July 30, 2012

Food Storage Goals: Week #31

Here is what we are working on this week:

INVENTORY: Breakfast items such as pancake mix & syrup, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, etc. Count what you have. Decide what you need for a 3-month supply.

3-MONTH FOOD STORAGE per person:
Jelly/Jam - 1x32 oz.
Honey - 2 lb. (If for a family, could buy larger container.)Note: Lemon juice was incorrectly listed twice on the monthly list.

2-WEEK'S WATER: Accumulate 14 gallons of water per person (or 4x24 ct. cases per person). Can't live without it. Store containers off cement with 2x4's or on shelves.

EMERGENCY FUND: Add $2.00 or more per person each week. Start small, but stay consistent.

HOME STORAGE: Cotton swabs.

72-HOUR KIT: 12-function army knife. Check Walmart.

AUTO KIT: Work gloves. Check Dollar Tree.

EQUIPMENT: Large cooler/Igoo. Necessary to store food in power outages. Get a good one on sale now.

PREP GOAL: Update emergency contact phone numbers. People change phones often, so keep this current. Hang a printout in your home.

How to Use This List:

1. Decide on a monthly home storage budget.
2. Decide what you want to gather or do from the list.
3. Multiply amounts by number of family members.
4. Adjust amount for younger children.
5. Adapt, adapt, adapt. These are only suggestions. Pick and choose.
6. Each week look for store sales that match your goals.
7. Carry your list with you or put it on your cell phone notepad.
8. Here is a link to all of my lists.

You are never behind if you take one step forward! "Rome wasn't built in a day."

July 28, 2012

August 2012: Monthly Food Storage Shopping List


August is a wonderful time of year to focus on putting aside fruits and vegetables in your food storage. Many of you bottle or dry your own foods, but lots of you don't. Any way you do it, stock up on fruits and vegetables this month. For those of you living in Utah, you will find some great deals at case lot sales starting next week. However, no matter where you live you can still focus on fruits and vegetables.

August 2012

Eager to know how our pioneer ancestors survived after journeying to the Salt Lake Valley, I've been reading a book called, "The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers," written by Caleb Warnock. It is amazing to see how self-reliant early pioneers were as they learned to live year-round by gathering seeds, planting, harvesting, and putting aside food in cellars. 

Even though I am the great-great-granddaughter of William Clayton, author of the hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints," I am a latter-day pioneer who buys much of my food storage at the grocery store. However, I owe much to my pioneer ancestors. Their faith in God and desire to help their brothers and sisters is infectious. 

This month, we will be adding shelter equipment (sleeping bag, tent, etc.) and light items (flashlight, lantern, etc.) to our emergency supplies. You will find many of my suggested items for your 72-hour kits and auto emergency kits on sale during August. My plan is to help you complete them by September.

Stores are now filled with back-to-school supplies, so many of us have that on our minds. Have you ever learned about the emergency plan at your child's school? Many of us don't know exactly what that is. This month I suggest you put together a small emergency kit your child can take to school including a personal note from you.

Even though food storage can help us during disasters, it shouldn't be our only focus. Many of us have, or will, lose our jobs for an average of 6 months to a year. Food storage can supplement our groceries during these difficult times. I've actually made some changes in my diet and now eat oatmeal 5 days a week. I don't have to, but I want to. However, all of my children do not like oatmeal. So we have breakfast cereal in our food storage as well.

But I truly believe that paying tithing to our church has opened the windows of heaven for our family. (Malachi 3:10). Recently we paid off all our cars, and have a good emergency fund established. True, working on food storage helps us become more self-reliant, but putting God first in our lives humbles us and brings us the greatest happiness.

May you each be blessed with a desire to take care of what God has made you stewardship over. And put Him first.

Best wishes,

Valerie

If you are just getting connected with me, you may want to check out my other monthly shopping lists to see if there are items you would like to gather. Or check out my recently updated About Me page.

Yes, I'm still working on the book. It's moving slower than I wanted, but it will get done. To help me with it go here.



 


July 26, 2012

Price Comparison: Case Lot Sales vs. Costco, Sam's Club and Walmart



It's that time of year again when I compare prices at the fall Utah case lot sales and Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, LDS Home Storage and a few food storage companies. So the results are in, and you can get some great deals at all of the above stores on specific items. Understand that I don't compare everything, and there will be some errors. But below is what I consider the best deals for this season's (starting July 31) case lot sales at Maceys, Dick's and Fresh Market. To see individual prices, check out my pdf spreadsheet Prices as of July 2012.

Fall 2012 Utah Case Lot Price Comparison.pdf
(Note: This is the last year I am making the price comparison because it is too time consuming. So you may want to print the pdf above for future reference.)

