What’s the most important thing people can do to prepare themselves in today’s troubled economy?
(Dr. Bones says: Each day this week we will answer a question posed to us that is also being asked of 6 other preparedness bloggers. We will all answer the question on the same day; be sure to go to the other sites linked at the end of today’s response to see what they have to say. Also, feel free to answer the question yourself in comments!)
It doesn’t take a genius to see that we are in a downward spiral economically. We have been in this situation for some time now, with yearly income dropping or staying the same over the past few years for the average family. In the U.S., 46 million people lived below the poverty line last year. There’s a 25% increase in the number of adult children living in their parents’ home, and it’s not because they miss the home cooking.
People say they’re worried about an economic collapse; well, it’s been going on for a while now. People are unemployed or under-employed. My stepdaughter with a college degree currently works at Starbucks and, surprise, coffee-making was not her major.
People are used to having technology, and even being below the poverty line doesn’t mean we don’t buy our widescreen TVs, cable services, computers, Xboxes, or TIVO. How do they afford it? By getting almost a trillion dollars of support from anti-poverty programs in the last year, not including Social Security and Medicare. What would happen if all that money (almost $9,000 per poor American) dried up? I shudder to think about it, but it could, indeed, happen.
The first thing people should do is to not depend on government subsidies. If that is possible for you, you would not feel the pinch if this program or that program goes bankrupt. If this is not possible, use some of those food stamps for items like canned foods, bags of rice, flour, and other items that would be useful in the aftermath of a collapse. Rotate them out frequently, and replace the items you have consumed in an organized fashion.
Seriously consider quitting smoking; $5.50 a day for 1 pack a day = 365 days x $5.50 = $2007.50! There are plenty of other bad habits that cost money, also. Imagine the amount of survival supplies that you could buy with the money you save. It’s also bad for your health and will rob you of needed stamina to perform the strenuous activities of daily living in a survival scenario.
If you have gainful employment and a regular paycheck, bite the bullet just a tiny bit and set aside 10% of your income to purchase insurance. No, not more life insurance or health insurance, prepper insurance. Buy tangible items that will help you survive. One month, use that 10% to buy food for storage. The next, medical supplies, and so on. Be disciplined in keeping to this plan, and you will have accumulated a significant amount of important resources over time.
You will hear about buying Gold or Silver for times of trouble, but you can’t eat Silver, and you can’t splint a fracture with Gold. Concentrate on getting your food storage, medical supplies, and personal protection in order, and consider precious metals only if you have a good amount of disposable income.
Finally, the most important thing: Have a plan for an economic downturn. Economic collapse doesn’t have to be some nationwide calamity, it could be something very personal like losing your job. Think about what you would do if the money stopped coming in to your household. If you have planned in advance for such an event, you will, like the ant in the fable, survive the winter. If you haven’t, you’re the grasshopper, and your fate is in the hands of others who might be charitable or might not. That’s no way to go through life, either in good times or bad times.
Check out other bloggers’ responses at these great prepper websites: