Crash Course Good in theory, but what about in practice?
I finished viewing the accelerated crash course. At the end were presented some notes about doing things that could help ensure prosperity, such as:
1) Begin to Store Food
2) Gather Health Supplies
3) Buy Gold and Silver instead of stocks and bonds
4) Look at Energy Sources other than Oil
While these do seem like good ideas in Theory, what about actual practice? Quite simply, if a person cannot afford to both pay rent and electricity bills as well as buy food, how do you expect a person who can barely put food on the table as is, how are they supposed to stock pile food? For the person that cannot bills as is, how are they supposed have left over money to buy gold and silver? For people living in low-income areas and certainly cannot afford a house of their own, how are they supposed to look into using alternative energy sources? For people who have to make a current choice between buying food and paying rent or receiving medical care, how are they supposed to do that and also begin storing health supplies? Where are people supposed to store these health supplies, food, gold and silver, etc when they barely have a place to live in at all and certainly not their own place to live in?
The proposed ideas mentioned in the crash course are good in theory and probably good in practice, however I would add that they are good in practice only for the mid-upper to upper brackets of society because the low-end of the spectrum, those in society with practically nothing or even nothing at all, they have no viable means in which to do any of the items mentioned when they have trouble even surviving day to day or week to week.
Watching the Crash Course was a great first step. The world is not going to explode tomorrow, so your first steps should just be to sit back and review/think about what you just watched. Perhaps do an assesment of potential risks and go on from there.
People in low income situations…or those who don't have a lot of resources….there are still things they can do to at the very least be more prepared than they were. And I think that is the point….being more prepared than you were.
Tackling your issues one at a time….
1. Food storage doesn't have to be MREs or massive containers of beans and rice. If someone is on a tight budget….they still have to eat….even if it is just a couple of cans a week….anyone can build up several weeks worth of long term food storage just by being more careful. Cans of peas, carrots, beans, etc. If money is REALLY tight it is going to take some money budgeting but IT IS POSSIBLE. It is amazing how much I used to throw away on beer/candy bars/ beef jerky. Just don't buy them much anymore. That is where my food storage started. By the way, storing water is easy…clean out an empty plastic milk jug REALLY well and put tap water in it. Put it in the closet,basement or under your bed.
2. Medical supplies….at the very least have a first aid kit. Extra medicine cabinet supplies, etc.
3. Buying gold and silver isn't going to help much unless you have enough of it IF something drastic happens…which it may. If this is something really want to do, just in case…then I would rec. finding a local coin dealer and just starting with old silver dimes and quarters. There may not be a lot of junk silver around, but just buying a little will put your mind at ease. On this one….if you have debt, you should also (or someone without much resources) pay doubt debt as quickly as possible. Don't want to make it sound like I have a ton of resources….btw….I don't.
4. The Energy Resources issue is really one that most of us have to sit back and think about. If you have generator for emergencies that is good. I don't have solar panels, too expensive.
Hope this helps…
Start canning your own food. You know that left over turkey carcass? Simmered in a pot for three to four days makes the best turkey broth you will ever taste. Add some mixed vegetables, left over meat to Qt canning jars, fill with broth and pressure can, and you suddenly have INEXPENSIVE best turkey vegetable soup you will ever find.
Purchase in bulk food stores. For the cost of 10 lbs of sugar in the grocery store, you can get 25 lbs at sams club. Store it in canning jars.
If you purchase 2 boxes of pasta, buy it on sale with coupons and get 3 boxes for the price of two. Wife is the master at good shopping and has discovered that 2-3 times a year tooth paste is on sale, and if she works it right, they pay her to take it out of the store. Don't look for a miracle growth in food storage tomorrow, next month, or even a year from now. Slow and steady.
If you have a yard, grow a garden.
Get rid of cable.
Combine trips to the store.
Don't buy processed food.
Easy? No, but with a paradigm shift in your thinking and behavior, it's surprising how fast things begin to change.
Have you checked out the "Resilient Life" part of the Peakprosperity.com website? If you click on the "Prepare" tab near the middle of the main menu, it will take you there. Here's the link as well: https://www.peakprosperity.com/prepare . There's lots of good information there on how to start preparing to become more resilient, given our uncertain future.
If you hover over the "Prepare" tab, it will show you all the available subareas. Among the areas you may find particularly interesting are:
- The "What Should I Do?" (WSID) Guide, at https://www.peakprosperity.com/page/what-should-i-do . This was created to help those of us who finished the Crash Course, and were asking questions similar yours;
- The Peak Prosperity "Groups", which includes one for Frugal Living. You aren't alone here in not being able to afford expensive preps! This is where members of the site who are trying to become more resilient on a tight budget share ideas. It is at https://www.peakprosperity.com/group/frugal-living
- "Wikis", that provide information on WSID areas like "emotional resiliency", "food storage", "growing your own fruits and vegetables" and "health and first aid", @ https://www.peakprosperity.com/wikis/all
One theme that has evolved in discussions on this site over time has been the idea that becoming more resilient is more than just having "stuff" (although I do not mean to diminish the value in having certain things; I just mean that "having things" alone is not enough). Many on the site have argued that becoming physically fit (e.g., to be capable of responding to more situations well, as well as to avoid illness) and learning useful skills, that could increase your resilience or bring in some income under future circumstances, are equally important. E.g., skills like gardening, canning, hunting, first aid, carpentry, bike repair. I bring this up because these are areas that we can work on regardless of income.