Case Lot Sales - Maceys, Dick's and Fresh Market
WF Beans 15 oz. various .50
WF Chile with Beans 15 oz. various .88
WF Juice, Apple or Cider 64 oz. (Maceys) $1.49 
WF Ketchup 20 or 24 oz. .99
WF Olives, medium or large, 6 oz. .99
Morning Moo's milk alternative, #10 $10.49
Country Fresh Milk, Instant Nonfat Dry #10 (Maceys) $7.99
WF Vegetable oil 128 oz. (Maceys) $5.99
WF Peanut butter 28 oz. $3.69
WF Applesauce 15 oz. .69
AF Banana slices, dried #10 (Maceys) $7.49
WF Mandarin oranges 11 oz. (Maceys) .39
ShurSaving Peaches or Pears 29 oz. .99
Peaches, Pears, Fruit Cocktail, etc. 15 oz. .79
Festival Pineapple 20 oz. (Dick's, Fr. M) .79
WF Pineapple 20 oz. (Maceys) .99
AF Oats 50 lb. bag (Maceys) $22.99
AF Oats, Reg. or Quick Rolled 23 lb. pail (Maceys) $20.99
WF Oatmeal packets 10 ct. (Maceys) $1.49
AF Wheat, Hard White or Red, 50 lb. bag (Maceys) $14.99
WF Luncheon meat 12 oz. (Maceys) $1.79
WF Beef stew 24 oz. (Dick's, Fr. M) $2.00
WF Tuna 5 oz. .59
Dough enhancer 15 oz. (Maceys) $2.29
Bisquick 40 oz. (Maceys) $2.98
WF Cake mixes .99
WF Macaroni & Cheese .33
WF Pasta, mac, spag, spag. thin 3 lb. (Maceys) $2.49
Maruchan Instant lunch (Dick's, Fr. M) .25
Nissin Ramen soup (Dick's, Fr. M) .25
Campbell's Spaghettios 26 oz. (Maceys) .79
Campbell's Spaghettios 15 oz. (Maceys) .79
WF Broth, chicken or beef 14.5 oz. .50
WF Cream of chicken or mushroom soup (Maceys) .49
WF Chicken noodle soup .49
WF tomato soup (Maceys) .49
Campbell's tomato soup (Maceys & FM) .59
WF Honey 5 lb. $10.99
WF Pancake Syrup 128 oz. $5.99
WF Grape Jelly 32 oz. $1.50
ShurSaving Sugar 4 lb. (Dick's & FM) $1.88 
WF Brown sugar 2 lb. (Maceys) $1.19 
WF Powdered sugar 2 lb. (Maceys) $1.19
WF Tomato paste 6 oz. (Maceys) .44
WF Tomatoes, diced, stewed, whole, etc. 14.5 oz. .50
WF Corn, green beans 15 oz. .50
WF Green Chiles diced or whole 4 oz. .50
WF Mushrooms 4 oz. .50

Costco or Sam's Club - everyday prices
Water, bottled 16.9 oz. $3.68 (Costco)
Jif Peanut butter 40 $4.99 (Sam's)
Olive oil, 68 oz. (Sam's) $9.40
B&S Cooking Spray 16 oz. (Sam's) $2.94
B&S Flour 50 lb. (Sam's) $11.82 
B&S Flour 25 lb.  (Sam's) $6.13
Harvest Flour 25 lb. (Costco)$6.39 
Riceland 50 lb. bag (Sam's) $15.87
Riceland 50 lb. bag (Sam's) $8.59
LRM Wheat, Hard White 45lb. pail (Costco) $17.35
Kirkland Chicken breast 12.5 oz. (Costco) $1.83
MM Chicken breast 13 oz. (Sam's) $2.00
Albacore tuna 7 oz. (Costco) $1.62
Argo Baking powder 3.75 lb. (Sam's) $5.78
Red Star Yeast  instant (Costco) $2.00
Krusteaz Pancake mix 10 lbs. (Sam's) $6.25
Krusteaz Pancake mix 10 lbs. (Costco) $6.39
HE Instant Mashed Potatoes 7 lb. (Costco) $9.99
Mrs. Buttersworth's Pancake syrup  64 oz. (Sam's) $3.27
Mrs. Buttersworth's Pancake syrup  64 oz. (Costco) $3.35

Walmart - everyday prices
Van Camp's Pork N' Beans 15 oz. .50
GV Juice, Tomato 46 oz. $1.42
GV Water, bottled 16.9 oz. $3.68
Morning Moo's milk alternative #10 $10.55
GV Canola oil 48 oz. $2.58
Crisco Shortening 3 lb. $4.98
GV Baking powder 8.10 oz. $1.24
GV Baking soda 1 lb. .68
GV Salt 1.62 lb. .44
Bisquick 40 oz. $2.98
GV Tomato paste 6 oz. .44
Hunt's pasta sauce 26.5 oz. .98

