Our priorities have changed as a family and we have morphed very quickly into a completely different mindset like our very lives depend it and they may. A year ago, if you would have told me that I would be preparing for what we all know is on its way, I would have gotten a great laugh out of it. Not that we didn’t have an inkling, it was just easier to ignore the threat . The more my husband and I began to sit up and pay attention to our nation, the reality of what is happening in this country hit home. We have been making up for lost time as quickly as possible to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead for our immediate and extended family.
I contribute to our preps by couponing like crazy. I have been able to score free hygiene items, food and other necessary items by paying attention to sale ads and spending a couple of hours a week to coupon.
The steps below will simply a sometimes confounding process when it comes to couponing. I used to coupon by simply clipping and buying the usual at the local Wal-Mart. If it wasn’t a brand we used, I simply would buy the item at full price. Coupons should almost always be coupled with a sale. I feel almost ashamed of the way we used to treat our hard-earned money!! Now, we have no brand loyalty whatsoever and it has been a blessing to see our stockpile grow!
- People already do most of the work for you when it comes to couponing. The Frugal Family, Thrifty Wifey and Motherhood on a Dime (Also a wonderful resource for homeschooling articles and free material) are all excellent sources. As well as ingoodscents.com that will detail deals by several well-known chain stores. There are free coupons available on the net at legitimate sites such as Couponmom.com, along with a listing by store that even tells you which coupons to use. Coupon.com is also an excellent site to utilize. Subscribe to newsletters, “like” these sites on Facebook (deals will appear on your news feed) and use their knowledge to your advantage.
- Ask around to see if family and friends trash their coupons. If they do, ask if you can have them in exchange for products that you may have a surplus in eventually. I supply my grandmother and grandfather with products I am able to get at a reduced rate by using the coupons they save for me. They are on a fixed income and every little bit helps. They also reward my couponing with fresh produce from their garden. By having duplicate coupons, you are better able to utilize buy one get one half off or buy one get one free sales. For example, recently Walgreens had buy one get one free for Nexcare Band-Aids. One box was $3.29, but I had 55 cent coupons. I was able to get two boxes off brand name Band-Aids for $2.19.
- Sales run in cycles. For instance, January is “National Oatmeal Month”. I stocked up heavily by pairing store deals with coupons and was able to stockpile and store a significant amount. Also, January is the “get healthy month” after the gluttony of the holidays, which means that vitamins a cinch to snap up at rock bottom prices. February is national “Canned Goods Month”; we were able to stock up significantly. It is also “Hot Breakfast Month” and another fantastic chance to stock up on breakfast cereals. April, November and December is when you want to stock up baking supplies and spices. May is for sunscreens, charcoal, outdoor living items and first aid supplies. A quick note on first aid supplies. Recently Walgreens ran a deal where you received a small first aid kit by purchasing two Johnson and Johnson items. The items themselves had peel off coupons on them and I was able to get the kit and two items for fewer than $3.00 every time! Each vehicle and bug out bag is stocked with everything we would need to deal with smaller injuries. (They usually run this first aid kit deal about every 3 months or so.) Hit August for all the clearance summer items and you will be shocked at what you can sweep up for rock bottom prices. November is not only a month to stockpile baking needs but also canned goods. You can easily Google “Monthly Sales Cycles” for a more detailed list. The longer you coupon, you will almost begin to predict what coupons will be available when.
- Apart from the cycles, pick up your weekly ad and compare your coupons to what is available on sale that week. The sites listed in item one will assist you with this. Get to know your local stores policy and the people that work there. I am on a first name basis with manager at several stores in my hometown. They help me out so much by pointing me to deals I may have missed and making sure I get a rain check for any items they may not have in stock. I know that CVS will have its brand of 24 bottles of water for $2.22 about every 12 weeks. I buy the limit. We are working on procuring a long term source of fresh water but if something were to happen before then, we would have something on hand.
- Many stores offer Register Rewards or Extrabucks that act like instant rebates and can dramatically reduce your overall expenses. I will often spend $9.99 on a product and receive the entire amount back in a rebate that I turn into five cans of salmon added to our stockpile. I may not immediately need to use the product that I got for free but I can add it our stockpiles. Also, sign up for mailing lists and use those loyalty cards. You may receive coupons in the mail and always be sure to scan your card at the coupon machines at the entrance of CVS. You will even get a coupon for a free product every once in a while.
- Snatch up those free items, even you are not quite sure if it’s something you can use. Feminine Hygiene products are items that can be easily couponed and will be necessary for cleanliness in a survival situation. They are also sterile and can be applied to a wound as a makeshift absorbent bandage. Most Kroger stores will double coupons up to 50 cents. Snatch up those power bars when they are on sale 10/$10 and use a .50 cent off coupon that will double to make 2 protein bars $1.00. Protein bars are not a long term solution but can supplement the diet and are highly portable items for bugout bags. Also, many stores will also reward customers who spend a certain amount by offering discounted gasoline, take advantage and watch the savings add up! Also, most stores may not require you to buy 10 items to get that price so check the store’s coupon policy to be sure.
