Article Submitted by Brian S. Kiefat @ The Ready Center
Thanks for checkin back in with The Ready Center for your next installment of “Prepping on $20 a Paycheck.” I apologize for not getting this out to you sooner, but I just got back from Kenai, Alaska where I was fishing using a technique called “dip-netting”. You literally stand chest deep in a river while holding a 20 foot pole with a 5 foot fishing net on the end. The goal is to try to catch the salmon as they swim out of the ocean and into the river system. For the sake of keeping this story short, I’ll just say that it’s something I’ll never forget and gladly do again anytime. If you ever get the chance to give it a try it, don’t even think twice. Just do it.
As for what’s going on in the preparedness world, this pay period we are trying to prepare you for the most common after-effect of almost every major disaster out there: the loss of power. And more specifically, the lack of lighting that comes with it.
Yes, flashlights have already been covered in a previous article, but we strongly recommend you have more than just one option for lighting when the grid goes down. Flashlights can malfunction, break, or be misplaced. Batteries can go dead. But one thing that always works during a power outage is fire. That’s why we strongly suggest you invest your $20 on an oil lamp, a jug of lamp oil, an extra wick, 1 pack of tea light candles, and a 2 pack of Bic lighters.
First of all, let’s get to the nitty gritty: prices. We tried to keep things simple for ya so you didn’t end up spending a full day running around town trying to find this stuff. Lucky for you, we were able to find everything on our list at the local Walmart store, which should make it easier on you. The prices are as follows:
Oil Lamp – $7
64 oz. Jug Lamp Oil – $8
Extra Wick – $0.75
50 Pack of Tea Light Candles – $2.50
2 Pack Bic Lighters – $2
Grand Total: $20.25
Considering all the stuff you’re going to take home from this $20 purchase, you should be feeling pretty darn good. You’re getting a lot of supplies for not a whole lot of money. This should make you feel good. As for the supplies, here’s why you need them:
Oil Lamp – This will light a surprisingly large area. Just be sure to get one with a handle so that you’re able to move it when you want. Also make sure it has chimney to protect the flame from damaging property or persons. Using this will not only provide ample light for the immediate area, but it can also be used to supplement the heat in a small room as well as a hand warmer around the chimney area. Just take care not to burn yourself.
64 0z Jug of Lamp Oil – Without this stuff, your oil lamp is useless. Be sure to store the lamp oil with the lamp at all times. Being able to only find one and not the other during an emergency makes them both useless and will only compound an already frustrating situation. The other advantage to storing them both together is to stop you from having utterly STUPID ideas such as trying to burn gasoline, deisel, rubbing alcohol, or any other combustable in your oil lamp. DON”T TRY IT unless you want it to explode in your face and injure everyone around you. Have lamp oil and store it with your lamp. End of conversation.
Extra Wick – Nothing lasts forever, not even the wick on your oil lamp. And as luck usually goes, your wick just may disappear on you when you need it most. That’s why we recommend having a back-up. Having a second wick for back-up is just plain smart whether you end up using it or not. And for only $0.75 each, it’s simply foolish not to have a spare. Like the old saying goes: Better to have and not need, than to need and not have.
50 Pack of Tea Light Candles – This should be your third proactive response to loss-of-lighting issues (actually fourth if your emergency radio has a light on it). While your oil lamp will produce light and mild heat for your main living area, using smaller tea light candles in other corners of the house will make a dramatic difference in a rooms brightness and warmth. Especially if you’re able to place them in open areas and near mirrors. Just be sure to keep them away from high traffic areas and out of the reach of pets and children. Another cool thing about the 50 pack of Tea Light Candles is that when you break it down, they only cost $0.05 a piece. I dare you to try to find any other prepping item that has such a great pay off, yet costs only pennies…
2 Pack Bic Lighters – The main use should be obvious: You need to light the lamp wick and tea light candles. But we chose the 2 Pack Bic lighters for two other reasons. 1 – They are better built and higher quality than the no-name generic lighters that you can buy for less. The Bic lighters don’t seem to break and the fluid seems to last much longer for some reason. So spend the extra dollar and buy Bic. 2 – When you buy the 2 pack, you’ll not only have a lighter for lighting your lamp, candles, propane stove, heater, camp fire, etc. but you’ll have a spare in the event of X, Y, or Z unfortunately happens to your first lighter. Again, Better to have and not need, than to need and not have.
Well, that wraps up another session of “Prepping on $20 a Paycheck”. We appreciate your input and support. Please let us know what you thought by commenting below. Until next time…
The Ready Center