Prepping on a Budget: Things to Buy at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has to be one of the best times of the year for prepping on a budget. Loss leaders are the items stores deeply discount to get you in the door in hopes you will buy the rest of your meal there. I admit, I am a lazy couponer and deal shopper at best these days but this is one week that all the ads are spread out and my strategies kick in. Especially if money is tight for prepping this week your extra $5-$10 will yield you much better results than most others throughout the year.

Loss leaders at Thanksgiving center around foods that are great for 2-3 years of shelf storage. I was able to pick up all of the below canned goods for less than 69 cents a can. The soups and veggies were 50 cents each.

Ideas for building long term food storage using Thanksgiving loss leaders.

I know Walmart price matching can be a pain for some. My store is really nice about it so I just gathered all my ads, made a list and headed in for one big stock up.

Here is a list of great prepping items to be looking for on sale the week of Thanksgiving:

  • Turkeys-Buy as many as you have space for in the freezer. Or plan to can the meat or make chili or soups with them to can.
  • Canned Fruit– pineapple, peaches, pears, cranberries are all good choices.
  • Canned Soups-Broth, Cream of Mushroom and Chicken are big this week. Broth takes the place of water when cooking rice or beans so you are helping to up your water storage with that one as well.
  • Canned Pumpkin-This is a biggie if you have pets.
  • Jarred Gravy-Will make emergency foods taste a little better!
  • Pumpkin, Squash, Onions, Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes– All of these store well if you can ‘root cellar‘ them. For those of us that have no ability to root cellar, there are many creative ways to can or dehydrate these veggies to store. My favorite ways to use a bounty of pumpkin is on ParkerMama’s blog.
  • Butter– I freeze mine but I know it can be canned.
  • Flour-If you would like to store it for more than a year, you can put it in airtight mylar containers. I’ll post a tutorial soon on how to do this easily.
  • Sugar, Karo Syrup and Honey-check how long Karo lasts cause it’s not something I use.
  • Salt-You need salt in your diet in an emergency. It also works well to cure and preserve foods and has actually been used as currency throughout the word. It’s amazing what this undervalued thing that sits on our table is useful for!

Check expiration dates as you are shopping. Digging around a bit can produce dates almost a year apart. Duringcanned goods expiration date 2015-long term food storage my shopping I was able to find 2015 dates in most cases.


I’d love to hear from you: 

  • I am not a canner so if you are and have good links to share, please leave them in the comments.
  • What’s missing above? Is there something great I forgot to share?

Sunday Skill: Cotton Ball Fire Starters

Good morning everyone! Today’s Sunday Skill will take you more time to gather the 3 ingredients than it will to make your fire starter. Super simple but a great thing to show the kids now that they know how to light a match and you’ll have some wonderful fire starters for camping or to carry in your bug out bag in the end.

Cotton ball fire starters burn for quite a bit of time allowing you to quickly get kindling lit and a good fire going. In order to make your fire starters you need 3 things: cotton balls, petroleum jelly (vaseline) and a container to keep them in. I like to use old prescription medicine bottles as containers. If I was making this for a bug out bag I would use a smaller prescription bottle that would fit about 5 balls smashed in.

Cotton Ball Fire StartersSimply swipe each cotton ball into the petroleum jelly. I use my fingers to work it into the cotton fibers well (plus, its a good way to moisturize my hands). Then store the soaked cotton ball into your container. It will last forever like that since the petroleum is oil based.

These guys have a great video on it and show the difference in the burn times if you want more information.

Can Your Children Light A Match? Todays Sunday Skill

How to Light a MatchLast week I wanted to light a sugar cookie candle in the living room. I reached for the disposable candle lighter and it was out of butane. No biggie, I sent the 16 year old downstairs for one of the many boxes of matches stored and asked him to do it for me while I was doing something else. Then I heard something that sent me reeling into a mom failure mode: “Mom, how do you use these things?” My child did not know how to light a match!

Have you taught your kids how to light a match? Good ideas on teaching them here.


WHAT? How does a 16 year old not know how to light a match? But then I thought about it. As a young kid we never let him play with matches, right? And as he did learn to light things for me I always used these candle lighters. No one around us smokes. Where would he really have come in contact with them?

Then a disturbing thought came to me: if the world as we know it ends tomorrow they will find my sons starved carcass in a stocked panty with a mechanical can opener in his hand and his iPhone in the other as he waited for a signal so he could google how to use it. Which is why I am starting off a weekly meme on the blog called Sunday Skills. Today’s lesson was how to light a match.

Different ways to teach your kids how to light a match

We started with the kitchen strike anywhere type. Both boys were impressed to learn you can, indeed, strike them just about anywhere. We had them try different different surfaces and they quickly figured out the best way to do it. Then we moved to small boxes you get from a restaurant (or used to) and then the hardest ones, a matchbook.

We did this outside around our gas fireplace. We took the log’s out and had the gas turned off and we had the kids gather dry grasses and pine needles and wet branches and try to light each of them so they knew what would burn and what won’t. They already understood how to build a fire since my husband cooks with wood quite a bit but since we aren’t a camping family, they have never had to look for things in nature to burn. We discussed how they would build a fire pit outside if they needed to.

Am I wondering how many urban and suburban kids don’t know how to do this simple skill we all grew up with. Do your kids? If not, its Sunday….time to teach them a Simple Skill!

And while you are at it put together this simple pack for your 72 emergency evacuation bags. Old prescription bottles are perfect for storing enough matches for your Bug Out Bag’s.

Keep a supply of matches in your bug out bag


The Importance of a Well Prepped Map

When was the last time you used a printed map? In this day and age of GPS and Smartphones not many of us do anymore. It’s a skill many of our kids only get a glimpse of in 2nd grade Social Studies. But printed maps have an important place in the prepared home.

Looking at the lessons people are learning from Hurricane Sandy got me thinking how a printed map would have been useful for many of those families desperately looking for gas and other resources. Since Sandy is a localized disaster, in many cases the towns next to those hit hardest where operating as usual. But how many of those people knew where to find resources in the nearest town without an Around Me or Yelp apps? Or knew which back roads to take to avoid long traffic lines and road closures?

One of the things I found in my grandmothers things when she passed were travel journals. She would write things down that they passed that would be helpful to know about next time. I started doing this when we road tripped when the kids were little. Sure, I mostly wrote down where the best indoor play places were, but it is the same concept. I can’t tell you how many times it helped me remember that the cleaner restrooms were off exit 100 or silly things like that.

Today I challenge all of you to get maps of your city, your state, and those of surrounding states within driving distance. If you are a AAA member, they will send you maps for free. Or, you can use their interactive maps to print off ones with several things already marked off for you. You can sometimes get free maps at the tourist brochure places inside hotels or attractions. You can even go to and print some off.

Printed maps as a part of your emergency and disaster planning

Now, lets use those maps to start marking places that would help us in an emergency. Places to consider marking:

  • Hospitals
  • Police Stations
  • Fire Departments
  • Red Cross Local Station
  • Large high schools, middle schools and elementary schools (often used as temporary rescue stations)
  • Gas Stations (especially ones off the beaten path)
  • Hardware stores
  • Camping Areas
  • Grocery Stores
  • Truck Stops
  • Churches
  • Hotels and Motels

As you travel in and around your areas, take a mental note of where you could find resources that not everyone is going to hit up. That small gas station 20 miles away may be a much better bet than the one 1 mile down the road off the highway with a 5 hour line.

Keep your maps in either your 72 hour emergency kit or your car so you are always prepared to find your way without the help of technology.



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