My top 10 websites for budgeting and survival

I’ve had a few people email and ask me what websites, blogs, and other resources I have employed during our prepping journey.

Wait.

Back up the bus.

That means people are actually reading my blog. This is so exciting to me! I never, ever imagined that I would actually create a following, especially not after only 10 posts! Thank you! Please, if you’re reading drop me an email (thebudgetprepperblog@gmail.com) or leave a comment and say “Hi!”. My goal in documenting our journey was to learn, probably fail, grow, and learn some more. We can do it together!

Ok, back to the original purpose of this post. My most frequented websites and blogs. There are basically two types of websites and blogs I follow: budget related and prep related.

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Here they are:

Budget Related

The Frugal Girl – I’ve been following Kristen’s blog for several years. She is a homeschool mom of 4 children and documents their life and her frugal hacks each day. I love how down to Earth and kind she is. I’ve learned so much from her blog from baking bread to honing my photography skills to learning about the website Schoola (love!). She is awesome!

Money Saving Mom – Crystal is a very emotional, open, helpful, and inspirational person. Her blog is geared towards money saving as well as personal development. She is a champion for women entrepreneurs.

The Budget Mama – Jessi’s blog documents her family’s real life on a budget. She is open with their struggles as well as their victories. I LOVE blogs like hers. It’s real. She lays it all out there…their actual income, their debt and all of the amazing things her family has been able to do on a strict budget.

Yes We Coupon – this site has deals laid out and explained in an easy to navigate manner. I usually scroll through once every few days to see if there are any amazing deals I need to take advantage of.

Brad’s Deals – this deal website is geared more towards higher end, more expensive items. However, I’ve found it really useful during the Christmas season. We have a strict Christmas budget that I’ve been able to stretch with Brad’s Deals. For example, I was able to get a North Face fleece jacket for my sister for only $20 (original retail was $125!).

Survival Related

Food Storage Moms – I’ve mentioned this website in previous posts, but it’s an amazing disaster prep resource. Especially if you have a family! Her recent review on a solar oven has made me green with envy and it’s now on our wish list.

Survival Blog – this blog is pretty intense and geared towards real SHTF scenarios where you’re on your own forever. That being said, it’s super informative and really makes you think about the state of the world.

The Survival Mom – She’s awesome. A website geared towards mothers. She has posts, videos, podcasts, books, a store…just a wonderful all-inclusive resource.

Pure Living For Life – this is a personal blog written by Jesse and Alyssa chronicling their journey of building a self sufficient homestead. Like I said, I LOVE these types of blogs. Real life. Real people. Real things happening.

Thoughts from Frank and Fern – another real life blog and another one I check religiously everyday. I’ve learned probably more in the few months of following their blog than I have in years! So insightful, thought provoking, and just a great read and resource.

Most of these websites and blogs have a subscription option so that you’re notified by email of new posts. That way you don’t have to physically visit each page daily to check for updates.

I hope you find these as helpful as I do!

Are there any website or blogs that you think I should check out? Let me know! 

 

 

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FREE Curad Tape at Wal-Mart!

Didn’t I just post yesterday about adding items to your first aid kits for cheap? How about FREE?!

Right now at Wal-Mart, Curad Tape is $0.96. If you sign up for the MobiSave app (quick & easy peasy), scan your receipt, you will be refunded the amount making it free! (You will need a PayPal account to receive the refund. I have mine linked to my checking account and transferred) The money will be deposited into your account within 24 hours.

 

Head on over to the Yes We Coupon page to see more free and cheap Wal-Mart deals!

I’m not a fan of Wal-Mart in the slightest bit. I almost always prefer Aldi…or anywhere else really. However, if you go in the wee hours of the morning before the rest of the world is awake and moving, the experience can be pretty painless. When I do go, I tend to make it a large trip based on great deals with coupons like those mentioned in the Yes We Coupon post. I’m planning a very early morning trip this Saturday to snatch up these deals to boost our pantry!

 

My Prep To Do List – Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about the first half of my “need to do right now” prep list. As a reminder, we are completely soft core beginners and it will be a learning experience for us. My purpose with sharing our journey is to hopefully inspire others on the importance of preparation, learn from our mistakes, and learn from others. I’ve already made several friends as a result of this blog and am so looking forward to more!

