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TSHTF survival kit(on shoestring budget)

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Firethorn, Sep 9, 2005.

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  1. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

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    Me and some friends were having a discussion about disaster preparness.

    Given that many in the hurricane were of minimal means, put together a survival kit that they can hopefully afford.

    The scenario: Kit must last for at least 30 days, in a New Orleans style scenario. IE: No Power, no clean non-bottled water, no food stores open, etc.

    My thoughts:
    $200: SKS, 870, something cheap but reliable. Out of a pawnshop, used, is acceptable. Minute of arc accuracy is not required. Reliability and ammo availability is. Price includes fair bit of ammunition, some of which is to be used for training. One friend suggested a bolt action for reliability and ease of use. Personally, I think the faster followup shots(without extensive training) is a better choice, even if there is a little more to potentially foul up. I know they're almost cliche guns, but there's reasons that they're cliche.
    $140-200: 2 Burner Camp stove($60-100): If propane, I'd prefer ones that can take a large grill style tank. On the Cheap: Garage sale. I'd love to find an old white gas one. Stay home: at least two large tanks. (~$40 each?). Bugging out? A couple small ones should work fine. If they already have a grill, it'll work, but not be as portable if they have to bug out. If you find a white gas one, a couple jerry cans of white gas/unleaded. Besides cooking, it can provide heat if necessary.
    $240: Food for One, 30 days. Consists of traditional shelf stable foods such as beef stew(in a can), corned beef hash(in a can), soup(in a can). You could try Ramen noodles, but their packages is very suseptible to vermin chewing through. I figure on a $2 breakfast, $3 lunch & dinner, for $8 a day. Start adding in more people? More variety, less prepared food. IE shelf stable milk & cereal, canned fruits & veggies(canned peaches can be a morale booster). :) Cooking give people something to do.
    $160: Water filter(&extra filters), treatment system, some gallon jugs. If staying in location, a big funnel to put on roof to catch rainwater. Heck, intercept the gutter from the roof. It'll still be better than what's on the ground. Just discard the first couple gallons, keep the gutters clean.

    Total: $800, +240 per additional person(until you reach 4+ people)

    Niceties: Camp Kitchen kit(costs can vary wildly), Solar shower($10), Lantern($50, and lay in more fuel), Portable Toilet($30), Tarps($30, milsurp?) .

    Here's an interesting idea:
    WonderWash portable laundry machine $30
    Breathing Mobile Washer $15

    Otherwise, I imagine that a bucket and a stick would do in a pinch.

    Am I forgetting anything? Anything I can do cheaper?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2005
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Good idea.

    Stay away from Ramen since it needs water to prepare and the packets are salty glop. I used to cook ramen in the lab and use Knor soup mix instead of the wretched soup packets. That said, standard pasta is cheaper than Raman anyway, like most convenience food. You can have some variety too with rotini to make tuna salad, fruit salad, egg salad, spagheti to make your own Skyline chili, or spagheti and tomato sauce. Of course it's difficult to boil water for pasta if there's no electricity/gas. You should conserve fuel for 1 hot meal a day and use food you don't have to heat for the rest of the meals.

    I don't advise liquid fuel stoves unless the user has lots of experience with it. I've seen plenty of spilled fuel and small fires and some mild burns from folks that weren't as careful as they should be with white gas.

    Be sure to get a filter rated for portozoans.
     
  3. JamisJockey

    JamisJockey member

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    Food:
    Watch for caselot sales. Canned soups, stews fruits and vegetables all contain water, which reduces the amount of liquids you need.
    Avoid having much that needs water to cook. Make sure and have some p38's and regular can openers!
    Rice can be as felxiable as pasta, and a little bit goes a long ways.
    2 burner camp stoves can be had for about $30-40 bucks. I'd suggest a one burner stove (About $15) for portability, propane or multifuel. You can get a propane tree for your big tanks to run everything and anything (lanterns, heaters, stoves).
    Canteen cups make great individual eating ware. Serve anything from the practically. Cheap, easy to clean, and can be cooked with. You can even buy a personal heater for them, which feeds off little cooking tabs, or even a couple tea-lights just to warm food up.

