Prepping, homesteading and living the simple, green, independent life.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Product Review: Hydroclean Water-Saving Toilet Fill Valve

The other week my wife surprised me with a gift that only a prepper could  get excited over: a dual-flush toilet retrofit!

I'm really excited to try out this gadget, however when I read the instructions I found out that it doesn't work with the "ball and lever" floater style fill valves.  I'd have to switch over my toilet first before installing it.

There are many different types of fill valves and company that makes the dual flush recommends their own which also has a water saving feature. I picked one up at Canadian Tire for around $17.

There is also a "deluxe" version for $19 that includes jets which supposedly clean the inside of your toilet tank with each flush.

Installing it was super-easy and just took around 10 minutes.  The only tool I required was a wrench to remove the old fittings, the rest is done by hand.

These things are supposed to save water through a little lever valve where you can adjust how much water goes down the refill tube and into the toilet bowl.

The instructions include a simple technique to determine the proper amount of bowl water, however I decided to try the "trial and error" method.  I placed the valve at half open and there is a noticeable difference in the amount of water in the bowl.  As far as I can tell this hasn't affected the flush and I estimate we're saving at least a liter each flush.

I'd recommend people try give this device a try, however, one thing to keep in mind is that it isn't meant to be used with those toilet pucks that you put in the back of the tanks.  The instructions don't explain why but I assume it's because the chemicals will breakdown the plastic parts.

Soon I'll get around to installing the dual-flush retrofit and I'll post the results.

Has anybody else tried these gadgets or a similar device?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Tips My Wife Hates

People seemed to get a kick out of my post about tips that my wife hates so I thought I'd keep it.

I should let you know though that she doesn't hate all these things.  She seems to range from strong dislike to tolerance with a dash of "my husband is odd".  I should create a "Spousal Colour Scale":

Red: Strong Dislike

"There is no way we're doing this. I'm afraid Chidren's Aid will come for the kids."

Orange: Dislike

"Bad idea.  Rework it and maybe try again later after I've calmed down."

Yellow: Toleration

"I think you're odd but it's not worth the fight so don't push it."

Green: Acceptance

"I was skeptical at first but it was a good idea after all."

Push Lawnmower (Level Green)

I hate gasoline mowers.  Pulling that crank over and over, flooding the engine, the noise: not worth it. Plus I don't like paying for gasoline and the hassle of running out during the middle of a job and having to go get more.

That's why when we moved to our current house with a small lot I thought I'd try out a push mover and it works pretty well.

You get a bit of a workout pushing these things so I wouldn't recommend them for large lawns.  I'd also suggest not buying the cheapest model out there which is what I did and ever season I have to replace a bolt here and there.

These reel-style mowers are actually supposed to be better for your lawn because they don't flatten it down and they give a cleaner cut than gas mowers.  On the other hand if you let your lawn grow too long it will have difficulty cutting and your lawn will look spotty.  When ever I'm overdue for a mow, there's always two or three dandylion stems which the mower can't cut.  When the plants get too tall the reel just folds them down rather than cutting them.

I also hose down the blades and gears with WD-40 before and after every use to prevent rust and to stop it from schreeching as the wheels turn.

The push mower does a good enough job but I think very soon I may buy an electric mower.

Yellow, Let It Mellow (Level Orange)

As I've mentioned before we live in an town where your water bill is determined by how much water you use so I'm always looking for ways to cut down.

This reminded me of when I was younger and we lived in the country with a shallow well as our only supply of water.  With a shallow well conservation was very important because you can run out of water during dry spells which actually happened a few times!

One of the things we did back then was to only flush the toilet after the second time urinating.  It may sound gross but it was pretty common actually.  You may think that smell is an issue but it surprisingly wasn't and if it was that was usually a sign that it was time to flush because somebody didn't count right.

Flushing an average toilet actually uses between 6-11 litres of water!  That's a lot of water that can be saved by only flushing when necessary.

Unfortunately, my wife doesn't think this is a good idea . I can only "forget" so many times and "I don't want to wake the baby" only works when she's sleeping.  Therefore I need to find a compromise (she also doesn't accept using the hedges in the back yard).

Due to this we're looking into converting our toilets over to the dual flush type which have two buttons on them to flush: one for a small flush for "liquids" and the other big flush for "solids".

