Become Self-Sufficient to Survive the Financial Crisis

August 18th, 2011

originally on Magnus Dahlquist

The talk on the streets is that there is a coming financial crisis, and one that will drastically alter the way we all go about our daily lives. It matters very little if you believe in this coming wreckage or not, as the most important part of this catastrophe is your survival preparedness. To begin with, the chances of something happening (and very soon) in the financial sector are growing considerably.

The Time May Come Sooner Than We All Would Like or Think

It is no longer just a matter of if, but when, the financial standards that used to be seen as granite-tiered stations of immovability crumble to the ground. The fall from an AAA credit rating to an AA rating may not sound like such a terrible drop, but, in actuality, the ripples from this reduction are being felt across the globe.

Looming Financial Crisis

The time to prepare for the looming financial crisis is at hand and one of the best ways for you to be ready when the bottom falls out is by researching and reading all that you can on the subject. The smart money will be placed in obtaining a renewable energy source for the family unit. This can be in the form of a solar panel setup or a small but really economical water-wheel apparatus.

To make things a bit easier, and more concise, regarding some potentially good things learn about, for after-the-fall residential living, we decided to create a short list right here and now!

Points of Interest to Becoming Self-Sufficient in the Coming Financial Crisis

  • Build a Greenhouse for Organic Plants – The price of food is not getting any cheaper and it pays to grow fresh, non-pesticide food for your entire family!
  • Construct a Chicken Coop with a Few Free Range Birds! – Having farm fresh eggs every morning certainly is a huge benefit and oh so delicious!
  • Learn to Barter – At the very least, be open to the nature of bartering since this is how we all used to survive back in the day.
  • Bottle Water Now! – The time has come to not recycle those milk jugs and, instead, wash them out and fill them with water.
  • Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best…Great Motto!

With that list above firmly in place, you will be almost ready to face the coming fall of the financial sector. Please do not think that this could not happen, as that is just plain silly! The normalcy bias is a dangerous thought process to engage with and should not be entertained at all!

The talk on the streets is that there is a coming financial crisis, and one that will drastically alter the way we all go about our daily lives. It matters very little if you believe in this coming wreckage or not, as the most important part of this catastrophe is your survival preparedness. To begin with, the chances of something happening (and very soon) in the financial sector are growing considerably.

Source: Planetsave (

Bike sharing may not only save environment, it can aid health too

August 11th, 2011

originally on by Jeannine Stein

Public bicycle sharing is gaining popularity in cities around the world as people are trading cars for low-cost rental bikes used for short hops around town. While it’s hoped this will have a positive effect on the environment, a study finds that it may benefit people’s health as well.

A study released Thursday in the British Medical Journal focused on a bike sharing program in Barcelona, Spain, which has been in place since 2007. In August 2009, about 182,000 people had subscribed to the service, representing approximately 11% of the city’s population (although it was noted that only 1.7% of the population uses it on a regular basis). The average distance traveled on a weekday was about two miles, which took about 14 minutes.


Researchers wanted to know how substituting bicycles for cars would affect overall health. They analyzed deaths linked with bike travel and compared it with driving deaths associated with traffic accidents and air pollution exposure, then factored in the benefits of physical activity. Carbon dioxide reduction was also examined.

For cyclists, estimated deaths from exposure to air pollution and from traffic accidents went up. Factoring how much particulate matter would be sucked up, the study authors determined that there could be an annual increase of 0.13 deaths from air pollution yearly among cyclists compared with drivers. Looking at data on traffic deaths, there could be 0.3 more deaths among cyclists annually versus drivers.

But when researchers factored in the health benefits derived from physical activity, they estimated that 12.28 deaths could be avoided every year.

Based on how many people take advantage of the bicycles, they estimated that carbon dioxide emissions may be reduced by 10,000 tons a year.

“This initial assessment is … important now to encourage cities to follow the lead of Barcelona and other major cities as a cost saving solution for alternative transportation and promotion of health,” the authors wrote.

