What If The Collapse Never Comes?

Ideology Icon What If The Collapse Never Comes?What if the collapse never comes?

A reader asked this question in the comments of a recent post . What if we spend all this time and money preparing for a collapse or disaster that never happens. Then what? We’ll have wasted our lives, time and money he says.

One example given was Mel Tappan (1933–1980) – Tappan was a stable fixture of survivalist movement before his death at age 47. The commenter thinks, Mel wasted his life planning for a crash that never came.

I doubt Mel would feel this way, but I guess we’ll never know.

I’m sure a lot of people have abandoned the idea of preparedness when the crash failed to happen within their allotted time frame (the year 2000 millennium bug “Y2K” for example). This is natural and I’ll admit it’s happened to me more than once. Sometimes it’s difficult to stay on target and motivated.

When you think about it, collapse and disasters happen everyday, albeit on a personal or local level. Job loss can cause a personal economic collapse and natural and man-made disasters can be sudden and deadly, tornadoes for example – these types of disasters are becoming more common place.

I see survival planning as an insurance policy for the future, and a way of life (and it can also be a lot of fun if you’re doing it right).

How many home owners have paid insurance premiums for 30 or more years, yet their home has never flooded or burnt? How many have dropped their policy only to have their home destroyed by fire months later?

But what if I spend all that money stocking up on survival food only to throw it out when it passes the expiration date?

What’s that you say? Why would you have to throw it out? You have to eat – don’t you? If you eat and rotate you should never have to throw anything out. Let me say that again – If you eat and rotate you should never have to throw anything out. Got it? Good.

All you’re doing by stocking up is buying in advance and when you consider the fact that you’re eating at last years food prices, stocking up is a no brainer because it’s only going to get more expensive. If you’re throwing food away you’re doing something wrong.

If you learn to prepare food using basic foods, such as beans, rice and whole grains you’ll actually be saving money, eating better and learning new skills.

By learning skills and doing things yourself, you not only save money, you gain independence and a feeling of self-worth and pride in your accomplishments. This is valuable no matter what the economic or surrounding conditions.

Survival planning and self-reliance also has many health benefits, and we all want to be healthy and live longer.

By raising a garden, hunting and foraging, you not only eat healthier, you get off the couch and get some exercise and again you save money.

I don’t think a life including survival planning is a wasted life. There is no need to hide in a bunker or live in fear as some seem to think – it can be a lot of fun, you can save money and probably live longer.

What do you think? Is prepping a waste of life?

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Comments

  1. seeuncourt says:

    Not a waste of life, but a way of life. Being self sufficient is a liberating and healthy experience. It brings families closer together, and forges bonds with neighbors, friends and relatives. Growing your own vegetables, eggs, meat…building your own buildings and fences, planting and growing, while viewed as “primitive” by some, become a great source of pride and satisfaction…and an investment/insurance policy for the future!

    • Ditto that.

      I often explain my relatives that it is the most constructive hobbies of all.

    • mensa141 says:

      You can save an enormous amount of money while prepping. Realize that sales generally are on a 9-12 weeks cycle so first collect 12 weeks worth of any on-sale groceries you and your family like to eat. Never pay full price for those items again as you restock each time the go on sale again. Save more money by googling Jillie’s liquid laundry detergent. Make a years supply for under $30 and it hypoalergic and HE caompatible.

      You really can’t afford not to prep at least to this extent.

      • Annie Nonymous says:

        Exactly!

        My parents were Depression-era Kids, and they experienced the meltdown firsthand. They knew how to rub 2 nickles together to get 15 cents worth of value, usually more. Both of my granddads was *very* fortunate – one was a truck driver with a set route (furniture from the midwest to SoCal, Citrus from there to the PNW, and wood back to the midwest for the furniture manufacturers) and the other was a meatcutter / dairyman with a good supply of local customers and the ability to fill the butcher case with what he had taken the week before… but even so, they knew and felt hard times. Gardens were commonplace, communal “neighborhood” meals from those willing to help out (including “hobos” – transients – looking to work for a meal and a bed for the night) were the norm, and entertainment was the radio or storytelling or reading or playing music, with the weekly dance down at the grange, Church on Sunday, and maybe a movie. Everything that broke was fixed until it couldn’t be fixed no more, and even then anything and everything that might be rendered from the “useless” thing were used elsewhere.

        If the collapse never comes? YAY!! I will not complain. Even then, I will have learned how to live more thrifty, share what we can, and especially be more charitable to those who legitimately have not. But being raised by people who were what we now call “preppers” (but to them was normal life) made me cognizant of the “what if’s” that may face us. Sure, we may not have a devestating situation hit us, but if that curve ball hits, then we’ll be ready. And with the knowledge we’ve gained being “preppers”, we can not only be more self sufficient, but have the pride of being able to do what needs to be doing, rather than being clueless couch potatoes who can’t fix a lamp, maintain or repair your transportation, or have fresh veggies to eat. And be able to help others less fortunate.

        As to “wasted”??!! How can any endeavor undertaken to assure that we can survive possible curveballs be considered wasted? Even if what we’ve done is never needed, think of the pride in knowing if it *did* hit, you were ready, and the legacy of instilling those values on those who will come after us, who, even if we don’t need it, they may.

      • UrbanCityGirl says:

        Today I got 8 boxes of kelloggs cereal for $1.45 a box using circular sale combined with coupons. And I’m not talking about the little tiny boxes either. And pasta under 50cents a box. Started couponing as part of my prepping plan and it really helps!

        You are correct in that there are cycles before the same item can be snagged cheap again.

    • axelsteve says:

      I do not worry if the collapse never comes, I am certian that it will. I am no math genius but it does not need to be to see that it does not add up.

  2. Survivor says:

    I just don’t see how we can avoid a complete financial collapse. The Euro has been a complete and utter failure. It’s poised to completely collapse. Central European flood damage is estimated to be in the billions of Euro’s. Turkey is fighting it’s own citizens who are protesting it’s government. Our own bond market is fat with cash and no interest…matter of fact, some countries are actually able to pay less back than what the bond was worth to begin with after figuring all the little accounting tricks. China’s growth is slowing dramatically. Japan’s markets took a major 7% loss the other day. And the one that really bothers me…the US is borrowing money like a drunken monkey to give to countries who hate us. I believe we are on the cusp.

    • AntiZombie says:

      I wholeheartedly agree.

    • Leonard says:

      On the plus side, we’re saving money on the care and feeding of 5 of the most dangerous Taliban leaders on Earth–AND, best of all–we’re getting a convert to Islam who not not only mastered Pashtun, he taught his father to speak it, AND he taught the Taliban how to make better bombs than before! Sure glad he’s coming home…

  3. Survivalista says:

    Wonderful article! With all things in life one must find balance. I think it’s a great idea to stock up on things you will use and have some survival gear “just in case.” For me, spending all my money and all my time prepping just isn’t going to be a reality, in part because my reality is that there are just so many situations that you can’t be 100% prepared for. Prepping at the level you feel comfortable can never be a waste of time.

  4. NotAHusker says:

    I “survived” a minor collapse during the big mid west floods. We had boil water orders and sanitation and sewage issues. I don’t prep for the big one, I prep for all the little ones and that makes me ready for the big one.

    I believe to many people see us preppers as crazy survivalists and don’t understand that we really just want to be self reliant during emergencies, which is not a waste of life considering all the natural, man made, and economic disasters we see on the news each year.

    • Encourager says:

      +1

    • That is why we do it.
      In 1990 the area where we live everything froze solid for over a week a rarity. No pvc replacement pipes-fixtures-glue….nothing for weeks. It was miserable, my dad’s front yard looked like a frozen fountain, the water lines under his decks froze. He did not insulate them…it gets cold here, but if you get a freeze warning you leave water on to trickle. Worked in the house but he forgot the outside. We had a shut off valve and glue to rescue his place but the water tank in out travel trailer froze— we ran out of propane….lesson learned.

    • patientmomma says:

      Back in the 90s, I was laid off a very high paying job; I had a mortgage, kids in school, and bills to pay. Sure we had to tighten the belt a lot; but we did ok, because I prep. We had food storage, medicine, money to pay the mortgage and gas for the cars. Years later my husband died after a fight with cancer; again, I had to tighten the belt a few more notches, but because I prep, I had the things I needed.

      If the collapse never comes, ok! I like electricity and air conditioning. But when it does really happen,,, nothing has been wasted, I’ll survive.

  5. Mystery Guest says:

    Yep, prepping for self reliance should be the concern of all preppers.
    Why should you still DEPEND on luxuries when they should be treated as such, LUXURIES.
    Appreciate and use them now, but learn how to do without them.
    As far as your food supplies, why would you want to go back to just having enough for a week?
    Back when it was natural for most to garden, can, butcher etc., they also had laid in enough sugar and flour and other staples to do awhile. And they didn’t run to town unless they had to.
    So what’s the big deal if nothing drastic happens, your a better person, you can take care of yourself and family.

  6. worrisome says:

    There are many area related disasters..I prepare thinking of earthquake, fire and maybe flood, although the lake house is about to be someone else’s flood issue. I also prepare thinking about illness and job/economic loss. If you keep it real and as MD says, rotate, all it should give you is a sense of peace, that no matter what happens, you are going to be better off for it.

    The things you learn along the way are great as well. I figure that I have saved a couple of hundred dollars on laundry soap, bath soap, hand soap and such since I picked up the recipes here and elsewhere. I learned things about my garden that make it more productive without spending a lot on man made fertilizers. Money saved one place has become an investment somewhere else.

    I also have gone back and made an effort to remember how my grandparents lived. Their lives were harder because they worked harder but they were also simpler because the never seemed worried over the next house payment or where their food was coming from…………

    My next step is to figure out how to have a couple of caches of food and supplies between me and the bol so that I don’t loose everything in one location or the other. It will come to me, I am sure of it.

  7. tommy2rs says:

    Hopefully the collapse will never come. But there are still “inconveniences” to endure, like the derecho winds last summer that left so many without electricity. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes all happen with some regularity. Job loss happens. Better to be ready to depend on yourself than be dependent on the gubmint. Their competence in disaster relief is legendary (tongue firmly in cheek).

  8. Y2K is what got me thinking about preparedness/survival. I thought a couple cases of spam and some dinty more beef stew was being prepared. Then,as I thought more and more about the Miriad of things that could change life as I knew it,I began to see that being prepared meant coming up with ways to continue life without the luxuries such as access to a frozen neat section,running drinkable water,security for my home as well as financial security. Things ARE and WILL happen that can throw a persons life into turmoil be it weather or a job loss. The pump at the city well or a tree coming down on a major power line.

    • Y2K I had just turned 22 and was busy getting drunk at Niagara falls. I was actually kind of disappointed that the lights didn’t go out.

      Now I’m a bit older and a bit wiser and am hoping the lights DON’T go out. But I’m prepping that they will – except now the alcohol is disinfectant and bartering items!

  9. Who can say that their region will never be hit with a weather-related disaster that leaves them without electric power (and working gas pumps) for a few days or weeks? Having bottled water, storage food and a non-electric means to cook food and heat water will be very handy when the grocery stores and service stations are suddenly shut down.

    Who can say they will never have sudden financial difficulties brought about by getting laid off from work or one’s bank account and credit card limits being wiped out by an identity thief? It sure will be handy to have the “insurance” of a well-stocked pantry so you can feed your family while the bank and the credit card company take their time “investigating” before they restore your stolen funds and credit limit or while you hunt for work during a recession and wait for unemployment benefits to kick in.

    And having a 6 to 12 month supply of stored food means you can shop for groceries whenever it is convenient for you and have the luxury of only buying the stuff that’s on sale at a good price (two-for-one, 60% off manager’s specials, etc.). And you save even more if you bulk buy the stuff that is on sale because you know how to re-package it to store for the long term. If you can’t find what you want on sale during that week’s shopping trip, you can always “shop” at home from your food storage.

    I now typically save 30 to 40% on groceries when I shop because I usually just buy what is on sale at a good price (and use manufacturer’s coupons and preferred customer card discounts when applicable) or I bulk buy at Costco those things that are cheaper than at regular grocery stores and that I can re-package for long storage. And I go to three or more nearby grocery stores each time I shop because each one has different specials.