The dual flush supposedly only uses one litre for liquids which is great...but I keep reminding myself that "forgetting" to flush uses zero litres...

FYI: If it's brown, flush it down.


Clover Lawns (Level Green)

My back yard is mostly clay and it's heavily shaded which makes it hard to grow grass.  Not even "weed and feed" chemical sprays worked.

After 3 years of trying I decided to check out a book on organic lawn care and learned about clover.  It turns out that years ago a lawn full of clover was seen as desirable and not just full of weeds.  Clover also deposits nitrogen in the ground which helps other plants grow.  As an added bonus it requires less mowing than grass.

It occured to me that if I couldn't grow grass, maybe I could grow clover?

I asked a few of my relatives what they thought and the reaction was pretty much, "Why would you deliberatly plant weeds?".  Well, in my opinion, clover is better than clay mud and moss.

So after everybody said I was nut, I went to Canadian Tire and bought a bag of white clover.  I heard clover was easy to grow so I just spread it around by hand, especially in the really bare patches.

Well, within a few weeks, with hardly any effort at all, clover started to grow!  In fact, as I write this, the clover is the only thing growing in my yard this early in spring.

I've heard of people converting their whole property to clover but for now covering at least now my kids can play in the backyard without getting covered in clay.

The treehuggers got something right I guess.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cubicles Will Be the Death of Me

My mom says that when my great-grandfather knew his time was coming he put on his boots, went out to his barn, lied down in the hay and passed away.

When my time comes where will I go?

I refuse to let it be in a soulless cubicle maze, with their temporary walls, in "business casual" with a parking garage being the last thing I see out the window.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Setting Goals and Life Plans: Our Dream House

As I  mentioned in the last post, our plan is to begin building our dream home in 5 years or so.

Many people build their own homes though; what does this have to do with prepping and modern survivalism?

Building our own home actually involves prepping in two ways: planning for the home and living in the home.

1) Planning for the home

Part of modern survivalism is financial preparedness. By paying off debts and saving money we're moving to a position where we'll eventually be able to afford to build this home.

Secondly the things we're doing now are preparing us to live there.  For example, I'm reducing our electrical use because I want our dream home to eventually be off-grid.  Getting us used to energy conservation now will help us adapt to our new home.

Currently we use about 1200KW a month, but in our new energy efficient home I estimate that we will use between 5-700KW.  Amazingly, despite being a larger home with more gadgets, thanks to energy efficiencies our needs will be less.

My family and friends might think I'm nuts obsessing over things like CFL bulbs, my small vegetable garden and organic lawn care but they don't see the big picture.  Each one of those things are little preparedness steps to freedom!

2) Living in the home

Once we build and start living in this dream home I'm hoping to start living the prepper dream!

I don't think I've clearly stated it before but I'm hoping this new house can become a "homestead" that will provide for most of our needs: electricity, heat, food, water.


By being super-energy efficient my goal at first is to greatly reduce utility expenses.  Eventually I'll upgrade the system with so we'll be able to comfortably live during a winter power blackout and hopefully eventually reach the point where we can live off-grid.

For budget reasons I plan on starting with a minimum of 5 165W solar panels tied to the grid.  Over time I'll add more panels and a battery bank so we can have power during blackouts.  We'll also look into if a windmill generator is feasible.  Eventually I'd like to be able to live off-grid so we won't cut off the grid totally  because in case of emergencies it can be our backup.

Secondly, if we do things right we'll actually be able to make money by selling excess electricity to the grid!

We'll also save a lot of electricity by switching our stove, fridge and dryer to ultra-efficient propane models and cooking when I can with a solar oven.  If I can convince my wife, we'll cook with an old-style kitchen woodstove (but with modern technology) to be truly off-grid.


For a number of reasons I want a minimum of 4 acres for our dream homestead.  One of these reason is because we want to install geothermal heat exchange to heat our home and water.  The pipes used in this system are often installed horizontally beneath the frost-line so we'll need room to do this.  The pipes can also be installed vertically but we don't want to limit ourselves to one option.

Geothermal is very energy efficient however it needs electricity to operate the heat pump so we'll include a wood stove as a back up source of heat for on the very cold nights or when the power goes out. Hopefully much of our wood will come from our own property.  Another great thing about geothermal is that it can also be used to efficiently cool your house in the summer by just reversing the pump!

