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By Kellene Bishop

This will be a short one, folks, as I have 5 hours of teaching and 3 hours of traveling to do today. Which brings me to my point.

There seems to be a mythical view of how I get prepared… as if I spend every waking moment doing so. And as a result I perhaps have more time than others.

Photo c/o blogs.zdnet.com

Photo c/o blogs.zdnet.com

Well, let’s be clear. I have a JOB, just like all of the rest of you. My JOB involves teaching, writing, researching, and communicating. I easily work 12 hours a day. Then when I’m finished I have meals to plan and cook, groceries to buy (not to mention the couponing I do), time to “veg” by going to a movie or being social, church responsibilities, and being an accessible family member. Additionally, I have all of the added responsibilities of running a business (legal stuff, taxes, employee issues, etc.). Oh, and somehow I manage to put preparedness priorities in there as well. As you can see, I don’t have any more time to dedicate to preparedness than the rest of you do. In fact, in some instances I may have a great deal less. The difference in what I do and what others may do has nothing to do with time. It has EVERYTHING to do with priorities.

The same holds true with money. My husband and I have been through some doozies over the last 2 years. I certainly don’t have an excess of money–which is exactly why I’ve picked up on couponing. Since preparedness IS a priority to me, couponing aids me in accomplishing that goal as well as being able to afford some other preparedness priorities. Again, it’s about priorities, not money.

With a little creativity, food storage can be done in an 800 sq ft apartment. Photo c/o move.com

With a little creativity, food storage can be done in an 800 sq ft apartment. Photo c/o move.com

Space is the exact same thing. While I don’t live in an 800 square foot apartment anymore, I used to before I got married 10 years ago. And yet even then, I still had a year’s supply of food and water in my 800 square foot home. It was about priorities, rather than some aesthetics. I still entertained in that little apartment and thoroughly enjoyed my surroundings. But I made all of my aesthetic judgment calls based on being able to be an independent, prepared woman, rather than just one more single, helpless female. I got creative with storing item under the bed, behind the clothes in the closet and made it work.

Knowledge is a priority to me as well. Yes, I need a fluffy mental break periodically and I would also give up nearly any time to enjoy the company of my nieces and nephews. But when I have a choice between a good novel or a book that will help me to be more informed and reliable, I choose the latter and I love it. I feast on it. It’s not about gloom and doom for me, folks. It’s not just about being able to “say” I love my fellowmen, but actually PREPARE to love them in every sense of the word by possessing the skills and supplies to aid them if and when it’s necessary. Believe me. I have family members that worry me to no end because of their lack of awareness about what’s going on around them. But I don’t stop in my efforts to prepare and teach them because they ARE my priority.

Recently I had a friend who had been ill for several week. She was also having some serious financial hang-ups and couldn’t even afford to go to the grocery store to get some items for her household. Well, I didn’t have any money that I could share with her at the time, but can you imagine how happy I was that I could give her FOOD? Lots and lots–even food that she loved and enjoyed.

jesus-second-comingForgive me if I offend anyone by bringing some scriptural aspects into this topic. (I try to be sensitive to the beliefs of a very general base of readers.) Most who read the Bible believe in prophets and prophecies. That being the case, isn’t it obvious that we cannot pick and choose which prophecies we believe in? We can’t possibly believe in a Second Coming of the Lord and not believe in the Armageddon that is sure to precede that coming. Hopefully we strive everyday to be ready for that Meeting with the Lord. That said, it’s equally important to prepare to survive the prophesied turmoil and chaos so that we can be present AT the Meeting. Ultimately, preparedness is the ACTION that comes from believing in the prophecies.

So there you have it. Preparedness Pro shows you that she’s got a life and challenges just like you. The question is what we do with those challenges and how we prioritize.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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Coupons = $$$  Photo c/o insidesocal.com

Coupons = $$$ Photo c/o insidesocal.com

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

As you may already know, the use of coupons is mandatory for my personal preparedness of food and medical supplies. I have truly obtained a bounty of free or dirt cheap goods over the last 6 months that has nearly doubled my original supplies. As a result, it’s really freed up money for items such as solar ovens, fuel, pressure cookers, butane stoves, foam, etc. When I share this information in passing (read: Outside of the confines of my 3 hour Coupon Training Boot Camp) I frequently get a lot of negative comments with a touch of whining such as “coupons are only for junk”; “I can’t find coupons on items I use”;  “It’s not worth the time and effort it takes” or “I shop at Costco instead.”

