Preparedness and How To Prep When You Are Poor or Low Income

(image: the Great Depression poor)

There’s a big difference between “I can’t afford a generator” poor and “we are splurging by adding cheese to Raman noodles for dinner” poor.

Too many people might not start prepping because looking at the cost of ‘recommended items’ can be intimidating.

Regardless of your own economic status, lets get a discussion going about some of the things that ‘poor’ or low income people can do to start or continue prepping.

Some suggestions may be specific while others more general.

Here are a few ideas to get it started:

Acquire survival & preparedness knowledge (Library, Internet).

Research your area for foraging types of foods.

Become proficient as a gardener (seeds are cheap).

Become proficient with food preservation (e.g. canning).

Save all plastic water, juice, pop bottles, etc and fill with water.

Free 5-gallon buckets & lids at grocery stores, bakeries, donut shops.

Save your food jars/lids from spaghetti sauces, pickles, etc. for storage of ‘things’.

Save old clothes to cut up for wash cloths, rags, etc.

Check local paper or Craigslist for free stuff.

Buy a few extra cans of food each grocery store visit.

Always look for the items on sale.

Barter and Trade for stuff.

Before you throw anything away, ‘think’, “What else could I do with it?”

Many churches regularly provide free meals.

Look for a local food pantry.

Visit yard/estate sales, you might find ‘treasure’.

Try to reduce as many monthly bills as you can.

Drive around looking for trees filled with fruit, ask to pick some…

Eliminate ‘indulgent’ expenses (e.g. Starbucks, smoking, alcohol).

Cut your own hair (or your partners hair).

Borrow tools, etc. from neighbors where applicable (instead of buying).

Visit thrift stores for great deals (clothes and all else).

Before buying it, do you ‘want’ it or do you ‘need it’?

Learn how to cook ‘poor meals’ to save money.

Learn how to cook!

Learn how to make a fire.

Search for online ‘free’ prep books.

Install a clothesline to dry your clothing.

Don’t throw away leftovers.

Turn off lights, water, appliances, etc. when you are not using them.

Shower instead of taking baths.

Check out what you can find at the Dollar Store.

Don’t buy anything on credit. If you do use your card, pay it off each month.

Shut off the lights in rooms that you are not in.

AM/FM radio and ‘antenna TV’ are free.

Make sure the furnace filter is clean so it runs efficiently.

Share WiFi with friends, or visa-versa.

Raise some cash – have a yard sale.

Do ‘odd jobs’ for people.

Make your own laundry soap.

Any more ideas?

Continue reading: Survival Skills Of The Great Depression Era


  1. -If you know any “older” folks, try to befriend them. Trade their knowledge (no doubt they have had some hard times) for doing a few chores for them. — Possibly along the way they might offer you the odd thing they no longer want.

  2. Take a navy shower. Buy the gadget that allows you to turn off the shower at the shower head.

    When washing dishes use less water and dish soap.

    Use LED lightbulbs.

    Do all your shopping in one day. No more driving to the store to pick up one item.

    Use a flip phone instead of an iPhone.

    Makes your own presents.

    Become a market vendor. Try growing and drying flowers and selling them as arrangements or in bouquets. There is lots you can make and sell.

    Need buttons? Buy a shirt or jacket at the thrift store and cut the buttons off. Same for zippers.

    At fairs there are often local businesses that offer free stuff – pens, ball caps (with their logo), carpenter pencils, tape measures, and frisbees. Yes, I got all that at one fair.

    Use heirloom seeds and let the plants go to seed and use them the next year.

    Wash and reuse ziplock bags.

    Remember, if you can save ten dollars a week by buying on sale, you will have $520 at the end of the year. On my shopping day I go to three different grocery stores.

    Know your prices!

    Living frugally is a lifestyle. Got that, NRP.

    Stay frosty.

    1. Think about free seeds from the grocery store. There should be something there that will grow in your area that you eat. I’m growing butternut squash. It volunteered after I threw the seeds on the compost pile.

