Where do you draw the line between prudent and overprepared/underprepared? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-14-2008, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not sure exactly how to word this, but I hope you know what I mean.

Through reading the Long Emergency thread and spinoffs, and similar information and opinions from other sources in my life, I am finding myself spending time and energy preparing for possible difficult future scenarios in ways that make sense to me. I"m stocking up on food, necessities, and warm clothing for everyone, and I'm collecting books with good self-sufficiency information, among other things. My DH prefers not to focus on "crisis mode" (as he calls what I'm doing) and instead he simply trusts that as we are smart, capable, and competent, we'll figure out solutions when situations present themselves. He believes in being frugal with our resources, but only to a point. I, on the other hand, want to have my pantry stocked with 6 months' worth of food, have enough fuel here and paid for to heat our house all winter long (probably not possible), etc.

I'm wondering where everyone else falls. I want to be "prudent" and not underprepared - and, as my DH reminded me, also not unnecessarily overprepared. What do you consider to be prudent preparations? Do you trust that solutions will arise when they are needed (which some would say is naive) or do you completely not trust the future and want everything set and ready before crisis hits (which some would say is extreme)? Where do you fall on this spectrum?

I'm expecting that the replies to this will all be different and won't necessarily agree with each other. I'm curious to see your reasoning for the level of preparation, or non-preparation, you see as "prudent" considering any recent economic news and predictions you've heard.

It helps me figure out where I want to be, in hearing other people's choices and reasons. Thanks.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:31 PM
 
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My DH prefers not to focus on "crisis mode" (as he calls what I'm doing) and instead he simply trusts that as we are smart, capable, and competent, we'll figure out solutions when situations present themselves.
is your husband an engineer? hehe. my dh has the exact line of thinking as your dh has. he always says to deal with problems as they arise. he is a very logical and straightfoward thinker where as i am more emotional based.

unfortunately no real advice or even opinion is going to come from me on this one as i've only started to delve into what sort of preparations may be necessary.
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:38 PM
 
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I am probably woefully "underprepared" if anything terrible actually happens. We don't keep a stock of food or fuel or anything. My theory is basically that, because I know myself, I know that I will go overboard if I start worrying about the "what if?" so I don't even go down that path. I am trying to get into a more stable financial situation (paying down debt), but other than that, I'm not making any preparations.
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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It helps me figure out where I want to be, in hearing other people's choices and reasons. Thanks.
I think the appropriate level of preparedness will depend on where people are living, as well as their lifestyle,etc. People living in an urban area would probably take a different approach than someone out in the country, so keep that in mind when making decisions about you're own situation.

Myself, I try to make sure I have enough of the things we need to get by for a while if need be. I don't have a garage full of emergency supplies and a years worth of food, (yet, if the economy gets any scarier I might be changing my tune!) but I do keep things that could be reused/repurposed and I don't let the pantry get empty...or even half empty.

I'm learning how to garden, so I will be increasingly growing more and more of our food. I am mainly doing this for fun, and to save a bit at the grocery store, but it will come in handy to have a yard full of food should it bcome difficult or impossible to purchase food.

This might sound a little odd, but most of my preparations are mental. I've considered the situations we may face in coming years, and I have come up with plans to help us through. And I've been reading and collecting books on doing things the way they did in the old days (totally fun and fascinating stuff!) In our current situation, it is not practical for us to stockpile everything under the sun (which the doom and gloomer in me thinks might be wise) but I can certainly be prepared with knowledge.

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Old 06-14-2008, 02:55 PM
 
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Having lived in California all my life, and in the SF Bay Area for the last ten years, I try to be prepared as much as possible. For us, we don't need fuel for winter, but we need lots of water in case there is an earthquake and the water supply goes. I keep a minimum of survival food, tents, sanitary bags, etc. in the car and a pair of shoes for each member of the family.

But it isn't a lot of stuff, it fits in the wheel well of our CRV... and we are a family of 5.

There are neighborhood disaster preparedness plans here, and it really helps deal with the uncertainty.

I think it makes sense to plan for the future, especially when everything is only going to be more expensive in the next year or so-- I'd rather deal with knowns then unknowns, KWIM?