I’ve got great news for you. These comments are misinformed perceptions, pure and simple. Let me share a little bit with you. 

 1)      I only spend 2 hours a week couponing. However, these last three weeks I’ve been doing so many classes that I literally have not even been able to invest that much time and so I haven’t even bought any groceries. And guess what? We didn’t even miss it! We still had all we needed because of all that we had previously from couponing.

 2)      I don’t just use coupons on “items I use.” I try new things many times—especially when they are free or cheap. I have three key rules on couponing. 1-You can’t afford to be brand loyal. When things go south, you’ll be happy that you have toilet paper. It doesn’t matter that it’s not Cottonelle, when Charmin was on sale for dirt cheap. 2-If I would be willing to use the product if it was FREE or CHEAP, then I cut the coupon. 3- I only use the coupon on items that are already on sale, thus making the majority of what I buy 70-100% almost ALL the time. This strategy has also allowed me to discover new things that my family likes. For example, I fell in love with the California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzes. (I know. Not exactly “food storage” but it sure did come in handy when I had no time for lunch other than a microwave meal. I also discovered that I preferred a completely different brand of mayonnaise than I had been buying all my life. Who knew? I only got the other brand because it was only 75 cents for a large jar with coupons.

 3)      Because of coupons, I literally cannot afford to shop at Costco or Sam’s Club anymore. Seriously. For example, Costco used to have the best deal around on zip-lock bags. When they would circulate one of their coupons, it would cost only 5 cents a bag. BUT… a local grocery store chain last week had boxes of Hefty Easy Zip bags on sale for 10 for $10. And guess what? I had $1 off coupons for Hefty Easy Zip bags! Um, sorry. No matter how much volume Costco buys, I doubt they could match that price.

 4)      You shouldn’t waste time trying to match coupons with sales. You need to align yourself with a coupon shopping service. I have my favorite services that I like to use for my area. It’s not a normal day without me checking out www.couponcarousel.blogspot.com or www.krazycouponlady.blogspot.com as well as www.savvyshopperdeals.com. The first two sites give me hot spot highlights for deals. But the latter site actually allows me to use a software service that tells me all of the best deals in my area…and I can pre-sort my search by store, product type, or even percentage of savings. As I browse I can make my grocery list and be in and out in a jiffy. Heck, the site even tells you what section of the store you can find something in! Not only that, but there’s also a video tutorial on the site that you can watch to get your feet wet with couponing—at least until I give you a more thorough webinar. 😉

Coupons = $$$ in Your Pocket!

Coupons = $$$ in Your Pocket!

5)      Next, I think that ANY of you would be hard-pressed right now to tell your boss that you want to earn $100 an hour, and you want to be able to work two hours a week for that money, and in you slippers, while you watch TV and talk on the phone. Right? Well, that’s what I save EVERY week that I do coupons! And that’s just for 2 of us in the home. I buy items that we eat regularly and items that we can store away. That way I’m storing what I eat, and eating what I store. If your family is bigger then you can save even more. I have a friend who recently got off of food stamps thanks to what she learned with couponing. I have another friend that has 7 in her family. Her monthly grocery budget is only $100. And guess what? She spends half of that on food storage!! My sister just went to a store last week that I loathe because of how un-coupon friendly they are. And she was STILL able to walk out of there with over $160 in groceries and medical supplies for which she only paid $20.55. Oh and by the way, she also received a $5 Target Gift Card. (Way to go, Sis!)

