Wednesday, February 10, 2016

a shopping spree... or prepping??

My first paycheck came in!
And I went on a shopping spree!!

Yeah, yeah... I can hear you.... thinking ;"Damn idiot! Always complaining about scraping to get by and now you blow your cash or something like that. And it's true. I do not want to keep m money in my pocket or bank account for that matter. What good does it do there? Except giving bankers more means to do their wicked thing.
On the other hand have we become so accustomed to living cheap that spending all that money on essentials basically still feels like we are splurging it all over the place. Not an easy thing to do; handing out the cash.

The reasons for that?
1) Because we always spend our "excess" cash on supplies, we get by in those lean times.
2) Because I have completely lost faith in the bankingsystem, where they can take away ALL your money at the click of a mouse, just to save themselves. Or simply shut down any and all financial transaction possibilities in a matter of hours. And they can do so LEGALLY! Any idea what that means???
3) Because things like this have already been happening in southern Europe, where people started taking out their money from their deposits and the banks simply closed down, allowing NO ONE access to their own cash. Then what?
We got a good spook when we had issues paying for our things in the first store we were in. A simple glitch in the connection between store and bank and the system went down like a house of cards!
And they are pressing hard to make Sweden a cash-less society!!

So for these reasons I believe it is better to take my money and spend it. Spend it on supplies, tools etc. Things that will help us to get through a crisis, even if the banks shut down.... which I do believe might happen at any time now. This way spending becomes investing in the best way possible. Not to create more money, but to create means to live and thrive.
Secure your supply, not your stocks.
Better to have an empty bank account and a well stocked pantry than v.v.

Now some tips or suggestions that I think might be worth considering. When you (or I) go to spend that cash, think not only in short terms, but also in middle length and long terms. Get supplies that will get you through the initial crisis. Then get supplies that will enable you to go on after that immediate crisis situation. And then get supplies that will enable you to go on in the long run. And most important of all; invest in knowledge!! No use in buying seeds, if you do not know how to use them or have the means to see you through the growth season until it is time to harvest. Not wise to invest in some expensive hitech waterfilteringsystem if you do not know how to operate or maintain it with the means you have.
So divide your needs in a "now"-list, a "later" or "this season/year"-list and a "after that"-list. What will you need?
Food of course and water. But you very soon will need a way to get drinkable water after that soon.
Food might last awhile, a month or so, but what then?
Clothes? Heating? Constructions or repairs? Something as basic as a hammer and 2-3 boxes of nails might or probably will become worth their weight in gold, even if that does keep its value. A hoe, a spade or a scythe too.

And buying gasoline might be a good idea, even if you are not planning on going anywhere.
Besides, a rolling car might be a very obvious target, when things turn really bad.
But you can always use that fuel to barter with. There will always be someone around, who has freezers and a generator or keeps running a car despite the odds and they will sooner or later run out of fuel. In that case a 20 liter can of fuel might become very, very valuable and might give you a few kilos of frozen food for example.
And for the time being you can make that fuel part of a rolling stock, for as long as you want or can. This way it will not spoil, will keep your car going and your stock will not diminish. You can even use your car+battery as a makeshift powerstation!

Do not spend cash to stock up on toothpaste, shampoos and showergels, when a few containers of bakingsoda (natriumbicarbonat) will do just the same thing for a fraction of the price. Plus it has much more uses than previously mentioned chemicals, that just pollute your immediate (living)area.
We do buy toothpaste of course, but if we run out and have no means to resupply, we can always fall back on plan B, of which the ingredients don't go bad and have multiple other purposes. Did you know that baking soda + vinegar makes a good declogging agents for your sink?
These 2 have many other uses as well of course and as such are a part of a rotating stock anyway.

One thing puzzles me a bit though. How about toiletpaper? Call me silly, but how did folks do it before the age of toiletpaper? I guess they squatted down and went about their business, but with current sanitary facilities that would not work.... well. How about women's "monthly issues"? Anyone out there who can enlighten me on that? I live with 3 of them, so it is something worth looking into.....

So..... what did I blow my dow on?
First of all..... a pile of bills of course *sigh*, but also on a car full of food. The mrs. and I took our youngest daughter and went on a grocery shopping spree. After 6 hours and an equally large amount of stores we came home with a car full of supplies. At least our pantry is restocked again. One of the issues we faced here was to get food that we a) use on a daily basis, b) has a reasonable shelf life and c) is no crap food. Turns out that you need to compromise quite a bit.... You'll often end up with processed food with very short ingredientslist. Right now we can't be too picky. But you can also buy in bulk and process yourself. That way you have at least some control over what you eat.
Seeds and tools I already have, so no need to stock up on those, but I will set aside some cash for plant purchases in spring. Some red currant bushes and hazel are on the "want"-list as well as a planned section of the garden that needs to be filled with edible perennials. I helped with the fundraising for a book in Swedish on just those, which should end up in our mailbox coming april or so.
We also got our kids a head torch and flashlight each, all using the same kind of rechargeable batteries and of course a load of batteries to match. They need those when going to school and coming home. Our own flashlights use the same type of batteries and we phased out all that other, cheap junk that uses all sorts of batteries. Streamlining logistics. Maybe a small solarpanel to hook up to the recharger?
I bought candles, lampoil, cookingset fuel, and 2 extra 20L jerrycans and over the next few weeks I'll be adding wood (for heating), timber (for beehives, rabbit cages etc), fencing for dogs and chickens. And assortment of nails and screws will find their way here too.