Save Money and the Planet by Recycling your Old T Shirts

August 4th, 2011

originally on

When I decide to de-clutter, t-shirts are always one of the items that I donate the most.  My husband’s white undershirts, no matter how I wash them, seem to get dingy in six months.  Instead of donating them all to our local Goodwill, I decided that I would try to re-purpose them and make them into items I could use around my house.

  • Old t-shirts make the best cleaning rags.  Simply cut the seams, and cut the t-shirt into the size square or rectangle you’d like your rags to be.  They are awesome for cleaning up spills and polishing chrome.  One bonus if you have a really nasty spill; you can just toss the rag.  Of course, that would defeat the purpose if you did that every time!
  • Make a rag rug out of them.  This rug from Amazon retails for $64.99!  It looks really cool, and if you got some latch hook backing, it would be cheap and easy to make.
  • Make cloth diapers.  There are many free patterns available, and if you’ve got a t-shirt that you just can’t stand to see go, it would be cute to use it on your baby!
  • Learn how to make cloth grocery bags to use your old t-shirts.  I use these bags for everything from lunch to groceries to gym paraphernalia.  It’s awesome to see my t-shirts being recycled!

If these all else fails, donate your old t-shirts to your local thrift store.  Many thrift stores sell old clothing in bulk by the pound, so even if you’ve got some you think won’t sell, go ahead and donate them.

Help The Environment As You Shop For School

July 28th, 2011

originally on by Julie Ray

It is just about one month until schools of all types begin anew for the year. Whether your child will head off to grade school or college, you will be shopping for and purchasing supplies for the new school year. This is a stressful task for any parent, but did you realize that with a little planning you can make a real difference for the environment in your purchases? Here are a few tips to help our planet and you as you shop.

First, plan your shopping trip to minimize the number of times you must visit the store. Not only will this make the process easier, but you will save on gas and reduce car emissions. See if any of your neighbors or friends would like to carpool with you or check to see if you can take public transportation. All of these methods help to protect our planet. By planning your trip you can have a complete list of exactly what each of your children will need. Most schools provide a list to help you in this process.

Next, be sure to purchase products that are environmentally friendly. Notebooks of recycled paper are just as good as ones that are made from freshly cut trees. Purchase items like glue in containers that will last the year through. This will help reduce waste and packaging that just ends up in the landfill. Try to pick out brands that have reduced or no packaging on their products. Purchase pencil holders and backpacks that will last the whole year so you will not need to purchase a new one, creating more waste and spending more of your hard-earned funds. Take this to the next step by purchasing pens and pencils that can be refilled instead of simply thrown away once they are used.

Also, purchase a reusable lunch bag and some plastic containers so you will not have to pack your child’s lunch in paper bags with plastic bags for the separate items. This will greatly reduce waste and cost. If your child protests such a purchase, pointing out that the other children will have paper bags, take a moment to explain to them why a reusable bag is better for the planet. They will likely share this information with their teacher and classmates, helping to spread the word of conservation.

If your child is heading off to college, you will surely have to purchase items for them to live in their dormitory or apartment. Check for toiletries that are biodegradable or environmentally friendly. Purchase sheets and clothing that are made from renewable materials and approved production methods. Purchase furniture that is made from renewable resources. Many of these products now are very fashionable and will set a trend within the dorm. Most environmentally-friendly products advertise such on their label or tag, so it takes just a second more to check for this listing.

Once you have all of your purchases, be sure to utilize your reusable cloth bags when you check-out. Take home the items and organize them for each child, double-checking that you have all of the necessary items. If you forgot something, wait until the next time you are at the store to pick it up instead of running back out and utilizing more gasoline.

All of these little things can add up to making a great difference for our planet. Now, imagine if each shopper sending their children back to school made the same effort as you! We would make a huge, positive difference for the environment and really help to spread the message that even the most painstaking or mundane task can be made into a great cause.


Wanna trade?

July 18th, 2011

originally on by Emery Cowan

When Tae’ and Ghislain Thomas need something new, they don’t limit themselves to what they can afford in cash.

Actually, bartering is more their style.

The couple has traded chiropractic sessions for welding work on their RV, a washer and dryer for tools and are seeking help on a website in exchange for contract work or wellness consultations.

Trading is a way to keep cash in their pockets, said Ghislain Thomas.