    2. Regarding being a market vendor – we have a cut flower business, self serve on the honor system. We sell $5 bouquets. I looked into local farmers markets – around $300 for one. The other is $35 a week plus you need a business license (don’t need one now), liability insurance insuring the person who runs the market, a county sales tax certificate and an employee id number. All for $5 bouquets. We don’t want to raise our prices. We’re getting known in the area, and sales are up. Would have been nice to increase our customer base at farmers markets but no thanks.

  3. Make a budget. You have annual, monthly and weekly expenses. I have an account for each. Every month I put money into the annual and monthly accounts. Each week I transfer a specific amount from my monthly account to my weekly account. Each week I write down in an account book each amount I spent – groceries, gas, hardware, etc.
    It feels so good. I never wonder, “Where did all the money go?”

  4. If you realize the need to put something aside for a rainy day and you are on a very tight budget , please start out with a small purchase that is within your budget.It could be some thing as small as pair of extra socks or an extra tube of toothpaste.The important thing is that it is a first step on a change in your spending habits.We all need a few small victories on the pathway to self-reliance and something like this may give a person a boost in morale.

    1. Very good advise Bluesman. I started prepping before there was such a word because I worked construction and anyone who has knows feast or famine story’s. I would buy extra bags of beans and rice or pasta. ( everyone can find that extra 1.00 each week ) I would stock up on some extra canned goods. If something was on sale I bought 2. I would purchase little toys and things all year long so I knew my kids would have something under the xmas tree if I hit a bad time in December. Change each day went into a jar for an emergency fund. Little things add up over time is what I’m getting at and the times I had to dig into that emergency cupboard when it rained for 2 weeks with no check was a godsend. Just knowing that I had the extra to feed my family made it worth it even if I never had to use it

      1. poorman, same here have always been in construction and you make hay while the sun is shining. We never run on a budget, just doesn’t work with the unexpected emergencies. Always lived on the poor side even when in the money but always had money in the cookie jar for hard winters or bad times. Did not even know who the Joneses were still don’t, don’t care. Old timers would tell me ” Don’t ever show what you got!” Meaning don’t show off your wealth. People would learn how to live thru the lean times if they lived the construction way of life, its a good way.

        1. TXDAN
          Same here,
          Right when you think your going to break even something breaks!

  5. When I was a kid, there was a saying that I heard quite often, “Poor folks have poor ways.”

    We lived in a small, agricultural based town. The majority of folks were tied to the farmer’s ability to make a living off raising cotton and grains. The majority of the farmers were share croppers whose income was limited at best, and businesses survived on what the farmers spent locally. Most everyone survived on comparatively low income. Everyone was “poor” in income, but their lifestyles varied most by how they spent their money, not how much money they made. Those who took care of the necessities first, their desires later, if at all, made it just fine. Those that reversed those priorities, seemed to always struggle to meet their families needs, going deeper and deeper in debt. Thus the saying, “Poor folks have poor ways.”

    Of course, there were exceptions. The young woman who lost her husband, left raising three kids in a town where there were no jobs for women except in the cotton fields, and no government assistance. Numerous families finding a little extra in their budgets to pay her to wash and iron some of their laundry so she could provide for her kids. Kept her busy, allowed her to keep her pride (and respect).

    A different time

    1. Dennis, I saw my community take care of womenfolk without a man a couple of times growing up. Charity with dignity goes a long way. I wish people would remember that now days.

  6. Find one particular brand of liquid dish soap you like. Frugally use it to hand wash dishes/hair/any hand washed clothing/etc.. You’d be amazed how far a small amount will go, and if you find a brand which “agrees with” your hands, it really will be good for much else.

  7. It’s amazing how much of a difference just buying a few extra cans of whatever food is on sale (that you will eat) makes a difference. The next week, you now have a cheaper meal to eat than what you would have had to pay otherwise. You can then buy a few more cans of whatever is on sale that week. Eventually, you never have to pay full price for anything except fresh and refrigerated foods. This trims your budget, making it easier to save and to have a larger larder.

  8. Go to your local library (or neighbor) and borrow a Boy Scout handbook, if memory serves these little gems are chock-full of low-tech/low cost solutions for camping/emergency situations.
    Best of luck.

