Prepper: 7 Ways To Prepare For An Economic Crisis
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Using the past economic collapses as an example, we can see that people’s lifestyles changed dramatically. Even those who managed to keep their jobs and businesses have to make radical adjustments in their lies, just to be able to survive.
There is no reason for us to think that things will be any different here in the United States, than they were in Argentina; in fact, they could very well end up being worse.
The reason I say it could be worse is that there will be nobody to bail out the United States, as has been done with other countries. We know from the 2009 housing collapse that anything negative that happens in the U.S. economy has a worldwide effect.
Since other countries will end up suffering as well, there is no way that they will be able to help us.
Liberals have touted the idea of redistributing the wealth of the wealthy in order to take care of our country’s woes. I’m not going to discuss the morality or ideology of that right now; but I will say this: if you were to take all the wealth of the 100 richest people in the United States and add it together, it wouldn’t pay our federal government’s bills from January 1st till tax day.
Of course, since their wealth isn’t really in cash, but rather in ownership of properties and companies, there’s no way of using it to pay the government’s costs or debts.
The other thing that could make the collapse worse here in the United States is that most Americans aren’t prepared to live without all of our comforts. If you go to other countries, people are more accustomed to doing things themselves, instead of expecting society to do them. They know how to do basic things like slaughter a hog and pluck a chicken; things that the average American hasn’t had to do for generations.
Here are a number of lifestyle changes which can help your family to be ready to survive the meltdown:
Pay off Your Home
Home mortgages are dangerous in a financial crisis. If you don’t have enough income coming in to make the payment on your home, then you could very easily lose it. No matter how prepared you are, if you don’t have your home, you’re going to be in trouble.
There are a number of strategies around for paying off your home mortgage early. I won’t go into them here, because this really isn’t a book about personal finances.
You can find the necessary information on how to pay off your home early in a number of places. I highly recommend looking into Dave Ramsey’s teachings on the subject.
Another option you may want to consider is downsizing. By selling your existing home and moving into something smaller, you might be able to reduce your mortgage payments or even the length of your mortgage. That would help you to get rid of your mortgage sooner.
In the case of the financial crash coming before you manage to pay it off (which is very likely), your payments will be smaller, making it easier for you to keep making those payments.
Pay off All Other Debts
Any debt is a liability, enslaving your family’s finances to others. By paying off your outstanding debt, you eliminate the risk of lenders coming to take what you have. While other debt is not as important as your home mortgage, paying it off can make it easier to pay off your mortgage quicker.
Paying off your debt also reduces your monthly cost of living, freeing up more money for use in preparing for the pending crash or some other activity your family wants to do.
The vast majority of Americans have too much debt, which greatly limits their options and the decisions that they can make.
Learn to Do Things without Electricity
So much of our modern lifestyle depends upon electricity. We are used to using it for literally everything; from preserving our food to entertaining us. However, loss of electricity is a common problem during times of economic meltdown.
Oh, the electricity probably won’t go out and stay out, but you can count on a lot of service interruptions.
When service is lost, many of the things which we take for granted are lost as well. Our ability to store and cook food is compromised, as well as our ability to work. Lighting is gone, as well as most of our communications. For many people, the loss of electricity means the loss of being able to work as well.
For everything you use in your life that is electric powered, you need an alternative. That means having something that you can use to do the same job, should the power go out. In some cases, you might be able to do without that thing, but you need to analyze that and make that determination, not just accept it as an assumption.
Re-do Your Budget
Probably one of the best things you can do to prepare for a financial meltdown is to re-do your budget, establishing a more frugal lifestyle. Chances are, when the economic collapse happens, you’re going to have to be living that more frugal lifestyle.
By establishing it ahead of time, you not only train yourself and your family to be more careful of how you use your money, but you also save money which you can then use to buy and stockpile necessary supplies.
Many people today live from paycheck to paycheck. That doesn’t mean that they’re using their money wisely though. Their budget may include eating out three times a week, spending $400 per month on their cell phones and another $300 per month on entertainment. Yet they complain about not having enough money to buy some basic emergency supplies.
