By Daisy Luther
Over the past couple of years, here in America….
Contaminated water caused a complete loss of municipal services in both Ohio and West Virginia, resulting in almost a million people vying for the stock in local stores.
A freak confluence of storms caused a “Superstorm” that took out power to much of the Eastern Seaboard, including New York City and the coastal parts of New Jersey. Nearly a year later, some families were still without electricity to their homes.
Two winters in a row, a “polar vortex” caused horrifyingly low temperatures and paired with winter storms to make the mid-western US resemble the Artic Circle.
A small town in Missouri was under siege twice in a few months due to a police shooting of a young black man, and the officer’s subsequent acquittal.
Job loss and poverty is at an all-time high.
A deadly virus that everyone thought would be relegated to the distant regions of Africa was diagnosed here in the US, not just once, but multiple times.
Now, read that and try to tell me that disasters don’t happen. Try to say that it’s impossible that they’d happen to you. If you say this, you’re deluding yourself because the reality is too unpleasant, and we both know it. If you’d like to continue deluding yourself, thank you for stopping by. Enjoy the articles about wholesome food, and pretend not to notice the articles that urge you to take responsibility for yourself and your family.
However, if you’re ready to accept this fact, read on. I’ll tell you how to get started in a way that isn’t overwhelming. No bunkers, no wearing of tinfoil, no filtering and drinking of pee, and no building of Arks will be mentioned. That stuff is all in Prepping 201. (Kidding!)
How to Get Started Prepping
When you begin reading websites about prepping, sometimes it can be overwhelming. You see people talking about their one-year food supplies, their bug-out lodges, their ammo collection, and their homestead that is so far out in the wilderness that they have to climb a big pine tree on top of the mountain to get an internet connection and boast online about their seclusion.
Most preppers are just regular folks with a self-reliant mindset.
I’m here to tell you, getting started does not require a $20,000 investment or your children feverishly packing beans and rice into Ziplock bags late into the night.
There are 10 simple things you can do to get started. Lots of them are free and if you apply yourself, you can get started on all 10 steps in less than a week. All of the highlighted text is a link that will take you to related resources so you can learn more.
#1. Fill up a whole bunch of empty bottles with water.
If you haven’t taken out the recycling yet this week, don’t! You can use those empty two liter soda pop bottles and gallon water bottles to stock up on a drinking water supply. Count on a gallon a day per human and pet. (Two 2-liter bottles are approximately a gallon). If you don’t have any containers you can fill, you can buy 5 gallon jugs of water at most grocery stores or Wal-mart. Most of the time, you’ll pay well under $20 for a full jug of water. Five of those will keep a family of 4 in drinking water for just over a week, should it be required. Add to your supply each week, and soon you’ll have a month supply, quietly sitting there in your basement. Here’s an infographic to get you started on safely storing water.
#2. Bookmark some websites.
The internet is a wonderful place, and best of all, this knowledge can be found for FREE! The more you know about crisis situations, the more ready you will be to face them. Some sites are friendlier to beginners than others, so if you stumble upon a forum where people seem less than enthusiastic about helping people who are just starting out, don’t let it get you down. Move on and find a site that makes you feel comfortable. Following are some of my favorites, and the link will take you to a good starting point on these sites. In no particular order:
#3. Take a look at your budget.
What? Budgets don’t sound very prepperly! But how do you expect to pay for all of those beans, bullets, and band-aids if you don’t make some adjustments to your spending and shopping habits? Here are some suggestions on ways to put money aside for prepping, and here are some ideas on creating a budget, and most importantly, sticking to it.
#4. Inventory your food supply, then start building your stockpile.
You probably have more food on hand than you realize you do. Before you go out and spend lots of money at the grocery store, it’s important to go through your cupboards, pull things out, and get organized. You don’t know what you need until you know what you have. Be sure to put things away in an organized fashion so you can find what you need, when you need it. Now that you know what you have, you can fill in the holes. You can’t expect to have a 1-year food supply all at once. Here’s how I built a healthy food supply in 3 months, while on a pretty tight budget. This will help you get the idea of how to build your stockpile. Resist the urge to stock up on nutritionally useless foods like Ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese. If there is a situation going on in which you must rely solely on your stockpile, you will want to be nourished, not just filled up. If you want to build a one-month food supply super-fast, here’s how to create it with a few clicks of the mouse.