  9. Budget!

    I figure out my fixed expenses (divide insurance, taxes, etc by 12, add all utility payments, monthly expenses, etc.) Then subtract that from my income. The difference is my monthly discretionary income. I divide that by 30. That is what I can spend each day for food, clothing, gas, pet expense, household supplies, garden, medicine, etc.etc. In my case it is $14.90 per day.

    Then I keep track of every single expenditure on an Excel spreadsheet. I have columns for things such as food, pet, auto, repairs, garden, medical (other than health insurance, which is a fixed expense.) I also have columns for fixed expenses such as utilities, insurance, etc. so that I can watch to make sure they are the amounts in my budget. At the end of each month there is a running total of all the discretionary columns to I can see how much of my discretionary money I have used so far this month. Below that is a formula that gives me my average spent per day.

    I keep the spreadsheet on a monthly basis and at the end of the month the formulas transfer the totals to an annual list at the end.

    Once you make the spreadsheet, you can use it as a template and next year all you have to do is pull up your blank template and rename the file (expenses2019). After you have it set up, keeping it is super easy. Only takes a minute to take your grocery receipt for instance and divide it into the various columns. I have a column at the far right as a check to make sure the total of the columns add up to the amount of the check I wrote. You can improve the template from time to time.

  10. Find one item you can make yourself an save money on. For us it was laundry detergent. Then make a 3 or 6 month supply put money normally spend into food/storage items for securing
    .. Buy items for one main entre’ x 3,or 6, (You choose) of in one month. items for a different set of favored recipes next. 2 month s you have up to 12 entre’s for groceries monthly.
    learn to make own weed killer, insect repellent and killers, , room refresher.. .. using natural products. DE, baking soda, bentonite clay, tea tree oil, oil of oregano, peppermint oil, lavender oil. borax, sugar….will give you a good start ut in search bar product you want to make and DIY…
    Dehydrate foods/learn proper storage for everything.w/best practices.

    Learn to do own appliance maintenance,and how to check for proper function and dysfunctions.have several multi meters and electrical tape, extra things like points for the well,and air filters for mowers .
    Make all gifts for B days, weddings,graduation,baby and housewarming showers, and Christmas. use a variety of techniques and personalize each one.. dish cloths/bath cloths,shave cloths are same pattern and changing threads according to need
    …needlepoint, plastic canvass and crochet all have methods to incorporate “name” signs /wall hangimgs..door signs…according to the persons interest.

  11. I was the youngest member of a large family. I married a woman that grew up an only child. The differences in the way we spend and save money is stark and scary some times.

    She sees some of my behavior as hoarding. I see some of her behavior as wasteful. There is one habit I picked up that has served me well as far as attending church and eating the free meals offered there: Networking.

    I talk to people and answer questions when asked where my wife is more stand-offish. I also seek to repay for that “free meal” by donation of money or labor because I know that nothing in life is truly free.

    When people get to know you and observe you seeking to repay debts and talking to others, opportunities tend to come your way. It was through church that I got into the US Forest Service, Church folks also connected me with people that worked in the other agencies I eventually joined.

    Now that I am older, it is my turn to help other young people connect to other employers.

    There are several conditions that must be addressed first:
    1. There is no real way to prep if a person is living a hand-to-mouth existence.
    2. Are you healthy enough to work? How about overtime or a second job?
    3. You may be poor now, what are you doing to change that?

    Prepping is a lifestyle as addressed by NRP. Living frugally is a lifestyle as I learned as a child of a large middle-class family. Some folks will never learn.

    Dennis stated it above: “Poor people have poor ways”. I just referred to this process as a continuous chain of bad decisions. In my younger years, I referred to it as being stupid ( butt that phrase made many people angry so I had to rephrase my previous statement.)

    As a person that worked their way through college to major in Economics I have this to say regarding diet:

    If you have $10.00 and you spend it on fast food, you can buy yourself 1 good meal which will include fries with your burger and a drink and have it NOW. That same $10.00 will buy you enough meat, produce and carbs to feed you for several days or can feed several people for one meal. The cost is in your time and labor. The resulting meal is also better for you and will be balanced nutritionally.

    This makes fast food look pretty bad and this is the core of what I teach patients about good decision making when they leave. It requires mastery over impulse control.

