Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller
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Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller

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  • Want help with Decluttering Decissions? Toss this. Keep that.

    Surviving on Shoestrings: Throw away cartoon

    In the last episode of "Surviving On Shoestrings" that aired Monday 2/3/104 I took on an article which I had recived via email.  It was supposed to help me to declutter.  Well, it didn't really track with me too well.

    Decluttering Decisions are always a bit overwhelming. If you lisent, you'll hear my thought process as I discusses how to evaluate what to keep and what to throw away in order to have an orderly home and yet still have what you need on hand when you need it.

    Want more great radio shows from top femail hosts?  Sure you do...hahaha. Listen to my friends here:

    Stop by and connect with me on Facebook too!

    Best Blessings,

    Donna Miller 

  • Preparedness Giveaway - a chance to win one of 3 prizes!



    I am part of "The Preparedness Blogging Brigade" and we have teamed up with some great companies to bring you this mega giveaway just in time for Christmas.

    If I'm being totally honest, sometimes I struggle with being part of the Blogging Brigade because it means that I can't enter to win these cool prizes. Sad But then again - I love that we can offer them to YOU! I want you to win these (I mean, FREE is a great way to stretch dollars isn't it?), get prepared or share as a gift with someone who needs to be more prepared but cannot afford it. So I'm happy to pass this up and pass this on. Cool

    The giveaway begins December 2, 2013 and ends on December 9, 2013 at 11:59pm. The winners will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn.

    There will be 3 different winners.

    Preparedness Christmas Giveaway

    First Prize Package:

    Stainless Steel-Large Kelly Kettle (Complete Kit): A perfect item for survival or camping kits. Includes the cooking pot, pot support, grill, and pot gripper/handle.

    AquaBrick Kit 2000K: A fast flowing gravity fed water filter: The AquaBrick will safely filter 2000 gallons of water and is portable. The AquaBrick removes waterborne microbial and viral pathogens, spores and heavy metals. It also removes hydrocarbons, radiation, fluoride, chlorine and other harmful substances.

    Second Prize Package

    WonderMill Wonder Junior Deluxe: Largely regarded as the best hand mill, this grain mill comes with both stone and stainless steel milling heads, a wide double clamp, four guides, and a cleaning brush. Personal note - we own this mill and I LOVE it!

    Honeyville Grain Case of Hard Red Wheat: The core of most prepper's food storage is wheat. An entire case contains 6 #10 cans and is perfect for long term storage or to use as soon as it arrives.

    Third Prize Package

    Royal Berkey System: The Royal Berkey will safely filter untreated water at the rate of about 4 gallons an hour. It comes with two filters, serves 2-6 people, and holds approx 3.25 gallons. The Royal Berkey system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites along with pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, and radon 222 trihalomethanes.

    MultiFlame Mini Tool: The MulitFlame Mini Tool from Trayer Wilderness is a 6" fire piston and so much more. You can start a fire, clean your pistol, use as a screwdriver or anything else that fits a 1/4 in hex bit.

    All you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter form linked below by signing in with your Facebook account or email address. (We'll need this info in order to contact you if you win.)

    After getting to the Rafflecopter form below - Start by clicking Easy Entry for Everyone (no social media accounts required) below and after that each +1 that you click adds another entry and raises your chances to win!

    The giveaway begins December 2, 2013 and ends on December 9, 2013 at 11:59pm. The winners will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn. You must be 18 years or older to enter.

    Prizes will be shipped to U.S. residents only. Residents of other countries may enter but are responsible for paying the shipping cost.

    Best of success to you!!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • How to save on gasoline


    Do y'all remember the 'gas pill' that was sold all over the place a few years back?  It hit the peak of popularity when gas prices had soared to some of their highest in years!  The premis was that you put this pill in your gas tank and it made the gas last longer (I'm simplifying it).  The truth was found out shortly after the mega-hit sensation was found to completely ruin your gas line and thus car.  

    The 'gas pill' had a sad ending, but a true attempt at the root: We want/need to curb our gas use/expense in the USA.

    Not as quick of a fix as the 'gas pill' promise is a tried and true list of 'forming new habits as it relates to gasoline.  Sometimes we simply do 'this' or 'that' out of habit and time constraints that with just a little tweaking and thinking on these habitual actions we can save a bundle.  Making that tank of gas go further, last longer and more efficiently is the goal.  Looking at how we use, over use and spend our expensive gas, in ways we may not even realize it can help us all save money and stretch this consumable resorce. 