#5. Have a drill.
The absolute best way to know what you need during an emergency is to simulate a crisis. Get your family on board and spend a weekend without power and running water. Keep a list going for the entire weekend so that you can note what needs arose. (Leave the breakers on for the refrigerator and freezer – you don’t want to potentially have your food spoil.) Can you make coffee and food? Can you keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer? Can you keep the kids entertained?
#6. Prep for a power outage.
With most disasters comes a power outage, just to up the challenge ante. Sometimes the power outages are the disaster all by themselves. Remember about 5 years ago when a freak ice storm knocked out the power in Arkansas and Missouri for over a month? You want to be ready for stuff like that. Be sure you have food that doesn’t require cooking, light sources (hint: think solar garden stakes), a way to stay warm or cool, and a way to salvage the food in your fridge and freezer. Figure out a cooking method that doesn’t require electricity in the event that the outage lasts more than a few days. Be ready with games and non-power dependent activities to keep the kids (and by default, the parents) sane.
#7. Figure out how to use the bathroom if the toilet doesn’t flush.
In an all-out disaster that shuts down municipal water supplies, you may find yourself in a situation where the toilet won’t flush. At times like this, you’ll want to shut off the main to your house, because you could end up with other people’s waste backing up through the lines. A quick, inexpensive solution is to turn your toilet into a litter box for humans. Drain the water from the bowl, then line it with a very heavy contractor’s garbage bag. Place some kitty litter in the bottom of it. When someone uses the bathroom, they should put a new scoop of litter on top of their waste. It’s vital to make sure the bag doesn’t get too heavy to carry without ripping. Seal the full bags well, then store them outside until service resumes. If you must use other disposal methods, the safest way to get rid of it is to bury it far from water sources or gardens.
#8. Prep for an evacuation.
Now you need to pack a bug-out bag. If budget is a concern, use bags you already have along with supplies that you already have. The important thing is to have this stuff organized and be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Have a list of last minute items so that you know what you need. It’s better to think this through when you’re calm, not when the clock is ticking towards disaster. You’ll want things like personal documents, extra medication, comfort items for children, and survival supplies that could get you through 3 days away from home. To take a look at the ultimate prepper’s bug out bag, look at this one from Graywolf Survival.
#9. Be prepared to defend your home and family.
It is an unfortunate but unavoidable truth that disasters bring out the worst in a lot of people. (Remember Ferguson? This wasn’t even a disaster, it was an unpopular verdict.)This truth is what turns a lot of people off from prepping. They can understand the need for having a few cans of food and some extra toilet paper, but they’re so immersed in cognitive dissonance that they can’t wrap their brains around the possibility of civil unrest. You do NOT want to be one of those families who bury their heads in the sand. You can have a 10-year supply of food, water, and medicine, but if you can’t defend it, you don’t own it. The article The Anatomy of a Breakdown explains the predictable patterns of social unrest. The best way to win a fight is to avoid getting into that fight in the first place. Secure your home and lay low, but be prepared if trouble comes to visit. Don’t rely on 911. During widespread civil unrest, the cops are going to be busy and it’s unlikely that help will arrive. Have a safe room for vulnerable family members. Be armed and know how to use your weapon of choice. If you don’t know how to use your weapon, learning should be one of your top priorities. Here’s some advice from someone who knows a lot more about weapons than I do
#10. Build your resource library.
This is where some money could come into play. Most of the time, people in the preparedness world like to have hard copies of important information. This way, if the power goes out and you can’t access the internet or recharge your Kindle, you still have access to vital advice. Some of these books are for just such an event, while others are guides to building your self-reliance skills.
What are you waiting for?
If you’re new to this, there’s no better time to start than right this minute.
Go through the list and do the free things first. Do all of the plotting and planning second, and then put your plans into action as your budget allows. Whatever you do, stop waiting around. Disasters won’t wait until it’s a convenient time for you.
