Disaster: It’s Not Always Fukushima Or Hurricane Sandy
Living a prepper lifestyle often comes under scrutiny. Thanks in no small part to recent media infatuation with doomsday type survivalists I am often asked about my tin hat and when I think the solar flares are going to hit. It is extremely frustrating to be constantly ridiculed for attempting to give myself a buffer for whatever may come.
I have learned that most of these people that do the ridiculing are either scared or just plain ignorant to the fragility of the world around them. It is at this point that I smile and ask them what they would do in a disaster. Every time they spring to what they would do in a tornado, hurricane, or God forbid a zombie outbreak.
The truth is disasters often come in small packages. Taking a disaster out of the national scale and thinking of it on a personal level seems to be the only way to break through the candy coated veil of humor that they keep.
What would you do if you suddenly lost your job?
How long would you be able to keep your house?
How would you feed your family?
How would you cope with the emotions that often follow such an abrupt halt in your normal routines?
Losing your job is just one of the personal disasters that can be devastating no matter how prepared you are, but it is the mindset of a survivor that allows you to pick yourself up and move on.
My brother is 6 years older than I am, but he still acts like a teenager. Instead of finding steady work and keeping a roof over his head, he likes to spend the week as a day laborer getting paid cash (which isn’t a bad thing) to paint or do basic carpentry work. His nights and weekends are spent partying as if he were a boy half his age.
It wasn’t until our father passed away that I fully realized the disparity between us. I shouldered the grief and returned to work while my brother collapsed into a depression for weeks on end. My father had always been the one to bail my brother out when he needed money or a place to live and my brother turned to me in an attempt to supplement that part of his life.
This reaction and aversion to face reality saddened me but it also showed me just what being unprepared for personal disaster can do to a person. I was forced to harden my resolve and insure that I would never be in my brothers shoes, no matter what life threw at me.
If I lost my job right now, this is how I would be prepared to face my disaster.
My mortgage is paid in full 6 months ahead
My auto insurance is likewise paid in full 6 months ahead of schedule
I have enough money in my savings account to pay for an additional 6 months of mortgage or any other emergency expenditures that need to be taken care of ( medical expenses, automotive or home repairs etc.)
I have a 60 day supply of food for both myself and my wife. This is in addition to the food that we have in our pantry and fridge.
I only have a 2 week supply of water but that will be remedied soon (I will be getting a drum to store additional water in and I am contemplating a rain catchment)
I have a larder of sealed non-GMO seeds that if needed can be planted in a garden plot in my back yard or in the vertical garden that I built.
These are just a few of my personal disaster preparations and I say them not to boast at all but I wanted to put what I have done out completely in the open so that you could ask yourself, “what have I done to prepare”.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare (at least economically) for a small scale disaster; Keep in mind most of these require just a few attitudinal adjustments:
Live within or under your means: I am not telling you to take the seediest apartment in the worst part of town simply because it’s cheaper. What I am saying is that keeping up with the Jones is not beneficial to you at all. While it may feel nice to have a new car or a gigantic television you could save a ton of money by going with something a bit more modest. This leads directly into number 2.
Become a deal finder: Couponing has become almost as ostracized as prepping with shows like ‘extreme coupons’ showing housewives spending hundreds of hours per month gathering coupons and storing several houses worth of groceries after each shopping trip. Honestly shows like this disgust me and have flat out ruined coupons.
That being said, if you find a good deal, take it. I bought a $250 power tool combo for under $60 recently simply by choosing a used set from a pawnshop and negotiating it. If your deal finding takes on a more leisurely role in your life as opposed to consuming your every action, you can easily fold it into your daily routines.
Build new bridges but never burn the old ones. It used to be that a person took a job and held on to it until retirement, but that way of life seems to have all but disappeared. The average person now holds 12-15 jobs throughout his or her lifetime and changes jobs roughly every 4.1 years on average.
This leaves a lot of opportunity to keep in contact with fellow coworkers and managers. Even though it borders on nepotism, more often than not you can get a job based solely on whom you know and not what you know. I myself have acquired 4 jobs in my lifetime simply because I knew someone in the business that was able to help me get a leg up. This isn’t to say that I was not completely qualified for the job, but it did give me a heads up that said company was looking for someone with my merits.
These are three very basic actions that can help you to prepare yourself for a personal disaster. This concept is to focus on economical savings that can help you keep a small nest egg and return to the workplace quickly.
What would you suggest to either get you into the mindset of a survivor or help you overcome any barriers to preparations?
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November 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM
“My mortgage is fully paid six months ahead.”
BE CAREFUL! If you paid an amount equivalent to six month’s of mortgage payments, what you probably paid is that amount against the principal balance. The Mortgage company will still be looking for monthly payments, especially interest on the remaining principal balance. If you don’t send them a payment for six months, you may find yourself facing foreclosure.
November 12, 2012 at 2:12 PM
Hey Phil, this is good advice for many others that might not think about this type of thing!
I knew to look for it because I had a credit card that did pay towards the principle instead of rolling the monthly payments. We are safe with that one, our mortgage company just changed the due date each time we add a payment. I’m thinking about calling in and making additional payments straight to the principle to help pay it off quicker.
Thanks again for pointing this out, it always pays to do a little extra research
November 29, 2012 at 9:59 PM
Good story, I for one have paid off my Mortgage Years ago, simply by making my Payments on time & paying an Extra Half amount to the principle, In doing so, My Interest fell way below my monthly payment & instead of a 15 year mortgage, I paid it off in 9 years! And a good thing I did it that way, A few years later, I became Disabled & Now I have a home that is Ours on land that is paid for.
as for living below our means, You Bet!
To be prepared, to Bug-Out, By a Good Pick-up, And if you can find one, By an extra Engine at a Junk-yard, That is OLD but Fits your Frame, One that DOESN’T Have a Computer Controlled Alternator or Distributor, Say from the 60’s?.
Next, Search your house, look for & toss out every 75-Watt or Higher Light Bulb you find & replace them with those Mini fluorescent Bulbs that use only 7-Watts of power but gives off 60 to 75 watts worth of light. Check out your Kitchen, How many Repeat Appliances do you have? Hold a Yard sale, Get rid of those Time Savers, & learn to use the Basics. Above all, Spending Less Saves you more in the long run. Learn to be Creative with all things you think you need. Years ago, My co. was tossing out 100-Yard Rolls of a Synthetic, Felt-like Filtering Material. I only took one roll( With the Bosses Permission) Now I wish I had taken all of it( some 15 rolls of many different sizes )as I have found 100’s of uses for the stuff. Everything from, Insulating Window Curtains to Bed Comforters to ( You name it)
Bottom line, Swallow your Pride!, Learn to live well But live with less. You’ll be glad you did.
December 7, 2012 at 4:41 PM
I agree it is wise to SAVE enough money to pay 6 months of bills, including the mortgage. One thing good about a fixed rate mortgage, everything else can triple in costs, but mortgage stays the same.
I believe NG prepper show has viewers who perceives us as weird and extreme—until some find themselves unprepared in an emergency or disaster.
I remember in one of those childen’s fables that has an antidote of the Ant and the Grasshopper. The ants were busy preparing for the coming winter while the grasshopper fiddled away and didn’t offer to help store food and vitals. Winter came and the grasshopper froze and starved to death while the ants were feasting below in their anthill wiling away the days of winter.
In this socialist world, the fable changed. The ants felt sorry for the grasshopper and let him in to share in the feast.
But it really doesn’t end there…. The grasshopper invited his lazy locust swarms of friends to live with the the ants. Soon the grasshoppers consumed all of the ants food and supplies and they all died eating each other. There is a different moral to this story now.