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Old 06-14-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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actually, i've been thinking about this more over the past hour.... i guess for now i would be happy and comfortable knowing i had:
-no debt (except mortgage)
-savings in the bank in both australian currency and swiss currency
-some gold and silver coins
-about four microfleece blankets that are unused for now (hard wearing, very warming, easy wash and dry)
-some microfleece clothing for all of us (again for the same reasons)
-some really good books on organic gardening and herbal remedies (i've got this one down)
-a couple of good cast iron pots (can go on the charcoal BBQ if need be)
-supplies like candles, lighters, first aid kits etc
-ample amount of the supplements we need
-filter cartridges

hmmm im sure there is alot more that would be important for me to stockpile/do but i just can't think of them right now. we live in suburbia. what scares me the most about all of this is prospect of a disgusting degree of violence and how would we protect the kids against all of this? here in australia there is no right to bare arms. however, dh does martials arts (street fighting specifically) and is a lovely average weight but solid 6'2 man. he is very strong and *quick* in fighting and actually put his (security guard) brother (who is fully trained and of same build) in bed for a few days when they had one of those brotherly punch-ups. that makes me feel a little better (the fact that he can take on someone), but not that much better. i'd still prefer if we had some sort of weapon. sad but true.

unfortunately cannot stockpile on food as almost everything we can eat is fresh - the only things i can stockpile are glass jars of tomato paste, spices and herbs, canned veggies and brown rice for me and dh (i could live off brown rice if need be, and i'd prefer the kids to have the veggies and more nourishing foods). we have a chest freezer half full of meat and fish which is great (not if the electricity goes out though!). however we are fortunate in that both my mother and in-laws are gardeners and grow a good amount of stuff in thier yards and we could utilize these resources if need be. MIL also cans and dh and i recently canned olives this year which i am very happy about - its a nice skill to learn.
i guess i would also work on forming better relationships with the people i know and care about. when the times get rough, we can all huddle together and help eachother out. that would me feel quite safe too.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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This is interesting for me. I am in the process of *slowly* stocking up. I want brown rice, tuna, canned fruits and veggies and water. I am at the tuna, and possibly this week the rice. I am learning to garden and I can. I would like to do more, but that's not where I am right now. I can take it a little at a time - I'm not in "crisis" mode. I'm in prepared mode. I think it's the smart thing to do - but not to go in overkill

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Old 06-14-2008, 08:51 PM
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Hmm, it is difficult to say over here. I feel like I probably worry less than some because I have a*cushion* of sorts in the knowledge that we have resources we can use if/when needed. What I mean is, dh's family lives on 30 acres of land, two of which is deeded to us (though they live about 1400 miles away). His mom has a huge organic garden with stored heirloom seeds. She cans, and sews, and raises chickens - they have a well they can access manually if need be. They have tons of trees on their property for heating if need be. They don't, but *could* live completely off grid if they wanted to or had to --- and dh grew up knowing all this stuff too so if things got *really* bad, we would book it up there and pray we had enough money/fuel to get there though we would probably go before that was a concern.

That having been said though, my husband is sort of like yours... and I have prepared a bit. We live in the heart of hurricane country and when Charlie hit we were without power for over a week (pre children) and it sucked because we were unprepared and you could get NOTHING at the grocery stores. Thank God we had a few things and we are both pretty innovative -- but that has taught me to be prepared for *at least* 2 weeks --- though my goal is to be prepared for 3-6 months at least -- just to cover temporary food shortage/rising prices/loss of work etc...

Mostly because I don't want to be a slave to current prices and being stocked helps me shop for things when there are rotating sales/incentives.

I am doing other things too to depend less on the *grid* but at the same time, we live in the city and that is a good or bad thing depending on who you are talking to LOL

So, our situation is a bit unique because if it really hits the fan, we have a place to go with family, that we own free and clear (and they own their land too) where we could go off grid. That is a big relief to us.

ETA: Also, dh's job is super duper secure... he is in fleet management for a government agency in one of the richest counties in the country (so they get a ton of funding). He personally doesn't get paid a whole lot but the whole entire government would have to collapse basically for him to lose his job so that helps us feel secure too and not be in crisis mode.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:21 PM
 
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I've stocked up on a few groceries, but nothing major. When things are on sale I buy more of them & as long as we had money in the budget I always have.

We have room in our budget for increases expenses due to inflation, that's without me having a full time job which I plan on getting in the fall.

