This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by John I
When I have read about the SHTF scenario in survivalist blogs and articles, I had visions of nuclear attack, virus outbreak, zombie apocalypse, etc. It takes a lot less than that to upset your personal life and put you in a SHTF scenario.
We have always kept extra supplies and food on hand. We lived a lavish and wasteful lifestyle. We have a huge house, expensive cars, nice furnishings and lots of electronics. I work in IT and have always made great money.
My wife worked as an Xray tech and was always unemployable but made less than half the money I did. Our household members at the time consisted of my wife, our daughter, my mom (who was disabled in 2003 by a stroke) and myself. My wife and I have always enjoyed firearms. As most Americans, we didn’t have any savings and had an embarrassing amount of credit card debt.
In Sept of 2010 I lost my job, the first time in nearly 16 years of our relationship I haven’t been employed. The old job paid me out vacation and my wife was able to juggle the finances to get us by without much disruption in our lifestyle. I was out of work for a month. Luckily, I was able to secure a two-month contract for about 95% of my last salary. In the middle of December, I was once again unemployed. If you have ever been unemployed in December you know that it is a tough time to find work.
January 1, 2011 is SHTF day for me, my wife informs me that our 15-year marriage is over and she is moving in with her boyfriend. I am unemployed losing another income, still have my disabled mother to take care of and my daughter wants nothing to do with her mother. All this and not to mention I am losing the love of my life, best friend and feeling very betrayed.
I was lucky that we had a lot of extra food on hand and also a lot of toilet tree supplies on hand. I had to buy a few fresh things like milk but overall the months of January and February were pretty light on buying retail items. My 401K at my old job had to be cashed in to pay the mortgage and other bills for the next couple of months.
I was able to secure a full-time job in mid February 2011 but it paid about 75% of my old job and also my soon to be ex-wife income was gone. This left me with about a 40% gap of yearly income. Our daughter was finishing her 8th grade year and would be starting high school in the fall so I did not want to move. She has been through enough and needed some stability. All this made me figure out a realistic budget that we had to follow since our finances our so tight now. I had never bothered with a budget before.
In the end I am stuck with half the credit card debt and the big mortgage. On the plus side the only personal change in the house is the loss of the ex-wife. This means our daughter lives with me full-time (she sees her mom a few times a month for a total of maybe 10 hours a month). My mom still lives with us too and still needs my assistance.
Although we never considered ourselves as survivalist, we were lucky that we had a lot of supplies that got us through some tough times. My point of this article is that catastrophe doesn’t have to be a national disaster; it can and probably will be a personal disaster. FEMA and the federal govt doesn’t come to the rescue for personal issues. This is the disaster I should have prepared for better.
My 2012 Goals:
- Get in physical shape. This is a relatively cheap thing I can do to get me through the next SHTF. I plan on doing an obstacle course marathon like Tough Mudder to test my skills. If I can finish the course I should be able to escape the zombies. 😉 Even if I can handle a firearm, it doesn’t mean a lot if I can’t find cover and be able to evade the enemy.
- Continue to pay off my debt and do not create any new debt. I hope to have my half of the credit card debt paid off in five years.
- Continue to encourage my daughter through high school and prepare her for college.
- I am taking my first stab at gardening this spring, I hope it is a success.
- Only buy what I need and not buy things just cause I want it (easier than it sounds).
- I will never rely on a two-person income. If I cannot afford it on my income then I don’t need it.
- I will not charge things on credit cards unless an absolute emergency (I honestly can’t think what that emergency would be). I use my debt card to buy things but I do not buy items on revolving debt.
- I keep at least $100 in cash on me, just in case.
- My pantry will have at least two months of food and personal items such as razors, shampoo, soap and other person hygiene products. I know this is light but I live in a tract housing community.
- I doubt we would make two months before the mob would come knocking.
- After having extra time to read these types of sites, I now have an everyday kit and a three-day kit in my car.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
- First Prize) Winner will receive a gift certificate for $170 worth of Winchester Ammo donated by Lucky Gunner. A Smith & Wesson Heat Treated Collapsible 21″ Baton and a copy of my book Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat.
- Second Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Food Storage meat bucket and 3 dozen Tattler Reusable Canning Lids donated by LPC Survival.
- Third Prize) Winner will receive a LifeStraw water filter system donated by Eartheasy and a copy of the Wolf Pack Cookbook.