It’s not often I write about particularly time-sensitive topics, but the past several weeks have solidified my resolve to become a “prepper”.
Ok, ok, I’m not making little tin foil hats and stuffing an underground bunker with five years worth of canned beans. I might use the term “prepper” a little more loosely than most, as the term in society carries a big negative charge on it. “Prepping” is an obvious derivative of “to be prepared”, and being prepared is never a bad thing. The real question is, what should we prepare for? The Apocalypse? Nuclear war? Civil war? Food shortages? Maybe.
Impending Financial Pressure
However, the dark cloud I can actually see on the horizon is more mundane – inflation. While less adrenaline-inducing than most prepper reasons, sharp inflation over the next few years is a real, likely threat due to the fact that nearly a quarter of the U.S. money supply has been created (FACT: it’s not even physically printed anymore – just electronically generated) in the past year alone! The inflation means our dollar is going to be worth less in a few years; our salaries will no longer afford the same lifestyle; we will be poorer.
What can we do about it? Besides political means (which we are nowhere close to fixing on either side of the aisle), we can take our financial futures into our hands by two primary methods: 1) earning significantly more money, or 2) spending significantly less. Since getting big raises is probably not likely for most of us, we’re left with the more practical option #2: burning less cash.
Sever the Dependence
My form of “prepping” is not the crazy type you’re thinking of; instead, it is simply reducing our dependence on the dollar, and we can start with baby steps. First, start a garden to begin learning how to grow a few common foods well. You don’t have to master it the first harvest; instead, view this as a learning experience such that, if times get tough, you’re in a better place to transition to mostly home-grown foods. Along with growing your own food, you can also try keeping chickens, goats, or other livestock to obtain fresh eggs, millk, and meat. Hunting is another great way to get fresh meats. The benefits of all these food methods are significant, regardless of economic circumstances: 1) reduced grocery bills, 2) a healthier diet, and 3) a boost in self-confidence.
Other ways to reduce your dependence on the future dollar value include moving toward energy, water, and gas independence – in a nut-shell reduced dependence on utilities. To reduce energy bills, you can turn toward solar or small wind turbines to power small to medium machines, or even go fully energy independent if you have the sunlight and budget. If you can’t make the leap to change how your energy is produced, you can always simply use less energy as well. Sacrifice a few degrees of cooler air in the summer to reduce air conditioning costs (the big energy guzzler during hot months). Instead of cooking on your electric stove, try occasionally cooking food over a campfire in the backyard if you’ve got wood to spare. You get the idea.
Water usage can be reduced by trying rain-catching methods. In most states, you can at least use the water for outdoor uses instead of using city or county water. In the more sensible states, you can drink the water with proper purification. (Isn’t it crazy some places regulate what water you can drink? I’d drink out of the stream in our back woods as a kid – no filter!)
To reduce gas use, try using a wood fireplace or wood stove in lieu of a gas furnance. You can also use wood stoves to cook food on.
Anyway, this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of going off-grid, but I’m sure you get the idea here. The more independent we can become, the more insulated we can be from economic collapse. This doesn’t mean we are completely independent from the “grid”, but it does mean our lives becomes a weaker function of the larger economic and political landscape.
Good Either Way
Even if economic collapse through skyrocketing deflation doesn‘t happen, becoming more independent is good in and of itself. As mentioned earlier, it reduces our outgoing cash, increases confidence, and improves our health through exercise (it’s work, after all) and diet. Get growing; get water catchin’; get off the dollar!
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