How would you advise the not-yet-prepared prepper caught by a financial collapse?

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by SlowBro, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. SlowBro

    SlowBro Monkey+

    So much prepper advice seems to presume lots of time, money, and energy. Let's discuss what to do when a person is limited on all three.

    So let's play a game. Your friend that you met through the Internet is an out-of-shape IT worker with chronic fatigue and a family of four. He makes $65k/year and has average living expenses. He has some car debt, a mortgage and a little credit card debt. He started prepping a few years ago but sickness has held him back. You recommended several books on prepping, homesteading, food preservation, foraging, medical, self-defense, etc. He obtained these and has read some of them. He's started a small garden in his back yard, about 150 square feet, and has begun to get a few small pieces of produce off of it. Not enough to live on, but enough to understand the basics. His wife has done a little canning and drying and cooking from scratch. His kids are too young to do much. He went to the range a few times but still has almost no self-defense skills. He's gone fishing once or twice but never hunting. His home is in a suburb that is low-rent but not a slum. So, he has an alarm and camera system. He has relatives with a few acres in rural locations but they are neither preparing nor homesteading. He has a few friends nearby that are also prepping, but they couldn't take him in if there was a long-term crisis.

    With the little extra income, he's been able to obtain the following supplies:
    * Two week's worth of non-perishable food, water and medications
    * A generator
    * A few gallons of gas
    * Handgun and shotgun with about a hundred rounds each
    * Some hand tools
    * A water filter
    * A camping stove with a few pounds of propane
    * One of those heirloom emergency seed cans
    * Some extra first aid supplies
    * A shortwave receiver
    * Some LED flashlights
    * Some disposable batteries
    * A bicycle with extra parts
    * A mid-sized 2WD SUV
    * About $3000 in cash

    In other words, he's could handle a tornado or a hurricane, but not yet a large economic crisis. And that's precisely what happens; Over three months the dollar's value drops significantly, along with several other currencies. On top of that, the ongoing drought in California and Texas has caused the price of foods to go up three times. It's not Mad Max, but there's rioting, martial law, police checkpoints, and rampant disease. He's going to be out of a good job for a long time. He might be able to do some odd jobs here and there in exchange for supplies. Food is going to remain expensive, credit will dry up, medical care will be spotty, government will lean towards totalitarian (yet police will be overwhelmed in most places), taxes and crime will increase. He lives too far away to help him and you can't take him in. He's decided to move to his relative's house. The alarm/camera system is coming with.

    * What are his top 5 priorities? What are the first things he needs to do? Aside from placing his head between his legs and kissing his bottom goodbye :) Examples are: Exercise, hunting, trapping, planting, learn self-defense, start foraging, install solar panels, building community, etc. All of these are good, but what are the firsts/biggest priorities?
    * What food operations need to happen first? There's a Chinese proverb that says, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." Are trees first priority or fast-growing vegetables? How about animal husbandry?
    * What does he buy right away? His $3000 is now worth an equivalent of about $1000.

    (By the way, this doesn't describe me. Some parts do, but I've changed enough details so that it does not. But it's something I think about regularly, since I'm not ready yet.)
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
  2. SlowBro

    SlowBro Monkey+

    I'd say his top 5 priorities are:
    * Get to know those in his new community
    * Exercising
    * Getting slow-growing crops started
    * Trapping
    * Self-defense

    I'd say the first things food-wise that go in are fast-growing fruit trees (or vines?) and chickens or ducks.

    I'd say he buys with his remaining cash the fruit trees/vines and chicks/ducklings, enough material to make several wire snares, two mutt puppies off CraigsList, more shotgun shells, a bullet-resistant vest and a DVD on self-defense techniques.

    Agree? Disagree?
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
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  3. SlowBro

    SlowBro Monkey+

    Changed the original post from saying the dollar is worthless to saying it's only worth about 1/3rd the original. Without any cash, how can you buy anything? ;)
  4. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    And how many of us have you just described to one extent or another?
    kellory likes this.
  5. SlowBro

    SlowBro Monkey+

    This to some degree describes me. I'd changed enough details so that it doesn't describe me fully, but it's something I think about regularly. What is your advice?
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    What are your SkillSets, that are marketable via Barter, with your neighbors? You do NOT need Money, if you have Marketable Skills that can be Bartered, for what you need to live, thru a longer than Disaster, Senerio. .....
    Gafarmboy, Witch Doctor 01 and Brokor like this.
  7. SlowBro

    SlowBro Monkey+

    Marketable skillsets were described in the first post:
    * IT skills
    * Little bit of gardening
  8. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    I hate to say it but I'd suggest to "him" to swallow his pride and be willing to "work for food".

    At this late in the game it's switched to subsistence for the near future. Be willing to trade, even labor if necessary for anything and everything.

    Help build the budding community in whatever way he can (btw this describes me more than I'd like as well). People will need to do things themselves when they can't buy it ready made and time and energy will be at a premium.