We live in an area that has a few funnel clouds & tornados a year. It's been a while, but I believe we have tornado coverage on our house. There have been a couple flooding instances(though not to the extent of the US right now) & our house has faired very well. We get winter storms, but we always know when they're coming so we can prepare. Currently we live in town & nothing closes when there's a storm so I've gone to the store in storms & done normal shopping, I've just taken the 4x4 isntead of the car(dh gets a little upset when I plow through snowbanks with the car,lol). When we move to an acreage next year we'll take more planning on having food & supplies instead of having the "Safety" of living in the city.

Power outages are rare. We've lived here for almost 11 years & I can count on 1 hand the number of times we've been without power & they've never been longer than a few hours. When we move to an acreage we'll probably eventually get a generator but even then power outages are rare as most power lines are underground now.

Unless the prairies open up we won't have hurricanes,lol. I do not believe we live anywhere near a fault line.

We have had drought but other than brown grass & higher chances of fires it hasn't affected us much. When we move to an acreage, it will be more of a thought. Having a tank of water probably wouldn't be a bad thing, but not an urgent necessity either.

Dh is all for solar energy so that is something we will most likely accumulate into our lives once we move to the acreage. WInd power would be fairly easy too.lol
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:54 AM
 
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I'm afraid that we've waited too late. I've known this was coming for ten years, but my dh just thought I was a conspiracy nut. I aquiesced to him and now find myself with no HARD preps for my family. Yeah, we've got some food stocked up and I am mentally prepared but financially we are unable to do some really basic, necessary things to get ready. For instance, we need new windows and better insulation. Our AC needs to be replaced but we can't/won't do it (why, when our electric bill next year would still be unaffordable, yk?).

We are looking to move to MO this summer. Two musts on our list: firebox w/blowers and a basement. Also, we are buying a smaller house. We are going round and round about that but the bottom line is less house = less $ for utilities.
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
What do you consider to be prudent preparations? Do you trust that solutions will arise when they are needed (which some would say is naive) or do you completely not trust the future and want everything set and ready before crisis hits (which some would say is extreme)? Where do you fall on this spectrum?
Great question, and something I am working to figure out for myself as well.

I don't have the energy or resources to immediately start building a 6 month stockpile, heck, I don't have money to get through the next couple of weeks, really. It makes things kinda hard to prepare in any way. But I feel like it is something I need to start looking at seriously and putting into concrete plans with dh.

We've been so overwhelmed with our tight budget and that nothing at all has been dealt with regarding our debt and other important financial things.

At this point we're on the same page with thinking about what's going to happen soon and that it is certainly something to take seriously.

I fall somewhere in the middle, though only starting out in really trying to get a handle on what needs to be done.

I'll update again when I have it more thought out.
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:00 AM
 
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I think preparations are going to be different for each family, but I believe that every family should be prepared to a level that is comfortable for them without feeling overwhelmed.

For some people, they (I believe naively) assume that in an emergency, the government will soon be there to help them out and preps for 72 hours is adequate. For others that I know through another forum, they have arsenals of weapons, have made escape routes from their homes to bomb shelters, steel plate barriers to fit over windows, keep 500lbs. of wheat berries and enough rice to feed a small nation. To *ME* that is completely whacked out. I cannot imagine such a level of paranoia. But for them, that is their comfort level.

For me, it falls in the middle. Most people who hang out here know I'm not a spring chicken. My father, who, thanks be to the universe, is still alive, grew up during the Great Depression. My grandfather was a coal miner in those days and they were poor as dirt, getting by only by the resourcefulness of my grandmother who could stretch a grain of home-grown wheat to feed the whole family. We were not rich growing up, but my father was always able to put food by (yes, my father... my mother hasn't touched a canner in her life) and is still a wonderful gardener, could make his own brew/wine, repair just about anything... and it all rubbed off on me. My father was the person who would buy 10 tubes of toothpaste when it was 75% off.

Because of my upbringing and seeing how convenient it was to have whatever you need on-hand, my personal level of comfort is about 1 year's supply... food, medication, health and beauty, etc. We also have fishing and camping gear.

To protect the investment of food we have in the freezer, we also have a generator (which we have used extensively these past two weeks as we've had a lot of power outages here in the Midwest), about 200 candles (I buy them for 75% off after Christmas sales), oil lamps & several gallons of fuel for those, several means of alternative cooking, a winter's worth of firewood for the wood burning stove, and the ability to sterilize water. That's about the level where my dad is comfortable, and that's what I've learned to be comfortable with. The difference between Dad and me is that he owns firearms and we are pacifists.

