What personal actions have you taken lately?
In Crash Course Chapter 20, Chris talks about assessing needs and taking personal actions.
What have you accomplished lately toward the goals you identified in the Self-Assessment?
If you have not watched the Crash Course, or Chapter 20, or you have not taken the Self-Assessment, I highly recommend all three. The Self-Assessment is an especially valuable tool for figuring out where to best focus your energy, time, and resources.
As Chris tells us, personal actions are the first steps on the road to larger solutions. So I’m curious to hear how you have interpreted Chris’ call to action and what personal steps you have taken lately. (I expect there are as many possible answers as there are readers on this site.) Give us a snapshot of where you are putting your efforts right now.
This time of year (transition from fall to winter) always has me scurrying to make sure the family is provisioned for the winter. Here are some examples of what I’ve been doing.
For background, our family is financially challenged. We have four young kids and my husband has been out of work since last December. Still, with frugal choices, we’re managing okay. We continue to revisit our priorities and ratchet down our expectations bit by bit. Once I got past the initial shock and panic of the implications of a significant income drop, it has been easier than I expected.
We haven’t turned the heat on yet. Holding out as long as possible. Nighttime lows are getting close to frost.
I’m continuing to stock the pantry. We have shifted our eating/buying so we’re eating almost exclusively out of pantry/freezer/garden and just replenishing each month based on what we’re getting low on and//or what is on sale that month.
We grew more in our garden this year than ever before, and the freezer is full. We have developed relationships with a few local farmers and neighbors that has resulted in free food (“ugly produce” that can’t be sold; surplus fruit free for the taking) with the agreement that this will continue into future years. We have a supply of seeds that will extend for a few years at least.
Even in tough times, I’m focusing on spending money locally on goods and services that I want to see continue to thrive – farmers, craftspeople, musicians, community-grown events. I don’t have much extra to spend, but I believe in voting with my wallet when I can. I think a strong community is one of the most important things we can invest in.
We continue to acquire useful things, especially when good deals come our way. Recent purchases included wool long johns and socks for everyone (also in sizes for the kids to grow into), shoes for the kids to grow into, a Berkey water filter, and backpacks for each member of the family. I’m about to replace my eyeglasses. I have become acutely aware of how dependent we are on oil and foreign imports and the possibility (likelihood) that this convenience will go away at some point in my lifetime.
We are also “investing” in fun that doesn’t require electricity – our game collection, owning and playing musical instruments, etc.
We have cash out of the bank and a stockpile of essentials in case of bank failure. I am hoping we will have “surplus” cash (i.e., savings) in the near future, and we intend to split whatever we save between cash, bank savings, and PMs.
I just put together an emergency food bucket for my sister and her family of five, who believe they can’t afford to stock their pantry long-term. Rice, beans, and salt in a sealed 5-gallon container. I will have peace of mind knowing she has it available if needed.
None of these things will solve the big issues, but they will give me some measure of emotional security and will meet our needs temporarily if things change drastically before bigger changes can be made.
Lately, our actions (beyond continuing to add some canned/storable foods to the stockpile each week when we shop) have been about fostering community thinking. I’ve got a couple long-term projects working, but more immediately I’m still volunteering up at the Homestead (cf my posts about that in the Community Building thread) and deepening the connections we have w/our community. Most people in our circle are in the “Gee Things Seem Weird/Scary But It’s All Gonna Work Out Soon” camp, so talking PMs/stored food/etc. only frightens them and shuts them down.
But we’re getting people used to the idea that community isn’t simply a social circle for movie nights, dinner gatherings, and day hikes. People are talking biz ventures, barter economy, swap gatherings, etc. It’s a step in the right direction. Hard work. Quite rewarding over time, though.
Viva — Sager
Amanda , Our personal action is to let the teenage daughter take a job . She had 4 to choose from but decided on the Thrift shop as it would be more interesting and she thought secure .( Other call backs were motel, fast food ,and carpet cleaning .) She earns minimum wage and gets first pick on the things brought in . So for free she finds a lot of her clothes and the younger ones have near to new Shoes , clothes , bikes, Overalls etc. She brought me many canning jars and supplies . I know this is below a lot of peoples standards but really people with1.8 children do not wear anything out . I no longer have those expenses as well as she bought her own clunker … pays the insurance , gas ,upkeep … Plus pays for her phone .
I was not expecting her to be able to get employment because the economic troubles . So we are counting this as bonus !
I don’t think anyone would expect you to pay street musicians if your husband is out of work. Don’t tell hubby!
Here in the UK, I have taken Chris’s advice and keep £500 in cash out of the bank. Not as much as he suggested I know, but this should be adequate for diesel and food for me for three months. I live next to a shopping precinct, so could do without the diesel if push came to shove. All my other bills are paid by direct debit. I am with HSBC which is the only bank in the UK not to have required a government bailout, so am not overly concerned on that score.
I have stocked up my cupboards as much as will fit with tinned and dried food, and also some long life milk. At least twice a week there are ‘car-boot’ and table top sales in the precinct, which I visit nowadays. People seem to be getting rid of children’s video tapes for next to nothing. This week I got a Disney singalong songs video for 20 pence. (About 30 cents US).
One fortuitous consequense of the economy is that the precinct owners have been unable to let four of the shops, so they are now charity shops. I buy children’s books in there for about 20% of the new price for my girlfriend’s little boy who is four. As I have paid so little for the books, it does not bother me if he is careless with them, as four year olds often are.
Full Moon, your daughter is lucky to get paid in the thrift shop. Here they are staffed by volunteers!
I’ve been trying to tackle something new each week. Whether it’s purchasing something on my extensive shopping list, or trying to learn something new. I’ve learned how to make my own bread and pizza and now I longer buy bread at the store, it tastes so much better homemade anyways! I’m going to work on pasta next. I’ve certainly stocked up on flour and yeast at Costco.
My next goal is to work on canning. It’s sad to see the days get shorter and cooler(ok, colder), but now I can work on the indoor things, like canning, that I had been putting off to enjoy the summer outdoor weather.
Even though I don’t have a permanent home yet, I’ve been trying to get ahead of the curve by trying to figure out what I will need for the home, like solar panels and insulation. That way, I can sign on the dotted line and start the retro-fitting.
Otherwise, slow and steady it is.