Archive for November, 2008

Half Full or Half Empty?

Home Storage Tip #12 – Water Storage

My Grandma used to say that as long as there was water in the river, we didn’t have to worry about running out.  I swam in and swallowed lots of river water, and believed her wholeheartedly.  Things are different today.  By man or natural disaster, contamination is the real issue.

It goes without saying that we need to store water.  The percentage of water in our body (71%) is pretty close to the ratio of water to land on the earth’s globe (73%).  If you are a glass full person, you have probably already started stocking up.  If you are a glass half empty person, you should begin now.

Question:  How much water do I need to store?
It is hard to tell. Most sources recommend 1 gallon of water per person per 14 days.  That would make about 50 gallons per person per year.  I am assuming they are referring to drinking water only, as I don’t believe I could still take many bubble baths on that.  If you have special needs, such as health or baby in the house, you must use your best judgment.

Question:  How should it be stored? 
Rule of thumb; containers should be food grade or PETE (safe for animals.  If a farmer uses it for feed, you can consider it safe.  Specifically, plastic containers that are PETE numbers 1,2,4, and 5 are best for food.  You can find this information on the container.  The numbers will be inside a triangle of arrows. .

Make sure that your continers are sterile before filling.  As long as the water is from a safe pretreated water source, you may store it.  In our area, the water is good.  Boiling water is good for sterilizing the water itself if it is possibly contaminated.  You may also add 8 drops of regular (not scented) bleach per gallon if in doubt.

Store Bottled Water:  I keep a couple of cases of 10 ounce bottled water around.  They are for an emergency and someday when I get around to it, 72 hour kits (guilty as charged).  The down side to me personally, is that my kids think this water is for them, and deplete my supply.  (Sounds like a personal problem to me).

Refilled Liter Bottles: The next time you have a wild party, be sure and save the 2 liter soda bottles and fill them immediately.  If your neighbor has a wild party, and you pinch bottles from his recycle bin, you might want to do this under the cover of darkness.

Water Barrels: I have some 50 gallon barrels I use.  They are food grade, reconditioned and sterilized.  There are several places on the Internet where you can find them.  Here is a link that is very reasonable.   If you prefer new barrels, go here: .  The cost is the only issue.

Gas Cans?  I am not sure about PETE on these containers, but check out this photo.  Gas cans would be easy to handle, less weight to carry, and stack to save space.  NOTE:  BE sure and label them as water on the outside.

A word about milk jugs:  For short-term supply, a milk bottle is perfectly fine.  But don’t drink this water.  Milk jugs absorb odors and the plastic breaks down quickly.  You may use this water however, for flushing toilets, bathing or cleaning.  Water use adds up quickly.  If there ever was an emergency, it would be tough to give up your very critical drinking water for those uses.

Assignment A:  Decide on a method of water storage.  Calculate what you need for a three  month supply.  Buy or find appropriate containers(s) and fill this week.  Resolve to add to your store on an ongoing basis.  B: Add 2 gallons of bleach to your storage shelf.  C: Add six units of canned goods to your pantry.


November 29, 2008 at 12:24 pm 2 comments

Mind over Money

Quick Tip # 11 – Frugal Shopping

I don’t know about you, but I am not too keen on the idea of shopping in any form.  Yes, I’m an odd bird, but my aversion is generally because I spend too much.  Do I need it?  Is it a good deal?  Did I pay too much?  Sometimes I get home and I’m not sure I even like what I bought.  I sense some stomach upset with the knowledge I will have to go back for exchange.  Even if I feel good about my purchases (aka grocery shopping) I am afraid there is nothing in the fridge to eat when I get home.  Most people like shopping.  There is a word for my kind of infirmity.  Agoraphobia.  It is a Latin word meaning “fear of the marketplace”.