If you a seasoned prepper, please share your inexpensive start-up ideas for newbie preppers in the comments below. If you have friends and loved ones you’d like to help get started, send them this article. It’s loaded with budget-friendly links to start them on their journey. Help encourage people to join our community of self-reliance!
by Debora Gabriel, Guest Writer, ZenGardner.com
The United States of America, the greatest nation on Earth. The land of the free and the home of the brave. Where leaders are elected, for the people and by the people, and every vote counts. A place that has the best healthcare system on the planet. Where justice always prevails, and everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. And police officers are the good guys, who serve and protect us. A place where we are free to express our opinions and practice our beliefs. You know… one nation, under God, indivisible, for liberty and justice for all.
They brainwashed me well, and I bought into a lot of this garbage, growing up. But the real game-changer came, for me, as I drove down a south Georgia highway, one hot summer day. I had prepared an early birthday dinner for a sick relative, and was headed back to my north Florida home. My Mini Cooper was piled full of pots, pans, left-over food and a half bottle of Shiraz, buried deep in a cooler. I still have no idea where the cop came from, but found myself being pulled over. I was not speeding, or driving reckless, but quickly realized I had not fastened my seat belt. Yep, I was stopped for a seat belt violation! Long story short… he was a young punk, militant cop, who was looking for someone to hassle. Looking back, there was nothing I could have done differently, that would have helped. I was just a common criminal, who had clearly broken the law, in this cop’s eyes. And then, when he searched my vehicle, and found the half bottle of wine, my fate was sealed. I was arrested, handcuffed and taken off to jail.
That was two and a half years ago, and the day my carefully guarded, false reality began to unravel. That was the day I found out how fair our justice system REALLY is. I truly believed the judge would throw my case out of court, if I stood before him and told the truth. But my attorney told me, the system is not about truth or justice, it’s about generating revenue. And he was right. However, I would not go back and change a thing, even if I could, because I found the silver lining. For 55 years I’d been living in La La Land… and I finally woke the fuck up.
Mine was a very rude awakening. I sank into a deep depression. And though this may not sound life-altering to some, it was huge to me. It made no sense, how something so minor could explode into a situation that cost thousands of dollars and a year of my life. It not only threatened my job, but my future… and it happened so quickly! And that is the point of this article, to try to help others who may want to give up, and not travel down the long, dark tunnel of truth. It’s a lonely journey, and others may think you have lost your mind. But don’t get discouraged, because there is light at the other end, and you will step out much wiser, stronger and very empowered.
I finally had to face the fact that almost everything I was taught or told, is basically the opposite of how things really are. And the reason that things made no sense, was because information was omitted, or facts were missing. So to get to the truth we must keep digging and searching for the missing facts… even if you don’t want to. I felt like a sponge on steroids, soaking up knowledge. I was fascinated to learn about the methods used to manipulate and condition us, to do things that were not in our own best interest. And once I caught on to all the bullshit, it was easy to figure out the motive. Nine times out of ten, it all boils down to somebody making money. Greed and waste seem to be two of our biggest problems on this planet.
So, what can we do about it? Well, we can do a lot about it… and I did. To try to restore my faith in the future, I started doing things differently. I started doing the opposite of what they wanted me to do. Here are 10 things, that I do now, that I believe, will take us off this road of destruction… and lead to a more healing path:
1. Stop buying stuff… and stop buying stuff from big greedy corporations that pollute and rape our planet. Your dollars can make, or break, a business. Choose carefully, whom you give your money to. Support those companies making a conscious effort to better the world. If you don’t know who these companies are, do the research, while we still have a free internet.
2. Pay off your debts… and stop creating more. Pay with cash, when possible. Take all your money out of the big banks. Get out of the stock market, sell everything. Take control of your retirement fund, cash it in, pay the penalty. If you need a bank, open an account at your local community bank. A fire-proof box, under your bed, is safer than the big banks and the markets, right now. Ponzi schemes NEVER end well… and time is running out.
3. Stop wasting energy. Use LED light bulbs. Turn off the hot water heater, and turn it on when needed. Unplug appliances when not in use. Open the doors and windows, and cool with fans in summer. Wash laundry in cold water, then hang it out to dry. Turn the settings on your frig/freezer to the lowest safe number. Wear more sweaters in winter, and keep the heat setting low. Keep track of your kilowatts. This saved me 40% on my utility bills. Drive your car less, plan your trips and combine errands. Walk, carpool or use public transportation when possible.