6)      Last, but not least, coupons are not only for junk—although I’ve managed to find my share of chocolate coupons. Hee hee. I simply don’t have the time, energy, or resources to share with you all that I’ve been able to purchase, at what  price, and where. But what I will do is give you SMALL list of items that I’ve purchased for FREE over the last few months. This is not even an all inclusive list. So when your jaw drops to the floor after reading this, pick it back up and give couponing a try. Surely you’re not going to be conquered by a few harmless coupons, are you?  🙂  

A-1 Steak Sauce
Almond M&Ms
Apple Jacks
Apples
AquaFresh toothpaste
Arm & Hammer toothpaste
Aspirin
Aveeno Face Cream
Ball Park Beef Franks
Bananas
Band-aids
Bar S Hot Dogs
Bayer Quick Release
Burt’s Bees Lip Balm
Butter (unsalted)
Capri Sun Drinks
Carefree Maxi pads
Celery
Cesar Dog food
Cheerios
Cheese
Cheetos Astro 100 calorie paks
Chef Boyardee
Chef Michael’s Dog Food (dry)
Chef Michael’s Dog Food (wet)
Chicken Breasts
Children’s Bayer Chewable Tablets
Clean & Clear (facial cleanser)
Colgate toothpaste
Crest Whitestrips
Crystal Light
Degree Deodorant
DelMonte Fruit Cups
Digorno Flatbread Pizzas
Dole Salad mix
Dove soap
Dry Idea deodorant
Earth Grains Wheat Berry Bread
Ecotrin
Eggs
Energizer batteries -6 pak, AA
French’s mustard
Fusion Razor
Gatorade (32 oz. and 1 liter)
Grey Poupon
Hefty Fresh Extend zip bags
Hunts Ketchup
Isopropyl alcohol
Jack Daniel’s BBQ Sauce
Jell-O Pudding Snacks
Johnson and Johnson First Aid Kit
Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal
Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats cereal
Kellogg’s Rice Krispie cereal
Kellogs Raisn Bran
Kens Salad Dressing
Kraft BBQ Sauce
Kraft Easy Mac & Cheese Microwaveables
Kraft Ranch Dressing
Krafy BBQ sauce
Lint Brushes
Listerine Advantage
Manwich Sauce
Milk
Nature Valley Nut Clusters
Nexcare bandages
Nexcare bandages
Nexcare Disney Tatoo bandages
Office Depot Copy Paper
Oscar Meyer Balogna
Oscar Meyer Beef Franks
Oscar Meyer Bologna
Pantene Shampoo & Conditioner
Peanut M&Ms
Post Raisin Bran
Puperoni dog treats
Quaker Life cereal
Reach Dental Floss (55 yards)
Reach toothbrush
Renu Contact Cleaner
Right Guard Deodorant
Ritz Crackers
Sara Lee Hot Dog Buns
Schick Quattro Razors (non-disposable)
Schick Razors
Scotch 3 pack Tape
Scotch Double Stick Tape
Scotch Mailing Envelopes
Secret Deodorant
Sirloin Steak
Snickers Candy Bar
SoftSoap Essentials
Steamables (vegetables)
Sure deodorant
Tennesse Pride Sausage Gravy
Tide liquid detergent
Tylenol Aspirin
Vaseline Hand Lotion
Velveeta Microwave Cups
Western Family Tuna
Wet Ones
Wheat Thins (Multi-grain and regular)
 

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

As you all know, I’m big into using coupons to build up my food and other emergency preparedness supplies. With the coupon culture comes some unexpected consequences that one may not anticipate. The most obvious consequence is that I buy a lot of the smaller containers as opposed to the large, warehouse size. The good news is that smaller containers are actually a good way to store your food in preparation for an emergency. In an emergency survival situation, smaller is definitely better. Here’s why.

Post Cereals on display in Palo Alto, CA. Photo c/o AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Post Cereals on display in Palo Alto, CA. Photo c/o AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Smaller is Better Reason #1: Cost. We all know that you usually get better value on bigger containers of an item. However, when it comes to using coupons, I’d much rather get 5 free small jars of mayonnaise than pay over $5 for a large one. Most coupons do not come with size restrictions on when you can use them. Some do exclude use on trial/travel size, but not all of the time. And most coupons only require that you buy at least their smallest “regular” sized item in order to use the coupon. So let’s compare for a moment. The other day I got 5 boxes of Post Raisin Bran for 88 cents each in the 20 oz. size. The Raisin Bran cost 04 cents per ounce. Now, at Costco, I could get it for 15 cents per ounce. (Keep in mind there’s a membership involved to get that price as well.) So, perhaps now you can better understand why I believe that I can’t afford to shop at the warehouses in most cases. I reserve my warehouse spending to meats, cheeses, eggs, and perhaps some other specialty items like the tarps I like so much at Costco. At least these items can be canned or otherwise preserved. Even then, I still keep my eyes open with the coupon usage in regular grocery stores. I got a gallon and a half of milk for only 17 cents and 2 pounds of block cheese for $2.99 the other day. Costco and Sam’s Club can’t match that.

