Wednesday, August 17, 2016

recipes for disaster

note: an alternate to ghee, canned butter, but the grid is probably needed so just a pre-collapse recipe:
end times report canning butter
From the early nineties until 2002, I was as poor as poor could be.  The then wife essentially had my entire paycheck prior to divorce, then afterwards kept half the gross amount.  After the new century I moved from the South to Nevada and my income rose nicely.  Since I had previously learned how to live cheaper I was able to finally start investing my monetary surplus into financial and calamity preps.  Once that casino job became problematic I went back down to minimum wage, but as I had started writing I had that supplemental income.  Once I moved from Carson City, paying insane Yuppie level rents even for a travel trailer space, here to Elko the substitution of $400 rent for a $125 land payment furthered my “income”.  And in 2012, twenty years later, my child support was done, my land was paid off and I had nothing in the way of bills other than food, propane and bicycle parts ( with the occasional garment and footwear needs ).  When I went part time in 2014, I barely noticed the income dip.  When I moved back into town last year, paying rent to live with the New Old Lady, things started getting tight ( at the same time I was sending money to help my daughter in college and sending care packages to my son in Iraq ).


Now that I took an additional 20% hours cut, my days of investing and carefree prep spending have come to an end.  Now, I’ve never really cared too much about money.  I have enough to live on comfortably, and my attitude has always been “someday our money driven economy will end, so why get attached to the stuff or stress about making more”.  I feel that way more than ever, especially since it looks like the whole economic house of cards will fall over any day now.  But I have found myself reverting back to my old penny pinching ways.  I no longer spend to get rid of the soon to be worthless money.  In fact, I’m even wondering if my long held contempt towards “deflationists” is even correct anymore.  Both to prepare for more hourly cuts or unemployment, and to account for the increasing likelihood of deflation, I’m stuffing the mattress now instead of investing in the Alpha Strategy ( for you prepper newbies, the practice of buying consumer items now to beat inflation later ).  And to do that, no expense is too small to cut.  Laundry soap at $2 is now a luxury when I can make it for fifty cents a gallon.  Homemade “Shout” laundry pre-treatment is too much at a buck a spray bottle and I’m looking to cut that price in half.  I’m eating more rice now, and can because homemade sweet and sour sauce is 25 cents a bottle rather than $3 at the store.  And I’ve given up my $3 toothpaste for one a third the price.  I’ll also be going back to cheaper deodorant.  Look after those pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves ( of course, watch the big ticket items.  I finally got rid of that damn cell phone at $7 a month.  Yes, to me that is a big ticket item.  Of course, I still give St. Jude Children’s Hospital their $10 a month.  Sometimes penny pinching is just wrong ).


As we’ve talked about before, homemade laundry soap isn’t so important that it is cheap but because it is really compact to store in dry form.  One box of Borax is $4 at Wally and makes eight buckets of soap.  Another box of Arm & Hammer WASHING ( NOT baking ) Soda is an additional $4.  Eight bars of Zote is $8.  For $18 or so ( the A&H only gives you seven cups rather than 8 so you’ll need to buy a little extra ) you can make 40 gallons of laundry ( and Hand and Dish and Body ) soap.  You must buy the supplies at Wal-Mart however, as elsewhere is up to twice the cost.  You take four cups of water to a boil and add the shredded bar of Zote to it and simmer for about ten minutes until dissolved.  Dump that in a five gallon bucket, then one cup of Borax and one of A&H.  Fill the rest with as hot of water as you can ( such as from the shower faucet ), stir, cover and let sit over night.  Boom, done.  Since soap is very important for after the Apocalypse-you need to be surgeon operating room careful to clean wounds and at other crucial times, you can’t have enough of these supplies.  And in the meantime you can save a butt ton on money by using it now also ( don’t let yourself dip into your Stockpile stash for everyday use ).


“Shout” is a pre-cleaner for your laundry.  Spray on stains prior to the wash load.  I think it saves me money because I don’t do a separate white load.  I spend a nickel or a dime on spraying all stains there ( yes, you drip after urination in old age, no matter how many times you shake ) and I save a $2 laundry load ( plus soap cost ).  To make your own:

2/3 cup liquid dish soap

2/3 cup ammonia

6 tablespoons of baking soda

2 cups of warm water

Mix and put in a spray bottle.

Boom, done.


I used to hate rice.  No matter what I put on it, it still tasted like crap.  Except sweet and sour sauce.  But that liquid gold is insanely expensive.  Like $3 for a very small bottle.  Well, here is a recipe that doesn’t require pineapple sauce.  Which means it is cheaper and all the ingredients can be stockpiled if you plan on eating a lot of rice after the collapse.  Everyone that has tried it swears it is better than store-bought ( of course, that could be because it is sweeter rather than sour ).  I love it and have tripled/quadrupled my rice consumption.