There are a lot of places where the average family spends more than they need to. Buying new cars is another one. Banks and the auto industry make a lot of money off of families who are making payments on two cars at a time. For some, their combined car payments are higher than their house payment.
While reliable vehicles are a necessity, having two car payments every month isn’t. It would be better to buy older cars and not have those high payments to make.
How can eating healthy be part of preparing for a financial meltdown? Easy; the most expensive things that most of us eat are junk food. As a nation, we spend a fortune on prepared foods, snack foods and sweets.
When the financial meltdown comes, you probably won’t be able to afford all that junk. You’ll end up eating much simpler foods, which carry more nutrition.
At the same time, eating all that junk food is not good for your health. Medical expenses can be extremely high, especially for those who have ignored eating healthy.
While it may sound a bit extreme, eating healthy can make the difference between life and death, by helping protect you from a life-threatening medical problem.
Get in Shape
This one goes hand-in-hand with eating healthy. People who are in good physical condition are much less likely to have medical problems, especially high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol; all of which can become life-threatening.
However, there’s another part to this as well. That is, preparing your body for the physical rigors of survival.
Living without all the modern conveniences requires much more physical work than living with them. That’s why so many of us are out of shape. We’ve become accustomed to allowing machines to do the things that we used to do ourselves. We’ve become softer.
Many of us can’t do the physical work necessary for surviving without all those modern machines.
Find Like-Minded People
Many experts on survival and preparedness recommend banding together with other like-minded people and forming a prepping community. The idea is that in the wake of a disaster, the community would gather in one place to live and work together. Each member of the team would have their assigned area of responsibility, based upon their unique skills.
There are many advantages of working together in a prepping community. The right community can increase your chances of survival.
However, the wrong one can cause severe problems, with people leaving the group and taking most of the supplies with them.
Be careful what group you join, investigating the morals and personalities of the people first, to make an informed decision about whether the group will stick together to help each other, or become selfish and steal from each other.
Our ancestors survived harsh times and their secrets can help you survive during the most treacherous conditions if the world is struck with a tragedy.
13 Essential Items For Your Get Home Bag
Now let’s suppose something bad happens while you’re away from home, something like a random car accident that leaves you stranded in the middle of nowhere, not to mention catastrophic events like major earthquakes or terrorist attacks.
What do you do? If you’re a prepper, you probably have plenty of food and water along with guns, ammo and the whole nine yards. You probably also have a bug out bag sitting in your home, collecting dust. And your home is 20 miles away. See the problem?
Here’s where the get home bag comes into play.
What is a get home bag? Basically, it’s the little brother of your bug out bag. Instead of keeping it at home, you keep it in your car (or at work if you don’t drive a car). This bag will help you get home safely during a disaster.
The get home bag (GHB) is part of the holy trinity of prepping, along with your everyday carry bag (EDC) and your bug out bag (BOB). The difference between the BOB and the GHB is that the former is a full size backpack designed to carry enough supplies to keep you alive and kicking for more than a week in a SHTF scenario.
The only purpose of the GHB is to help you get home in case your regular commute is compromised following an unfortunate event (civil unrest, severe weather, power-grid failure, natural disasters, vehicle breakdown, road closures, and so forth).
And if you think I’m talking nonsense, just remember what happened on 9/11, how many people died or developed severe lung problems from inhaling smoke, fumes, and dust while escaping ground zero. Now, imagine how much better off they would have been with N95 face masks. Starting to get the picture?
Hence, today’s article is about how to build the perfect get home bag. Don’t worry, assembling your get home bag is not difficult and can be done in a couple of hours.
Get Home Bag ListStarting with the bag itself, the idea is to have a minimalist approach. You should choose something lightweight yet sturdy, easy to carry while keeping your hands free, and that doesn’t attract attention. Ideally, a small backpack will do the trick, even a laptop bag.
Now, let’s see about what’s in the bag.
1. Metal Container – Hydration being of crucial importance, you should pack something you can drink from. I suggest you get a metal bottle because it gives you the possibility to boil water or even cook in it, which comes handy in a survival scenario.
