10 Things to Do if You are Worried about the Stock Market

10 Things to Do if You are Worried about the Stock Market

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Earlier this week U.S. stocks had some huge declines leaving many people worried about their 401ks, investments and the economy in general.  On Tuesday, I checked my retirement account and bank account online and found both websites to be down at the the same time.  I felt a moment of panic at that point but I forced myself to calm down.  It may have been a coincidence, but it did not help my worries.  A few hours later, the websites were back up and nothing seemed amiss.  Thankfully, the markets have bounced back and people have calmed down in the last day or so.

It seems the fears of another 2008 Great Recession are back, but this time they are more pronounced because the global outlook seems to be more dire:  economic uncertainty, pandemic fears, natural disasters, terrorism threats, election worries etc.   I am sure a lot of people feel more than a little spooked and helpless.

You are a lot of things you can do to feel empowered and ease your worries.

1.  Face your fears:  Make a list of all your fears and evaluate which ones are most likely, and which ones have a pretty low chance of occurring.  Do what you can to prepare for the most likely events.  Most Americans fear an economic collapse and how it could affect them, and so far this seems to be the biggest threat.

2.  Get prepared now!  If you haven’t started already, start your family’s emergency preparedness plan.   Buy food and other necessities now while the prices are still manageable.  Even if nothing happens, you know prices are only going to increase so you really can’t lose by setting aside a good stockpile.  Read Getting Started for a quick run through of things you can do NOW.

3.  If you have been worried about your retirement and investment accounts, review your risk tolerance and adjust them accordingly.  If you are heavily invested in stocks and fear you cannot weather any losses, move them to safer, less volatile investments.  Read Jim Cobb’s book,  The Prepper’s Financial Guide: Strategies to Invest, Stockpile and Build Security for Today and the Post-Collapse Marketplace for ideas.

4.  Start your emergency fund.   Get a side job or find ways to make extra money.  We really don’t know how the economy will do this year, it could get better, worse or stay the same.  It doesn’t hurt to have some savings set aside.

Take control of your financial future!

5.  Get out of debt and cut down on expenses now.  Everyone can find some “fat” that can be cut out of the budget, whether it’s a rich cell phone plan, premium cable channels, magazine subscriptions you never read.  See Downsize Before You have to for specifics.

6.  Get healthier.   Being sick is a disaster in itself.  If you are not feeling your best, take some steps to improve your health.  Get into shape, start a healthy eating plan, get your annual checkup.

7.   Become a bit more self sufficient by being less reliant on outside sources.  I know families that eat every meal outside.  In a disaster, McDonald’s won’t be open and families that rely of fast food for every meal can starve.  I am not asking you to become a gourmet cook overnight.  Little steps can mean a lot.  If you eat out a lot, start learning how to make meals from home.  Take baby steps:  brew your own coffee, make muffins for breakfast, make a pot of soup for dinner.

8.  Learning a new survival skill does not cost any money but will help you feel a lot more confident about your chances of surviving or even thriving during hard times.   Start with simple things around your house:  learn how to turn off the main electrical switch, how to shut off the plumbing or how to empty out your water heater.   Learn how to change a tire or replace the oil in your car.  There are not “hard core” survival skills, they are practical skills you can use all the time.   You may even enjoy learning something new.

9.  Stop watching all the doom and gloom and listening to dire predictions.  Filling your mind with a constant barrage of scary pronouncements will only scare you, and depress you into inaction.   I am not telling you to bury your head in the sand either.  Accept that these worries exist and quit feeding them.  I know because I have been a worry-wort myself.  Ever since I started my preparedness journey, I’ve actually started worrying a lot less.  Taking positive steps will do a lot more for you than being mired in worry.

10.  Realize that being prepared is a mindset.  For all we know, things will stay pretty much the same this year, and we will face the same issues in 2016 and beyond.

Bonus step:  Ease your mind through prayer and helping others.  You are still much more fortunate than a lot of people.  Helping out soothes your soul, and that is never a bad idea. Be at peace with yourself, and with God, and you will have the strength to cope with whatever happens.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

How To Prep Like A Spartan

How to Prep Like a Spartan

Written by Chris Ruiz

This post originally appeared in The Bug Out Bag Guide

The Spartans were renowned throughout the ancient world for their military prowess and disciplined lifestyle. They did not win every battle, but they did beat back larger forces to defend their homelands time and time again.

This ability came down to their dedication to preparedness, their whole society was geared towards it. Spartan men and women were trained from a young age to respect the community as a whole and dedicate themselves towards its preservation. This included training in warfare, foraging, adaptation, and conditioning oneself to hardship. They were in effect a nation of preppers! No wonder they were respected by their fellow Greeks!

