Coupons = $$$  Photo c/o

Coupons = $$$ Photo c/o

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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 or as well as 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
AquaFresh toothpaste
Arm & Hammer toothpaste
Aveeno Face Cream
Ball Park Beef Franks
Bar S Hot Dogs
Bayer Quick Release
Burt’s Bees Lip Balm
Butter (unsalted)
Capri Sun Drinks
Carefree Maxi pads
Cesar Dog food
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
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
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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The Aftermath
By Kellene Bishop

Yesterday we discussed the reality of an EMP attack on the U.S. and today we will bring the aftermath of an EMP attack a bit closer so that we can mentally go through the various ramifications.  If you mentally prepare, even little by little, you will be significantly better off.

Ford Bronco photo c/o

Ford Bronco photo c/o

The Aftermath Reality #1: Since an EMP essentially fries anything electric, this means most automobiles post-1970 will be useless.  This may explain why my husband’s dream car as of late is a 1967 Ford Bronco. 🙂 As early as 1970, key components of automobiles were made with electrical parts.  You’re well aware that some models today brag about being completely electrical.  This will be problem with an EMP.  If you’re driving your beautiful Cooper car when an EMP strikes, you won’t feel the road rattle.  You won’t hear a noise.  Your automobile will simply stop dead in its tracks.  Be prepared mentally for alternative transportation.  For me that’s “hoofing it” so I have a couple pairs of good shoes in storage, and made sure that my bikes have several tire repair kits to go with them.  You may also want to consider having a “li’l red wagon” or something that you can easily push and pull with supplies or your passengers therein.  This is not to say that you will have to flee where you are when an EMP hits, but as the aftermath becomes a way of life, you will have to travel at some point even if it’s just a mile or so.  Personally, I will want to be able to travel so that I can check on other individuals and deliver any aid I may be able to.

HAM Radio photo c/o

HAM Radio photo c/o

The Aftermath Reality #2: The most vital services that will be destroyed in an EMP attack are communications.  Telephones, radio, walkie-talkies, etc.  Can you imagine what life will be like in the aftermath without these luxuries?  And to think we mock individuals who don’t have texting abilities nowadays. 🙂 This is yet another reason why you will want to make sure your walking shoes or your bike are ready for use—delivering messages.  

While your challenge will be wide scale, without proper communication you’ll feel like you’re on you very own little planet.  One of the recommendations I make to prepare for the aftermath is to take the time to get your HAM radio license, appropriate equipment, and THEN be sure that it’s kept out of range of an EMP strike.  This can be accomplished in different ways, but the most popular is a Faraday cage.  

Faraday Cage photo c/o

Faraday Cage photo c/o

You can easily create a Faraday cage which will protect most electronics from an EMP attack.  We’ll talk more about Faraday cages later in this series.  (Sorry, I haven’t found a contractor yet who can do this to my whole house.)  You can actually obtain a Faraday cage from a business that’s going under that has been using one for their server room.  I’ve even found decent sized Faraday cages on E-bay.  Then again you can also use materials of your own for such storage with aluminum foil, mesh copper or brass sheeting, a cheap “space blanket” made of Mylar, or even an oversized stock pot!  There are Faraday blankets available as well.

The Aftermath Reality #3: The banking industry will be destroyed with one pulse.  No ATMs, folks.  You will be unable to buy any goods without cash.  (We’ll see how long human nature allows such civil transactions to take place before burglary and looting commences.)  You will be unable to fill your car with gasoline, even if it is an older model.  Gas pumps are operated electronically nowadays.  Your home security system will be useless.  You won’t be able to rely on the television and video games to entertain your children.  And you’ll have to be sure to have an alternative way to cook your meals—as well as the knowledge necessary to cook in such a manner.  There will be no refrigeration.  So either keep your freezer and refrigerator closed for as long as possible, or start canning meats and such and eating the foods in the freezer first.

Medication ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

Medication ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

The Aftermath Reality #4: Lastly, consider the medical implications of an EMP attack.  Obtaining medications that we are accustomed to using will be virtually impossible.  Those individuals who rely on medical technology to survive in their homes will be at the highest risk in the aftermath of an EMP attack.  Unlike our food supply which relies on a three day delivery cycle, our medical supplies largely rely on a one day delivery cycle.  So what can you do to prepare?  First make sure you have as many medical supplies on hand that you can obtain such as pain relievers, cough and cold remedies, anti-bacterial creams, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, heat packs, essential oils, and your own medications.  (Just so you know, since I use coupons, I get the majority of these items really cheap or for free!)

