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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 01:30 PM
Original message
On surviving
I don't think anyone here would disagree that we are in for rocky economic times ahead. There are some things that folks can do, no matter where they live, to make sure they have the basics-food, shelter, clothing. Here's some ideas of how to do that:

1. Networking. This is the key. Do you know who your neighbors are? Who can you count on to help out via swaps/trades? Who can share and teach their talents for things like gardening, sewing, organizing into groups?

2. Food.
A. Growing your own-this isn't hard, even if you live in the inner city. Sure, you can't grow as much as a person with acreage in the country, but you can save an old mayo jar, put cheesecloth over it, and start sprouting seeds. My husband, who is handicapped and has trouble moving, proudly keeps us in fresh sprouts. Their food value is superior to what you can get in stores, too. A step up from this is a window box style garden. You can raise lettuce and spinach or even a pepper plant in pots. You can use scrap materials to make a "lettuce boat" where the plants float in water under a flourescent light.

B.Bulk buying-this is where your network comes in. Around here, the Mormons give free seminars on where to buy food in bulk and how to store it. You can often go to distributors who will let you buy in bulk, too--the neighbors can get up a collection and decide what to purchase and where to store it. Dried lentils, canned veggies, canned fruits, etc, are good for long term storage.

3. Clothing
A. Besides regular stores and thrift stores, a neighborhood can have a clothing bank. In it, not only can clothing be swapped, but volunteers can alter and repair clothing, and teach others how to do this.
B. Good winter coats can be made from blankets. These "blanket coats" or capotes, were actually the kind worn by early fur trappers. You can find easy to follow patterns online, and to make them, you basically cut out the pieces and sew them up with yarn. Very simple to do.
C. Learn the basics of sewing, either by machine or by hand. You can make garments like skirts simply by wrapping cloth around the body, cutting it so there is a little more than your widest part, and then sewing it together into a loop. Turn under the top, put in either a drawstring (which can be yarn or twine) or elastic, and you have a skirt. Many good books online and in the library on sewing basics.

4. Shelter
A. To stay warm, make sure you have caulked all cracks and put plastic over windows. Wear sweats or drape blankets around to help stay warm.
B. If you are in a shelter crisis, go to your network. See who needs someone to house sit, or would trade a room for doing chores. Offer to fix up an old shed or garage and sleep in there. We have one chap in our neighborhood who spent one winter in a cave, but I wouldn't recommend this unless you are an outdoors type.

5. Make sure you have the right attitude
Me-me-me ain't gonna cut it any more. We must look to the group where we are for help and to help. We must think about the long term good of everyone, which means agree to disagree, but to keep going towards the goal.

Hope these ideas help.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
1. Mine...Ignore new fashion.
Do you really need new stuff or can you fix/reuse the old? Network with others since we each have skills to share. Besides, it's always more fun work together and help someone else than do your own boring stuff alone. Eat what is in season, not shipped in from elsewhere. I don't need fresh ripe tasteless tomatoes right now (on the other hand, we brought in a potted tomato plant in the fall and it's still hanging in there making little tomatoes),
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Good points!
Thriftiness and ingenuity used to be prized in this country. For example, I was so happy when my grandmother made me a dress from feed sacks. I thought it was a neat thing to do, and this was long before I'd heard the term "recycle".

Another thing--get your shoes repaired. Buy shoes that are repairable.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I remember bargain material
and wearing dresses that matched the kitchen curtains. As long as none of my school chums were invited home when I was wearing that dress, nobody was the wiser.
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MissB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. I remember the summer before my 8th grade year.
My parents had divorced two years earlier and dad wasn't paying child support. Mom was trying to keep a large home (which seemed reasonable because we "owned" the land underneath the house, so the payments couldn't have been much). She was working as a waitress and supporting three teens and the oldest was heading to college soon.

Anyway, she had no clothes budget. I was wearing some old skirts and I really wanted jeans. My mother sent me to Montana for the summer (travelling there with complete strangers, btw) to stay with an Aunt and Uncle. My aunt sewed me some jeans, even doing some fancy stitching on the back pockets.

I've never properly thanked her for using her skills to keep me dressed nicely during middle school. I think I'll shoot her an email. I picked up my love of sewing from her, though I will never be in her league skill-wise.
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TheCentepedeShoes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. I wore stuff made from
Grandpa's chicken feed sacks, too. And to anyone asking, they didn't have "Joe's Feed Store" printed on them, just a nice patterned material. Designed to be recyled into whatever, long before recyling was cool.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-15-08 06:04 AM
Response to Reply #14
18. it was flour sack shirts and dresses for us kids
mom made
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TheCentepedeShoes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-15-08 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. The chickens
and grandpa resided in Payne Co, OK, down on rt 99. :hi:
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-16-08 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #18
26. I have whole summer outfits that I still wear, made from flour sacks...
smocks, dresses, culottes...held up a damn sight better than any store bought material, cause I made 'em in the '80s.