LDS Home Storage Centerseveryday prices, can your own
Black beans, dry 25# bag $16.80
Pinto beans, dry 25# bag $18.55
White beans, dry 25# bag $16.00
Milk, Nonfat Dry 25# bag 
Oats 25# bag
Black beans, dry 5.5 lb. #10 can $4.55
Pinto beans, dry 5.2 lb. #10 can $4.70
Refried beans, dry 2.4 lb. #10 can $4.30
White beans, dry 5.3 lb. #10 can $4.25
Cocoa drink mix 5.8 lb. #10 can $9.90
Drink Mix, Fruit 6.1 lb. #10 can $8.50
Milk, Nonfat Dry 4.1 #10 can $8.60
Apple Slices, dried 1 lb. #10 can $5.70
Flour 4.8 lb. #10 can $3.40
Oats, Reg. 2.7 lb. #10 can $2.50
Rice, White 5.7 lb. #10 $3.85
Wheat, Hard Red or White 5.8 #10 $3.50
Onions, dry #10 can 2.4 lb.
Pasta, Spaghetti 4.3 lb. #10 can $4.95
Macaroni #10 can 3.4 lb. #10 can $4.30
Potato flakes 1.8 lb. #10 can $3.25
Sugar 6.1 lb. #10 can $4.50
Carrots, dry 2.8 lb. #10 $8.30

Alpine Food Storage - Utah prices
Kidney beans dry 4.75 lb. #10 can $8.75
Whole Eggs, powder, #10 can

Emergency Essentials - Utah prices
Small Red beans dry 5.38 lb. #10 can $10.95
Lentils dry 5.38 #10 can $6.99
Scrambled eggs, powder 2.88 lb. #10 can $21.50
Honey, 60 lb. $149.95
(Note: I will revise EE when I get the August catalog)

July 24, 2012

How to Shop at Food Storage Case Lot Sales


With the Utah case lot sales just around the corner, I decided to update my case lot shopping tips. These tips help me make the best choices as I plan to shop and stock-up my food storage. I love buying canned and packaged items at reduced prices. Pre-planning is key to saving money with case lot sales. I will be headed to Maceys today to pick up their price list and hope to have my price comparison list ready in a few days. 

CASE LOT SHOPPING TIPS
  • WHAT IS A CASE LOT SALE? About 3 times a year, several grocery stores in Utah have case lot sales where you can buy 6, 12, 24 or 48 cans or packaged foods at a reduced price. There are also some freezer foods as well. You can also find dehydrated foods in #10 cans and buckets of wheat, oats and more at reduced prices. 
  • COMPARE PRICES All items in a case lot sale are not the cheapest, so it is best to compare. Unless you have lots of experiences with food prices, I suggest you review my Utah Case Lot Sale Price list and decide in advance which items you want to purchase. It compares the case lot prices to regular prices found at Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, the LDS Home Storage Center and a few food storage companies. 
  • SHOPPING PLAN Planning beforehand will prevent shopping on impulse. You might get star-struck when you walk into a store and see all of those stacked cases. So it is best to come prepared with a list, gather only what you need, and get out of the store as quickly as possible.
  • BUDGET Set a budget limit. You don't want to go in debt for food storage. "Patience is a virtue." Realize this is not the only sale. There is always another sale just around the corner.
  • CONTAINER SIZE Only buy foods your family will eat or use, so you don't waste money. Stock up on the container size your family will use before it goes to waste. For instance, a 40 oz. peanut butter would go rancid in my family before an 18 oz. one will. And so would a gallon of oil, so I buy the 48 oz. size. Even though larger may be cheaper, it may not be the best choice for your family. 
  • OTHER SALES There are case lot sales in January, March/April, August/September in Utah. And there will be some great baking item sales in November and December on items such as flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cake mixes, evaporated milk, etc., so you do not have to buy those items now unless you are really low. 
  • SINGLE ITEMS AT THE SALES PRICE Some stores like Maceys let you to buy single items at the case sale price. This is helpful for those of you with limited storage space who may not want a whole case of one item. It also helps you buy a variety of foods. Smith's does not allow you to break a case. CORRECTION! Smith's nallow you to buy individual items at the sales price.
  • AVOID DISTRACTIONS Shop without little kids. Teens are great for lifting items or pushing an extra cart. But it's difficult to fit a child in a cart and 4 cases of food.
  • ORDER IN ADVANCE Some stores let you order cases with a list found at the customer service desk. Love that! Fill it out and leave it at the desk, then come back when you are ready to pick up your cases. Call the store customer service desk to find out if your store does this.
Good luck!