Today we idolize the Spartans for their strength and discipline in books, movies, slogans, and more. But what can we learn from their culture of preparedness?

Learning To Survive At An Early Age

At age 7 Spartan children left their families to join the Agoge. This was a training program for both boys and girls that tested their strength and wills as well as taught them the skills they needed to serve Sparta as they came of age. The Agoge was renowned throughout the ancient world and powerful families from friendly nations vied to secure a place for their own children for 1-2 year stints.

Male Spartans had to endure thorough physical training to prepare them for war campaigns and the hardships of living in the field. Looking at the Agoge program that every boy Spartan had to pass through gives us some great insights into their mindset of preparedness. There are a lot of elements within it that we can draw upon when looking at how we prepare today as well as how we instill this mindset into our children.

Hardship was the norm

An especially important element of Agoge training was being taught to endure pain and hardship. Students were often made to suffer hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue and lack of sleep. Spartan boys were made to walk long distances without shoes, bath at the cold waters of the river Eurotas and wear the same piece of clothing year round. This was meant to condition them to the realities of wartime and is a valuable example for us today.

When prepping, being conditioned to hardship is a valuable asset. If you have to be on the move day after day evacuating from a disaster or terrorist act you will you be slowed down because you are cold, hungry, or your feet hurt? Are you ready for the hardship imposed by the removal of everything that is comfortable in your life? In order to be truly prepared we have to ready ourselves for such deprivation.

Flexibility and using the environment around them was expected

To be a Spartan boy going through the Agoge was to always be tired and hungry. In addition to the harsh physical training, they were constantly being underfed. To get the nutrition they needed the boys were encouraged by their teachers to forage from the world around them and steal from the kitchens. However, if they were caught stealing – even though it was encouraged – they were severely beaten as a punishment for failure.

For modern day preppers this shows how important it was seen to be able to feed yourself while on the move. Would you be able to feed yourself in the absence of a grocery store? Do you think you could liberate food from a watchful source without being caught if your life depended on it?

No rest for the weary

Even if they were able to fill their bellies, they still had an uncomfortable night ahead of them. This is because in their barracks, Spartan boys were not even allowed to have blankets to keep them warm at night. They slept on top of straw and reeds, which they gathered without knives from riverbanks, strengthening (and scarring) their hands in the process.

While this requirement would toughen up their limbs it would also show the value of using the environment around you to make what you needed. For us today we can look to our shelter building skills to emulate the Spartans. Are you able to build a shelter by hand in the wilderness? Keeping warm and dry after a day of hard walking gives you the opportunity to recuperate so you can be mobile again the next day. Shelter building with scavenged materials is an essential skill that all preppers should master.

Females Spartans were held to high standards as well

Female Spartans were trained in a variety of subjects both mental and physical:

Athletics – running, dance, gymnastics
Writing
Poetry
War Education

This program was aimed at building female Spartans into good citizens able to serve the state. Additionally their training prepared them for the mental hardship of being separated from their fathers, brothers, and children while they were off on campaigns.

Physical Fitness Was A Big Part

If you are ever caught in a situation where you have to bug out you will surely be put to the test physically. Just having your bug out bag packed and ready to go will not be enough, you need to actually be able to carry it until you reach safety.

Spartan Training

The Spartans put a huge emphasis on physical fitness in both in the Agoge training and throughout their entire culture. Both men and women were expected to maintain their fitness during their entire lives.

This emphasis helped define the Spartan soldier and enabled them to march for longer and fight harder, even against overwhelming odds. The Spartans won a great many of the ancient Olympic Games due to this commitment to physical fitness.

Students in the Agoge were constantly encouraged to compete against one another to weed out weaker members and push everyone to constantly improve. Female students would even be encouraged by their instructors to observe and mock the competitors to drive them even harder at their tasks. Agoge students were expected to gain proficiency at:

Distance running
Gymnastics
Jumping
Javelin
Discus
Wrestling
Combat

How Can We Train Ourselves?

So, how can we use this as inspiration for our own prepping? As with any challenge we need to train harder than we expect to have to endure when the test comes. This may mean taking your bug out bag for a walk on weekends to condition yourself to carrying it. If that proves difficult try just going for a hike without it until you can build up your strength to carry the load. My old mixed martial arts coach used to say, “sweat in the gym so you don’t bleed in the street” which captures this mindset perfectly.

A Lifetime of Dedication

For Spartans, their dedication led to a lifetime of service. All males who passed through the Agoge lived in state owned barracks and continued to serve in the army until age 60. They continued their own training and once experienced, the training of the next generation for basically their entire lives. From age 7 to age 60, ALL Spartan males would relentlessly dedicate themselves to the prosperity and preparedness of their nation.