Best dish towels ever to be had, too...flour sacks.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-15-08 06:05 AM
Response to Reply #14
19. double post
Edited on Tue Jan-15-08 06:05 AM by madokie
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. Give to the homeless and pick their brains
if you are really in trouble. They can be full of great information on how to keep warm outdoors in winter. They are geniuses at using newspaper in various ways and how to start fires with nothing to start them with but what you find in the average garbage can. I learned a lot of survival stuff that I haven't had to use yet from bums in Boston. I have the knowledge and they got enough from me for a bottle to keep them warm for a night.

Learn how to MEND. One of my least favorite activities is darning homemade socks, but if I've put in the time and trouble to knit woolen socks, I'm going to darn them when a hole sprouts. I've also darned sweater elbows. It's a useful ability. Learn how to sew buttons on, repair hems, and apply patches that will stay on through repeated washings. Hint: the patch has to be at least five times the size of the hole. One thing newspaper and cardboard are great for is when you walk through the bottoms of your shoes. You'll have to replace it every day or two, but it'll keep those shoes going and your feet safe.

Learn how to COOK. You can live quite well on a few dollars a day for a family if you know how to spend it wisely. You can live forever on beans, rice, and sprouts. Throw in roasted root veggies, and you've got a cheap, enjoyable diet.

Learn how to BARTER. I lived on Cape Cod in the winter, when all the money disappeared for 8 months. All I had to do was mention a need, and it was supplied by somebody. If I heard somebody mention a need I could fill, I did it. It all averaged out and we did quite well. I got awfully sick of lobster and clams, though.

Learn how to SHARE. Even if somebody can't pay you back immediately for something you've shared with them, it'll come back to you down the line. It always does. I've never seen an exception to this and I'm old.

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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. sharing is the key, Warpy
How did our ancestors survive unless they were willing to share? Many societies have the attitude that you share and give to those who need it, and it will come back around to you. I've seen this happen again and again, and I'm old, too.
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 02:11 PM
Response to Original message
5. Gleaners...we wouldn't be eating if we didn't volunteer with Gleaners
Check to see if there is one in your area. If you don't need the food, volunteer anyway, cause they do need help. If you're not in a rural area, they mainly need folk to sort, shelve, box and deliver surplus or outdated foods from warehouses and groceries.

(this year, there was a virtual bounty of produce left rotting in our fields, due to the crackdown on immigrant labor)
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. I hadn't heard of this organization
but I have gone to local berry farms and helped with gleaning. The farms are you-pick, the berries organic, and the folks know I do a good job. At one place, I pick to pails for them, and then get to keep one for me; at the other, it's one for them, one for me.
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-15-08 05:58 AM
Response to Reply #13
17. Much of the food that's found at food banks is put their by gleaners...
and as volunteers, it works just as you've described...donate a little time and effort to the common cause of making sure no food goes to waste and when you're done, your own larder will be stocked a bit, too. If people only knew how many groceries were thrown out, because of "sell by" dates on products, they would be ashamed to live in a nation where so many go hungry.

Our county Gleaners has been around "officially" since the seventies and we are mainly an agricultural bunch, cleaning up the fields, but we've been collecting from groceries for a couple decades now, too, serving really as volunteer "distributors" of the food that normally would overflow the dumpsters behind any store.

Check your phone book or local food bank and just see if you can find a group...it's non-profit, so budgets are non-existent, but gleaning is an age-old farming tradition that most rural folk have always engaged in and as the rows of shelves in groceries grow longer and higher, more and more food goes to waste every year, so it just makes sense to co-ordinate communities to put out the effort to make sure that food goes on people's tables.

If your area doesn't have one, I'd recommend that with the economy tanking as it is, you may visit with senior's groups or teen organizations or other community volunteer programs and make the suggestion that now is the time to start one up.
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 02:26 PM
Response to Original message
6. Great thread! I'm going to add my 2 cents.
We've saved money by having a couple Natural Cures books on hand. I found 2 that were from the late 90s at the Goodwill for $10. A month or so ago, dh had a toothache, used peroxide to rinse with and then took Co-enzyme Q 20 and in a day or two the toothache was gone. Saved us an emergency room visit!