Valerie

July 23, 2012

Food Storage Goals: Week #30

Here is what we are working on this week:

INVENTORY: Water. Count what you have. Decide what you need.

3-MONTH FOOD STORAGE per person:
Lemon juice - 4 oz. (If buying for a family, buy a larger container.)
Vinegar - 8 oz. (If buying for a family, buy a larger container.)
Olives - 1 can

2-WEEK'S WATER: Accumulate 14 gallons of water per person (or 4x24 ct. cases per person). Utah sales on 24 ct case: Smith's Kroger water, $2.00, ends 7/24. Stock up! Check you store's weekly ad online here.

EMERGENCY FUND: Add $2.00 or more per person each week.

HOME STORAGE: Cotton balls, 1 bag

72-HOUR KIT: Work gloves.

AUTO KIT: Car fuses.

EQUIPMENT: Canner.

PREP GOAL: Test smoke detectors.

How to Use This List:

1. Decide on a monthly home storage budget.
2. Decide what you want to gather or do from the list.
3. Multiply amounts by number of family members.
4. Adjust amount for younger children.
5. Adapt, adapt, adapt. These are only suggestions. Pick and choose.
6. Each week look for store sales that match your goals.
7. Carry your list with you or put it on your cell phone notepad.
8. Here is a link to all of the lists.

You are never behind if you take one step forward!

July 20, 2012

30+ Family Home Evening Ideas for Young Couples


Family Home Evening is a time set aside each week to focus on the family and learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This month I will be attending a bridal shower in my neighborhood. Each guest was asked to give a specific "first" to help the couple in their new life together. My assigned "first" was their first LDS family home evening together. So, I decided to make a list of ideas for this young couple.

"When couples arrange their lives to include quality family home evenings, they invite the Spirit into their marriages and build a solid foundation of love. Consistent, quality home evenings, combined with obedience to other gospel teachings, will help form a strong foundation of love, joy, and peace that can bind a family together forever." Ensign Magazine

Printable 30+ Family Home Evening Ideas for Young Couples.pdf

From Living Our Dream Life:
  1. Pick any article from the Ensign and discuss it together. Summarize or read it together. 
  2. Basically the same idea but use the current Conference Ensign. Each week discuss/ read/ present a different talk. 
  3. Learn how to study the scriptures together. As great as a scriptorian as you/ your spouse is, I’m sure there is still room for improvement. Share ideas of how you study (not just read) the scriptures. Use Preach My Gospel for additional ideas.
  4. Discuss your mission if one of you served.
  5. Make an emergency plan together. Figure out what you would do if there was a fire/ earthquake/ flood/ tornado/ etc. Get old backpacks and start building 72-hour kits with old clothes. For the activity, go shopping together to buy some food (granola bars, peanut butter, tuna fish pouches, crackers, fruit snacks, water bottles, etc) to put in the 72-hour kits. Loved this!
  6. Go to the temple grounds and walk around and see how beautiful it is. Figure out ways you can make your home more like the temple. 
  7. Spend the night showing your love for your spouse by serving them. Do each other’s chores (or do them together). Maybe make a chore chart together of who is going to do the dishes/ laundry/ etc. 
  8. Write letters to your parents/ grandparents. Thank them for their sacrifice they made for you. Another idea instead of each writing a letter to their own parents how about you switch and each write the letter to your in-laws. 
  9. Start a Family Journal. Write in it together about the joys and struggles you are facing and how your family has been blessed. 
  10. Make a movie of your lives. Show where you live, what a typical meal is like, talk to your future posterity about what your life is like as a newlywed. 
  1. Write letters to missionaries. 
  2. Take food to local food banks
  3. Donate blood at the Red Cross center.
  4. Take cookies or treats to neighbor. 
  5. Research a topic you want to learn more about such as auto repair, cooking, decorating, yard work, food storage, or home maintenance.
  6. Help others learn English.
  7. Reading good books together.
  8. Have a game night, riding bikes, throw Frisbees at the park or go on a hike.
  9. Invite new couples or single sister with kids over to share family home evening and build friendships.
  10. Write in journals or work on family research.
  1. Interview an older family member.
  2. Install the LDS Church's PAF (Personal Ancestral File) program and begin entering your family history in your computer.
  3. Adopt a grandma or grandpa from your church or neighborhood.
  4. Prepare a musical program to take to a foster home, hospital, or nursing home.
  5. Plant a tree or some flowers. Discuss faith in Alma 32:28-43.
  6. Learn about this history of your local temple by printing its picture and story from LDS.org.
  7. Attend a local orchestra production. Discuss the effects of good music on your thoughts from Elder Packer.
  8. Make an ethnic meal and learn about that country. Here are a few recipes from various countries at InternationalFreeway.com
  9. Attend the dress rehearsals of your local ballet, opera, or theater. Many times tickets are extremely low priced, or even free.
  10. Why do good people suffer? Watch and discuss a video from mormon.org, and study adversity.
Check out these other great sites:
Family Home Evening at LDS.org
Family Home Evening Index at Sugar Doodle.net
Family Home Evening Lessons.com