    I grew up listening to stories about what my relatives did during the Great Depression. I have had to go out and shoot dinner or pull it out of a stream or lake as the first step of “prep work” for dinner that night. They make for good stories today butt I would not want to go back to those days again. Suffice to say that hunger makes for good marksmanship.

    The Great Recession of 2008 led to my relocation to another state and another job. I was not able to sit back with a bowl of popcorn and watch. I was filling out job apps and phoning the moving company when I was not working. It was a busy time and it sucked during those days.

    It was when I began to settle down that I found this site run by Ken back in those days.

    1. Calirefugee:

      Pretty good post and right on target.

      Too bad many will not listen. It’s too easy to wallow in self-pity…

  12. Some people have no control over their situation. In our case DH is disabled to the point where I don’t feel comfortable leaving him for more than 2 or 3 hours at a time. Even though I am retired I could go back to work, but I am tied to home right now because of his health.

    1. You have control over the situation you are in. The first and most important survival plan is to have a can do mind set. Even the worst case scenario has a solution. Having a flash light, sleeping bags for power outages, candles and matches, week supply of food and water, extra toilet paper, etc are goals any person can obtain. I took care of my mother with cancer for almost 3 years and can understand how hard full time care can be, “but you should never give up on goals or go down the road of despair” for that will truly defeat you.

    2. Peanut Gallery,
      Yes, Understood. Have been in same situation for many years.You have no control over being home, but do have control over what you are able to do there to some extent
      You will have to look at the time you have available, and look at it in segments.. Sometimes when care-giving you just need time to rest with feet up, others one needs something relaxing to think about…for a distraction. As long as you are Ok with where you are and what you are doing , then no one else has a say.
      . At different times you will have different needs. Please take time for yourself to take care of your own health. Make sure you exercise, if nothing but walking several trips to mailbox and back…walk up and down stairs…? I found I could no longer climb stairs normally, had to work to get range of motion back in hip.
      Consider about your interests. People who sew can take in repairing or hemming projects. People who crochet can make gift sets of dish cloths and towels to sell… Or baby blankets to sell to those who are too busy to make them….Even when doing these do not set your price too cheaply…
      Your time is valuable. If you can not recoup your expenses AND a small amount for your time, (even tho you might be doing this craft anyway for pleasure) you should Not sell the product. One way is to have the person buy the thread/or replace it… and then pay for labor. I used to do crib sized blankets for family members. a 40×66″ blanket took 50- 60 hours depending on pattern.

      My DD does plastic canvas, makes coaster sets and has sold some for 6-15$ depending on design and demand. She does these on special order only… for sports teams and school colors… even making key fobs.She is doing her MIL a door decoration… personalized with her items- she desires(no she does not know what she is getting yet) Have a friend who has dogs or cats.?. there are patterns to do coaster set with pawprints. They are adorable and useful, and marketable.

      Care-givin-g I understand… At one point I had to hire someone to be able and present for more every set of chores that took more than 30-45 min… DH could help me that long, with all things.It often took longer for me to prepare for leaving than to get the chores done,once at destination.

      .Technically not retired…but every job avail has certain criteria or swinging hours, ..or very low pay and a fer piece to travel to get to job site… would spend wages in gas.

      ..Our answer is to work toward self sufficiency… ie grow more of our vegetables, raise part of our meat, , all of our eggs., some of our fruit( neither eat a lot of fruits..).Both have strict diets-without our maintaining our diet we would both be sick…

      I am working on cuttings of plants that are in demand and for natural products…
      that are marketable.

      For our animals,( we have chickens and are to add rabbits soon.) last year i had to purchase bedding materials ,nest box materials and litter for their run that was too wet., with insufficient drainage.(had to raise it 6 inches…..have found a free source of materials that will be used this year for all of those needs…It will cost some gas for part of it to go load and haul. some will just be my effort. and a storage system to maintain dry. For Some will have to drive, load with a scoop and bring home unload by hand and cover to protect and keep dry.

      .., This year I am gathering what i have and we will use sage grass in both the tall form and the soft understory… As our grass is cut this summer , it will be dried and will be prepared for feed supplementation, secured… I began too late last year, but have already made a start on it this year.

      We will be looking at options for protein supplementation thru the winter. .mealworms and earthworms… is direction we are considering…plan is to cut amount of feed purchased.

