First 10 Signs, “You Might be a Prepper …”

You might be a prepper, if …

1) You look at your neighbor’s dandelion filled lawn and think,
“Salad!”

2) While visiting Cape Canaveral, you spot astronaut ice cream in the gift shop and ask, “What’s the shelf life?”

3) You look for wood stoves at the department store.

4) You see a wood stove and want to know if you can cook on it.

5) You end up not buying the wood stove of your dreams, because your rocket stove is more fuel efficient.

6) You landscape based on plant edibility.

7) While on family vacation, you scout good bug-out locations.

8) You catch your spouse browsing websites on paracord arts and crafts.

9) You walk into a room and count the exits.

10) You bought a house, because of its garden and fruit trees.

Financial Prepping

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor. This article merely states my opinions and views as a non-professional. If you’re looking for professional advice, contact an actual professional advisor.

One of the most commonly overlooked preps is financial security. Obviously, most people are aware of 401k’s and retirement planning. I’m not talking about these.

In late 2008, the US Fed, Congress, and President all signed on to the first Quantitative Easing. The purpose? The financial markets were in so much trouble that in reality, most US businesses might have lost access to their credit lines. The trickle-down affect would have been much of America going home without a paycheck for a month or more.

This description comes from Republicans and Democrats. I didn’t believe it at the time, but having learned a lot more about how businesses and financial markets work, I agree with their description now, even if I don’t like their “solution.”

What can almost happen once, can almost happen again. Anything that almost happens enough times can actually happen. A financial meltdown that freezes you and I out of our banks, credit cards, and paychecks could happen.

I’m not predicting it will happen in my lifetime, any more than I’d predict that Yellowstone will explode in my lifetime. I’m just saying, these things happen, and it almost happened in 2008. Also, a lot of brilliant economists predict it will likely almost happen again within the next few years.

In light of that information, think of financial prepping. One of the most basic needs for humans is shelter. Having a house or property paid off with the deed safely stashed goes a long way to providing your human need of shelter.

Many of us don’t have the financial resources to pay off a mortgage early. However, some mortgage companies make it easy to pay ahead on your mortgage. In other words, you pay one or more monthly payments in advance.

Paying monthly payments in advance makes no sense from an investment perspective, so expect most advisors to tell you never to do this. If you look at it from a financial prepping perspective, you could be the only home on the block not facing foreclosure if large numbers of average Joes lose access to paychecks and bankaccounts.

Some people choose the more direct approach of stashing cash. Survivors of the first Great Depression were known to stash cash in around their houses and in their mattresses. If you chose this approach, don’t advertise it. Otherwise, you could become the victim of a burglary or other attempted crime.

Many people, including well known economists believe the USD is about to lose massive amounts of value. I’ve know people that have gone through total currency collapses in their home countries. From their personal stories I know we never want to live through a total currency collapse.

A common financial prep for those that believe in the demise of the USD is the purchase of precious metals. I don’t like this one, personally. Gold, silver, and other metals are hard to exchange and almost always exchanged for cash at a loss to the private owner. Also, governments and thieves love making off with gold and silver.

Gold is way too expensive for most people. If I had to chose between gold and silver, I’d chose silver. Silver is staying relatively low in price and affordable for normal people. Silver eagles run for about $20 a piece currently. That means you can sell them for about $15 a piece. I believe silver prices will inflate like gold prices have in time.

When considering your family preps, don’t forget your financial preps. Probably the best financial prep is paying off debt. Personally, I’m dreaming of paying off a small house someday.

Some Shows for Homesteaders and Preppers

I love shows that relate to homesteading and prepping. Unfortunately, there isn’t a genre selection on Netflix or Hulu for prepping and homesteading enthusiasts. They’re all ready for you if you want to browse Disney flicks or find Broke Back Mountain, but nothing for people with a little bit of pioneer in their souls. Let’s be honest though, I’d probably hate their selection even if they had a genre for us.

So, here are a few shows I’ve found fun, that I’d put in the Preppers and Homesteaders genre if I was in charge. I’ll see if I can come up with a few more for future posts, but this selection will be a good place to start.

Tiny: A Story about Living Small

This documentary follows the efforts of a man pursuing his dream of putting a tiny house on a trailer on isolated piece of property with beautiful views. He spends a full year building the house, with the help of his girlfriend. The reason he puts the tiny house on wheels is to avoid issues with zoning laws.

The documentary features many interviews with people that already live in tiny houses. It explores the challenges, advantages, and social responses to tiny house living.

This approach to living may be advantageous to preppers or homesteaders that seek a residence while developing the agricultural potential of land in an area that does not lend itself to home construction.