July 18, 2012

Get ready for the August 2012 Utah Food Storage Case Lot Sales!

The Utah food storage case lot sales are coming! And there will be more sales in September. I will continue to add dates as they become available, so subscribe to my posts by email here for the updates.
Subscribe to Email Updates

I usually pick up several cases of food in August, and more items in September from a few other stores. This way I keep my monthly food storage expenses down. Over the next few weeks I will be gathering prices to compare the case lot sales to regular prices at Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, the LDS Home Storage Centers and a few food storage companies here in Utah.


August Case Lot Sales
  • Maceys July 30th - 19th (confirmed) 3 weeks 
  • Fresh Market: August 1st - 14th (confirmed) 2 weeks
  • Dick's Market  July 30th - 19th  (confirmed) 3 weeks
Click the name of the store for locations.

A helpful article:
Please email me if you hear of other locations.

July 16, 2012

Food Storage Goals: Week #29

Here is what we are working on this week:

INVENTORY: Freezer. Count what you have. Decide what you need. Hang a dry erase board on the outside of the door to keep an inventory like this. And check out this organized and nicely labeled freezer.

3-MONTH FOOD STORAGE per person:
Food bars - 12 ea. Breakfast or granola bars your family is used to.
Popcorn - 1 box microwave or 1 small bag kernals
Chocolate syrup - 12 oz. (opt.) Can flavor powdered milk.

2-WEEK'S WATER: Accumulate 14 gallons of water per person (or 4x24 ct. cases per person). Sales on 24 ct: Albertson's $2.49 ends 7/17, Macey's & Dick's $2.99 ends 7/21

EMERGENCY FUND: Add $2.00 or more per person each week.

HOME STORAGE: Facial tissue, 1 box

72-HOUR KIT: Waterproof matches.

AUTO KITWaterproof matches.

EQUIPMENT: Canning jars & lids.

PREP GOAL: Collect 2 canning recipes. Perhaps 1 jam, and 1 peach. A few canning sites: Food In Jars, Canning Granny, and  National Center For Home Food Preservation

How to Use This List:
1. Decide on a monthly home storage budget.
2. Decide what you want to gather or do from the list.
3. Multiply amounts by number of family members.
4. Adjust amount for younger children.
5. Adapt, adapt, adapt. These are only suggestions. Pick and choose.
6. Each week look for store sales that match your goals.
7. Carry your list with you or put it on your cell phone notepad.
8. Here is a link to a list of items for the entire month.

You are never behind if you take one step forward!

July 15, 2012

Brigham City Temple Open House Invitation

Mark your calendar for an unforgettable opportunity. If you would like to visit the inside of a Mormon temple, plan on visiting the Brigham City Utah Temple open house which will be open to the public between August 18 - September 15. Free walking tours will be available.

For more information, visit templeopenhouse.lds.org or call 1-855-537-2000 for tickets. Reservations will be available beginning Monday, July 30, 2012, at 10:00 a.m.

 

July 12, 2012

8 Back-to-School Clothing Shopping Tips

Four stores later - 21 "new" items for $64.00!
In 2011, an American Express study said that the average American family will spend $400 for school clothes. My goal this summer is to spend $150 total for my 7-year old daughter and most of that will go to shoes. The only way for me to do this is to inventory what we have, plan carefully, and shop as much as possible at thrift stores and clearance sales. 

Every time I go thrift store shopping, I wonder why I shop anywhere else. This week my 7-year old and I went to two different Kid-to-Kid thrift stores here in Utah. I wasn't sure she would have the patience for it, but she really wanted to look for some stylish clothes and did great. Usually I buy the basics at other stores, but my daughter really wanted to have "the cute stuff."

At first she kept grabbing items off the rack that were faded, and I would return them to the rack which kept disappointing her. So I decided to let her pick what she liked and we built a big pile. She was happier, but I warned her that some things would go back. 

The hardest part was trying on 8 pairs of jeans in a hot dressing room. Some were too tight, too low or too short so we ended up getting none. But we will try again on another trip.

