Friday, February 8, 2013

Google is Evil!

Google has banned Cheap-Ass-Living from its search engine. I was starting to get a significant amount of traffic through Google by people looking for info related to frugality and cheap living. In fact the page views to Cheap-Ass-Living were starting to surpass 500 a day. I’m not even counting the time last month when Blogger farted and changed the style of the blog to “mosaic”. Page views then surpassed 1800 but I knew I was only getting more views per individual and not more individuals finding their way here. And since I liked the original style better I changed it back.

Now I think that 500+ page views per day is not too bad considering the fact this is a relatively new blog and considering the fact that I haven’t been posting on a regular basis. All this changed about a week ago. Page views went from more than 500 a day to less than 400 the next and about 200 views the day after that. I knew something was amiss so I checked to see what the problem was. That’s when I realized I was getting absolutely NO TRAFFIC from Google. That seemed rather odd so I went to Google search and typed in Cheap –Ass-Living. And this blog was nowhere to be found.

I have spent the last week trying to rectify the problem but to no avail. Not only did I not receive any notice from Google that I had been banished to the wilderness but numerous emails by me to Google officials have gone unanswered. Google is the 800 pound Gorilla in the room when it comes to the internet and to be excommunicated from their search engine is a serious blow to anyone with a blog or other web site. I was hoping that I could somehow still figure out what the problem was and fix it. This morning however I received this email from Google regarding my Google AdSense account.


We continually review all publishers according to our program policies ( ) and Terms and Conditions ( ). During a recent review of your account, our specialists found that it was not in compliance with our policies.

WEBMASTER GUIDELINES: Publishers may not place Google ads on pages that violate Google’s webmaster quality guidelines ( While we've included the following excerpts from these guidelines, we recommend that you take the time to review them in their entirety.

* Make pages for users, not for search engines.
* Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
* Don't load pages with irrelevant words.
* Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
* Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank.
* Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
* Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?"
* If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

As a result, your AdSense account has been disabled.

Additionally, as stated in our Terms and Conditions, publishers who have breached this agreement may not receive further payment. The earnings on your account will be returned to the affected advertisers. Please note that this step was taken in an effort to protect the interests of our AdWords advertisers, and to maintain the quality of the AdSense program.

Thank you for your understanding.


The Google AdSense Team


I have gone over the webmasters guidelines to find out if I did something to violate the terms of service and have not been able to figure out what the problem is. I have made repeated attempt to get an explanation from SCROOGLE thugs and have been met with silence. Not only have I been totally removed from Google search results and had my AdSense account revoked but Google will not release any money made from the account to me. It wasn’t much ( about $85.00) but still that pisses me off. This blog wasn’t really making anything but it was nice to get a little pocket change every now and then for my efforts.

Since this blog is hosted by Blogger on Google servers I fully expect it to be completely removed from the internet by Google soon. I will leave it up until that time if anyone wants to save an article. I suggest you do it now however while the getting is still good. I don’t know where I will go from here. I might start another blog using a different platform other that blogger but I haven’t decided yet.

 I have been working on a manuscript about cheap living. In fact it is the reason I started this blog in the first place. I was hoping to have a “built in” audience for it if and when I finish it. Before I started Cheap-Ass-Living I sent a few “sample” chapters of the manuscript along with an outline of the proposed book to a publisher and they sent a letter saying they were “intrigued” by it and wanted to see more. I have been working on it little by little (which is one of the reasons I haven’t posted as much as I have) so now might be a good time to go ahead and finish it. The Manuscript is called “NO MONEY?  NO PROBLEM!”, Subtitled, ‘how to live the good life on little more than pocket change.” Kind of catchy don’t you think?

Anyway it’s been fun and remember, even though SCROOGLES unofficial motto is “Don’t be evil” these bastard ARE pure fucking evil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tex Dakota

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Smoke em if you got em

Let’s just go ahead and say it right now; Smoking is a filthy habit. It stinks up your clothing, it stinks up your home if you smoke inside the house, and it causes health issues like lung cancer, emphysema, and a host of other issues with long term use. The average lifespan for smokers is about ten years shorter than for those who do not smoke at all!

Also, a pack of name brand smokes, where I live, will cost you in the neighborhood of $7.00 thanks to all of the federal and state tobacco taxes. It’s clear; the best way to save money in this area is to never start smoking in the first place. If you already use tobacco then you should quite now and not only will you improve your overall health but you will save a ton of money in the process.

But this is not an article dedicated to the “anti-tobacco-smokers are bad” movement. You get enough of that crap on television with the “occupy types” who are on a mission to bash the greedy tobacco companies for trying to make a buck. You might be a smoker who has tried numerous times to kick the habit without success. Or maybe you just enjoy a good smoke and don’t have any intention of giving them up.