Condiment Packets photo c/o clubheinz.com

Condiment Packets photo c/o clubheinz.com

Smaller is Better Reason #2: Waste. Obviously in the event of a long-term emergency survival situation, we will be without the luxury of refigeration. This is another reason I’m a big advocate of buying small. When I open a warehouse size of Miracle Whip in the midst of an emergency, I’d better plan on using it all to feed an army or throwing it out due to spoilage. However, when I open a small 15 oz. jar of Miracle Whip, it’s probably just the right amount for a pasta salad or white sauce. I am also a big advocate of saving small condiment packets you are given at the fast food restaruants. I’ve got a lot of salt, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, and other items this way, so when I want ketchup for a sandiwch, I don’t have to open an entire jar. I can just open a couple of condiment packages instead. No wasting. No refrigeration necessary.

Smaller is Better Reason #3: Trade. Just as I advised my clients to only keep small bills of U.S. currency on hand for an emergency, the same goes for food items as well. It’s a heck of a lot easier to trade a small can of tuna for what you may need rather than trying to get the best bang for your buck with a large warehouse size of it. In a time of emergency in which food, water, and ammo is king, you may have a hard time “finding a market” for trading your larger items for something that you really need, and thus you’re likely to “under trade” for it. 

Smaller is Better Reason #4: Portability. I’d much rather stuff a small can of Vienna Sausages and a couple packages of ketchup in my travel pack than a big 24 oz. container of chicken and a large bottle of ranch dressing, wouldn’t you? In an emergency, even if you have to leave your home temporarily during the day, you shouldn’t do it without some food and water supplies on you. You may be able to assist someone you find along the way, or you may get held up somewhere as well. Regardless, it’s obvious that the smaller containers will travel better than the large ones.

Square Bucket Storage photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Square Bucket Storage photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Smaller is Better Reason #5: Storage. It’s easier for me to safely store a lot of little items in containers and place on the shelf rather than large items. For example, when I find a great sale on plastic bins, I’ll take them home and stuff them with toothpaste, or mustard bottles or baby wipes. I’m able to get a heck of a lot more in that enclosed container than I would be able to stack on the shelf or slide under the bed and have them remain there–organized. Given that we’re all struggling to find room for everything, the easier storage component of the smaller items shouldn’t be underestimated.

Dollar for dollar, I’ve discovered that the smaller items make more sense for an emergency. Smaller definitely is better in an emergency. 

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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smith's-logoCheck your local Smith’s Food & Drug. It looks like they are doubling ALL coupons up to $1.00 (for a max of $2.00 for each coupon). Also, remember that Smith’s will “stack” your printed coupons with your electronic ones. 

If you’re not using Cellfire.com, shortcuts.com and pgesaver.com you’re missing a LOT of savings. You should have a lot of fun at this  “Grown-Up Easter Egg hunt” the next 2 days–unless you’ve started the 14 day challenge–then you’ll just have to wait. 🙂 

Plus there are 2 extra coupon inserts in today’s Sunday paper–Kellogg’s and P&G.  So cut and conquer! 🙂

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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A Case for Food Storage
By Kellene Bishop

In the matter of

One Year Supply of Food Storage (Plaintiff)

Vs.

Disbelief and Ignorance (Defendant)

“Plaintiff asserts that Defendant is guilty of unlawful endangerment, attempted murder, infliction of emotional stress, theft, criminal harassment, perjury, vandalism, disturbing the peace, racketeering, and fraud upon the citizens of the world.”

A Case for Food Storage photo c/o localwin.com

A Case for Food Storage photo c/o localwin.com

While many may have a tough time believing this when considering the case in favor of a year’s supply of food storage, I can assure you that the facts present themselves so abundantly in favor of food storage that were such a case to be brought before a court, this would be a slam dunk WIN for the “plaintiff.”  In my opinion, anyone who tries to convince you that you don’t need to be prepared with a year’s supply of essentials is plagued by some serious mental impairment.  I don’t say this coming from any position of religious belief regarding “the last days,” “Armageddon,” or “plagues, pestilence, and famine.”  The physical evidence is clear that we cannot continue to be oblivious to what’s going on around us and we must individually take action to prepare for a long-term interruption in our normal way of life—specifically when it comes to food and water.