  13. A couple of thoughts:

    1. Cheese with Ramen noodles is vulgar. I don’t even want to eat my breakfast now; wretch.

    2. Regarding “I can’t afford a generator” Please DO NOT entertain the thought of buying a cheap generator. All consumer grade generators are made to a certain spec and MTBF. I cannot divulge any more, but you DO certainly get what you pay for.

    Among my many daily duties is overseeing call center operations. The overwhelming call volume is people who bought cheap generators, typically through a third party on a payment plan. Most of them have an annoying habit of proudly declaring they are living “off grid”, with strong implication that this means we should drop everything and air freight a replacement $99 2-stroke POS. Typically a very, very entitled attitude.

    Of course we have realized something about those 95% of those who declare themselves “off-grid” as a means of shaming us into unreasonable remedy. They are homeless in most cases. So they really get pi$$y when we require an address for parts. That’s when the howling demands start that we pick up the phone and order the retailer to give them another free unit.

    I have to get going. We are shooting two commercials today.

    Look, if anyone is considering a generator on a limited budget, I’m happy to help steer you towards the best value for the dollar.

    1. tmcgyver, interested in best generator with easy maintenance and electric start.

        1. There is very little difference in the plumbing required for CNG versus LPG. But we stay far away from it, not entirely sure why, probably a liability issue. There are a couple of oddball brands out there, boasting “tri-fuel” capability. They probably work OK; not so sure on the overall quality. A licensed, local gas contractor can probably answer this much more accurately.

      1. This is only my opinion, based on experience, within the limited scope of my work. And I don’t want to tread on any idea of promoting something for ‘free’. But if you want my opinion, on a best bang for your buck ratio, take a look at the Ford Power Equipment line of generators. For dual-fuel and loads of power, check out the FG11050PBE.

        It’s carries a slight premium over generic machines, but Ford actually does keep tight control of quality. I can also assure you the customer support is top notch.

    2. tmcgyver,

      I’d also be interested in your recommendations (especially with electric start).

      What do you think about the Harbor Freight “Predators” they claim to be as quiet as the Honda, but for a fraction of the price?


      1. See my reply to MrsUSMCBG, that machine is electric start.

        Regarding Harbor Freight ‘Predator’ line… I do not work for them, but we have studied them. Frankly, they are a very decent machine for the price. Worlds away from their old cruddy line.

    3. That makes three of us. I have a UST 2300 watt I have been using for 8 years when we lose power in the winter (sometime for days at a time) but am looking to get an electric start as the wife can’t do the pull cord anymore.

      1. Oh gosh… UST. That is a stalwart of generic Chinese generators. They keep it simple, apparently only offering a few sizes of open-frame generators, bone simple, loud, boxy, but they do tend to work longer than one might expect.

  14. something else to think about learn how to forge BLADES learn how to make all kinds of blades you wont have to buy blades and you can sell em if your good enough at it

  15. I had a conversation on this a few days back. I wish I could copy and paste the whole thing. :) Lots of good ideas over a period of four days. Hundreds of comments.

    So here’s mine to add to the lists above:

    Find a big bottle of good liquid handsoap and clean out that foaming handsoap bottle you were going to throw away. 4-1 seems to be a good ratio of water to liquid soap, and they still foam.

    Make your own dish detergent. Baking soda, salt and citric acid (those little packets of lemonade powder work).

    Don’t shop in the center of the store (i.e., prepackaged). One 4 oz box of rice with seasonings for $3, or 3-1 pound bags of rice for the same price. First week, spend that $3 on rice. 2nd week, spend that $3 on a bottle of seasoning. 3rd week, spend that $3 on preps. Rinse and repeat. It is often cheaper to eat fresh than to eat prepackaged, regardless of what the marketing says.

    When there’s a good sale, do what you have to do to take advantage of it (assuming that it’s a real sale, not a case of using a sale to cover a price hike) and save/freeze/dehydrate the extra.

    Use your car as a dehydrator. Scrounge for what you need. Ask neighbors and friends. “If you’re getting rid of camping supplies, we could use them.”

    “I see you’re remodeling. Do you have leftover wood?”