Either way, if you have limited funds to live on then you need to find ways to keep the government parasites out of your wallet. The same politicians who claim to be champions of the poor and the middle class are the same ones picking your pockets. After all, the majority of money spent on a pack of cigarettes goes directly into government coffers and since smokers are more likely to be in the lower income brackets, the taxes you pay on tobacco are basically just Taxes on the poor!

If you only spend $5.00 a day for a pack of cigarettes you are spending $1825 a year! That’s a hell of a lot of money to be shelling out just to put yourself into an early grave. Surely you can kill yourself much cheaper than this. If you were to switch to a cheaper brand that cost just $3.50 a pack you would be spending $1,277 annually. A savings of $547! I know that most no name cigarettes don’t taste as good as a Marlboro but with so many different generic brands out there today you can probably find one that you enjoy nearly as much.

If you want to cut the cost of your nicotine addiction even further then consider rolling your own. Buy tobacco in bulk and buy the boxes of cigarette “tubes” with filters already attached. You can have a smoke that is nearly as good as any ‘tailor made” cigarette you can buy for about $2.00 a pack or less. About $750 a year if you choose this route but you will still need a Rolling machine to assemble your smokes. This will cost you about $10.00 or so at any tobacco shop. Make sure you buy the kind specifically for the cigarette “tubes”. I’ve had several over the years that were pretty useless but the one made by Bugler works pretty good. Experiment with different types of tobacco and different tubes until you find a combination you like.

To reduce the costs of smoking even further consider growing your own tobacco. If you spent money on nothing but cigarette papers or filtered tubes then you could cut the cost of smoking to less than a $100 a year! Not quite as cheap as giving up the habit entirely but pretty damn close. Of course you would have to have the space available to grow a year’s supply of tobacco but maybe you can do some “gorilla” gardening. Most people probably wouldn’t know a tobacco plant from an eggplant so you wouldn’t have to worry much about Thieves stealing your crops. Grow a few plants in the vacant lot next to your home or on the edge of the creek running through town; use your imagination.

People looking for a good commodity to wheel and deal with after the economic crash should consider growing tobacco as it will be like gold. There’s still going to be nicotine addicts in the world and when hyperinflation kicks in, a pack “Camel mild’s “may sell for more than a hundred dollars! Anyone with a good supply of “gray market “cigs will be someone to know for those who still smoke. For anyone who is interested in growing tobacco for personal use or to use as a barter commodity after "Obama and friends" are through wrecking the economy should check out I just discovered this forum the other day but there’s a lot of good info related to the subject. Good luck  

Tex Dakota

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This Blog is insane

I don't know what the hell happened here but the blog has flipped out. Maybe the server had a brain fart or maybe I did something inadvertently. Whatever it was it has completely changed the style of the blog. I tried to create a certain look and style and now that has gone out the window.

But the good news is that the number of page views has shot through the roof! Before the hiccup Cheap-Ass-Living was up to about 450 page views per day. That was just a couple days ago. Yesterday I received 1466 page views. Today page views are already past 1600 and there are a couple hours to go. This all seams pretty crazy but I'm going to leave it like it is for now.

I'm not really sure if I like the Mosaic style or not however, but we'll see how it goes for a few days. Please let me know what you think. Do you like this style better or the old style. I think the old style was a bit hard on the eyes with white fonts on a black background but I really liked it. This one is kind of interesting but I'm not sure it suites my taste. Please give me your feedback before I try and change it back. 

Tex Dakota

Friday, January 18, 2013

The List (part 5)

Welcome to the fifth and last installment of the poor man’s survival list. There are fewer items in part five but the things listed here are the “fun” things every person concerned about surviving TEOTWAWKI will want to have. Okay, the machete is one of the fun things and it’s already been listed but anyway let’s get started.

27.    Maps and compass. When the apocalypse finally gets up off it’s lazy ass and decides to come calling you won’t be able to use the GPS function on your smart phone to find your way back home. Learn to navigate the old fashioned way with a map and compass. A compass is pretty damn cheap and you can get maps (right now) off of the internet for just about any area you can think of. Shure you know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west but that won’t help you when the sun isn’t shining. Spend a few bucks on a compass and practice using it.

 28.      Binoculars. It’s most certainly a good idea to see the zombies and cannibals before they see you. A decent pair of binoculars will allow you to observe the enemy up close without actually being up close. I’ve seen binoculars selling for as little as $13.00 and I’ve seen binoculars costing hundreds. I don’t think you should necessarily get the cheapest pair you can find but don’t go out and spend a week’s paycheck on a pair either. Buy a pair that is rugged and compact, and one that has a decent magnification.