    I especially like buying holiday luxury foods that are greatly discounted right after the holiday. I have lots of “70% off” dark chocolate Christmas, Halloween and Easter candies vacuum sealed in canning jars. Canned pumpkin, candied cherries and pineapple, cinnamon sticks and bags of coconut flakes tend to get steep discounts in January because the once-a-year cooks are done with their annual attempts to make Thanksgiving and Christmas treats. I also have my favorite flavors of Cheez-It crackers, purchased during two-for-one specials, and vacuum-sealed in jars. There are 5 quart bottles of rum squirreled away for making Rum Balls and rum-soaked fruit cakes, each $16 bottled purchased with a $4 off coupon. When was the last time you got a 25% discount on liquor?

    In addition to the immediate savings, I know that what I buy today and wait a year or more to consume will have cost me far less than it will cost to purchase in the future. I conservatively estimate that the prices of groceries will rise 5 to 10% per year as the cost of fuel rises. So having food storage is also an investment.

    What stock guarantees an increase in value of 10% or more per year? Why not invest your extra dollars in food storage instead? You can always eat storage food and you can’t eat those tech shares that drop 80% in value when the stock market suddenly collapses during one of its downward cycles.

    I view preparedness as a way of life, not as something done only for some specific, but statistically unlikely, disaster such as a large meteor strike or a nation-wide EMP event. Preparedness just makes good economic sense to me.

    • Linda;
      I am not the only one who does the after holiday shopping? Putting the items up for later in the year usage, along with coupons. Nice to know I have a kindred spirit. I purchase the goodies, then vacuum seal candies after each holiday is over(valentines day, Easter, whatever)including bubble gum.

      • Lauri no e says:

        Becky & Linda,

        I do the same as the both of you, shop on sale and only do coupons for what we need. I wish I knew more about this at a younger age and could have saved a lot of money.

        • mom of three says:

          That is four of us I’m sure there is more of us. I only shop the coupon special, in our stores. I keep our food bill at $25.00 per week and still get more item’s then I planned.

      • Grannytraveler says:

        I’ve been doing that for years! The problem is that all of my kids and grandkids know about it and figure it’s candy time when they come to visit. I really have to have it secreted away. Still have a giant stash of chocolate from Christmas. I love the after holiday sales. In retrospect, I think I have always been a prepper. Might have started when I was little and read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and developed an interest in how the pioneers survived. When I got married it was all about surviving on the GI Bill after VietNam. I have been using coupons for over 40 years and all my kids use them also. I have always stockpiled food to get me through the summer (substitute teacher the rest of the year when the kids were little). I agree with everyone that it is insurance just like everything else. I have NEVER thrown out expired food. Rotation is the key. It is the most economical way to live and gives you a better quality of life.

    • JeffintheWest says:

      Right on, Linda. And we try to do the same when we can. It just makes sense. “A penny saved is a penny earned,” and all that.

      • MustangGal says:

        Actually, a penny saved, is better than a penny earned – the Government doesn’t get a cut on the penny saved.

        • JeffintheWest says:

          Don’t kid yourself — a penny ain’t worth anything anymore thanks to their decision back in the 80’s or 90’s to start making them out of zinc with a little copper patina instead of copper the way they were. At least if they were still copper, you could sell them for the value of their copper content! ;-)

    • Bam Bam says:

      Linda,

      There are more than a few kindred spirits here. I rarely buy anything unless it’s at least half off. And I love figuring out how to make stuff myself.

    • +10

    • UrbanCityGirl says:

      Count me in. Unfortunately, the candy never lasts. I mean, both DH and I are chocoholics. I guess I should rethink my bulk candy purchases after the holidays.

      But, coupons are so handy. I go to a series of stores weekly for the loss leaders and specials. I was having teouble getting good prices on meat but things improved in that area recently so I stocked up.

  10. Not_So_Much says:

    Exactly right. If it doesn’t make sense which ever way things go then I don’t buy/do/plan for it. I may not be as prepared as some but I’m comfortable with the level I’m at and that’s what matters. Of course I was just at a parking lot sale for emergency stuff and didn’t buy anything feeling there was nothing there I had to have (ok a couple of things might have been nice to have but i didn’t have to have them).

    We all should do what makes sense for us and then live your life.

  11. I know this will be a “women” thing. When grocery ads come out, I set down with my cup of coffee go through what the stores are offering as their specials.
    In over two months I have not seen anything that needed to be purchased to add to our stores, oh yes, I still buy milk, bread. It has been wonderful not being pushed to “have to buy” just to survive. When I look at the fact we drive over 30 miles one way to reach a major market, it adds up quickly–price of gas, wear on the vehicles. Saves money all the way around….just a point of view from a woman on self reliance.

    • JP in MT says:

      Becky:

      It’s not just “a woman thing”. I do the same for my family, and extended family. And I have gone through the adds and found nothing that really made me want to “run to the store”. It’s a great feeling!

      • poorman says:

        Yep not just a woman thing here either as I do the grocery shopping for the family. I do the adds online and mostly look at meat at the three stores in our area as that is our largest expense but also look at what else is on sale for the back room grocery store. Once a month its the Costco run for the bulk items.

    • ladyhawthorne says:

      Me too!

    • I do see things to buy. Bananas at $0.30/lb, for instance. I will use several coupons to get several free tubes of toothpaste. I keep my three children, son-in-law and dil, and four grandchildren in toothpaste, tooth brushes, and deodorant for years–all free or for a quarter.

      Two 20 lb. bags of rice, reduced to $7.99 each were purchased for $5 each because they had been on the sale rack for a while. That is $0.25/lb.–worth buying! I offered the manager $5 for the bags and he agreed. Asking for a deal helps. If you find a special rack of sale items, ask the manager if he will give you an additional discount if you take all the rice or pasta or whatever that he has on the shelf.

      I have only been turned down once. I wanted one of the white plastic yard tables for $5 when it was marked down to $10. It was the last box on the whole rack in the front of the store. The manager was insulted by my offer. I asked him why he would want one summer item to hold up a whole display when it was cold outside and he could be putting holiday items on it. He thought for about 5 seconds and said, “Take it.” That was over 15 years ago, and my $5 table is still intact in the yard.

      • Lindy,
        My DW used to get embarrassed when I would try to deal and dicker with folks at Sears and other retail outlets. She no longer gets embarrassed, since she’s seen that quite often they will make deals.
        You can also check policies for stores. Radio Shack nearly always has quantity pricing on as few as 5 of one item, but unless you’re buying hundreds, you often have to ask.
        My basic attitude is that they can always say “No”.

    • Bam Bam says:

      Becky,

      You wait for the ads to come out? LOL I get them ahead of time online, and then order coupons from Ebay if there’s anything I want that’s BOGO.

      • BamBam;
        I guess I could get them(grocery ads) on line, but it is just not the same. Paper feels good in my hands since I ordered it for dh.
        How do you like the BOGO? I use them when I can locate something I really need to stock up on. I have enough razors for at least 4-5 years……….

  12. Hunker-Down says:

    We started prepping because TDL got elected. It is a physical and emotional way to prepare for the things logic says will happen to our society. I’m physically better off digging in the garden while griping at TDL for the ever stronger inflation that robs us of our purchasing power. We don’t need to wonder ‘if it will ever happen'; a jar of peanut butter has almost doubled in cost since TDL was elected.
    How many of our Pack brothers and sisters have been devastated by tornados and hurricanes, job loss and hurricanes, AND WERE PREPARED? If the sheeple still are not, well, you cant cure stupid.

    We don’t need to go to town as often, we are much better at making lists to take with us when we go. The cost of gas is forcing us to make fewer trips and the ‘list’ habit is paying off today. Hamburger is getting priced out of our range but we are already prepped with alternatives.

    We still don’t have the important habit of rotating stored food, but if you will pour guilt on us we may come around.

    We will never be totally prepared; I have over 200 items on our Amazon wish list and will probably add more as the Pack expands our awareness of overlooked threats, better tools and medicines. TDL just makes it harder and harder to buy them as he pays for more obummerphones and phony Medicaid recipients.

    All in all, being prepped is a much better life style than being ignorant and dependent on a parasitic government.

    • I can’t believe you don’t rotate your food stores. That is prepper 101. ;)

      • poorman says:

        I don’t necessarily agree that all food should be rotated. I get the concept of eat what you store but it doesn’t always work. As an example I eat beans and rice but I have years worth stored in Mylar and rotating it would just not work as I would have to eat it exclusively and that won’t happen unless a shtf situation occurs. I store canned veggie’s but I eat fresh ones. The caned will do if the balloon goes up but I’m not going to put them into my regular diet if it doesn’t. I have wheat stored in 5 gl buckets but make most of my bread with regular flour or store buy it. I do have some in # 10 cans that I make bread with for practice or a treat. I rotate condiments,packaged and canned soup,some canned chili ( I prefer my own ) The point is I store a lot of things that I just would prefer to eat fresh but you can’t store fresh.

        • Sw't tater says:

          I have the same issue. I try to stock like I will eat an item 5 times a week, but in reality eat that same item once every two weeks. Multiply that by a family of four and at least a years supply, it could be a huge loss, if it had to be discarded.
          It makes me mad at myself, if I allow something to spoil due to non use, but it does happen when I get too many things to do… So putting the things that are rotated less frequently in a true rotation, buying fresh, securing it for long term and opening an older package…then using the item on a routine basis helps to solve this issue..(.beans on a monday or friday usually works well for us.)
          Sometimes I just put those items in the things, I supply to the “needy” that I help from time to time. That way they are rotated and not discarded… With beans that can be overcome by canning them.
          Someone has posted the recipe on here and Bam Bam can probably find us the link if you need it. Rice is not an issue, if properly stored white rice will keep for years..so I use the old, and am packing it in smaller containers, than I did at first…

    • Bam Bam says:

      H-D,

      Check out the hamburger at Zaycon. If 40 lbs. is too much for you, split it with a friend.

      • BamBam;
        I see you got your order in for the meat. I know you are not a bacon person, have you ever eaten the applewood smoked hams?
        Dh who is not a ham person loved it.

  13. sweetpea says:

    Owning three motor vehicles and three homes It seems I have a large insurance bill to pay every other month or so. What if my home never burns down? What if I never get into a car accident? Really! Would we not get insurance on our homes or cars because it’s possible nothing would happen. The proper way to assess a risk is to look at it’s likelyhood and effects. That is a risk with very serious effects on our life and health is a serious risk regardless of it’s odds of happening. The risk to life and health of ourselves and our families in the event of a collapse is huge. How would any sane informed person not prepare in some way for this risk. I sincerely hope I never see a collapse but the likelyhood is growing stronger every day.

  14. Nothing will go to waste in my home unless my dp has one of his silly fits. The food will be eaten, the liquids will be drunk, the batteries used (solar rechargeable and usable for years to come), the propane/gas/soaps, etc will all be used. And we’ll be fine & dandy at the next 5-day power outage when 99% of the county population gets all po’d. Buy what you use and use what you buy. And gosh, that homegrown food sure is good and fresh.

  15. THE BIG ONE may never come, but there will surely be LOT”S of smaller , regional ones all over the planet. Just look what is happening in the middle east now, I am sure lots of those people think shtf has happend to them.

    I was close to my own personal shtf back in 2008-9 when after being laid off my great job could only find something that paid about 1/3 what I was making and was not prepared for it and was close to filing for bankruptcy just to keep my house. Due to the unfortunate death of my father I now am a lot better shape with a paid for property and financial stability.
    But it is not the location and situation I want to be in if shtf and want to change this but selling a house is not as easy now. So I am doing the best I can with what I have and am ready for most shtf events but maybe not all.

    If it never happens GREAT , but if some other ones occur I will be ready to help myself and others in my family and some freind also, although NONE of them know I am able to do this.

  16. Doris Jones says:

    Great Article! Being prepared for “life and it’s changes” is very sensible. I think the worst waste is mental obsession. Many preppers can work in their balanced prep, expenses and training into their normal lives. In fact, wouldn’t it be extremely sensible for ALL people to have some extras and be prepared for down times and crisis?