“I really believe in it, we’ve been bartering for many, many years,” he said. “These days money is a little more difficult, it’s hard to sell. But when you’re asking people for something and you have something they want, it’s easy to trade.”

With cash and credit tight and bills always looming, the age-old practice of bartering has increasingly become a viable and even preferable method for individuals and businesses looking to exchange goods and services. Bartering websites have sprung up to serve local and national markets and barter exchanges, which serve businesses, have seen steady growth.

While the most vibrant barter markets are in bigger cities, the trend is starting to take hold in smaller population centers such as the Four Corners. Case in point: a barter website for the region,, launched last month.

“Just about everyone I know has done some type of trading,” said Mitch Schneider, creator of site. “Now that times are tough, it’s becoming more and more prevalent.”

The alternative market

The tough economic climate has played a major role in the growth of the practice.

The International Reciprocal Trade Association estimated that $12 billion was traded in 2009-2010, up from $8.25 billion in 2004.

Especially in a recession, bartering provides an alternative marketplace for businesses to profit on unused capacity, said Ron Whitney executive director of the association, a nonprofit that regulates and provides standards for trade and barter-service companies.

In this economic climate, many hotels, for example, may be able to fill only 50 percent of their rooms most nights, Whitney said. Barter exchanges may allow them to sell some of those extra rooms in exchange for goods and services they normally would have paid for with cash.

The end result is more occupied rooms and hopefully more cash in the bank, he said.

“The bad economy has caused a lot of people to look for new creative solutions,” Whitney said. “The organized barter and trade industry that has been there for 30 years is actually one of those solutions.”

Vacation homes and cars

Craigslist also has barter and trade sections that feature sometimes hundreds of listings each day while other websites like BarterQuest, SwapAce and U-Exchange target bartering specifically. The sites feature various strategies to simplify the process of connecting traders and facilitate their exchanges.

Since the beta version started in 2006, BarterQuest has seen double-digit growth, said Michael Satz, one of the site’s founding investors. People use the site to trade everything from computers and cars to life coaching and vacation homes, he said.

Beyond the cash-saving benefits, the practice of trading goods can be attractive because it is a very green endeavor,” Satz said.

“You’re not constantly buying things with the accompanying costs of manufacturing and distribution,” he said. “It’s a counter to the disposable economy by finding value with things that may not have value for you but have value for somebody else.”

Even though it doesn’t include a cash transaction, bartering still counts as business and can be taxed, said Internal Revenue Spokesperson Karen Connelly. Just like other transactions, barter activities may result in ordinary business income, capital gains or capital losses, she said.

The stuff culture

For most people, bartering is easier than they think simply because we all have a lot of stuff, Thomas said.

“We found out there’s always something you have that you would be ready to trade,” he said. “It’s easier than money.”

Since he started bartering a year and a half ago, Cortez resident Mark Hadsell said he finds himself constantly trading dirt bikes, three-wheelers and anything else with a motor.

Many times, the trading process “just works out easier,” he said.

Schneider said that around the Four Corners, the trading of services – say, carpenter work for financial work – is what he sees most often.

The Four Corners Barter website aims to bring all those transactions into one place, like a bulletin board, he said.

“It’s a way to bring people together, it will help out on both ends,” he said.

Frugal Family: Recycle, Reuse

July 13th, 2011

originally on by Patricia Ziegler-Boccadoro

The Frugalista doesn’t throw things away – it’s all about reuse, recycle, repurpose. When you buy something, don’t you like getting your money’s worth — 110 percent of it? Even items that you don’t buy but accumulate can be used in new ways.

This week we’ll look at two common items: plastic bags and newspapers.

I admit, I try to use my reusable shopping bags every week at the grocery store, but more times than not, I forget the darn things. Alas, what does one do with her collection of plastic bags?

1. Bring them back to the store and save money on your shopping trip.

Target will give you 5 cents off per bag used as long as it’s from the store.

CVS will give you $1 Extra Care Bonus on every fourth visit. You have to use a green tag (available for $1, or less online) but as long as that tag is on your reusable bag, you save.

