As you read this post you are going to be very tempted to think to yourself, “What a bunch of nonsense! Things aren’t going to be that bad and even if they are there is nothing I can do about it. We’re all just at the mercy of the powers-that-be anyway.”
And that may well be true. But I’d encourage you to consider the consequences of doing nothing on one hand or doing what I suggest on the other. If you do nothing and I’m right, your life might very well get very, very rough. But if you follow my advice and I’m wrong you really haven’t lost anything. Nearly everything I’m suggesting is good for you right now and if times get better instead of worse, then your life will still be better off for following my advice.
However, I honestly don’t think I have to justify or convince you to live this way because …
Simple, independent and self-reliant living is the very heart and soul of vandwelling! More importantly, it is an end in itself and needs no justification; it is its own reward!
In my last post I painted a very grim picture of what I think the economy will look look like in the near future. Believe me, I think it is actually going to be much worse than those predictions because there are so many other devastating financial problems on the horizon. However, they are hard to explain in a short blog post and I don’t know enough about economics to make it clear. While I believe all the facts I gave you in the last post are true, and common sense tells you they are gigantic problems–the outcome is still just a guess and I could be all wrong.
Some of your comments to that post were very concerned and you wanted to know what you could do even though you have very little money. Like a good Boy Scout, I believe we should be doing everything we reasonably can today to prepare for it. Therefore we’re going to continue looking at how we can merge some of the best parts of prepping for survival into our lives as vandwellers. As we’ve seen, the two complement each other very well.
I got a cash settlement from my broken arm so for the first time in my life I have some extra money on hand. Because I think inflation is going to wipe out its value I am investing it in the Rule of Threes: shelter, water and food, this whole series is about how I am doing that. However, many, if not most, of you don’t have any extra money to play survivalist with so I’m trying to gear my recommendations toward cheap preparations, what some people call Poverty Prepping.
I know some of you are living on as little as $300 a month and most of you are living on less than $1000 a month. That means traditional survivalist recommendations are just sheer nonsense to you. You can no more afford 20 acres of homesteading land with a years supply of freeze-dried food than you can fly to the moon. It just ain’t gonna happen!
Here is the single most important thing about Poverty Prepping, I’m convinced that the problems I’ve described will unfold slowly over a period of time. Gas and food prices will slowly creep up and inflation will start slowly and snowball. Droughts, floods and extreme heat and cold will slowly get worse every year. As bad as that is, it’s slow arrival is good news for you and I especially for those of us on a tight budget. No matter how little you make each month, if you start small right now, and are consistent, you can be surprisingly prepared when things get worse.
How will you do that? By building up your emergency preparedness essentials as much as you can afford every month. Even if you are on a very limited budget you should be able to come up with $10 to $20 every month on a few extra cans of food, clothing or water storage and purifiers. Fortunately, being Prepared doesn’t always have to cost you money. There are many steps you can take right now that are free and they are all good for you.
- Staying healthy is critically important in bad times. So try to eat as healthy as you can and go for a brisk walk every day. Use the bad times ahead to motivate you.
- If you have any bad or unhealthy habits (especially ones that cost you money!!) like cigarettes, drugs, or an excess of sugar, alcohol or drugs, do whatever it takes to stop them. Use the bad times ahead to motivate you.
- In bad times you aren’t going to eat as well so stock up on daily vitamin pills. Be sure it has plenty of vitamin C!
- Take good care of your teeth! There may not be money for a trip to the dentist in bad times.
- Learn as many skills as you can so you are less dependent on others and so you can trade and barter your skills with others.
- Keep your van maintained and running good and try to learn to do all of it you can yourself.
- Do a deep housecleaning of your van to make room for more Emergency Essentials. When inflation skyrockets having a van full of food will be so much better than a van full of meaningless stuff no one wants.
- Proper sanitation will be more important than ever. Have plenty of hand sanitizer alcohol gel like Purell on hand. Not only does it kill germs, it makes a good fire-starter!
- Buy generic or house brands! Generally they are just as good and will save you lots of money.
- Shop sales and use coupons! My local Albertsons grocery store just had Chicken of Sea Tuna on sale for .69 cents each so I bought 24 cans. Especially watch out for Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) sales and stock up when they do. But be careful you don’t spend more for gas than you save. Walmart will honor other stores ad prices so take their ads in with you to Walmart and then you won’t have to run around town.
In my next post I’ll talk about setting priorities with your limited amount of time and money and we’ll start looking at stocking up on food, the third of the Rule of threes.