    When prepping becomes such an obsession and constant fear of the unknown so real that a person visualizes “dangers” everywhere and conspiracies behind every event–then they are in trouble. It is easy to “check oneself out” by asking themselves a few questions:( You alone know the real answers.)
    1. Am I letting fear take over my thoughts so much that it is one of my major states of mind? Have I become bitter and angry and fearful?
    2. Do I spend so much time “prepping” and thinking about “what could happen” that I am not enjoying nor living my life in a sane and balanced manner? Have I become mentally obsessed?
    3. Do I talk SO much and endlessly about “coming disasters” that my friends and family object and tell me I am obsessed about it? And I am getting a reputation for being “strange” even from people I respect?
    4. Am I over stockpiling? Do I really know that I have more than enough and yet keep on and on and am using up so much space (and money) in my residence for “stock” that it is becoming uncomfortable and unpleasant for me and my family.
    Then on the other side–questions for the non-preppers:
    1. Am I totally unprepared to exist even for a couple of weeks without
    buying groceries or having utilities or clean water?
    2. Do I avoid ANY and ALL discussions of coming crisis by saying
    “Please don’t talk about bad things and depress me.”? Do I refuse to even THINK about being prepared?
    3. Do I even have even one method of starting a fire without electricity or gas automatic appliances?
    4. Would I be entirely dependent on the generosity of others for my basic needs or those of my family?

    People can go off the charts in either direction. Articles like the one above that helps us evaluate ourselves are very useful. We can become obsessed and take on neurotic states of mind when over doing anything–we can also be dependent babies and show immaturity by expecting others to “help us out” if a crisis occurs. Being in either camp is not a good thing. And being able to notice where one stands if on a fringe in either direction is even more important.

    • >>We can become obsessed and…we can also be dependent babies…. Being in either camp is not a good thing.<<

      I agree. There is a fairly big happy grey area (not a fine line) between the two, and that grey area is different for each of us.

      I am optimistic: I think the chances of a real TEOTWAWKI are fairly small. I'm talking about TEOTWAWKI on the level of 'Lucifer's Hammer' , 'One Second After', or the Black Death, not hurricanes and earthquakes, or even runaway inflation like Germany in 1922 or Zimbabwe a few years back.. Could they happen? Absolutely, yes. Are they worth preparing for? There is the grey area we each have to deal with defining for ourselves.

      One of the things I like about prepping is that it is a form of long range planning in a culture which seems ever more dedicated to rejecting long range planning. It is also optimistic in the sense that we all believe that we CAN prepare successfully for life's misadventures, even really big ones.

      I have talked with a few people who reject the idea of having some food, water, and a camp stove tucked away for minor natural disasters. It isn't even that they plan on being taken care of: they just can't deal with the twin concepts of disaster and taking care of themselves by prepping for a disaster. So who is more emotionally healthy?

      Anyway, our prepping makes us more self-reliant. Our prepping makes us better campers with more first aid supplies than many. We are a lot better supplied than many for normal natural disasters, and those natural disasters will occur -it's only a question of when and how bad they will be.

      If we go paws up without TEOTWAWKI occurring, that's wonderful. We will have prepped reasonably well, we'll leave more canned goods than most, and some long term food storage, and still will have socked away money for our retirements. Retirement funds are just another form of prepping, and an important one. Do we say to ourselves: "It is foolish to save for retirement because I might die first"?

      I suspect that most Mormon's are better prepared than most preppers, and few in that community see any need to be embarrassed about having a year's worth of food stashed away when they die. As our host said, it's another form of insurance. Maybe we collect on it, maybe we don't, but it keeps us thinking, and aware of our environments.

      In the meantime, being prepared for a few weeks or a few months is very handy, and very comforting. Going off-grid is great for those who enjoy it. How can that be a bad thing?

      • Doris Jones says:

        Tom B,
        Very sensible statements and I hope others listen.
        A lot of wisdom in what you said. I totally agree. It appears that Mormons and the Amish are really often more prepared than most as it has been a way of life for them for quite a while. Time for the rest of us to get on board with being “prepared” for disaster–whatever comes. And if it does not happen in our lifetimes (in a big way) we can still USE all the things we have for sure and having purchased them with yesterdays dollars–they will cost less than tomorrow’s. Sounds like win-win to me!

  17. After an accident my husband and I went two months without any income.Ive been learning old skills and trying to beef up my food supplies ever since. I know we can’t be prepared for everything but we can at least try. At the very least we have a better prepared to handle a job loss than we were then.

  18. JP in MT says:

    I laugh when people talk about “the big one not coming”. Although I have bought things specifically for “long-term” grid down situations, most of what I have is more of what we already use.

    I look at it this way. First, I attempt to fix future costs with today’s dollars. As a whole, groceries are going to go up. There has always been, so I assume there will be, inflation. So a solar system put in today reduces future electric costs. Food stored up reduces future food costs. Gardens planted and harvested reduce produce costs (and insure quality).

    Second, my storage helps me continue my chosen life style during times of shortage. Take the last (current) ammo shortage. I did not stop shooting (a recreation for me) when the shelves were bare. If a storm his and the roads are closed for 2-3 days, I do not have a food problem. If a forest fire takes out a section of power transmission lines and closes the roads, we still have heat, hot water, and can cook.

    I look at my preps from a “living out of my pantry’ mentality. If there’s something I need, I want to go to my “pantry” and get it. Then when it later goes on sale, I replace it. Our system works on seasonal stuff too. We shop the “closeouts” for the next year or two (works for clothes as we have no children changing sizes every week). In doing this we have not only increased our ability to do a job around the house without the frequent stops to “run to the store” but we have cut our food bill by 35%+.

    This was the way I remember my grandparents living. Weekly, and more like, monthly trips “to town”. Then they we special, appreciated more. Now I see more and more people who are mad when the item they want is temporarily out of stock. The attitude of “they should have what I want, when I want it” goes with “What! It’s gone up again? It does that every year at this time!” I avoid all of that.

    I’m not where we want to be, but we get closer every month. Here it’s not strange or unusual. It’s just the way we live.

  19. axelsteve says:

    Being a practicing christian I know that it will happen as much by fact as by faith. Even before I ever hear of the community orginizer I knew that we were living in 2 Tim 3 1 through5. Before tdl was just td organizer I knew some day that people will be throwing there money into the streets because it was worth as much Tdl promises are.It will happen in my lifetime barring something happening to shorten my lifespan.Since time and circumstances befalls us all. If someone asks me if i think that it will never Happen I can return the question. Do you think that you will ever pay off your mortgage?

    • axelsteve;
      We were less than 4years away (2004) from paying off our home when on a red flag day he triggered a fire, wiped us out.
      You are right, we will never pay off this mortgage unless dh wins the lottery…..lol on that front. If you can live on your land in a travel trailer, tent, small mobile home and no mortgage do it. Do not take their(bankers) money you are going down a hole of no return, been there and letting all of you know it is not worth it.

      • k. fields says:

        Becky –
        I agree completely with starting out by camping on your property – especially through the first year. It not only saves you money but allows you to plan your homestead to fit in with the changing of the seasons.

  20. I really hope we can all live in our comfortable homes until we pass on. I hope the electricity, water and gas flow endlessly. I hope our children all have bright futures. I hope the government pulls their heads out of their collective behinds.

    I was born and raised a prepper. They used to call us country folks. Farmers. My family(multi generational) always had big gardens and put up food. We hunt, fish, raise and butcher meat animals. We were not poor.
    We had grandparents around who were children during the Great Depression, they instilled in us what we needed to do with their everyday actions.
    We have always bought on sale and stocked up. Always treasure hunted for items that we needed.
    We ate food from our land that was delicious. We didn’t know it was considered “healthy”. It was good food.

    I am not a Survivalist. I am a Thrivalist. Learning be self reliant. I want to thrive in times of plenty and in crisis. Our insurance policy is our ability to care for ourselves and our families no matter what happens in the rest of the world.

    Do we ever get tired of it and do the kids complain? Yes. Don’t we all?
    Don’t people with other jobs?

    Did I ever lay in my warm bed and almost want to cry when I had to get up and milk my cow when it is 15 below zero? Or need to buck hay in knee deep snow. Did you look up at the sky and wish a cloud would go under the sun so you could get a break from the baking heat? Yep. A bunch.

    Do the kids get tired of seeing their friends sleep in until 11 am in the summer and weekends while they had to get up and get work done before it got blistering hot or the animals cried for food in the winter?
    You betcha.

    Do we go out and have fun? All the time. We just got back from an epic trip in Utah to Lake Powell. We play in our mountains all the time. Our kids have been to all the cool amusement parks and get to go to the mall once a year. My third son went to Europe last year. We have video games that never get used. That is awesome.

    I love knowing that we have taught our kids the most that we can teach them and that they have every reason to thrive SHTF and not.

    When we pass and if the kids decide to have a killer yard sale and sell my 5000 canning jars and everything else we accumulated. Well, I will make sure I put it in my will that they post it on here so ya’ll have first dibs.
    Will I ever consider my lifestyle a waste of time? NEVER.
    This is who I am. A country girl can survive.

    • JeffintheWest says:

      “Thrivalist.” I like that.

    • I feel exactly the same way, you nailed it!

    • Mama J;
      You just gave us “county folk” a new term………love it!!
      Thrivalist——–who would have known our lifestyle is popular and with a new name.
      I get first dibs on your canning jars ;-), but would rather have you around to keep us entertained. So keep your jars.

    • Nancy V. says:

      Thrivalist – I like it! Well said, Mama J.

      For me, it doesn’t matter if the SHTF or not. My prepping and learning survival is smart living. I know that if I prepare as best I can for my family, we will be able to thrive in the future under any circumstance: good or bad. I like those odds.

    • +100 this is better than the “God made a farmer” commercial. Have a blessed day.

    • Please consider this as my “write in” vote for the best competition entry! Very inspirational and motivational.

  21. For decades we have kept at least a three-month supply of regularly used items in the basement, and more often than not at least a six-month supply. As far as I know, longer than the term “prepper”, and I always thought of it more towards a Mormon mindset of having a full-years supply readily available.

    Not only was this a longer term supply of goods, it was also the source of our rotation. As we used something up, it was put on the shopping list, and if we could not afford the next time we went shopping, no big deal, it stayed on the list and we got it when we could. There was no rush in obtaining again since we still had some in reserve.

    The only extra items that have been incorporated over time has been more to disasters related to man-made threats, like complete NBC Suits with CPF 3 rating, solar panels and rechargeable batteries, HAM Radio, Faraday Cage, and having BOB’s pre packed just in case.

    So I would say, no, making preparations is not a loss or waste of time and money, in fact having long term supplies can be a benefit by allowing you to skip some items during regular shopping since you already have some on hand.

  22. I hope MD isn’t basing this on a “sarcastic” statement I made several weeks ago. I know first hand how valuable my stores are after our little incident of May 20. My gasoline, propane, camp burner, water and canned goods came in very handy while others were scrambling to survive. Not to mention my extra toilet paper. It doesn’t matter whether the collapse happens or not, there are plenty other disasters that can happen to us all.

    • Oldokie, even if this is based on something you said, that’s fine. This is a good question for each of us to answer from time to time.

    • Oldokie,
      I am glad ya’ll made it through safe and I really really hope you write an article about it.

      • Oldokie says:

        Thank you, we were truly blessed. Actually I have and hope MD has received it and will post it.

  23. I PRAY that nothing happens. However, the way our economy and government is rolling, there is simply no way that there will not be a financial collapse. The current strategy appears to be to create massive middle-class consumer debt, owned by the government. That is happening right now. The government owns corporations, home mortgages, college loans. Not good.

    Prepping is really another term for self-reliance. It just has more negative connotations. My grandparents who farmed lived in a rural area were very well-prepped. I’m sure they would not consider their lives wasted at all.

  24. If you’re waiting till a collapse it’s a waste, but if you’re using your preps now, it benefits you in many ways. I love how it saves me time, money, teaches my kids to work, and gets me off the couch. Plus it’s such a rewarding feeling when you can take care of yourself!

  25. Slingshot says:

    Preparing or not, the value of preparing and the amount of time, money and effort is in the eye of the beholder of that value, time, money, etc….. to each his own. Go ahead and plan on it not happening and the rest of us will plan either way. Don’t save for retirement either, you might not live long enough to see retirmenent!

  26. livinglife says:

    No one hopes it comes is the reality of prepping. If it does then we are ready.
    How many other things do you do for just in case scenarios on a smaller scale? stash $20 in the wallet, fill up the tank when half empty…better to have it and not use it than wish you had it.

