Thursday, February 24, 2022

Freeze Dried Foods


Last fall I became really interested in freeze dried foods after doing a couple years of research and consideration.  I've read up and watched a lot of videos about them as well how to store and cook with them.  It can be an expensive process, but I decided it was a really good option for me.


An unopened can of freeze dried foods has a twenty five year shelf life, which is pretty amazing.  Once opened it can last a year or more if stored properly.  Freeze dried foods are lightweight and compact too meaning you can store a lot in a smaller amount of space.  Along with that they are fast and easy to rehydrate for use.  All of those things appealed to me so I decided to take the plunge and place an order.


Each month I make decisions based on available finances, what I have and what I would like to have.  Some months I may only purchase one can and others I am able to purchase several.  It just depends.  I began with meats first and now have worked my way into butter, eggs and I'm adding fruits and vegetables.  Along with what I dehydrate I am able to build a well rounded pantry of dry stores.


Since I plan to travel and hike a lot in the not too distant future I think this will be a great option to have on hand, but there are many reasons to have some of these foods in place.  I like that in an emergency or power outage it won't take much to put a meal together using an alternate fuel source. Plus, I'm having fun with it.


There are many places that sell freeze dried foods, but I encourage you to do your research on those as well.  Unfortunately there are some online scam companies claiming to sell these items, happy to take your money and never ship you anything.  Because of that I personally prefer to purchase mine from Amazon.  For me, adding freeze dried options to our prepper pantry makes a lot of sense.  How about you?


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Home Improvement Plans


I love to work on my home and there was a while where we were doing a lot of sprucing up on the inside of our home.  Last year was supposed to be the year we moved outside to give our yard and garden areas a complete overhaul.  That spring we got started with the demolition and then everything came to an abrupt halt.  Not at all how I had planned it and it left our yard looking absolutely terrible.  Not to worry though, because this spring I am planning to pick up where I left off and make it look wonderful once again.


I have sketched out my landscape plans, made lists and have some pretty good ideas in mind.  The plan is to do as much as we can for FREE using up supplies we already have on hand as well as what we can scrape up off of Facebook Marketplace and purchase with gift cards I've been collecting.


The other thing I'd like to do is refurbish my youngest daughter's bedroom when she goes off to college.  We've talked about it and she and I both feel that her room, which is very much in need of a complete makeover, should be the new guest room.  Once again I plan to employ some super thrifty moves to get that job done.


I would not expect me to perform any miracles this year as the plan is to work at a slow, even, steady pace.  I've been off my game for a year now so I've got to build myself back up.  Plus, my future home improvement plans are really things I'm wanting to do once I'm retired.  Since I'm not quite there yet I will get a head start now, but I don't have any deadlines for completion at this time.  To be honest, it will depend on how I feel as well as my stamina and energy level.


So right now we have yard work and a bedroom refresh in mind.  We'll see how far I get, but I'm hopeful for some significant progress.  I love to work on my home and I want a beautiful yard more than anything.  Right now it is a barren wasteland and I don't want to look at that again this year.  Let's do this!


Thursday, February 17, 2022

Managing Stress & Anxiety


It has been an incredible past two years, A LOT has been happening to us.  The news media pummels us constantly with gloom and doom, our government is at odds with itself and we get conflicting data on just about every topic, especially this pandemic.  An uncertain future awaits us and it can all become extremely overwhelming.


I personally cannot afford to get caught up in all of this world drama.  It is too much for me.  What I can do is take care of myself and do the things that make the most sense to me.  I will not get sucked in by every sensational headline.  I won't obsess and worry about the things I cannot control.  I am not going to panic or knee jerk react to whatever the latest crisis is.  I am limiting my exposure and taking most of this nonsense with a grain of salt.  Common sense will rule the day.  Thankfully I have some.


I am taking things one day at a time.  Taking deep breaths and staying calm.  Going for walks and praying a lot.  Talking to God is my salvation, always has been.  I used to talk to Him every day on my long walks to and from school.  I feel His presence and I sense His guidance.  And I'm grateful, incredibly grateful.