29.      Knives. Of course you need knives around the house to cook and eat with but I’m talking about good solid knives you will need in a survival situation. A sturdy, dependable lock blade knife that is compact and concealable is extremely important and might save your life even before the world descends into complete chaos. I spent $15.00 a few weeks ago and bought a really nice blade that is spring loaded. It’s not a “switch blade “type of knife, which I believe is illegal  in most places, but with just a slight push with my thumb it snaps open and locks into place. A fixed blade survival knife that you can wear on your belt is pretty useful as well. Not just for defensive purposes but for skinning any critters you manage to trap or kill.

30.      Pepper spray. A small can of zombie repellant that you keep on your keychain is a good idea. Having this item on hand may prevent you from having to whip out your blade at all. At least it will buy you a few seconds to do so, which could mean the difference between life or death. Buy the strongest one you can find or you’ll just piss off any zombie attackers you encounter. Sabre red has good reviews on Amazon and is supposedly the brand police use.

31.      First aid kit. If you cut your thumb off while trying to skin an armadillo after TSHTF you won’t be able to run down to the emergency room. So it’s pretty important to have a good first aid kit on hand. You can buy a basic kit for less than ten dollars but one this cheap isn’t likely to be very useful. If you spend about twenty of thirty bucks for one you’ll have a much better kit. Don’t forget to buy a good first aid manual along with your kit so you’ll know basic first aid skills.

32.      Firearms. This is the last item on the list but certainly not the least important. If you do not currently own any firearms I would suggest that you get them now while the getting is still good. The gun grabbers are exploiting the tragedy in Connecticut for all it’s worth, and are trying to take away people’s right to defend themselves. I won’t get into the types of firearms you should own for several reasons. I will say this however.  You might not necessarily need enough guns to supply a militia but you should at least think about acquiring a good shotgun, a hunting rifle, and a decent handgun with some stopping power. And with the current atmosphere in Amerika regarding firearms It might not be a bad idea to purchase “back-ups”, which are not on any Government gun grabbing registration list, and Cache them away in a safe place. Don’t forget Ammunition! Get bullets-lots and lots of bullets. Firearms are worthless if you have no ammo for them. To anyone who is afraid of firearms all I can say is; don’t be such a pussy. Some day you might need a gun for your family’s protection but won’t be able to acquire one because you supported the gun grabbers.

Some final thoughts. This list is certainly not the “be all, end all” list of survival supplies. I could have easily created  one that’s 10 times as long. But in taking inventory of my personal level of preparedness these were some of the most important to me and my situation. Many of the items on my list I already  have and others I still need to acquire or add to. When creating your own survival list keep it as short as you can or else you’ll end up with a whole notebook full of stuff and you won’t know where to begin. Have an A list of the most critical supplies you feel you will need and a B list of things that would be nice but not absolutely essential.  Good luck!

Tex Dakota

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The List (part 4)

27.Boots/shoes. Most people don’t really put a whole lot of thought into footwear but you will likely be spending a good portion of your time on your feet in a SHTF situation so give some serious thought to it right now! A good pair of boots that are comfortable and durable is highly recommended. They won’t be cheap but a pair of high quality boots should last you several years. Also keep a couple of pairs of good sneakers around for backup. When the economy finally takes a big stinking dump on society you won’t have to worry about footwear for some time.

28.Sewing kit. This little item will set you back about one whole dollar. Let’s face it, the dollar is pretty damn worthless today but having the means to mend your clothing and make it last as long as possible is invaluable. A buck spent on a sewing kit from the dollar store is money well spent. In fact get two or three. When hyperinflation kicks in (and IT WILL kick in sooner or later because we are now past the point of no return) you won’t have to worry much about spending $100 on a shirt or $200 for a pair of pants. At least you won’t for several years. Hopefully by then prices and wages will stabilize.

29.Manuel clothes washing equipment. If you are still able to keep your clothing in good repair come doomsday then you will be ahead of the game but how the hell are you going to keep them reasonably clean and free from offending odors? Without preplanning you will either stink to high heaven or you will be down at the river all day beating your clothing on rocks. Neither is a good option after the hammer falls so consider what the hell you are going to do. A wash tub and a scrub board will do the trick or you can build you a “hillbilly washing machine” out of a five gallon bucket and a (new) toilet plunger. A mop wringer will get most of the water out of your laundry for you. Don’t forget cloths lines and clothes pins.