Whole Foods will give you 5 to 10 cents off (depending on location) for every reusable bag being used.


2. Cut the bags into strips to crochet a rug. I’ve seen it done and attempted it myself. The hard part is sitting with a pile of bags as you cut them into strips and tie ends together. But once done, you can crochet a great mat that can be hosed off when dirty.

3. Use them as household trashbags, a simple idea. Line bins in bedrooms, bathrooms and elsewhere. Come trash day, simply collect the bags for the trash. They are not scented like ones specifically for that purpose, but for free, it’s a fair tradeoff.

4. Keep a few plastic bags in the car for emergencies. I always have a roll of paper towels too in the trunk because with kids and dogs, you never know what you’ll need to clean up.

5. My Mom always put my feet into plastic bags before putting on my snow boots. She swore it kept my feet drier and helped my boots slide on more easily.

And if you don’t get around to reusing the plastic bags or have an exceedingly large number of them, just bring them back to the stores to be recycled. Wegmans and Target have containers for disposal in an eco-friendly way.

I don’t have a newspaper subscription, but every week I get a bag from the paperboy with a weekend section. They’re trying to entice me to get a subscription, and while I’m close to doing so for the coupons, I’ve yet to make the jump. Once you’ve read the news, get the coupons and laugh at the funny pages, what’s left?

1. It’s said if you put newspapers into shoes, they help remove odors. I’m not sure how or why, but it’s easy enough to try.

2. I’ve read about making firelogs out of newspapers, which is next on my to-do list. You roll the paper up tight into “logs” and slide a tuna can (with both ends cut off) over the papers to hold them together. Saturate the log and leave out in the sun to dry.

3. Use a few sheets of newspaper to control weeds in your garden. They work great and naturally decompose.

4. Use newspapers to clean windows with white vinegar and water. It’s a streak-free solution. Yes, yet again, Mom was right.

Unique Bartering Ideas for Family Subsistence

July 6th, 2011

originally on by Cheri Majors, M.S.

Using our talents creatively may help us all survive the predicted food shortages. Because our families are worth providing for, we should focus on valuable necessities, like food and water. Do not worry if you were  unable to purchase gold or silver investments when the prices were affordable, they are inedible and therefore worthless for your family’s ultimate survival.

Think Food – In All Its Forms

Food will feed your family and other families too. So starting here is the most logically place. Use your talents and learn some new skills now, before your survival depends on it.

Saving, Drying & Categorizing Seeds

You should be saving seeds from everything you eat from hot peppers to oranges, raspberries to tomatoes, and melons to apples. Spread the seeds out to dry, then package and label for future crops, and possible bartering. Seeds may become the next currency in a world that is running out of real food sources.

Home-Baked Breads & Milled Flours

With a few well-chosen small appliances, it is possible to grind your own healthy flour from seeds, beans, wheat, or barley, and make heavenly loaves of homemade bread in an inexpensive breadmaker. For a fool-proof healthy, bread-machine recipe for loaves to barter, sell, or feed your family, see my recipe for “Saving Money Making Nutritious High-Protein Breadmaker Bread and Butter”.

Raw, Barbecued & Dehydrated Meats

If barbecuing is your specialty, and you have an abundance of meat from hunting, fishing, or the family cow, turn it into a city-wide barbecue to promote the sale of dehydrated, barbecued, or raw cuts of meat. Have  everyone bring their special dishes to a pot-luck style barbecue, and take orders for selling, or swapping your meat. See my article “Could Livestock Bartering Be in Your Future?”

Fresh & Nutritious Garden Produce

Citrus fruits, apples, and bananas are easy to grow from bare-root trees, planted in wintertime, as instructed in “How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden” (Badgett & Majors, 2010) . Berries and melons grow quickly from seed to harvest, and vegetables such as zucchini, broccoli, and tomatoes are mainstays in many healthy household diets.

Put your green thumb to work, bartering your nutritious produce for neighboring dairy, meats, or grains. Offer to teach others to plant, or help them design, and then plant their fields (or containers) in trade for other items your family may need. This may be the most important place to start, because planting does not require much money, but does take some patience waiting for your family’s food to pop-up from the dirt!