Heating our water will be done using an instant-on tankless water heater.  Geothermal will also be used to pre-heat the water to further reduce the energy use.  I'll also look into solar water heating, especially for the planned indoor pool/sunroom.  It's possible that solar heating and geothermal could provide most of our hot water apart from the coldest winter months!

Lastly, we plan on building our home with Insulated Concrete Forms.  There are kinda like big styrofoam Lego-blocks that you build a home with.  After you make a wall with them they're filled with concrete.  This makes a very sturdy and energy efficient structure, (also water/air-tight, bulletproof, fireproof and hurricane/zombie resistant). With an R-Value of 45  ICFs will greatly reduce our energy needs.


I'm currently learning all I can about organic gardening and permaculture.  I don't knock those that use fertilizer and weed chemicals, however, to me that seems like a lot of work that you have to do every year.  I'd rather do it all naturally and although it might not look as pretty, at least it will be self-sustaining and low-maintenance.

My plan includes, a small orchard, a greenhouse, a number of raised bed squarefoot gardens, a goat to "mow" the grass and possibly milk and maybe chickens and bees.

With enough acres I could also start hunting or allow other to hunt there in exchange for some of their game.

These won't be enough for us to live completely off of but every little bit is less that I have to rely on the grocery store for and less sales taxes to the government.  It all equals more money in my pocket!


As I've mentioned before, living in a rural area will allow us to have our own well and avoid paying municipal utilities.  However, having and managing your own source of water also means that you must become a conservationist.

We plan on installing dual flush toilets and a grey-water recovery system in our homestead.  This will save the water from the sinks and bathtubs to use for things like flushing the toilets or watering the lawn.

We'll also install a rainwater harvesting system to save all the water that falls on our roof.

Not only will this prevent our well from drying out, but it will also save electricity by using the water pump less and it will extend the life of our sceptic system.

Our homestead plan will probably change and it may take longer than expected but one thing is for certain:

When the zombies come; we'll be ready
If I look in a mirror while dreaming this is what I see.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Reader Asks How to Pay Off Student Loans

A reader posted this in the comments of my last post which I think deserves a post of it's own as a reply:

"I borrowed 12,250 for my college education to become a Registered Nurse. I took out these loans in the early 90s and after three deferments and consolidation I owe 30,000. I want to go back to school but because my loans are now over 23000 I am not eligible of student loans. I need help paying my student loans down fast. Does anybody have any ideas."

 First off: are you being denied because of debt, or is it specifically because it's student loans?

If it's just due to the student loans then it sounds like all you have to do is get it to under $23K from $30K; a $7K difference which makes it more manageable.  One quick way to do this would be to switch $7K worth of the loan to another form of loan, like a line of credit maybe.

Are you in Canada? If so I'd check the provincial and federal websites for any help that might be available, though it sounds like you may have exhausted most of what they offer already.

The only advice I have to give are the basics that everybody else gives (which is because they work and because there are no easy quick fixes):

Stay in School and this too could be you!

1) Use Savings

If you have any savings I'd consider liquidating them to pay off the debt.  Most likely the interest you're paying on the debts is more than you're making by saving.  If so it would make sense to use them to pay off debt.

2) Liquidate Assets

Any assets, things you own, that you can sell to pay off debt? I'm thinking anything from a car to a CD/DVD/Videogame collection that you don't use anymore.  You could go the quick way and bring the stuff to a store that sells used games and movies / pawn shop, or you can put more effort into it and try ebay where you could probably get more money.

You could even collect all the junk around your home and hold a garage sale.  I've got dozens of boxes of stuff that we've never opened since our last house move and I'm sure I could get a couple hundred if I had a garage sale.

3) Do a Budget

It may sound boring but make a budget .  I do mine like a personal balance sheet with expenses on one side, income on the other and then a plus or minus balance of the difference between them.  I use a spreadsheet through Google docs to do this.  In fact, Google Docs also has pretty good budget and personal finance templates that you can use.

Once you have all your expenses written down go through them one by one and brainstorm what you can do to reduce them.  Do you really need a cell phone and a landline phone?  Can you cut back on the number of TV channels you subscribe to? Can you go down to high-speed light instead of the ultra unlimited internet service?  Can you shop at a less expensive grocery store and use coupons?  Can you reduce electricity use, turn down the furnace and water heater?