The last 50 years have seen the introduction of extremely restrictive building laws even in the remotest of areas. Imagine what the early settlers of your area would have thought about the outlawing of their lifestyles. (“Sorry. Do you have a permit for that log cabin? No? You’ll have to tear it down or face a fine.”)

Food, Inc.

If any documentary can inspire you to grow your own food, this one will. Food, Inc documents the treatment of animals and food production now that the farming industry has gone corporate. Not surprisingly, food production in modern times results in less healthy meats, vegetables, and fruits showing up on grocery shelves.

Solutions to the factory treatment of food production include homesteading, hunting, or growing a garden. If you have the resources, buying from small farmers or grocery stores that are supplied locally can help you vote with your dollar for a different supply chain for our food.

Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment

This is a great documentary series for the prepper in your life. The first season starts out with nine ordinary people dropped in the middle of Alaska with only minimal survival training and a heap of supplies—some useful, and some not so much. Their goal is to get out of the wilderness on foot, … and alive.

The great part about this series is that you get insight into mistakes easily made in a bug out situation. If you’re a prepper planning to leave civilization behind for a while during the next local or global zombie apocalypse, then you’ll want to see what worked and what didn’t for this group.

Where Preppers and Homesteaders Roam

The musty smell of our basement surrounded me on the wooden steps down to our cupboard containing glass jars of garden vegetables my mother canned months earlier. Home canned pickles, tomatoes, and yellow beans among other garden goods spread out over several shelves of our large cupboard.

In those days, I never heard the term homesteader or prepper. People still practiced canning food from their gardens, because their parents and grandparents had. Simple country living happened because we lived in the country, and while this lifestyle was becoming less common, it was still common enough that no one thought twice about growing or raising their own food. I knew many kids growing up that had similar lifestyles to the one we lived.

Most people can’t raise or grow food, these days. Those that pick up that skill, and related crafts, gain the labels of prepper, homesteader, or kook. TV shows and movies love to portray preppers as gun wielding para-military crackpots, and homesteaders (though they might not call them by name) as bead-bearing, pot-smoking, hippie-wannabes.

Motivations for raising your own chickens or pressing your own apple cider may vary. Some people just want to get back to nature and live off more natural foods. Others may desire to provide for themselves and people they care about. Neither group fully trusts government regulators or the companies that produce our foods, or they feel the quality of homemade and homegrown products far surpasses those made by big corporations.

Movies and shows portray extreme homesteaders living an Amish lifestyle, rejecting modern medicines, fuels, and equipment. They portray preppers as paranoid horders of water, food, medicine, fuel, equipment, and arms. The vast majority of homesteaders are not going to refuse to see a doctor when they have cancer (relying instead on meditation and the power of healing crystals); and the vast majority of preppers don’t set boobytraps, own any razor-wire, and definitely don’t want their children packing knives and guns everywhere.

Radicals get press. Real people get ignored.

Real people in our community include farmers who everyone else admires on some level. They include hobby farmers who often wish to make the move to professional farmer someday. Homesteaders just want to use their own hands for their own upkeep. My parents probably fell into the category of spendthrifts who just strive for self-sufficiency out of economic self defense. Latter-day Saints grow gardens and keep extra foods stuffs around out of a religious desire for provident living. Outdoorsmen learn a lot of the survival skills often associated with preppers, just because they love being out in nature. Anyone living in rural areas knows the store becomes a week or two away when a nasty storm hits. Preppers that have been through an earthquake, fire, flood, tornado, hurricane or imagine them happening, also join the crowds of normal people labeled as kooks because they learn skills needed for self-sufficiency. Even foodies, that just love fresh herbs and vegetables, fall into our community.

Our community in all its spectrum has crossover interests. We can share knowledge, resources, purchasing and political sway to help our entire community. Many of the areas of interest that overlap include:

  • off-the-grid utilities
  • solar and wind power for personal use
  • self-sufficiency
  • gardens
  • harvesting seeds
  • canning fresh foods
  • drying fruits and jerky
  • country-style living … even within the suburbs
  • raising chickens
  • edible landscapes
  • sharing goods and teaching neighbors our skills

Our motivations and backgrounds differ, but we can meet in the middle on many issues. That’s good for all of us.

We’re use to hard work. Hard work isn’t glamorous, and it becomes even more difficult when we start labeling each other and turning up our noses at people that share common interests with us. It is wonderful watching a YouTube video from a farmer, spendthrift, or outdoorsman that teaches me something my family can incorporate into our lifestyle.

Let’s enjoy and embrace what we all have to offer. Our common interests really make us a common community. We can focus on what we have in common, rather than looking down our noses at “those kind of people,” whoever “those kind of people” are.