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Now onto the next half of my list. I’m sure that each of these topics will be its own solo post in the future as we accomplish them. That’s the plan at least!

5. Emergency Kits in each car.  As I’ve stated before, disaster can strike anywhere. The typical American commuter spends 38 hours each year in traffic. That’s not including other casual drive time! Life gets busy for us all, especially if you have children. Just this week, I had a mini-crisis:

I woke up Monday morning realizing that I had lost my wallet somewhere during the weekend. Great. Sucked it up and went to work because I was running a little late. We were short handed at work so I was wearing multiple hats, and then the FDA shows up for an unannounced inspection (I work in the food and supplement industry). Then, the local college, less than 1/2 mile away received numerous bomb threats. Then, I forgot that my daughter had a check up at her pediatrician that afternoon. I had no cash, no debit card, my gas tank was nearly on E, I was so hungry, and let’s face it…I was cranky.

Us “preppers” seem to be viewed in a sensationalized manner thanks to the media portrayals, when in reality we’re just trying to prepare ourselves for real life. Because it will happen to you like it did to me this week. If I had followed a few of the prepping cardinal rules like always having some cash stashed, having some food stashed, gas tank never less than half full…my day wouldn’t have been nearly as stressful.

Back to the emergency car kits! Winter is coming in my neck of the woods, which means snow, snow and probably more snow. If you were truly stuck or stranded somewhere, a well stocked emergency kit in your vehicle could mean survival. Right now, I have a very simple and basic form of an emergency kit in my car that is geared towards our daughter. Toddlers are always hungry, crisis or not!

Timeframe of completion = 1 kit in each vehicle (2) by February 2016.

7. Stock up on first aid kits, medicines and knowledgeHave you ever bought the pre-made first aid kits from the store? Very underwhelming. A few band-aids, some antiseptic, and mini scissors won’t accomplish much in a crisis situation. Off brand and store brand first aid items run relatively cheap. Also, I almost always see great deals on medicines and first aid items when checking the extreme couponer pages.

I purchased this first aid kit a few weeks ago with an Amazon gift card. This kit is a great starting point and an option if you plan to add your own items to it. The advertising touts “117 pieces” including stickers and one of each important items like burn cream, sting relief, etc. With the room the kit provides though, it could easily become a well stocked and efficient first aid kit.

Three of the books on my wish list are Where There Is No DoctorWhere There Is No Dentist, and Where There Is No Vet. As we prepare for crises and disasters and equip ourselves with all of the things we think we need to survive, don’t overlook the importance of knowledge. In a world where there may be no Google, a well stocked library and a well read mind will prove to be indispensable.

There are some great resources on The Survival Blog in regards to stockpiling medications, like this one from a veterinarian.

Timeframe of completion = have at least 5 thoroughly stocked first aid kits throughout our home, bug out bags, and vehicles by March 2016.

8. Get healthy. Easy enough, right? This article on End of Three Fitness outlines a few scenarios in which being physically fit could save your life. If the sh*t did hit the fan, there would be no emergency response personnel, traditional hospitals, or pharmacies. There would be a huge increase in the physical demands it would take to live. Could you haul 5 gallon buckets of water over a mile from the only nearby water source? Could you cut firewood with an ex everyday to keep your family warm and fed? Could you support your significant other over several miles if they injure themselves? I’m sure I could do it all once or for a short time, but my endurance is lacking.

I have A LOT of work to do in this area. Sure, I’ve lost some baby weight and my clothes are fitting a little more loose…but weight loss has zero to do with strength and stamina. If my family was in a true and dire survival situation, I don’t want to be the reason we are slowed down.

Timeframe of completion: ASAP. This is obviously an ongoing and evolving large goal with smaller ones that I’ve made for myself along the way.

9. Vamp up food storage. Currently, we have enough food in our home to get us through a 2-3 week disaster scenario. My current specific goals for this to do item is to budget $10 per week (after Christmas!) on adding to our stockpile in addition to our normal day to day groceries. I plan to do research on and stockpile more ready to eat foods that do not require a form of cooking or heating. I have a local Aldi, which I love. I can get cans of baked beans, a staple in my house, for $0.39, canned fruit for $0.69, and canned vegetables from $0.39 – $0.79. Now that’s living on a budget.