Every little bit counts and I bet they can add up to a couple hundred bucks a month.  Take those savings and plow them into your debts.

4) Cut up credit cards

At the very least don't carry them on you.  Put them in a block of ice in your freezer or at a relatives home if you want to keep them in case of an emergency.  This way you either have to thaw it out or drive across town if you want to use them which makes impulse buys less likely.

5)   Increase Income

Is it possible to get a second part-time job or maybe a small business on the side?  Summer is coming and you can offer to mow lawns for 10-20 bucks for example.

At the very least there's nothing wrong with working places like McDonalds.  Nothing makes me madder than people who put down "McJobs"; a man doing what he has to so he can provide for himself and his family shouldn't be looked down on.

6) Automate Your Finances

Do you do online banking?  If you're in Canada I'd recommend looking into President's Choice Financial.  I love PC Financial and I've set up my account so that as soon as my pay is automatically deposited all my bills and debts are automatically paid.  I get paid every two weeks so I break down my monthly payment in half (though I try to throw at least an extra $10 more than the minimum).  This also has the effect of cutting down your interest faster meaning you pay off the debt quicker.

I know if I keep the money in my account I'll be tempted to spend it on other things so I do the opposite of the old "pay yourself first" rule.  I pay my debts first and thanks to my budget I know what ever is left in my account after the debts are paid, is enough to live on until the next pay.

8) Debt Snowball

Lastly, as I mentioned in the last post you can use the snowball method for paying off debt, where you pay your smallest debt off first and then you apply the amount that you paid to the next smallest debt.  For example, if you pay $50 to debt A and $100 to debt B, after you've paid off A, you'll start paying $150 to B, and on and on until debt free.

Personally, I'm using a variation on this plan where rather than paying off the smallest first I'm deciding to pay off the debts in the order of their financial impact VS balance.  I'm more interested in freeing up cash flow and increasing my net balance so I'm looking at which debt will give me the most "bang for my buck".

For example, I have a small $1000 debt that I could pay off in month or so however, my minimum monthly payment on that is only $20 and the interest is only 6% so I'm leaving it for now.  I'd rather use that $1000 to pay off the $2000 credit card debt which is costing me $200 a month and is at 15%.

Everybody's situation is different though so without knowing more details (married, kids, unemployed?) it's hard to get into specifics.

Good luck though; it will be a tough few years but it will be worth it!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Setting Goals and Life Plans: My Plan

 "Yes! Setting goals is AWESOME!"

Short-Term (within one year)

- pay off credit cards (2 down, 3 left)
- pay off student loan

Medium-Term (within 5 years)

- start education fund for kids
- pay off mortgage
- begin building new house
- pay off car loan (2 years)

Long-Term (longer than 5 years)

- retire (12-20 years)
- move house off-grid (10 years)
- start business (10 years)
- purchase rental property
- pay off new home (10 years)
- buy RV (10 years)

Using the snowball method to pay off debts I'm hoping to very quickly pay off debts.  2 credit cards down this year, 3 more to go.  The money saved from not paying credit cards will then go to my student loan and have that paid off by around the end of the year.

This will free up hundreds of dollars a month for my family some, of which we'll use to begin Registered Education Savings Plan (RESPs) for our kids.  The rest will get plowed into our mortgage and pay that off as quickly as we can.

We've been lucky with our mortgage (though "luck is 90% smarts") in that we've been able to pay it off pretty quickly.

In my opinion, 99% of the time it is always better to own a home rather than rent.  By owning you're building equity, improving your credit rating and increasing your net worth every month instead of your landlord's.

We started off with a small inexpensive "fixer-upper" house about 7 years ago.  The mortgage was cheaper than our rent and the time and we only paid $65 000 for it.  My wife and I withdrew money from our RRSPs for the down payment.

A little trick we used to "borrow" a down payment is to take out one of those low-interest "RRSP Catch-up" loans.  If you that money in your account for at least 6 months you're then elligible to withdrawn it under the government program, "First-Time Homebuyers Plan".

Normally your not allowed to borrow a down payment, but this method not only gets around that but it also gives you a tax break for it(the RRSP tax credit).

After about 4 years we sold the home for $78 000 and used the difference and equity to purchase a larger home.