30.Personal hygiene items. Be sure to stockpile plenty of soap, laundry detergent, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. You won’t be able to visit a doctor or dentist when all hell breaks loose so try to stay as clean as you can and avoid any infections. A bad tooth will either kill you or make you wish you were dead so take care of them. Also think about toilet paper, which brings us to our next item

31.Emergency toilet. If the water is off you might not be able to flush the crapper. A five gallon bucket with a toilet seat attached to it can be used if needed. To eliminate any odors some people suggest covering your waste with sawdust each time you finish your business. Kitty litter will probably to the trick if you can’t locate enough sawdust in your particular area. Of course you should locate your emergency crapper in a shed or other out building if at all possible.

32.  Rain gear. While not an absolute necessity to keep you alive, rain gear (coat, hat, and boots) will keep you dry if you ever need to get the hell out of Dodge during bad weather. I bought a cheap rain “poncho”, and hat a few years ago for less than five bucks. Surely you can find decent rain gear, including boots for 20 or 30 dollars. If you are really poor then stash back a few garbage bags for this purpose.

33.Entertainments items. When the apocalypse finally arrives you may find yourself cooped up in the house waiting for the zombies to cannibalize each other and die off. This will probably be pretty boring. What are you going to do to pass the time? Make sure you have plenty of crap on hand like a deck of cards, your favorite board games, Crayons and coloring books for small kids, etc. Buy used paperback books from flea markets, yard sales, and thrift stores and you will not only have plenty of reading material for the apocalypse but plenty of paper to wipe your ass on once the supply of Toilet paper runs out.

Well that’s it for today boys and girls but I’ll be back soon with “The List” part 5.
Tex Dakota

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The List (part 3)

18.  Manual can opener. You might have several different ways to cook your food but you are still going to starve to death if you can’t get to it. A good manual can opener is a necessity and is something you may already have in your kitchen. This might seem like a trivial thing to include on this list but I’ve met numerous people over the years that only had an electric model in their home. You can buy a cheapie for a buck or two but in my experience a can opener that cheap is total crap. Spend at least five or six dollars for a decent one and you’ll have something you can actually use. It might also be a good idea to get a backup in case your main one breaks.

19.  Thermos bottle. Get at least one of these for every member of your home. When the power is out and you have no hot water on tap you’ll be glad you did. A good thermos bottle will keep its contents hot or cold for up to 24 hours which means you don’t have to build a fire every time you want a cup of coffee. You can also cook in one of these things saving you precious fuel. I have never done it so I can’t tell you how well it works but Google “thermos cooking method” and you shouldn’t have much trouble finding out the exact procedure.

20.  Pressure cooker. This is an item I don’t really see on a lot of survival supply list. It should be on your list however because It will save you much valuable time and resources. Cooking a pot of beans in the traditional manner will take you 3 to 4 hours. With a pressure cooker you can have them ready to eat in 15 or 20 minutes! Not only great to have around when TSHTF but good to have in the here and now to start saving money on gas/electricity. A small pressure cooker will probably cost between 20 and 30 dollars.

21.  Heat source. A good source of emergency heat in the home is usually near the top of anyone’s survival list. You don’t actually need a source of heat for your home if you have plenty of warm clothing and plenty of blankets/sleeping bags etc. I once lived in a building during the winter with no heat at all and survived the experience by “hibernating” when the temperature dropped below freezing. Having said that I would have killed for a source of heat other than what my body produced. A wood burning stove can be quite expensive but if you build your own it shouldn’t be too much. I’ve seen videos on YouTube of small homemade wood burners made out of ammo cans. If space is limited then something like this could be constructed and put away until needed.

22.  Fire wood. When the “S” actually does “H” the “F” you won’t be able to take a leisurely stroll through the countryside collecting firewood. Having enough wood on hand will see you through the initial stage of Armageddon without you having to burn all of your furniture for heat. Don’t forget a supply of good dry kindling. Cardboard is great and I’ve never had any trouble getting a fire going with little more than a couple pieces of cardboard.

23.  Axe. You might have been able to stockpile enough firewood to last your family a few weeks/months by collecting scrap lumber from alleyways and construction sites but you will run out. A good chainsaw with plenty of gasoline and oil will supply you with more but cannot be counted on to work when needed, so a good axe is a must have item if you want to keep using your wood stove. When the pioneers of yesteryear headed out into the unknown to carve out homesteads in the wilderness the most important tool they took along with them (next to their firearms) was an axe. This should cost you less than $20.00.