4. Get rid of cable and dish tv. My Roku box cost $50, and HuluPlus costs $7.99/mo… and I can watch what I want, when I want. Do not believe a word that comes through your tv set… it is why we are in this mess. It is the biggest and most successful mind control program they have going. Instead use your internet streaming service to educate yourself with the many documentaries and alternative news shows available.
5. Get yourself healthy. The human body is designed to heal itself, Obamacare is designed to turn a profit. We have our own built-in healthcare system… and it’s free. Grow a garden, eat whole organic foods. Do a major detox twice a year, or try a coffee enema. Test your drinking water. Get some fresh air and sunshine, soak up some vitamin D. Stand barefoot on wet grass and let the Earth’s healing energy flood your whole body. Stretch and exercise your mind and body daily. Take great care of what goes into your body… and stop poisoning it. Those injections interfere with your body’s self-healing abilities. The human body is nothing short of miraculous… get it healthy and let it do it’s thing.
6. Stop wasting time voting. We can not fix or change this system, by participating in it. If you think your vote counts, start investigating. Everything is rigged, from the voting machine software, to the candidates themselves. They don’t give a damn what we think. Money is all that matters in politics. We will send a clear message that this corrupt system is not working for us, by not participating in it. Do you know why we have the Electoral College? They think we are too stupid to vote for our leaders. Could they be correct… or is it that we are intentionally kept in the dark, and not fully informed?
7. Look around your property and see what you can do to become more self-sufficient. Plant a vegetable garden, raise chickens, plant fruit trees. Put a hand pump on your well. Install solar panels, or generate wind power. Learn to protect yourself and your property. Go geothermal, or heat with wood. Make a solar hot water heater. Store organic seeds in the freezer. Stock up on food, water and medical supplies. Nobody really knows what the future holds. A number of things could happen… why not try to prepare for some of them? Do you think the government will be there to help you? Yeah, they will help you to your nearest FEMA camp.
8. Recycle everything and reduce your waste. Start a compost pile, and a burn pile for non-toxic trash. Stop buying stuff with a lot of packaging. Refuse plastic and paper bags, bring a re-usable. Stop buying paper towels, napkins, plates and cups. Stop buying everything plastic. Don’t buy disposable diapers… don’t buy disposable anything. Re-use and re-purpose everything. The waste that we generate is a crime against nature. It is completely out of control… just stop it, people. This one small step may have the biggest impact on our planet.
9. Do something to help the Earth. Plant some trees, keep some bees. Set up feeding stations for wildlife in your yard. Stop using toxic chemical on your lawn and garden. Volunteer to clean up a roadway, or a beach. Rescue an animal. Stop poisoning (so called) pests and rodents with toxic chemicals, there are more natural ways to deter them. Stop killing and eating animals… you know that deep down in your heart, all those factory farmed animals suffer greatly, and face unimaginative horrors when slaughtered. It’s cruel and it’s wrong.
10. Approach each situation with this one question… “How can I, at this moment, improve what’s happening?” And just do it. It may be letting an older person ahead of you, or holding the door, or smiling and saying hello. It may be handing our bottles of water to pan-handlers on the street, you don’t have to give money. You may stop your car and help a turtle across a busy street, or move a dead animal away from traffic, so the buzzards can feast safely. Be kind and helpful to others… only good can come of it. And why the fuck not?
Imagine what the world would be like tomorrow, if everyone started doing these simple things today. We can literally change the world by changing the little things we do each day. It’s true. You know… “be the change you want to see”.
A dear old friend said to me recently, that she did not want to live in fear, preparing for some kind of unknown disaster, for that would be a life not worth living. But, living in fear to me, is not being prepared, when the shit hits the fan. I find great comfort in knowing that I may be able to eat, or survive without electricity, running water and government assistance. And, it would make me happy to be in a position, to share what I have with my dear old friend.
There is no need to get angry and go out protesting in the streets… because that is exactly what they want us to do. It gives them a good excuse to put on their military gear and play war. And lets face it… we don’t have a chance in hell against them. Keep love in your heart, and stop buying their shit and playing their self-destructive game. We can take the high road, the peaceful path.