(I also have the knowledge of sewing, gardening, putting food by, foraging, fishing, and many general repairs around the house. We have an extensive library of books about "country living" like Carla Emery's book that would help us if we needed to keep livestock.

Oh, and we are debt free, although, we *are* looking at a vacation cabin on a few acres near a lake. We'll see how that pans out.)

ETA: We live in a small town that is 20 minutes from the state capital, so while we have nearly an acre of land, I would like to have an additional home that is more rural and not in any actual township. Wouldn't want to live rurally on a permanent basis, though. We also have a family farm that is 330 tillable acres and has two homes that are rented out that each sit on about an additional 4 acres each. When dad passes, I'll inherit 1/3 of the farm and land, but I could put a cabin on the land at any time I wanted. It's 2 hours from us, though.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:03 PM
 
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I don't think I would ever personally have more have more than 2-4 weeks worth of basics stocked in the pantry. I understand many people canning and stocking up on sales and having enough on reserve to make it from season to season with certain items. However, much of what I have read here reminds me of people with a pioneer mentality. I think that is appropriate if you live in a remote place. I have a few friends who live/teach in Alaska on a remote island. Everything has to be flown in. They need to hoard and live like pioneers. If you live near a city with grocery stores and other available places to shop, not such a necessity in my eyes.

To plan for emergencies, I would keep a few cases of MREs and a few cases of bottled water. Also containers of nuts and protein and energy bars. Things that required no cooking but that are very high in calories. In almost any situation, power and other food sources would be available in way under a week. The water, MREs and other basic supplies would be enough to keep any family fed for a week.

If one is thinking of frugality and stockpiling ONLY thinking about saving money and buying with sales, I think you can buy based on your available space and making sure you will actually use the items before they expire. In that case, I would think no more than 2 months worth.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:21 PM
 
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I don't have any form of crisis depots and never think about the need to be prepared for an emergency. And I don't know anybody else who does. I'm curious to know what kind of emergencies you are all preparing for?

I can see that it is necessary to be prepared for hurricanes, floods, earthquakes etc. if you live in an area where these happen, but what kind of event is this referring to:

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I'm afraid that we've waited too late. I've known this was coming for ten years, but my dh just thought I was a conspiracy nut.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:39 PM
 
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I don't have any form of crisis depots and never think about the need to be prepared for an emergency. And I don't know anybody else who does. I'm curious to know what kind of emergencies you are all preparing for?

I can see that it is necessary to be prepared for hurricanes, floods, earthquakes etc. if you live in an area where these happen, but what kind of event is this referring to:
I think most of us are talking abot being prepared for the economic downturn that is being caused by the dwindling supply of cheap fossil fuel and the subsequent rising energy and food costs.

MJ~ Proud mom to DS (4)
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:18 PM
 
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I don't have any form of crisis depots and never think about the need to be prepared for an emergency. And I don't know anybody else who does. I'm curious to know what kind of emergencies you are all preparing for?

I can see that it is necessary to be prepared for hurricanes, floods, earthquakes etc. if you live in an area where these happen, but what kind of event is this referring to:
This is essentially in reference to the book Long Emergency, the threads in this forum addressing it, and various blogs like Sharon Astyk's, that discuss what the end of cheap oil will mean for society. (To shorten a long book, it will be very bad.)

To answer the OP's question, here are two things for her husband to consider: it is a good idea to be "prepared" anyway, even if you don't believe that the oil crash is emminent. Maybe something else will occur first-- a major storm, a long blackout, whatever. Anything that could keep you from accessing the usual supplies, be they the grocery store or tap water. Being prepared for *some* emergency or other is useful and could be life-saving. Most state governments reccommend that families have an emergency stash of food, water, and supplies on hand for that reason. Being a quick-thinker isn't going to get you fresh water if you are hit with a Hurricane Katrina II, and it won't fill your spare closet with dried beans and canned tomatoes should the s*** hit the fan, Kunstler-style.

Second, what would it cost you to be "over-prepared"? Is he worried about the financial expense of whatever you're doing, the emotional costs of worrying, using up too much storage space? Is his objection just to the idea of trying to prepare for an emergency, or is there some substantial cost that he's objecting to? After all, it could be a good investment to pre-buy heating oil, food, or whatever, if only because the prices on those things are rising every week.

