Tag Archives: Budget

  • Investing In Food - Prep As You Go

    Budgeting Freshmen get younger every year...

    From the moment I left home and went to college, my life was quickly taken over by that all-encompassing word, “budgeting.” Sure, it took me a while to actually figure out what it meant, and then even longer to start following one, but it did happen eventually.

    What I learned about budgeting during my college years was that if I wanted something, I’d have to save up for it. I also learned that, even with diligent saving, some things had to be paid for in installments.

    Like tuition.

    The same thing applies to food storage. You want a year supply of food, but you can’t quite afford to pay for it all at once. What do you do?

    The answer is simple: Count your change and find a plan with monthly payments that fits your needs.

    Yup, we’ve got year-supply emergency food storage plans that work just like tuition. Three great things about both education and food storage is that, over time, both increase in value, both add to future security, and the acquisition of both bring a sense of accomplishment and peace of mind. And that’s important for any investment.

    In fact, investing in emergency food storage is also like investing in general. As the years go by, your money becomes worth more and more. Well, your food might not be worth a whole lot more (although in just the last 10 years, freeze-dried diced pineapple has gone up $10 a can, so there’s that), but the investment is all about having it when you need it. Investing in food storage will mean you will have food available when you otherwise wouldn’t have any.

    PAYG 2If you’re planning on investing in an emergency food storage, you’re going to need a financial plan. It kind of defeats the purpose to spend more than you can afford on your emergency preparedness items. However, by choosing one of our Prep-As-You-Go-plans that works for you, you will be able to stock up on your storage while still remaining above the red.

    But say you’ve invested in a plan, but other life expenses surprise you. That’s ok! You’re not obligated to tough it out with your Prep-As-You-Go plan. You can cancel at any time. Again, we wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself financially all in the name of preparedness! And just in case you have a tendency to forget about your monthly shipments, we’ll remind you a week before each shipment goes out. That way, you can add extra items to your order for no extra shipping costs (ie. still free shipping), or have a panic attack when you realize you forgot to cancel this month (don’t worry, there’s still time to call us up and cancel)!

    Having an emergency food supply is important, but being able to budget for one is just as important. We’re people too, and we understand that. We’ve been doing this for a very long time, so we know the best ways to help you get the most out of your hard-earned money.

    Follow this link to go to our Prep-As-You-Go page for more detailed information about our various plans.

    Posted In: Budgeting, Food Storage, Planning Tagged With: invest, prep as you go, emergency food storage, Budget

  • Baby Steps: Spice up your holiday

    With Halloween over and Thanksgiving soon to arrive, before we know it Christmas will be here and those who start prepping for it now will have an easier, less stressful holiday season.

    The Christmas season is a time of parties, a stream of festivities, a never-ending row of colorful lights, and a lot of fun.  Start preparing now so that you can enjoy the winter wonderland that surrounds Christmastime without being overloaded and overstressed. One huge stressor during the holidays is trying to get gifts at the last minute—this is never a fun way to spend the few weeks before Christmas. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out what gift you’re giving all of your friends, neighbors, and family members this year.

    Usually for Christmas we all seem to get the cookie platters, baked goods, or holiday decorations. Although these standard go-to gifts are fun (and for some of us, allow us to indulge in our weakness of candy!), why not step away from the crowd and give an inexpensive, unique gift to those you love most?

    My sister actually gave me a fantastic, delicious recipe that will both sweeten and spice up your friends’ holiday—Pepper Jelly.

    Small colorful sweet peppers isolated on white background

    Mmmm! Pepper jelly matches sweet with spicy in a delicious blend of flavors using bell peppers, jalapenos, and a few other ingredients. This recipe is easy to make in large batches, and only uses a few ingredients per batch, making it perfect for a holiday gift.

    Pepper Jelly
    Yield: 8 ½-pint jars

    *You could even do both colors (in separate jars) to create a Christmas season feel

    1. Combine peppers, vinegar, sugar, and cayenne in a large pot
    2. Cook on medium until it boils
    3. Add the Certo, boil 5 minutes (let it boil for the full 5 minutes, or it won’t set.)
    4. Remove from heat
    5. Add food color
    6. Pour into jars

    Pepper jelly is a unique recipe that a lot of people haven’t tasted before, but is savory nonetheless. If sweet and spicy aren’t quite your taste, other traditional jams and jellies make great holiday gifts as well. For a variety of delicious recipes see our Jams and Jellies that please post.

     

    Storing your Jam/Jelly

    Short-term storage is a great way to seal your jelly, protecting it from bacteria until you are ready to dive into it. There are three ways to package your jelly for short-term storage: Traditional Canning, Freezing, and Storing to eat.