Next, do all you can do now to get as healthy as possible without medication.  When I started out this year I had a stark moment of realization.  I looked at my nightstand and saw 7 prescription bottles.  I knew that such reliance would hinder me dramatically if we were to encounter a true emergency, so I made the goal to get healthy so that I could eliminate all of them.  It’s been 6 months and I’ve eliminated all but one of them by focusing on the use of high quality nutritional products.  I may not be able to store a year’s worth of medications properly, but I CAN store a year’s worth of nutritional products that help me replace the chemical alternatives. 

To recap, prepare your mind and your body for the aftermath of an EMP attack, and you won’t end up being the star of your own Armageddon story.

  • EMP 101: Part I–The Likelihood.
  • EMP 101: Part II–The Aftermath.
  • EMP 101: Part III–Prepare Medically.
  • EMP 101: Part IV–Faraday Cages.
  • 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

    Photo c/o

    Photo c/o

    OK. It’s no secret.  I could very easily be called “zealous” in my emergency preparedness efforts.  Some lovingly or ignorantly (I don’t mind which) may even call me “paranoid.”  That’s OK.  The bottom line is I’m ready for the majority of crises that may occur.  And as such I have a great deal of peace of mind and fortitude.  Clearly it’s hard to be so prepared and stay completely under the radar of the notice of friends and family, and even more difficult when you regularly write a public blog.  🙂  So I’m sure that many other likeminded people can relate when I share with you some of the following comments that I regularly hear from friends, family and associates:

    • “When all hell breaks loose, I know where I’m going” (Translation—I’m coming to YOUR house, Kellene, and helping myself)
    • “Why do I have to store any food and water?  You’ve got enough to feed an army.”  (Translation—I absolve myself of any responsibility to take care of myself or my family because I can manipulate your good nature to take care of me instead.  Meanwhile I can purchase my boats, fancy cars, have a mortgage bigger than I can afford, go into extensive debt, and ignore any reasonable indications that I must be prepared.)
    • “I don’t need to be prepared.  I’ve got all the ammo I need.” (Translation—When the going gets tough, I intend to forsake all of my standards of morality and ethics and murder and pillage to get what I want.”
    • “If you’re a good Christian, I’m sure you’ll share with my family in an emergency.”  (Translation—I have no need to comply with scriptural warnings on my own behalf.  So long as there are others that will be obedient, I can ride their coat tails and absolve myself of heeding the very same warnings that others have been given.  Oh and while you’re at it Kellene, can you also say my prayers for me, read the scriptures for me, get a college degree for me, and take over the care and nurturing of my family?)
    • “Why be prepared?  When everything goes South, I just want to die anyway.”  (Translation—I choose to ignore the “enduring to the end” quotes in the scriptures.  Instead I choose to determine when my life ends and I do not value my worth and my ability to help others in a crisis and beyond.  I forsake the innate human desire for survival, perhaps even out of cowardice, but definitely out of a lack of faith that any good can come from surviving and helping through a crisis.)
    • “I don’t need to be prepared for more than 72 hours.  The government will provide for us just fine.”  (Translation—I forsake my own accountability for the well-being of family and loved ones.  I also believe in the Easter Bunny, Socialism, and that pro-wrestling is real.  Oh, yeah.  And I also had no television, newspaper, or internet access during the Hurricane Katrina debacle.  And, and one more thing.  I also dabble in fortune telling.  I know that there’s no such thing as a disaster significant enough to last long-term, such as year or more.)

    Unfortunately, anyone who’s made significant attempts to be prepared has heard all of this nonsense before.  And yet for some reason they struggle with the proper response.