Modern Day

Today as a nation we are obviously very far from this single minded focus. But, on an individual level can we seek to emulate this dedication? Would you start training your children at age 7 to serve the interests of your family day in and day out until age 60? Can we instill the proper mindset and pass essential skills and knowledge on to them in the face of our own distractible and fragmented culture? I know I will be trying to do so with my own children, it seems to be an immensely worthwhile investment. I will try to lead by example and show them the way.

Our Own Preparedness Mindset

Looking at these examples we can clearly see why the Spartans were respected among the ancient world and are still looked up to today. Their level of dedication and preparedness was truly impressive. The rigorous training they practiced and widespread commitment would be impossible to replicate for most modern day Americans.

It is however this mindset that preppers seek to emulate. In the modern world we can still train our bodies and minds to endure hardship, overcome mental and physical obstacles, and pass these values on to the next generation. Dedicate yourself to this as the Spartans did and you will be able to face any challenges that get in your way.

Your Thoughts?

Do you have a way of preparing that would make the Spartans proud? How do you prepare yourself physically and mentally to face hardships? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

About the Author:

Chris writes the Bug Out Bag Guide website. He created this site to help ordinary people prepare for the uncertainties of the modern day world.  This may mean making a bug out plan for you and your neighbors or simply packing some EDC items to take to work with you.  Either way a well prepared society is the best safeguard against any natural or man-made disaster.

 




My Every Day Carry Items

Everyday carry

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

An emergency can happen anywhere, anytime and you may have to cope with only the items you happen to be carrying with you.

Over the years I have changed a few things on my every day carry (EDC) list.  On one hand, I don’t want to be carrying a huge purse that attracts thieves; on the other hand, I like to be prepared.  I like to make sure each item is useful enough to keep around, even if there is no emergency.

What are my every day carry items?

  • Solar watch – A couple of years ago, I decided to switch to a watch that runs on solar power, as I got tired of having to buy new batteries.  Even my dressy “Sunday” watch is solar powered.  I have never gone back to battery powered watches.
  • Paracord bracelet
  • Taser/flashlight – I researched choices between stun gun, taser or pepper spray.   When making your own choice, check the laws in your state, as some states prohibit them.  Before carrying, know how to use it as there can be unforeseen pitfalls.
  • Pocket aid kit – has various sizes of band-aid, pain reliever, diarrhea and allergy medicine; I also added a few prescription medicines that the family uses.
  • 8 oz Bottled water
  • Small granola bar, 1-2 pieces of candy, gum
  • Sunglasses
  • Swiss Army Knife, safety pin
  • Small wallet that includes ID, insurance information, debit card and $20 cash
  • Pen
  • Small book of matches
  • Cell phone

Of course, I also have a car emergency kit in case I get stranded.

These items have come in handy more times than I can remember; that’s why I never leave home without them.

What’s in your every day carry list?  Please share in the comments below!

© Apartment Prepper 2015

The One Simple Secret to Surviving any Crisis

Simple Secret to Surviving any Crisis

Written by Daisy Luther

This article first appeared in The Organic Prepper

When disaster strikes, will you be ready? Will you be organized, calm, and ready to adapt to whatever the situation brings? Sometimes we have some warning, and sometimes things happen out of the blue. There is one simple secret that will allow you to sail through nearly any crisis. It doesn’t cost a lot of money, or take up an entire roomful of storage space.

It’s your ability to accept the scenario.

The more time you spend denying that this could ever happen to you, happen in your home town, or occur at all, the less time you have to take definitive action. In fact, your willingness to accept that disaster could strike before it ever does puts you even further ahead, because you’ll be ready for immediate action without wasting valuable time wrapping your brain around it.

We recently hovered on the edge of evacuation for 12 days due to the King Fire, a forest fire that nearly reached 100,000 acres.  We got up on a sunny Saturday morning,  never realizing that would be the day an angry man would punctuate a domestic dispute by setting fire to a tree in the other person’s yard. Certainly, no one expected that one act of anger to set off a fire that would exceed the size of the city of Atlanta.

However, he did set that fire, and it came as close as 2 miles to our home over the almost-two-weeks that we watched with bated breath.

During the fire, I joined a number of local groups online so that I could get the most up-to-the-minute information, and during this time, I took lots of notes of my observations. The thing that was very clear is that those who were at least somewhat prepared handled the situation far better than those who simply couldn’t accept that this threat was actually happening to them.

As someone who has studied preparedness for many years, I witnessed firsthand the classic exemplar of human behavior during a disaster.  Tess Pennington, the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, wrote an article last year called The Anatomy of a Breakdown. In the article, she pointed out that in the event of disaster, society devolves in a predictable pattern with four distinct phases.  Her observations were accurate during our experience.  As we watched the events unfold, some people changed dramatically.