    “You’re pulling out that chainlink fence. Are you replacing it?”

    Look around. Really look at what you have and what you need. Can a torn sheet be repurposed into a bandanna, bandages, and other supplies? What about that #10 can you’re throwing away? Can the tree you just cut down go to someone who has a fireplace and has bottles you could trade for?

    Learn, save, do. Then put the savings toward preparing.

    1. A dehydrator can be made with old window screens too. Just need to keep out bugs. Green beans can be strung together, dried on the porch in something like cheesecloth.

  16. When you work in construction, you often have to re-locate for work. It is a hard choice when you have to pull the kids out of school, leave friends, … but, if there is no future where you are and you do not want to depend on the government, move. It can be as simple as moving from urban centers, to growing suburbs to get into the mix and reduce travel time. It is always easier if you can networked with others in a new area before you move. One of the best examples I can cite is, remaining poor in places like San Francisco due to the high cost of rent/property – middle class earners are finding that if they do not move, they are being forced out or into communal living. Some other areas of the country are raising property taxes or initiating income taxes to cover there overly generous pension commitments of the past – if you stay, you will not be able to avoid the financial burdens of past corrupt administrations – best to walk away.

  17. Good grief if I pass away my kids are gonna shake their heads at some of the things I have back. Lauren is right look at what we throw away. So much can be repurposed.

    1. 2 of my kids will do the same thing and the 3rd will just pack it all up to take home. He understands the concept of prepping. He doesn’t bother to store things himself as he lives about 1/4 mile from me so we know he will be coming here if need be.

    2. My kids that have been assigned the ranch will KNOW what to do with it and KNOW what is here….The other kids, well, let’s just say they should not see what’s here anyway!
      If the SHTF, they will ALL be glad of my lunacy. If DH and I pass away before said event, well….we will not care what their reactions are. LOL

    3. Mrs. U, I have been doing that for exactly 4 years, going thru the parents “stuff” if it is a receipt you need, put it in envelop with the warranty papers, make a copy of it or will be unreadable… I found pay check stubs from 1986.. the only thing i found useful was the check register books that were filled out re: insurance payments with accompaning check…/information and titles etc. papers of working on well. If you are to the point don’t need it for taxes burn it….so no one has to go thru it again!..
      . Some things i found glass broken held sentimental value duck plantar. It did not hold any for me…. I found papers on all their surgery, …eyes, knee implants, stints, after care instructions… If you don’t need it anymore… neither will anyone else!…
      I do have Granny’s quilts, patterns for such, crafting books….and will treasure those. Plan is to put those to use. Sale or gifts, does not matter if i make and give, has saved me money by crafting it myself.
      Society may be a throw away society, but we have the ability to choose to make our imprint as small as possible by re using….until no use left.

  18. Businesses have incoming freight on wooden pallets the they have to pay to dispose of.
    Mostly made of pine, but there are some of nice heavy oak.
    Either refurbish the broken pallets and resell or construct wooden projects.
    Most business will just give them away for the asking.

    1. Joe ,..Yep was able to gather about 80 3×3’s, and 4×4”s , that way. cost was 3 hard days work and then had to pull nails but building materials for a storage building, green house or other need.

      1. Just Sayin’
        Has anyone told you lately,
        You’re one helluva.woman?
        Luv ya, gal.
        Keep on keepin on!

        1. Thanks, I think….I did have help doing it , but was really hard work salvaging … DH carried chainsaw and cut part apart… There are days I let my mouth overload whole self and i suffer for a few days but always go right back at it.

    2. JoeC
      Pallets burn pretty good too,,
      Can be stacked up to make fences etc, a friend cut a bunch up and built his kids a playhouse

    3. Joe C, yes, we obtain the pallets that the trek (repurposed plastic material) wood comes on to a local Amish family that makes furniture with the product. Some are 12 ft. and some are 16 ft. These pallets are super heavy duty…nice, thick wood. We pay $5 each and they are worth every penny. They are great for placing farm implements and firewood and even making into fencing for pigs.

      1. DAMedinNY

        I , myself, he have made many of things out of pallets.
        Including deer blinds

        1. DAMedinNY
          Was it you or Modern throwback (miss that lady) that wanted to make a cabin?
          Those free/ minimal priced 4×6,’s make damned good cabin .walls.