Some longer term goals I have for this item are to create a price comparison spreadsheet for different stores, look into alternate forms of cooking, utilize coupons more than I already do, and become a master gardener and canner.

Timeframe of completion: meet weekly goal of $10 on storage foods to steadily build up stockpile.

10. Research and purchase a form of alternative heat. Where we currently live, our only heat is in the form of a gas furnace. When we build in the Spring of 2017, you can bet your boots we will have a wood burning stove or fireplace in addition to other forms.

But that doesn’t solve our problem right now. I’m currently looking into purchasing this kerosene heater to serve as a back up should we need it. This will also require the purchase of safety items such a fire extinguisher and a carbon monoxide detector, so please do thorough research when looking into these types of items.

Timeframe of completion = End of December 2015. It’s going to get cold, quickly.

That’s it! That completes our current “do right now” list. Is there anything you would add or that you think I may have forgotten? I’d love to hear about it!

My Prepping To Do List – Top 10, Part 1

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I’ve spent some time reading, researching, evaluating our life/home, and speaking with my husband about what our most outstanding vital preps are and I’ve come up with a Top 10 List that I’d like to share with you all! Keep in mind, we are currently beginner preppers and our prep work is focused around a 2-3 week disaster at the moment. Baby steps. Also, what works for our family might not work for yours, so it’s imperative to do some of your own research and design a plan that works well for you, although I’d love to help if you have any questions!

I didn’t expect this post to be as long as it did, so I’ve split it up into 2 separate posts. 5 today and 5 tomorrow 🙂

1. Store at least 120 gallons of water. For our family of 3 plus 2 dogs we would need, at minimum, 5 gallons of water per day to survive. However, I prefer to store more than that because there are so many factors that could cause you to need more water…you spill some (I’m clumsy), a member of your family gets sick during the crisis, or a neighbor has run out of water and their children are thirsty. We currently have about 90 gallons stored in 1 gallon jugs bought from the store, packages of bottled water, re-purposed 2 liter pop bottles, and a 7 gallon Aqua Tainer. I talk about my family’s water storage here and here. This is our #1 main priority, and it should be yours too.

Timeframe of completion = ASAP, as the budget allows. We purchased an Aqua Tainer last week, cleaned it, and filled it last night. It’s sturdy, manageable to carry if needed, and comes with a spout for convenience. We plan to purchase at least 5 more.

2. Create an Emergency Family Binder. I used the template from The Food Storage Moms that you can find here. It is an amazing resource and one of the most vital steps in disaster prep (after water). When a crisis occurs, your brain will go into a tailspin. Especially if you have family and pets and neighbors to worry about. Having all of your important information in one location will prove to be extremely beneficial.

A few months ago I was in a minor fender bender, but was really shaken up because I had my daughter with me. I was so flustered that I couldn’t remember my husband’s phone number! It will also prove to be helpful if you need to leave your house in a hurry. All of your important documents and information will be in one binder that you can grab and go.

In addition to the binder, you should create emergency contact lists for other places such as each vehicle, your child’s bookbag/diaper bag, wallets, purses, at work, etc. A crisis won’t wait until you’re safe and sound at home to happen…it will happen at the most inopportune time.

Timeframe of completion = the end of this weekend, 12/13/15. I’ll be sure to share the finished product next week!

3. Prepare bug out bags for each family member. In a perfect world, I’d love to hole up in my house during a crisis. However, it’s fairly obvious that it’s far from a perfect world. My home may become unsafe and we will need to leave at a moment’s notice. We currently live in a rather urban area (much to our disliking), and things could become unsafe really quick. Much like the emergency binder, a bug out bag is designed to be packed and ready to go as soon as the need arises. A bug out bag will look different for not only each family, but each family member. My toddler’s needs are different from my own, which are also different from my husband’s. I’ve been looking into several different resources (such as this onethis one, and this one) in an effort to generate ideas for what I want our bug out bags to look like. I plan to do much more research to make sure that our bags will get us through in an emergency.