We invested in a $20 electric hair trimmer and I cut my families hair for free. I also cut the dogs hair with another inexpensive trimmer we bought just for dogs.

I love books, but only buy the books I know we'll need brand new or if I stumble upon something I want at the thrift store or at garage sales. The local library has a great reserve system and I get the latest books and also DVDs for free through their system. I don't mind waiting.

Clip Coupons. Here's a link to my secret source which I put on another thread today. http://www.thecouponclippers.com /
Also, many businesses have coupon specials if you sign up for their mailing list. I get coupons from Borders, the local craft store, the local gardening store, etc. The Value Village Thrift store in our area has a calender that you can buy that has a coupon for every month of the year. I buy several calenders so that I will always have a coupon when I shop there once a week or more. If it's towards the end of the month and I haven't used up all my coupons, I hand them out to people in line, so the coupons get used.

Go to the bread store. We buy most of our bread at the day old bread store. They sell the "good" brands and so the quality is great. I'd bet most big cities have something similar.

Hope this helps! :hi:




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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. More great ideas!
and I agree about looking after your health. I'm into using alternative methods of healing as well as conventional ones, and so I keep around some homeopathic remedies that have worked for me. They are cheaper than drugs. Also take lauric acid to boost the immune system to help stay well.

We go to day old bread stores and also to the food distributor's thrift store that they have in town. Anything that hasn't been selling or where a partial load was damaged(they sell the undamaged part) is on sale there. Since we go for healthy/organic/exotic foods, we have found a lot of great stuff for really cheap prices, including about any spice you'd care to use. These types of stores have discount days--our local one has a "Military Discount Day" and a "Senior Citizen Discount Day".
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MissB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
7. On the food part:
In general, I recommend reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette for people with small kids. The ideas in that book will not work for everyone, and some of them are downright insane from my point of view. However, the book (actually it is a collection of three books in one big volume) is useful for retraining the way you look at household budgets and money in general.

Once a person has cut down nearly all of their bills to the bare minimum, the food portion of the budget is the one that usually can use some attention.

Learning how to cook from scratch is a great tool to controlling this part of the budget. A person on another board once wrote a post on "how to step down to savings" on the food budget. The main point was to start with what you currently eat and how you get that food. If you go to restaurants for take-out, then learn how to cook those dishes at home using partially prepared items from the deli and maybe some store-bought mixes. Once you've mastered that, you learn how to cook the portions from scratch and before you know it, you've saved money by making an originally expensive meal very cheaply. Combining that strategy with buying food in bulk and using a price list to buy your pantry staple items at the lowest price will really save most families money.

I cook lots of items from scratch. Our weekly "treat" is pizza on Fridays. Now, I'm not currently working so I do have time to do this sort of "from scratch" cooking, but even when I was working I was able to keep costs down by cooking a week's worth of meals on the weekends. Somewhere I have a newspaper clipping from the food section of the paper where my story was published about how I used once-a-month-style cooking for my family.

Anyway, back to the pizza. I buy the yeast in bulk from Costco. I make several different yeast breads- sweet onion/black pepper rolls, pizza dough, focaccia bread and pita breads are the main ones. A $4 bag of yeast from Costco lasts the entire year (in the freezer, of course).

The pepperoni in bought in bulk at the grocery store. $2 worth of pepperoni lasts for two weeks (popping it in the freezer for use the second week). An $.89 can of olives lasts for two weeks. If I'm lazy, I buy the cheese preshredded at the grocery store for $1.50 a 2-cup bag, or I buy a big brick when it is on sale or pick it up at Costco and shred it and freeze it. I use a bag of the cheese per week, as I usually make a small cheese pizza as well. I buy flour by the 10 lb bag at the grocery store for $1.80. I keep a small flock of chickens in my suburban backyard so my eggs are nearly free (most cities will allow you to keep 3 hens within the city limits- I could keep 20 if I wanted to.) The sauce is from the freezer - from my garden. If I run out before the next summer, then I buy -gasp- jarred spaghetti sauce. For about $4, I can make pizza for a family of 4 with some leftover slices for a weekend lunch.

If I do ever return to work, I can throw the dough together in the morning, letting it rise while I get everyone to school/work. It can sit in the fridge all day and be pulled out when needed in the evening. It can be worked cold or allowed to warm up for 15 minutes before rolling out.