    • poorman says:

      I have always done those things. When I was younger working in construction I bought extra in the summer to get through the winter we just didn’t call it prepping then. I worked a a chemical plat for several years and had a big sign on our safety board that said WHAT IF COULD so that people would understand they had to look at all possibilities.

  27. Macintosh says:

    While I may not have a life wrecking event right here the fact that the entire west coast of the US is LONG overdue for The Big One is of concern. It would disrupt every facet of all our lives for months. Where do so many of our vegetables come from. Where are a number of important refineries? Where are our computer and cel phone companies’ located? What about the BP oil spill? F5 tornadoes in Moore and Joplin. Big bad things happen and the affect ripples across all of us in some way. Usually shortages and higher prices…and in some cases the TEOTWAWKI. On a much smaller personal scale I am having foot surgery in August. Insurance will cover most but I will have no income for two months. Besides having to use savings paying my absolute needs; mortgage, utilities etc I have all the food, and drink and household items I will need for the duration. As time and money allow I will try to close the gap on needs for heating and solar back ups. But having started just a few months ago I am in much better shape to “survive” than before…even a Big Event won’t knock me completely down. And I learn a little bit more every day. Feels pretty good to know I am a “prepper” .

    • worrisome says:

      I experience a spell of downtime when I had knee surgery twice due to a car accident. It is great to have most everything you need or can use to make something at hand. I was kind of proud of the fact that I didn’t have to bother people to run errands for me. You CAN plan your life to make it work in a down time…It is a good thing

    • nick flandrey says:

      You might be eligible for state disability during part of that time. I know many folks here will go out of their way to avoid government money, but in this case, you have been paying into the fund from every paycheck (SDI). (Like Unemployment Insurance, if your employer didn’t have to pay it, you could have gotten a higher wage, and so, it is not a “handout” but a service you have pre-paid for.)

      Good luck with the surgery.

      nick

  28. Since we started prepping we are eating healthier foods – beans several times a week, fruits and veggies daily, less meat, more fresh garden produce. I now spend less on groceries and preps combined than I previously did on just groceries. Like others have mentioned, we shop our pantry first, then restock when there are sales. We have needed to rely totally on our preps twice – and we tried to figure how this would work if there had been a total collapse. Both times natural or home remedies helped out more than prescriptions.
    My biggest worry is some sort of nuclear event. Yes, we have iodine pills, additonal books, etc. But this is our insurance. I really hope we never need to use any of it, but I feel much better knowing how to manage this event.

  29. I hope we all wish that a collapse doesn’t come. That said, there is a world of differance between being prepared for an emergency and living as thought the collapse has already happened. Whatever your level of preparedness, you must be satisfied with your quality of life.

    We have one advantage over our ancestors. Just knowing about electronics and internal combustion engines is a huge advantage in starting over. Just knowing something IS possible is a great motivator for accomplishment.

  30. JeffintheWest says:

    I can’t see how being more self-sufficient, able to feed your own family in a pinch, or having some extra skills would qualify as a “wasted life.” Seems to me that being prepared isn’t really a one-time event so much as it is an ongoing life thing, and more than just “being prepared,” it actually teaches some important life lessons to you along the way.

    How is it bad for you to have some solar panels to cut your electrical bills, or keep your freezer running if there’s a power outage? How is it bad for you to be able to grow/raise/hunt and preserve your own food? how is it bad to be able to do your own sewing/knitting/crocheting and save some money on clothes? How is it bad for you to know how to fix a broken leg if a doctor isn’t available? How is it bad to raise your kids that way and teach THEM self-reliance and personal responsibility? None of these things go away just because an asteroid doesn’t hit the Indian Ocean or something. None of them are a waste of time or lives, and in fact, will do more to help this country in the long run than just about anything else we can do.

  31. It is happening!! Look around you!! We are all the “Frog slowly boiling to death”. No jobs for Yankees, especially if you are a Veteran, the legals and Illegals are living off the fat of the land at our expense, thanks to the Sell-outs in DC!! theeconomiccollapseblog.com
    endoftheamericandream.com proparanoid.com stevequayle.com
    aside from these sites I have and am still experiencing all the S^&* that everyone claims is not or will happen, its been happening!!
    Wake up folks!! Make weapons condition ONE!!

  32. Winomega says:

    This was a topic I was playing with, but oh well.

    Dead preppers is the reason why I try not to get carried away. I explained some things to my hubby, he pointed out that the couple on doomsday preppers had set up a system for someday, and now they have to eat tilapia several times per week.

    At some point, what good is an extra bag of grain verses an afternoon of fun, or reminding yourself what good wine tastes like?

    Sure, being self-sufficient to a sane degree means that most of us are missing out on knowing what it’s like to live in a big city and not know how to cook, but there is a personality that limits the appeal.

    One of my problems with prepping is that there isn’t enough shelf-stable food that I could stock for a long time, yet rotate fast enough. It’s all for eating in small doses unless I’m fogged enough from fasting that the wrong food fog is a pointless worry. Without the collapse, I might have to throw food away or at pantries for the ignorant to throw away. Then again, I’ve got a loose respect for expiration dates and soured grain.

    • Not enough shelf stable food that you can stock for a long time? mre’s – 5+ years, Regular canned goods 2 plus years, jar and can your own – 10 plus years, Meds – 5 plus years and counting. At dollar store you can buy Hi-pasturized milk that will last a year plus. Grain sealed 20 years.. How long do you need if you have to give your food away or throw it out your not buying correctly nor are you rotating it correctly.

      • Winomega says:

        Okay Kelly, I had heard one year on home-canned foods.

        I can’t remember how long it takes whole wheat flour to start smelling nasty. (Don’t have a grain grinder yet.) That left me with rice, beans, barley, pasta and sauce, oil, a few condiments that are only okay because I use them in small amounts, honey, olive oil… Lots more that I can’t think of at the moment.

        All of that is high energy and water-intensive, not to mention not much variety.

        I only go through maybe 18 cans collectively per year of instant food and fancy protein. Be generous and call it 36, I still don’t have a good stockpile of short-term emergency food, and it will make me sick.

        I still need to test to see if the stove can get the pressure cooker up to ten pounds and maintain it, but we’re still not going to go through jarred food very often.

        • farmergranny says:

          If you oven can your dry goods, they last indefinitely. I really cannot quote an exact time, but oats, whole wheat flour, rice, and other items I oven-canned over two years ago are being used now and are still good. The seal “pops” when opened. I use 1/2 gallon jars so that the contents are used within a reasonable time.

        • mom of three says:

          Now they are stating that canned food you can yourself up to 24 month’s. I dumped mine after 18 months, but I may keep it for that extra 6 month’s now.

      • Kelley, what Winomega is talking about is another lifestyle choice of trying to find shelf stable foods that we will actually eat. A few of us on here are anti gmo, and looking into healthier options. Canning our own is a real options, but buying cans of stuff that is full of high fructose corn syrup and other corn products, soy and unknown chemicals, makes buying and rotating rather difficult.
        I have cans of veggies in my pantry that have been there I dont know how long. I dont eat them because I prefer fresh or frozen.
        I have powdered milk in my pantry that even though it was bought recently, unless something happens, it will more then likely be donated as I refuse to drink anything but raw milk.

        It is a balancing game. And a hard one. In a very real way I tell myself that if it comes down to eating that or my kids going hungry, my kids win. But at the same time when you buy something for just in case and it sits there for 5 years, untouched, it makes you wonder if it is a waste of time and money to buy.

        • JeffintheWest says:

          NOT trying to be judgmental, but if you are buying stuff for “long-term storage” that you refuse to eat, you are definitely wasting your money and time. Take all that stuff to your local food bank as soon as you can, and then start stocking stuff you WILL eat. Buying stuff you won’t use is like a male having a pregnancy rider on his insurance, or a homeowner on a mountain top buying flood insurance! ;-)

          • Jeff, you are very correct. The canned goods that I have that I dont eat were from my first (and thankfully only) panic buy. Since then when my head kicked back into working gear, I am very careful to only buy what I will use.
            For example the powdered milk. Even though I will not drink it, I bought it to ride out hurricane season for my 1yr old who still drinks a lot of milk. If we have to crack it open, it will get used for baking projects. If not it was a safety buy I am ok with donating as it is only one can.

            • JeffintheWest says:

              I hear you. When I was a kid, we drank powdered milk sometimes (we were fairly poor when I was little), and of course in the Army I got both powdered eggs and powdered milk from time to time, so I know they just don’t taste as good as fresh. But I know I could and would use them if I had to. Using them for baking would probably work just fine — especially if you go a little light on the water for reconstituting the powdered eggs! ;-)

              I hope I didn’t come across as hypercritical; it was definitely not my intent! I was just thinking that it would be a shame to waste a ton of money on stuff you wouldn’t eat!

              • Jeff, drinking powdered milk a little too often when I was a kid is probably the reason I wont touch it now. To me it is no different then pouring water on your cereal or drinking milk flavored water. Lol. I think about putting some up, will talk myself into it then right back out of it as I remember soggy cereal…

                You didnt come across as hypocritical, not in the least. You were very correct in stating that it makes no sense in stocking long term items you wont touch.

                • nick flandrey says:

                  Kids are why I stock UHT milk for medium term, and powdered for long term. I tried and LIKE the Nido brand milk from Nestle. NOT the Nido Kids, which has a bunch of other stuff in it. If you want to store milk, try a couple of brands.

                  Ah, the panic buy. Well, all I can say about that is that most of us have done it. It gets you going, covers your @ss, and gives you comfort, until you can get settled into more stable and sustainable prepping. Don’t let it bother you.

                  It is in the nature of how most people come to prepping that some resources will be wasted. Most folks seem to have a personal awakening moment, followed by a period of frantic prepping, after which they either stop, thinking they are covered, or start learning more and settle in for the long haul. In every endeavor, our first efforts are usually less than satisfactory. In sports, we think nothing of graduating to a better setup, more expensive gear, etc. Why should that bother us in prepping? As we learn more about the realities of prepping, our needs and knowledge, and skills change.

                  So, if you have your first case of Dinty Moore beef stew, and you will NEVER eat it, move it to the ‘barter’ shelf (or put it in the “stone soup” pile) and stop beating yourself up!

                  One advantage preppers have over professional emergency management is that we can rotate and USE our preps. The pros know that their preps will be unused (best case) and will have to be sold or disposed of and replaced. E-managers do it, hospitals do it, big corporations do it. In the last few months I’ve seen pallets of Mountain House, satellite phones, generators, and medical supplies all hit the surplus auctions as professional E-management rolled over their gear.

                  So I say, accept that there will be a certain amount of “wastage” in your preps, especially early on, especially in medical supplies, and do your best to minimize the financial and readiness impact.

                  nick

                  BTW, medical supplies are especially vulnerable to this. I’m not talking about expired meds, but about trauma care, even bandaids. The packaging gets old or damaged, and sterility is lost. Glues and adhesives get gummy or dried out. Even so, many of these things can then be used for training, especially if you are part of an organized group like CERT. When I bought my pre-packaged trauma kit, I was pretty sure I’d be replacing it in 5 years, mostly unused. Do I regret the $150? NOT ON YOUR LIFE :-)

          • Just want to chime in here re prepping with food you wouldn’t eat now? Believe me, if TSHTF, any and all of those foods that you won’t eat now -you’ll eat them when there is nothing else to eat. So I disagree with those who say you should store only things you eat, when you are well fed and can afford to have a very discernible/selective appetite. All those things you thought didn’t taste good then will treasured. Ask a billion starving people in this world.

        • k. fields says:

          TG,
          I’ve got to agree with you on this. I usually eat what I grow but I still have a stock of “long term storage” foods just in case.
          A good example, as you pointed out, is powered milk. I keep enough to last me a good while, but I won’t use it unless something really drastic happens – and in 40 years of living this way, nothing has. Every year I purchase more and go through my stock, either giving some away if I know of someone who will use it or simply feeding it to the livestock.
          Same with vegetables, eggs, cereals and wheat – if I’ve got fresh, the nitrogen packed cans won’t be touched. I simply prefer my home grown.
          There’s always that balancing of having enough “insurance” and the cost of keeping something I know I’ll probably never use.

          • K. Fields, exactly that. I prefer fresh or at least frozen every time. But I also know that freezer can go at anytime. I am working on canning my own of the items I do buy. I think that way I am more likely to cycle through it. But until I get to that point, there are few undesirables I am willing to buy. A trick I have learned is to hide them in other foods when I remember.