When we were both done selecting what we thought would be good for her, we talked about each item. I pointed out which ones were faded, stained, too large or too small. She was happy to get 10 "new" used things and I was happy because it only cost me $36.00; an average of $3.60 per item!

Besides saving money, another reason I like to shop at second-hand stores is because it keeps me humble. If there ever comes a time in my life when I can't shop in a thrift store, I know I've let pride enter my heart. Who knows what our future financial situation will be? Or when my children become adults, what it will be like for them.

At thrift stores, we can buy higher quality brands like Gap, Gymboree, The Children's Place, Justice, Roxy, and more. And usually higher quality means it will wash and wear better. However, Old Navy or Cherokee jeans work fine for us too. There are a few items I buy new like shoes, socks, and underwear, but of course only on sale. 

Back-to-School Shopping Plan
  1. Create a plan. Even though school may not start until September, stores put summer clothes on clearance now to make room for back-to-school items, so take advantage of these sales. And this weekend many thrift stores like Platos Closet (teens), are putting items on clearance as well. Sign up for emails from thrift stores to be notified of sales. 
  2. Wardrobe Inventory List. Make a wardrobe inventory of what your child has. Go through everything and decide what your child can still wear this fall. Give away small items and toss worn ones. I did this while my daughter was asleep, because some of the favorites had to go. Below is a spreadsheet with my wardrobe inventory. 
  3. Add needs. Ah! Needs and wants are always hard to decide. As you look at your list, decide what you need without going overboard or under-board. I'm usually guilty of going under-board, though you might not think so looking at my list. Does she need one white tee or two? Will three pairs of jeans do, or is five better because you don't have to wash as often. I only buy one pack of socks at a time because I assume there will be some foot growth. Generations ago one pair of shoes was all each child had. 
  4. Add prices. Include the estimated retail price, sales price and thrift/clearance price to your list. These details will keep things under control. Do you really know what it costs to clothe a child? I assumed 50% off the retail for a good sales price, 80% off the retail price for a  stupendous  thrift/clearance price. You can look up retail prices online at your favorite stores. Use a spreadsheet to make it easy to figure out the total cost of items. But notepaper works just as well. 
  5. Prepare a budget. That should be easy since you made your list. You don't have to buy everything before school starts. Maybe you only have a $50 budget each month. Even if you miss a store sale, thrift stores are always there. My daughter has decided to use last year's backpack, but buy a new lunch box and water bottle. However, if she needs one in October it will probably be on clearance then.
  6. Choose a color scheme. You will save a ton of money if you do this because your clothes will coordinate. This is the first year I've really done this and it makes perfect sense. Check online at Gymboree for color schemes. Here are a few examples: purple, light purple, yellow; burnt orange, green, pink; pink, purple and orange; purple, pink, and aqua; light blue, navy, and khaki; navy, green, pink; or red, navy and denim. We are using pink, purple, and aqua with basics in denim and black.
  7. Find thrift stores. Do a Google search for thrift stores in your area. In a 10 mile radius I have two Deseret Industries, two Kid-to-Kid stores, one Savers, two Platos Closet (teens), and one Once Upon a Child. Your area may have The Salvation Army or The Goodwill.
  8. Window shop online. Now that you have a list, look online for items you want to buy new. But don't actually buy. You are making a plan. I looked at Land's End, Target, Kohl's, Gymboree and The Children's Place who are all having clearance sales. Save your ideas on a Pinterest board, and watch your newspaper ads for the coming sales over the next few weeks and months.
Good luck hunting for what you need!

(Update 7/13/12
We finished our shopping week! I'm so proud of it. After four trips to different thrift stores, the photo above shows 21 "new" used items. 

1 pair of jeans - $3.00
1 hoodie - $4.00
2 skirts - $3.00 ea.
2 dresses - $4.00 ea.
8 tops - $2.00
3 tops - $3.00
3 tops - $4.00
1 top - $6.00
21 Total items

I spent $64.00 or an average of $3.04 per item
Retail: $400.00 (seriously high quality items)
Savings $336 Love it!

July 9, 2012

Why Stock Up on Paper and Plastic Items


In addition to food, I like to have a good stock of paper and plastic products for emergencies. It's common during disasters to be without running water, power to cook and the scheduled trash pickup, so the list of items below can be useful. Also, some paper items can be burned in a camp fire to reduce your trash buildup during a disaster, but remember not to burn plastic, or burn items if there is any danger of explosion.

It is usually cheaper to buy these items in bulk, but if you don't have storage room perhaps gather at least a 2-week supply. You can find these items at a decent price at Costco or Sam's Club. But remember EVERYTHING at warehouse club stores is not inexpensive. Stick to your list while shopping there. Costco sends me a coupon book each month, and I look it over for items I want to stock up on.