Don’t forget about your pets! If your bug out plan includes taking your pets, be sure to have a bag (or box, or tote) prepared for them as well. If you are unable to take your pets with you when you bug out, please design a plan to keep them safe, fed, and hydrated wherever you may leave them until you return. Here’s a resource to get you started on prepping your pet.

Timeframe of completion = one for each family member by March 2016. Our plan is to buy sturdy, well built bags and those don’t come cheap. The bug out bags themselves and all of the items inside will have to be worked into our budget.

4. Develop a family communication plan. Let’s face it, a disaster is going to strike at the most inconvenient time. All of your family members will be separated in different locations, the weather will be bad, and your phone may be dead. Having a well thought communication plan with several alternatives is vital to your success during a crisis situation. Kylene and Jonathan Jones have a great informative chapter on family communication plans in their book The Provident Prepper.

My husband and I have talked about several scenarios and how we would handle them. Who would pick our daughter up at the babysitter’s house? Do we go home first? Do we go to a bug out location? Do we meet in the middle? Do we wait it out? What if the cell towers are down, how do we communicate? Who will pick up the dogs? There are so many different things to consider and having an actionable plan and a method of communication is so extremely important.

Timeframe of completion = ASAP. This doesn’t cost any money and a crisis can happen tomorrow. In my opinion, the sooner the better.

5. Alternate forms of communication. This is on my husband’s honey do list. I am not a technical person in the slightest bit. I have a difficult time switching the DVD player and the Wii hookups on the back of our television set. This is definitely one of my “to learn” topics. However, we are looking into and researching different kinds of communication devices such as a ham radio, high quality hand radios, satellite radios, solar powered devices, and so on. If we were to lose power as a part of the crisis at hand, finding a way to learn what is going on in the outside world will be important for decision making as well as giving you some peace of mind.

Timeframe of completion = this subject is ongoing and will evolve as our preparations do, but our goal is to have at least one form of alternate communication by March 2016.

What are your top beginner preps? Do you have any changes/additions to what I have listed? I’d love to hear from you!

We have venison!

My husband went hunting this weekend and…

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He got us a beautiful mature buck. This old guy (notice the gray on his nose) provided us with 50 lbs of meat! We cut the backstraps (similar to steaks) and the roasts, and took the rest to our local butcher to make some jerky, venison sticks with cheddar (yum!), and some ground venison for us. On top of the cow we have coming for Christmas from my Dad (raised on our family farm) and a hog coming in Spring from a friend’s farm…our family will be set with meat for quite a while.

I know there are a lot of mixed feelings about hunting, and believe me I sometimes struggle with it too. I value life and think it is all precious. However, there is so much reassurance knowing that my husband has the ability to feed our family by hunting, fishing, and trapping and we could sustain ourselves if for some reason our food chain were to be interrupted. Let’s face it, every part of our society is so intertwined that it would only take the smallest hiccup in one line of commerce to throw off everything else.

It is not so much a sport for us as we use every part of the animal we can: the meat for our family to eat, the hide is being made into a blanket, his gorgeous head and rack will be mounted by the taxidermist, and the rest of his body is being used by my Dad to bait some coyotes that have killed off some of his calves this Fall. And while hunting and buying whole/half livestock from local farms may not be the cheapest – I firmly believe it is one of the best ways to assure your family is eating healthy and morally raised food. I would much rather go to my local butcher shop and pay $4 per lb. of ground beef before I go to my brick & mortar store to pay $3 for the unnaturally vibrant red meat with fillers. While it’s all 100% approved by the FDA, I’d rather eat 100% meat, wouldn’t you?

One of the things on my “to do research on” list is a FoodSaver or something equivalent.  We’ve always just wrapped the meat tightly in plastic wrap, placed it in a freezer bag, and removed as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. This has always worked well for us. We use to meat up so quickly that we don’t really need to store it for 1 year+.

So, I guess my research should be on whether I really need a FoodSaver or if our method works well as it is. In a SHTF scenario, our freezer would be useless…so maybe a dehydrator, smoker, and jerky-making process is what I should be looking into. What do you think?