    I think your budget is a little over inflated....do you work for the government?
    :neener:
     
  4. NMshooter

    NMshooter Member

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    You should be able to find canned soup on sale for a dollar a can or less.

    Crackers are a substitute for bread, some peanut butter will help you get the calories you will be missing.

    Chili con carne (that stuff with meat and beans not the green stuff I like that is used by some for self defense :evil: ) is a good source of protein and calories. So is Dinty Moore stew and similar products.

    There are a variety of powdered beverages available to help make your drinking water more palatable.

    If you live in an area with cold winters you will want hard candy and other high calorie stuff to help keep you going.

    Oh, and solid fuel is a great way to cook food, easily portable too.
     
  5. rwc

    rwc Member

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    If you want to go really cheap on the food 10lbs. of brown rice, 10 lbs. of black beans, and a small jar of multivitamins will do. It will keep you alive, but you won't enjoy it... :rolleyes:

    An MSR multifuel and a few gallons of white gas should keep you in clean (boiled) water and food.
     
  6. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Heck, there was a 3 week period where I lived on beans and rice that I had put up for "hard times". Soak beans, simmer in pot, cook rice, eat, repeat.
     
  7. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    Sure, it can be cheaper. Flush the SKS/870 and save $200. Why bother to have one if the govt is going to confiscate it?
     
  8. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Member

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    Okay, let me take a stab at this. Since you said "food for one," I'll assume we're just talking about one person for 30 days. On a shoestring budget. This is the short version, so there are some caveats and exceptions that I'm skipping.

    Water:

    1. If you live in a house you've probably already got 50 gallons of good water in the water heater and pipes.

    2. That water can run out or get contaminated, so you'll want to store some easy-to-use water. Cheapest way is to clean out and fill 2-liter soda bottles, adding about 2-4 drops of plain bleach to each bottle. Plus, get a couple 7-gallon Aqua-Tainer containers at Wal-Mart, clean and fill with tap water and 40 or so drops of bleach per container.

    3. You'll want the ability to treat lake water or creek water or rainwater or whatever's available. Buy a gallon of bleach and treat the water with 8 to 16 drops per gallon depending how skanky the water is. Filter through a coffee filter or two before bleaching, wait 30 minutes before drinking.

    4. A decent water filter would be great, but most cost around $55 to $80, and we're on a shoestring budget. You can buy a Sawyer canister filter for about $25 and it's supposed to be fairly good and filters about 100 gallons, I think.

    5. Let's say you get 2 Aqua-Tainers, a gallon of bleach, a package of coffee filters, and the Sawyer. Total cost about $44.

    Food:

    1. The stuff in your house and apartment would probably last a few days, at least.

    2. Go to grocery store and buy 20# of rice and 5# of beans. That alone will last 30 days and cost less than $20. Problem is they need to be cooked, and that takes fuel, which is expensive unless you've got lots of firewood. Partial solution is to just bring the rice and beans (just cook them together, in about a 4/1 ratio, to get more complete proteins) to a boil for a minute or two, then let it sit for 1/2 hour, then bring to boil again for a minute or two, then wait 1/2 hour and eat. Won't be perfect, but saves a lot of fuel.

    3. Spaghetti noodles and Ramen noodles; they pack a lot of calories in a small space and don't have to be cooked for long. Spend $10 and you'll have a lot of food.

    4. Buy a pound of salt, a package of pepper, some bouillon cubes to flavor things up.

    5. Buy a dozen cheap cans of vegetables and fruits.

    6. Buy a few cans of Spam or canned ham or tuna, whatever, just something to add some occasional meat to the diet.

    7. 5# sugar, 5# flour, just add it to the rice and beans for more nutrition and calories.