It is really tough living on Earth, right now… so, find the silver lining. Let it catapult you forward, out of La La Land, and into a better place. Where our planet is respected and well cared for. And animals are appreciated for their unconditional love and intelligence. A place where we can express our opinions and practice our beliefs. You know… liberty and justice for all.
Daisy Luther, Contributor, ZenGardner.com
Shopping malls across America are going to look a whole lot emptier soon. An exodus of giant retailers is beginning with the announcement of hundreds of store closures and thousands of people newly unemployed.
The first of January, I broke with my usual tradition and wrote not about positive resolutions, but about the impending rockslide of the US economy. And “rockslide” is an apt word: as one thing starts rolling down the mountain, it will pick up other things until a veritable avalanche of other businesses and people are affected and rolling pell-mell right alongside.
Last year, we saw announcements of the expected closure of some retail giants. In February of 2013, Michael Snyder wrote on The Economic Collapse Blog that we would see the following:
Forecast store closings: 200 to 250
Sears Holding Corp.
Forecast store closings: Kmart 175 to 225, Sears 100 to 125
Forecast store closings: 300 to 350
Forecast store closings: 125 to 150
Barnes & Noble
Forecast store closings: 190 to 240, per company comments
Forecast store closings: 500 to 600
Forecast store closings: 150 to 175
Forecast store closings: 450 to 550
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there. This morning, a World News Daily report announced:
Macy’s is closing 14 of its 790 stores across the country.
JCPenney is closing 39 of its stores and laying off 2,250 workers.
Sears has been around for 122 years, but it, too, is closing 235 under-performing stores.
C. Wonder, the preppy retailer, is going out of business, closing all 11 of its U.S. stores in the next few weeks.
Wet Seal is closing 338 retail stores while dealing with bankruptcy proceedings. Nearly 3,700 full- and part-time workers will be unemployed.
Aeropostale, suffering from declining sales, closed 75 stores during the holiday season, which runs from November through January. And in 2015, they expect to close an additional 50 to 75 stores.
RadioShack, which is negotiating with lenders to gain approval to shutter 1,100 stores, said last month that it closed 175 locations in 2014. (source)
Even holiday sales, normally high, plummeted this Christmas.
How does this affect you?
You may not work in retail yourself, but never doubt that the mass closure of these businesses will directly affect you..
Maybe you are wondering how. You aren’t much of a shopper. You aren’t a retail worker. Perhaps you believe you can compartmentalize this information, pack it away, and go on with your life as you always have.
The thing is, it’s not just the patrons and employees of these stores who are affected. This is going to be catastrophic on a variety of levels.
Let’s go a little bit deeper.
Think about the people who worked in these stores. Now, they’re without jobs. There will be more competition for the smaller number of jobs in America, and many people will not be able to find work. They’ll survive by going on assistance, draining the US coffers even more. As formerly employed people search for work that just isn’t there, we’ll see an increase in foreclosures, repossessions, and welfare.
Think about those who provided the inventory for these stores. Yes, I know a lot of it was made in other countries. But, it was imported here and distributed here. Most businesses work on a “Net-30? basis, meaning the inventory is delivered, and the payment for that inventory is due in 30 days. And guess what? The companies that imported the merchandise aren’t going to get paid. This will ripple through and cause other businesses to go under, which means still more people are unemployed.
Think about those who transport the inventory. Trucking companies and the independent operators who drive the trucks won’t get money owed to them either. As companies struggle to keep trucks on the road, transport costs will go up, which will cause future inventory in stores to be priced higher.
This is how we’ll be affected:
- The price of everything is going to go up because wary distributors are going to try to recoup what they’ve lost from these companies that went under, while transporters increase prices to try to cover losses.
- Jobs will be even harder to get than they were previously – and looking at the unemployment rates, it was pretty darned difficult before.
- When people have no jobs, they spend no money, crushing the manufacturer’s and retailer’s economy even more.
- As financial desperation increases, so will crime. And it won’t just be property crime – expect an uptick in violence as property owners fight back.
If you don’t live in an entirely self-sufficient bubble, you can bet you’ll be affected in one way or another.