    This topic was the focus for yet another short (30 minute) episode of Surviving on Shoestrings.  I hope you can take a moment to listen and pick up some new ideas and form new habits to help you make the gas in your tank take you farther, last longer and cost you less. 

    Surviving on Shoestrings: Gasoline savings tips

    Also you can keep updated about shows as they air by coming to "LIKE" my Surviving on Shoestrings Facebook Page

  • Curbing Clothing Costs

    clothing costThere is a little bit more to curbing the cost of clothing than just 'buy it used'.  While that has an impact of on cost and is a foundational element the topic goes much farther than that. 

    You can listen to this recent episode of Surviving on Shoestrings to hear my heart and take on the matter and find out:

    • Where to buy it used for the best quality.
    • Difference between Consignment Shops, Thrift Stores and Garage/Yard Sales and Hand-me-downs.
    • Knowing what you need when you find the deal.
    • Methods on how to shop at each place.
    • Knowing sizes without other family members being with you.
    • Used shoe buying measurements.
    • How to check out the clothing.
    • How to care for the cloting once you own it.
    • What really is that LINT in the dryer?
    • Learn basic sewing skills.
    • Marking clothing to hand down.

    I go into greater detail on the audio linked above. Hopefully you can hear how we've done it and glean some additional tips for curbing your clothing cost for you and your family.

  • Dumpster Diving

    dumpster-CC-okayedReally? Who would go dumpster diving?  At one time, I might have turned up my nose at the thought of it... but after losing everything material that we'd worked for years, I have to say, I've a new found admiration for this humble and lost art.  It can be done without disgrace. 

    In this episode of Surviving on Shoestrings  I go over some of my favorite finds that would have been considered 'trash'. I've found things from a high-chair that served all of our kids (and later a stuffed teddy bear) to recycle bin diving to pack items for storage/moving/selling when we lost our home.  I also go through some do's and don'ts if you're new to the adventure that is dumpster diving!

    I hope you'll listen to the show because I tend to talk more from the heart when I speak and it's my desire to help others who may be struggling and barely getting by... it does get better...even if it's not financially much better...things do get better and you can have FUN in this process.

    I'd love to hear from you - please comment below.  I may read your comment as an update on an upcoming radio show!  Who knows who else YOU may encourage and inspire!

    Have you ever gone dumpster diving?  Was there something that drove you to this choice or did you simply have a light bulb go on in your head that it was a viable idea? Please share your story!

  • Controlling the Food Budget

    Maybe we're just weird or we eat differently than most people, but the food budget is one of the most controlable things our household. All it takes is a little focus and creativity. In this episode of Surviving on Shoestrings, I share my methods and strategies to tame the food cost beast.

    Methods such as: A Cost Book, sale buying with discount coupons, doing away with unhealthy food and convenience food,more affordable alternatives, gardening, harvesting and preserving, purchasing generic items, damaged or sell-by-date sales, delicatessens ends, consuming even more plant based meals,consuming more soups, one dish wonders and stir-fry, make dishes from scratch, re-purposing left-overs, make use of every little thing, frugal snacking makes sense, serving sizes, product comparison and exactly the best ways to begin bulk purchasing.

    We've had to stretch what we've had for so long - that I hope our lessons learned can help you too!

  • When financial struggles impact the kids

    Try as we may or hope as we like - it is a fact: Financial struggles impact the kids. The biggest problem is we may not know exactly in what way?  The outcome of the impact could be positive or negative - and only time will tell.

    I know that when our kids were very small, we were very poor. We really didn't realize just how poor until we found out our income was about 10% below the poverty line at the time.  We just lived as best we could and created a home on what we had.  Those financial struggles had a very positive impact on our kids as they grew. We went through a period of monetary stability and growth for a while even without them realizing a difference.

    On the contrary, when we again we faced even more difficult times during their pre-teen and teen years, we saw that some of our actions and some of how they reacted from our struggles as parents seemed to have a more negative affect on the kids.

    It's not all about the bottom line when you're struggling.... there is always a ripple effect.  Kids often get caught in the current that we create.

    It's so hard to get this heartfelt topic across and be transparent in writing - so I hope you'll listen to this radio show that aired last week and get a better feel for what can't quite be shared in a blog post.