    8. Buy 2 quarts of vegetable oil or a big can of Crisco for the fat your body will need--again, just add it to the rice.

    9. Say $58 for food.

    Light

    1. Go to Target or Wal-Mart and buy 100 tea light candles. Each one will last about 3 hours (not very bright, though). Say $5.

    2. Get a long-lasting LED flashlight or lantern. There are lots of good ones for $10 or $15 and they'll last 100 hours or more on a set of batteries.

    3. Buy an incandescent flashlight so you have the ability to check out the things that go bump in the night. The EverReady or Ray-O-Vac 2D models at Target or Wal-Mart work okay, just get extra batteries and an extra bulb. There are so many better options available, but we're on a shoestring budget.

    4. Say, $27 total.

    Shelter:

    1. I don't think you were asking about a bug-out situation where you'd need a form of shelter. But for what it's worth this is a good time of year to pick up small, inexpensive, and reasonably decent tents online or even at Target or Wal-Mart, for maybe $50. I'm not counting this in my total costs, though, so add the cost if appropriate.

    First Aid

    1. Go to Target or Wal-Mart and buy a $15 first aid kit. Then spend a little more and add a tube of generic Neopsorin, some Tylenol or Advil, Benadryl, Immodium, moleskin, a small bar of soap or hand sanitizer, some 4" x 4" dressings, maybe an Ace bandage, and (not sure this fits here, but why not) some sunscreen and insect repellant.

    2. Say $40.

    Communications

    1. Buy a decent battery-operated AM/FM radio and some extra batteries. (Optional, go to Target or Wal-Mart and get a set of two FRS/GMRS two-way radios rated for 2- or 5-mile range--which they won't achieve--and some batteries; these are pretty cheap these days, maybe $25 or $30, but I'm not including them in the cost here.)

    2. Say, $15.

    Heating

    1. This really depends where you live so it's pretty hard to address.

    2. The easiest solutions may be the simplest--just making sure you have some warm clothes, wool socks and a wool stocking cap, gloves or mittens, a decent sleeping bag, maybe an extra milsurp wool blanket or two.

    3. If you need indoor heating, and you don't have a wood stove and firewood, your easiest choices are: (a) an indoor-rated propane catalytic heater (like a Heater Buddy model), or (b) a kerosene heater. You want to get a decent model, because otherwise you can die from carbon monoxide poisoning or other airborn contaminants. Plus, you'll need fuel, either 20# propane tanks (with the proper hoses and fittings) or 5-gallon kerosene containers.

    4. Maybe you have access to wood and you can make it on just campfires--I don't know. But sometimes you'll want a firestarter to start the fires, and I'd suggest buying a bunch of Trioxane (at Sportstmans Guide or Brigade Quartermasters) for maybe $15.

    5. I'm really shooting in the dark here, but I'll assume you need some indoor heating (either propane or kerosene) plus fuel for 30 days, say $110. Deduct this cost if you don't need the heating.

    Cooking

    1. Get a single-burner propane stove at Target or Wal-Mart (by the way, I'm not pimping for these guys, there are a ton of other places with maybe better choices, but everyone has those stores so that's why I'm mentioning them) for $16, and five or six 1# propane canisters for $10 or $12. (Each canister should last for about 4 hours.)

    2. Alternatively, if you already have a Weber grill, and if you don't, get a small hibatchi, buy 40# of charcoal and some lighter fluid and you're set.

    3. If you have wood, just use your campfire for cooking. Buy a dutch oven or portable grill, I don't know.

    4. Say $28.

    Miscellaneous

    1. Get a decent 4" or 5" knife. Spend $30.

    2. A Leatherman or other multitool would be good, but I won't include it in my cost estimate since I think you're outlining a bug-in scenario and you've probably already got a pliers and screwdrivers and such.

    3. Roll of duct tape--its uses are limited only by your imagination.

    4. A few rolls of toilet paper. Scott brand lasts the longest.

    5. Liquid soap for dishes, clothes, hygeine.

    6. Plastic garbage bags. For garbage, improvised rain ponchos, solid human waste, waterproofing a shelter, whatever.

    7. Wire, rope, string.

    8. Some spare gasoline. Just in case you have to bug out, don't let your tank get less than half full. But it wouldn't hurt to keep an extra 5-gallons or so on hand.