            • k. fields says:

              TG,
              I will normally can or otherwise store about a year’s worth of crops, (i.e. I’ll have enough corn on hand to get me through until next seasons’ crop ripens) plus 2 year’s worth of seeds, but I’ve found logistically to go beyond that is simply more work than I can handle.

              I know how easy it is for a crop, or multiple crops for that matter, to fail though so I keep the “commercial” stores just in case. But they sure do seem to be mocking me from their shelves at times.

          • poorman says:

            I am in full agreement. I stock enough beans and rice to feed myself and my wife for 2 years. I can’t rotate through that fast enough to make a difference because while I eat beans and rice I don’t eat them everyday. I store canned veggie’s even though I eat fresh or home grown because if the others weren’t available I would eat them. I store freeze dried veggie’s for long term to go with that beans and rice and store condiments that I rotate. I find it ironic that folks on the site that talk about preps for insurance don’t get storing things you don’t eat everyday but would in an emergency as insurance. I just donate those canned goods to the food pantry when they get close to expiration and help out some other needy family

    • Sw't tater says:

      Dehydrate! you can put twice as much in a canning jar, and once rehydrated it tastes like you just picked it…except zucchini, it never makes it to the rehydration stage…gets eaten as chips!

  33. I like the comparison to insurance. Insurance is something you invest in in hopes you never need it, but are really glad you have it if and should you ever need it. And with prepping, regardless if there is never a collapse in our lifetime, as this author points out it still needs not be money or effort wasted. As he said, rotate the stored foods, you need not toss anything, grow your own veggies as much as you can, at least you will know where they came from and what was used on them. Having your own garden, as the author also points out, gets you out of the house and doing something that is fun, and if you have kids, get them involved. Little kids in particular are so amazed when they can watch a tiny seed grow into a plant that produces food they can eat and enjoy. You can get the kids off the couch or away from the video games or computer and involved in something that will stay with them far longer than the computer and games will and perhaps give them a better perspective about providing for oneself. The money you can save by growing your own veggies and if possible, fruit as well, can be used for family outings, say to go hunting or fishing, or even just camping. Regain the family atmosphere of doing things together. If you can have chickens or goats where you live, imagine the joy on your face and your kids faces when they see the new born chicks or kids the first time. Or when they go out and gather eggs their own chickens made for them. It can be a lot of joy if you are a person who always sees their cup half full, instead of the hard work those people who see the same cup as half empty feel. Decide which you would rather be.

  34. Twenty yrs ago we were hit by a tornado and we were without power for a week. No big deal as we had enough food and other supplies to make it, Then 3 weeks later we had the biggest snowstorm in GA and we were without power and water for another week. No water was a little harder. I used a lot of melted snow to flush toilets, boiled water to wash dishes with. We had enough fresh water to drink but it was not easy. We heated and cooked with propane so that was not a problem. This was when I started stocking up on supplies.

    Move forward to 2009, my DH becomes disabled and I am laid off of work. I soon realize that I am not going to be able to get another job within my field unless I go back to school and get a degree in what I was already doing! I started school in June 2009. My unemployment benefits ended in April 2010 and in Sept 2010 our home burned down along with what preps we still had. For about 6 months we had $400 per month in income.
    My DH did not get approved for disability until April 2011.

    All of the above events are what drives me to prep. I also do not plan to depend on my DH’s SS nor do I really expect it to be there when I am ready to retire. My whole focus is to become as self-sufficient as possible. I read an article one time on being self-sufficient on just once acre of land. Someone wrote in criticizing the article saying it was impossible. I have one acre and I took that as a challenge. I have really only just begun to develop the space I have. Every time I am out mowing the yard I keep thinking soon this will be growing something useful! :) I know that I will not be 100% independent but I sure do want to know how far I can get. Our finances and our physical condition are the only reason we are not further along already. I keep working at it, telling myself that I am getting into better shape all of the time. If I could only see it! :)
    Keep on prepping!

    • Your home burned down with your supplies well that would have been covered by insurance. I have replacement cost and kinda hoping it will burn down

      • I am glad you have replacement cost I did not. I did get the max of my insurance though. We wanted to increase our coverage when it renewed just a couple of months prior to it burning but we could not afford it at the time. Because of our job situation we could not even think about rebuilding. We got enough on the house to pay it off and we got back $150. All of the contents coverage did come to us, it did not take long for it to be gone.

        We bought a large travel trailer and lived in it for 7 months before we could move into something larger. The county would not allow us to live on our own property and we had to move to a neighboring county and live in a campground. We have the camper up for sale but because of the economy we have not been able to sell it.

        Trust me you do not want it to burn. There are so many little things to replace and it adds up very quickly. One thing an adjuster would do would have you “list everything in your home”. Start an inventory now with pics, date purchased and $ amount and store it on a thumb drive. Make copies of it to give to someone you trust who does not live with you.

        • Lantana says:

          Brenda, have you considered writing an article about your experiences and lessons learned? You and your DH have fortitude to have overcome those challenges.

          • Lantana,
            I had not thought of that. Writing is not an easy skill for me. You would not believe how long it takes me to make a comment sometimes. I will think about it though. I guess it is time to step out of my comfort zone.

            • Lantana says:

              Brenda, copy your comments and use them as a starting point.

              You could title it ‘All The Ways Something Already Hit My Fan, And Five Things I Learned Each Time’. Then, each challenge could be a section. Your five things could include things like
              * a step you’d taken that worked better than expected
              * one that worked worse (like not having replacement value)
              * what one additional tool/supply/skill you could have used most in that challenge
              * what was the biggest morale booster?
              * if you knew a loved one was about to go through the same thing and could only give them one piece of advice, what would you say?

              • Lantana,
                Thanks for the ideas. I just copied them and my earlier comments for future reference.

              • It will have to wait for a little while though. My 3 gd’s who just went home last Friday after being with us for a week are back because their mom (ex-dil) is having emergency surgery in the morning to have her gall bladder removed. She has been complaining of severe pain for well over a year and after seeing several doctors she finally found one that could figure out what was wrong.
                These girls are a joy and a handful! :)

              • Lantana;
                Speaking from experience the first thing you have to teach yourself from a fire loss is, it is ok to get upset, angry if that is what it takes to survive just remember to breath.
                I had photos on the computer & cd’s one of the worst moments was looking at family items we no longer had, and yet I could look upon them and that caused unbridled anguish. Please do not wish that upon yourself.

                • Lantana;
                  Owe you an apology……..Sorry………it was Kelly who wished for the fire.
                  Hope you accept my apology, caught the party.

                • Lantana says:

                  Oh, no worries, Becky–everything you said sounded like the wisdom of experience.

                  And if that last sentence was intended as a rebuke, well I wish that those that I rightfully get from time to time were delivered so gently and graciously.

                  Saying a prayer for y’all’s stamina and good humor as your “precious handfuls” return, and for a speedy, pain-free recovery for their DM.

    • Brenda,
      Depending on any prohibitive zoning for your land, there are some prepping things that can pay dividends. Raising bees can provide you with sweetener and honey for barter or sale, ditto on chickens and eggs. A large garden can produce plenty of vegetables and if you have a local farmers market, can be another additional source of income, or barter for things you don’t grow. Quite often berry bushes and fruit trees can do the same. Some of the gardening is a bit labor intensive at times; but, bees and chickens actually require only minimal effort for the return you get. Just some thoughts as you develop your land moving toward the future.

    • poorman says:

      If the link will still post this shows what you can do with a small amount of land.

      http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/yes-you-can-survive-the-coming-economic-nightmare-one-family-in-californi

  35. Here a while back a close friend of mine came over and we happened to end up in the back room. The first thing out of his mouth was… what… are you some doomsday prepper. Funny thing is… my stores are no where near that big, but I guess he’s on the daily trip to the store gig.

    I told him… this is nothing more than insurance… and now that you’re married.. .you’ll realize that the little bit of food I have hear ain’t nuthing. I buy food when it’s on sale therefore I don’t have to buy when it’s not.

    The difference between my insurance and your insurance is you’re paying someone else (auto, life, home) and I’m paying myself with things I can eventually use (food, TP, hygiene).

    So this way of life isn’t a waste. I buy what I use… and use what I buy. The store puts meat on sale… I buy it up and can it. Now I don’t have to buy it again till it goes on sale. I’m not depriving myself… I am improving myself. I’m not paying full price for over inflated groceries and if the power goes out (which happens too often)… I don’t have to worry about losing my food.

    I hope I got thru to him… but I doubt I did.

  36. Really I don’t think the prepping people are as large as some would think not including the mormons or the Amish. Take this blog for example I would say 70% of the people here are just readers and not preppers. Sure some might have alittle food on hand and a gun but for them the gun will be useless cause they haven’t trained to fire on someone and will hesitate. and the others they just don’t have the skill to survive. DOD est. 90% mortality rate in this country if the lights go out.

    • Even a little food and one gun are probably more than most have. The little bit of food would be enough for a person to regain his or her equilibrium and then be able to move forward without so much panic.

      • Lindy, I agree with you. Prepping is a form of insurance which has a very low threshold for effectiveness. ANYTHING we put away is better than nothing. Even one extra can of chili is better than nothing. One case of bottled water is better than none. A single shot rifle or shotgun and a half dozen rounds of ammunition is transformationally better than none.

        After that, it is just a matter of improving your insurance policy by adding more.

  37. Asking me, “What If the Collapse Never Comes?” is no different than asking, what if your house never burns down? Will the insurance payments have all been a waste of money?
    Perhaps to some it would seem so; however, the biggest thing any insurance buys you is piece of mind. I grew up in a family that didn’t (or perhaps couldn’t afford) to hire anything done by someone else. We were middle class with 4 kids, and parents who seemingly could do anything. From keeping the cars running, to haircuts, sewing and repairing clothing, and remodeling the house. From carpentry to wiring and plumbing, my parents could do or at least figure out seemingly anything, and that became infectious with me and all of my siblings. My youngest sibling (kid sister 12 years younger) actually owns more power tools than I do.
    I grew up at the edge of a medium sized town, but only a few blocks from several thousand acres of forested mountain (Northern Appalachians) were I spent many a summer day and night, camping with minimal supplies, and enjoying it. Learning new skills was almost a part of my DNA. Self Reliance or prepping (although it wasn’t called that) meant doing most of our shopping from the basement shelves or the freezer, all of which were stocked in bulk purchases or items on sale. If prepping means being as self reliant as you can, learning all the skills you can, and having the peace of mind, that you could survive nearly anything that doesn’t kill you outright, then your life becomes an enjoyable and fulfilling journey, regardless of the destination, and truth be told, I’ve grown to like hot running water, AC, and the comforts of modern life. So while I think I’m prepared for hard times, if they never come, I’ll not be too upset.

  38. Thats the chance you take ………….but better to have it and not need it , than the other way around .

  39. I prep for the “small emergencies” mainly, but know that what I have will work for the “big” ones. Around my parts, it’s blizzards mainly, and you’d be surprised how many folks around here prep without realizing it. In the summertime, we occasionally get a blackout or two because the infrastructure around us is crumbling, so many here are prepped for that.
    If I randomly walked into a house here, chances are pretty good they have a couple cases of canned food, powdered milk, etc, a generator, flashlights and batteries. And they don’t consider themselves preppers in the least. Around Memorial Day, my neighbor invited me up to his family’s cabin, and he joked that they might need me to come up there if “something” happened.
    I pointed out to him they were already prepared for about anything without consciously doing so. Last time I was up there, they had a pantry with at least four months worth of food for a dozen people, a secure well, and their own power supply as well as a nice pond for raising fish.
    They bought canned stuff in bulk to both save money and time when they went up for the weekend, the well produces some good-tasting and safe water, and the old army surplus generator (8KW I believe) is more than ample for their needs (and runs off of free natural gas they tapped on their own land to boot). But they’re not preppers, they just fell into the habit for convenience when they went up for the weekends.

  40. If you are a prepper and never need to use your stores, then you better thank whoever you believe in that you have been so lucky.

    Like many others have said, you just never know. There are disasters of many sorts, and it doesnt have to be the big one to effect you.