 

 

My prepping activity for the week

My husband and I decided to budget $10-$20 per week on prepping activities for the month of December. We will most likely increase this amount after Christmas, but you sure can get a lot done with $10 per week! Here’s a rundown of what I’ve “prepped”this week:

  1. Bought 6 lbs of salt = $0.89/ea at Aldi. I love Aldi, if you have one nearby and aren’t shopping there, please do yourself a favor and check it out! It is a frugal person’s dream 🙂
  2. Bought 5 cans of tuna = $1.00/ea at Wal-Mart. Every person in my family really, really loves tuna sandwiches so it is a no-brainer storage food for us. I think it’s really important to store food that your family will actually eat. It would be bad enough to be stuck in a disaster situation, but to add having to eat food you dislike on top of it would be miserable!
  3. My husband built wooden shelves in the basement last weekend using lumber we had lying around to store our current “crap” as he calls it (totes of baby items, childhood memories, etc.) and to start storing our stockpile. We are currently renting my in-laws house so we are lucky that we can build and tear down as we please. Our 3 year plan includes purchasing land this Spring, paying it off, and starting to build in the Spring of 2017.
  4. Read the first 10 chapters of The Provident Prepper by Kylene and Jonathan Jones. I’ve been working on this book for about 3 weeks and am really enjoying it. Each chapter is insightful and provides a ton of real world advice. I plan to finish reading the book next week and then go back chapter by chapter to adjust our prepping strategies and implement their recommendations.
  5. I went over budget and bought a Reliance 7 gallon Aqua Tainer for $17.95. I purchased it through Amazon Prime = no shipping costs and 2 day delivery! It’s scheduled to arrive today and I’m super, super excited. It’s the little things 🙂

I plan to make this a weekly installment on the blog each Friday to outline what we’ve done this week to disaster prep. I would love to see what everyone else is doing – leave a comment or email me at thebudgetprepperblog@gmail.com.

Enjoy your weekend!

$0.50 Libby’s canned vegetables at Wal-Mart this week!

This is a blog about being on a budget, right?! I came across this great deal and wanted to share!

Right now at Wal-Mart, Libby’s canned vegetables are marked down to just $0.50. If you go to coupons.com, there’s a $1 off 4 printable coupon making each can only $0.25! I printed and was able to print two coupons, then called my mom and had her print two for me 🙂

I’m going to run to Wal-Mart after work and pick up 16 cans of veggies for our stockpile for only $4! Talk about sticking to the budget!

It’s really important to stock up on things you eat right now. Do you want to be stuck in a crappy SHTF situation AND have to eat food you don’t like? Not me! I’ll be buying some green beans, corn, and peas!

 

 

The first 72 hours of a true emergency

I came across the information I’m about to share on Food Storage Moms and immediately thought: “This is why we prep!” Visit the Food Storage Moms when you get a chance, they have great stuff! This information comes from the Emergency Grab and Go Binder they created that I’ll be posting about later 🙂

“During the first 72 hours of an emergency, this is what usually happens:

1.) First 24 hours: lights/power goes out. We check to see if our neighbor’s power is out, worry if we’ll get power before our favorite show comes on in an hour, knock on neighbors doors to see if they know what’s going on. We worry because there is no cell phone service or other forms of communication.

2.) The next 24 hours is when we realize there is a big problem, but we don’t know what it is because there is no TV, radio, newspapers, or internet. Without power, our heaters or air conditioners don’t work, the refrigerator and freezer are barely keeping things cold, the ATM’s aren’t dispensing cash, and the gas pumps can’t pump gas (unless the manual pump is working or available). Without available cash, we can’t purchase gas, groceries, and water. The grocery store has long lines and the shelves could potentially be empty in three hours. Some merchants start raising their prices sky-high. We try to figure out how to get out of town to family or friends. We start looking for a neighbor who might have a ham radio so we can know what is happening in the world and we’re wishing we’d bought batteries so we could turn on the battery operated radio.

3.) At 72 hours the panic and/or riots will start. The roads out of the cities will be bombarded and traffic will be at a standstill. People will become desperate for food and water for their families. Emotions are high. Panic is everywhere.

By having at least 72 hours worth of food and emergency supplies, you and your family can stay home and avoid being in the middle of riots and panic induced situations.”