3/4 cup white sugar

1/3 cup white vinegar

2/3 cup water

1 /4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon ketchup

2 tablespoon cornstarch

Add together, bring to boil, simmer and stir until thickened


Expensive toothpaste is important to me.  Not just because I can’t afford a dentist, but because I had wicked gingivitis and only Crest Pro-Health worked so much better than other pastes.  But it is $3.50 a tube, $3 each if you bought a two-pack.  Ouch!  I don’t waste toothpaste, and that still adds up quick.  But I learned a cheap solution.  Aim toothpaste is 85 cents for 6 ounces.  Every other brand is near $2 and up for the same amount.  Use Aim.  Take your toothbrush, wet it, dip it in a covered jar of baking soda to get a good glob, then add your little dab of Aim.  Brush.  It tastes like crap, but not as bad as straight baking soda, and it works just as good as Pro-Health at less than a third the cost.  Much cheaper to stockpile and no sacrificing performance.


You can still get deodorant for a buck a bar.  I refuse to use antiperspirant as I believe to messes up your skin.  Some folks claim even the plain deodorant isn’t great for it, but I’ve never researched that.  But, not being a savage, I feel deodorant is necessary for interacting socially.  First, like getting rid of your gingivitis, you don’t want to offend others, and secondly you never know who the next Old Lady might be.  First and last impressions, yes?  But why spend big bucks?  As I’ve shared before, one to two sprays of perfume ( well, the male equivalent whatever you want to call it ) in each armpit keeps your body odor in check all day, even through heavy labor in the heat of Florida.  Much cheaper than deodorant.  Dollar stores still carry enough of a selection you can take your pick.  Smell nice.  Except on patrol.


Pinching pennies is so rewarding you will find yourself motivated to find other tricks.  Enjoy.


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  1. Stained undies from middle ages piss drips. Thats what i come here to hear about. Haha. Love your twisted sense of humor. I to am on a major savings kick to prep for unemployment (had a layoff scare), the economy tanking, a few prep items id like to have or build my house. Whichever happens last. I tend to make my consumables stretch as long as possible.

    1. I thought discussing skid-marks might be a little over the top. I'm really torn-save all the money or buy building supplies to really pump up the B-POD insulation. It works well enough as is, and I'm not even sure if I can get the NOL up and down into it with her knees all arthritic. Not sure how we cope with that ( buy railing supplies, at least. Metal fence posts and metal pipe to lash on, I think ). I can't really afford to screw up on this one, limited funds, limited time. We all know unemployment is coming, but is inflation or deflation? All a conundrum.

  2. For the laundry soap recipe. Do you have to use Zote bar soap or any flavor soap you like?

    1. They call for "fels-naptha" or "zote" bar. Which are only double the price of bath soap bars, are bigger, and I would imagine work better. You are already spending $8 on powder, you might as well spend another $8 on soap rather than $4, just to assure results.

  3. Commercial toothpaste is a waste of money and bad for your health. You can do better and make your own. Here's one easy example. There are more complicated recipes available if you like to get creative.

    Peace out

    1. Not really enough cost saving at this time to justify, plus the idea is to mask the baking soda taste, not add more to it.

  4. "Take your toothbrush, wet it, dip it in a covered jar of baking soda to get a good glob, then add your little dab of Aim."

    So, you have a jar of biohazard developing nicely on your bathroom vanity? Make no mistake, you are transferring the remnants of your gingivitis BACK into that baking soda to further ferment.

    Think about this: fill an old salt shaker with the baking soda, then wet the brush, put a dab of Aim on it, then sprinkle it with the baking soda.

    I have about 10 or more $1 tubes of various toothpastes purchased from the dollar stores and each tube lasts me 1 year. The only exception was a tube of Sensodine that only lasted about 8 months.

    Regarding deoderant (NOT anti-perspirant [would you use something that causes you to not shit?, course not, so why would anyone use something that causes them to not sweat?]), I only use it if I have to leave the compound, which is not frequently. Maybe 2-4 times per month do I leave and then I use my trusty Old Spice (regular) stick that I've been using since at least the 70's (thanks Dad). Yeah, it's more expensive (but only slightly) than the spray on Rightguard type stuff but I can't help but follow my dad's lead. If I get especially gnarly while working outside in the sun the last thing I want is unknown chemicals dragging sweat trails down my ribcage. I just take a pitstop and go hose down on the deck, then sit in the sun for a few mins then back at it all over again.

