TOP 10: List for Preparedness on a Budget

About a week or two ago Jason cleaned out his truck.  It is always interesting when either one of us cleans out our cars because it doesn’t happen very often.  When it does, all sorts of neat things get found.  Melted crayons, the lost permission slip (or book, or shoe, or DS or jacket or bracelet or doll, or….well, you get the point), and in the case of Jason’s truck, all manner of informational paperwork.   Most of the time I have no idea where it comes from.  But I like it.  The following list is the perfect example.  Since there was no website or phone number or other identifying marks on the paper I can’t give you a link to look up the information or give credit for copyright.  Hopefully, listing the sponsoring companies will suffice.  And since you can’t just click a link to look it up, I will type it all.  It is worth it.  :)  A list sponsored by FEMA, Division of Homeland Security, Utah Citizen Corps, and Be ready Utah.  It is titled

TOP 10: List for Preparedness on a Budget.  

1.  PLAN for the types of disasters that can happen in the area where ou live.  You may need to plan for a snowstorm instead of a hurricane.

2.  CREATE your own personalized list.  You may not need everything included in “ready made” kits and there may be additional items you need based on your personal situation.  For Example, if you have pets, you may need special items.  Don’t forget to have supplies in your car and at work.

3.  BUDGET emergency preparedness items as a “normal” expense.  Even $20.00 a month can go a long way to helping you be ready.  Buy one preparedness item each time you go to the grocery store.

4.  SAVE by shopping sales.  Make use of coupons and shop at stores with used goods.  Don’t replace your ready kit items annually, just replace and cycle through those items that have  shelf life (eg. batteries, food).  You may want to test the radio and flashlight every September to make sure they are in good working order.

5.  STORE water in safe containers.  You don’t have to buy more expensive bottled water, but make sure any containers you use for water storage are safe and disinfected.

6.  REQUEST preparedness items as gifts.  We all receive gifts we don’t need or use.  What if your friends and family members gave you gifts that could save your life?  Don’t forget to protect them by sending preparedness gifts their way, too.

7.  THINK ahead.  You are more likely to save money if you can take your time with focused and strategic shopping.  It’s when everyone is at the store right before a storm hits that prices are going to be higher.  Use a list to avoid duplicating items when you are stressed o panicked.

8.  REVIEW your insurance policy annually and make necessary changes.  When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will help you get back on your feet.  Renters need policies too, inorder to cover personal property.

9.  UPDATE contact records.  Have an accurate phone list of emergency contact numbers.  If you are prepared, you may be able to help friends and neighbors who need assistance.  By sharing preparedness supplies,  you can help each other.

10.  TRADE one night out to fund our 72-hour kit.  Taking a family if 4 to the movies can cost upwards of $80-$100.  Just one night of sacrifice could fund a 72-hour ready kit.

 

CONGRATULATE YOURSELF.

The majority of Americans are not prepared.

Pre-planning will help you and your family better survive a disaster.

Well, there it is.  A golden find buried in the corners of the truck.  We use almost every one of these ideas in our own family.  Some we are better at then others, but on a whole, we are doing pretty good.  If you haven’t started any kind of food storage or disaster preparedness, then this list is an excellent way to get started.  If you have started and even if you are an old pro, this list gives a good review and may even inspire a new way to approach your already tried and true techniques for preparing.

Buying Meat in Bulk and Storing it for Easy Usage

This has been a happy month for me.  This last month Costco had pork on sale.  One of my families favorites!  You could by it in chop or roast form.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about buying meat in bulk and how I store it.  I like to buy my meat from a wholesale type store because in general it is priced better.  Not all the time, but usually.  It is always a good idea to keep your normal grocery store adds handy because they can have some really great deals, but when they are all lacking, the wholesale stores like Costco can save you a few dollars.  I also like to buy my meat in bulk because it saves me trips to the grocery store, which saves me money in impulse buys (you never know when you are going to need the sandwich cutter that leaves the sandwiches in the shapes of a dolphin…) as well as saving me time.  And lets face it, we are all trying to find ways to be better in our time management.  :)  In our house pork goes a long way.  We fry, bake and slow cook it in all its forms. Yummy! Needless to say, we were pretty happy when we saw the coupon for $3 off per package at our local Costco.  While I was there, I decided to buy hamburger meat as well, since, well, we were out.