        2. Joe C, I don’t believe I mentioned wanting to build a cabin…but we do plan to do so down the road. We have the timber on our land to do that though so we are good.

          We have used pallets to build compost areas and a turkey shed area also. We love pallets and especially love the heavy duty ones we get now.

        3. DAMedinNY

          Must have been Modern Throwback.
          Spent time at the cabin today doing this and that. I easily get distracted by the creek that runs by. Too many breaks…..not enough work…

    4. Be careful with pallets if they are shipped internationally. They are required to be treated with some pretty nasty pesticides to prevent insect migration. Never seen an oak pallet, must be for some really special freight.

      1. @tommy. They’re still pretty much easy to get here in the Midwest. So many in fact that a couple years back. I got so many from where I worked. That I could strip down and cut down to wood stove stove length, a 10 or 12 foot pallet, on a 10 minute break. For at least 2 or 3 years, that’s all I burned in the wood stove.

      2. tmcgyver

        We get coiled steel on oak. I’m thinkin’ 3+ tons of steel wouldn’t ride well on pine.
        And yes, those imported pallets are nasty. And the enclosed shipping containers they come in are worse.
        Makes ya wanna vomit.
        We FINALLY got that changed.

      3. Steel is shipped on heat treated oak pallets.. so we ended up with some nice stuff. heavy. glad we have a nail gun.

    1. What was pitiful?

      (other words for pitiful include contemptible, despicable, miserable, pathetic, pitiable, sad, sorry, wretched)

      1. Ken, if people are that poor, work another job. I have worked 3 jobs to take care of my family before. Now people who can’t work I feel sad for…..but otherwise.

        1. Defcon, second and third jobs are ok only if they are gainful monetarily, have watched people work them selves down, use up their resources, such as their vehicles and when a good job comes about they were unable to chase it. Myself, when times are hard I just squat down like a quail and watch for the best time to fly. Your health and transportation are hard to replace when on the down side, one has to be careful not to run the horse down.

        2. Txdan, sometimes you need to put your big boy boots on and kick butt to feed your kids….

        3. Defcon, be there, done that! Learned from experience taking on jobs. 20 years not seeing my place in daylight, but its paid for and I and my family paid for it in ways not intended. Taking on 2 and 3 jobs is relevant to where and how you chose to live. I live remote and secluded and selective whom I work for, cost me work and advancements but by my own doing. No regrets. I ‘ve had my big boy britches on most all my life, still fit.

        4. TXDAN, agreed one has to weigh the cost of buying lunch out vs carrying own. Many people that have trouble making it on one or two jobs…can not make it on 3. It is in spending control.
          Sounds like your family is mine. It sounds like you got the Memo that money can not buy everything. It can make life easier….but not always necessary to have highest income in the “neighborhood”. Our family paid dearly for DF being gone on construction work, and we knew to put up extra groceries because of weather and etc stopping work for 3 months at a time….Yes, he ran bull dozer, track hoe, scraper, tractor trailer, cut and hauled pulp wood., worked in factories welding heavy equipment, sheer operator in fabrication, welded. on pipeline and equipment. worked as psych. tech/trainee and then supervisor over mentally and legally challenged..farmed /drove a team from time was 7, pulled a mans wages by the time he was yes farmed with mules and tractors, . many of these he did at the same time. I watched, and learned to try to work hard, and smart. still working on the later.LOL
          Just because people don’t have money to buy does not mean they can not prep. Not buying thru regular chanels, barter, trade, with work and needed items…. Some are taking this thread is if you can’t buy x, y, and z… then you are OUTTA luck.. some people just have to choose another option, a cheaper option that wlll get them to the same destination.

  19. There have been many times i was glad i had put extra food/fuel/whatever aside for a rainy day,,,
    I try to prioritize putting stuff back and learning to grow

  20. Tommyboy
    Come winter those oak pallets are hard to come by. I don’t like the nails.
    All sorts of things to do with those thow a way pallets.