2. High Calorie Foods – With hydration taken care of, food is the next issue. You should have 6-10 energy/protein bars in your get home bag. Don’t waste time with packing elaborate military grade freeze dried meals or things of that nature. Just go for simple high calorie bars which are great when you’re on the go, as they don’t require you stopping for eating nor heating/preparation. Also, they’re cheap, lightweight, and have long shelf lives (5 years in this particular case).
3. Poncho – A military-version of the classic rain poncho is a must have item. Getting wet in a crisis situation will make you feel miserable, and hypothermia can be deadly. If you’re wet in an outdoors survival scenario, you’ll be prone to hypothermia even if it’s not very cold outside. Also, a rain poncho with grommets in the corners has multiple uses, including the ability to form a shelter.
4. Comfy Pair Of Shoes – Walking or tennis shoes would be a great addition to your GHB, especially if you wear dress shoes when you’re at work. Don’t forget to add a pair of spare socks, too.
5. Multi-tool – A high-quality multi-tool is another must have item in your get home bag, as it will provide you with a saw blade, wire cutters, cross point/flat head drivers, pliers, and even a tough knife-blade, things for which there’s no substitute in an emergency situation. You could also add a fixed blade survival knife into the mix.
6. First Aid Kit – Gauze pads, bandages, splint, gauze, moleskin, sunscreen, medical tape, tweezers, together with some basic meds like antacids, aspirin, Tylenol, and Dramamine. Don’t forget to include some antibacterial wet wipes.
8. N95 Face Mask – Definitely don’t forget this as it will help you in a variety of scenarios: dust, debris, or even sickness. Oftentimes, your T-shirt won’t be enough.
9. Flashlight – You’ll need this in case you’re travelling through an unlit area at night. If you want to keep your hands free, consider getting a high quality head-lamp (water resistant, hands free).
10. Compass and Paper Map – Technology is great, but I wouldn’t rely on my smartphone when it comes to survival, hence a compass and a paper map of your surrounding area may save your life, especially if you live in a large city. You won’t be the only one trying to get home, so plan for alternative routes/detours from where you work. Speaking of that, check out our article, How To Get Home After The SHTF.
11. Cash – Make sure you have some cash (the universal language everybody understands) in your GHB, including coins for vending machines.
12. Lighter – You may need to boil water, heat up food, or just stay warm while you make your way home, so make sure you have a good lighter or some other kind of fire starter.
13. Weapon – Last but not least, don’t forget about self-defense. SHTF events tend to be a breeding ground for desperation, frustration and even confrontation. You know that saying: when people lose everything, they have nothing left to lose and they lose it.
Of course, there are plenty more things you could put in your get home bag, but the items in this list are essential. And remember, even the perfect get home bag will be absolutely useless if you don’t keep it handy. Try to keep it near you at all times.
There’s a new trend emerging, but it’s not one that’ll have you visiting clothing stores. Natural calamities are hitting places all over the world – occurring at a rate never seen before. The chances of you being next are at the highest they’ve ever been, and you best prepare. For this, you have the bug-out bag.
Bug-out bags should contain everything you need for at least 72 hours of evacuation from a disaster site. Keep that in mind when you go over the following list of essentials found in every bug-out bag.
Ah, the stuff of life. Science says you can last weeks without food, but can die from dehydration in a matter of days. Bring at least a liter for every day you expect to remain in evacuation per person. In that case, have a minimum of three liters per person ready. Store your water in sturdy containers just to be safe, too. If in case it turns out you hadn’t brought enough water, having water purification tablets ready should do the trick.
Canned goods and dehydrated meals in plastic containers and paper bags are ideal over fresh food for a lot of reasons. For one, they require little to no preparation – something you probably won’t have the resources for in an evacuation site. They also have a prolonged shelf life (or, in this case, bag life), which you’ll need when you can’t access refrigeration. To add, the cans could also be used for other purposes throughout your evacuation. Prepare some food preparation instruments like a knife, although that could easily be substituted by the more useful Swiss knife.
3. First Aid
Accidents can happen at any time, and even more so when disaster strikes. Your bug-out bag should contain basic first aid, including bandages, povidone iodine, adhesives, tweezers,vitamin tablets and your prescription medicines. Also consider putting in some antibiotics like cephalexin, ciprofloxacin and metronidazole. These handle all kinds of nasty infections you’ll be prone to in an evacuation.Your bug-out bag should also have some benadryl in case of allergies. Not everyone may have these ready, so be open to sharing your aid with strangers. Who knows? You may even find yourself on the receiving end.
