Tag Archives: family

Survival Preparedness is a Great Investment

As we think about all the issues in the world now, one I am constantly trying to figure out is investing.  What to do with my money and time.  I have come to the conclusion I will need to invest in myself and family first.  Along this line of thinking, I am concerned with the 5 basic survival needs.  Realize my advice on investing has to do with things I know will have a positive return on investment (ROI).

Food

Food as we know is always going up in price.  Now there are some ups  and downs, but as a general rule food goes up in price.  So how do you contain ever rising food prices.  They way you do it is twofold.  One is buying food before the price goes up.  This is food storage basics.  You are buying food now you will use in the future.  This is a way to mitigate cost increases, but you are still paying higher food costs, albeit at a rate lower than the average person.  The second way to hedge higher food costs is to grow some of your own food.  I think this is the best way to contain food costs.  It will always cost you about the same amount of money to grow a carrot year after year.  So I think having a garden and growing your food is a great investment.  If you grow $1000 worth of food a year it is like having $10,000 in the bank giving you a 10% return.  It takes about $1000 or less to have a garden which will produce $1000 worth of produce.

Also remember part of your garden will include perennials like bushes, vines and trees.  raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, along with fruit trees produce fruit almost forever.  More than likely they will be producing after you are dead.  This is an awesome ROI.  The only drawback to these items is they take a little longer to produce fruit.  Once producing fruit they will produce more than you can use.  I have a pear tree and it produced about 150 gallons of fruit.  We made dried pears, canned pears, pear sauce, pear nectar, pear juice.  This is while we gave away probably 50 lbs. worth to neighbors.

Shelter

Making home improvement is a great investment.  Having a home with efficient appliances, good windows, extra insulation pays dividends.  Paying off your mortgage is one of the best investments I can think of.  Once you have no mortgage payment and you are growing some of your own food.  The amount of money you need greatly decreases.

Along with shelter, look at trying to obtain some land to produce more food with permaculture technics.  Having food systems which need very little human input are great to have on your land.  You can grow year after year and only go up to harvest.  This is why I recommend perennial plants.

Investments

I think you should try to save about 20% of your income till you get to 6 months worth of cash.  With all of the volatility and uncertainty in the market, having cash will be valuable.

If you decide to invest in the market, pick quality companies which have weathered past recessions.  Along the same lines know your exit point.  If you have a goal of getting a return of 10% and you have realized 20% this year, sell your stock, move to cash and wait.  You have effectively realized 2 years worth of gains.  Do your research and find another investment. Do not get greedy.

Increase your financial IQ.  Start to read online or watch financial news shows.  Look up words you do not know the meaning and learn what they are.  In a world where money rules knowing what people are talking about will give you an advantage.

Community

Focus on your community.  Investing in your neighbors will bring dividend beyond belief.  Help them to grow a garden.  Share some of your knowledge.  Teach a class on financial literacy.  Start a neighborhood garden club.  Focusing on community allows people to get to know one another.  Use the common bonds of food and community to foster relationships.

Self Sufficiency and Self Reliance

Start to increase your self reliance by a preset amount of time.  Try to start with 3 days, then move to 3 months.  It comes one step at a time.

Next is to increase your self sufficiency.  Start to become more self sufficient.  Start with food.  Grow some of your own food even if it is 1% is 1% self sufficient.  This is 1% less you need from the food system.  This increases your resiliency.  Keep moving in small percentages toward greater and greater self sufficiency.  I do not advocate becoming 100% self sufficient unless you need to.  It is cost prohibitive and almost impossible.  Any way you are part of a community right?  Which means you can trade or buy what you do not have.

Investing gets rather complicated.  I want you to focus on being able to do things for yourself and have some time while you are younger to spend with the ones you love rather than working until you “retire” only to sit in your chair and get old.  Life is fun and amazing.  Live it so you can live it later.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

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How to get your spouse to start prepping- part 2

