The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Tag: tips

No More “Product” – Frugal & Sustainable Beauty and Hygiene

Frugal BeautyI’m in the process of weening myself off of store-bought beauty and hygiene products. There are a lot of reasons for this; for one thing, it’s saving us a lot of money. Products are expensive, and even the cheaper alternatives like Suave or generic brands add up to quite the chunk of change over time. The natural alternatives I’m switching to tend to be much more frugal, and they tend to be things we keep around the house already.

Store-bought products also tend to violate the survival rule of only packing or storing items that have at least two or three different uses. Oh, sure, a bottle of hairspray can double as fuel for fire starting in a pinch, and as a flame thrower if you find yourself under attack by a zombie horde, but most other beauty and hygiene products are pretty much single use. Also, if TEOTWAWKI ever happens, it’s not like I’ll just be able to skip down to Walmart for new shampoo and toothpaste when I run out. Natural alternatives tend to be a little more sustainable, and by switching now, at least I’ll stand a chance of being able to keep up my beauty routine after the poo hits the fan.

Survival On a Budget

One question I see pop up from time to time in preparedness forums and comment threads is, “What can I do to prepare if I have a limited income?” Another variation of this question is, “So really, am I screwed?”

The problem with a lot of budget-conscious advice is that it always tends to assume that there is some luxury you can easily give up to help meet your goals. But what if you’ve already given up all the luxuries and you are already surviving on a diet of Top Ramen? Do you just plan on stockpiling as much ramen as possible and hope for the best?

Not-So-Obvious Survival Tips: Rotate Your Food Stash

I just had a can of Beanee Weenee for lunch that was over two years old. Since money has been tight lately (hasn’t it been for everybody?), we’ve been making our grocery budget stretch by dipping into our emergency stores, and it’s a good thing. Since making sure we had several weeks’ worth of canned goods on hand (a lesson we learned thanks to the 2007 ice storm that blanketed much of the midwest) shortly after we moved into our house three years ago, we haven’t touched that food ever since.

So here’s something that might not be obvious to everybody (as my over two-year-old lunch makes it plain that it wasn’t obvious to us): canned goods and other types of stored food don’t last forever. Most canned goods start losing both flavor and nutritional value after about two years. Much longer than that, and they can start to become unsafe to eat. That’s why it’s important to rotate your emergency stash.

Disaster Preparedness For Beginners

This is not coming from a survival expert or a seasoned prepper. I myself am barely more than a beginner. Of course, living in Oklahoma, land of tornadoes, wild fires, intense heat and drought, devastating ice storms, large hail and now earthquakes, you generally grow up knowing to be at least somewhat prepared for disaster. But as far as seriously preparing to survive a true, out-of-the-ordinary SHTF scenario, my husband and I are just getting started.

One lesson I’ve learned is how overwhelming it can be, once you’ve made the decision to try to reasonably prepare as much as possible for every disaster, terrorist attack, zombie invasion or breakdown of society imaginable. Suddenly, you find yourself able to imagine a LOT that can go wrong, and it’s easy to become discouraged once you realize it’s simply not possible to prepare for every single possibility that you read about or that crosses your mind. There’s also a tendency to panic, to want to do everything possible to get ready NOW, even if it means running up a lot of debt or spending all of your savings to make sure there’s a year’s worth of food and water in your pantry. Just last week, my husband had to talk me down from wanting to sell our house immediately and move in with my mom out in the country and start a mini farm in her back yard.

Here are some steps I’ve learned to help mitigate the sense of panic and overwhelm.

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