The difference between the people who crumbled, becoming easily offended, snarling, and hysterical, and the people who were generous, calm, and effective?  Their levels of preparedness, both mental and physical.

Think about any stressful situation that has ever happened to you.  Once you accepted the fact that it had happened you were able to set a course of action. Once you had definitive steps to take, you probably felt much calmer. You took control of the things you could, and you executed your plan.  Only by taking that first step – accepting that this mishap had indeed occurred – could you take the next two.

1.) Accept

2.) Plan

3.) Act

No matter what situation you find yourself in, these steps will nearly always see you through.

Here’s what we saw.

During our own experience, here are the things I witnessed. They could apply to any type of disaster, natural or otherwise:

Bug out bags are absolutely the first prep you should make. If you’re just getting started, do this one thing. You can do it without spending a penny, by just gathering up things that you already own. You may not have a top-of-the-line, ready-for-the-apocalypse bag like THIS ONE, but you’ll still be far ahead of most people.  When we first learned of the fire and realized that evacuating might become necessary, I had only two things to do. I had to get documents from the safe (the documents, by the way, were already housed in a plastic folder, so I only had to grab that one thing) and pull the pet carriers out of the shed. In less than 5 minutes, we were ready to roll. Had it been necessary, we could have left with only the photocopies of the documents, because those always remain in our bug-out bags. Having your bug-out bag ready means that you have accepted in advance that disaster could strike.

Any time one disaster strikes, several more are sure to follow. This is highly probable.  Some people in the fire zone not only stayed on the edge of evacuation for nearly two weeks, but they also lost power due to the fire.  This greatly reduced their ability to get news and information, which is vital in a disaster situation. It leads to even more worry and stress, and while you’re dealing with the potential of your home burning down, you’re also living through a power outage lasting several days. Getting prepared for a two week power outage is absolutely vital and can see you through most regional disasters. Also, when it finally began to rain, although it helped to quench the flames, firefighters were suddenly threatened by flash floods,. These were made worse because the areas no longer had the same natural obstructions to deter the flow of water.

Unprepared people panic.  Some people panicked initially. When we got the first evacuation alert (a notice that evacuation was highly likely within the next 24 hours), a woman who lived down the street was wailing and sobbing as her husband tried to pack up their vehicle.  She was rendered absolutely useless by fear. Meanwhile, my 13 year old was fulfilling her list while I fulfilled mine and we quickly made an orderly stack of important belongings, then turned on a movie to beat the stress. Had our area actually been forced to evacuate, those who panicked would have either been the last to leave, or they would have forgotten important things as they left in a disorganized rush. It’s important to decide ahead of time who packs what, and for each person to have a list. Sit down well before disaster strikes and make an evacuation plan with your family.

Get organized.  All the lists in the world won’t help you pack quickly if you don’t know where things are. One change we’re making is that all of the items we deemed precious enough to pack and take with us will now be stored in one area so that we won’t have to look for them when seconds count.  Another friend ran into the issue of dirty clothes: he actually had to evacuate with hampers of unwashed laundry. Having your home tidy and organized (and your laundry washed and put way) will help your packing go smoothly in the event of a sudden evacuation.

You can’t be prepared for everything.  Disaster situations are always fluid and they don’t go by a script. It’s vital to be adaptable to the changing situation.

Keep your vehicle full of fuel.  If you have to evacuate, lots of other people will be hitting the road too. When you’re stuck in traffic, you don’t want to be worried about your fuel gauge dropping to the empty mark, leaving you stranded in a dangerous situation.

The criminals come out, like cockroaches. Within 24 hours of the first evacuations, we learned that the local scumbags had looted some of the homes that had been left unattended. Within 48 hours, we learned that the scourge had reached the outlying areas, with these people breaking into cars that had been loaded up with the things that families had determined to be most important to them.  Of course, if you’ve evacuated, there’s nothing you can do about what’s happening to your home. But before evacuation, or in the event of civil unrest, it’s vital to be prepared to defend your family and belongings. In these situations, the first responders are busy, and that’s what criminals rely on. You should consider yourself to be completely on your own, and be ready for trouble. Keep in mind that during the civil unrest in Ferguson recently, the only businesses that didn’t get looted were the ones at which the owners stood armed and ready to defend their property.

The longer the stress lasts, the worse some people behave. As continued stress is applied, the true nature of a person becomes evident. People who formerly seemed like perfectly nice individuals were on the local message forums saying terrible things to one another. They were verbally attacking others for imagined slights and taking offense at things that would normally never ruffle feathers. Some folks were launching tirades against the very people who were performing the greatest service: the admins of the webpages who worked round the clock to keep us informed. If it was this bad in a potential emergency, can you imagine how bad things will get in a truly devastating long-term scenario?