The holidays are coming.  All over the media right now, people are talking about their debt.  They want out.  I feel warm and fuzzy when I see single mom Suzy Q talking about her three teenagers and how she is going to cut down for Christmas this year. “The economy is my opportunity to show my kids that Christmas is more about giving and family, than stuff”.  You go, girl!

It is a high when we save a lot.  There is nothing better than to find a jackpot of 75% off and look at a receipt that shows a savings of $800!  But that is not real.  Being on a budget is sometimes like being on a no-carb diet.  Your intentions are good, but your house is worth less than you paid for it and you are still starving for something tasty.   I’m here to tell you, you can spend less.  You just need to sharpen your tools, refresh your resolve, love your family, and feel the power!

Here are some of my recent gleanings for your inspection:

  • Shop the ads from the paper, but take a list and adhere to it.  It is cheap entertainment to picture a crowd cheering as you walk out with ONLY the listed items.  Take the ad with you just in case.  There are places that price match (Walmart) saving you the headache of running around.
  • Consider time and fuel when shopping store to store.  Are you juggling kids in and out of the car every stop?  Will you save more by buying at a reasonable price now or driving 7 miles down busy streets or all they way downtown just to save 25 cents?  On the other hand, if you are having quality family sing-a-long time, maybe it is worth it after all.  You get to decide.
  • Use coupons carefully.  If you have a buy one get one free, and don’t need the item or love it, (as a friend) it really isn’t a good deal regardless of the advertising.  I have done this, specifically with clothing.  The result is several months in the closet, to appear later, brand new, in the Goodwill donation.
  • Set an approximate limit on how much you will spend for each person.  The word “limit” means limit.  The word approximate keeps you free from that no-carb diet thing.  The important thing is not to go overboard.  Make an exchange if you find something better later on.  The good news is, there will be many merchants motivated to move sales this year with the economical downturn.  You may find more items per amount spent.
  • Use good old fashoned cash.  When you set up your expenses with real money, you realize how fast money is spent.  Keeping a spending journal keeps you real on how much is going out of your wallet.  Credit cards, on the other hand, well… you know.  It didn’t feel like you spent that much this billing cycle.
  • Don’t make eye contact with items at the impulse isle.  It’s a trap!  Store owners carefully plan that spot just between your cart and cash register.  They know you may have to wait in line.  It is a conspiracy that they also know your kids will be there waiting.  Remembr that it is perfectly all right to pass on buying kids something every time you pass through.  Trinkets add up.  Proof of that is the forgotten quick buy under the seat of your car that never even made it in the house.  Save them for surprises.
  • Shop online.  If you don’t go to the mall, you won’t buy as much.  Or if you find it at a store, and it seems high, compare online.  Some sites have “web only” deals that beat all.  Many places are offering free shipping right now, so hasten to your computer with a cup of cocoa and go for it.  In addition, it already feels like Christmas every time the UPS man comes to my door.
  • Finally, many food storage items are at their peak of savings this time of year.  Baking items, crackers, and olives are at their lowest during November and December.  When you get a turkey at peak savings, buy two.  You can pressure can it for your pantry.  Real butter is my weakness, so I have saved room in my freezer while it is low.  Even whipping cream can be frozen.  It might not look the same, but it whips just fine when thawed.

Ideas of your own?  let’s hear it.

Shopping tips from the federal trade commission:
Reader’s Digest has tips in both October and November issues about shopping.  This five star article will connect you to links that pay off big.  These are just what I am looking for and my favorite shopping tips of all time.

November 13, 2008 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

In A Nut Shell

Food Storage Quick Tip #10 – If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it.

I am on vacation with my Mister this week.  For those of you who want to take their mind off of the economy 🙂  I offer the following Saturday Night Live video featuring Steve Martin.  It is a sure fire way to get out of debt.  Humor is the best medicine.

“Many more people could ride out the storm tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year’s supply of food … and were debt free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: They have at least a year’s supply of debt and are food free.” – Thomas S. Monson, President, LDS Church

November 4, 2008 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

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