24.  Machete. You gotta love the machete. When the French slave masters on the island of Hispaniola started cracking the whip too hard in the early part of the nineteenth century the slaves revolted and let the inner savages come out. With nothing but their blood lust and the machetes they used to harvest sugar cane they were able to free themselves from slavery and take control of the shit hole we know as Haiti. The machete is still a favorite weapon amongst the savages in Africa to this day. Whole communities of rival tribes are hacked to pieces from time to time with machetes. You can use the machete as a weapon in a pinch if you have to, but I put it on the list mainly because of its usefulness in wilderness situations where you might need to hack your way through thick brush or collect fuel for a fire. About $10.00 for a cheapie at Wally’s Wide world of Junk.

25.  Bic lighters.  You have a wood burner for heat and a means to resupply it but unless you are able to build a fire then what’s the point? Very few people have the knowledge, or even the patience to build a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Bic lighters are cheap and you should stockpile a shitload of these marvelous little items. If you’re a cheap bastard like me you might be tempted to save 20 cents and buy the cheapie crack lighters. Don’t do it! Bic lighters are not that much more and they will last you much longer.

26.  Fire extinguisher. A good fire extinguisher is truly a must if you are heating your home with a wood stove. Try and call 911 after TSHTF to put out the fire and see how that goes. Safety is a big concern and you don’t want to be sitting out in the snow wondering where you are going to live when your house burns to the ground. Be smart and invest in a good fire extinguisher.

That’s it for part 3. Please come back for part 4.

Tex Dakota

Friday, January 11, 2013

The List (part 2)

 Before I get into part 2 of “the list” let me thank everyone who has taken the time to send an email or comment on a post. I don’t always get around to a reply but please know that I do read every single one. So let’s go ahead and continue.

10.  Radio. Although not as important as food and water, or personal protection against the elements, you need to know what the hell is going on with the outside world. A means of acquiring information about the movement of zombies is pretty damn important. A small AM/FM radio will provide you with news and entertainment, and is certainly better than nothing, but for as little as $30 you can purchase a multi band disaster radio that can be powered either with batteries, solar, or hand cranked. Reasonably cheap and a good investment to have on hand.

11.  Two way radios. Having a couple of hand held “walkie talkies” around will allow you to communicate with members of your family if you need to leave the house in search of supplies. During a natural disaster or true SHTF scenario cell phones will not work, either because everyone is trying to use the network at the same time or because the whole system has become completely inoperable. Keep in mind however that your communications are not private. Also take into consideration the fact that a lot of other people could be using two way radios for the same reasons you are. Lots of traffic to be sure but still useful and worth having.

12.  Batteries. There’s no reason to have L.E.D lanterns and walkie talkies if you can’t use them so take inventory of all your survival gear and get plenty of batteries for everything. Personally I just buy the cheapie dollar store batteries for my everyday use but cheap batteries do not store well, long term. Cheapie batteries will start to discharge and corrode if not used within a short period of time, whereas, brand new, name brand batteries like Duracell have a shelf life of several years.

13.  Solar Battery Charger. If you are serious about long term SHTF situations and not just localized natural disasters it’s probably a good idea to invest in a solar battery charger. I have seen them on eBay and Amazon for less than $30. The reviews I’ve read were mixed but even if it took you a couple of days to get a full charge then you will still have flashlights and radios that work. Don’t forget to buy a couple of sets of rechargeable batteries for each device you need to power. A bit on the expensive side with the charger and batteries but pretty damn useful for extended and wide spread Disasters.

14.  Grill. Unless you have a five year stash of emergency M.R.E’s you will need a means of cooking your food. A small “Hibachi “type of grill can be put away and forgotten about until needed. Small, cheap grills can be had from the dollar store for less than $15.00 and are great to cook with when the power is down. Most people reading this probably have some type of grill on their balcony or in their backyard already, and if so the cost of this survival item is zero.

15.  Camping stove. Cooking out on the grill is relaxing and will get the job done in most cases but using a grill produces smoke, and in certain situations you will not want to alert the zombies of your presence. A small two burner camping stove will not only allow you to cook without producing smoke but it will give you instant fire to heat up water, etc. You can buy one that uses either liquid fuel or propane. Personally I like the propane models. Thirty to forty bucks for this item but well worth it.

16.  Fuel for camping stove. Just like a radio with no batteries, a camping stove will do you no good if you have don’t have any fuel for the thing so stock up on this item. The small bottles of propane seem a bit expensive when you start thinking about a large emergency supply, but you don’t need to run out and purchase a whole years’ worth all at once. A couple of bottles every week or two won’t cost a whole lot and after a few months your emergency supplies will start to really add up.