But then…some people are wonderful. Alternatively, sometimes you see the very best of human nature. The generosity of many of my neighbors cannot be overstated. They housed livestock, pets, and families full of strangers during the evacuation. People showed up at the shelter with food and comfort items for those who had been evacuated. Firemen who came from near and far to fight the blaze were constantly being treated to meals at local restaurants, as other diners surreptitiously paid their tabs. Watching the kindness and gratitude helped to restore some of my faith in human nature, after seeing the squabbling and crime. It was interesting to me that the people who gave the most generously were the ones who were the most prepared. These folks were calm and could focus on other things besides “Oh my gosh, I don’t know what to do!” We definitely learned who the people were that we wanted to surround ourselves with when the S really HTF.

Take steps now to be one of those calm people later.

Today, I want you to think about disasters. It’s certainly not a pleasant thought, but considering these things now – when there’s no fire bearing down on you, no hurricane heading your way, no chemical spill poisoning your water, no pandemic in the next town over – allows you to think more clearly and make a definitive plan of action.

So…

Check your bug out bags.

Organize your most precious belongings.

Discuss the plan with your family so that everyone knows what to expect.

Make these decisions now so that when – and it’s always “when” not “if” – disaster knocks at your door, you’re prepared to respond immediately. Learn about what to expect from others in order to keep your family safe and on-plan. Human nature isn’t as much of a variable when you can predict their behavior.

What to pack:

Here are the things we packed for our potential evacuation:

  • Bug out bags
  • Cell phone
  • Address book with important contacts
  • Money, credit cards
  • Pet carriers – I prefer the hard-sided ones so that our pets are sheltered better in a crowded vehicle
  • Pet food
  • 2 weeks of clothing
  • Extra shoes
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Documents (identification, insurance, passports, etc.)
  • A utility bill or other proof of residence
  • Small Portable safe for valuables
  • Family photos
  • Items of sentimental value
  • Reading material
  • Laptops
  • Water
  • A small fire extinguisher
  • Extra fuel in a safe container
  • Phone and laptop chargers
  • car charger
  • On the recommendation of a friend, I threw our swimming goggles in, to offer eye protection in the event we had to drive through thick smoke

Your list might also include:

  • Security items for children
  • Items to entertain children
  • Prescription medication
  • Allergy medication
  • Religious items for comfort
  • Food (If you go to an evacuation shelter, you may end up having to purchase meals out or make due with very small rations)
  • Bedding

Make a written checklist that you can easily access. You might include the location of items that are packed away. Decide on these things now, when you have the time to calmly think about what items are the most important.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of those sentimental items.  We feared that if we had to leave our home, we might never be coming back. Identify the things that are dear to your heart and put them in a place where you can grab those treasures quickly. Insurance can’t replace photos of those who have passed on, special gifts, and items that bring you memories of loved ones.

Have you ever evacuated?

If so, what items did you take with you? Are there any items you forgot?

About the author:

Daisy Luther  lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States.  She is the author of The Organic Canner and The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

 

 

 

Monday Musings: 1/26/2015 Almost Time for Gardening!

Monday Musings 1262015

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

A Time to Endure Giveaway   We got some great responses to the question:  What threats are you most concerned about this 2015?  What steps are you taking to prepare? The winner of the drawing was Dee who has been notified via email.

Almost Time for Gardening  We’re starting to see some good weather out here in Houston, and even less cold is expected next week.  I know many parts of the country are still in a deep freeze, but with the weather changes we are seeing now, our thoughts are turning to starting the planting season.  One of the local TV news anchors even mentioned he already planted his entire garden last week.

I will write more about the getting ready for growing season soon.

Now for the links…

How To Easily Grow an Endless Supply Of Onions Indoors

Feeling Lost? Start Here if You’re New to Prepping

Your ePreparedness Binder – Saving Stuff from the Internet for SHTF!

8 Delicious Ways to Use Freeze Dried Vegetables

DIY Ice Packs

12+ Easy Homemaking Tips for the Busy Homesteader

Know Your Stuff: The 110 Best DIY Tips Ever

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015

 

So Can’t Afford to Prep, Eh?

So You Can't Afford to PrepThis article first appeared in Preparing with Dave

Article by Dave at preparingwithdave.com

Can you afford not to?

Sadly enough, I feel like most of my time is spent trying to convince even preppers to prep. I hear many times that people cannot afford a necessary prep. A necessary prep means that if you don’t have it, you risk death in a survival situation. How could anyone not afford it? The answer lies in prioritizing one’s life and future. Many people are not fully internally aware enough of the seriousness of needing to be seriously prepared, thus not taking it seriously enough.