    So yes I do what I can to prepare for things that come my way. I dont put my life on hold and I dont buy things that I wont use. I may not have all the latest greatest toys, I may not ever have everything I would ever need if the big one hits, but I know I at least have something that will give my family a fighting chance.

  41. Frank Bennett says:

    M.D.,
    I had subnitted a comment and I do not see it listed. I was wondering about some extra advice about prepping. I am looking for help with gardening, canning, perimeter security etc.

    Awhile ago I submitted some comments about semi automatic weapons that were totally unfounded and frankly ignorant on my part. I did however research the information and retracted my statement as it was totally wrong. I sent you an email apologizing for my comments. I am not sure if that is why you did not post my comment. Once again, I apologize to you and the Wolf Pack for spewing nonsense without checking the facts first. Please accept my apology. whether you decide to post my comments or not is your choice but I feel better being man enough to say i was wrong.

    Frank

    • Frank,

      I don’t remember seeing it, but I get A LOT of email and I do lose one sometimes. Sorry.

    • Frank, I remember your apologetic post and while I didn’t think you really needed to write it at the same time it was big of you to do so,

  42. MD, Given any winter, I have a 40%-80% chance of spending upwords of 21-23 days without electricity. Every year I prepare for the winter including cat food for lots of cats, littler for indoor cats, dog food, and batteries. My 500 gallon propane is full as is three 35 pounders. This winter was mild so the food and other supplies were not used to bail me out. I have been eating the supplies as has the cats and dogs. This summer I will continue rotating out food and restocking with my own grown food this year. In the past, my garden was small. Prices are too high in the grocery store for my retirement income. I have gardened for 50 years, but after the death of my husband, I was still working, driving 2 hours a day, and just trying to keep this place going on the mountain with only me, myself, and I. What I do insures I will not try to make it down the mountain and drive 12 miles for a loaf of bread!! I can stay where it is safer. As for a bigger collapse, well I will be able to deal with that one also as family members may need to move in with me. We can then share the labor which might be good. Watering alone in the retirement “landscaping nursery” and the food production area (veggies and fruit) takes between 4-6 hours daily. BTW: New skills I need to learn. How to set up drip irrigation and how to graft fruit trees. I already propagate softwood and hardwood and use division for multiplying plant material. Prepping is a way of life. Always learning new skills.

  43. Martino says:

    So if we survive we are prepared to … live… and to enrich our lives in the meantime!

    Even on a very limited social security budget I am preparing, learning new things and rediscovering old skills. And I’m having of all things …. Fun!

    I’m eating better, enjoying smelling all the flowers, contemplating new experiences and greeting more people more warmly than I used to.

    I am helping my local economy by trying to buy things locally. My neighbors are doing better because I and others spend our money more locally.

    No more yahoo mail or facebook page. A few blogs and books etc and I have gained more REAL information. PBS and no commercial tv add up to hours that are mine because I don’t have to listen to commercials from the big stores.

    Having a prepping lifestyle is feeding many a small business, some of which are in my local area. In fact I speculate that all our prepping taken together may indeed be a strong income stream to keep the larger nationwide economy stay afloat (at least for awhile).

    So what happens if the collapse never takes place? I just keep prepping, having fun, smiling more at people around me and spending cash with my local businesses and watching them prosper.

    And NO commercials :)

    It’s all good… (as my grandchildren say).

    PS: try riseup.net for your email. It’s secure and I get NO spam emails. What’s not to like?

  44. recoveringidiot says:

    +1 on the insurance angle.
    I had a tough time financially a few years ago and having a good sized pantry allowed me to put money where it would keep a roof over my head. I eventually lost the roof but having the food and other necessities stored on hand gave me the time to work through a bad time. I’m praying for our country as I believe we are past the point where voting will change the outcome we are headed for. I don’t post as much as I used to and certainly not in detail for many reasons but I still read here most days and I still learn new things that could make life easier if or when bad times come.
    Thanks again MD for keeping this site going.

    • Doris Jones says:

      recoveringidiot
      From your statements–I would say it is time to re-evaluate your handle. You sure seem far, far from “idiot”. You made a statement at the last of your reply that I agree with 100% “Thanks again MD for keeping this site going.” It is a very difficult job for MD and it is accomplished with skill and creativity. This site is something from which all Americans could benefit. Hats off to you for your reply.

    • Thank you for reading. You all make the blog.

    • riverrider says:

      r/i, how ya doing old buddy? we missed you! hope all is well with you.

      • Lantana says:

        I’m glad you checked in too, RI–was thinking of you and others this weekend and hoping y’all were doing well.

        *big wave and grin for those who only have time to read anymore*

    • recoveringidiot says:

      I’m still around, just keeping my mouth shut a bit more. Found me a God fearing woman that I hope will marry me this fall. I have been working toward a paid for place to be in my old age, every time I read about a pack member paying off the mortgage and credit cards it makes my heart sing. I let credit and a unfaithful wife set me back years.

  45. Enzo Pamrona says:

    Practicing preparedness is like paying off your debts writ large. You can sit in your recliner enjoying a cool lemonade and revel in the feeling of independence.

    I have been an active “survivlalist” since the early 70’s, longer if you count helping my folks with bugout bags when I was a teenager in the 60’s. My preparations allowed my family to ride unemployment, some time on worker’s comp, a rough move, and a few other situations where we have needed a little. I do not expect a huge TEOTWAWKI but I have a few minor ones. Now that is a feeling of preparedness.

    Preparedness is not a “movement” gauged by the actions of larger-than-life “leaders,” it is the actions of many, many individuals and families working on a broader vision of independence. Gee, that sounds subversive….. ;=}

  46. TexasScout says:

    My wife has just started to see some of the benifits of “prepping” in that, it’s nice not to have to run to the store when we run out of something. That’s as far as it goes. I really can’t stock much food because she has become a “fresh foodie”, we eat NO processed foods AT ALL. We grow out own veggies. We buy fresh produce, and meats and she wouldn’t eat pasta or rice and beans on a bet. That’s not to say she wouldn’t eat it in an emergency, but there is no way to “rotate” our stored food. That leaves me to stock prep food and let it sit until it goes bad and then throw it out. I have to admit, her life style has worked. She is the same size as when I met her 38 years ago and in much better shape physically.

    What’s a prepper to do?

    • Lantana says:

      TexasScout, you could consider the carbs with a long shelf life as insurance with a charitable kicker–instead of rotating it for your consumption, donate it to a local food bank or a friend/relative who’s hit a rough patch. There’s always someone who could put pasta, rice or beans to good use.

  47. PrepperDaddy says:

    WELL SAID! Whenever my less engaged ‘friends’ tell me that I am a horder, I very camly tell them I am not, I am simply pre-buying – everything! It is not just about food, alltho I do have 4 or 5 years ‘pre-bought’, I pre-buy paper goods, medical supplies, fuel, cloths, tools, etc.. – pretty much anything I consume on a regular basis. The commenets about rotaing are I believe right on. I am currently rotating out food I stored in 2008 and eating that on a daily basis while replacing what I take out – the pile is not getting any smaller.

  48. private idaho says:

    you know growing up here in the northwest my family always had the self sufficient lifestyle thing going on we raised everything we ate except stuff like peanut butter or oil and stuff like that. I think the first time I ever ate a fast food burger was after I graduated from boot camp in san Diego. so growing up we never worried about disasters or shtf situations we always had plenty. so if the shtf happens it’ll be just another day the better question is what if it does and you are not ready.

  49. My Grandparents were preppers, my parents were preppers, I have always been a prepper and my children, who also prep, are teaching their children. Prepping is ‘a way of life’ for me…always has been.
    It is NEVER a waste of time…..it’s a ‘living and learning’ experience that will help future generations with their futures, by YOUR example.

    • My grandparents were not preppers , they just went through the great depression and the habit stayed with them .

  50. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Good article, M D.
    I am not a “Doomsday Prepper” but am a “Hobby Farmer”. DH and I are annual members of the local gun club, plus we have firearms because of varmints. We are registered voters, both are veterans (DH is ret Navy), and are Christians.
    When I became a mother I stocked the diaper bag with things I had to have, things that were nice to have, and things better to have and not need than need and not have. My home and stores are kind of like that. But nothing will ever taste better than food grown by our own hands. And who can forget the first egg laid by our first hen. Or sharing our home-canned goods with friends and family.
    I do own a generator, have water stored, and a water purification system.
    I know although possible, it is unlikely I will ever see any global event. I could go awhile without going to the store and know first aid and some root and herbal medicine and have a well stocked medicine cabinet.
    I guess what I am trying to say is, I love Air Conditioning but don’t panic when we lose power. Have survived being snowed in alone with a kid and a dog in a -50°F. blizzard for two weeks, countless tornados, hail, floods in both Texas and N. Dakota, attacks abroad by anti- American groups on two continents, and a few other scrapes. I’m just satisfied that I am reasonably prepared, within my means, for unexpected events, natural or otherwise.
    I think we are most likely to experience a pandemic in the near future. But my crystal ball doesn’t work so good.
    I am not even thinking of a collapse but then I don’t rely solely on modern conveniences. And I am not harming anyone, doing anything unhealthy, illegal, or immoral, and wake up every day with hope for tomorrow.

  51. whoisbiggles says:

    What if the collapse never comes?
    Since 2000 I lived through 5 cyclones, 2 floods and numerous black outs due to storms, with only minor inconvenience.
    I have lost weight due to getting more active and eating better, (still a ways to go yet).
    Learnt how to grow food, store excess produce.
    Take care of ongoing self defence training for family.
    Repair finances and get serious about reducing debt. (Still got a mortgage to sort out).
    Got out of the stock market as much as possible.
    Enjoyed building things like chicken coop, storage shelving, chairs etc out of abandoned pallets with the kids.
    Learning how to cook from scratch, again doing this with the kids. Still got aways to go with this.
    Bought a rural block, where we have planted numerous fruit and some nut trees. Which we also use for camping and other things.
    If I die tomorrow, I have lived well, and hope that the seeds I have planted in the kids minds will bear fruit.

  52. k. fields says:

    What if the collapse never comes?
    I think anyone who has been at this a while will ask themselves that question – as I replied jokingly to an earlier article, I’m still awaiting the collapse that I was sure was going to occur in 1973!

    What will keep you going is making it a lifestyle instead of an obsession.

    The folks who are worried by every new revelation about the economy or every rumor of plague or war, will burn out quickly and will indeed have wasted both their time and money. Life has to be more than constantly preparing for catastrophe.

    But those who view “prepping” as simply a road to becoming more self-reliant will learn things about themselves they never thought possible and joys that can never be purchased.

  53. “You live and learn” is a statement that taught me what I need to know,,, we were always stationed on the coast, and I always had a hurricane locker stocked full of non perishables smal propane tanks, cook stove etc. We weathered many days turned to week of no power over the years,
    When DH retired from service we moved close to family–inland,,and I stopped keeping a locker. No hurricanes right!! That first year we had an unexpected ice storm,
    Lost power for a week, no water, no mode to cook everything in my freezer that was spoiling! After we recovered from that, I vowed it would never happen again,, I would have INSURANCE.

    And we started prepping. First a little at a time, adding when we could afford to. We moved from that big house w/little land to 27 acres in the middle of nowhere and built a working farm. We still have to work ‘in town’ about an hour commute for our extras but knowing that we are self sufficient is a wonderful feeling.

    We grow,hunt,store and can,,,my only concern now would be feeding the horses in a crisis (we don’t have a hay field). Each year we learn more, and this site has added to that knowledge.
    We rotate because we eat what we store, I don’t have 100lbs of beef jerky, because we don’t eat it,,,,, but I did get MD’s CD that taught me how to field prep a deer.

    I would rather die and have all this left over than have my family die because I didn’t .

    • Sw't tater says:

      Jerky does not have to be eaten dry, it can be shaved up and put in soup!(If you eat Beef /Venison at all)

  54. riverrider says:

    well i sometimes lament the cash i’ve spent on preps, probly 20-30k by now, but now i know i can go about 3 years before i need to go to the grocery store for anything, and i mean anything.. thats a nice feeling now that my income has been cut hard. and push come, i could sell a few of the gun preps and still have enough to defend. i could eat the food in the freezer, then cut power and survive just fine. jic, i have 100 gallons of gas stored. heat with wood. what else do i need? naw, i didn’t waste a thing. and it kept me occupied for 3 years of retirement so i didn’t get in trouble:)

  55. TN Mommy says:

    If the collapse never happens, then at least I had a good time becoming a better person. For a long while my husband was telling me that I needed to get a hobby. My life was all work and kids and no hobby. For some reason, I can’t really even remember why, I got into reading alternative media, which led me to researching the impending economic collapse of the US, and then preparedness was the natural progression. But now I have a hobby that I have gotten my whole family involved in, and we are also healthier people!