    Don't become a slave but be willing to do whatever is needed.

    Personally I'm in a bit of a better situation financially but I still can only add so much each month. Keep that garden going. Save the seeds. Learn how to trap and fish (no ammo needed). That will run out quickly so get ramped up on it as fast as possible and preserve what you can.

    ETA: Fixed some typos
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
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  9. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    Btw, not dismissing the chronic fatigue. It can be worked with and potentially overcome. No, I'm not going to tell you that 3 tbsp of aloe nectar will cure you or that you just need more exercise but it can be worked with and starving to death or worse, watching your kids starve to death is an incredible motivator.

    Edit: fixed more frigging typos
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
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  10. SlowBro

    SlowBro Monkey+

    Sorry but this sentence was confusing. "run out sickly"? "get booked up on it as fast as possible"? Please explain.
  11. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    Three words. DAMN YOU AUTO-CORRECT!

    That will run out quickly. Game is going to become scarce.

    Get ramped up on that as fast as possible (trapping/fishing).
  12. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    1. Think refuge camp, for openers. In the wake of every major disaster I have worked in, the majority of people such as you have described ended up there. The idea of subsisted shelter, food, water, and sanitary facilities may not appeal to you, but it beats the hell out of starvation, disease and scavenging.
    2. Forget maintaining the standard of life that you now enjoy; it will cease to exist. The many things we take for granted on a given day, a quick drive down to the convenience store for a six-pack and some smokes, watching television, spending time web-surfing to find a little piece of mind that some survival guru will anoint you with the ability to instantly become self-sufficient, home-shopping network for Mall-nina crap to fight the zombies...this crap just ceases to exist when the lights go out.
    3. You can own a year's supply of Mountainhouse freeze dried food for your family and it will do you no good whatsoever, if you can't get to it or if you can't defend it. If ordered to evacuate, especially on foot which sometimes happens with the collapse of infrastructure such as the aftermath of a volcano eruption, a wildfire, an earthquake, a flood, just how much of that "Stuff" are you going to be able to take with you?
    4. Prepping is a mindset where your skills, determination, creativity, all play an intricate role in survival and the "Stuff" you acquire is just fruit from the seeds you planted in developing that mindset. I grow many food items that I can well afford to buy for much less effort and sometimes, cost. I can, dry, pickle, preserve the food I grow. Being able to eat my produce is good, but learning how to do it again is more important. I can help a community of folks learn to raise enough food to keep them from starving and that's my point. Nobody is going to go out and instantly master the skill-sets acquired over a life-time but anyone can learn enough to get started. Your skill-sets are the only guarantee of continued usefulness to a population in distress.
    5. I do not mean to make it sound hopeless, I have just plucked too many people from the roof of their house in their under-shorts, dug too many out of the rubble of their homes, to think that prepping is about hoarding stuff. Start by looking for what is plentiful, tomatoes, corn, beans, potatoes,fruit in season, buy or barter cheap and can them, maybe can them on the halves with the grower. That mindset will increase your larder but more importantly, will plant the seeds of mindset towards surviving.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
  13. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Community ties is important, and any way you can build trust and teach a skill or especially learn new ones, will help. Also, keeping your private food and supply reserves private is a great idea. If you can encourage others to prepare for natural disasters without giving away too many details about your own commodities, this could significantly lessen the chances of others coming around later (looking for your stuff) if the SHTF. If you learn a new skill, you can later barter for goods with your services. Some ideas would be to take up a crafting or mechanical repair skill, or even basic carpentry. There are lots of elderly, and many will be in need of caring support. All kinds of reasons to learn a new skill. Since you are in IT, perhaps you could get into data collection and build a digital library and invite family or friends to help you prepare to implement a school for the community children. You could use a EMP proof laptop like a Panasonic Toughbook, and recharge with a basic generator setup or solar arrangement. You could also print and store learning materials or buy them online at bargain shops. Lots of folks would be willing to trade their protective services and food for a school or daycare, although this may not be an immediate transition and could take a bit of time after a serious social event. That's why we build communities and ties as early as possible, so we may present the case at the earliest time possible.

    As far as your own preps, I would focus on some basics, first.

    Blankets --warm, wool blankets.
    Water --Have enough for your family at all times.
    Food --You mentioned the garden and your own reserves. Work on it a little at a time. Get in the habit of buying a few canned items per week and rotating them by using the canned goods in your cooking habits. I like to use canned condensed milk, and although the taste requires some getting used to, it does offer a long term solution for providing shelf stable milk. You can also use powdered milk if you choose. Canning your own foods is an excellent idea, and just plan one day per month to focus on building that skill until you can develop a habit. You can store freeze dried foods for a very long time, and it is good to have an emergency supply for your family for at least several weeks. The freeze dried food can be kept for emergency only and will not need to be used in rotation as quickly as typical canned goods. It's a choice, not an absolute rule to keep long term, shelf stable foods, but I recommend it.
    Communication --This is a big one. If you have friends, family or acquaintances who are not within walking distance, a solid means to communicate would prove beneficial. CB radio is one method, and you can talk to your contacts and relay information quickly this way. You can use hand-held or base station setups, and even get into HAM operation if you choose to broaden your range. Some may not believe communications can be crucial, but imagine being stuck home with no way to travel since all the gas is dried up or too expensive, or maybe the lines and riots prevent you from moving around.