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Here are my reactions after reading this:

  1. This is why we prep! This article describes a brief 3 day crisis. Imagine if it were to last longer.
  2. My mind immediately started to think about post Hurricane Katrina and how the looting was all over the news. Unprepared people will become desperate. Some out of pure malice, and others out of concern for keeping their families safe and healthy.
  3. Keep cash on hand in different places (vehicles, in the house, in your wallet, in the diaper bag, etc). We as a society (guilty here) have become so accustomed to simply swiping the debit card when we purchase items. What if disaster struck tomorrow and you had to survive two weeks on the cash you had on hand right now? Could you make it?
  4. I need an alternate form of communication to know what’s going on: hand crank radio, battery operated radio, solar power, etc.
  5. Always keep our vehicles with at least 1/2 tank of gas in the case that we need to get out of dodge ASAP.
  6. Have a bug out bag ready to go or in each vehicle so that we can get up and leave on a moment’s notice.
  7. Home safety in the case of those in society that will take advantage of the vulnerability people are experiencing. I will do whatever is necessary to keep my family safe and out of harm’s way. Wouldn’t you?
  8. From now on, as soon as the electricity goes out, I will fill up the bathtubs and sinks as much as possible to have that extra water. I’d rather play it safe than take a gamble.

What did you think after reading Food Storage Moms 72 hour disaster scenario? What are your reactions? I’d love to hear them!

On Water Storage, Part 2

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Yesterday, I let you in on how our family is currently storing water and what our future goals are (I have my eyes on you, 55 gallon drum!). I forgot to mention that once we build our dream home, hopefully in the next few years, we plan to engineer a rain water catch system. Rain water can be used to water plants and gardens, but if adequately filtered and treated , can also be used for drinking water in an emergency situation for your pets or yourself. All of that rain water running off of our roofs, into the gutters, and onto the ground going to waste!

I left off yesterday briefly explaining that we reuse 1 and 2 liter soda bottles for water storage. This is a convenient, cost effective, and durable manner to store your water. IF you are going to reuse containers, there are a few ground rules as well as strict cleaning and sanitizing guidelines to follow.

To start, DO NOT use milk jugs or bottles that contained fruit juice for water storage. The milk proteins and fruit sugars are difficult to completely remove from the bottles and given time, will create a hot bed for microbial growth that will contaminate your water and potentially make you sick. We don’t want that.

The following cleaning and sanitation instructions are straight from FEMA and the American Red Cross and are accepted across the prepping ‘verse:

Prepping Containers:

1.) Thoroughly clean the container with dish washing soap and water. Rinse completely so there is no residual soap.

2.) Create a sanitizing solution by combining 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach (cheap at discount stores) to a quart (1/4 gallon) of water.

3.) Swish the solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces.

4.) Rinse the bottle with clean water, let dry completely. I wait until I have a large number of bottles, at least 10, before I start to clean and sanitize that way I can reuse the sanitizing solution in the bottles I have for that day.

Filling Water Containers:

1.) Make sure your hands and working surfaces are clean. I recommend wearing gloves and rubbing them with hand sanitizer. You don’t want to contaminate the lid with your dirty hands when you are recapping.

2.) Fill the bottle to the top with tap water from your sink. If your water utility company treats with chlorine, there is no need to add anything additional to keep it safe and clean. Most cities and companies have this information on their website, if not, a quick call to the water company and you’ll have your answer 🙂

If the water you are using comes from a well or another water source that has not been treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to each gallon of water. (2 liters is ~1/2 gallon, so 1 drop of bleach for each two liter bottle is sufficient)

3.) Tightly close the container using the original cap. Do not touch the inside of the cap, again we don’t want to contaminate!

4.) Write the date on the outside of the container. Store in a cool, dark place.

If you want some added protection, you can wrap the lid with Parafilm to get a good seal. This is a material we use in the biology and chemistry labs quite often.

5.) Replace the water every six months. If I have water coming up on it’s “expiration”, I just refill our dogs’ automatic water bowl with it, re-clean, re-sanitize, and refill!

In a nutshell, that’s how we prep and store our water. Simple, cheap, and effective…three of my favorite things!

On Water Storage

When I found myself emotionally and physically ready to start disaster preparations for my family, I sat down to do research in order to discover what I could do right now to ensure my family’s health and wellness in the case of an emergency situation. I was hoping to find a step-by-step, how-to, checklist type of document but to no avail. I guess I can say that I’m not surprised because each family and situation is different, so there won’t be a completely universal guide on how to prepare.