    Humbly submitted in hopes it will help someone...


    About the author and show hostess:

    Donna Miller is blessed to be the wife of  28 years with the love of her life Joseph, the mother of three home-school graduates and has one daughter-in-law.

    She is the hostess of three radio shows:  “Surviving on Shoestrings” The Survival Mom Network, “Your Preparation Station” on the Preparedness Radio Network and “Encouragement in the Kitchen”.

    She and her husband are the Organizers of WNC Preparedness Group in Asheville, NC.  She is an Adjunct Instructor for Frontier Christian University. She teaches local classes & ladies retreats for people to learn hands-on lost skills. She has been a both guest and host on internet and broadcast radio talk-shows and in television interviews. She is a teacher, author, sought-after speaker and trainer.

    She and her husband are the owners of Millers Grain House and the Always Ready Store and are the founders of PREPARE Magazine.  Through each endeavor they hope to offer readiness and simple living tips to spread the message of preparedness through Faith, Family and Fun not fear.

    Get to know Donna a little more and pick up some more budget stretching tips by watching and subscribing to these video channels:

    Millers Grain House Video Archives - Real food and ideas on a real tight budget!

    Your Preparation Station - Bugging-in - our real life adventure while stretching funds!


  • Making it without an income....

    Stretching our dollars (and of course referring to this wonderful forum, website and newsletters) has been a way of life for us for about a decade now.  During which we spent an entire year without any regular income coming in. 

    I recently referenced this in a previous episode of my half hour radio show and received a letter from a listener inquiring if I could elaborate further.  There was the questions in her mind and then I thought most likely in the minds of others who listen or are facing a similar struggle.  Questions like:

    •    Did we live off of our savings?  
    •    Did we go on a government program? 
    •    What did we do?

    As I ran through the history of that year and began to write her dawned on me it was easier to have a 'conversation' and talk about it than it was to formulate an entire year's journey in writing.  Thus it became the next episode.  Listen to the link if you'd like to know how we made it an entire year without stable income. It is my hope that this will encourage you if you are facing a similar issue or encourage you to prepare just in case one day you may be in that situation yourself.

    Surviving on Shoestrings – Episode 4: Answering a listener’s email. “How did you make it without income?”



  • Announcing Surviving on Shoestrings Radio Show

    You may enjoy checking out the new reguarl weekly radio show that I do called "Surviving on Shoestrings". 

    Of course it focuses on stretching what we've got!  So it's on topic to this blog as well. I'm delighted to be one of the hostesses on The Survival Mom Radio Network and hope my 'out of the box' look at stretching things to make the most of your budget will giv you more ideas!

    Each episode will cover a discussion or brainstorming session on how to stretch money or what's on hand while preparing for a precarious future.  


    Episode 1 - Let’s get to know each other! covered:

    • What will the weekly show be about?
    • Who is the host and why would you want to listen to me of all people anyways?
    • What experiences I’ve had and learned from. Trial by fire and mistakes.
    • Some money saving, dollar stretching and joyful outlook tips.


    Episode 2 -  Let’s Do Laundry and Save!  covered:

    What does it really cost to do laundry the typical way?

    • Is this one of those ‘controllable’ expenses?
    • Indoor lines, laundry mats and stains – oh my.
    • Does wear and tear really factor in to your laundry plan?


    This week -  Episode 3 - Limited budget & food restrictions 

    Author, Janet Leibsch who wrote “It’s a Disaster…what are YOU gonna do about it?” joins me to talk about budget stretching tips for everything from emergency kits to special food restriction prepping. Free e-book download


    I hope you'll tune in - and I'll post more detailed written info here on this blog (that I may have forgotten or had to have edited out for time). So I hope we can stay connected. Together we’ll look outside the box to stretch what we have, make do and get by with humor, style and a smile.

  • Talk about a good deal? Free digital Magazine.

    Easy to subscribe on line.  All that's needed is your name and email address. 

    Each month you'll find a link in your inbox to the montly issue of PREPARE Magazine.  

    Each month focuses on a theme to help you become more self-sustaining and simplify your life while preparing for an uncertain future.  Written by those who are on the journey of being self-reliant and driven by the desire to help others along the way, the mission of PREPARE Magazine will always be to encourage as many people as possible.  What better way to do that than to always have a version that will be free!

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