Evidence #1: Worldwide food shortages.  Believe me, I know talking about food shortages sounds crazy, but I assure you that it only sounds foreign to us because it’s simply not a part of everyday life for most Americans.  I have written two pieces solely about food shortages on this site and provided ample evidence of such.  But in case that’s not enough for you, go to your favorite search engine and do a search on “food shortage.”  There are news articles from all over the world discussing this reality.  It’s not just restricted to 3rd world countries like you may expect.  Nations which have previously been top exporters of various food products are now IMPORTING food due to weather and natural disaster occurrences.

Photo c/o irishelection.com

Photo c/o irishelection.com

Evidence #2: Financial instability.  When an economy is in turmoil, it’s not just about consumers being able to afford to make purchases.  It’s also about manufacturers being able to afford to produce goods for consumers.  Consumers aren’t the only ones going without right now.  Companies are cutting back drastically everywhere.  Even flourishing food manufactuerers such as Proctor & Gamble have had to shut down plants, offer small amounts on their consumer coupons, decrease benefits packages, and freeze pay raises in various areas within the company.  P&G is one of the lucky ones.  Many others have had to completely shut their doors after decades of successful business.  The financial dance of the economy is a complicated tango. 

Right now the value of currency all over the world has been drastically reduced due to the financial meltdown within our nation.  We keep printing money to fund “stuff” without abiding by any consequences as to the actual value of that money.  In fact, the Federal Reserve has gone so far as to no longer produce the M3 report, which used to tell us just how much money was actually printed and in circulation at one time.  Let me share with you why that’s dangerous. 

mcdonalds-mealSuppose you ran a McDonald’s restaurant.  And suppose you elected to give out a coupon for a free McDonald’s meal.  Obviously, there has to be a limit to the number of meals your company can give to the community for free.  Even if you had a large budget for the campaign itself, you would still have logistical restrictions on the amount of beef, bread, manpower, and space that you would need to execute the coupon offer.  But what if one of your employees decided to make thousands of copies of that coupon and sent out stacks of them to everyone in the community?  Naturally you’re busy all day long making burgers, cleaning the restaurant, paying the employees and their benefits, and yet at the end of a month long campaign, all you’ve got to show for it is a stack of coupons that were exchanged for real meals.  Ultimately, you don’t have a business any longer—only the coupons are still in circulation.  So, tell me what those coupons are really worth to you—or more importantly how much they really cost you? 

Such is the case with our present financial condition in our nation.  We don’t have enough to back up the value of our “coupons.”  The gold is gone in Ft. Knox.  We have no idea how many “coupons” are in circulation.  And at some point (in the near future, I predict) it will be the “end of the month’s campaign,” and we will see that we’ve got a whole lot of useless paper in circulation with nothing but our last meal to show for it. 

So what happens?  People stop accepting your “useless paper” in exchange for your meals.  Instead they want something of “real value” such as gold, silver, or some other kind of “hard asset” trade in exchange for the goods you desire.  So how will you be able to feed your family for a year (or much more in order to provide enough time to fix such a mess) on what you’ve got in the form of “hard assets?”

This is exactly why I say that there is no better investment right now than FOOD.  Your money, or the value thereof, may be dwindling, but it can still be stretched a long ways in the form of coupons, rebates, combined with the “just plain cash” that we have now.  No matter what you pay today for it, it will still represent lifesaving nutrition for you tomorrow.  In fact, it will actually be worth MORE in the near future once an all out financial collapse occurs, because it will now represent a life saving asset that many will find themselves without.  

However, if you are smart and invest in a year’s supply of food now, you won’t regret it regardless of what happens on Wall Street. 

Evidence #3: Vulnerabilities.  The primary way that 98% of Americans receive some form of the nutritional needs is through technology and transportation.  ONE major earthquake along I-80, I-70, I-40, or I-20 in the United States and our nation will noticeably cripple our food and medical supplies.  A quarantine will cripple our access to emergency services, and depending on how long it lasts, even our access to running water, sewage, and electricity services.  Our nation runs pretty darn good when everything works well.  But it wouldn’t take much to put a major wrench in the flow of things.  One minor incident can cause a “food shortage” at your store within 30 minutes—no exaggeration.