The first smart thing we did was opt to pay our mortgage bi-weekly.  This helps cut down on interest faster because it only has two weeks to grow before the principle is reduced instead of one month.

This alone is estimated to reduce a 25 year mortgage by 7 years.

Secondly we picked a variable rate mortgage that is .5% below prime.  This means that over the last 2 years or so, as the Bank of Canada has reduced prime to deal with the economic problems, our mortgage rate has gone down and down.  We're now only paying 1.65% on our mortgage!

Variable rates aren't for everyone but if you're properly prepared  they can save you a lot of money because although the price may go up some time in the future, it's always lower than what you could get at a bank today.

Lastly, we stuck with  buying a home within our means.  I know a number of people my age who bought $300-400 000 "McMansions".  This is insane to me!  We paid $135 000 for our second home and with renovations and property value increases it was recently appraised at $160 00 only 3 years later.

Thanks to all this we're hoping to have the house paid off within 5 years.  We're planning to sell it for around $180 000, then using that money and a new mortgage to build a new super-energy efficient dream-home.  They money we saved from energy efficiencies will help us pay off this home within 5-10 years.

At least that's the plan...which is subject to change due to zombie attacks.

 "in which case this becomes the plan."

What's your plan?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Setting Goals and Life Plans: The Whys and Hows

Now that I have a few posts under my belt I think it would be a good time to explain what this is all about.

The Why

Years ago, like many people in their 20s, I examined my life and tried to better understand myself.  What type of person am I, what are my strengths and weaknesses, what do I want out of life?

I quickly realized that I'm not the type of person who enjoys being an employee.  I'm too independent-minded and stubborn.  My dad says it's because I don't like to work but the truth is I don't like to work for others.  Rather than treating my job as what my life revolves around, I see it as a means to an end; a necessary evil to get what I want out of life.

I actually consider myself lucky that I have a good paying job with excellent benefits, however, I don't like the servitude and dependency that a job requires.The legal term for the relationship between a boss and the employee is a "master-slave relationship". It is called that for a reason.

I eventually realized that all my thoughts on my life came back to being independent.

If this was my main motivation in life, how would I achieve this?

The How
While I was in college it was mandatory that we attend a seminar on career planning where we were given a booklet which talked about setting goals and developing a plan in life.  It claimed that if you write these things down, you'd be much more likely to achieve them.

I'd heard of similar things before and dismissed it as "new age Oprah fluff" but since this was mandatory I went through the motions.

I started the book fully expecting to just do the minimum work necessary and to write down generic goals, however, as I went along  I started to really get into it! As the book said, writing it down made it seem more "real" and as hokey as it sounds it me feel like I was capable of achieving almost anything!

Here were my original goals as divided by the book:

Short-term (within 1 year)

- Get a job within 1 year paying at least $25 000 a year, with federal government preferably  (achieved)

Medium-Term (within 5 years)

- own a house (achieved)
- start RRSP (achieved, but changed my mind and withdrew)

Long-term ( 5-10 years or longer)

- pay off student loans (almost there!)
- own rental property (not sure if I still want this)
- start business (not there, maybe some day)

When I wrote down my goals it made it easier to focus on the steps necessary to to reach them and as you can see by the results above, I think I've done pretty well.

So what does this have to do with prepping / modern survivalism? Prepping is really just planning and every prepper should develop their own life plan.

My plan is really about becoming independent and self-sufficient which is at the heart of modern survivalism.   I was a prepper years before I heard of the term and the prepper movement has focused my thoughts and encouraged my efforts.  This blog is an example of that and part of my plan.

As my college book said, writing things down makes them real.  By writing this blog I'm actually motivating myself and hopefully making connections with other prepper and learning from each other.

Despite a few bumps that college book has served me well. I've made changes and additions to my plan but this is normal; you should review your plan at least once a year.

Setting the goals not only motivates you by giving you something to achieve, but it also give you something to measure your successes against.

Friday, March 5, 2010

LED Bulbs at Home Depot

I don't know about you but I love just walking through Home Depot, looking at all the stuff and making mental inventories for our dream home.  I've always got an eye out for new energy efficient products and my latest trip did not disappoint.

On the shelves in the lightbulb section they had a display featuring Phillips brand LEDs.  I was immediately impressed because some of the LEDs were giving off a warm light which I've had difficulty finding.  In the past, despite claims of having "warm light" all the LEDs I've tried have been a harsh bluish colour. As you can see in the pic though, these don't.