I approached it with this mindset:

If a disaster were to strike tomorrow, what necessities do I need to ensure my family’s health and safety for 2 weeks?

(In the beginning of my prepping journey, I started with the small, achievable goal of a 2 week need)

We have enough food to stretch us for two weeks (even if the power went out), our pets (2 dogs, 1 hedgehog)have ample food, we have warm clothing, and it’s not extremely cold yet where I am (Ohio) so we could absolutely keeps ourselves comfortable in regards to temperature.

What don’t we have enough of? Water. We can survive weeks without food, but only three days without water. We live in a country where safe drinking water is bountiful. So much so, that I think most of us take its availability for granted (guilty here). There are several places in the world where water scarcity and water stress is a very real thing.

When I sat down to make my 2 week prep list (which I’ll share soon!), we had two 36-count packages of bottled water. That’s it. Loosely translated that is only 9.5 gallons. For reference,

The CDC and FEMA recommend 1 gallon per person and pet per day. 

My water “storage” at the time would have lasted my husband, daughter, 2 dogs and I less than 2 days if disaster were to strike. Sure, I could fill up the bathtubs, the sinks, or drink from the toilet reservoir (not the bowl), but I don’t want to rely on those sources. What if our local water municipal had been compromised or contaminated and we couldn’t trust what was in the system? We would have to scramble to find  water in potentially dangerous conditions. This is exactly what motivated me to start prepping for disaster situations.

As I stated before, every family and situation is different. What works for my family may not work for yours – but I’d sure be happy to help you with recommendations! According to the CDC and FEMA’s recommendations, my family of 3 plus 2 dogs would need at least 70 gallons of water for a two week supply. Here is what our water storage plan looks like right now:

  1. Commercially packaged bottled water (16.9oz): While these are convenient and inexpensive ($2-$3 per pack), this makes up only a small percentage of our water storage. We have around 3-5 packages on hand at all times. Waste is a topic that is extremely important to me and pre-packaged water bottles are a HUGE source of waste/trash. While they can be recycled, in a real life SHTF (sh*t hit the fan) scenario, you most likely will not have access to recycling or even trash pick up.  Amount on hand = 27-45 gallons.
  2. Larger Commercially packaged water (1 gallon and up):  We have 25-30 one gallon jugs of water from the grocery store in our stockpile. I like these because they are larger (less waste) and can be refilled much easier with tap water once we’ve used them (after proper cleaning with dish soap and sanitation with bleach). It’s also easier to measure and keep track of water consumption. Amount on hand = 25-30 gallons
  3. Food grade water storage containers: This is the ideal. If you can fork over the up front cash needed to buy these containers, do it. They are by far the safest and most fitting to use for water storage.  There are thousands of different types of water storage containers out there. For me, it was quite overwhelming when I started to check these out. 55 gallon drum: if you have the space, these are great! Make sure you have a means of getting the water out when it’s needed. Check this one out on Amazon. Amount on hand = 0. Like I said, we are in the beginning stages of our prepping journey whilst on a budget. This is at the top of my list though! I know there are some resources out there that recommend buying used food grade containers and simply cleaning them well. I have a few issues with this: First, you can’t be completely sure what was in these drums before you got a hold of them. Most things can be cleaned and sanitized, but there are some that cannot. Second, I live by the mantra that you get what you pay for. Water is essential to survival and probably the most important part of your preps. It’s one of the things that I’m okay with spending money on to get quality in return.
  4. Recycled PETE containers: This is one of our favorite ways to prep! We collect 2 liter pop bottles from friends and family to refill. It’s important to be extremely sanitary when refilling containers because you don’t want to contaminate them. In my next post, I will go over how we clean and sanitize reusable bottles as well our plans for filtration of outside water sources. Amount on hand = 10 gallons (20 two liter bottles). 

Currently on hand we have 72-95 gallons of water which is sufficient for a 2 week prep scenario. We are moving in baby steps, but I feel it’s easier physically and mentally to set small goals and achieve them rather then setting several too big goals and feeling defeated and discouraged.

This post is much longer than I anticipated! I’ll be back later this week with a part 2 on water storage!