Sunday, June 17, 2012

One of my favorite sources

Over the years I've had good experiences with Sierra Trading Post.  They carry a lot of name brands at good discounts. Stock rotates, but they usually have something in their major product styles or lines, though the brands may vary. They have frequent 'coupons' for 20% off Internet orders, and occasionally even better discounts through web mailings.  I recently ordered a Swiss Army knife tool card for $12.02 on sale at STP.  I saw the same model on display in a local specialty shop for $32.  I almost choked when I realized it was the same one!

Here is the URL for their site.  Right now they are offering 20% off on purchases over $100.  If you sign up for their e-mails they will send special discounts that can be as much as another 35% off of some items.  Some recent examples of the 'extra' discount included women's Smartwool socks for $4.15 (if you don't mind green), packs of 4 Mylar emergency blankets for $3.90 and the tiny-but-powerful Princeton Tec LED key chain flashlights for $3.15.  All these were made in the USA.

For under $20 I built a 'purse emergency kit' of 2 Mylar blankets, the Swiss Army 'tool card' and a flashlight. The whole thing is only slightly larger than a deck of cards. Even a guy might be willing to add that to his other back pocket in an uncertain situation, like traveling in tornado or earthquake country!

They have other items as well - normal clothing for work or play, sporting goods, home furnishings. About half my work wardrobe came from there, especially shoes. Why pay $30 for a black skirt when you can buy a nice one at STP for under $10?

Each description overview also includes the country of origin, so if you prefer to buy American or European goods, you can easily factor that into your decision-making. Their return policy is excellent. No 30-days and it's yours, no 'return authorizations, etc.  Just fill out a short form, slap on the  return label and drop it at UPS, the UPS store of however you send UPS packages. If you provide your e-mail address, they keep you informed until the credit is sent or you get a check in the mail.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Reminder of a lesson learned

Just about a year ago, we had a national #1 priority wildfire near our doorstep -- quite literally. Many of our friends and relatives were in mandatory evacuation areas. We had 2 people w/dogs and cat living in our guestroom until we were notified for 'pre-evacuation.  So what were some lessons learned? My personal one was a major flaw in past preparedness planning.  I had prepared based on the belief that normal duties, especially going to the office, would cease.  WRONG. Turns out many scheduled vacations were cancelled so we could help out in case the nearby military installation had to be evacuated. A work wardrobe was not in my GO!bag.  I figured out how to get 6 or 7 outfits from a skirt, pair of trousers, 3 or 4 shirts and 2 jackets in case we, too were evacuated but needed to keep working.  It was a bit easier for me because my work wardrobe was already simplified around a basic color and matching scheme. (Solid color skirts, trousers and jackets with contrasting or patterned blouses)

The lesson I learned from those with very short and urgent evacuation notices was to PLAN AHEAD or at least think ahead.  More than one person indicated that they were sufficiently shocked or panicked that they couldn't make decisions about what to load.  In more than one case that meant everything burned. One very sad situation early in the fire, when it flared fast and furiously beyond the Forest Service prediction,  had many homes threatened with barely enough time to get out.  An evacuee staying next door summed it up: I had enough time to grab my purse and the cat, call the dog, load them up and I watched my house burn in the rear view as I left. She literally lost everything but the ground her house was built on. She may not have had time to grab the box of [insert your most important/precious possessions] but you may have a smidgen more time if it happens to you.

Plan ahead and don't forget to prioritize. It might even be smart to make a list, because your brain may not engage when reality triggers the 'plan.'  If you don't have room in your vehicle for both the family china and the painting from Grandma Jones, which is more important to you? Will sacrificing the china mean you will have room for two more important boxes? I also heard a few evacuees stressing because they grabbed the 'X' and were kicking themselves for not taking the 'Y' instead. About 60 of them who lost their homes never had the chance for a do-over.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Reader Orientation

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by. Thanks also to Stephen for the greeting and links. 

If you are a seasoned preparedness guru, but have friends or relatives who are just now catching on, this blog is tailored to that level of effort. Expert-level preppers may not find lot of new or interesting info here, but it's an easy reference for you to share with the novices you know. Baby steps.

There's a method to this blog's organization, so I'll try to explain.

Some preparedness basics and ideas on how to be prepared without blowing your budget are in the pages across the top of the HOME. 

Prep 101 is baby steps for those who are not sure where to start or are paralyzed by the idea. If likened to home decor, think pink or yellow with ducks and bunnies.

Prudent Reserve is about determining what you need to take care of yourself and family in a more personal emergency --  and finding cost-effective ways of gathering and preserving the resources for such a situation. Soon after I learned the concept and met my first goal of 2 months' prudent reserve, I was in a car accident and was disabled for... 2 months!  Amazing how all that works out!

Resources provides a few ideas on finding ways to add to your preparedness without breaking the bank.  I need to update a few of the items, but the basics are there. It could be as simple as taking advantage of buy-one-get-one offers and keeping the 'free' one in your preparedness supplies.  I get my prescriptions filled at K-Mart, accrue 'points' and cash them in for non-perishable grocery items for my prudent reserve food storage-- a small benefit from purchases I made anyway.

Favorites is where I share some of my favorite sources for good buys, good books, reuse tips and just miscellaneous ideas about stretching your everyday resources. When you reduce, reuse and recycle or re-purpose things, it will leave you with time, money or other resources to gather and store your preparedness items.

The blog posts are to provide updates, jog your mind, and share new information before it goes onto a page. For example, I shared the 'bountiful baskets' info in a post, then added it to Resources so it is available more easily.

I hope this is helpful.