During my little adventure I have met many people who refuse to prepare in any way and quite a few of them are related to me or are friends. Needless to say I have had very little luck convincing these people to prepare. I think that was a big reason I started this blog was to try and help people who wanted to prepare but it look to expensive or there was just to much info to take in. At least that’s how I was when I started out. I hope I have been able to show how a disabled person on a fixed income can not only prepare but start working on becoming self reliant. But it’s been very tough dealing with people who refuse to even consider prepping for a disaster. Or somehow that being self-reliant is some kind of “fringe movement”.
If you have been prepping or are into self-reliance, I’m sure you have had very similar conversations as I have and are just as frustrated by them as I am. You probably have given up talking to people about preparing because they just refuse to listen or say something like “I don’t need to prepare. I’ll just come to your house”! Now I have worked very hard and went without for years to make sure I’m as ready as possible and now I am supposed to support 10 other people who decided that a Wii, Iphone, Big screen TV and going out every weekend to dinner and drinks at the bar was more important than having some extra food, shelter, first aid, water and sanitation items stored. I do understand that kind of frustration and have often thought I won’t share with those greedy SOBs but I know I do love them and I will try to help them if I can afford to help! They will also pay for what they get from me, though it might just be in muscle power, instead of cash.
I started my charity buckets and I keep a few gallons worth of water in soda bottles that I can give out and move refugees along. No, I’m not planning take them in as it will be to dangerous for me. I plan for helping family members but they may not like the cost of that help as they will work, pull security and learn, or they will leave and get nothing. Sorry it has to be that way but life is hard and it ain’t fair. Now many will refuse to pay the cost and that is where my “Barter Box” comes into my planning.
A lot of the stuff I have in my barter box started off as cheap backups for me then for the non-preppers I know. My little sterno stove and canned heat fuel for example cost less than $15.00 and if the power went out I could still heat up a can of soup or boil up a little water for a cup of coffee or whatever I had to eat without using electricity. I now have better stoves and oven for backups, so the Sterno stove goes into the barter box. Same thing starting off with candles for light. Then I got good flashlights and kerosene lamps, so some of the candles go into the barter box along with some of the cheap flashlights, now that I have higher quality lights on hand. Some small items are always great barter goods like bic lighters or wooden matches.
Just because you start out prepping getting the cheapest you can afford does not mean those items will have no value as barter in the future. A small battery powered or wind up radio can have huge value if the store sells out. Or in a power outage that little sterno stove! I’m darn frugal and hate the idea I may have wasted money and I don’t feel as if I have wasted anything. Because I always had a backup as I moved up. So set aside a couple of boxes for those little items for family, friends and barter. Sure you are not giving them the best that you have but if they complain tell them to eat that Ipad or burn that big screen TV.
It’s not different for me than it is for you. Yes, you will be pissed off that you are aware of how bad things are and at times you will wish you could go back to being a sheep for a few minutes. Then you will look at what happens in a storm of sitting on the freeway waiting for a pileup to clear and you have food, heat, water and blankets or warm clothes to put on and you will know it’s worth it. Or all of the stores sell out of heaters during a cold snap and you have all you need already on hand. The ATMs and debit card readers all go out and you reach into your wallet for your “Mad Money” pay cash and walk out with what you need/want. You are no longer living paycheck to paycheck, out of debt, have your little emergency fund and are even a month ahead on paying your bills. I’ll tell you that is a huge stress reducer and will give you true peace of mind!
It is true that you will have peace of mind. Here at our house we are having an electricity problem because of the old house and the “creative” ways it was wired for electricity. Fried my washer and dryer and because my elec kitchen stove was on the same fuse box, I can’t use it. What am I doing? Washing laundry by hand and cooking on the woodstove. While the situation is hardly ideal, I don’t have to spend a fortune eating out or going to the laundry mat (which is an hour drive one way) because I planned for situations that I might have to do this very thing. Added bonus? I now know (very intimately, by the way) the weak places in my efforts.
Keep doing what you’re doing Jamie.
ahh, many are the days i wish i could put this geanie back in the bottle, shove me head back in the sand and live happily ever after or at least until “it” happens. back then we planned to be traveling the country by now, relaxing in the sun wherever that was setting. no worries……
Ah, jamie, one of your finest posts! What you write is one of those “why didn’t I think of that ?” moments. I will start my barter box, because i have a lot of “lower-grade” stuff i have collected over the years. “Miss Violet” I purchased a “Wonder Washer” back in ’99. A little portable washing machine that you use to wash clothes. But I think I will get a washerboard for a back-up.
I am grateful for the time we have spent becoming self-reliant. No one can operate independently, but the skills I learn, I pass along, and find peace in trying to help my fellow beings, and the peace of mind in our own situations is immeasurable, as I see our family members doing the same things, especially our children. Like you, every time we are challenged by any surprise situations, we count it as an opportunity to see the holes in our plans, and act accordingly.
Miss Violet, you will probably end up giving classes on how to cook with a wood stove.
river, I sometimes get a peeved with myself that it took me getting disabled in order for me to wake up! But I thank God that he did wake me up though it can be annoying at times.
dee, We all get into “habits of thinking”. Because my approach to prepping was so different than most long term preppers. I don’t accept what everyone already know is true. Plus I like to experiment on different ways(cheap) to get things done.
One thing I don’t like about some prepping sites especially the Glenn Beck commercials is the attitude of “Store food, and you will be safe” attitude. When it’s so important to have the knowledge, skills and practice for a entirely new way of life.