Dragon Skin Body Armor

Dragon Skin Body Armor

Just as Dragon Skin Body Armor protects the wearer from a myriad of firearm hits (look it up, it’s AWESOME), food shortage protects from other ailments as well.  In the event that a particular staple becomes tainted in the market, you won’t have to “do without” because you already stocked up.  When prices sky-rocket because of rumor or natural disaster (just as rice and wheat have done over the last year) you’ll be a “foodlord” because of what you have already stored.  Your money will go further because your meals will be created as a result of what’s in your storage, not what you happen to pass by at the grocery store.  And a very definite sense of peace accompanies that storage in knowing that you have indeed provided for the well-being of your family and those you love.  

To summarize, food storage is every man’s defense against inflation, famine, pestilence, government regulations, financial instability, war, terror, natural disasters, and just plain market manipulation.  Why would you be without it? 

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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Yes, You Can Afford It

By Kellene Bishop

Photo c/o chathamjournal.com

Photo c/o chathamjournal.com

Let’s face it.  Watching your bags of groceries get smaller and smaller while the price goes up and up will overwhelm anyone–especially if you have food storage on the brain plus providing food for your family.  I don’t care how wealthy you are, paying more money for less groceries is upsetting, right?  Two nights ago I taught a class specifically to aid individuals in obtaining MORE groceries and other items for less.  To emphasize the message I created several dishes for the group of 40 people with serving sizes plenty for each person to try several tastes of each dish.  I made a dessert and two main dishes all for a total of $4.92.  I often tell people that it only costs $1 per person per day for a year’s supply of food.  But with the benefit of couponing, I find that price to be quite generous.  Why?  Because I am able to obtain so many items for FREE or even better, for less than free. 

Here’s an example of how I get something for “less than free.”  Albertson’s recently had a sale on General Mills cereals.  My husband enjoys Cheerios and I consider them relatively healthy.  I had a coupon for $1 off of a box of Cheerios.  They were on sale for $1.99 a box.  However, Albertson’s also distributed one of their own coupons which allows me to double the value of any coupon presented, up to a $1, on any product purchased.  I had my $1 off, Albertson’s doubled it, which made my box of Cheerios cost me negative 1 cent.  ($1.99 – $1 – $1 = $ -.01)  This kind of scenario happens in the stores I shop over and over.  To be honest, I never shopped at Albertson’s or Walgreens or Rite-Aid before because those stores were “too expensive.”  Now I can’t afford to shop at the warehouse stores!  Who needs to rob a bank anymore?  Taking groceries from a store is much more lucrative, legal, and fun.  And I have not yet been shot at trying to do so. 🙂

These kinds of discounts aren’t isolated solely to groceries.  I’ve purchased pain relievers, cough medicines, deodorants, toothpastes, feminine needs, razors, paper goods, bandages, and even rat poison at a deep discount.  In fact, I’m no longer impressed with “50% off” sales.  I tend to focus on “free,” “almost free” or “hey, we’ll essentially pay you to take this product out of the store for us.” 🙂

So here’s a question for you.  How many times would YOU want to get that kind of a deal?  If you could consistently get these kinds of deals on first-aid, medical supplies and groceries do you think you could easily accumulate your necessary food storage and some emergency preparedness supplies?  Of course you could!  The numbers of times you can get such a deal is limited only by your willingness to be aware of what’s going on around you in the form of sales, coupons, specials AND the number of newspapers and online coupons you’re willing to obtain.  I personally subscribe to five Sunday newspapers and regularly check 6 easy coupon websites.  More importantly for you to consider, I look at this as a part-time job.  I make my own hours, determine how much I make per hour (which turns out to be about $50-$100 an hour), work from the comfort of my own home.  Try getting a part-time job under those terms any other way today. 