Zip ties already have so many functions in regular, everyday life, yet they prove even more useful for evacuation purposes. These can be used to restrain objects in cases of strong winds, restrain people in times of danger or panic, hold together different materials to keep warm or expand your shelter, serve as a temporary tourniquet when a proper one can’t be made – the list goes on.
5. Personal hygiene materials
Getting struck by disaster is no excuse to let yourself go. Have the basics like tissue, soap, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. Bringing a razor serves both purposes of grooming and self-defense.
Should supplies become scarce or you encounter any danger (let’s hope not), you’ll be glad you packed something to protect you and your loved ones with. Rifles are good for hunting too in case food runs short.A .22 caliber rifle seems to be the rifle of choice in this case.
7. Alternative power supply
When you’re bugging out, chances are there won’t be a readily available power supply. It’s a good thing technology has alternative, renewable solutions for generating electricity. Get yourself a crank power charger or even one that runs on solar power. The latter would, obviously, not be ideal in a hurricane situation. More specifically, there are also emergency radios available that run on crank power.
8. Fire-starter items
At home, you cook, warm up, and need light. Evacuation is no different as these are essentials. There is, after all, a reason the discovery of fire propelled human evolution. Pack some waterproof matches, lighters, maybe even a can of butane. That last one will be especially helpful in the case of a zombie apocalypse as it makes a good makeshift fire bomb.
9. Light source
Again, no power means no light, and that becomes an especially pronounced problem come night time. A torch with a hand crank is ideal, but isn’t always available. Battery-powered should do just fine, but remember to pack extra batteries in that case. There are also some solar-powered lamps available in the market. Most of these things can be found in the camping section or appliance section of most department stores.
Don’t bring your whole wardrobe. Remember that a bug out bag is ideally good for only three days. Go for smaller, lighter garments like your average t-shirts, shorts, and the like. Extra underwear and socks are good, too. Should these run out, you could rinse them out at a nearby water supply, but let’s not hope it gets to that. And, make sure the water used for laundry isn’t meant for drinking. Come on.
Other than having shelter for the sake of shelter, this also provides safety for you, your loved ones and your belongings. You’ll also need to be well-rested to stay alert – of utter importance in times of calamity. There are several compact tent variants for you to choose from. Also make sure you have on you some tarp and ground pads.
12. Survival manual
There are some thing you just can’t be too prepared for, and being prepared entails covering every possible scenario. Survival manuals will provide the necessary know-how for sticky situations and should your evacuation level up to a survival scenario.
The rule of thumb in packing your bug-out bag is to expect for the best while preparing for the worst. You know your area and its people better than any website, and should use that knowledge in stocking up. Should disaster strike, you’ll find these items to be more than useful for your evacuation.
Testing your survival drills and improving your skills
You can read all you want about survival and emergency preparedness, but unless you practice your skills, chances are you’ll never be ready for when it hits the fan. Testing your survival drills should become an important part of your prepping plans as it will help you challenge yourself for a real life scenario.Reading magazines, books and all sorts of articles online are great ways to start with emergency preparedness. Discussing with friends and instructors to learn basic survival skills is a good way to gain confidence and support, but it shouldn’t end there. Testing your survival drills and practicing the things you’ve read or heard of in real-life situations is mandatory. You will be able to put your knowledge to the test, you will be able to learn from your mistakes and it will provide you with a feeling of accomplishment that few things can offer. The feeling you get after doing something right, even though you assumed it will be too complicated for you and your skills.
Survival drills and the stages of competencyThere are some survival experts that talk about the theory of learning and how it could help with your survival drills. There are four stages of competence and they can be applied to any learning process, regardless the scope behind it. Here are the four stages of competency and a simple example for testing your survival skills:
- Unconsciously incompetent. This is the first stage of any learning process and you will quickly realize that you don’t know you can’t do something and even more, you don’t have enough information to realize what you don’t know. Give someone a Ferrocerium rod and ask him or her to start a fire. Most beginners won’t know they need a fire striker, like steel to begin with, yet alone that they need proper tinder and a fire setup. Testing your survival drills is almost impossible during this stage and any attempt should be done in a controlled environment.