    9. Some paper towels, paper plates, plastic silverware, paper or plastic cups.

    10. Cheap sewing kit available at most drugstores for some reason.

    11. Toothpaste or baking soda.

    12. Cash. Keep at least $100 in small bills. This will help to blow my budget, but it might turn out to be the most important thing you have.

    Okay, I'm doing the math here and I'm getting $500 exactly. And that includes $100 in cash and $110 for heating.

    I didn't include anything for guns, because I'm assuming you already have something. But if you needed to add a gun or two, I'd suggest a decent Yugo SKS and maybe 300 rounds of ammo, or on even more of a shoestring budget maybe an M44 or M38 or M91-30 and 150 rounds of ammo, and if you need a handgun maybe a Makarov with 150 rounds of ammo. Say $200 with shipping and transfer fees, or a little more or less depending on the choice, per gun.

    My $.02.
     
  9. silverlance

    silverlance Member

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    california shoestring

    1 milsurp mess kit (pan, utensils, can opener)
    1 milsurp fire kit (flint/magnesium)
    1 camp axe (doubles as hammer)
    1 film canister with matches inside; coat with nail polish to make waterproof
    1 makeup bottle with petroleum jelly, cotton, and alcohol
    1 milsurp (or ebay) surgical kit w/ gloves, masks, eye protection. expensive but worth it, esp if you need sutures
    1 25lb bag rice - $20 here
    1 15lb bag beans
    1 5lb bag raisins
    1 5lb bag peanuts or cashews, salted.
    1 milsurp poncho
    4 9-inch nails, doubling as poncho tent stakes
    1 quality folding half-serrated knife, 440C steel
    1 box of box cutter blades with 1 holder
    1 roll duct tape
    1 crowbar
    1 good defensive light surefire e2 or better
    1 water purification kit (filter, bleach, etc)
    1 hunting backpack or alice pack
    1 roll rope
     
  10. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

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    CPR and First Aid Classes at around $50.
     
  11. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

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    From reading through the list,

    One: This is not for me. This was along the nature of talking with others about disaster prepardness and 'limited budgets'. While my budget is also limited, I can afford at least $2k on this stuff, taken gradually. I already have most of it.

    I like the beans and rice. Multivitamins might be useful, but I'd rather get them through decent food. I guess I'm a bit fixated on cans for sheer durability, but I guess that with the money saved by buying bulk rics&beans, you can purchase a secure container for them.

    hso: You might not like Ramen, but I do(I like my salt). It's not the greatest stuff, but taken as a base, you can make some nice cassaroles with it. I'll often throw chuncks of chicken in along with it, peas, carrots, etc... It stands proud alongside the macaroni & cheese(and doesn't require milk). As for the water, well, I have a water filter anyways. You may be boiling the water as well, so you might as well make a meal out of it. Downsides are that Ramen isn't high on nutrients other than calories and salt, and the plastic it's bagged in isn't tough.

    Good ideas for the menu items. The more people you have the easier it gets, as you're less likely to have to worry about leftovers if your meal consists of opening 3-4 cans/packages.

    I have experience with liquid fuel stoves, I wouldn't think 'lots' of experience would be needed. They do take more work, but I like the fuel density, and the fact that it's easier to track how much fuel you're using.

    And yes, the filter will be rated for all the nasty stuff. The ones I looked at cost about $70 for the unit, $50 for the filters, which last for ~200 gallons.

    JamisJockey: Good Ideas. I was in the scouts, and worked with both the old coleman gasoline stoves and the teeny propane stoves. I found that while the propane is easier to pack, we still vastly prefered the coleman. That thing was rock solid. The covers unfolded into a wind screen, and it had built in stands to raise it a bit. It had enough power to feed a dozen scouts and a half dozen leaders. And yes, I do work in the government(AD AirForce).