June 21st, 2011

originally posted on

These tips are designed to help you choose effective ways to reduce your energy bills. Some measures may not be relevant depending on climate, the age of your home and appliances, and past improvements made to your home.

The savings numbers are based on your total summer electric bill. Equipment mentioned must be electric powered for estimates to be accurate.



The average home spends about $1,900 a year on energy costs. But you can lower your energy bills and help save the environment at the same time!

Be a speedy chef

  • Nothing is more energy efficient for cooking than your microwave. It uses two-thirds less energy than your stove.

Push a button to wash your dishes

  • Surprise! Your dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Then let dishes air-dry to save even more!

Fill up the fridge

  • Having lots of food in your fridge keeps it from warming up too fast when the door is open. So your fridge doesn’t have to work as hard to stay cool.

Cutting back unnecessary energy use is an easy way to reduce energy consumption while saving money. Here are some additional suggestions you can do at home, at absolutely no cost to you.




Turn up your thermostat

Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees or off when you are away. Using ceiling or room fans allows you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room. Always take into account health considerations and be sure to drink plenty of fluids in warm weather. (Save: 1 – 3 percent per degree, for each degree the thermostat is set above 72 degrees)

Use your appliances wisely

To help prevent electricity outages, avoid running your appliances during peak hours, — from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. — or anytime an electricity emergency is declared.

  • Do your laundry efficiently by using the warm or cold water setting for washing your clothes. Always use cold water to rinse clothes. (Save: 4 percent)
  • Line dry clothes whenever you can. (Save up to 5 percent)
  • When you need to use the dryer, run full loads, use the moisture-sensing setting, and clean the clothes dryer lint trap after each use. (save: 0.5 percent)
  • Conserve energy by running your dishwasher only when it is fully loaded, and turn off the dry cycle and air dry dishes instead. (save: 1 percent)

Operating swimming pool filters and cleaning sweeps efficiently

  • Reduce the operating time of your pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep to fourto five hours, and only during off-peak time. (Save: 1-2 percent per hour of reduction)

Eliminate wasted energy

  • Turn off appliances, lights and equipment when not in use. (Save: 2%)
  • Unplug electronic devices and chargers when they aren’t in use-most new electronics use electricity even when switched “off.” Turn computers and printers off at the power strip. (Save: 1-2 percent)
  • Unplug or recycle that spare refrigerator in the garage if you don’t really need it. This will save you up to $150 per year! (Save: 10-20 percent)

Five top money saving gardening tips

June 14th, 2011

originally posted on by Kate Palmer

If you’ve been left green with envy by the Chelsea Flower Show’s top plots, why not create one in your own back garden?

It’s a myth that you need to break the bank to make your garden spectacular, given a little time. Here are our top five money saving tips for a blooming beautiful garden:

1. Incredible edibles

Money doesn’t grow on trees, it’ll be growing in a vegetable plot this summer. It’s the allotment gardener’s best kept secret: growing your own really does save cash.

Garden guru Alan Titchmarsh says budding gardeners should invest in growing tomatoes.

The green-fingered aficionado says: ‘Church stalls, car boot sales and school fayres are all good places to find surplus plants being sold off cheaply.

‘There are so many varieties out there it can be hard to pick just one, but good allrounders are Gardeners Delight, Ailsa Craig, Cordiblue and Tumbling Tom. Keep them well watered and watch for the flowers – flowers mean fruit, and fruit means your saving has begun!’

It’s hard to get better than home grown fruit and veg for flavour and goodness. The average lettuce from the supermarket contains up to 11 pesticides, while many pre-packaged salads are washed with chlorine.

It’s now a bit late for tomatoes but there’s still time to plant plenty of salad vegetables: lettuce, spring onions, radishes, rocket. And start planning ahead next year for carrots, peas, sweetcorn, and more.

2. Plan ahead

It might be obvious, but a little bit of forward planning goes a long way in savings.

This month, plant perennials and biennials for next spring. June is also the last month to be planting seeds for summer-producing vegetables.

We recommend planting seeds for autumn crops like lettuce, spinach, radish, kale, carrots and leeks to save a packet.