They also come in both a bulb-style and a spot-lighting style for recessed light fixtures. 

Unfortunately I'm not sure if I'm ready to replace my CFLs just yet.

The bulbs are a little pricey at $30 each, though it's reasonable when you consider CFLs were over $80 when they first came out.  I bought my first CFL 10 years ago for $30 so hopefully the price of LEDs will drop as they have for CFLs.

Secondly, they use 7 watts and the spotlights are supposed to replace a 35 watt incandescent, while the bulbs replace only a 25 watt.  Currently the CFLs I have use 9 watts and are the equivalent to a 40 watt.  In terms of light output there probably isn't much of a noticeable difference, however, $30 a bulb probably isn't worth the 2 watts per bulb I'd save. 

That being said, if I wasn't already using CFLs I'd probably switch over to these LEDs and I'll probably buy one soon just to play around with it (I get excited over strange things).

For example, I'm slowly renovating my basement and I plan to use pot lamps in my ceiling.  These spotlight LEDs would be great for that.

Also if you're an off-grider these bulbs would definitely be worth a second look since every watt counts in that type of situation.


- only 7 watts
- warm colour
- no mercury
- no heat


- $30 a bulb
- not very bright, equal to 25 or 35 watt incandescent

FYI: Costco has a set of 3, 1.5 watt LEDs on sale for only $15 this month.  I've tried this brand before and didn't like the blue light they have but at that price I'd consider buying some for use outdoors.  They're "candle-style bulbs" but also come with 3 adaptors so they'll fit in regular sized sockets.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Powerbars VS Wife: Update!

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I'd like to much our TV and other entertainment devices on a powerbar so I could shut them all down with one button at night to save electricity by preventing phantom draw.

I hadn't done this yet because my wife was afraid that if we shut off things at night our devices would lose their settings.

Well, the other night while walking by our living room I absentmindedly shut off a wall switch thinking it controlled the kitchen light.  When the TV went quiet I realized that I hit the wrong switch but as the TV turned off a light bulb in my head turned on!

I didn't need a powerbar for our entertainment devices because they're already plugged into an outlet controlled by a wall switch!

This wall switch is meant to control a plugged-in floor lamp but we had forgotten about this switch because we always leave it on.

By accidentally turning off the switch we found out that we don't lose our settings on the devices when the power goes off and after negotiating with my wife she agreed to try turning off the devices overnight.  The only exception is our PVR which if turned off at night won't record the shows she's programmed to record.

I figure we'll save around 5kw a month by turning off this stuff an night!

When we build our next house I'll be sure to include wall switches; it's much more convenient than reaching down to turn off a powerbar.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Dollar Store Emergency Bug Out Bag

I've been meaning to put together an emergency "bug out bag" for a while now but I never seemed to get around to it.  The expense and effort make me keep putting it off.

Then the other day while walking through my local dollar store I realized that they had a lot of things that could go in a bug out bag.  It occurred to me that I could probably create a BOB with one trip to the dollar store and it would be inexpensive to boot!

Well, it would up taking two trips to two different dollar stores but I put together what I think is a pretty decent BOB for under $50!

This first pic shows what I picked up at a "Dollarama" dollar store for under $20

Kleenex (also used for toilet paper)
Dust masks
Sanitary napkins (for the ladies in the family)
Duct tape
2 pairs work gloves
Utility tool (might go buy more)
Tea candles
Note pad
"Sharpie" style markers
Basic small first aid kit (will replace with a better one later)

There were a few things I couldn't find at that store so I went to another "dollar store" near my place and picked all this up for $30.

Two hand crank LED flashlights
4 plastic rain ponchos
Nylon rope
two tarps
Garbage bags
Wire Twist ties

I think I've got some pretty good basics I'll probably add more stuff and upgrade some things as time goes on.

For example, the bag is only 2/3 full and I'd like to include a hand-crank radio which I've seen go for around $10.

I hear from a lot of people that they don't have the money to do prepping but this shows that it can be done inexpensively.  Admittedly $50 is a lot of money but you don't have to buy it all at once.  Just pick up an extra item or two each time you go shopping and after a couple weeks you'll have a BOB!