I always feel better when I'm preparing for my future, working on goals, crafting, cleaning my home, preparing a meal, doing something purposeful.  Right now I am very focused on my home, my health and my well being.  I've been posting quite a bit about prepping because I feel deep in my gut and my heart that this is an important thing for me to do.  I hope others do too.  I feel strongly that doing something is so much more comforting than doing nothing and just hoping for the best.  I know the Lord will provide, but I also know God helps those who help themselves.


We've been traveling this bumpy road for a while and we'll most likely continue do so for a while longer.  How we choose to travel is the important part.  By taking things one day at a time, focusing on the positive, limiting my exposure to the negative and using good old fashioned commonsense helps me navigate these times and keeps me grounded.  I can do this.  You can too.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

My Latest Prepper Pantry Hauls


I have been prepping nearly two years now.  I got started not long after this whole COVID nonsense started.  Last year I felt like I'd made some significant progress in securing our long term food storage.  With many goals in mind for 2022 I did not establish a designated budget for prepping.  In 2020 I did not have a budget at all as going into the year prepping wasn't even on my radar.  In 2021 I devoted a large portion of my overtime earnings to prepping.  This year I'm trying to save up as much as I can in preparation of early retirement.


My first small prep was $5 worth of canned goods

and these 2 jars of pesto on sale for $1.98

In my wrap up post for last month I mentioned moving the leftover cash at the end of the month into savings.  This was primarily money left from my miscellaneous expenses budget.  Instead, I decided to add it to my February miscellaneous expenses budget and use those funds toward adding additional items to the prepper pantry.  I did not need to purchase any fuel for our vehicles last month in January so I still had the funds from that budget to add to the pot as well.


Pastas, beans, split peas, some sauces & condiments from Grocery Outlet

Meat prices are soaring, we've all seen that, and they are expected to continue to rise along with dairy and even produce.  Canned and dry goods can be hit and miss depending on the day.  Pasta options were pretty thing in January so I was focused on meat and pasta this time.  I ordered another can of freeze dried meat from Amazon to complete a four can "set", if you will - ground beef, diced beef, diced chicken and sausage crumbles.  I'm hoping to purchase one can a month this year as long as the prices don't go crazy high.


Black beans are my favorite

A large variety of different pastas

I like to do some small $5 and $10 preps and I'm using money from our regular grocery budget to complete those.  I plan to continue to do those as our budget allows.  This month if felt right to do a big stock up so we went to Wal-Mart in hopes of finding canning lids and we finally lucked out and they had some.  With canning lids it seems timing is everything and if you aren't in the store soon after they arrive they get scooped right up.  This time I was able to purchase fifteen boxes of regular mouth jar lids (they did not have wide mouth) to add to my canning supplies, which was fabulous as I only had one box left.  Jars themselves, are still scarce.  Wal-Mart only had a few flats of jelly jars, no pints, quarts or half gallons.


This made me very happy!

Canned meats are a good protein source to keep on hand

I prefer this instead of shortening

I picked up some more canned meat while we were there too.  This time I grabbed another four pack of chicken and three canned hams along with two bricks of lard.  Then it was off to the Grocery Outlet store just down the road.  There we picked up pasta and dry beans at prices we were used to seeing last year before all the price hikes.

An extra tub of oatmeal

I decided to add some low dose aspirin too

Albertson's has their Value Corner brand of toilet paper on loss leader for $2.79 for a twelve roll pack so we picked up two of those to replace the ones we've used since just before the holidays.  I may go back for a couple more before the end of the month if I can find a good place to store them.  Right now the TP storage area is completely full.


Did you ever think TP stashing would be a thing?

These were on sale plus I had a coupon

Prepping can still be done on a slim budget or in my case with no budget.  Once all the bills are paid and necessities are taken care of I feel good using extra money I have to add more items to the prepper pantry.  It is just another way I am investing in my future.