Part 2

  1. Discuss the “better life” you want.  Talk about how you want to live the “better life” on less cost and how you want it for your family.  You should be able to show your spouse the ways to live a better life on less money.  Show them how you plan to go about improving the family’s lifestyle.
  2. Start with a small plan and work from there.  Don’t start off with, ‘Hey we should move to the country and hole up for armageddon’.  That’s a sure fire way to not go anywhere.  Start with a small plan and work the plan.  Show how it makes your life better.  Move to other things as the easy ones fall into place.  Remember- to walk a mile starts with one step.
  3. Offer to do the first step  with them.  You can start with one or more.  By showing you support them, it shows you care about the concerns they have.  Doing it together promotes unity.
  4. Have your spouse suggest a second step.  Do the second step together no matter what you think of it.  You will not always have the same ideas, but by doing it with them it shows you value their opinion.
  5. Discuss how you want to spend time with them.  Show how you want to spend time now not when you are old and can’t do anything together.  Doing things together is how you build your family unit.  Caring about one another is how we show them they are important.  Getting our of debt and saving money will enable you to spend more years together.
  6. Get them to talk about their fears and REALLY listen to them.  They are the most important person to you.  Without them you will not be able to succeed.  Find out about them.
  7. Be positive.  The future is bright.  Show them it can be brighter.  There may be some tough times ahead, but you want to thrive during those times.  Prepping is a little like insurance.  You buy it hoping you will never need it, but if you do you are glad you have it.
  8. Don’t expect to be perfect in everything you do.  You will make mistakes.  Learn from them and move on.  Do not expect your spouse to suddenly change their mind and be 100% on board.  It took you time to realize what is going on.  Give you spouse some time also.
  9. Come up with a long term vision and what it means to the family.  You are doing this so your family will be better prepared.  Preparedness is about the family not about an individual.
  10. Share this blog with them.  Sometimes people need an outside opinion.  They need to hear it from someone else other than you.

Remember to convey at all times, what you are trying to do is improve your families lifestyle.  You care about them and the conditions around them.

In the comments, what other ways have you had your spouse come on board?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

How to get your spouse to start prepping- part 1

This is brought about by my own personal experience.  I have had some trouble convincing my spouse to become as prepared as I would like.  Not that she does not want to be prepared, but to what extent.  I am on a path which is different from hers.  I wanted to go over some things which have helped me get her on board.

  1. Focus on debt elimination.  Debt is a burden in all families.  I am sure your spouse knows of the crushing feeling of having debt.  By eliminating this your financial and emotional well-being will be better.  Even if this is the only thing you do for your first year, do it.  Knowing debt is cancer will improve your ability to acquire the preparedness stuff later.
  2. Never demand to do it your way.  I have done much research and on most things know which way to go.  The best way to show someone how to do something is to do it.  We pull people into doing things, we never push.  You want to lead them into the correct idea.  The best thing you can do is show your spouse how happy you are when the family is prepared.
  3. Always work as a team.  Try to get things done as a unit.  This in not to say you may have to do some things on your own.  But try to arrive at a decision together.
  4. Have your partner do your weaker items.  There are things you can not do or do very well.  Have your spouse or children do them.  This will get them involved and have some stake in the outcome.  Showing them you can not do everything says you are willing to involve everyone to get the job done.  This will show you care about those around you.
  5. Never put what you “want to do” over what needs to be done.  A sure fire way to get them to put the brakes on a project is to show preference for your own things.  You may think you need a gun, but you don’t have a black out kit.  Remember you are a team.  Make a list of all the things you need and prioritize them.  Go down the list in order.  Every so often you will have to rearrange.  This way you will both be in sync on the next project you have to accomplish.
  6. Live the way you want them to live.  Show them how happy you are in your preparedness lifestyle.  Let them see you in action.  If you become happier and a more supportive spouse, they will be open to your actions.  I know since I started living a more prepared lifestyle, I have seen the changes in my wife.  She now thinks about gardening (she is reading Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew).  She has her own bed and is interested in planting for herself.
  7. Ask “what if questions.”  Ask what if the lights went out for 24 hours?  What if we had a boil water advisory?  What if I lost my job?  Then listen to the answers.  Do not talk.  Do not offer suggestions.  LISTEN.  You will learn more about your spouse than your ever thought you knew.  Discuss with them the answers they gave you.  Maybe you are both on the same page but your spouse is just not quite sure where to start.
  8. Explain to them how having food and savings is a great investment.  Food goes up in price, by buying now instead of later you are saving money.  Having extra food saves you time since you do not have to go to the store as frequently.  Having money in the bank allows you to make smarter purchases.

Part 2 is for next time.  One of the greatest blessing in life is to have a cohesive team planning for the future.  Nothing makes me happier than when WE are on the same page and moving forward to a common goal.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

 

Staying safe and balanced in a Digital iWorld

Staying safe and balanced in a Digital iWorld

We live a  world where everything is digital.  We have computer tablets, gaming systems, phones, music players, and more.  Just like the internet these things can be used for good or bad.

We can communicate with loved ones or ignore our other family members.

We can use it to bring ourselves closer to each other or we can idle away our time looking at nothing in particular.

We can use it to save time or we can waste away time by posting our status update.

