling time watches are great makeshift compasses, timers to ensure water safety, or even a blade when taken apart.

  • Can - Aluminum Or Tin
The aluminum or tin can can be the perfect pan in a pinch, fill with kerosene for a lamp or torch, a popcorn popper, a candle holder, a scoop, when strung can become a noisy alarm, poking a  hole in the sides can make a lantern, or they can even used for a campfire cake pan.

  • Ziplock Bags
Some of the many uses for ziploc bags can be found by reading this article.

When thinking outside the box the ziplock bags can be filled with water and then hung from a tree in the sunlight to warm the water. When ready poke small holes in the bottom for a makeshift shower. For a bit more showering privacy use the shower curtain or trash bag from above to shelter your backside from others.

  • Tool Belt or Apron with Pockets
Yet another item that is often overlooked as a means of outdoor use or survival. They can be attached to trees for clean storage, storing items away from critters and animals, or any other hack one can come up with when thinking outside the box.

  • Rope, Bungee Cord or Shoe Laces
Ropes, bungee cords, and shoe laces can have complete books written about there many outdoor and survival uses, For example these can be used for virtually anything from a  tourniquet, a snare, a splint, a clothesline, or even bundling wood.

  • Dental Floss
Dental floss is great for way more than just great oral hygiene. Dental floss is also great for fishing line, a means to hang food bags, patching or sewing holes, for snares, trip wires, cutting food items, and even for clothesline. Dental floss is a must have in every home, kit, or pack.

An outside the box hack that many look is using dental floss to fix pack or backpack straps.  

  • Bandana
The square cloth bandana can easily make life easier or possibly even save your life. For this list we think bright colored bandanas are the best as they are easier for you to be spotted if hurt, lost or otherwise in need of a quick rescue.

Other uses for the bandana also include water straining, face coverage, bandages, splints, a sling, or a means of keeping the head cool and shaded.

  • Nail Polish
Waterproofing matches can be done by using nail polish. Simply paint the match about halfway down the stick for a guaranteed way to light a fire every time.

  • Gallon Jug
The gallon jug is another item with more uses than many possibly consider. Obviously they can be used for water storage. When cut can become a scoop, or even a spoon.

When thinking outside the box one should consider filling the gallon jug with water and freezing it to make the perfect outdoor refrigerator.

Another creative outside the box idea can be to poke numerous small holes in the cap, add water and place in the sun to warm, hang at an angle for a quick shower.

  • Book
The book is great for reading and helping to pass the time. But thinking outside the box a book can also be used in a pinch for toilet paper, or a great fire starter.

  • Coffee Can
Much like the aluminum can, tin can, or gallon jug the coffee can (the kind with a lid) can be utilized in a number of ways such as a toilet paper holder, food strainer, bowl, utensil holder, or even a scoop.

  • Paperclip
The common paperclip cannot be forgotten when it comes to improving outdoor survival and outdoor hacks. They can be used as fishing hooks, as a hook for hanging items, keeping packages closed, a zipper pull, and even a sewing needle.

  • Duct Tape
Duct tape ideas are too numerous to list. I mean seriously what can you not do with duct tape?

As one can obviously notice this is by far nowhere near all of the items around that can be utilized in a number of ways or for alternative means but merely the top fourteen my family have used personally.

We would love for you all to let us know of any everyday items that you use or have used to help with outdoor living or outdoor survival.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bare Minimum Foods A Person Needs To Survive On.

By Paul Kigen.
In case you were given a chance to carry 3 foods with you to a desert or island, what foods would they be? The bare minimum foods that humans need to survive are only 3 foods. And these foods are aimed at providing the three primary macronutrients; Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

  • Grains for some proteins and carbs.
  • An extra source of protein.
  • Some vegetable oil or nutritional fat.

          1. Grains.
Oats, quinoa, Amaranth, and wheat are all equally high sources of protein. Wheat flour’s with the highest level of proteins are “hard head” wheat (spring or winter). Oats, quinoa, and Amaranth are also excellent sources of protein. As a result, you can survive on only vegetable oil and one of the grains. You will have enough fat, carbs, and proteins’, though an extra source of protein would be beneficial.

          2. Seeds, Nuts, or Legumes.
Obviously, dairy, eggs, fish, poultry, and meat are incredible sources’ of protein. But like we stated, this post will focus on bare minimal foods needed for survival, so the ideal options for extra protein are; beans, seeds, nuts, and other legumes.
Soy Nuts, on the other hand, are dried out mature Soy beans, commonly roasted with salt or/and salt. They’re rich in lysine, which is a vital amino acid, and they’re also rich in protein compared to other legumes/seeds/nuts. You should consume half as much as Soy Nuts as you would consume beans, sunflower seeds, or peanuts to acquire a similar amount of protein.
Soy Nuts are quite cheap and feature the highest protein per ounce. Sunflower seeds and peanuts are likewise cheap and abundant in protein. The fact that Soy Nuts have low oil levels compared to peanuts and sunflower seeds affects their taste but enhances their health benefits in return.
I think I should also note that 5 oz. of dried out beans are lots of beans. I do not believe that anyone’s digestive system can handle more than a ¼ pound of dried out beans each day.

           3. Vegetable oil.
The recommended kind of vegetable oil best suited for survival should have the 2 essential fatty acids; omega-3 and omega-6. Soybean oil and Canola oil are rich in both types of fat. You should also refrigerate some flaxseed oil, cold pressed sunflower seed oil, grape seed oil, and olive oil for good measure of vegetable oil.

All things considered;
Kindly Note; you are not advised to consume the bare minimum of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats as possible. DOCTORS do NOT recommend IT. This content is aimed at enlightening you on the least amounts of food an individual can survive on in the event that all other options have been exhausted.
What I learned as I was researching for this article is that wheat (flour, pasta) and various other grains are better staple foods compared to corn or rice. I had not realized the difference in protein content. I am also astonished to find out that pumpkin seeds beat out all other seeds and nuts in protein content. 
That said, you ought to store a wide assortment of foods, and pay keen attention to mineral contents, vitamins, and fibers as well as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.