- The web sites listed above are also a huge help when scoring deals on pretty much everything imaginable. They will post available deals and this can also help you collect free samples (they are the perfect size for bugout bag, camping or hiking), point you in the direction of sales on the web and coupons that are available for printing. Recently I obtained a subscription to Urban Farm for a year for only $4.50. I have also been able to receive many free “Kindle” books (if you don’t have a Kindle, the download is available free for your PC or iPhone) on gardening, canning, making soap and survival techniques. While I realize this valuable information would most likely not be available during most possible scenarios, I am able to jot down notes from my reading in our “Prepper Bible”. One of the sites I mentioned above even posted about a contest a survival web site was hosting. I entered to win a year’s worth of food. That sure would be a blessing for any of us and I never would have known about the contest if it wasn’t for the site.
- Yard sales, Thrift stores and Goodwill are tremendous assets to us in these times. We have a young daughter who continues to outgrow clothes as fast as we get them. When I find something at a yard sale that is two sizes too big but in great shape for the right price. I snatch it up and put it a labeled bin with the size on the side. I constantly worry that if something would happen, she wouldn’t have shoes. I have snow boots for her for probably the next seven years. We have picked up a brand new camping cookware set at a yard sale for only $5.00! Our major scores have also been hand crank grinders, old-fashioned wash boards, iron skillets and camping gear. We have been able to accelerate the rate of our prepping by utilizing these sales to gather things that we could never afford to pay full price for.
- I have learned to make our own yogurt and add seasonal fruit to save money. We have learned to make soap, laundry detergent and our own cleaning agents and are stockpiling the things that we will need to continue the use of these skills. As well as learning these skills so that we may have products to barter with.
We are fairly new at preparing for whatever it is that is heading our way. I feel like couponing and watching sales are a huge part of why we have been able to gather what we have at an accelerated rate.
We have a list of “priority” items that I always cross check when I make my shopping lists for the week. I feel that we have gotten started late in the game and every day I worry that we will not have enough time to gather and learn all we need to become self-sufficient.
Every dime that I am able to save by couponing or using yard sale shopping is turned into a weapon, ammunition, gardening supplies, alternate energy sources, survival seed banks as we struggle to pay off the debt that we have left. We have also begun to arm ourselves with knowledge that will pay off in spades. While we are building our stockpile, we are using every spare second to acquire knowledge on the use of weapons, water purification, the caring of livestock and anything that could possibly assist us when TEOTWAWKI hits. Our minds and bodies are getting stronger daily in preparation for the days to come.
Letter Re: Sound Judgment and Reasoning Skills for Preparedness
Anthony C.’s excellent article on logic and fallacies, Sound Judgment and Reasoning Skills for Preparedness, encouraged me to dust off an article I compiled some time ago to summarize some powerful thinking tools.
What follows are a variety of strategies which provide structure for analyzing decisions. Not all of these tools will apply to each situation.
1. Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI)
- Focusing our attention on the answer we’re looking for may make us miss better answers
- Find all of the PMI’s of each idea first, before using any other tool
2. Considering All Factors (CAF)
- List all the things that are factors in the decision (choice or issue) and not just the obvious
3. Consequences And Sequel (CAS)
- Imagine the outcome of your possible choices: immediately, in 1-5 years, in 5-25 years
- What might happen? What if you made this choice?
4. Aims, Goals, Objectives (AGO)
- Make a list of all your reasons for doing something
- What are your goals? What things do you want to accomplish?
- Are you rationalizing or using logic to justify a feeling?
5. First Important Priorities (FIP)
- Feelings are no substitute for thinking.
- What is your top priority? What is the most important thing you want to accomplish?
- Put your priorities into a hierarchy.
6. Alternatives, Possibilities, Choices (APC)
- Learn to “think wild,” to brainstorm. Don’t sort out ideas as good or bad at this stage. Write down everything that comes to mind first, without evaluating the idea’s merit.
- Think of the opposite thing. What would happen if you did the total opposite of what you might ordinarily do?
7. Other Point Of View (OPOV)
- Try to see things from the other person’s viewpoint. Write out their views: How will they feel? What are their priorities? How will this affect them? How will this affect your relationship with them?
- Doing this will keep you out of a lot of trouble in disagreements and difficult decisions.
8. What Is God Saying? (WIGS)
- Whatever you may believe about God at least one thing is certain: psychology has shown that our judgment and decision-making ability are frequently compromised by personality clashes, pride, political considerations, and mood.
- Humans are prone to “use” logic to justify our decisions, rather than to determine our decisions.
- Looking outside ourselves humbles us and opens us to other possibilities we may be overlooking, reminds us that no situation is truly and totally under our control, and gives us input from the only One who can see beyond the now to what is going to happen in the next 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 5 days - and the only unlimited One who knows everything about the particular decision or situation or issue.
- (1) We must be obedient to God’s moral will (the Bible); (2) We are responsible to choose within moral parameters; (3) We must make wise decisions according to our spiritual maturity; and (4) We must be ready always to submit to God’s overriding sovereignty. http://www.equip.org/articles/decision-making-and-the-will-of-god-/
- (1) Be obedient to what God has already shown you. (2) Pray and continually seek God’s wisdom and guidance in everything you do. (3) Rearrange your priorities so your primary motivation is to glorify God. (4) Saturate yourself with the Word of God. (5) Learn from the examples of others. (6) Get involved in a variety of ministries. http://www.biblehelp.org/sixsteps.htm