- Consciously incompetent. The second stage of learning implies that a person knows just enough to realize he or she doesn’t know enough about the topic. The person knows that besides the ferrocerium rod, a striker and tinder is needed, but things get complicated. How to hold the rod, how to strike it and what should be the proper stance are all unknown factors. Testing your survival drills under this stage is possible and it’s considered to be the tipping point in your learning curve.
- Consciously competent. When someone reaches this stage, it is implied that he or she already knows how to do the skill and there are no more secrets to discover. However, this stage is governed by the time and effort needed to complete the skill. This is the stage most people find themselves in and it’s basically the testing process itself. You test your survival drills and whit each passing session you improve your skills (gathering tinder, striking movements, tinder lighting duration, etc.).
- Unconsciously competent. This learning stage is the one we are all aiming for and it’s the culmination of all your time and effort put into testing your survival drills. If you are able to reach this stage, things will go on auto-pilot. After testing your skills numerous times, you will get the hang of it and everything you do comes naturally. You have tinder readily-available, you made you fire-setup based on your needs and you are able to start a fire as fast as the situation requires it.
Suggested article: Prepare yourself – Prepping starts with you!
These are the learning stages you will go through every time you learn something new, regardless if it’s a computer application for your job or a survival skill you would need for your prepping plans. Every time you read an article or watch a video about a survival topic, you are in stage one. Your goal should be to go up and reach stage four as soon as possible, if that topic is essential for your prepping plans.
Testing your survival drills in real-life situationsLogic dictates that you should go out and use the new knowledge you acquired in a practice scenario. After all, it is the only way to discover how much you learned and how much is just residual information. However, you shouldn’t rush out into the woods without thinking it through and it’s better to have a safety net.
If you decide you want to test your skills into the wilderness, never try a new skill for the first time more than 10 miles away from your car. Make sure you are able to get back to it, in case something happens. Another alternative would be to test your survival drills in your backyard or at a local campsite. Even if you screw up, you can always get back to safety without the risk or getting lost or injured.
It is advised to accompany an experienced friend that has the same interests as you. An experience survivalist or prepper can mentor you as you practice your new skills and provide you with tips learned on the field. Learning by seeing and doing under experienced watch is one of the best ways of acquiring new skills.
You can also take classes that include survival and bushcraft hands-on practice as these classes are designed to handle both beginners and experienced preparedness likeminded people.
Try everything, regardless how trivial it might seem. Most people concentrate only on certain survival drills or skills and they won’t try out everything they plan on doing in a SHTF scenario. Only by actually practicing the skills you plan on using for your prepping scenarios you will discover the hidden challenges it holds. Don’t buy expensive gear that you don’t know how to use. Don’t stock up on items that you can’t cook with and don’t take things for granted.
Keeping your skills fresh is a must and you will be able to rely on them to protect and provide for yourself and those who depend on you. People tend to get lazy and rusty overtime as they acquire the “know it-all comfort”. You might be unconsciously competent when it comes to your survival drills, but you should always keep things fresh by challenging yourself and shaking of the rust.
Related reading: Know your region before disaster strikes
A few suggestions for testing your survival drills:
- Moving to your bug out location
- Spending a night in the woods with your bug out bag
- Sleeping outside under bad weather
- Cooking without modern means, both at home and in the wild
- Build up various type of fire
- Getting from point A to point B only using your map and compass. Return to point B using alternative routes.
- Setting up a shelter using just a plain tarp
- Test your bug out plan during crowded events (festival, national holidays, etc.)
- Use your first-aid training to splint a broken arm or leg, improvise a stretcher
12 Reasons Fire Is Crucial For Disaster Survival
Your immediate priorities should be shelter, water, fire, and food, usually in that order. But for long-term survival, nothing beats a nice warm fire. The purpose of this article is to encourage you to not only stock up on lighters and other fire starters, but to also learn how to make a fire without lighters.
Here, then, are 12 reasons why fire is crucial for disaster survival.
