What Did You Prep This Week?

Walk With God

I am still not where I want to be but I did a little better this week in my walk with God. I only missed two days of Bible study and prayer time this week. I feel better and like I am moving in the right direction.

Self Defense/Hunting

I have been looking for .38 Special shot shells for quite a while. For whatever reason they always seemed to be out of stock or back-ordered. Although I haven’t tested them out on live critters yet, I like these for snakes and small varmints. Typically, I take the approach of leaving snakes alone as long as they leave me alone but, on occasion, you get one with a mean streak. Water moccasins, in particular, tend to be on the more aggressive side around here. A big old moccasin can move pretty fast and having a shot-shell to dispatch him/her with seems like a pretty good idea.

I also picked up two new speed strips. These are orange so they are more visible in the range bag and less likely to disappear on me. I also picked up another HKS speed-loader. All for my .38/.357 snubbies.

Supplies

We cleared out a good bit of freezer space by sending a good supply of groceries home with my youngest daughter. They can use the help with their budget and it helped us make some space and rotate some things out.

Fitness/Health

The same days I skipped quiet time with God and Bible study I skipped exercising too. So, on the positive I only missed a couple of days. On the negative, I missed a couple of days…

I will say that the exercise program is paying off a bit. I haven’t lost any weight but my balance is better and I can feel the strength coming back in my upper body. I still get winded pretty easily but that will come too.

Finances

Instead of putting money in savings we donated to charity and went ahead and purchased some silver coins for the grand kids for Christmas. By the time Christmas rolls around (good Lord willing) we’ll have another grandchild. My oldest daughter is due in November. To make sure I was able to get an American Eagle (Silver, not Gold) with the new addition’s birth year I went ahead and purchased that as well. Those should be delivered in the next week or maybe two.

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

God Bless

What Did You Prep This Week?

Walk With God

I was still not as diligent as I would like to be only spending serious time in prayer and studying the Bible about half of the days this week. We have missed so much church of late that I felt a bit like a stranger walking in on Sunday.

Self Defense/Hunting

Wonderful Wife’s payday was this week and we bought some ammo for the first time in a while, stocking up on .22LR, 5.56 and .308 rounds. Still need a range day but I did manage to spend some time in dry fire practice this week. In fact, I replaced the APEX duty spring kit on one of my Smith & Wesson revolvers with the heavier stock springs for dry fire practice. My thought is that if I can be good with that heavier trigger pull I will be really good with the lighter Apex, Glock and Ruger triggers in my carry guns.

Supplies

Another order of freeze dried foods came in this week. We should have our basics covered at this point so I can start focusing on stocking up on key items. Write up to come soon. We harvested and dried some herbs from our garden.

We restocked one of the meds in our supply, We ordered new and rotated our standby supply into use.

I also bought a new pocket knife (or two). A video on the “classic camp knife” caught my interest and so I bought a modern version (Victorinox Small Tinker) and I plan to give it a shot for a while. See what I think…

Fitness/Health

Like prayer and Bible study I have been about 50/50 on exercise too. I was still able to increase the number of reps I am doing so maybe 50/50 isn’t so bad for exercise.

Finances

Wonderful Wife got paid and we were able to put some money into savings.

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

God Bless

What Did You Prep This Week?

Took some time off to get away for a little bit with Wonderful Wife. Rented a friend’s house on the beach…

Walk With God

Still not firing on all cylinder in this area of preparation. I am only about 50% this week on my daily Bible studies and prayer time but moving in the right direction.

Self Defense/Hunting

No activity this week.

Supplies

No real activity this week but we did harvest some herbs and tomatoes out of the garden. We used the tomatoes and some of the basil and oregano to make dinner one night. The rest of the basil, oregano and rosemary was dried and put into storage for the winter.

Fitness/Health

Same as my Walk with God, about 50% on my exercise goals this week.

Finances

No activity for ourselves this week but we did make an extra deposit into our grand kid’s accounts from a side business Wonderful Wife takes care of.

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

God Bless

Buying Precious Metals Online

First off, I don’t buy a lot of precious metals. I don’t have much in a way of precious metals. Most of my purchases are for my grand kids. Each of them receives a one ounce silver coin when they are born and one for each Christmas and birthday. With four grand kids, and another on the way (congrats to us!), that works out to be about eight ounces of silver per year.

Initially, I was very hesitant to buy anything like this online. Instead I shopped every place I could find locally that dealt with bullion (I just like saying that word). In the process I found a shop that was located fairly close to where I was working, that had decent prices and nice folks working in there. Over the course of time I developed a bit of a trust with them and they, in turn, would on occasion, give me a little extra discount when I needed it.

Of late, however, they never seemed to have what I needed/wanted when I needed/wanted it. On top of that my job changed and I no longer work close to there. Making a round trip to their location now takes half a day and a fair amount of gas. I shopped around and founds another dealer with decent prices and a better selection in a location closer to some of my current customers but I have never had a warm, fuzzy feeling about them.