A garden is a great thing to have if you have the space. If space is limited, but you still have a yard, consider picking up Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening book from the library. I use a modified version of that in my large garden, if only to keep the work down. The chickens provide wonderful fertilizer for the garden and I chip up the leaves that fall from our trees in the fall to provide a good mulch layer on top to replenish the garden. I also maintain two compost piles for yard waste and chicken waste.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. And, as you've shown,
not only is cooking from scratch cheaper, it is healthier for you, too. No added sugars in your pizza sauce, no worries about hormones in your eggs.

I can't eat grains in large amounts, but I can still eat pizza, and the type I make is great for late summer, when you have an overabundance of zucchini. You shred the zucchini, mix it with an equal amount of shredded mozzerella, add an egg and enough flour to make it hold together. Bake in hot oven until set, about 20 minutes. Then pop it out, add your toppings, and put back in the oven until everything on top is heated. Makes for a satisfying pizza that doesn't make your stomach feel heavy when you're done eating it. Plus it is a wonderful way to get rid of surplus zucchini!
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woodsprite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 02:36 PM
Response to Original message
8. No. 5 - ...Me, Me, Me, is what got us into all this in the first place. n/t
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Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
15. All Great Ideas! I have a shelter example that worked for me
I installed carpet for 30yrs and have degenerative disk disease with nerve damage.

It took 3 1/2 years for my SSI to go through and spent it trying to make plans for how to survive

on, what in '05 (when it did) was $579/mo. The only way I saw was if I didn't have to pay any or much rent.

Since 1979, my hobby has been sailing and I knew that there were reasonable sized old sailboats

that could be had for very little money. I got about $8000 from SS in back pay and went shopping.

I found a usable (and sailable) 28ft 1978 model boat on Ebay for $2500 and bought it.

It was located, in the water, in Great Peconic Bay at the eastern tip of Long Island, NY.

I had friends in Virginia and found a marina there for $180/mo including electric and water.

The boat had sails, but had been stripped of most everything else, so I had to spend a couple of thousand

on a radio, a GPS chartplotter for navigation, ropes, and stuff. It has an inboard diesel motor that needs to be looked at someday

by someone who knows diesels, but I already had a good outboard and it has done fine.

So, I sailed it from Long Island to VA via NYC, the Atlantic, Delaware River and the Chesapeake bay.

This was the same time period when Katrina and Rita happened and I had to dodge one coming up the east coast.

It was also the summer when Dr William Hurwitz, a prominent VA pain Dr. was sentenced to 40 years by DEA set up.

I couldn't find ANY pain doctors in VA who would take a new chronic pain patient that year. So, I was in a bind.

But, a retired carpet store owner I used to work for had a truck to pull it back to TN on a trailer. He also has a farm to park it

and he and his wife spend half the time gone in their RV. So I'm here to watch the place when they are gone.

And I get free rent, power, water and the use of a shower in their outbuilding ( a drapery shop his wife runs)

Been here over two years and though I hope to get back in the water when the boat is ready, I'm fine for now.

I realize my situation is unique, but a sailboat is good shelter even if you don't know how or care to sail one.

Who knows, once you have one you might just decide to learn
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-15-08 06:12 AM
Response to Reply #15
21. What a neat story!
For folks like me, who live inland, there are also marinas at lakes. When I go past Bull Shoals Lake's marinas, there are always boats for sale--pontoon boats especially appear to have a lot of room in them you can convert into living space. Hope you are back on the water soon, but am glad you were able to make the arrangements you did!
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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-14-08 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
16. Don't forget duct tape and cellophane
:scared:
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-15-08 06:08 AM
Response to Original message
20. Share
Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman taught that when we share with one another, we experience the divine intervention that allows people to survive in the most difficult of times.
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truth2power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-15-08 06:24 AM
Response to Original message
22. Gardening - a book I recommend..."Square Foot Gardening"..
More than likely, your public library has it.

I haven't tried this yet, but plan to this spring. You make a frame from 2 x 6's. (I think). Divide it into square foot sections. Fill with mixture of mulch, compost etc. (the recipe is in the book) You can grow veggies, tomatoes etc. and even erect on a rooftop in the city.

This isn't a very good description...it's early and I gotta run, but seriously, take a look at that book.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-15-08 05:57 PM
Response to Original message
24. If you can, get out of the city
It has always been a truism that it is easier to be poor and survive in the country than in an urban area. You have room(and the lack of zoning laws) to grow food, raise a bit of livestock, and if you need to, go hunting. In addition most rural communities are very close knit and welcoming to new folks.

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TheCentepedeShoes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-15-08 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
25. Check into the old Foxfire
books at the library. And Mother Earth News.
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