    Rick_Reno: I wrote this out before I heard about them taking arms. Given that I frequent this forum, I'll still have the firearm listed, just have the advice of "Keep it out of sight around cops".

    NMshooter: I'd be concerned about moisture ruining even the crackers. In cold country, yeah, you can substitute boxed goods as you don't have to worry about the critters too much. Solid fuel, or even sterno isn't a bad idea. Just gets expensive in quantity.

    Whew. SteelyDan, I'd tend to say your advice is worth far more than 2¢.

    To answer your question though, I listed the food as per person. I want 'the list' to work, generically, for most people/families and situations. Add $240 per person for food and other consumables, up to about four people. I like cooking and variety. Once the immediacy of the initial disaster is over, and you're simply waiting for the restoration of order and services, you'll have a fair amount of time. Decent food can really help make the time pass better. Then again you have spices listed. I didn't list them because I keep a large amount available on hand for normal cooking.

    The rest of the stuff, like the first aid kit, I usually figure as 'already have it'. I keep forgetting that everyone doesn't keep a first aid kit and fire extinguisher on hand.

    The tent is an idea. If nothing else, with an internal frame tent you set it up in the house, pile blankets into it, and use it as a shelter for sleeping in(less heat loss). I was thinking of a few tarps. My general thought was that your house/apartment is still habitable, just without services. Maybe some damage, but that you might be able to patch or cover it with a tarp.

    Agreed, though between the kitchen and toolbox, you should have both already

    Good point.
    Good points. I'm so used me and my family buying super-econo packs of them that they're a non-issue. Last time I bought garbage bags, it took a year to run out. :rolleyes:

    I always keep a spare thing of dish soap under the sink.

    All good points.

    Silverlance, this is more of a bug-in stock. Somebody with a low buget is going to scream at the expense of a surefire. With only that food, I'd imagine you're missing alot of vitamins.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2005
  12. Hutch

    Hutch Member

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    If it's not too expensive for the buyer, get a dual-fuel Coleman stove, plus a propane conversion unit, plus the hook-ups to allow you to run it from the BBQ tank, as well as the 1-lb mini-bottles. This will allow you to run on white gas (Coleman fuel), unleaded gasoline, and propane from the disposable bottles or larger tank. Lotsa flexibility there. Not something to hump thru the woods, but would be great addition to the car skeedaddle kit.
     
  13. NMshooter

    NMshooter Member

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    You really want the multivitamins.

    About $20 gets you one year where you will not have to worry about the various bad things that can happen if your diet is lacking in something important.

    This is one thing that a lot of folks hammered into my head as very important.
     
  14. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

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    I thought that multivitamens would run more than $20 a year though. Maybe for $60?
     
  15. NMshooter

    NMshooter Member

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    I recently got a bottle of 250 for $16, so maybe more than $20 but less than $60 for a whole year.

    All the crackers I have bought for years have come in sealed plastic sleeves inside a pasteboard box, they seem the same after a couple years as just purchased.

    When I was going through my food stores I realized how hard it is to come up with 2000 calories a day on my intended diet. It is a good thing I love peanut butter...
     
  16. O.F.Fascist

    O.F.Fascist Member

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    Disposable Lighters

    Yeah its better if you know how to make your own fire, but if you either dont or just want to save some time get a couple of them.

    Walgreens has some onsale right now for $.39, also have some tweezers on sale for $.39 too.
     
  17. O.F.Fascist

    O.F.Fascist Member

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    In my neck of the woods roaches will chew through the boxes and the plastic to get to the crackers.

    I had to throw out a whole bunch of ramen noodles and other similar goods a couple weeks ago.

    IMO its good to get some sort of sturdy plastic container to put those kinds of things into to keep the insects out.
     
  18. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Food: Rice and beans in waterproof containers. Ramen squares in a waterproof container. Some cans, spices, salt. Be sure to have a P-38 and a hobo knife. (the kind with the fork n spoon)

    Water: Canteens, 2½ Gallon jugs from grocery, either fresh or refilled. Katydin filter, small amount of bleach in well-marked container.