We can use it to increase our knowledge, education, enlighten us or use it to denigrate,  enslave, and addict us.

Yes there is much thanksgiving for our digital times.  We have so many resources at our fingertips to uplift our children, members of our community via social networks and text messaging.

How do we harness this wonderful technology to do good while not becoming entrapped  in its ill effects?

Set Limits

Just as you would not allow someone to drive a car until they were properly trained, so it is with the internet.  Children should be monitored by parents.  Parents should show kids what sites are appropriate.  As they get older the parent will be able to see what their children are watching.  By setting guidelines early, they will know what is expected of them.

  • Keep the computer in view of the parent.  We keep the computer in the kitchen.  It is easier for us to monitor what is being watched.  Parents will need to learn how to use the devices the kids are using and how to make sure improper content is not being downloaded.  You may have to delete certain application and put in a password so kids can’t download unwanted programs.
  • Show kids how to use the device properly.  Tell them what a proper post should and should not be, and how to handle improper texting and cyberbullying.
  • All devices are to remain unlocked (or parents are to have the code).  They can be checked at any time the parent feels like it.  Parents should insist on being ‘friends’ with their children.  I know this is easy to circumnavigate, but you want the child to know you love them and care about their well being.
  • Set time limits.  When they can be turned on in the morning and when they must be turned off at night.
  • Have days when there are no digital devices to be turned on.   This of course will apply to parents also.  This will encourage them to engage their mind in something constructive.

What are some of the warning signs of digital abuse?

    • Not engaging in activities in order to check email or social networking sites
    • Constantly looking at device for updates
    • Not being physically active.
    • Unable to focus.  Using the internet as downtime
    • ‘In the bedroom alone’ frequently
    • Using the internet as an excuse to not do something.
    • Family members spend little time together.  Each is in their own room in front of a screen.
    • Using the device to entertain a child, rather than engaging him/her.
    • Spending long stretches of time on the internet viewing questionable material.
    • Checking the device multiple times within a conversation.

How are you keeping safe in the digital iWorld?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

10 Things to do with your Family

Part of preparedness is making sure your family is together, safe and secure in case of an emergency.  If you want your family to get on board with preparedness you should make an effort to include them.  In order to be closer as a family I have a list of things you can do together as a family.  Realize these are not all about preparedness.  They are an opportunity for your family to become stronger.

  1. Art Night-  Everyone could draw or paint a picture of something they want to accomplish this year.  Maybe it is a vacation place, or a bedroom color to be painted.  Or it could be what your garden will look like at the height of the season.  Use your imagination.  If your house is like mine then the kids will love getting into paint.
  2. Update the family blog.   Let the kids pick out pictures  and put subtitles on them.   Let them describe what the picture means to them.
  3. Make a family vacation jar.  It could be something simple as a mason jar or you could decorate a box with what your vacation spot looks like.  Tell the kids you are going to put all your spare change in there and the kids can spend it on whatever they want during the vacation.
  4. Have the kids make dinner with you.  This is a great way to have them learn to cook.  You could even have them help you make their favorite meal.
  5. Family game night-  Let each person pick a game and play it.  That way everyone is happy.  We love card games.
  6. Go outside-  Sometimes the best thing to do is to move beyond your interior.  Go for a hike or walk.  We love to just go outside and hang out with neighbors.
  7. Volunteer.  This is a wonderful way to show your kids how blessed they are and other people are not as well off as them.  When you serve you show your kids there are more important things than themselves.
  8. Go camping in the backyard.  Nothing like a warm summer night to sleep outside under the stars.  It is also great to have a shower and toilet nearby for the little ones.
  9. Go on a picnic
  10. Learn something new.  Have one of the kids pick a new subject to learn.  It is always good to show your kids to never stop learning.

What does your family do to become closer?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Change a Child’s Life by Gardening

Children are miracles in action.  Their ability to absorb information is incredible.  They are always looking at things with a different perspective.  Gardening can teach children many life lessons many of which are priceless.

I believe gardening builds community, entertains us, feeds us, fulfills us, among other things.  First off are vegetables.  Second are gardening lessons in general.

Radishes and greens

When you are teaching children they often have a short attention span(ok! They have no attention span).  Therefore you want to get results as soon as possible.  By planting radishes and greens within 30 days you have a product they can see and eat.  This teaches them what they do matters and often it matters in a time frame they can see rather quickly.  I think this also illustrates to them a principle we are familiar with, actions have consequences.  We often say this in the negative, but it is just as important to show this in the positive.  Doing something now produces positive results later.