I like to break up my future shopping purchases into groups of how often I will purchase them. That helps me know how much to get. The supply amounts listed below are the least expensive way for me to buy these items, but it doesn't mean you have to buy a year's supply of plastic utensils, etc.

If you are tight on space, you could split some items with a friend to save money and space.

(Prices listed are from Sam's Club.)

THE ESSENTIALS
1-Year+
Plastic Utensils: (600 ct. spoons & forks, 8.98 ea.) Useful during all emergencies and family gatherings
Disposable Food Handling Gloves: (2x500 ct. $5.86) Sanitation, illness, etc.
Kitchen Trash Bags: (150 ct. $9.98) Emergency sanitation, trash disposal, evacuations
Large Trash Bags: (90 ct. $13.98) Emergency sanitation, trash disposal, evacuations
Foil: (2x250 sf. $15.48) Emergency cooking
Quart Freezer Storage Bags: (4x54 ct. $9.97) Food and ice storage
Gallon Storage Bags: (4x52 ct. $11.88) Food and ice storage

3-Month
Toilet Paper: Definitely nice to have!
Paper Towels: Absorbent for clean ups
Paper Plates: Useful during all emergencies
Plastic Cups: Paper or plastic, and maybe some Styrofoam for hot chocolate

1-Month
Paper Bowls: (120 ct. $7.98) To serve breakfast cereal, soups, etc. I hide these.

THE NICE-TO-HAVES
6-Month
Facial Tissue: (10 ct. $12.98)
Bathroom cups: (600 ct. $6.25)
Plastic Bread Bags: (Macey's)
Sandwich Baggies: (500 ct. $8.40)

3-Month
Napkins: (6x200 ct. $11.88)
Paper Lunch Bags: (Walmart or Target) Besides lunches, useful for broken glass

A few useful articles:
How to Prepare A Hurricane Emergency Kit

Food Storage Goals: Week #28

INVENTORY: Toiletries. Count what you have. Items such as soap, shampoo, feminine items, toothpaste, etc.

3-MONTH FOOD STORAGE per person:
Jello gelatin - 1 box
Pudding - 1 box

2-WEEK'S WATER: Accumulate 14 gallons of water per person (or 4x24 ct. cases per person). You can't live without it!  

EMERGENCY FUND: Add $2.00 or more per person each week.

HOME STORAGE: Plastic wrap or waxed paper or parchment paper.

72-HOUR KIT: Mess kit utensils.

AUTO KIT: Emergency flare

EQUIPMENT: Small folding shovel.

PREP GOAL: Practice family emergency drill.

How to Use This List:
1. Decide on a monthly home storage budget.
2. Decide what you want to gather or do from the list.
3. Multiply amounts by number of family members.
4. Adjust amount for younger children.
5. Adapt, adapt, adapt. These are only suggestions. Pick and choose.
6. Each week look for store sales that match your goals.
7. Carry your list with you or put it on your cell phone notepad.
8. Here is a link to a list of items for the entire month.

You are never behind if you take one step forward!

July 8, 2012

True Experience: Virginia Power Outage

A letter from a reader,

Valerie, My family is one of thousands who were without power here in Virginia this past week due to storms. I had myself, my husband, adult daughter, her husband and newborn (literally!) baby, and our other adult son, along with our 2 dogs here. Thanks to you and your website, I was FAIRLY prepared to deal with this issue. I had enough food and water to keep us all hydrated and fed, using our gas grill (with a backup tank of fuel available).

Fortunately for us, our power was restored after 48 hours. I have always been a fan of the LDS Preparedness program, although I am not a member of the LDS church. I learned from friends who are LDS members. I mainly relied on storing some food and water in my early years of homemaking, which helped us survive many hurricanes, typhoons, and a couple of employment losses. But it was not until I came across your site that it all began to come together and allowed me to organize and prioritize a plan.

I was having trouble convincing my husband of the importance of being prepared until this past weekend. When we were building our house, I wanted to have it wired for a generator. He did not agree. Come Saturday morning he was kicking himself and actually said that he should have listened to me! Now, once this current power crisis is over in our area, he is going to arrange for an electrician to come and wire us up. He has already ordered a generator for any future emergencies. AND, he has expressed interest in your website to see what I have been talking about:) 

Thank you for your website. I look forward to reading your book.

K.P., Virginia

Thanks, K.P.! I like keeping a backup propane tank too, but haven't convinced my husband about the generator. We will get there. You are a great preparedness leader for the rest of us!