Here is what I bought.  As you can tell, I forgot to take a picture of the roast before I split it and bagged it.  But you will get the idea as I move along to the chops and the hamburger meat.

The first thing I do when I get home with the meat is tell myself that I DO in fact have the energy left from shopping with  my 4 year old to put the meat away the proper way and not save it for later, which never comes.  Then I get out my Ziplock Quart Freezer bags.  I love these bags.  They hold so many different wonderful things.  :) Not to mention the box tops that come with the Brand.  My kids love them.  It has become a little bit of an addiction in our house.

The next thing I do is label each bag.  If you wait till the meat is in the bag to label them, the pen or sharpie has a harder time writing for a few reasons.  The meat is a soft surface when you need a hard one to write on. Reason 2, your fingers are usually covered with meat juice and I personally don’t like to get my pens all slimy.  Reason 3, the meat causes condensation to form on the outside of the bag and the pens don’t like to write in the moisture.  When I label my bags, I put the amount of the meat, either in pounds or in this case the number of chops, in each bag.  I also put the date so that I know when I froze them and thereby know when I need to use them.  Here are my labeled bags.

 

Now, there is a fair amount of controversy when it comes to my next step.  If you choose not to follow me, there is nothing wrong with you.  I promise.  I cut the chops in half.  Much to the chagrin of my husband, sometimes. :)   He prefers them thick.  But I don’t like to cook them thick. Occasionally I will just to spice things up, but usually I cut them in half to make my life easier.  Storing them is easier, cooking them is easier, and it makes our pork chops last much longer AANND it helps us to eat a little bit less and watch out portion control.  Anyway, I cut them in half length wise.

After I cut them in half, I put them into the bags.  I know that for my family I need 6 chops for a meal.  One for each of us and one for my husband for lunch the next day.  Unless we are super hungry, then he just takes a sandwich or he eats out.  I put them in stacks of 3 and shove them in the bag.

Whaa Laa!!  6 dinners all ready to go.  Throw them into the freezer and use them within the next 3 months and you are golden!  That is only 2 pork chop meals a month which is just enough to savor it but not too much that you will get tired of them.  Next I tackeld the hamburger meat.  As you can see in the picture at the top, I chose to buy the meat that is in the nice handy pre-rounded stacks.  This saves me the trouble of splitting the mound and measuring it to get the pound I am looking for for each baggie.  The meat is the same price per pound regardless of the way you chose to purchase it.  I try to buy the packages that are between 6 and 6 1/2 pounds so that I know that each stack is “about” one pound of meat.  This makes the separating SUPER easy!  I label my bags then throw a  stack in each.

And there it is.  6 more meals ready to thaw at my whim and put into dinner deliciousness.  And last but of course not least is the roast I purchased with the chops and the hamburger.  It was a 7 pound roast and I split it in 2 so there is atleast 4 more meals for us.  Yes, I said 4, not 2.  Yes, I can add.  :)  The roasts make enough shredded pork (which is what I almost always do to it after it has been sitting in my crockpot for the day) for 2-3 meals.  We make Cafe Rio style salads, Pork Nachos, Pork sandwiches, Pork Quesadillas….whatever your pork imagination can come up with.  I should also mention that a 3 – 3 1/2 pound roast will not fit in a Quart baggie.  I use the freezer Gallon Bags for these beauties.

I only have pictures of one of my pork roast halves because the other one is in my crockpot as we speak.  Ohh yummy salad here I come!!

It makes me happy.  There are 16-18 meals ready and waiting for my family for dinner.  All in manageable sizes to be thawed early or in the microwave at the last minute when you forget that you have nothing planned for dinner.  The freezer bags will keep the meat freshest for 3-4 months.  If you are like me, sometimes it sits in there a lot longer then that, and it still tastes fine to me.  But if you want to store your meat for longer then that intentionally, I would wrap it up differently to avoid freezer burn.  But that is a post for a different day. :)