17.  Solar oven. Another piece of equipment you should think about is a solar cooker. No smoke and free fuel from the sun. In fact you will have free energy to cook with for the next billion years or so- give or take a few centuries. The only problem with a solar cooker is the fact that you can’t use the damn thing unless it’s reasonably warm outside and the sun is shining. It’s still useful however and will help stretch your supplies of propane and/or firewood much further. You can build one that works reasonably well out of little more than cardboard, a sheet of glass, and a bottle of glue. There are numerous plans for solar cookers and other related information floating around the internet. This should cost you very little money.

That’s it for now but please come back for part 3 of the poor man’s survival list.

Tex Dakota

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Poor Man's Survival list (part 1)

With the coming “dark ages” which are most certainly to descend upon the United States (and the rest of the world) sometime within the next few years it is imperative to start thinking about basic survival plans before the situation deteriorates much further. 

If at all possible you should secure a warehouse somewhere and stockpile it with every conceivable item you could possibly need for the rest of your entire life. But just who the hell can do that? If you’ve got millions upon millions of dollars it’s feasible, but very few people have that kind of money. Does that mean only the wealthy deserve to live?

Of course not. But what the hell are you to do? Here lately I’ve been looking at a lot of “list” on the internet, which people have posted, of crap you should stockpile for an emergency. There are many lists around and you should have no problem finding them. The only trouble is that most of the crap on these lists is useless! Anyone can make a list (and many people have) but that doesn’t really mean everything on it is worth a rat’s ass when it comes to survival.

I came up with my own list of basic supplies that someone with very little money can put together and weather 95% of the possible SHTF scenarios they might conceivably encounter. Of course this is just a list and you should take that into consideration when putting together your own plan for surviving the coming apocalypse. But anyway, here it is.

1.      Food. You can’t survive without food for very long so you should keep on hand enough grub to survive for at least 30 days. This an absolute minimum but a 30 day supply of food, per person, will at least keep you going through any event like a natural disaster. A thirty day supply will ensure that you don’t have to stand in the FEMA lines with the zombies for free government cheese and other GIBS. This doesn’t really cost you anything at all above and beyond what you normally consume so long as you stockpile foods you already eat, and you rotate your stock. 30 days is great, 90 days’ worth of food is better, and 6 months’ worth of food is more than 99% of people have on hand. The more the better.

2.      Water. You can survive a hell of a lot longer without food than you can water. This is why survivalist seem to overemphasize the storage of this most basic of necessity. Personally I feel it is much better to hone your skills at finding water and rendering it safe for human consumption. In fact if you can only learn one skill that will better your odds at survival then you should learn how to find water and make it safe for human consumption. As far as water “storage” goes you should have a gallon, per day, per person. 30 days minimum will see you through any local disasters but your water procurement skills are what will keep you alive indefinitely.

3.      Water filter. After you’ve consumed your storage water you are still going to need this basic necessity of life or you will die within days. A decent water filter will help you to render water you procure safe to consume. Just finding water in a puddle somewhere and running it through a filter will not make it 100% safe to drink but it will eliminate most pollutants such as heavy metals, etc. You should still boil all water used for drinking and cooking if at all possible. A good filter is still recommended and will save much time in purifying your water.

4.      Multivitamins. A good multi vitamin every day is a very cheap means to ensure you suffer no sickness due to malnutrition. A six month supply, per person, for every member of your family is pretty cheap and will go a long way in securing your health in a true SHTF situation. A year’s supply is much better but remember that vitamins have an expiration date so rotate your stock.

5.      Warm clothing. Next to food and water you must stay warm against the elements. If you have plenty to eat and enough clean water to drink it will do you no good if you freeze to death. You need plenty of warm clothing. Thick and heavy coats, gloves, mittens, head gear, and thermal underwear should all be on your list. A good pair of coveralls is great as well. You more than likely have most of these items already so just take inventory and add to it as soon as you can.

6.      Blankets and sleeping bags. Plenty of warm clothing will keep you alive but to be comfortable when you sleep you should have lots of blankets and/or a good sleeping bag. Blankets and quilts can be quite expensive but if you go with the cheap wool blankets you can buy large quantities for little money and have plenty on hand. A good sleeping bag is even more important than blankets. Buy one for every member of your household and get one rated for the lowest possible temperature you might encounter in your particular region.

7.      Flashlights. Having a good flashlight on hand during emergencies is essential. Personally I love Maglite’s. They are on the expensive side for flashlights but they are nearly indestructible. Whatever you get make sure they are durable and use L.E.D bulbs. Every member of your household should have their own flashlight. A good “Headlamp” type of flashlight is good to have as well and will free up both hands for carrying gear and supplies when needed.