    We have lots of forum topics on these matters, and if you require any additional information, please just ask. I am sure a member will post a link if I do not get around to it, or carry on the discussion here.

    Becoming more self-sufficient is a lifestyle more than a hobby or gimmick. It requires steady, applied practice and a lot of common sense, which most people can acclimate themselves to once they get into the swing of things. As for bugging out, try to make a sound plan, but do not depend on it exclusively.
  14. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    OK, so no marketable skills.

    In an economic collapse, electricity is going to become a luxury, ditto for natural gas/fuel.
    Available food stocks will be gone in days.
    Water may stop being supplied by the municipality (it's already stopped flowing in detroit for no payers.)
    Pray it doesn't start in winter.

    Given low rent district in suburbs. Pray it's back to normal within a month.

    Otherwise, our friend is going to be at best, dead or in a FEMA camp.
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  15. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Unfortunately, those described SkillSets, aren't what I would call "Marketable" in the Senerio you are describing. Now it you were able to Build, Repair, and Service, things that people use in everyday life, then that would be a "Marketable" SkillSet. In a Collapse, IT isn't going to be something many local folks are going to need, especially with a very high likelihood of a less than 100% Grid.
  16. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    And to further expand on the arrival to a FEMA camp... all of your ammo, your pistol and shotgun are going to be seized "for security purposes".... your food is going to be seized as well to provide for the common good, as well as anything else that is deemed banned (such as a knife, literature, medical drugs of any kind and anything else they want)..... welcome to sanctuary o_O
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  17. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Great stuff folks have shared so far and everyone of them is spot on...
    But Okay.... I am going to be the bad guy here.... get off your arse, get in gear and stop making excuses about your income, lack of friends in the community, lack of experience in basic hunting/fishing skills, resources, fatigue (I can tell you first hand that fatigue is a test, that the mentally strong and that folks that have trained can push through when needed). Get off your duff man... buck up and learn, experience, meet your community face to face and most of all drag your family along in the adventure. Reading, practicing, hiking, physical fitness, making fire, purifying water, creating hasty shelters and many other task do not cost a dime.... just the gumption to get at it, figure it out and learn to do it.. whatever it may be. Food resources can be stored on a modest income a little at a time... there are many of threads within the forum that can guide you on the best bang for your buck to optimize in subsistence. Start a garden now and plant a couple of fruit trees that do well in your region. Learning basic skills on youtube is way to easy... and you can practice in your backyard or go on a hike to hone those skills every night after work... and get the family to do the same... the bonding experience in this "fun" will be priceless for the kids... and you. Firearm proficiency requires practice... dry firing cost nothing... but will enhance breathing, trigger pull and sight picture.... then go out and do it for real... will it cost you 20 dollars, yes, but if you practice in advance you will be ahead. To supplement the two firearms you have, buy an does not have to be the full meal deal at 2 or 3K... you can buy a cheap one that will provide more than what you have and most gun shops will give you thirty days or so to spread the payment. 1oo rounds of each caliber is not going to cut it, buy a box a week and it will grow... don't worry about picking up a 1,000 rounds today... baby steps... the tortoise wins the day. Most of all.... get at it... because tomorrow is another day... but right now you are in control. IMO & YMMV
  18. Pineknot

    Pineknot Concrete Monkey

    [clp]Bravo to the previous posts. I will tell you or anyone, stop wasting money and time buying shit you wont use just because you saw a tv show or was ill advised. The most important step is to start!!!! Start doing something, if you have time take up a second job to learn a marketable skill set, carpentry, alternative and renewable energy (small basis but get an idea) and practice some of those skills building things such as rabbit hutches, green house that is solar powered and learn how to clean water. After the fact you will just about have to labor for free or for food until you learn the skill sets needed. As SeaCowboy and others stated, most people will give up as a result of the mental anxiety, stress and starvation and end up at detention camps if not dead.
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  19. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Agree, get off you a$$ and just do something!
  20. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    Use the health benefits from work to get body and teeth taken care of NOW.

    Hit farmers markets and start canning ASAP. Fuggabout the hunting and fishing thing, ain't gonna happen in the suburbs.

    Hit the landfill NOW for repairable bicycles and spare parts.

    Buy one box of cartridges or shotgun shells every week.
    Dry fire, dry fire, dry fire ; it works to develop steady hold and trigger squeeze.

    Barter something which is useful now (like golf clubs or a TV) for a woodstove and chainsaw.

    If the best option is to bug in, buy a pallet of sandbags to harden the interior of the house. Yeah it'll look like crap but it'll stop most rounds and keep the family safe.
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