Monday, November 11, 2013

In the beginning (part 4)...

There were three things that really helped to establish how I approached my preparations. Budgeting, challenges and goal setting...
These things help me stay very focused on what I am doing. It allows me to be actually be doing stuff, working towards our goals every week. Not haphazardly, doing things here and there.
Very early on, I started working with a specific percentage of my income to be dedicated to my prep's.
My budgeting started out something like this, 10% for my tithe, then 10% for prepping & 10% for savings. The savings would be cash on hand for big purchases (i.e. Zaycon chicken or sales on canning jars, lids). Then I used the other 70% for everyday, monthly expenses. When that runs out, I am done. This extra 10% for saving quickly added up. We also have worked towards having a least two months cash on hand at all times in case there is some type of financial collapse (either the government, banks or loss of our jobs).
NOTE: If you have a belief system that doesn't believe in tithing, I still encourage you to develop the habit of giving to others. It is my opinion that whether it is tzedakah or mitzvah  (I hope I am getting the terms correct, if not please forgive me), or simply giving to charity; I think it changes your outlook in life.
Next, I like challenging myself (and others). I once took a challenge where I was only allowed to spend $250 for one month. It was a very eye opening experience. After pre-paying the monthly bills (which we were allowed to do),
What I learned from this challenge, was that there was a lot of extraneous spending in my life. For example, I ate out several times a week. Since then, I may still get take out or delivery, but it is only maybe once or twice a month max. What changed at that point, was I decided I could truly budget 20% of my income for prepping. I have learned something every time I take a challenge.
Next, I settled in on setting monthly goals.
I quickly decided to establish monthly goals. Each month there is a goal of “Meat (canning) & Something else”. Here are some examples from last year, when I was getting started.
November: “Meats & Thanksgiving items”, this would be all the items I use for our traditional Thanksgiving meal. Like right now, I am buying (and storing) various items like, pineapple, mandarin oranges, marshmallows, nuts, cranberry sauce, etc. Plus, this is my second year doing this, so I will be testing out what I stored last year.
December: “Meat & Christmas items”, this included our traditional Christmas Eve party of special foods. On Christmas Eve we each get to choose a couple items that we just don't get through out the year, either because they are generally too expensive or they don't fit into our lifestyle now.
January: “Meat & Water (storage containers & filtration)”
February: “Meat & canning butter”
March: “Meat (corned beef and cabbage, Zaycon chicken breasts) and waxing cheese”.
I plan based on seasonal sales & what I want to learn next (I have an ongoing list of things to learn).
It has been very helpful for me to post my goals at the beginning of the month & a review at the end of the month. Doing this keeps me accountable. I focus on posting the things that I am actually doing and don't post a lot cutesy stuff or re-posts of things I am not doing.
I think one of the biggest steps is actually deciding to make preparing a priority in your life and then doing something about it.
I am extremely dedicated to helping the newbie get started. Since we are on this journey together, I will throw this challenge out there: Are you ready to get dedicated to your preparations? How do you plan on doing that?

Here are links to the first three parts of how I got started:

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