I think that in the end, you are both right. You are right in that having an emergency stash of life's necessities can only be a good thing, and could (in extreme cases) be the difference between life and death, or at least comfort and discomfort. He's right in thinking that in the long run, your food and heat will only last for so long, so if you can't think and adapt in the new situation, whatever it may look like, then eventually it won't be enough.

Mara, mama to two boys born 05/2009 and 04/2011, after four miscarriages. 

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Old 06-15-2008, 10:36 PM
 
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My hubby's an engineer too, but he also grew up with a conspiracy theorist father and a fair amount of common sense, even in spite of FIL.

We like being prepared to some degree, although I'm more comfortable having like a year's worth of food and H&B stuff on hand just because there's only really one time a year you can harvest strawberries or potatoes or whatnot, you know? But I've also become a food snob that way and strawberries just aren't ripe in Idaho in December (a sun-ripened berry straight from the plant vs. something that's been trucked in from CA or flown in from Chile, there is a *huge* taste difference, not to mention pesticides and such).
So yeah, I have more of a pioneering outlook... I also learned it to some degree from my grandparents who grew up and raised their own families on much, much less than hubby and I have. Not purposely ingrained into me, but it did make a mark. Plus I'd already been in the process of gearing up to feed the kids as they get older and bigger, so I'm just doing it on a slightly larger scale than I'd originally planned a year or two ago. But what I've got going for me is that we have a decent garden space and a decent sized pantry - not everybody has those luxuries.

Hubby and I do like using the wood stove for heat (he goes and cuts down the wood himself) and we bought our new car with gas/mileage and passengers in mind (i.e. car salesmen thought we were nuts because we didn't want a more gas-sucking V6 or V8 - I'm not going drag racing with 3 kids in the backseat, a 4-cylinder that goes is perfect for us). So we do make a fair amount of our decisions on what we think is most likely to happen, especially for our area.

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Old 06-16-2008, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This might sound a little odd, but most of my preparations are mental. I've considered the situations we may face in coming years, and I have come up with plans to help us through. And I've been reading and collecting books on doing things the way they did in the old days (totally fun and fascinating stuff!)
No, that doesn't sound odd. Thanks for the reminder. I've been collecting books for awhile (I love books anyway) and gaining knowledge. It's something relatively cheap/free you can do that will make a difference. I guess I can use the excuse that I find it interesting reading regardless of whether or not I'll ever need the info.

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i guess i would also work on forming better relationships with the people i know and care about. when the times get rough, we can all huddle together and help each other out. that would me feel quite safe too.
That is also a great reminder. My fear is that, living rurally, the people I have the most valuable relationships with are a car-ride away.

Mamamelia, you also mentioned gold/silver. For those who feel more secure having some gold or silver, how much feels minimally secure to you? (If you don't mind me asking - maybe it's too personal). I have acquired what feels to me like a small but significant amount of silver, but my DH thinks it's unnecessary or excessive to have silver at all. I'm not sure how to value it in the list of things I want to have/do.

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I would like to do more, but that's not where I am right now. I can take it a little at a time - I'm not in "crisis" mode. I'm in prepared mode. I think it's the smart thing to do - but not to go in overkill
Yes, this sounds like a healthy approach. But I can't help but thinking I'd better hurry up and be further in my preparations already. I suppose compounding my situation is the possibility that my DH will be unemployed in about six months (he works for a small company that will dry up if they can't get more work before then). And that's about the time winter will hit, which has me generally anxious even though we have half-a-winter's-fuel (full oil tank)...I'm worried about the other half of the winter, YK?

captain crunchy, you have a wonderful safety net - land with experienced family nearby. I wish I had that. I am trying to build that for my children, but we are not "there" yet (we don't even own land yet, which we want, but things are more complicated now than even a few years ago when we made our plan to eventually buy land).