We make sacrifices to put money away for retirement, and call it an investment. Preps are investments, too. Water filtration devices are investments on life-saving hydration. Security devices and self-defense tools are investments to protect our lives from harmful people that said they couldn’t afford to prep, or just didn’t see it as important, which is kind of the same in my opinion. Their actions to aggressively acquire what they need will be the same.

Most of every item in my Emergency Survival Pack or Bug-Out Bag, is under or around $20.00 in cost of investment expenditure. Therefore, I will base some examples I offer you around that dollar amount of investment. Here are some examples of sacrifice to secure “Necessary Preps“.

Example one:

Some people drink two sodas per day. That’s around sixty sodas per month. Cost is around $20.00 to $40.00, depending on their favorite brand and flavor. That equals the cost of one to two Sawyer Mini Filters that filter 100,000 gallons of life-saving water each. Just cutting consumption of soda for one-month, and someone can have 100,000 gallons or more of water filtration prepped.

Example two:

The average lunch or dinner in a restaurant is $10.00 to $25.00 per person, depending on whether it is a fast-food or sit-down meal with tip. This could buy a couple of inexpensive packs on sale to start sticking preps in, to grab and go in an emergency situation. Skip these meals and go simple at home, and this prep is taken care of now. Add number one and number two example together, and you’re on your way to some good preparedness.

Example three:

Any service you have someone else do for you, like nails, hair, car wash, taking care of your yard, changing your oil, etc. These services add up to a healthy sum of money in a year’s time, or even just six-months. Actually, having all of these done in one-month adds up to over $100.00. That’s a lot of preps if you do a few simple tasks on your own, instead of paying someone else to do it for you. $100.00 dollars could buy eight fire starters, a family water filtration four-pack, 140 Mylar blankets, ten emergency shelters, ten emergency two-person sleeping bags, five Life Straws, ten containers of waterproof matches (250 matches), five WaterBobs, one high-quality crank emergency radio/flashlight ($30.00 leftover), and more. Get the idea?

Affording To Prep

These are just a few examples of what I call monetary maneuvering to acquire necessary preps. It takes sacrifice to have anything that is important enough. We have made many sacrifices around here to have what we need for our survival investments. We have a very nice “grid-down fund“, or “convenience-lost fund“, that is not monetary. It’s all in preps, since in SHTF, money isn’t worth anything and banks won’t be open to access the worthless notes anyway. You can do this too, if you prioritize your preps versus whatever else you are spending money on.

We have skipped favorite meals here and there, we do most everything ourselves, and we don’t buy frivolous items or services. We also prepare our owns meals that are healthier and actually much tastier, because we don’t use cheap food sources to cut costs and raise profit margins like restaurants do.

Do this or not, because it’s your choice and your life that’s at risk if you don’t…NOT MINE!”

About the AuthorDave writes preparingwithdave.com.  He created this page to share his experience, knowledge, actions, and continuing path with others.  He hopes your tour around the website is informative and you continue to visit for updates and sharing of your comments. Please visit Dave, on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/preparingwithdave

If you have any questions, ideas, or comments, please feel free to message him on Facebook:

 https://www.facebook.com/preparingwithdave

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Christmas Shopping Deals

 
 
 

Best Preparedness Gifts

Best preparedness giftsLast week the city of Detroit experienced a huge power outage that lasted for several hours and took a lot of people by surprise.   Many public buildings, office buildings and schools lost power.  This incident reminded me that emergencies can happen at any time and anywhere.   It is easy to forget or dismiss the idea of being prepared until something happens and you wish you had done something about it.

We all have family and friends who are not really into prepping, or who mean to but don’t get around to it.  Since we’re giving gifts anyway, might as well give them something to help them prepare for an emergency.

Here are a few ideas for preparedness gifts for various budgets:

Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger
Weather radio and cell phone charger
Priced around $32

Fold’n Go 2-Burner Stove
Fold and go stove
Priced around $70

Solar Watch
Solar watch
Priced around $32

Red Pepper Spray with Dye


Priced around $9

Good Grip Can Opener

Can Opener
Priced around $14

Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Priced around $20

AA and AAA Solar Battery Charger

Priced around $20

Door Stop Alarm

Priced around $12

16 GB Flash Drive

Flash drive
Priced around $10

Paracord Bracelet

paracord bracelet

Priced around $20

These preparedness gifts will get a lot of use.  Some useful items like my favorite, the can opener, can be used daily, and not just in an emergency.   But wait, it’s not all about giving “stuff.”  If you prefer, you can still give the gift of preparedness by helping someone accomplish a chore that they never get around to doing:

  • Back up documents and photos for a close relative
  • Share some skills that you have as knitting, canning, yogurt making, breadmaking or even a free cooking lesson.
  • Print up PDF files for an emergency binder
  • Make water proof matches or firestarter with household items such as cotton balls and petroleum jelly and packaging a handful in a jar labeled Emergency Fire Starter, with instructions.

