Of course I didn’t know it was called prepping when I started out after I got out of the VA from my illness. I just knew it sucked having my Mom have to do my shopping as I had no food in the house and it would be a couple more months before SSD would start paying my disability. That was an extreme wake up call of going nearly eight months with no income and I would have lost everything if not for my parents helping me out. As it was, I lost enough to realize many of thing I was making payments on were not mine but belonged to someonelse when the payments didn’t get paid. That’s when I decided I would never be in that position again and started on getting prepared!
I suspect I followed how most people begin prepping buying food and stuff. I was still thinking like a consumer rather than rejecting the mindset of what got me into problems in the first place. I often read or hear people say the just need more time to buy more stuff. Like if you store a magical number of months of food you get a “Get out of Armegeddon Free card”. I don’t think it works out that way and I know that I had a major shift in how I bought after I reached the six month point of storage. That’s when I began to see a huge savings in nearly everything I bought because I was no longer paniced as I had a good start on everything and I could afford to wait for sales on the stuff I needed. I think many people think three to six months is good enough and never get to see the massive saving you can get after you have reached your magical storage number.
If you are waiting for a sign or a date to start preparing or getting self reliant your looking at the panic buying and that’s when you decide to pay the highest prices if you are lucky enough to find a store with anything left on the shelf. All of the things you buy are simple tools for survival. I hope if you shop for a hammer you try to get it on sale and don’t have a panic attack if the store runs out of hammers. You get a “rain check” and wait for the hammer to arrive at the store. If you missed out on that hammer you just wait to get the best deal you can and get by with your old hammer!
I did get blindsided by the “Guns and Ammo panic” after Sandyhook, as Jan. 2013 I had planned to get started in reloading ammo. Nothing special, just the timeline for that goal and I had just set aside some cash for getting more of the components for making bullets. That money was just spent on other stuff on sale and I had enough bullets on hand that I could afford to wait for the prices to come down as we are already seeing with guns.
So much of what passes for finacial/economic education is complete crap. I was taught back in the mid 80’s I had to have a good credit score so I could use a credit card for an emergency. Now according to the latest Visa commercials you are somehow stopping the entire economy by being so gauche to pay cash or write a check! They always call it credit which has a nice positive sound but it is really debt and it’s what is starting to destroy the world economy. Debt is indentured servitude at best and slavery at it’s worse as I see it now! I used Mary Hunt’s debt proof living to get rid of my debt and I really like her use of percentages of income for your budget. Dave Ramsey has a really good program that works very much the same with his “debt snow ball” and baby steps. Getting out of debt is simple but that does not mean it is easy, but it is so worth the effort it takes.
When I first started on getting out of debt the first thing I did was look at ways to cut my budget. That meant cutting my costs anywhere I could afford it and always looking for more savings. I stopped going out to eat and started baking from scratch instead of buying ready made food from the store. I went down to the lowest cost Sat. TV package and did not agree to a contract so I could cancel at any time. I did the same for phone though my parents wanted me on a cellphone in case I needed to call for help so they put me on their plan and I pay for the extra “Line”. I got magic jack for my home phone for $20.00 a year because I kept my internet connection. I got cheap on power especially eliminating vampire loads via power strips and turning off power on the switch on all electronics. I was surprised by cutting off those vampire loads I saved about $5.00 per month on my electric bill and I live in a low electric cost area. I bet you could see a lot more savings if you live in an are with high electric costs, and every chance you get to cut $5.00-$20.00 a month is huge amount you can dedicate towards tools for prepping or paying off your debt, and all you have to save that money is flip a switch.
The crazy thing I noticed is some friends and family will be a little peeved at you for prepping and getting out of debt. Some how you will become the “crazy, paranoid, fearful” person and just a little unpopular with them. I wanted to share just how well I was doing in my own little way and show them how they could do what I do and be at peace like I am. Don’t do it! They don’t want to hear how you can do it and they want to stay in that little bubble they have created. Call it normalcy bias or willful ignorance or the “Denial phase”. Until they are willing to take the first steps to break out of the “Matrix” all of your advice will fall on deaf ears. Your actions will speak louder than any words. If you drop a few hints around, for those that ask. Be a bit of tease or matter of fact statements on how you are doing. To “woo” them so to speak to the idea you will get more participation rather than nagging or trying to pound the idea into their heads. If your family or friends are anything like mine, once you tell one person they will all know what you are doing even without the “social networks” of the internet. Remember how do you lead a pig? Tie a rope to it’s back leg and pull in the opposite direction you want to go!