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Originally Posted by Usually Curious View Post
I'm afraid that we've waited too late. I've known this was coming for ten years, but my dh just thought I was a conspiracy nut. I aquiesced to him and now find myself with no HARD preps for my family.
Aww, . I understand. I haven't been as tuned in as you, but I am afraid I'm going to be too late and unable to accomplish some of my plans and preparations in time for them to be helpful. Every month I think "Do I have another month to work on this? Can I trust that I have time beyond this month to make happen what I can't do right now?" I kind of freak out every paycheck when I can make a little dent but not a big one. I guess I am expecting some kind of crisis point or tipping point, where our resources will no longer allow any preventive measures and we'll just have to make do with what is here.

velochic, thank you for the specifics about your dad's experience and your comfort level. Your post was really helpful. This will probably be a spinoff, but what is your plan for sterilizing water?

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Originally Posted by MistyB View Post
In almost any situation, power and other food sources would be available in way under a week.
Hi, Misty! What makes you so sure about this? The emergency scenario I'm envisioning could easily involve extended issues with power grid supply and food delivery to stores. In some circles I know I'd be the extremist, but I am finding I am far from alone in thinking this way, and the economic and oil supply red flags are all over the place. I just don't trust the system to have any investment in meeting my family's needs during a fuel supply crisis or a bank collapse. I think we are not far from a situation where my family (and many others) might have little or no income for an extended period of time. I can't bear the possibility of my children going cold or hungry, you know? It makes me feel better to prepare against that possibility.

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Originally Posted by WeasleyMum View Post
Second, what would it cost you to be "over-prepared"? Is he worried about the financial expense of whatever you're doing, the emotional costs of worrying, using up too much storage space? Is his objection just to the idea of trying to prepare for an emergency, or is there some substantial cost that he's objecting to?
His concern is that I'm stressed and worried about getting to what feels like a more secure place. He doesn't want to see me stressed and worried all the time. He says he simply chooses not to worry (or think) about it. I don't think I can wrap my brain about that. I do worry about it, and I think that when we can knock a few more things off my list (of things I think we need to feel/be secure), I will stop feeling anxious. But he thinks I'm in crisis mode all the time, before there is any crisis. I don't know, maybe he is right.

He may also be objecting to my spending money now for things that we may not ever need, or may not need to purchase "yet" in his opinion. He isn't worried about buying heating oil this winter because he thinks we'll manage it at whatever price. I'm not so optimistic, which is why I just filled the tank even though he would rather have seen that money go to other things. He didn't want to see me spend money on silver, but I worked out a nice barter arrangement with a friend and got some anyway.

Thanks for all the input, and I look forward to reading more. I want to make sure I'm not overly anxious about this stuff (surely some will think I am) and that I am not alone in making common-sense preparations. I take for granted what I think of as common-sense, but it's really good for me to read how others' definitions of that differ.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:19 AM
 
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I've been feeling for about 4 years now that I need to begin to prepare for scarcity.

I had no idea exactly what the circumstances would be (layoff, natural disaster, etc), but got a strong message to prepare my family.

So...we had trees removed from our backyard and the turf taken up and we built raised beds for square foot gardening. We removed ornamental plantings around the house foundation and put in berry bushes and herbs.

I began collecting fabric and sewing patterns from garage sales and thrift stores (and sales at JoAnn Fabrics) and ordered extra parts for my great grandmother's treadle sewing machine.

I started to buy a size ahead on thrifted clothing for my kids.

I made sure that the family had high quality winter outwear (a must in our climate) and that we had plenty of flannel sheets and comforters for our beds.

We bought a kerosene heater and extra fuel for winter emergencies.

We have a stockpile of oil lamps and emergency candles as well as flashlights and camping lanterns.

We have a full supply of camping gear for our climate.

We began to build a year's supply of pantry food (we're not at that year's supply yet - but building up to it as we can afford it).

We bought a Big Berkey water filtration system (note to self to buy extra filters) that will supposedly filter out nearly every toxin/bug present in water.

This year we've begun to do home repairs (thank you GW for that check!) that are needed. We have some plumbing to upgrade and DH has rebuilt our front porch.

Last year we put in replacement windows.

Four years ago we put in a new furnace and air conditioning system. We also put in a new gas hot water heater.

This year we expanded our gardening space by purchasing a 32' x 62' plot in the community garden.

We have plans for DH to build a cold room in our basement to store root veggies over the winter.