1. WarmthIt goes without saying that fire provides warmth. This may be its most important function, as it can help you survive a night in the cold. You can go for a few days without water and a few weeks without food, but freezing to death can take only a few hours. If you’re not in an area where you can build a decent shelter to protect you from the elements, a fire will save your life.
2. Boiling WaterWhile you might be able to survive drinking unpurified water, it’s not fun. Certain viruses and bacteria in lakes and streams can make you regret your decision for weeks, and in some locations water parasites will make themselves at home inside your body. Fire allows you to purify your drinking water by boiling all those harmful germs and organisms to death. You can take iodine tablets on a camping trip, but they won’t last forever. You can use a water filter, but those eventually have to be replaced and usually don’t filter out viruses. So for long-term survival, boiling water is the way to go.
3. Water FiltrationBoiling water will kill living things in the water, but it won’t take out the grainy bits. Drinking sanitary dirt is still drinking dirt, after all. Fortunately, the charcoal produced from a fire can be used to filter your water. Set up a home-made water filter and let the carbon in charcoal sift out all the chunks. Combine this with water-boiling for the one-two punch. Here’s a guide to making your own charcoal if you’re interested.
4. Cooking FoodIn many survival situations, cooking food is going to keep you healthy in the long term. While you can eat some bugs and fish raw, most game can make you sick if eaten raw. Fire gives you the ability to cook your food, which rids food of the germs and parasites that give you trouble. Plus, the smoky flavor can make a mundane food delicious.
5. LightFire obviously produces light, which can be beneficial in a survival situation in many ways. Being able to see after dark is useful both for self-preservation and for increased productivity. You will be less likely to injure yourself at night if you have the clear illumination of a fire to light your way. In addition, you won’t be limited to completing your survival tasks before the sun goes down.
6. Insect RepellentFire produces smoke, which serves as a great insect repellent. Having several small fires surrounding your sleeping area will protect your camp from an all-night attack of mosquitoes, flies, and other bugs. And once the smoke has gotten onto your body, bugs will be less likely to approach you. Add some bug-repelling plants such as rosemary or sage to the fire to increase the repelling effects of the smoke.
7. Predator RepellentFires usually don’t occur naturally in the wild, and when they do they are the result of a lightning storm and can often spark wildfires. As such, most predators keep a respectful distance from a burning flame. You can use this to your advantage to ward off dangerous animals, particularly at night when many predators like to hunt. Keep in mind that the fire may attract animals to your general location (there is a reason you can see pairs of eyes watching you in the dark), but not in proximity of the fire itself.
8. Sterilizing UtensilsIf you’re trying to survive a major disaster, chances are low that you’ll have a sizeable supply of detergent to wash dishes. Rinsing off your flatware and knives may remove visible dirt and grime, but placing your utensils over an open flame will sterilize them as effectively as anything. This is particularly important if you’re using needles or knives to sew stitches or remove deep splinters. You should always sterilize sharp tools before using them on yourself or others.
9. Cauterizing WoundsWhile not recommended unless you’ve had some training, you can use fire to cauterize wounds. In a survival situation, you may get a wound that requires a physician or nurse to treat. Cauterizing such wounds will reduce the chances of infection, and can even stop severe bleeding.
10. Staying CleanTake a smoke bath to keep from smelling like you haven’t showered in weeks, which in most disaster situations will be the case. Bacteria is what makes you smell bad, and smoke kills bacteria. You can even rub ash on your skin for added effect.
11. SignalingEventually you may want to communicate with someone in a survival situation, whether it be the outside world or another camp a few miles away. Building a fire can be a signal in and of itself, but you can also throw green wood on the fire to make it smoke, thus creating the basis for smoke signals.
12. Creating ToolsFire is a great help for rudimentary tool-making. Fire gives you the ability to hollow out wood, allowing you to make bowls and spoons and even small boats. You can also harden your sharp tools or weapons in the fire, making them stronger and more durable. If you can get your fire hot enough, you can even use it to shape and melt metal. The ability to manipulate metal set entire civilizations ahead of others, and in a post-apocalyptic situation most will not know how to do this skill without modern technology.
Pat Henry, (theprepperjournal.com) "Why Prep?"