For the most recent purchases I decided to try some of the online dealers. Specifically APMEX.com and JM Bullion and I thought I would share my thoughts with you.

APMEX.com

The first online seller I tried was APMEX.com. They seemed to have decent reviews from what I could tell (most reviewers had them as a sponsor) and decent pricing.

Note: For those who have not purchased precious metals yet most sellers offer their products at the current “strike” price of the metal involved plus a surcharge. The strike price is pretty consistent since it is set by “the market” but the surcharges can vary widely. These charges vary a lot based on a lot of factors.

Like most online dealers they have different pricing depending on how you pay. The cost to purchase with a credit card is higher than check for example and I am sure this is to cover their cost of such transactions. I am OK with that but it is fairly annoying to place an order online then have write a mail a check to them, wait for it to clear and then have the order ship. The good news is that after an initial transaction of some size or another you can use an “eCheck” and the transaction is completely electronic, much faster and easier.

Shipping costs when buying online can quickly add up and make buying online more expensive. For domestic orders over $99 they offer free shipping. Unfortunately, the free option uses the US Postal Service. In my experience USPS has a less than stellar record in every way. They rarely deliver when (or even sometimes where) they say they will and I have had several packages “lost” by USPS. APMEX does insure the package so if it is lost I am not out any money (a big concern whhen buying something like this online).

As I mentioned their prices seem to be pretty good, lower than I would find locally. Their selection is incredible. I can always find what I am looking for there and their website seems to be pretty well designed and easy to use. They even have a fairly nice feature that helps track you investments. Purchases through APMEX are automatically added to you “portfolio” and purchases made elsewhere can be manually added in. It’s really nice to see at a glance how much your investments are worth. I also like the fact that I can, if I am OK paying a little extra, put my purchases on a credit card. I won’t do that often but it is nice to have it as an option.

The one complaint I have with APMEX is turnaround time. It seems that every step in the process takes a couple of days and in some cases (including transit time in shipping) it may take a couple of weeks to get your order. I can live with it but would really prefer a faster turnaround.

JM Bullion

I wasn’t planning on making any additional purchases and I was pretty happy with APMEX but someone called my attention to a “special introductory offer” from JM Bullion offering ten ounces of silver with no premium over the current strike price. I checked around a bit and decided to give it a shot.

The experience I had with JM Bullion was very similar to APMEX. Different prices depending on how you pay and free shipping (unfortunately also with USPS). The website is not as easy for me to navigate and they don’t have the “portfolio” feature that APMEX has but it is still decent and I can still get done what I need to do.

There are a couple of advantages in their favor though. First, they are located in Texas (well, sort of it’s actually Dallas and outside of Austin that is the least Texas portion of the state). Second, their turnaround time (at least on this one order) was really good. Despite placing the order several days after the order at APMEX it actually arrives several days earlier. Third, the prices appear to be slightly better (ignoring the special) than APMEX.

Conclusions

Purchasing precious metals online is a reasonable and seemingly safe alternative to purchasing locally. The prices are a little lower. The insured shipping mitigates the risk of purchases being lost in transit. In fact purchasing online may be slightly safer. The packaging is nondescript and it is not readily apparent what’s inside and I don’t have to drive around town with cash or precious metals on my person. I do miss the personal interaction and prefer to support local businesses but JM Bullion is only slightly further away than the “local” shops I have used in the past.

I would not hesitate, at this point to recommend either one of these sites if you are planning on purchasing precious metals. Of the two I will likely lean towards JM Bullion for my next purchase (it will be time to buy Christmas coins soon and grand baby #6 is due towards the end of the year) due primarily to the faster turnaround time and slightly lower prices.

What are your experiences? Have you purchased preciouls metals online? Are you willing to admit it on the InterWebz?

God bless

What Did You Prep This Week?

For a variety of reasons this was not a very productive week. A certain amount of this week’s lack of productivity in preparedness was because my workload has increased dramatically at work. Honestly, the majority of it is probably related to depression. It’s not clinical depression or anything like that. I have just been in a funk this week and lacked any drive or motivation to do much of anything. I have not spent much time with God in either prayer or Bible study. I have not been able to motivate myself to exercise at all. Most of the week has consisted of working, eating, sleeping (or trying to) and a little mental anesthesia (watching TV).

I puttered in the garden a little, mainly pruning and drying oregano, basil, cilantro and rosemary. We were also able to harvest a few tomatoes but that was about it. I also started another blog, Threat Watch.

In scanning the news for events that matter; events that could affect my plans or preps I realized it was pretty darn tough. It took a lot of digging. Many critically important stories were buried on the electronic back page so i decided to start listing them in categories that made more sense to me. There is little or no original content there just link to important news stories. Check it out if you feel so inclined and let me know what you think. If it is worthwhile and seems to provide some value I will keep it going but will probably need to enlist some assistance in maintaining it.

On another positive note we were able to put some money into savings this week. We are getting closer to our savings goals and if all goes well we should reach them this year. We also received the precious metals we ordered and have moved it to a safe storage location.

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

God Bless