coupon-binderThe biggest question I’m asked when teaching people about couponing is how much time it takes.  Usually this question is asked in an overwhelmed tone by the person, already anticipating that it will be yet one more thing on their massive list of things to do.  I usually spend about 2 hours on a Sunday night hunting and gathering my coupons.  I use a guillotine-style paper cutter to cut them so I can usually cut out 5 to 10 at a time.  Sometimes I have to cut the coupons down a bit more, but I use spring-loaded scissors for the task as not to wear out my hands.  (Of course, I purchased the scissors and the paper cutter on sale.)  Then I organize my coupons in a heavy, zippered, three-ring binder, divided into all of the categories of interest to me.  Then I insert the coupons into heavy duty baseball card holders.  I’ve researched a LOT of other methods for organizing coupons and I assure you that I’ve found this to be THE best way by far.  (Please take my word on this matter. You can go off and try to be a pioneer, but you know that they always come back with arrows in their back.) 🙂 I never have trouble finding or seeing the coupons.  They never fall out as the result of an errant slip, and as a result of my organization, I’m not a nuisance to someone who’s in line behind me. 

savvy-shopper-avatarIn addition to my own efforts, I’ve found a great ally who does all of the “watching” and accounting of the coupons for me—Amy at www.savvyshopperdeals.com.  Twice a week, Amy tells gives me a gauge as to what’s a good sale, a great sale, or a kick butt sale on her website.  I can go on her site, tell this amazing software what I’m looking for, what percentage I want to save, what store I want to shop, etc., and create my grocery list right there.  What I end up with is the perfect grocery list that tells me what stores the items are located, what coupons I need to have on hand (plus where they can be located, whether it be a website or a newspaper ad) and she even tells me what AISLE the products are in.  Best of all, this service is completely free.  This way I don’t have to waste time hunting through all of the ads.  I simply spend a little bit of time on her site after I’ve got my coupons organized, and I’m off to stealing…er, I mean buying groceries.  (Note: Right now Amy is local for Utah stores, however, she’s in the process of going NATIONAL very soon.  I’m excited for the rest of you.  Know though that there are similar services and forums online in your area as well.)

Couponing has several benefits.  Not only can you feed your family every day for cheap, but because you ARE feeding your family every day so affordably, it makes you think twice about going out to eat.  With easy recipes you don’t have to feel the need to “escape” to a restaurant for a break.  On those rare occasions when I do go out to eat now it’s only for something that I probably don’t know how to make like those dang biscuits at Texas Roadhouse.  I almost always have a coupon when I go out to eat now.  Even then I’m looking at my food and telling myself, “Do you know how much in groceries I can get for the price of these two meals?!”  Yes, I’m officially “coupon corrupted.”  But seriously.  Couponing really does change your perspective on money.  After you’ve had the experience of ringing up over $100 of groceries only to pay $4.92 for them, you sure think differently about paying for those “extra upgrades” in life.  When I see a quarter on the ground now, yeah, I’ll pick it up—‘cause that could pay for a couple meals if I use it right! 

There’s the stigma that couponing isn’t worthwhile and that it only saves you money on junk.  Part of the reason why I made great food for my class the other night was to dispel this stigma.  Here’s two great recipes that I used last night to show them just how yummy “cheap” can be.  (By the way, due to couponing, I got over $30 in free pork for this recipe the other day!)

Easy BBQ Pork (My total cost: $3.49. Serves 10-12)

In a saucepan over medium heat mix 2 jars of chili sauce and 1 regular sized jar of grape jelly.  Warm through. 

In a casserole dish, Dutch oven, or the sauce pan, place your cooked pork. (Canned, Hormel, Spam, etc.)  Drizzle the chili/jelly mixture over the meat and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the meat is warmed through.  This tastes better if you are able to have sliced pork simmering in the mixture instead of whole large pork roast, etc. Y ou simply can’t get enough of the bbq sauce flavor.

Serve over cooked rice.

tuna-roll-coupon-cooking-Tuna Roll (My total cost: $1.11. Serves 8 – 10)

2 cans of tuna, drained

½ C Miracle Whip

½ C of Italian shredded cheese mix

½ package of cream cheese, cut into cubes

1 can cream of celery

½ T. granulated onion

1 T. Italian seasoning

2 cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls or crescent rounds

***

1 can cream of mushroom

1 C of parmesan cheese or 4 cheese Italian cheese mix

1/4 C of milk

Sprinkle of parsley

1 stick of butter

1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed 

Mix the tuna, mayo, cream cheese, cheese mix and celery soup together in a bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Roll out the crescent rolls until they are in a flat rectangle.  

tuna-roll-first

Spoon the tuna mixture over the bread dough.  

tuna-roll-two

Carefully roll the dough like a “jelly roll”.  Place in a “Pam sprayed” casserole dish.  Bake at 350 for 12- 15 minutes.

tuna-roll-finished

In another bowl mix together the cream of mushroom soup, the cheese, and ¼ C of milk.  Stir consistently until nicely thickened.  Then spread over the cooked tuna rolls. 