    Well, this is how I deal with it.  First of all understand that I absolutely LOVE my friends and family.  While family has always been important to me, I’ve somehow been blessed with lifelong friends as well.  In fact, my feelings of love and concern for one or the other are hard to differentiate at times.  Lately my circle of friends has increased significantly.  I find myself reaching out even to friends from junior high and high school and employment from years past.  I believe the reason is due to the fact that my awareness for the need to be prepared for a real emergency has been heightened substantially.  As I ponder the ramifications of such an event incurring in our nation, I can’t help but feel more connected to the people around me in a very humanistic way knowing that they will struggle if they aren’t prepared.  I know that witnessing their struggle may even be more difficult for me than the crisis itself.  That being said, while my concern is genuine, I realize that I cannot argue with reality.

    Photo c/o

    Photo c/o

    First reality check—there’s a lot of assumption by a person who believes that they will even be able to MAKE it to my home for food, water or other supplies.  What’s to say that they haven’t moved by the time a disaster strikes, or that they are trapped in their home due to a nuclear blast or a pandemic quarantine for a long period of time?  PLANNING on going somewhere else in order to survive is NOT a plan. 

    Second reality check—sharing is voluntary.  I’m sorry, but if I have a choice of bringing someone into my “community” who has been faithful and has done all that they could do to prepare and can contribute to the strength of the survival of the community, then they are going to get first dibs on what I have to contribute.  A community is only as strong as its weakest link.  Can any community afford to take on a dangerous liability or vulnerability and risk the lives and health of all others involved?  A person who has willfully, belligerently, and defiantly ignored all reasonable warnings of preparation is not an asset to anyone else.

    Third reality check—and this I believe is the most important.  Food and water is NOT the real security.  They are only a material representation of the faith, confidence, knowledge, and mental preparation required for a person to survive an emergency.  Confidence cannot be instilled into a hollow soul simply by will.  The same goes with faith, mental preparedness and extensive amounts of knowledge.  Thus, as much as I wish to usurp the natural laws at times and give my friends and family a “brain dump” of my knowledge and the proper mentality I’ve acquired over the years to deal with most imaginable crises, I cannot.  To do so would be to violate an eternal law of choice and agency.  I have this peace of mind, emotional and mental attributes as a result of my preparedness efforts—the purchasing of food,  the classes I’ve attended, the countless hours of research.  Not the other way around.  Even more importantly, I must guard against the disease of fear.  I simply cannot allow your fear to infect the world of preparedness and peace that I’ve worked so hard to create.  While material goods can be willingly shared, the peace and confidence which one seeks in light of an emergency cannot.  It is only had by exercising faith and a commitment of action in response to that faith.  

    I hope that this assist many of you who may be postponing your own preparedness, as well as those who are encountered with the kind of opposition I’ve shared previously.  

    In closing remember this one phrase of wisdom. “You can warn them, but you can’t own their actions.” 

    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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    You may think that my top 7 handy dandy preparedness “tools” are an unusual list for emergency preparedness supplies, but I’m quite certain that you will find them invaluable under the right set of circumstances.  I love discovering and using items that serve a dual-purpose, especially when those purposes are compounded substantially.  If I have something in storage, chances are it serves more than one purpose. Whether it be medical supplies, seeds, a heater or wood, virtually everything I relegate space to store has multiple uses that I familiarize myself with so I get the most use out of my space.  Without further ado, here is my Seven Handy Dandy “Tool” list.  


    1)    duct-tape-bumper Duct Tape: We have an entire case of duct tape in our basement.  You can use it medically as well as to fix leaking or broken items.  It’s even viable to use to mend clothing or shoe, too.  It’s also affectionately called the “100 mile per hour tape.”  When I was in my early 20’s I was in a car accident and “needed” the insurance money to live off of.  Consequently, I used duct tape to reattach the bumper and away I rode… for another year and a half until I bought a new car.  While I never went 100 miles per hour—not that I’m willing to admit, anyway—it worked just fine in keeping my car together.

    2)     Super Glue: Yet another case of supplies occupying our storage area.  This can also be used in lieu of minor stitches as well as prolonging the life of items that may break down.  In an emergency, you may very well have to rely on yourself for such instances as opposed to a professional “fix-it man” or medical personnel.