Last but not least, I should add one of Chris's big themes, "building community"! Investing time and effort into build strong connections with your neighbors and community may have a bigger payoff down the road than many prep items you could buy.
An economic crisis is certainly a great destroyer of wealth for those who have wealth today. But it is also a great generator of opportunity for those who have none today.
The implication contained in your questions seems true: a person who can scarcely stay afloat financially under normal economic circumstances is surely doomed in time of crisis. But this is not necessarily true. In times of crisis things work differently and rules change. Complete nobodies often rise to positions of wealth and power. (Without hyperinflation in Germany, Adolf Hitler would have never been anything more than a starving art student.) Others who consider themselves affluent will starve.
Before she died unexpectedly, my aunt worked at General Reinsurance Corp. With a high school diploma, she had risen from file clerk at age 17 and was earning over $300,000 per year when she died. Yet, the only cash found in her 2 million dollar condominium was the $80 in her wallet. The rest was on deposit at Bank of America and various brokerage houses. And certainly no other preparations of any kind. In a time of crisis, how would she fare after her "wealth" evaporated in a puff of electronic smoke?
During a crisis, a person who is poor may find that he is rubbing elbows with many who once considered themselves wealthy. And when the crisis is over, who can predict which of them will be in the better situation? My point is that for many people, a crisis is a generator of opportunities as much as it is a destroyer of wealth.
This is why Dmitry Orlov says that while physical preparations are fine, it is community, along with a sense of mental flexibility on the part of the individual, which are the most valuable assets in times of crisis!
Sure, its a good idea to have a backup generator, canned food, a backyard garden, etc. But when the gasoline, batteries and canned food runs out, what does your garden get you? It gets you a fine career in subsistence farming — and throughout history, "Subsistence Farmer" has been at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder. If you aspire to greater success in the months, years, decades after the crisis, then this requires skill, ingenuity, talent, and optimism. These are by far the most important qualities to have, and you will not find them in any store.
Aqirus, I gave you a thumbs up for asking good questions. The fact that you have viewed the accelerated crash course and are asking questions means that the ideas have already affected you, and healthy skepticism is always good. I agree that many of the recommended practices are going to be very difficult for those on the lower end of the income scale and for especially for those living in low-income areas. This is probably true for all aspects of life. So yes, having barely enough income to feed oneself and/or your family can make even these basic actions difficult, if not impossible. But, life isn’t static. A person’s life is constantly changing. Just because a person’s income is low now doesn’t mean it will be that way forever. The same is true in reverse. What the CC does is give you a perspective that shows the connections between the 3Es (I still want a fourth E for education) and that can help you make informed decisions, but even more importantly, how you view the world and your relation to it.
I have a wife and daughter and we are definitely in the middle of middle class (I’m a teacher and my wife works for an airline). Ten years ago, our real income was higher. Twenty years ago it was much lower.
Some of these resilience-building actions are reasonable for us, others are not, at least not at this time. Having the CC perspective (as well as similar books) has definitely empowered me in making what I would consider to be better economic and life decisions. But again to me, what is important is how I have changed my relationship to the world… i.e. the environment, and with those around me personally and in my extended community. A part of this change is intertwined with my age, being in my late 40s and the natural mid-life transformation. I’m at a point where I want more fulfilling relationships and I do want to help try and make a better world for those younger than me. Here are just a few of the things I have done or are doing:
I make better personal economic decisions, keeping in mind that life is probably going to get more difficult in a time of declining energy… I’m about to finance a solar system for my house.
I try to spend more time with friends and family (having dinner, laughing, telling stories, helping them out with things, sharing)
I have become active in my small town’s political system. Instead of complaining about the system, I’m trying to actively engage in it and help change it for the better.
I volunteer more.
I appreciate the relationships I have more and, in general, I actually find people more interesting.
I enjoy life more.
All these things have enriched my life. If there is a sudden meltdown of the system, or if my wife or I lose our jobs, I’m better prepared mentally to deal with it and have a more robust support network to help me. It also allows me to be a part of other people’s support networks. I see all these things as win/win. Hope this helps answer some of your questions.
Thank you all for the informative items you have written. There is much to consider in your responses to my initial questions. I appreciate that. Somewhere on the site I thought I had seen a list of skills / talents that people may find useful to know in times of crisis however I have not been able to re-find that list after I initially saw it. Some interesting items have been brought up that were in the back of mind previously. That is, what would I do, what would I have to offer if there was no electricity. My expertise is entirely with electronics and specifically with programming electronics. Without power, well you can figure out the rest.
I did find this page below thanks to some links above that looks like it may be interesting to check out the various articles on:
Thank you all.
I like the example of your Aunt.
We used to think my Nan was a bit paranoid, oddball, etc. She had wads of cash in her purse, shoved inside hollow ornaments around the house, and tucked inside the hem of her window drapes. She made her own undies and pants with her sewing machine, collected apples and other fruit from roadside trees, and could always snap up a bargain or haggle the price of something down for a cash payment – purely because she had cash on her and ready to hand. There was never a need to wait for banks to open or find a nearby ATM. Her wealth was in her skills, frugal mindset, and the land she farmed for 70 years.
Mind you, sorting through her possessions was slow because we had to check everything for hidden cash!!