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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?