    3)     bounce-dryer-sheets1Bounce Dryer Sheets: Ah hah.  I knew I’d get raised eyebrows on that one.  Here’s just a few ways that your dryer sheets will be useful to you.  They repel insects, including yellow jackets, bees, ants, and mosquitoes.  All you have to do is loop it through a belt loop, and voila, you are a walking citronella candle.  They also repel mice.  Simply lay them down around an area that you are trying to protect, and you’ve scared little Mickey away.  You can also use them to dissolve soap scum (just wet and scrub), prevent sewing thread from tangling (rub on a strip of thread prior to use) and removing baked-on foods from kitchen items (simply soak with a sheet in it and it comes off).  Not to mention the everyday uses it provides you with such as cleaning blinds, eliminating static from your computer and TV screens, deodorizing shoes, books, and photo albums.  It will truly serve as a duplicitous ally when you’re “roughing it.”

    4)     Tarp, Tarp, and More Tarp: We buy the blue tarps from Costco and have a small stack of them in the basement.  They are sturdy, water proof, and priced much better than even one good quality tarp elsewhere.  In the event of nuclear fall out, roof damage, window damage, freezing temperatures, and a myriad of other instances, I find that this is one product that makes sense to have on hand.  In fact, even if my tents were to fail to provide me with shelter, I can always combine the tarps with my duct tape supply and have suitable protection from the elements. *wink*

    5)     Foil: In addition to the regular, everyday uses of foil, you can also use it for emergency signaling, cooking and insulating.  You can even put water in a well made foil and duct tape “pan,” let it sit in the sun during a warm day and have distilled water at the end of the day.

    6)     lemon-juiceLemon Juice: We’ve got a great supply list for this, too.  Lemon juice is great as a:

    a.      Deodorizer

    b.      Sanitizer

    c.       Antiseptic

    d.      Disinfectant (even for medical uses)

    e.      Dandruff treatment (add 1 T. prior to shampooing, then 2 T. diluted with water after rinsing)

    f.        Laxative—without the usual side-effects

    g.      Relief for a sore throat or hacking cough

    h.      Itch and pain reliever from poison ivy

    i.        Yummy flavoring

    j.        Blemish treatment (when mixed with honey)

    k.      Substitute for buttermilk (mix 1 T. with 1 cup of milk)

    l.        Tarnish remover

    m.   Bleach substitute in laundry. 

    I could share more with you, but since I’m certain I’m listed as a “right wing extremist”, I won’t egg anyone on talking about the self-defense measures that can be realized with lemon juice as well J

    7)     Salt: You’ve heard biblically of salt being a critical component.  Perhaps after seeing all of these uses you’ll understand why I always take advantage of sales on simple table salt.  In addition to all of the ways salt can be used, it’s also a necessary nutrient that many underestimate.  Salt can also help:

    a.      saltPrevent lettuce from wilting

    b.      Repel ants

    c.       Prevent food from sticking to your griddle (just rub it in)

    d.      As a wood preservative (boil your clothespins in them and they will last a LOT longer)

    e.      A boiling water accelerator (faster boiling means using less fuel)

    f.        Remove mildew (when used with lemon juice)

    g.      Remove stains (even works on grape juice in your carpet—but hey, who’s going to really care about the carpet in an emergency, right?)

    h.      Kill weeds

    i.        Prevent your laundry from freezing when you hang them out to dry in cold weather

    j.        Make your milk last longer with a dash of salt

    k.      As a plaster substitute (when mixed equally with starch)

    l.        Substitute for toothpaste (with equal parts of baking soda)

    m.   Relieve sore eyes (when rinsed with salt water)

    A pinch of salt also improves the flavor of a lot of items that may taste stale otherwise such as cocoa, gelatin (it sets more quickly as well), fruits (when putting them in also water—this also prevents them from turning yellow), tea, cooking apples and warm milk (makes it more relaxing as well).  Also, egg whites and whipping cream whip up faster with a pinch.  And last but not least, when you soak your shelled nuts in salt water overnight, all you have to do is gently tap the edge gently and they will easily come open, providing a whole nut instead of crumbles that you have to hunt to find among the shells!  


    In addition to all of these items, I would also recommend you Google multiple uses for vinegar, wheat, rope, isopropyl and rubbing alcohol and apricot seeds, among other things.  Obviously it doesn’t cost you any money to at least gain this knowledge. And you may end up being a real, live MacGyver in the end.

    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.

    Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!