  21. One of my first additions to a prepping type pantry was rice and beans. I figures they could be used to extend meals, make soups, and together they form a complete protein. I remember how much better I felt after I packaged to few extra pounds of food. Both are fairly inexpensive to purchase because not many people actually prepare food from scratch anymore. And even cheaper when on sale. Always double check the ethnic section of your grocery store because they often carry the same items found in other areas of the store, but they are priced lower.

    1. re: beans…And they may be home canned for the original fast food. Don’t forget the seasonings.. can some of that bacon to have for seasoning of the beans.

  22. As the old saying goes, we had everything but money. My Grandma did a lot of our raising. My parents both worked during the day so my Grandma kept us kids and cousins. Everybody helped everybody. She had a huge garden. We traded things out of that garden for honey, ribbon cane syrup, berries, or fruit. Her garden grew okra, squash, and tomatoes like crazy but wasn’t good for corn or melons. So we traded. Everyone in the area traded. If someone was hurting you just left stuff on their front porch. One uncle worked in the morning and fished the rivers in the afternoons. He sold catfish filets to people. We always had plenty to eat because we worked with what we had.

    Some things we did then that I still do today-

    Save every jar, coffee can, or container. Use it up, wear it out, or find another one that is used. Shoes, clothes, tools, whatever. Learn to save food by pressure canning or dehydrating. Grow as big of a garden as you can handle. Find people that are willing to trade with you. USE A PUBLIC LIBRARY! I read free books and write down the things I need to remember. I find the act of writing them down on paper helps me to remember. Shop at garage sales and HAGGLE! I once bought a complete set of dishes for $20. I mean plates, bowls, cups, saucers, everything. She wanted $50 and it was day 3. She gladly took the $20. I get accused of being a packrat by my kids. I was taught by grandparents that made it through the Great Depression. I guess that learning makes me the way I am. I won’t ever apologize for it.

  23. I am trying to cut down expenses. I am getting healthier so I make less doctors trips and less medicine. Lost weight on keto and now no diabetes meds and 45 pounds lighter. Sold my too big clothing and bought smaller clothing at resale stores. I am not going to spend a fortune on clothes. When I think I “need” something, I wait awhile. Usually the “need” goes away. I am trying to make do with what I have.

    On food storage, trying to buy a little at a time. Needless to say some of what I had stored is useless. I will put it aside for family that comes. Rice, pasta, etc. Now I store only what I can eat. We have a garden planted. We love yard sales.

    By no means am I perfect. But I am trying. Anybody can do it. It just takes effort.

    1. Texasgirl, I quit eating so much when I wasn’t working. So that means I usually eat 1 meal a day in the evening. I trimmed up like crazy and didn’t even mean too do it. Apparently that is a thing now. Only eating one meal a day.

      I did it just because I figured out I was eating just because it was breakfast or noon. Now be advised I do eat breakfast and lunch if I really am hungry. Sometimes I might not eat to 9 at night and sometimes I might eat at 2 pm. I just let my body tell me to eat.

      For whatever reason I am hungrier when I am on duty. I already eat a lot of meat from my hunting and fishing. So I store flour, beans, rice, pasta and a few canned items I enjoy.

      My garden is growing well. I should have a good haul of tomatoes, squash, corn, peppers, and okra this year. I’m far east Texas and we have had a lot of rain.

      I hope your and yours are doing well this year. Be mindful of snake this year. The copperheads are plentiful this year.

  24. Haven’t read all the post, I’ve had some bad times thrust upon me and as bad as they were I lived through them.

    Of course you cut back on spending. This is a no brainier thing as the situation will make you do this. You simply won’t have the money.

    There is a lot to be said for buying a few extra items every time you are at the grocery store. Do this and you will have a pile of food built up faster then at first seems possible.

    I did this even when I had basically zero money. It paid off when I actually did have no money,

    My hard times was when my Son was very young (2 to 10-years old) and while I had no money to speak of I always made sure we had great-tasting food.

    In fact I had him help me cook and today (he’s now 29-year’s old) he loves to cook and says it’s because we cooked food together. Even hard times you can build good memories.

    As far as surviving hard times and having money I never had much till I became self-employed. Self employment was a drastic change for the better in my life. I went from paycheck to paycheck to putting up a lot of cash and having pounds of silver on hand.

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