Beans and peas(or other legumes)

These plants are nitrogen fixers.  When we plant them this year they put nitrogen into the soil.  Next year when we plant something else there, the nitrogen “helps” the new plant.  This shows them there is a symbiotic relationships in nature.  That often we do things now to “help” others later.  We are here to encourage nature in its ability to provide.  We show all things have a symbiotic relationship with everything else.  When we plant something here this year it provides something else next year.  In life we do things now knowing down the road it will make someones life easier.

Tomatoes, summer squash, and peppers

These are prolific producers from a small space.  By planting these we usually get excess of what we can eat.  What do we do with the excess?  Most of the time we give it away.  We teach children when we have more that enough we “share”.  Not because we have to, but because we want to.  We realize inherently our community will be better off by us sharing of our surplus.  We can also show what we do with surplus, by canning, preserving or other methods.  By working hard we teach them to make a difference.  Not just a difference in their own family, but in their community and neighborhood.

Root crops

Potatoes, carrots and other root crops teach us that what we do not see matters.  We usually do not eat the greens of root crops.  We wait all season and wonder what it is we are getting.  The child says ‘there is nothing here’, but alas at the end of the season, food.  This teaches a child what you see on the surface is not the whole story.  People they meet will not be just the first impression.  An idea is more than the initial pitch line.  These are such important life lessons.

Pumpkins

In this day and age of all things digital.  Pumpkins teach us gardening is fun, and what it produces can give us entertainment.  Once the harvest is over is about the time we retrieve pumpkins from the garden.  We carve them up and have  a fun filled evening with our family.  This is what gardening teaches us.  A family activity for all.  Bonding time for all family members.  A way to involve the neighborhood.

Gardening in general

By gardening we teach our kids numerous things without saying a word

  • Food does not come from a store.  When we see where our food comes from we inherently have a greater respect for the food.  We appreciate the hard work which goes into it.  It now has value.  The food is not something to be picked up at the store.  Human hands were involved.   We see a pepper in winter and understand it is not normal to have a fresh pepper in winter.
  • A seed applies to the whole world.  A seed looks like it has no life in it.  If you give it the proper environment it blossoms and becomes food.  Sustenance for the soul as we say.  Just like an idea or child.  Given the proper time and care you idea becomes reality and the child becomes a functioning adult capable of providing for themselves.
  • The earth is a provider not a ‘resource’.   We learn we can’t continue to take from the garden, we must put back into it.  We coexist with the earth, we are to be stewards not pillagers.  The earth provides for us, not the other way around.  This is not to say we should hold the earth as some sort of god, but we understand it gives us life and we respect it.  We understand we can’t just throw everything away and bring in more from somewhere else.
  • Working hard has its rewards.  By working we do something others won’t do.  Gardening is hard work, but it pays in the end.  This is a lesson understood by all.  When you work at something you get a reward.  In this case it is food.  Which is why many do not garden.  It is a whole heap of hard work.  It is easier to work at a job to get money to go to the store to get a carrot rather than till the  soil, plant a seed, wait, then harvest.
  • You can become more self-sufficient.  When you garden you realize you can provide for yourself.  If something goes wrong or even if it doesn’t, you have the eternal peace of mind you can feed yourself.  I think this is the most important lesson to get from gardening.  To pass along the knowledge to someone they can feed themselves is the most empowering thing you can give.

How has you life been changed by gardening or other lessons given to you by your elders?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Step 10- Emotional Stability

How is your mind?

Are you always stressed?  Running frantic?
Social and emotional self-reliance are so important.  When life throws us a curve are we able to handle it?  Do we have a good support systems in place to help?  Here are some ideas for maintaining a good support system.
  • Family
  • Church
  • Professional Services
  • Friends

Having a good family structure is what will lead to good mental health.  Families have many issues they struggle with.  Among them are

  • Parenting issues
  • Pornography
  • Stress
  • Substance abuse
  • Out of wedlock pregnancy
  • Emotional and Mental issues
  • Grieving
  • Divorce
  • Marital issues

All of the above plus many more can contribute to an unhealthy family situation.  You will be unable to prepare if your existing family is having problems.  Addressing the above problem will allow you to help and move beyond it.  It may take some time but it will be worth it.

I suggest having some family time.  Try one night a week to spend time together as a family.
  • Go to a movie
  • Have dinner together
  • Play a game
  • Go on a walk
  • Read a book
  • Make something
  • Learn something new
  • Go to the library
  • Go to the farmers market
  • Go Swimming
  • Try a picnic

There are so many things you can do.  You don’t have to spend any money.  Your family loves you and wants to be with YOU.  They don’t want anything else but you and your time.

Prepping101
Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother