Building a 30 Day Food Reserve on Less than $10 a week

You can build a 30-day food reserve even if you’re on a tight budget.

It takes a little time, but not as much as you might think.

A lot of folks ask me what they can do to prepare for the worst when they are living on a tight budget of a fixed income. My answer is to take small steps each week using whatever you can spare—even if it’s just a few dollars.

It adds up fast.

On $10 a Week Put Enough Food in Your Pantry to Feed One Person for a Month

Here’s how it’s done …

The first step is to find a store that has good prices on canned items and that also sells bulk foods.

Whatever you buy, don’t forget to store it properly. Canned and dried goods will last longer in a cool room that maintains a fairly steady temperature both during the day and throughout the year. (Basements are great, if you have one!) Vacuum-sealing your dried goods will help protect your investment for years to come.

Week 1: Buy bulk rice. Bulk long-grain rice runs about $.50 a pound. Brown rice has more going for it nutritionally, but you also need to take into consideration what you will actually eat. At $.50 a pound, your $10 budget will land you 20 pounds of rice. That’s about 11,714 calories stored in your first week.

Week 2 and 3: Buy bulk dried beans. Dried beans in bulk run about $1 a pound. In two weeks, you’ll be able to put 20 pounds into your food reserves, adding another 32,000 calories.

Week 4: While rice and beans together make a complete protein, you want to have some meat in your stores. This week, invest your $10 in canned tuna. If you buy generic, you should expect to spend around $.75 a can. On your budget, that’s 13 cans. And 2,327 calories worth of healthy, lean protein.

Weeks 5 and 6: Add in fruit and vegetables. You can buy the freeze-dried stuff, but canned vegetables and fruits are more familiar to most people. And remember, it’s important to like what you’re eating. So, as an example, let’s say you buy canned peaches and canned green beans. If you buy generic, you should be able to get at least twelve 15-ounce cans of each over two weeks without breaking your budget. That’s another 2,988 calories.

Week 7: This week buy a 40-ounce jar of peanut butter and three 9-ounce boxes of crackers. (If you stick to generic, you should be able to find this for your $10 budget). You’ll add another 10,096 tasty calories to your food stores.

Week 8: This week buy 10 cans of chili (you might be able to get a couple more than that for your budget, depending on where you live and where you shop) for another 4,500 calories.  

Your total calories: 63,625.

In just eight weeks for right around $80. That will tide a single person over for a full month. Not a lot of variety. But you won’t be hungry. And you won’t break the bank.

Making sure you’re ready to weather a financial crisis, social chaos, or a major disaster like a power grid collapse doesn’t have to be out of anyone’s reach. Think creatively. Look for deals. Spread out the costs. Every small step you take now will be one less thing you have to worry about later.

Breaking News: A Major Threat to Your Health and the Health of Your Loved Ones

By Jim Dodge / January 12, 2016

“Super bugs haunt hospitals and intensive care units all around the world.”

That is a dire warning from Margaret Chan. She’s the chief of the World Health Organization (WHO). She states that the world is headed into “a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections will once again kill.”

WHO describes the situation as one that could quickly become devastating.

The Rise and Fall of Antibiotics

Antibiotics have helped people to live longer. Many of modern medicine’s miracles are only possible because of these drugs.

Without antibiotics, minor infections can turn deadly. Diseases we thought were a thing of the past are coming back. Diseases like tuberculosis.

Without antibiotics, many life-saving surgeries become much riskier.

Our world is becoming more dangerous because of antibiotic resistance. People are dying from infections that were once easily cured. Surgery success rates are falling.

In many countries, antibiotics are no longer effective against common infections. Often these drug-resistant infections are crippling. Or deadly. They are expensive to treat. They take a massive toll on the patient. Recovery times are longer. Death rates are higher. Patients have more pain and spend more time in the hospital.

Common misperceptions about antibiotics are speeding the rate at which they are becoming useless.

You can help fight antibiotic resistance by:

  • Refusing antibiotics unless you’ve been properly diagnosed with a bacterial infection.
  • Only taking antibiotics when prescribed by a licensed health care professional.
  • Taking the full course of antibiotics when prescribed.
  • Not using antimicrobial products like hand soaps and detergents.

You can protect your family and yourself by increasing your medical self reliance. Stay out of the health care system as much as possible. And take common sense steps to safeguard your health.

Read the full news report here and learn more about this dire, global threat to public health.

Social Security Strategy Nixed by Sneaky Congress

By Mai Vang / December 23, 2015

Amidst the drama over the budget battle last year, Congress snuck in new provisions that limit your options for claiming Social Security benefits. Under pressure from the Obama administration to close loopholes, Congress nixed the so-called “Restricted Application and File and Suspend” strategies.

A loophole in the law had enabled people to “voluntarily suspend their checks after they had applied for benefits,” according to the Wall Street Journal (October 29, 2015). That “made it possible for a worker’s spouse to start collecting a benefit based on the worker’s earnings record while the worker took advantage of delayed retirement credits.”

It may sound like an obscure maneuver. But it had been widely recommended to eligible clients by financial advisors. It enabled recipients to boost their benefits up to 8% per year.

Not anymore.

The upshot of these rule changes is that the Social Security Administration can report a tiny narrowing of the projected deficits for the program. But the savings amount to less than 1%. That’s nowhere near enough to serve as any kind of Social Security fix.

Coping with the Ever-Present Threat of Adverse Rule Changes

Expect the government to implement additional rule changes designed to thwart benefit-maximizing strategies. No one in Washington has the courage to go on record calling for benefit cuts. Instead, piecemeal tinkering is their chosen path for reducing growth rates of unsustainable commitments.

That means long-term financial planning with regard to Social Security and other benefits programs can only be tentative, at best. Plan A is that you get all the benefits you expect based on the current rules. But you need a Plan B. The rules can change to your detriment without notice.

That Plan B may include a variable annuity or other investments, employment or business activities, asset sales, or lifestyle changes.

We’ve warned that IRA and 401(k) accounts are also subject to adverse tinkering. Last year the Supreme Court ruled that when an IRA is inherited, it is no longer an IRA. That means the accounts are no longer protected from creditors.

In response to the new legal precedent, some financial advisors are urging clients to set up trusts as IRA beneficiaries. That way IRA assets retain some protective features after they get inherited. The rules can change at any time. Anything you can do to make yourself less dependent on unsustainable government promises will boost your retirement security.

Smart Appliances: We Told You So

By Mai Vang / December 23, 2015

Adapted from an article by Roger King, Editor, GridWatch

Never listen to politicians, something you already know. Do pay attention to the capabilities they build. If they build it, they intend to use it. A new must-pass category national security bill has a
sneaky provision. If the drafters have honorable intentions, why did they sneak such a creepy citizen surveillance stink bomb hidden inside a must-pass national security law?

Actually, they slipped the full text of the Cybersecurity Information Act of 2015 into what was supposed to be a budget bill. And its provisions are about watching you. Which has nothing to do with the true issue of terrorists slipping into our midst with ease.

No, it’s not about watching border crashers, it’s about making sure you do right. This law directly relates to the research we’ve been doing into the Smart Grid and the Smart Appliances starting to populate our Smart Homes.

Now companies like Nest (part of Google), whose Smart Thermostat with optional camera is a window into your private life, may be required to share everything it knows about you with federal agencies. And that’s just one example.

Your internet service provider, phone company, or literally any other company that has your data may be required to feed it to an alphabet soup of 3-letter agencies, without a warrant.

It’s all rather Orwellian. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Beat Rising Rates with Floating Income

By Mai Vang / December 23, 2015

The threat of recession looms in the early goings of 2016 (see “Recession-Resistant Investments,” page 6). There’s a whiff of deflation in the air, too. But any deflation problem will likely be swiftly conquered by the Federal Reserve. Fed officials have zero tolerance for falling prices. They’re convinced that re-inflating by any means necessary is part of their job description.

Therefore, longer-term inflation is the likely outcome of any trouble in the economy. We will eventually see higher inflation and higher interest rates. It’s just a matter of when. And when that unpleasant combination comes about, conventional fixed-rate bonds won’t be where you want to have a lot of capital parked.

The Fed wants to be able to raise its benchmark Federal Funds rate steadily in 2016, until it reaches more normal levels. If that happens, then bond yields and loan rates could also start rising toward more normal levels.

Variable-rate loans to corporations, sometimes called “senior loans,” and often called “floating income” by investors, are available through specialty mutual funds and closed-end funds. Securitized bank loans make it possible to profit directly from the interest payments banks receive. The advantages of floating income are higher rates of return than government bonds and the potential for yields to rise as loan interest rates rise.

The potential disadvantage is that senior loans are more economically sensitive than government bonds. Floating-income instruments took a big hit during the financial meltdown of 2008. They also slumped toward the end of 2015.

One way to enjoy some floating income is with the Eaton Vance Floating-Rate Income Trust (EFT). This closed-end fund currently yields 7.5% and trades at a 14.4% discount to net asset value.

PowerWhisperer Owners News Alert

By Mai Vang / December 23, 2015

I have several updates to share with PowerWhisperer M-Model Owners.

FIRST, if you want a free replacement for your PowerWhisperer M-Model’s inflatable tires, I have brand new ones that are “flat-proof.” Let me know and we will ship them to you free. They are VERY EASY to swap out (four bolts for each tire). Call during business hours and ask for Mike. 1-877-371-1807.

SECOND, whenever you are ready to replace your special absorbent glass-mat batteries that power the M-Model PowerWhisperer, you can get even more capable versions at my cost. They come directly from my supplier – no middleman. And it will be far less expensive than what you can get locally. Call during business hours and ask for Mike. 1-877-371-1807.

Remember, we selected the absorbent glass-mat battery design because these batteries do not vent hydrogen gasses or leak acid under any conditions. Do NOT replace your PowerWhisperer batteries with anything but absorbent glass-mat (AGM) batteries. Never use car batteries.

THIRD, if you have been on the fence about investing in a PowerWhisperer Home Power Backup System, we can offer a limited number of buyers an installment option! Call 1-877-371-1807 and ask for Mike. It is best to make an appointment or ask for a call time. Someone from Independent Living will call you and walk you through your best option.

Lee Bellinger

Steps to Lowering Your Utility Bills

By Mai Vang / December 23, 2015

Here are some simple ways by which you can significantly lower your utility bills:

Turn your thermostat down eight degrees before you go to bed (or install a programmable thermostat to do so automatically). Use heated mattress pads or heated blankets to keep yourself toasty while you sleep. This could easily yield savings of 10%.

Turn your thermostat way down when no one is home. Yes, it will feel chilly for a few minutes when you come back home, but avoiding all the wasted heat during the hours or days while you are gone will translate into big savings.

Turn the temperature on your water heater down to 120°F. Chances are yours is set as high as 145°F, which is hotter than you need for most personal and household uses. Hold the temperature at 120° and enjoy savings of up to 10%.

Get an insulation jacket for your water heater (assuming it’s not recommended against by the manufacturer of your particular model). By wrapping up your water heater, you can cut heat losses by 25% or more. A simple wrap kit from a home improvement store will pay for itself in less than a year.

Replace your water heater if it’s more than 12 years old. Water heating is the second biggest contributor to a typical home’s energy costs, so replacing an old water heater will give you a bigger bang for your buck than replacing an old refrigerator or other appliance.

A “Brew” for a Longer, Happier Life

By Mai Vang / December 23, 2015

Red wine is now widely known to confer health benefits when consumed in moderation. It can reduce the risk of a heart attack, for one.

Less widely known is that beer also delivers health benefits – again when consumed in moderation. Beer contains beneficial vitamins, and the alcohol helps improve blood flow. The American Heart Association has concluded that alcoholic drinks prevent approximately 80,000 deaths from coronary artery disease annually. Studies have found that moderate beer consumption can reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke by up to 30%. Beer, surprisingly, has also been shown to help fight some forms of cancer.