I also took my teenage son shopping for clothes. That sounds worse than it actually was. Much to my own surprise too! It turned out to be a very relaxed shopping trip with us finding a good deal of the things he needed; all bought in 1 secondhand store. Many of the clothes he found still had the tags attached to them, so were basically new! He also has a style I like and recognize... ;) Some stuff for me ended up in the bags as well. Whenever I come across a pair of real woolen socks, gloves or sweather or a (seemingly) good book, I can not pass them by....
After that we went groceryshopping and I used the opportunity to show him what we think you should look for, when you buy groceries; pricetags, ingredientlists, ecologically/locally produced or not, shop layout and salestricks used to get you to buy more than you need. And eat before you go into a store!

Even the purchase of and investment in a second dog has more than 1 reason. First of all, besides the completely and utterly selfless act of rescuing of a dog in distress (uhuh, right.......), Rex needed a buddy. The reasons are manyfold. He needed to socialise, but also have someone around in case he gets left alone at home for a short period of time. This will make us more mobile, because we do not need to watch the dog all the time. More mobility means more opportunity to go to work for both of us or to go and get whatever it is we need. It also means he gets to play a whole lot more, thus exercises and thus enhances his physical condition, which makes him healthier. Having a second dog also greatly enhances his mental health.
You might also have noticed that both are working dogs and I work towards being able to utilise their specific talents whenever the need should arise. Dragging a sled or cart full of firewood or meat out of the forest might be one of those scenarios.
And last but not least..... they are just great to have around and to enjoy their company and that is good for all of us!

Another "must" right now is another car. I shamefully admit it. I need another one. The Volvo is beyond repair. It was not only mechanical. That would've been fixable within reasonable means.... sort of. The main issue was an electronic one; the entire dashboard stopped working properly. No fuel gauge, no tachometer and above all no speedometer! Coupled with a blinker that did not work, an exhaust that leaked, 2 coils that were broken and 2 tires that needed immediate replacement AND frontseats that were so worn, they'd give you some serious discomfort. Its fuel efficiency was not too good either, plus one of the rearlights would have to be replaced since it had faded to a light pink, thus no longer giving a red light as required. Too long a list to spend time and money on.
So I am thinking; do I buy a cheap but old, ramshackled 2 seater combi for a few pennies or do I invest on a large 4x4?
The choice seems very easy, when you do not think about family logistics here. The kids are outgrowing our current car. It is starting to get pretty cramped on the backseat lately. Plus there are 2 additional family members that need extra space in the boot with a matching cage, a must around here. The roads are not to good either, especially during winter season and the time thereafter. Potholes, tons of loose gravel and rutting on the road, not to mention the occasional boulder that resurfaces after frost, might spell trouble for your regular citycar.
That would mean taking a small loan to buy a large fuelinefficient 4x4. You can see my dilemma here!!


  1. We got our dog a dog. Ava was lonely and not getting the mental and physical activity she needs. We adopted a rescue from a kill shelter. Zoey has added a lot of fun to our lives and though she drives Ava a little nuts with her young dog energy, they were fast friends.

    For women's needs, maybe look at Diva cup.

    My vegetable and herb seed order arrived yesterday. The fruit trees and mushroom spawn will arrive in April. While it took a big piece of the paycheck it was a nice shopping spree. $500 worth of seeds and trees will turn into thousands of dollars worth of food by the end of the year. We're growing for three households so really, $100 per person isn't bad at all.

    1. I would love to have a neighbour-cooperation like that a lot, too. But elas.... And somehow spending your money online is not as much fun and fulfilling as actually handing it over and getting something in return right away.
      Even though the arrival of a big box in the mail sometimes does have that christmas-came-early-feel to it.

  2. Ever heard of "She's on the rag" ? Literally that. Using rags for the monthly. So there ya go. The Diva cup or something like that (home made) should work.

    I once heard of a lady who spent only $400 a year on groceries or so she claimed. The truth was that she stockpiled for years, had a big garden and then all she spent was $400. Anybody who has the space can do that.

    Our new place will be perfect for (almost) self sufficiency. We're looking into a manual pump for water. Wind is not dependable there. But solar is.

    Such beautiful creatures, your dogs.

    1. The rag-thing makes sense. I'd have to look into this Diva-cup.
      And we certainly have the space, so "all" we need to do, is use it!

    2. Yes, we lived in the Soviet Union without toilet paper and women's things for a while. :) I am still alive. We used old newspaper for toilet paper and would smush it in our hands as much as we could to make it softer. In the woods we always used leaves for number 2 and such. For women's issues, like mentioned above, just any cotton. These days, though, I third the Diva cup. I never used anything for years and years since I got that.

      I'll have to check Running with Raineer out, it looks interesting. I need your dogs here. Kept pulling 4 kids in the sled and my muscles are giving up. :)
      Nice to catch up here on all things you had been up to. Self sufficiency feels empowering.