What can you do about the collapsing economy?
It’s more vital than ever to be aware of what’s going on and to start getting prepared for it on all levels. You need to consider the following:
Create multiple streams of income. We’d all like to feel like we’re reliably employed, but that’s just not true. You need only to look at the numbers above to see that jobs can be ephemeral. You need to be making money from more than one source (multiple streams of income). Start a small business that provides a safety net. Check out this great article on Graywolf Survival for more information on how to do it.
Learn to shop wisely. A couple of years ago, I wrote this article about how shopping wisely can save you a fortune on your regular purchases. Each purchase needs to be thought out carefully because the day may come when your own personal economic collapse occurs in the form of a job loss, an illness, or a catastrophic bill.
Build a pantry. A well-stocked larder can be your lifeline in the event that your personal finances take a hit. Your supply of food, toiletries, and household items can mean the difference between weathering a storm in relative comfort or going under completely. When I got laid off from my job in the automotive industry, it took 4 weeks before the severance pay arrived, and 9 weeks before my unemployment insurance kicked in. We were able to survive in total comfort due to the supplies we had laid in, and the lower amount of money I was receiving was enough to cover things like the mortgage, car payments, and utilities. Check out my book on building a one-year food supply in 3 months. Another option (although not as thrifty) is to stock up on freeze-dried food for your family. The nice thing is, you can put this at the back of your closet until the day you need it. It’s packaged for the long haul in buckets and it keeps for ages.
Learn to do it yourself. Really, the epitome of preparedness is self-sufficiency. Only when you reduce your dependence on the economy can you be truly unaffected by the things going on in retail-land. Grow it, make it, build it. No matter where you live, you can take steps towards personal independence. The last half of this book is all about being as self-reliant as possible – it’s a must-read. Learn to live like there are no stores, and if a day comes when there aren’t, you’ll be just fine. Learn skills like canning, sewing, and homesteading, and figure out how to apply them to your personal situation. Also, don’t just learn them: DO THEM.
Learn to live on less (and enjoy it). When my oldest daughter was a newborn, my husband lost his job. We went through the toughest financial period I ever faced. Quite literally, at one point we had 2 bags of bagels in our freezer, half a jar of peanut butter, and the desperate hope that our vegetable garden would produce enough to get us through until unemployment checks started arriving or a new job was found. I read a book (borrowed from the library and signed out for the maximum allowed number of times) that completely changed my life. If you haven’t read The Complete Tightwad Gazette, I strongly encourage you to read this gigantic bible of frugality from cover to cover. I still hear Amy Dacyzyn’s “voice” in my head sometimes and my own work is strongly influenced by those lessons she taught me back when I was a new mama. Here’s an article to get you in the frugal mindset.
If you can’t protect it, you don’t own it. Lots of people hate this part, but it’s true. You absolutely must have a strategy for protecting your home and family. That means you need weapons. You need to figure out how to harden your property against attacks. You must be mentally and physically prepared for the increase in crime that comes with the increase in desperation. I know in my small, sleeping town, property crimes have been on the rise, and sadly, violent crimes are popping up now when they were so rare as to be an anomaly before. This article talks about hardening your home, and this one tells you how to prepare your home for battle, should things really go awry.
Have you seen evidence of this collapse?
How are things in your neck of the woods? I know that where I live, some of the nearby malls are turning into ghost towns. Crime has been steadily rising for the past six months. I personally know several people who have lost their jobs recently due to the closure of the businesses with whom they were employed. Have you seen evidence of this financial downturn? Let’s compare notes in the comments section below.
The economy is indeed collapsing, but for most of us, there’s still time to get prepared. If your own situation has collapsed, don’t despair – there are ways to live very well on less. Here are some resources to help you become more self-reliant and less dependent on the financial well-being of others.
The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster
The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It Yourself
The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months
The Complete Tightwad Gazette
The Organic Canner
Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary
How To Use Your Sewing Machine: A Complete Guide for Absolute Beginners
Tools for Survival: What You Need to Survive When You?re on Your Own
Survival at Home
US NATIONAL DEBT COUNTER national debt
Focusing on real values, buy Karatbars (also one gram at time)