Have a beer regularly with your dinner and you just might live longer. Antioxidants in beer have the potential to boost longevity. Some research has also found that alcoholic beverages lengthen the end points on your DNA known as telomeres. Longer telomeres are associated with longer life spans.

Finally, drinking beer (without overdoing it) can make you happier. An Indiana University School of Medicine study found that drinking beer releases pleasure-inducing dopamine in the brain. Beer activates more neurotransmitters for pleasure than non-alcoholic beverages.

“Bipartisanship” Stinks: IRS Can Now Revoke Your Passport

By Mai Vang / December 23, 2015

Congress has passed a new border control law. But it’s not what you think. Instead of keeping illegal aliens out, this law keeps Americans penned inside their own borders by IRS decree.

Seriously. A sneaky new law from the GOP controlled Congress gives the IRS a new way to control your physical movements. I thought we had defeated the Soviet Union.

On December 4, 2015, Barack Obama signed into law two new sections (some 1,500 words, combined) of the Internal Revenue Code. The provisions were part of H.R. 22, entitled, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. All snuck into enactment as a highway transportation bill with a curious section that concerns passports.

You might ask, “What the heck do domestic highways have to do with passports?” And even beyond that, you might wonder, “What do passports have to do with taxation and the IRS?”

This public transportation bill adds a brand-new section to tax code. It is code section 7345. The new law authorizes the Secretary of Treasury, on the recommendation of the Commissioner of the IRS, to “deny, revoke, or limit the passport of a taxpayer.”

The IRS can now limit your travel if you have a “seriously delinquent tax debt.” That’s a bit of a precedent, because normally only criminal proceedings can result in you having to turn over your
passport as a condition of bail. Now we are within sight of how a tax dispute with the IRS could land you on the “NO FLY” list too.

Editor’s note: This article comes from my friend and colleague in the freedom movement, and noted IRS expert Dan Pilla. Dan is author of a great new book, “How to Get Tax Amesty.” You can reach Dan Pilla at 215 W. Myrtle Street, Stillwater, MN 55082.

NEW! PowerWhisperer Easy Installment Buy Plan for Next 30 Days Only

By Mai Vang / December 23, 2015

If you’ve been on the fence about getting a PowerWhisperer Home Power Reserve System, your time is here. I know the value of my PowerWhisperer and that it is worth every penny. But I also know that so many in my wonderful subscriber/family have told me that the price is out of reach – which really bugs me since you all NEED it. This is not just a “nice-to-have” item.

So against the advice of my financial advisors, Independent Living can send you a brand new, fully loaded PowerWhisperer with a modest down payment and affordable installments.

We’ve secured a limited private source of credit on your behalf. While I’d love to make this available to the public at large, I’m forced to limit the availability of this installment pay option while we’re still in the earliest stages. For this reason, the installment pay option can be offered for no more than 30 days, and to a limited number of customers who contact us first. I consider the PowerWhisperer to be a critical self-reliance and personal power readiness tool.

If financing has been the only thing standing in your way, I encourage you to call us during business hours to discuss your options, and secure one of our easy pay purchase plans.

Just Say NO to Chinese Warlords

Now the PowerWhisperer can be on its way to your home in short order. Imagine your friends and neighbors reaction – an advanced home power backup device in your garage. Bristling with 14 major upgrades and fully OPTIONS-LOADED — all because I have stubbornly said NO to the “smart” corporate thing, having PowerWhisperer thrown together on a Chinese cookie-cutter assembly line. Renegade me – guilty as charged.

We can only do this for Independent Living subscribers like you. Protecting your way of life against power grid instability is a big deal. You need backup power now.

PowerWhisperer’s payment installment plan is strictly limited. Call us during business hours at my toll-free number, 1-877-371-1807. We are going to run this offer for no more than 30 days. Since there are a limited number of installment plans we can accept, it has to be first-come, first served only.

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