3. Don’t fork out for fertiliser

It’s essential your seedlings and veg plots are able to grow in good quality soil. We have a few frugal alternatives to spending twenty quid on a large bag of fertiliser.

Collect fallen leaves when they are wet, then store in bin bags for two years. The longer the better. The result is a nutritious leaf mulch which can be used to cover your most prized plants.

If you’ve got access to a pond, the algae growing on top can be used as a rich alternative to shop-bought fertiliser.

4. Be water wise

This year’s scorching spring has been a nightmare for British gardeners keen to keep their gardens hydrated.

Don’t fear if the hot weather has left you with a brown lawn. Lawn shoots are usually the first garden feature to show drought stress, because they have the most shallow roots. The lawn will quickly recover once it rains.

Winter rain is still stored in the soil, and for plants such as trees, shrubs and climbers with large roots there is still plenty there.

Guy Barter, from the Royal Horticultural Society, gives us his water-saving advice: ‘Waste water from the kitchen is highly suitable for watering gardens, grey water from the bathroom is usually satisfactory, but perhaps best not used on edible crops.’

5. Being ethical is easy

Reusing household rubbish is a great way to help the environment while keeping in pocket.

Save your produce baskets – cherry tomatoes, berries, mushrooms – and use them to plant seedlings. Don’t be afraid to ask your local supermarket or greengrocer for wooden or plastic crates which can be used as planters or for winter storage.

The little plastic cups at the water cooler can also be useful for seed starting plots.

A blooming garden can also help to keep bills down. A study by the Royal Horticultural Society found that plants can reduce energy costs in winter by providing shelter and insulation. In the summer they cool down the air in towns and cities, so get those urban gardens growing!

And finally…No garden? No excuse!

City-dwellers: Create a window-garden in your home

Even city-dwellers can get green fingered this summer. Use a windowsill to create a miniature salad-garden, or fill a light area with potted flowers and fruit.

If you’re short on light, try placing a small amount of aluminium foil on the wall next to the plant. This will help reflect more light on to your indoor greenery.

Indoor plants are proven to have health benefits, as well as being an inexpensive decoration for the home. They reduce indoor air pollution and carbon dioxide levels.

Research estimates that people who live and work in a city spend 90% of their day indoors, so having a few potted plants indoors is all-important for urban workers.

A study by Sydney University in Australia has found that a few shrubs in the office can even improve employee efficiency by creating a healthier working environment.

Five Easy Ways to Save Money

June 1st, 2011

originally on

Memorial Day kicked off the summer season, and you’re probably getting excited to take a vacation. As you save up for that special trip, you may be inclined to tighten your budget in order to put a few dollars toward future goals. Check out this list of five easy ways to save money:

1. Make breakfast and coffee at home.

The effort of fixing coffee and breakfast at home is well worth the savings you can realize by not purchasing at Starbucks or the local coffee shop every morning. Quality coffee can be bought in bulk for a fraction of the price of an in-store brew. While you’re at it, trade in that breakfast sandwich for oatmeal, a quick, delicious and healthy alternative.

2. Turn the thermostat up when you leave for work.

Set your air conditioning at 78 to 80 when you leave for work, then turn it back to your normal temperature when you return. It is pointless to have your A/C system cooling a house that isn’t occupied.

3. Grow your own vegetables

Growing your own tomatoes, zucchini, and beans, and potatoes is inexpensive and fun. Visit your local gardening or home improvement store for tips on how you can start a backyard vegetable garden. Plus, there is nothing more satisfying than enjoying a meal knowing that you grew the ingredients.


4. Consider ditching traditional utilities

Consider how trading in your traditional landline in favor of exclusively relying on your cellphone would affect your life. It might be worth abandoning the phone company. Additionally, think about giving up cable television. Many shows can now be streamed on websites such as Hulu and Netflix, and most shows are available to rent inexpensively on iTunes.

5. Dry your clothes on a clothesline

This small way to save energy could make a difference on your electricity bill. The long-lost art of drying clothes on a clothesline will also bring your clothes back to you with a fresh outdoors smell. Both your wallet and the environment will thank you.