Basically we're learning the skills and beginning to change our lifestyle to become more accustomed to being self-sufficient. That doesn't mean we are or have the ability to become completely self-sufficient in our current space (urban house on tiny city lot in a small city of 51,000) but we are doing the most we can with what we have.
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:46 AM
 
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What makes you think that when you knock a few more items off of your list of "things to feel secure" that you will in fact feel more secure? I think your dh might feel like this is a bottomless pit. Face it, there is no real guarantee on anything in this life. You may have food for a year, a woodstove, a grain grinder, solar oven, etc, etc, etc, but if something is going to befall you or your family, it will. You will never have peace of mind if you keep on this way. Some may look at the Amish and think they are pretty self-sufficient, but it doesn't stop their kids from having an incurable disease or someone from getting kicked in the head by an animal or falling off the barn roof. Much of any preparation is mental. Learn some skills, build confidence in your abilities. Make friends with your neighbors, learn from them. You can't be an island- though there are some gloom and doomers that hole up in the hills with plenty of ammo and an underground bunker. You don't know what the future may bring. If dh is unemployed, will you be able to stay in your home? If you'd have to go to relatives, that full tank of heating oil wouldn't mean anything then. As a mom with little children, I understand why you are anxious. Y2K was seriously hyped by many folks years ago and while I'm not saying the current energy crisis is the same thing, it probably caused many people undue anxiety. If you worry about food, try and get your kids used to eating different things. Some kids exist on processed foods- they aren't going to be real happy with a bowl of beans and rice. Teach them to be happy with less- to me that would be the best form of prep for kids. Have lots of books on hand for them to read, know how to make playdough, let them help in the kitchen or teach them to sew and garden. Let the boys make stuff out of scraps of wood. If you've ever had an extended power outage that will give you an idea of what life would be like if you have to do without. Then you know what you've got to work with. I've heard of people who will pretend to have a power outage for a bit to see how they would cope without. Read, learn, research, but don't let people on message boards scare the bejeebies out of you and make you think the sky is falling. That kind of talk has been going on for ages- like the "Millerites" in the 1840's or 1850's. They were sure the world was coming to an end on a certain date and all made special white robes to wear. They went out on said date, waited for the world to end and then trudged home that night.
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:57 AM
 
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Just my opinion--

--before the lights go out, they will go dim. This isn't going to happen overnight. Peak oil means peak production has been reached and we're on the other side, not that tomorrow we'll wake up to no oil. There will be a period of adjustment. Someone mentioned gas rationing as a sign that we're going into The Long Emergency and I think that is accurate--we will see a lot of changes, but they will not all happen overnight. And the first changes will impact luxuries, not necessities.

--what's the line between prudent and overprepared? I don't think I would argue against filling your furnace or keeping extra food and water on hand, that sounds prudent. But the big picture is, if you don't own the land you are living on and our economy totally collapses and you can't pay your mortgage, the bank will still take your house and you will be out on the street with your stockpile of brown rice and water and 200 tubes of toothpaste! So you might want be less micro, and think about the overall security of owning something free and clear first--an acre and a trailer somewhere that no one can take from you would be a beautiful thing.

Did that freak you out more?!

I just bought a bike last week--it's a little thing, but I want to make riding it a part of my life and get strong! So in five or ten years riding a few miles into town is no big deal for me or anyone in my family.
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Old 06-16-2008, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by madskye View Post
I don't think I would argue against filling your furnace or keeping extra food and water on hand, that sounds prudent. But the big picture is, if you don't own the land you are living on and our economy totally collapses and you can't pay your mortgage, the bank will still take your house and you will be out on the street with your stockpile of brown rice and water and 200 tubes of toothpaste! So you might want be less micro, and think about the overall security of owning something free and clear first--an acre and a trailer somewhere that no one can take from you would be a beautiful thing.

Did that freak you out more?
No, you didn't freak me out - our plan (which we came up with about three years ago) is to buy land and build mortgage-free, but we will have to sell our current (mortgaged) house first, and to do that we have to come up with the money and time to make necessary repairs and some essential improvements before it will be market-ready. We're working on it and targeting next spring for selling, but the market is falling so it may not work out. Maybe that is where some of my anxiety is coming from - we aren't "there" (meaning on our land, out from under our mortgage) yet. I don't like feeling unsettled. But that is a separate issue, I guess.