Mix together the crumbled Ritz crackers and the melted butter. Top the dish evenly, then sprinkle a little parsley on top.  Return to the oven for about 10 minutes.  Serve warm.

I have so much more that I’d love to share with you on this topic, but that’s simply not practical on a blog.  So I’ll keep chipping away at different components on couponing and hope that in the meantime you’ll think twice about embracing this way of affordably gathering in your supplies.  

I’ve known folks who have been on food stamps who have been able to stand on their own two feet thanks to couponing.  I also personally know of a family of 7 that spends only $100 a month on groceries and HALF of that is for food storage.  Given that the value of our currency is in question and inflation keeps rearing its ugly head, I can’t think of a better way to fight back than to take advantage of couponing.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

newspaper-stackI pay a whopping $15.18 a month for FIVE Sunday newspapers.  I do this primarily for the coupons which afford me to feed our family well and feed our food storage abundantly.  I easily multiply my investment by 10 times each month just considering the grocery savings.  But the multiple other purposes I use the newspapers for after compound those rewards and even makes me eager to take spare newspapers off of another persons’ hands. 

  1. Newspapers for an Emergency Use #1: You’ve no doubt heard of making newspaper logs.  But contrary to popular opinion you do not have to soak them and then roll them in a fancy paper roller to get them to work for you.  Simply roll them very tightly and secure them with a rubber band at each end.  They will make for a great alternative “fuel” source in an emergency.  Part of the reason why I don’t soak them is so that I can use them for alternative purposes as well.  (If you’d like them to burn longer, you can soak them AFTER rolling them in a light soapy water.  Don’t use these in a wood burning stove without being approved via the manufacturer.  But most accommodate such sources of fuel.)

    Newspaper Rolls photo c/o gadgetgrid.com

    Newspaper Rolls photo c/o gadgetgrid.com

  2. Newspapers for an Emergency Use #2: Newspaper makes a great insulator if you tear it into pieces and pile it “feather-like.”  You can also wrap newspaper thickly with duct tape around your pipes to prevent them from freezing in a harsh winter. 
  3. Newspapers for an Emergency Use #3: Newspapers make an acceptable substitute for expensive paper towels when cleaning glass or flat metal surfaces.   I especially like using them to initially clean out my Dutch Oven, solar oven, and grill—items that I’m sure I’ll be using frequently in the event of a power outage.
  4. Newspapers for an Emergency Use #4: I don’t anticipate having the luxury of using my clothes dryer in an emergency.  I also keep the newspapers so that I can spray a little Febreeze on the newspaper, stuff them as a tightly wadded ball into wet shoes and dry them out with a fresh scent, thus ensuring that the shoes keep their form.  (Turn the shoes on their sides for best results)
  5. Newspapers for an Emergency Use #5: If my ironing board breaks then I can use my antique iron with a stack of newspapers as my ironing board.

    Newspaper as an Ironing Board photo c/o artistshelpingchildren.org

    Newspaper as an Ironing Board photo c/o artistshelpingchildren.org

  6. Newspapers for an Emergency Use #6: I can protect my vegetable harvest by wrapping an unexpected early harvest in thick layers of newspapers and storing them in a cool dark place.  Even early picked tomatoes can be salvaged this way.  And along the way, I’m sure I would use my newspapers as a great mulch (black ink only), undoubtedly a luxury item in an emergency.  (Don’t use the glossy paper for this purpose).  Not only that, but a tightly wrapped wet newspaper will make a great trap for pesky earwigs in your garden.  Better than anything you can buy in the store.

Ultimately, I can always use a good rolled up newspaper to combat my husband’s teasing.  But that’s more of an everyday necessity rather than for an emergency. 🙂

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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