    I’ve learned how to grow my own food which has turned out to be really fun and exciting. My 3 year-old daughter has so much fun going out to the deck and watering the “crops” as I call them (my crops are in 5 gallon buckets on the deck). We harvest fresh vegetables together and she gets so excited watching them grow! It’s an amazing learning experience.

    Grocery shopping is so much easier now! When you grow most of your own vegetables, all you have to buy is the stuff you can’t grow yourself! So when I go grocery shopping, I’m usually just getting bananas, eggs, bread, milk, cheese and then large quantities of bulk items. So instead of having a list of 40 items that I have to pick up from the store, my list has like 10 or less items (just lots of them, lol…)

  56. midnight1st says:

    I view this life style as staving off Alzheimers. I dare it to catch up to me with all that I am learning and practicing these days! And having a good time doing it also.

  57. curtis B says:

    Look around, with all the things happening in the world, PREP!! Prep very well! The Boy Scout Motto “Be Prepared” should be taken to heart. The government scandals are prevalent, financial turmoil is evident–look around and prepare for the worst and pray for the best! Every day!

  58. Tactical G-Ma says:

    M.D. and Pack,
    I am proud to be part of this group cause our interests seem to be more “chicken coop” than “Chicken Little”. And our group acknowledges that the journey is as important as the destination. Our Sun should last another 500 million years, so there are bound to be challenges along the way. Love you guys!

  59. Well hopefully the collapse will never come BUT it never hurts to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The Mormons have doing it for more than 100 years and as MD says, just rotate your food. Also it’s just plain makes sense to strive for self sufficiency. Talk to anyone who has reached that status (not me) and they have no regrets and actually revel in their current situation.

  60. augustino says:

    I often think about this topic “what if the s never hits the fan?” And I keep an open mind as to this possibility despite what others may feel, think and say. And frankly speaking I have no idea as to whether or not the system is going to collapse. Part of me feels that even if it does all go to heck in a handbasket, then so be it. Sure I have a couple of months worth of canned and freeze dried food stashed away, a few hundred gallons of water in the basement and a berkey water filter with BU black elements stashed away. A generator ready to get us through a prolonged period without electricity and kerosene lanterns, Coleman lanterns and stoves, charcoal and on and on… But the bottom line is I feel far better having these items stashed away as opposed to not having them. I’ve had some fun along the way gathering my supplies and although I wouldn’t bet my paycheck on when a collapse will come, I do feel it will arrive. Just look around at US and world social and economic happenings. The USA is spending money like a drunken sailor that’s arrived in port after 6 months at sea. Wine! Women! Song, spend, spend, spend!!! This is what I see happening. And then our ELECTED officials have the gaul to say there isn’t a spending problem, there’s a revenue problem and that will be corrected with more & higher taxes. Do I love America? DARN RIGHT I DO. Do I feel we’re taxed far tooooooo much already? DARN RIGHT I DO. Can the way we’re living & spending go on forever? I do not think so. To continue on this reckless path of runaway spending is sure to destroy at worst and at best cripple this country. Look at it this way, if a family household brings in 4 thousand dollars a month to support that family BUT spends 7 thousand dollars a month in expenditures, how long before that family goes broke? Not very long. Well the family I’m talking about is America and we’ve been spending far more than we’re taking in for decades and it’s catching up.

    • Winomega says:

      Augustino

      Part of the problem with governmental budgeting is that you have to spend your whole budget each year or else it will be cut.

      Sometimes my monthly grocery and misc spending is $600, but I only get $400 per month. However, there are also months when I spend way less than $200.

      If my account reset to just $400 every month, I wouldn’t have enough for those weird huge purchases. If it was determined I’d only need $200 any given month, I would be in sorry shape.

      The accountants need to figure out what is actually needed on 5-10 year cycles.

  61. Donna in MN says:

    Prepping is for any emergency, not just an economic collapse. I can live in emergency situations because I prep that most people can’t live through who don’t. I will put everything to use and have–my tent, my dehydrated food, my garden, my camp stove, my wild edible plant collecting, and my vehicle ac power, emergency radio, etc, etc.

    No waste of time for me, no waste of money for me.

    Prepare, be vigilent, be wise.

    • Donna,
      When we talk about TEOTWAWKI and beginning to prep, my suggestion on getting started has always been to create the threat matrix, which is essentially a spreadsheet or list of events and the equipment and skills required to mitigate them. In part, this is to help you focus on things important to you. For instance, here in Ohio I’m not really concerned with earthquakes and hurricanes, as much as blizzards and tornados.
      To start the list I always suggest the ubiquitous Asteroid striking the earth at the very end of the list, and Loss of job, short or long term disability, and death in the family as the three items on the top of every list. Like a tornado, loss of income and other events can affect me and leave my neighbor untouched, so prepping at some level is IMO always beneficial. Even a working flashlight and some additional cans of soup can get you through a short term event like loss of power.

  62. grandma bear says:

    I truly hope that I will never need my stores. BUT if that day ever comes I will be prepared!I take great pride in our store and get a good feeling knowing We can shop from the basement.

  63. SurvivorDan says:

    Everyone has made such great points about why prepping is certainly not a waste of time. Kudos! And my new lifestyle saves me money all the time. Instead of blowing money on frivolous things without thinking….. now, I think first.
    Do I really need it? Can I put the money to better use elsewhere? Wouldn’t it be better to pay down my debts? I just made a few calls and found the Nikes I love (discontinued model) cluttering up the backroom of a BIG Five sporting goods store. Reduced and another 30% off for clearance items and I walked out with (normally $59.99 per one pair) two pairs for $58. There was a time I would have just bought one pr for $59.99 without a thought. Stupid me. The same applies to tactical lights, machetes, camping gear, ammo, tomahawks, freeze-drieds, medical supplies, fishing tackle, water purification devices, beans, rice, canned goods, etc. I save so much now ….. so I can stock up on more! No seriously, I was not raised to be frugal but I am learning thanks to the prepper lifestyle and the benefits are very apparent. I get more for my buck and I am somewhat prepared.
    I am grateful to MD and the pack.
    Thank you TEOTWAWKI and all the potential mini-teotwawkis.

    • SurvivorDan,

      It’s good to hear from you again…

    • Survivor Dan! So nice to see you.

    • Tactical G-Ma says:

      SD!
      Thought you were in Tonga or the PI. How are you? Are you stateside?

    • JP in MT says:

      SD:

      Thought maybe you had moved on. Glad to hear your still around!

    • Winomega says:

      SurvivorDan,

      You’re so lucky to find that on clearance. So often, places run out of my size first, and that’s crossdressing. Women’s clothes don’t even come in my size. Then the people who buy out my size are selfish and don’t give their clothes to charity; they either wear them out or throw them out.

      • Winomega,
        “people who buy out my size are selfish “.
        I am assuming that this was tongue in cheek, since our family uses nearly everything until it’s worn out.

        • Winomega says:

          OhioPrepper, I wear my clothes to rags as well. It’s the people that don’t donate serviceable clothes to the thrift stores that really irritate me.

          Actually, I’m keeping my outgrown clothes as well. I know I deserve a new wardrobe if I lose the weight, but that will be expensive and might happen before waistbands start rising again.

    • SD,
      Good to see you back.

  64. Momturtle says:

    Well, the collapse may not come but I know winter and storms will. I know a lot of other things that might and then I also know I won’t worry about it a bit. I may slide into retirement without experiencing the collapse of society and the economy but I will also be able to avoid grocery shopping and worrying about buying supplies for a long time. I will have fruit and nut trees flourishing, a garden growing and a comfy warm house. I do not wish for a true collapse because of the horrors it would bring but here we are and we do the best we can to prepare. Plus I love meat loaf MREs — a special weakness.

  65. Very good point, I like to think of survival preparation as an interest and hobby or anything else i enjoy doing. If we do it strickly from living in fear or paranoia then i would definitely consider that a waste of life.

  66. Considering the week we just endured, I would say my efforts to make sure we are prepared for disasters was well worth it. We live at what is now the southern dividing line between pre-evac and mandatory evac areas in the Black Forest. The other side of our main road is where the mandatory evacuation area begins. All the roads have been closed, so, even though we are not in the mandatory area, we would not be allowed back in if we left. I make prepping a habit, and we have not suffered for lack of supplies this week. Granted, a week isn’t a very long time, but it is when you haven’t made the effort to have adequate supplies. Even so, we found some holes in our program, and will work toward filling those holes very soon. Yes, very well worth it!

  67. Curtiss says:

    Better to be a Boy Scout and “Be Prepared” than not! There is so much turmoil in the world, we pray that nothing happens. But on the other hand at times I wish it would hurry up and get it over with. Please!! Get out and VOTE!!! The only way to make a difference is to vote and continue to prep like crazy!

  68. Nancy V. says:

    What if the collapse never comes… I will rejoice and continue living the way I do now because:

    1. Its financially smart for me to continue to invest in myself, family, environment and supplies. Costs for everything is going up weekly, so the concept of buy now, save later – is my retirement plan.

    2. Its psychologically smart to continue to be prepared because of natural disaster which occur. Since I have enough supplies already, I won’t have to frantically search for them if disaster strikes. Even if I lose everything, I will never lose the education learned from prepping and survival, all which promotes self-confidence and inner peace.

    3. Its entertaining. Yep, even if the collapse does not happen, I will continue to have fun rummaging, growing, planning, canning, drying, and preparing. Its a fun way of life.

    Doesn’t get much better than that… being happy where I am.

  69. Tactical G-Ma says:

    I pray a collapse never happens.
    I prepare for little things and big things. I prepare for after things (Heaven). If I don’t need the food or water then after I leave this world it will feed someone else.
    BUT
    I don’t spend my entire life prepping. Balance is still necessary for a healthy mind and body.

    • Tactical G-Ma says:

      M.D.
      Thanks for the refresher. Reading our comments from 1 year ago is great. But it does remind me of a few who are no longer posting!

      • Tactical G-Ma,

        Yes it does…

      • recoveringidiot says:

        Some still stop by with a different handle. The original post and comments are still good today. Anybody that has lived through a serious personal financial episode will understand the great benefit of a deep pantry. Just the savings of buying bulk on sale is a blessing when dollars are short or nonexistent.

  70. People spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars every year on insurance to help rebuild after an accident or disaster but they won’t spend a couple hundred dollars or invest a few hours to ensure they live through it.
    Emergencies happen all the time, maybe not the zombie apocalypse but smaller everyday issues, power failure, storms, fires, losing a job, health problems, etc.. Being ready for the ‘big one’ will make you ready for these smaller disasters turning them into minor issues.
    Peace of mind, saving money, self reliance, are all benefits of the prepping lifestyle whether or not aliens invade.
    A coworker, being a self described degenerate, once asked what if I was wrong about it all…I told him then I would have had a good, happy life of gaining knowledge, helping others, teaching my family good values, standing up for freedom, and raising up society not being a burden on it…sounds good to me.

  71. mindful patriot says:

    My eyes were opened in 1999 thanks to the birth of my fourth child, who was a marathon-nurser. With three other small children, it was difficult to sit long periods of time breastfeeding the newborn. My solution was to get internet so that I could keep my mind busy during DS’s marathon.

    I began researching (among other things) the state of the economy and US. It did not take long to realize our country was in deep. All indicators pointed to a major change in the next ten years, at least, that was my personal opinion.

    It did not take that long. The economy started to tank, and the bubble burst. I was glad that I had the foresight to purchase cloth diapers. No pun intended, but cloth diapers and wipes saved our butts.

    That was the beginning of what I call wise living. I questioned every expenditure, and stretched every cent. It has built from there.

    Proverbs 6 contains a warning against foolishness–“Go to the ant, you sluggard, observe her ways and be wise.”

    Luke 21:9 “When you hear about wars and riots, don’t be afraid.”
    10 “Nations will go to war against one another, and kingdoms will attack each other.”
    11 “There will be great earthquakes, and in many places many people will starve to death and suffer terrible diseases. All sorts of frightening things will be seen in the sky.”