    Traditional Canning

    Traditional canning involves cooking your ingredients before sealing them in their individual jars by processing your batch in a boiling water bath. This process takes longer to do because of the cooking time, but ensures that all of your ingredients are clean and ready to eat.  As soon as the jelly is poured into their individual jars, cap them and place in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.  Remove jars and set aside to cool. Soon after removing from the boiling water, you should hear a ‘pop!’ indicating that the jar has sealed itself. If you are unsure as to whether or not it sealed, just poke the lid. If it concaves and then bounces back at your touch, then it did not seal properly. In that case, store it in your fridge and eat within the next few weeks.  You can store traditionally canned jelly for up to a year.

    Freezing

    Freezing is another way to package your jelly for storage. This process takes much less time than the traditional canning method.  After the jelly has been poured into its individual freezer-safe containers, let it cool before capping it, and then place it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Freezer jams can last up to a year in the freezer or a few weeks in the fridge.

    Store to Eat

    The last way to store your jelly is to store it to eat. Once you have poured the jelly into its individual jar and have let it cool, cap it and place it in the fridge. The recommended storage life is about a month, but I have had my Pepper Jelly in the fridge for two and it still tastes delicious. This type of storage is perfect if you plan to eat your scrumptious jelly right up.

     ***

    Jams and jellies are fantastic gifts to give anytime of the year because they’ll last. When you give jam as a gift, your friends can either break into the bottle immediately or save it for a time when their own sugary supply of holiday goodies gets low.  Jams and jellies are able to store for up to a year depending on how you seal it.

    Jams and jellies give you an inexpensive option when you want a unique, desirable gift for your loved ones. Freeze dried and dehydrated fruits and vegetables are perfect for adding into your jams/jellies without having to break your bank, just use a little here and a little there and still have plenty for later.

    -Kim

    Sources:

    http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_07/storing_jams.html

    http://www.betterrecipes.com/blogs/daily-dish/2011/07/27/how-to-make-homemade-jelly/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: holiday, freeze dried food, Budget, preparedness, baby steps, skills, recipes, food storage

  • Pennies for Prepping - Urban Girl's April Update

    Pennies for Prepping Banner

     

    Hi, friends!

    Did April fly by for you? It did for me, so I’m juuuuust sneaking in under the deadline for posting my Pennies for Prepping update in time for you to take advantage of the April sales! In April I followed the plan I had in March—take out a $20 bill in advance, and if I need it, I’ll use it. But I didn't need it, and I was able to save another $6.37 on top of that. Combined with the $1.28 I had left from last month, my budget for April was $27.65.

    There were a lot of great items on sale this month, but I’ll tell you what: if you can get in on a group order, do it! That’s what I did this month, so I got the Eight Pack Utility Flame Gel Packets (because I probably couldn't start a fire from scratch to save my life—no pun intended [okay... some pun intended]).

    Utility Flame fire-starting gel

    I also got the Hydropack 10-pack. If you don’t know how these work, they might seem a little weird to you—but they are awesome. You just drop the pouch into water (NOT salt water, anti-freeze, or water rife with spilled chemicals), go about your business, and 8-12 hours later come back and get hydrated! The water gets pulled through the pouch's membrane by forward osmosis, and the filter holes are so small, no viruses, protozoa, or bacteria will even think about making it through. (Do they think at all? Probably not. But you knew what I meant anyway, right?)

    10-pack Hydropack

    So, that’s what I got this month. If I hadn't joined in on a group order this month, I would have bought these items instead:

    The Nokero N200 Solar Powered Light. Solar power is awesome, and this lil’ light o’ miiiiine, I’m gonna let it shiiiiiiine. As soon as I buy one. You should today, before the sale is over. Right now it’s $11.99 on sale (MSRP is $19.99). I’m thinking I’ll get a couple in the next few months, and hang them off my patio railing during the day, then use them for reading lamps at night so I can save on the electric bill. Every little bit helps, right? Plus, then I’ll have them on hand for power outages. I’m all about killing two birds with one stone when it comes to preparedness.

    Nokera N200 Solar-Powered Light

    At least one, but probably two, packs of Emergency Essentials Nylon Emergency Rope. $1.99? Awesome. Having rope on hand in an emergency at home or on the road is so beneficial—how many times have you wished to yourself that you had a length of rope handy to stabilize something or tie something to the roof of your car to get it home? (Or tie your trunk lid down once you’ve finally managed to maneuver said item into your trunk?)

    Emergency Essentials Nylon Emergency Rope

    I would also want to buy a Bear Grylls Fire Starter. On sale this month for just $10.99. I would have to spend a little time practicing my fire-starting skills to make that purchase worth it (remember that I have no fire-starting skills whatsoever), but it’s a great investment—and I should learn how to start a fire anyway.

     Bear Grylls Fire Starter

    Alright, my preparedness peeps. That’s it from me. What did you get this month? If you’re saving pennies like me, were you able to save much in April?

    Let’s meet this time tomorrow to talk May sale items, shall we? See you then!

     

    --Sarah (a.k.a. Urban Girl)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Pennies for Prepping, Budget, Prepping on a Budget, Urban Girl

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