Friday, February 11, 2022

Meal Planning & Saving Big $$ This Year


Even though we are down to just two of us these days with the third one showing up here and there I still find meal planning to be very relevant, even more so.  I have meal planned for ages and, quite frankly, can't imaging not doing it even after my youngest heads off to college.  I find it is really important to do now, more than ever.  As far as I can tell there is no better way to stay organized and reduce food waste with cooking and meals than to have a plan.


I still meal plan pretty much as I always have and whether I'm pounding out an entire month of meals or doing it a week at a time, having a plan makes sure that I am using what I already have on hand so I'm not making extra trips to the store to pick something up (we all know too that you never just go in for one thing and leave), I make sure leftovers get eaten and I am able use up all of those odds and ends that seem to accumulate.


With a plan I am able to implement meals that don't cost a lot to prepare and structure those meals to make sure they are all nutritionally complete.  It simply boils down to good food management.  Efficiently managing our food use saves me a lot of money and keeps food waste to a minimum.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Shortages & Rising Inflation


The state of the world right now has a lot of people concerned, frustrated and fearful.  I see it every day.  While others are in touch with those emotions there are a significant number of people who are in denial and put blinders on hoping things are going to go back to normal soon.  I hope they are right, but sadly I fear we are in this situation for the long haul.  A lot is going on right now and most of it is simply beyond our control.


The last thing I want to do is upset anyone or cause anxiety.  But the reality is things are not at all normal and the world is changing.  Prices are increasing and we can't always find what we are looking for.  Backorders and shipping delays are a regular occurrence.  I know you know what I mean.  Every single day at work I get multiple phone calls about patients wanting to stockpile their medical supplies because they are scared of what might happen.  It is really hard, but I have to tell them no.  If I allow them to hoard supplies there won't be enough to go around.  What I can do is help them store a little extra and give them some peace of mind, but some days I don't even have that option.


Nonetheless, we can still prepare for "what if".  Right now I want to encourage you to do something, anything, to prepare yourselves for a better future.  Put some solid thought into it and determine what you can do right now that would make a difference.  "What if" looks different to each of us, but there are a lot of similarities.


We all need the basics - food, water and shelter.  That is my focus at the moment.  I want to make sure my basic needs are secured.  Adding to our prepper pantry, working on expanding and maintaining our water supply and taking good care of our home so it will keep us protected.  Teaching my children to do these things too and helping them learn is also important to me.


I wouldn't be a Thrifty Mom if I didn't mention this.  If you have any debt at all, please, please, please get rid of it.  Whatever you can do to pay off your vehicles, loans, credit cards and other debts, do it.  Debt is a huge anchor we can't afford to hang onto.  We need to have a good savings and emergency fund and we need to invest in our basic needs right now.  We need to be able to afford our future and debt is not going to help anyone with that.


We don't need to be in fear of "what if", we just need to prepare for it so we can enjoy our lives and weather these storms.  I'd much rather have and not need, then need and not have.  Let's open a discussion.  If you've been planning ahead and working on some solutions I would love to hear about it.  We can all learn from each other and draw inspiration and encouragement.  Please feel free to share in the comments.


Monday, February 7, 2022

Less Blogging


I'm sure you noticed that I took a little break from posting on this blog so I could focus my attention in other areas, including my other blog.  During that time I've reflected quite a bit on my blogging habits and determined that I want to put up fewer posts, but for a really good reason.  Part of living my life with purpose and intent is to put a lot more thought into what I do, how I feel, even what I write.  Moving forward I want the luxury of putting more effort and thought into my posts.


I also only want to write when I feel inspired to do so rather than holding myself to a set schedule.  Taking the schedule out of it means I have less pressure to get something written and it allows me to be more thoughtful.  It will also help me learn the process of "dialing it down" a bit as I prepare for early retirement.  So far, I am really enjoying my new blog routine.  I hope you will too.


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