July 6, 2012

True experience: Lessons Learned from Power Outages in the Eastern U.S.

The following story was written by one of my readers about the power outages in the eastern United States. Italics added:

"We just went through two full days of no power in 100+ degree weather. Over 500,000 customers were without power (Pepco power). Over a million in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland areas. Thankfully, we were prepared except for having ice. That was a tough commodity to come by this weekend. Also, most gas stations ran out of gas due to high volume needed for generators and other stations being shut down without power.

The ward did an awesome job checking on each other. The building was open for quite some time on Saturday for some AC respite for members. I went up and watched a movie (Prince of Egypt) and it was quite a refreshing experience. Then, went home to 88 degree weather inside our main level of our townhouse. The upstairs was hotter and the basement was cooler. So, we lived in the basement.

One thing that we did not have enough of was battery operated fans. We fortunately were able to purchase some on Saturday and that made the basement quite comfortable. Sunday at church was nice and cool as well. We finally got power restored at 8 pm last night. (July 1)

It was difficult to get our cats to drink enough water though. I had not focused on how to keep them cool in my emergency preparedness. I will be working on that in the next month.

Lessons learned? If a storm of this magnitude is predicted, go get ice immediately. Also, make sure you have enough batteries. And, fill up your car with gasoline. I had to go into work twice yesterday and the added 80 miles would have been tough if I had not gotten gas early Saturday morning.

Our ward does breakfast on the 4th of July, so we heard lots of stories about the power outages and how everyone survived it. Quite inspiring. These instances always remind me of just how blessed we are in this country. A couple of days without the basics we have become accustomed to really gave me pause.

Thanks to you, we had enough food and snacks! You touch so many lives, Valerie!"

S.C.

Thank you, S.C.! Just want you to know I put 4 bags of ice in my freezer in case I need it. I never let my gas tank go below half full. But I do need to add some batteries to our supply.

For more help with your animals during an emergency, see this printable brochure entitled "Caring For Animals" from FEMA.

July 3, 2012

LDS Church and Red Cross Renew Partnership

A recent article explains the renewed partnership the Red Cross and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have. The Church will increase its participation by hosting more blood drives in meetinghouses (churches) and other church facilities. 

Gail McGovern, American Red Cross president and CEO said, "Here in the Utah region, Latter-day Saints donate 50,000 units of blood annually in Church-hosted blood drives." She went on to explain that the Red Cross ships six to ten million units of blood per year to hospitals. In the Utah region, the Church’s effort of sponsoring blood drives accounts for 25 percent of all the blood donated.

“I would like the public to know,” said McGovern, that “the Red Cross is more prepared than ever when disaster strikes because of the relationship we have with the LDS Church.”

Watch this video for more of the story.

July 2, 2012

Food Storage Goals: Week #27

My beautiful family is coming into town today for our first family reunion. We are so excited! I'm missing my missionary son who is in Sweden, but know he is doing the Lord's work there. This is a tender time for me. Not only for the anticipation of a visit from two beautiful grandchildren, but because of the many disasters happening across the United States whether they be from heat, fire or power outages. I am so grateful for the power of prayer. Even though my son is thousands of miles away from me, and many of you are struggling far away as well, I can still turn to my Father in Heaven in prayer in your behalf. And I know he listens. Trials are a part of life and they can really stretch us, but they can also humble us and bring us to our knees. May you each feel my prayers in your behalf this day.

Valerie

Food Storage Goals: Week #27

INVENTORY: Paper & plastics. Count what you have. You need these for emergencies.

3-MONTH FOOD STORAGE per person:
Crackers - 2 boxes
Chips - 2 bags
Baked beans - 1 can (more is good!)

2-WEEK'S WATER: Accumulate 14 gallons of water per person (or 4x24 ct. cases per person). You can't live without it!  

EMERGENCY FUND: Add $2.00 or more per person each week.

HOME STORAGE: Storage bags like Ziploc. Useful everyday as well as for ice packs and other emergency uses.

72-HOUR KIT: Mess kit w/cup.

AUTO KIT: Tire pressure gauge.

EQUIPMENT: Camp stove and fuel. Sometimes BBQ's have a gas burner.

PREP GOAL: Create an evacuation plan. You've got to have one. Get it done. Practice it.

How to Use This List:
1. Decide on a monthly home storage budget.
2. Decide what you want to gather or do from the list.
3. Multiply amounts by number of family members.
4. Adjust amount for younger children.
5. Adapt, adapt, adapt. These are only suggestions. Pick and choose.
6. Each week look for store sales that match your goals.
7. Carry your list with you or put it on your cell phone notepad.
8. Here is a link to a list of items for the entire month.

You are never behind if you take one step forward!

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

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