Sharing your knowledge and time is just as valuable as giving an item.  We all want to help our loved ones prepare and Christmas is a great time to spread the “joy of preparedness” in subtle ways.

 

Should You Answer the Door When a Stranger Knocks?

Should You Answer the Door When a Stranger KnocksThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

During the holidays you may notice an increase in people coming up to your door:  leaving flyers, selling something or just being neighborly.  But you never know what their intentions are.

The local constables in our area have been warning people to be more vigilant due to a rising number of burglaries.  One of the more controversial questions is whether you should answer the door when a stranger knocks or pretend you’re not home.

So, should you answer the door when a stranger knocks?

Our local law enforcement does recommend that you should answer the door from behind the locked door.  The reason for this is, many thieves knock on the door to find out if someone is at home.  If someone answers, they avoid the house because they are looking for an easy target.  But if you pretend you are not home, they may try to sneak in and find you, placing you in danger.

At the same time, the person knocking may not have ill intentions at all, and there would be no reason to fear them.  Answering the door without opening it at first will at least allow you to find out what they want.

What I encountered when I went door to door for charity

I myself have accompanied my kids when going door to door selling tickets for a charity fundraiser.  Many neighbors seem to get freaked out when you ring the doorbell.   Standing outside, I can usually tell if someone is at home.   You can tell if it’s kids but lots of adults just stand there as well.  It’s just a sad fact of life while living in the big city.  Many people may live next to each other for years and never get to know each other.  I didn’t take it personally if they don’t answer the door.  But the few who did answer their doors either said they weren’t interested or gladly bought tickets.

Recently, a couple of senior home owners were robbed when a woman and a child knocked on their door.  They let their guard down talking to the woman while an accomplice either snuck in through a back door or forced their way in to rob them.

I can definitely see both sides of the issue.  Here’s what I think:

  • Check who is at the door by looking out the window.  Some doors have peepholes but many do not.
  • Answer the door and ask what they want.  On one hand, you may be worried about safety but on the other hand, the person knocking may just be a neighbor needing to talk to you about something.
  • If you get a bad or nagging feeling, don’t open the door.  Trust your gut.
  • Keep your door locked at all times.
  • Tell children and young teens never to open the door when someone knocks or rings the doorbell.  If they notice that someone is at the door, they need to let an adult know.  A couple of home invasions in the city resulted when teens opened the door without checking first.
  • In case of a break-in while your are at home, have a weapon nearby and know how to use it.
  • Or, at the very least, always have you cell phone handy in case you are in danger and have to call 9-1-1.

In answer to the original question about whether you should answer the door, yes, you should.  Find out what they want, but do it behind a locked door.  Tell us what you think in the comments below.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Substitutes for Toilet Paper

Substitutes for Toilet Paper

I recently posted about being off-grid for 48 hours, and using a lot of baby wipes due to the lack of water during our adventure.  One thing that would run out quickly in a survival situation if you did not have a huge stockpile would be toilet paper.  Not having a lot of space we have about three months worth on hand right now, but that can run out quickly.  Also, a large stockpile of toilet paper is not portable in a bug-out situation, and in a shelter in place scenario, the TP supply is bound to run out.

Space saving tip:  Remove the cardboard insert and flatten the roll and you can fit more rolls in a small space.

What are some substitutes for toilet paper?

Back in ancient times, the Romans used a sea sponge on a stick.  They would clean themselves with it, rinse it in the running water (public bathrooms had them on the floor) and leave it soaking in salt water in between uses.

In colonial times, people used corncobs, and later, old newspapers and catalogs were used in outhouses.

Here are a few ideas:

1.  Wet wipes or baby wipes

These would work just like toilet paper, but again, a large stockpile would have to be accumulated.

2. Paper Substitutes

Newspaper may work, but the ink would turn everything black.   I read other people prefer The Yellow Pages but these days, a lot of people don’t keep phone books around.  Store catalogs may be more common, and flimsy pages instead of high end glossy paper would work best.  Just crumple up the sheet until it softens up, then wipe.

3.  Cloth

Cloth, such as wash cloths, terry cloth or  cloth diapers can be used as toilet paper substitutes.  You can even cut up old, soft t-shirts into squares.  If you want to make reusable cloth wipes, this article from Food Storage Moms has good instructions.  The method would be to wet the cloth, wipe, then launder the cloth.  Supporters of this idea feel that most people would have nothing against rewashing cloth diapers, therefore personal washcloths should be okay.  I would think it would be a good idea to throw the soiled wash clothes into a bucket of water with some bleach before washing.