    Know what I hate?
    I wear glasses. Trifocals.
    When I work outside I do it like I mean it.
    I have to wipe the moisture off the bridge of my nose about every 5 mins. I hate it!

    Trifocals require you to tilt your head just so to get stuff in focus depending on how far away it is. When my glasses slide down my nose it skews things and there doesn't seem to be a way around it. I already have my glasses adjusted so they are tight against my head. I tried them stretchy cords but I can't stand them pulling on my amazingly astonishing tresses.

    Even worse, when my hands are both occupied and a shower of sweat gets on the lens rendering them into virtual waterfalls. That one REALLY boil my pi$$. Clearly, glasses wearing is an indoor/winter sport.

    Think I'm finally gonna try my hand at that home made laundry detergent. Believe it or not the recipe for that stuff has been in my truck console for several years so that I can purchase the ingredients the next time I go to walmart, but alas, I never remember the list is in there until after I get home. I think I'll put the recipe in the note app in my phone.

    Thanks for the sweet/sour recipe. Got one for soy sauce? LOL

    1. How can you grow a culture on baking soda? I thought that was a type of salt. Not that I know for sure, not being a Bill Nye kind of guy. But I rinse the brush after and before use, so I think there is nothing to transfer anyway. Are you wearing a tied scarf around your forehead for sweating? I used to wear my glasses all waking hours, now only at work and watching TV. Reading glasses when needed, no glasses otherwise. You'd think it would be a PITA but not really. Bi-focals would drive me to drink.

    2. "Bi-focals would drive me to drink."

      It's not nearly as bad as it might seem - it's better!

      I went from single lens to trifocals in one step.
      No lines, transitional, and I took to them almost instantly.
      Like wearing universal eye-gear all the time. I can see stuff closer than you and farther away than you, and all of it is crystal clear, with hardly a degree's worth of tilt of my head. Srsly, it seemed like my brain instantly adapted to the trifocals. I put em on when I get up and take em off when I lay down and they stay in place without exception in between. I have 2 pairs but one pair has a broken noise piece that I need to get fixed. My wife wears glasses, has at least 5 pairs, but she only wears them at certain times, she hasn't made the commitment to full time wear. Thus, she can never find her glasses cause she leaves them laying all over the place. After 33 years together she initiates most conversations with me like, "Have you seen my glasses/keys?" LOL Think I'll keep her a bit longer.

      All in all though I wish I didn't wear them at all and the reasons are many. Having potentially razor sharp material right next to my eyes is the start, and the imperative lifestyle change, to end. I need to look into that laser treatment.

    3. I've known a guy who went into laser treatment and came out worse. Beware the doctors pushing treatment and doing it sloppy to get volume.

  5. Have you ever tried crystal deodorant? Sure it's like $5, but I have *never* used one up -- I always seem to lose them after a couple years. I suspect the cost per use is actually best, it certainly is less bulky, and I love that it doesn't leave a residue.

  6. Well, if you ever manage to wind up back at your desert digs, that saves you $500 a month (or what ever it is you pay for rent) right there. I was under the impression that you already had enough supplies to last for several years.

    I've been in your position before James, and the petty nickel and diming here and there wasn't enough to be of any real help in the long run. You need to cut costs on a more serious level. If I'm reading things right here, there is a good possibility that you will not be employed for too much longer, considering the way that they're whittling away at your hours. And it's hard enough out there even being high on the totem pole of preferential hiring, let alone for a middle aged white dude. Of course I'm speaking for my area, and maybe Elko is much better off.

    The ideal goal is to have what you need to survive for the rest of your life. Food, clothes, property taxes, etc, on the chance that future employment is not an option.

    1. My half of the mortgage payment is $200. The NOL really bought well, at the bottom. Then paid off principle fast ( until divorced ). Half of that bitch is state property tax, the thieving whoring bastards. Then half the electric is $20. $220 might be close to half my new take home pay but it is super cheap living here in this area ( twenty years ago I was paying $200 for a mobile home rent and electric ). I'm pinching pennies to save on the remaining take home pay, to put what isn't groceries into savings. Once we need to move out to the B-POD, there won't be any jobs anyway. I have at least five years of preps-that isn't an issue. The local economy is definitely faltering.

    2. The local economy here next to the Bakken is also starting to show serious signs of faltering. New constructions that were already started are being completed, but at a much slower rate and new constructions that weren't started generally aren't getting done or are being done very slowly instead of in a rush like they were. Campers are starting to fall in price and though use/surplus building supplies are falling in price much slower than I expected they are falling and deals can start to be found...

    3. Why can't thedamnthing just collapse already? I got NO time for this fiddle-humping around.