But you have a good point about focusing on the big picture, not just cheap toothpaste. I guess toothpaste feels like something DOable (and I only have six tubes in storage :roflmao )

jennlyn, your points are all good, and I'm thinking hard on them. Thanks.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:42 PM
 
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But he thinks I'm in crisis mode all the time, before there is any crisis. I don't know, maybe he is right.
you're a mama and the mama bear instinct is coming out. don't be hard on yourself. it's not like you're trying to cause uneccessary worry and anxiety for the heck of it.

jenlynn makes some very good points too - mental preparation is very important. that's what i've always feared about stockpiling actually... what if the house burnt down - what would we do then? what if a group of armed men came into our home and told us to get out or else - again, what would all that stockpiling have done except set up someone else? we can control our home, but we can't control the public and thats my greatest fear. so i think i too, will add a mental note to myself - that mental preparation should be of utmost concern right now.

that said, you asked about gold and silver. well, i have a new goal and part of that goal was to acquire about 1lb of gold and silver (copper may be included in this list) - i guess i'd be happy with that. my dh also believes that i shouldn't go nuts on silver (he works with electronics [design] and says that while it is getting expensive its still very cheap and in adundance. he says copper and gold are the way to go).
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by madskye View Post
But the big picture is, if you don't own the land you are living on and our economy totally collapses and you can't pay your mortgage, the bank will still take your house and you will be out on the street with your stockpile of brown rice and water and 200 tubes of toothpaste!
If the economy "totally collapses," there won't be a bank to take your house. The bigger problem in that case would be rioters/looters/robbers trying to take the food you have stockpiled.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:00 PM
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If the economy "totally collapses," there won't be a bank to take your house.
and there will probably be plenty of warning. Bear Sterns is a good example.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:31 AM
 
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by madskye View Post
But the big picture is, if you don't own the land you are living on and our economy totally collapses and you can't pay your mortgage, the bank will still take your house and you will be out on the street with your stockpile of brown rice and water and 200 tubes of toothpaste! So you might want be less micro, and think about the overall security of owning something free and clear first--an acre and a trailer somewhere that no one can take from you would be a beautiful thing.

Did that freak you out more?!

I just bought a bike last week--it's a little thing, but I want to make riding it a part of my life and get strong! So in five or ten years riding a few miles into town is no big deal for me or anyone in my family.

You can own the land and still lose it through lack of paying property taxes... if the economy still has the infrastructure to follow through on something like that. I would worry less about losing a home and more about getting a family fed. That's not thinking "micro", it's thinking logically. A house isn't going to make a difference if you are hungry.

And I hate to tell you this, but being able to ride 5 or 10 miles into town isn't going to do you any good if the economy collapses because there won't BE anything in town. You'd be better off getting your back strong to till the land by hand. (Did that freak you out?)
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post
...

And I hate to tell you this, but being able to ride 5 or 10 miles into town isn't going to do you any good if the economy collapses because there won't BE anything in town. You'd be better off getting your back strong to till the land by hand. (Did that freak you out?)
Nah, not freaked out. I am getting my back strong by tending to my MASSIVE 7 x 20 garden this summer. :

I will work on implementing a specific LONG EMERGENCY workout for strength though. I'll post it once I work it up.
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:28 AM
 
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Nah, not freaked out. I am getting my back strong by tending to my MASSIVE 7 x 20 garden this summer. :

I will work on implementing a specific LONG EMERGENCY workout for strength though. I'll post it once I work it up.
Make sure your work out includes working the calf muscles to run a trundle sewing machine, okay?
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Old 06-17-2008, 02:00 PM
 
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For me, my prudent preparations for the future are as follows:

(1) Adequate life insurance, disability insurance, savings for college and retirement, appropriate wills and guardianship for kids. I think its important to plan first for the most likely scenario. Between the world as we know it ending versus dying in a car wreck, I'll choose preparing for the car wreck everytime.

(2) Easy access to cash -- I keep about $5,000 hidden in the freezer, at the bottom of a bag of frozen broccoli.

(3) Camping supplies -- we camp and those supplies also do double duty for us for possible emergency -- sleeping bags, lanterns, camping grill, etc.

(4) One month's supply of food, plus bottled water.

I'm definitely anti-hoarding. Maybe I don't know people who do it well, but it always seems so wasteful since things aren't used appropriately and then end up going bad or past their expiration date. My parents did a big buy of stuff in the aftermath of 9/11 and its still basically sitting in the basement. Not sure what you can really do with applesauce from '01....
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