4.  Plant material

Sage leaves are said to be soft and fragrant enough to use, some say banana leaves would work too..  You must have some knowledge about which plants are safe; you would not want to use something like poison ivy, poison oak or sumac by mistake!   Remember: Leaves of three – let it be!

5.  Water

Many countries already use a spray water fountain called a “bidet” as part of their bathroom facilities.  Since this is being considered in an emergency scenario, we would need an alternative to that too.  In many countries, use of the left hand in combination with pouring water in a pan or small bucket with the right hand is the way to clean up.

Possible water carriers:

Fill any of these containers with plain water, add a drop of essential oil for fragrance and wash up.  (Don’t use mint or and don’t overdo the quantity of drops, or you may irritate those sensitive areas.)  After washing, dry the area with a clean towel that can also be reused.

To avoid disease, one would have to wash the hands well with water or antibacterial gel right after.

I’m not ready to give up toilet paper but you gotta do what you gotta do to stay clean.   In an emergency, the water route seems like the most likely one to try.  I may try making those clothes one of these days.  We will keep stockpiling toilet paper for now, and store them efficiently by flattening them for maximum use of space.   Another idea would be to decrease the use of toilet paper by combining with the methods above, thereby extending the life of the stockpile.

Toilet paper shortages sounds unlikely, but it has happened:  a year or so ago, Venezuela faced a toilet paper shortage and the government had to take over a toilet paper factory.   Before I got interested in preparedness, I can recall snagging the last package of toilet paper and waiting in a long line right before a hurricane.  Toilet paper is one of the first items to disappear if a disaster disrupts supply deliveries.  It’s good to know some alternatives just in case.

 

10 Disaster Preparedness Tips for Couples

10 disaster preparedness tips for couplesAlthough we have a lot of discussions about family preparedness, we also have many Apartment Prepper readers who are couples with no kids.  Here are 10 easy ideas to prepare for disasters when you are a couple.

1.  Make a joint decision to prepare.  If you are in a relationship, there is a chance that your partner is not on board with preparing, which may make it difficult for you.  I know a few of those personally – are some tips if your spouse feels that prepping means your are being paranoid

However, the un-supportive partner may feel differently if you show practical reasons such as preparing for a hurricane or you are concerned about job loss.  You’ll also want to decide where to store your supplies ahead of time.

If you have to, you may have to use your own funds instead of the joint funds for the preparedness budget.   Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way, we can get started.

2.   Get your water supply started.  Buy two 5-gallon containers or bottled water – these are carried at grocery stores, discount and home stores.  Now you have 10 gallons of water for the two of you, enough for five days.  The following week, pick up another two 5-gallon containers, and you will be covered for 10 days.

By the third week, find a good water filtration system such as the Berkey, or Katadyn so you can filter water from other sources in an emergency.

3.  Start buying shelf stable foods that both of you like to eat.  Initially, pick up canned foods, instant noodles, cereal, crackers, peanut butter etc.  The key is buying only foods that you both like.  Start with a week’s worth, then build up to a month.

The following week, purchase a backup cooking method such as a propane stove, rocket stove.

4.  First Aid:  If you don’t already have one, buy a prepackaged starter first aid kit – Costco and Sam’s have a good sized one for $20 or so.  Add a month or two supply of your personal  prescriptions such as birth control pills, blood pressure meds, asthma inhalers, allergy medicines etc.  Pack extra pairs of eyeglasses and/or contact lenses.

5.  For hygiene supplies, stock up on toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toiletries, large trash bags, paper plates and cups.  Buy enough for two people to last two weeks then build up to a month.

6.  For communication, have a backup list of contacts for both you and your spouse.  Make sure your phones are always charged.  For news when the power is out, have a battery operated or crank radio.  It is also good to have a solar charger for small electronics.

Backup your important documents.   Build a grab and go binder as soon as possible.

Make an emergency plan on how your would contact each other in the event of an emergency.  There is always a chance an emergency will happen in the middle of the day when you are both at work.  Plan alternate routes home from your work sites in case of a traffic standstill.

7.  For lighting, pick up flashlights and batteries, extra matches, tap lights and/or a camp lantern.  Emergency lighting can be found inexpensively, if you prepared ahead of time

8.  Hide cash for emergencies in a spot that both of you know about.  You never know when a bank glitch may keep you from accessing your accounts.

9.  Don’t forget about pets.  Build a pet emergency kit – set aside extra water, food and any pet supplies.

10.  Discuss the idea of safety and defense with your partner.   Unless you discuss it beforehand, there may be disagreements – Explore various options such as stun guns, tasers, pepper spray and firearms.

These are just ideas to get started with disaster preparedness- you can do them in any order, then build from there.

 

For more fast and easy tips to become more prepared, read my book:

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