    Seems clear to me. Things WILL happen.

    All the indicators are there for the next big change. This time, however, I do not have a time-frame like I had last time. What is generally agreed is that the current state is unsustainable.

    Ephesians 5:15-16 “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity . . .”

    Wise living does not change, it is the media-promoted gov’t sanctioned propaganda that has lulled the population into a drowsy false sense of security and dependence. So much so, that the population mocks those who live wisely or “prep”. I wonder if my great grandmother would shake her head sadly or laugh in disbelief at what we have become as a nation. She was a pioneer, tough–and a little mean. She lived wisely, her survival depended on it. We should live wisely, our survival depends on it.

  72. When I was growing up….my mother made sure I knew how to sew, clean, cook, garden, put up food, etc. etc. Emergencies happen and bad things do happen to good people. But what she taught me prepared me for life’s emergencies. Have been able to help others/teach others so that they too can be prepared. Very thankful for having this knowledge….as it has defined me as to who I am. People come to me for advice and how-to problems….even been called a Food Hoarder. But this person never knew the struggles I have had to face….nor did they know as to how much food has been given away for others to be able to make it…….the Lord kept replenishing as I would take food from the freezer or larder……..the Lord blessed my garden when others failed. If people will read their Bibles it will tell them to prepare not only our hearts but for life itself. Have become a do-it-yourself-er in many areas and have found enjoyment and peace. My husband about 7 months ago had a double massive stroke…..he lived through it……we are doing fine. But knowing how to make things work and being prepared kept us from losing our home and anything else we may have had. I am very thankful.

  73. Odd Lot says:

    Matthew 24:6-8
    Then Jesus said, ” And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all of these things must come to pass, but the end will not come yet. For Nation will rise against Nation, and Kingdom against Kingdom, and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All of these things are just the beginning of sorrows”. NKJV

  74. I started prepping back in the mid ’70’s. Back when the “godless commies” were going to attack at any moment. I still have a couple of cases of SamAndy survival food that hasn’t been opened yet. Then it changed to the cities were going to erupt into violence. On to Y2K; and now economic collapse is feared. Am I paranoid or crazy? Well , yes I am, but that has nothing to do with it! It is a way of life and I am responsible to take care of my family. My S-in-Law says that I’m foolish for “wasting” my money and time and nothing has happened. I respond to her, “You have to be right 100% of the time; I only have to be right once!” Wasted time and money? Nope, time and money well spent. So far I haven’t even been in a “small” event such as tornado, flood, or earthquake. Hope I never am. But if it should happen, I am prepared!

  75. Lake Lili says:

    My personal world has imploded a number of times. So for me prepping is, as the author describes it, an insurance policy. Through lean times, it ensures that I can always feed and cloth my child. When explained that way, I get full support from my family, who otherwise think its a waste f time, energy and money.

  76. Big Bear says:

    Better to carry an umbrella than the curse the rain!

  77. All I know is prepping is convenient and practical. Today at lunch I was able to go to the pantry (3 feet from where I sit) grab a Tuna Salad and Cracker snack and a small 1.8 oz can of cheese. The Tuna salad had a BB date of 2012 and had served time in my GHB till I replaced it last year.

    • Ron
      I bet that Tuna Salad was just as tasty as the day they packed it for the shelf in the grocery store.

  78. Fantastic article, MD. I’m relatively new to prepping. As a boy I would listen to my grandparents tell stories of their experiences during the Great Depression. They made due with what they had through hard knocks, common sense and ingenuity.

    They were farmers/ranchers and were incredibly self reliant. Large gardens, fields of wheat with cattle, hogs and chickens. They had smoke houses, would can, preserve, hunt, trap and fish.

    I live in earthquake country and after taking stock of that geological fact put together a bugout/survival bag. I’m starting to stock up on gear & supplies for a bug in scenario. Since I live in a dense urban area which doesn’t appeal to me all I’ve decided buying a piece of property at some high mountain country area is where I want to be. I love nature and being in the city feels stifling and depressing. I should have never left the mountains so live and learn.

    I have no desire to be one of the close minded freaking out during a emergency, disaster, what have you, believing the government will magically appear to help. Or worse yet, have a few million people going at each others throats and I don’t want to be caught in the middle … lol.

  79. Why yes it was Ms. Becky. Yes it was. And the cheese as well.

  80. Chuck Findlay says:

    If nothing bad happens I still have a life with zero debt, a cushion of extra food, extra money, A lot of silver for retirement (or for the kid to burn up when I’m dead), and a mindset of frugal, simple self-sufficient but happy lifestyle that allows me to enjoy life better then those around me that are always pushing the treadmill as fast as they can.

  81. Great article and many great comments so far. My perspective is that the collapse has already begun. One only needs to take step back and look at all the smaller events that are and have happened to see that things are literally going to heck in a basket. People can scoff, laugh and criticize all they like but it is pretty obvious to me that we are a short road to doom. How severe the major event that completes the perfect storm remains to be seen. What that event will be also remains to be seen. I have been prepping for close to 35 years, off and on with varying degrees of intensity and I am glad for the levels of knowledge and experience I have acquired. Now that I am widowed and retired my perspective has changed but I really do believe we are going to see very hard times very soon.

  82. Chuck Findlay says:

    Yep, dark times in the Republic are a coming…

  83. Patriot Farmer says:

    This is a great article and I truly hope that a collapse never occurs. The chaos would be unimaginable and a lot of people would not make it. That being said if a collapse never happens my preps are not wasted. In Michigan tornados are a threat during the spring and summer and horrible winters with deep snow are always a possibility. If we lost power, were snowed in, or a financial set back were to happen I believe we could and would survive quite well. And should family and neighbors run into problems my preps, training and capabilities could be used to get them through hard times.

  84. PrepperLabGirl says:

    MD
    It seems that there is some type of disaster all the time on the news. All bad news is a disaster to someone. It’s only a matter of time before anyone has some type of disaster. I want to be prepared. Everyone should want to. Too many people rely on the insurance polices that cover less and less.
    On a lighter note, my parents came from the depression era. My father considered my mother’s family rich just because they lived on a small farm and actually had food to eat.
    I’ve enjoyed reading last year’s postings as I wasn’t here then. I learn something every time I read your blogs. Thanks!

  85. Deborah says:

    I would never feel that prepping was a waste of time or money. My youngest son has been going through his own economic collapse this past year. I am so glad I could help him. Having all this food available for him has literally been a life saver! If there is something that I’ve stored that we aren’t real fond of I rotate it out to one of the local food pantries. We donate on a regular basis anyway.

  86. Chuck Findlay says:

    I agree that personal and national economic collapse is the most likely thing most of us will have to go through. Job loss is a big one for almost everyone to be worried about in today’s world.

    I went through a motorcycle accident (no work for months) a job loss after shortly going back to work and a wife that left taking 1/2 of the income but leaving me with all the bills & payments. That was a personal SHTF situation that was tough to get through. But after years of living on what would be considered imposible to actually survive on. I learned to do Ok with almost no income. Now I;m self employed, have numerous people I work for and therefore can tolerate the loss of any one employer and not be bothered by it. And I don’t fear unemployment at all, as I don’t fear the economy going south either. I have learned how to have more then I really need and be happy with it and I learned how to support myself without having to use the most evil thing ever invented, the Time Clock…

    I live a happy but frugal life. People seem to think that frugality is a form of deprivation, it’s not at all. I have more money now then I have ever had in my life. Lot’s of it is in the form of silver, preps, tools to continue to make money. and supplies that support my handyman work. I’m busy working as much as I want, but still able to take time to enjoy life. If I had payments for everything like most people I would be on the treadmill running like heck like most people I see.

    Bottom line, economic collapse, no big deal, been there, done that…

    • PrepperLabGirl says:

      Chuck
      You are right about the evil Time Clock, but there is something worse. Its called ‘salary’ so corporate can work you longer than 8 hours a day any time of the day or night! That was recently done to me without any prior discussion so it has only made me more determined to prep.

  87. Hrmm?

    I’m hoping it never happens! But if it does, I won’t be able to prepare then.

    Actually, I have really poor health. As such, I see prepping as not a thing for some possible future, but for a time when I may not be able to get to the store. This week is out, next week may be too. Just having a bite to eat, as is, had meant trying to get help, or trying to get out while I could barely walk. So it’s a combined thing. My end time tomorrow is sometimes every day. I can’t lose this way, and do enjoy it. I sleep much better, and eat better in bad times.

    Oh, and I have had my hot water heater go out, and spent a month, as I could, buying a new one, figuring out how to get it down the steps to the basement, then installed, and making it all work. The water stores made it so that I didn’t have to spend the very little money I have on a plumber, or begging help from neighbors like a bum or something. I have a septic tank, so could continue to use the toilet. Urhm, I did learn that a mix of warm water is better for bathing… I tried to just push through with room temp stuff, but… Never mind. Warm it, trust me, even half of it. *brrrr!*

    Meh… it’s not always just about “what if”, at least for some of us.

  88. I agree that being prepared is survival insurance. I have car, house, health and life insurance. Why not have survival insurance. I sometime buy to much and don’t get the food rotated, but instead of throwing it out I give it to my kids or to the food bank. I have thrown out food but that is ok. It served its purpose. I have thrown a lot of money away on house, car and life insurance that I never used. Its there if I need it.

  89. Don Duncan says:

    Prepping is living responsibly. The alternative is to live without a thought as to protection of any kind, e.g., not locking your doors at night, not locking your car when out. Preppers are taking life as seriously as possible. They are thinkers. It doesn’t make life less fun to be fully aware. Quite the contrary. Prepping is giving yourself the best chance to survive and thrive. We will “live long & prosper”.

  90. Rastus McGee says:

    Hey, if I never need it then that’s great! I am quite fond of all the amenities of modern life. However if I ever do need it I simply have covered my bases to the best of my ability….!

  91. livinglife says:

    Having insurance is prepping for something that may never happen.

    Better to be ready and never have to use it than wish you had.

  92. To those who don’t eat canned food more than 10-15 cans a year, I hear you. So, don’t store that. Even though it’s more expensive at the get go, slowly store freeze dried fruits/veggies. Almost all of them (at least Augason Farms) are GMO-free, extra-item free (most cans are just the actual fruit/veg), and easy to use. I’ve found the fruits particularly nice to just open a can and crunch (or bake) as a way to try them out/use them up. Since they last for eons, I know I can wait a long time to rotate and eat and/or donate. The only “canned” food I store is the protein products (Spam, tuna, etc, the ones I can stomach, even if not really happily), and I stay on the light side of storage, only buying what I will feel happy donating every 2-3 years if I don’t go through it (so, for me, really, only about 1-2 weeks of product at a time, whereas I have enough for 6 months for grains, dairy, bakery items, beans, and fruit/veg – working to get to a year, but space and money still matter:)…

  93. Prepping is FUN! The planning, the hardware, the knowledge, all of it at what ever level you chose the prep for!

  94. Ao longo da minha vida pude presenciar diversas crises; a de alimentos presenciei em várias décadas; crises de energia, seja eletricidade ou combustível; todas tem em comum o colapso econômico. A preparação para crises traz uma paz de espirito, você consegue dormir aproveitando melhor seu sono, fica menos vulnerável. Você se torna mais dono do seu destino. Continuem, é melhor estar preparado e não acontecer do que acontecer e você não está preparado.

    Throughout my life I witnessed several crises; the food witnessed in decades; energy crises, either electricity or fuel; all have in common the economic collapse. The crisis preparedness brings peace of mind, you can sleep better leveraging your sleep is less vulnerable. You become more in control of your destiny. Continue, it is better to be prepared and not happen than to happen and you’re not prepared.

  95. For the US, there is no avoiding economic collapse .

  96. UrbanCityGirl says:

    As others have stated, preparing for the future is my hobby now. I often feel like I’m not prepping but then realize I either just ….

    planted something in my garden, fed my chickens, worked with my Shephard, bought extra food, played outside trying to build a quick fire, hung my clothes to dry, read about solar panels, counted my batteries, bought ammo, made tincture, cut back on my energy consumption, used coupons, took a walk, located a lake, fixed something, rigged something, taught a friend how to garden, made laundry soap, did research….. And hugged my family.