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Monday, July 19, 2010

A good read.

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*Unknown Author*


1. Food to eat. Buy only the food you actually eat regularly. SHTF hasn’t happened in the five years we have prepared, and those great deals on food supplies that sometimes pop up aren’t such a great deal if you end up throwing it away when it gets way past expiration dates. For things we know are getting close to expiring, we donate to the local food bank. It goes out quick there, and gets used immediately. They even give receipts for the donations, which helps us at tax time (see #5 below). So, as you use, replace.

2. Food rotation. Learn to get in the habit of rotating your food automatically every time you get back from the grocery store. Takes an extra few minutes, but keeps things fresh. I even got the wife in the habit when she shops without me. See #1 above.

3. Accumulating items. It’s easy to accumulate SHTF supplies on a budget. Simply put an extra one or two of something in the shopping cart at the grocery store each time you go. Maybe a can of beans, package of TP, bars of soap, a box of nails, or an extra power bar. Put the items into your rotation cycle (if food), or find things missing from your hardware and tools needs. After 5 years of doing this, we have plenty of items that will keep us going for a long time to come. Little known secret: If buying large quantities, ask to see a store manager and see if you can negotiate a better price. If things are on deep clearance, and you are buying a large quantity, store managers get very motivated to reduce price and regain space quickly. Doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does. It’s saved us extra money when it does work. One of my close friends and I constantly trade excess items to help build each other’s supplies.

4. Bartering. Are you planning on trading with others in a SHTF scenario for food and basic supplies? Why plan on this? We haven’t. We bought the things we need to keep us from having to think about this for at least 2-3 years after something major happens. What we use every day to live and be comfortable, in the past five years, we’ve made to sure to duplicate in SHTF rations (see #2 above). I honestly cannot think of one thing that we would need to buy retail if things went bad right now, because I watched what we use, and expanded on quantities. We have extras to trade for emergency dental work or other services should it be needed, if they are skills that we do not have (see #17 below). Last thing I want to worry about is finding TP to keep the wife happy, and trying to find somebody to trade off their limited supply of it.

5. Save up for the right bug-in location. A few bucks going in the bank at times, and making it a high priority, can get it done over time. We saved change, tax refund checks, bonuses, and limited our gift shopping for each other and family. We turned in aluminum cans we used, took second jobs for years, and made other sacrifices. We are in our bug-in location now. And we feel damn proud for what we worked so hard to get. It feels great to be able to buy something without a big loan hanging over you. However, we aren’t stupid, and will leave it the second it is needed to do so.

6. Embarrassed to use coupons? We aren’t. We have enough TP to last a very long time, food for years, and we regularly walk out of the grocery store spending 70% LESS than we used to. We buy generics on some items that don’t sacrifice taste or quality. The money we saved in the last year using coupons paid for a very nice Honda generator, and some other items that ain’t nobody’s business To me, it was like finding those items free. And we are talking many hundreds of dollars in savings each year. Also, get enrolled in free frequent flier miles plans if you travel for work (got some neat survival related stuff for absolutely free with my miles from work), get a bank card with cash back opportunities (and pay the balances before due), and look for online savings instead of going to more expensive brick and mortar stores. Check online for rebates before buying bigger items; it surprised us how many are offered and how some items cheaper after rebate opportunities.

7. Get familiar with raising a garden and/or food animals. We have planted a large garden, and it’s doing very well. Each year I go hog wild buying seeds when they are 90% off in July, enough to last a number of years…for under $10 spent annually. Seeds from two years ago are growing this year’s garden, and I must say the MANY tomato plants are doing very well (not to mention cucumbers, radishes, peppers, peas, etc….although our carrots aren’t sprouting yet) Haven’t had a plant fail to grow yet from seeds a couple of years old (other than them carrots!)

8. Hit garage sales to save money for SHTF items. Just this year, we got a pressure cooker for $10 that has never been used, and dozens of new Ball jars and other canning supplies for less than $10 total. Last year’s garden output are still in storage, and still good to eat even today. Tents, propane stoves, hiking supplies, extra clothing that has never been worn, etc all can be found for 80%-90% or more off of retail. Not to mention all the tools I now have…25 cents for Craftsman wrenches, $1 for a new tree saw, $5 for a top of the line axe…these things and more we now have due to garage sales. Never fails to amuse me that some other person spends $100 on an item, then throws it unused into a garage sale a year or two later for $5-$10. Oh, learn how to haggle and negotiate. You’ll save even more money.

9. If SHTF long term, you aren’t going to have time or have a way to get services done easily. My family’s teeth are in top shape, we go to the doctor when we have something wrong or aren’t feeling good, and we got into much better shape in the past five years. I don’t have the need to lug 20 gallons of water from a creek to my home, but if I had to, I can now do it (whereas five years ago, 1 gallon may have given me problems if I had to carry it too far).

10. One thing we always knew about is “Murphy’s Law”. Learn it, understand it, and take care of those things now while you have the chance to do it. Don’t put it off until tomorrow…some day, a normal tomorrow may no longer be available.

11. Beware of all the alarmists you find online. They post many, many posts talking about the next calamity that will befall mankind, and then it passes. Sure, we take precautions…but we quickly learned to prepare in general ways, and not to follow the extremist views of a certain type of calamity that could happen. Personally, it’s nice to be warned, but hearing somebody talk about having 500,000 rounds of ammo, 500 doses of Tamiflu, and 200 rifles for SHTF just drives normal people away who seek knowledge. We don’t even bother wasting time reading the content of people that wish to brag, boast, or bother anymore. Life’s too short to spend it reading an idiot’s thoughts.

12. Investments. Everybody asks about whether they should accumulate bartering items, gold, silver, US or foreign currency, investments, etc. What we did is create a portfolio that is encompassing of many forms. Doesn’t matter what we decided on, each person needs to figure this out for their selves. Let me say this though, if you don’t have a lot to put away. If you want some silver or gold or whatever, throw $5 or $10 a paycheck into the piggy bank. When you have enough for a coin or bar, buy it. May take a while (see #5 above), but it will eventually start accumulating. Have trouble saving greenbacks? Take that $10, go to the bank, and get rolls of pennies, nickels, and dimes, open them, and dump it in a big jug, box, or bucket. When it’s full and you now have the funds to buy something expensive, wrap them up, take to your bank, and take the greenbacks and make your purchase.

13. Wading through the “which gun” discussions. Forget the postings about which rifle/handgun is optimal to have for SHTF. Buy something that you are comfortable with shooting, and learn how to use it safely. If you can’t shoot the big calibers, get a small one. I’d rather hit somebody once in the head with a .22LR than miss them 10 times with a .45. All the things about killing a bad guy at 1,000 yards are ridiculous for 99% of us. I’m no criminal, but if I were, the last thing I would do is stand 1,000 yards away from you and wait for you to dial in your scope, figure out the wind, shoot 100 times to actually hit me, etc etc etc. The bad guy is 99% likely going to initiate his offense at you inside of 25 feet. Learn how to defend against that. Play the odds first, and then practice against the extreme bets later if you want.

14. I’m not a fan at all of killing animals, unless it means feeding my family. I respect all living things, but have no qualms about taking game to keep my family eating. In the last five years, I’ve learned how to dress a number of animals, and some good ways to cook them. However, we are smart enough to figure out that unless a person lives way out in the wilderness, there is going to be a lot of competition for animal meat that will quickly disappear from those that run out of supplies quickly, and I’d rather defend/strengthen my bug-in location with my close friends/family, then go out hunting and dodging hundreds of starving people shooting at anything that moves.