    Shelter: Obviously, use what you can that's already standing, otherwise a tarp and some 550 cord will keep the rain off you. Sleeping bag.

    Cooking: Tommy Cookers, Trioxane bars, Army mess kit or canteen cup and holder works for a small cooking pot. C4 is great for cooking, too, if you run across any. ;)

    Protection: Avoid crowds. Steer clear of settled areas. Camouflage any camps you make. Use whatever weapons you may have, any are better than none. Be sure to have a knife, it will see much use, not fighting, though. Remember you will not be attacking a fortified military base, just trying to stay alive and fend off the type of scum that took advantage of the situation in NO. Set outlying perimeter warnings, pop cans on fishing line with pebbles in them work, and were used in NO.

    Sundries for pack: 550 cord, fishing line, small tackle kit,(hooks, etc.), first aid kit (plus painrelievers and anti-diarheals, dysentery can kill.) This is for a basic, grab it and go now set up.
     
  19. Dave R

    Dave R Member

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    I have only one thing to add. If you want to add a handgun to the kit, a Makarov is hard to beat for a shoestring pistol. Maaayyyybeee a used .357 revolver, instead.
     
  20. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    A few cans of Pork and Beans A P-38 can opener. A box of 45acp and a Hi Point pistol. Doesn't get any better than that. Less than a 100 bucks. If you shop around. :D

    This is why I 50 miles from a large cities and 20 mi. from 2 small cities (10,000 pop.) I have it all here and I ain't moving. You can live in those crime infested garbage pits But not me.I got out years ago.
     
  21. SkyDaver

    SkyDaver Member

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    Cheap light

    I don't know what they're called, but in the Mexican food section of my local grocery, they have candles in a tall glass (about 6-8 inches high, about 2 inches in diameter). Most are red glass, with a painting on the side, but some are plain clear glass.

    $1.00 each. Will burn for over 5 days (My test of one burned for 5 days, 7 hours, continuously)

    They're sort of like Yahrzeit candles, but bigger.
     
  22. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    Place a mirror behind candel and you will light up a room. .
     
  23. torpid

    torpid Member

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    But be sure to swap 'em out after awhile!

    I just went through my kit and tested an el cheapo lighter I've had awhile, and it worked fine until it ruptured in my hand- I was unexpectedly transformed into the Statue of Liberty in my living room for about 15 seconds.

    :D
     
  24. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    Fot those of you that have a house and can store at home or plan on staying. Hint we have old chest type freezer. The one that look like a big trunk. Doesn't work but great way to store , food stuff from from being eated by mice ect. If any bug get in side you put them their Old refridges are good to. store, lock and forget WE kept rice, flour, sugar Powered milk.Take Mac out of boxs put in jars or something air tight along with cheese packet will last a long time. So load a way.
     
  25. joab

    joab Member

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    No offense to some of you guys but have you ever been "of limited funds"

    $1000 is hardly shoestring for someone who brings in little more than that per month.

    Instead of the high dollar Coleman stoves go with the $20 units that take small bottles of propane, to be used for boiling water
    Get a 1 or2 gallon can of diesel or white gas, a large tin can or pot, and a bag of sand that you can buy for about $1 to make a stove for cooking with a covered pot.

    Fill the pantry with beans , rice, noodles ,crackers and PB

    Instead of throwing away the milk jugs save them for water containers. Fill them before the or emergency storm hits
    Or get 5gallon carboys, but they are much more expensive unless you find them

    If needed go to the auto parts store for one of the Shefield multi tools for about $10

    Buy a bag of votive candles for about a buck

    And a LED lithium flashlight for about 10

    Buy a used Marlin 60 for less than $50 or a HighPoint for about $100

    All that is less than $200. Buy more when and if money avails itself for the frivolity of survival past the known tomorrow or the next rent due date
     
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