8.      Candles. Plenty of candles on hand will ensure that you always have a low tech means of lighting your humble abode. Candles have no expiration date and can be stashed back for years and years until needed. Candles are relatively cheap as well. I have a five gallon bucket nearly full of candles. For several months I spent two or three dollars a week on those tiny tea light candles. A pack of thirty cost about $2.00 at the dollar store. A pretty cheap means to guarantee that you have at least “some” light during a grid down situation.

9.      L.E.D. lanterns. Candles will provide you with enough light to ensure that you don’t trip over the coffee table in the dark but for things like reading they aren’t very good. A good L.E.D lantern will allow you to have much more light than a candle or two will provide. I had a couple of Coleman L.E.D lanterns that put out 200 lumens each, and were rated at 144 hours of continuous use. I made the mistake of leaving them at my zombie hideout and they were stolen when someone broke in and trashed the place. A couple of good durable lanterns doesn’t cost a whole lot and should be on every ones disaster preparedness list.

NOTE this article is starting to get a bit long so I am breaking it up into two (or maybe three) different parts.

Tex Dakota

Friday, January 4, 2013

Extended vacation

Wouldn’t it be great to suddenly come into a large amount of money and never have to work for anyone else ever again? You would have the freedom you need to travel around the world, visiting all of the famous places you’ve only seen on T.V. or in the movies. The pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel tower, and a thousand other places on our planet would be your playground. Well you’re not rich so you might as well forget about it, right? Not necessarily.

You might not have the money you need to travel the planet, living in expensive hotels and dining in five star restaurants every night but it is entirely possible to travel around the United States and see all that this country has to offer. And it is entirely possible to do it with very little money.

One way to do this is of course to become a hobo, riding the rails, sleeping in train yards and under bridges, not knowing where your next meal is going to come from. You could do this with almost no money at all! But who the hell wants to be a bum? That’s no kind of life and any enjoyment you had, seeing new places and traveling the country, would be more than offset by the misery you had to endure.

There has to be a comfortable “middle ground” that a person of limited means can utilize to achieve this goal-and there is. The answer “me Amigo” is to become a van dweller. Purchase a good used van and live in it as you travel the land, taking in all of the sights our once glorious nation has to offer. The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, all of our beautiful national parks and a thousand other destinations are totally within your budget, even if you’re dirt poor and currently making minimum wage at the local Crusty Crap burger.

The main expense you would need to account for is fuel and insurance. Maintenance and repairs to your little home on wheels would also have to be taken into account.  But you could easily survive on $500 a month. You wouldn’t even have to save up the full amount of money you need beforehand. Once you have a couple thousand bucks in the bank you could live for several months before you would need more funds.

Get a job for a month or two, save up some more cash, and move on down the road to your next adventure. I’ve often thought of doing this and may well do it sometime in the future. That is if the price of gasoline doesn’t go up to levels that would make it too impractical. Right now though it’s possible, even with the ridiculous prices we are paying in this country. Right now you can live cheap as hell and have a life full of fun and excitement kicking around the country.

I did live in a van for three months one time, and I didn’t have a whole lot of fun but I wasn’t really prepared to do so. I just threw an air mattress in the back of the van and blacked out the windows with cardboard. If I ever do it again I would certainly spend a couple hundred bucks converting a van into a mini mobile home. The time and effort would certainly be worth it. Vans are pretty cheap as well. You could easily find one in your local paper or on Craigslist and do a complete conversion for less than $2000 total. The van I stayed in was a 1990 Chevy Astro van and it only set me back $750. I drove that thing for more than a year, spending little more what it cost for gas.

Of course the next biggest expense you would need to budget for would be food. But this is an area where you can really save if you are frugal. Don’t eat out at restaurants but consume only meals you cook yourself in your converted van. Dumpster dive free food whenever possible, Stock up on cheap foods like beans and rice. Hell, eat at the Salvation Army whenever you can! You don’t have to spend a fortune on groceries unless you just have to have steak and lobster every night. But what is the goal here? To die an early death do to heart failure from eating to much red meat or to travel around and see the world on the cheap?

If this is something you’ve ever considered then you should start your journey by checking out the web sites “Cheap RV Living” and “Cheap green RV living”. You can either Google them or go to my links page to find them. These sites are pretty damn cool and will have you daydreaming about leaving the rat race behind and becoming a modern Nomad. They have a lot of great crap about converting a van and how you deal with things like electricity, taking a shower, where to park, etc.

There’s no need to live a miserable life stuck in a dead end job until the day you die. Many options exist in this world and this is only one of them. We make choices every day and if you don’t like the ones you made this morning then make different ones tomorrow. Good luck and have fun!

Tex Dakota

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

DoubleYour MPG part two

Now that you have the basics of hypermiling down it’s time to hunt for a Cheap-Ass car that will assist you in pushing the bounds of fuel efficiency to unimaginable levels. No hybrids will be on this list as the technology is just too damn expensive for the dirt poor dude to afford. Believe it or not you can find older model cars that have an EPA Hwy rating of 50 miles per gallon! A car with that kind of fuel economy isn’t going to be a rocket by any means but with the money you save at the pump, who cares! Let’s take a look at a few of these cars and see if they are for you.

Honda Civic CRX HF. This little two seater was manufactured between 1984 and 1991. It has a three cylinder engine that produces a whopping 62 horses. It will only go from 0 to 60 in 12 seconds but with an EPA rating of 51mpg highway and 42 city you can drive this thing for a long time before it starts to put a serious dent in your wallet.

Since it only has two seats it’s not likely to be your go-to family car to take little Timmy and little Suzy out to Chucky Cheese on the weekends. It can be a very economical, all-weather commuter car though. When looking for a Honda civic CRX make sure it is actually the HF model, which stands for “high fuel efficiency”. The regular CRX has a four cylinder engine and doesn’t get the mileage of the HF, though I would imagine you would still get a pretty decent MPG.

Honda VX hatchback. If you just really have to take little Timmy and little Suzy to Chucky Cheese to shut em the hell up then Look for a good VX hatchback from Honda. Not only does this thing get an estimated 50 MPG highway and 39 MPG city, you’ll be able to swing by the local Piggly Wiggly and load up all the food waste from their dumpster after you’ve blown the weeks food budget at Chucky Cheese. I believe this car was produced from 1992 to 1995 which means you may have an easier time finding one (as opposed to the CRX HF) in decent shape.

Geo Metro.  This car was produced from 1989 to 2001. When introduced it had an EPA estimated 43 MPG city and 52 highway! In 1995 they changed the body style and I think the fuel economy dropped a bit but it’s still close enough to call it a 50 MPG car. Since it was manufactured for twelve years there are still plenty of them on the road. They were considered “throw away” cars by many people so be careful when evaluating a used Metro as a lot of folks didn’t bother with proper maintenance. I have actually been thinking about finding and buying one of these little tin cans instead of a motorcycle. With a five speed Metro, practicing hypermile strategies; it should be possible to get close to 70 MPG!

Chevy sprint. This is the predecessor to the Metro. Like the Metro it was designed by Suzuki for GM. And like the Metro it came with a 1.0 liter, three cylinder engine and was able to achieve 44 MPG city and 53 MPG highway. Since it was only produced for two or three years in the 1980’s there aren’t many of them on the road. But if you’ve got a knack for fixing automobiles you may be able to find one for a few hundred bucks and use your skills to bring it back to life.

VW Rabbit. These ugly little metal beast used to be quite common on the roads of the United States. Way back in the 1980’s Volkswagen sold a butt load of these weird little eco boxes on the American shores and you can still see them putting down the street from time to time. Most of them are gone now but if you can find one with a diesel power plant under the hood you can achieve a fuel economy that exceeds 50 MPG. In fact any VW with a diesel engine is a good bet for high fuel efficiency.

Diesel fuel is higher in price than gasoline but it’s entirely possible to run one on waste vegetable oil from your local “Clown Burger” fast food emporium. The only problem with that idea is that now days everyone and his grandmother knows about homemade bio-diesel. As fuel prices shoot up due to peek oil, inflation, President Obutthole limiting exploration, etc., you won’t be able to count on free veggie oil for your diesel powered car. In fact if times get too hard you might see parasitic local governments declaring used fryer grease from restaurants “municipal property”, and anyone caught collecting it will be thrown into jail. Still it might be something worth looking into. Some other cars that might get you high mileage are

Daihatsu Charade. I’ve read comments on other blogs that people were getting 55 MPG with this car but I don’t know if they were getting that using extreme hypermiling strategies or what. I don’t remember the last time I even saw a Daihatsu either so good luck on that one.

Nisson 200 SX. Again, I don’t know what the EPA estimates are or how these people were driving them but I’ve read comments of people who claimed they were getting around 45 miles per gallon.

Ford Fiesta You can probably expect 40 plus miles to the gallon on the highway with one of these, in good condition, with normal driving. Good Hypermiling techniques should push that up into the 50 MPG plus area.

These are just a few of the most fuel efficient autos one can find to help mitigate the financial rape we are subjected to at the gas pump these days. This list is by no means complete, and there are a lot more cars that have been produced over the years that will get you a fuel economy in the mid to upper 40’s, on the Hwy, with standard driving techniques alone. Find yourself one of these autos and practice hypermiling. Not only will you double your current MPG, but you might just triple it!