Being Prepared is More Than Just Having a Bugout Bag, by Christine S.

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When a SHTF moment happens, preparedness is everything. But it is more than just having a bugout bag and a meeting place for your family. It means being ready, economically, intellectually, and physically.
I’m going to talk about three specific goals, why they are so important, and the techniques you can use to get yourself in the best position possible.
Don’t wait to progress from one to the other – instead, look at each of the three goals and pick an idea from each to focus on, then continue to add and build as you go.

Goal #1 - Economic Readiness
Zero Debt - If you are currently in a position of zero debt, and I include mortgage, car payments, credit cards and student loans in this, congratulations. Now…stay that way! As for the rest of us…get out of debt and avoid all debt if you don’t have any yet.
Why is this so important? Put simply, debt is slavery. Stop worrying about your credit score or whether you have one of those nice new flat screen televisions. Keep in mind that every commercial is a siren call to stay a slave and be in debt. It is a pervasive message, one that urges you to continue to swim upstream and be beholden to the credit card and mortgage companies. They want you to believe that your credit card score will be terrible if you aren’t out there running up the numbers.
Living within your means is excellent training for the complete financial collapse that is almost assuredly coming. It isn’t the time to party until the 11th hour, but to teach you what reality, with all of its bristly parts, is really like.
Accomplishing zero debt takes time – especially if you are an owner of a house with a mortgage or cars in the driveway with a few payments to go. Consider either doubling up on payments and forgoing the annual vacation or if you have a decent amount of equity in the house, selling it and purchasing a smaller, more affordable house that has a zero or minimal mortgage. Then pay it off.
If you are currently looking at buying a car or a house, make it a priority to consider whether it fits your needs. Does the car get excellent gas mileage? Could it be converted to biodiesel? Will it carry all the members of your family and have room for the belongings you will need if you have to Get Out of Dodge (G.O.O.D.)? What can you afford to pay double payments on (thereby reducing your term of slavery by half)?
Don’t depend exclusively on debit cards, have some cash on hand at all times - A credit or debit card in your hand will not buy you groceries when the store is out of power and full of desperate people. Have at least a small amount of cash on your person at all times. Invest in a money belt or other hidden contraption and keep some cash in your vehicle and in a safe location in your home.
A source for good money belts and travel wallets can be found here.
I recommend this article on places to hide cash in your house.
And this web-based vendor carries a variety of hidden safes.
Silver and Gold - Consider storing some ‘junk silver’ coins in a safe place in your home. If the dollar continues to devalue, having a precious metal on hand to barter with may make the difference between being able to eat or not, and having the fuel to Get Out of Dodge.

Goal #2 – Intellectual Readiness
Learn something new every day - I’m not just talking self-sufficiency here. Learn a different language, for example. The United States, the country that I and a vast majority of SurvivalBlog’s readers live in, is a melting pot of diverse cultures. And while English is the primary language, having the ability to converse in another language gives you an advantage. It shows your flexibility and willingness to learn from others. If you learn Spanish, Italian or French, they all share common Latin roots – enabling you to communicate in a limited fashion with speakers of other Latin-based languages. 

Learn survival skills, take a CPR class, learn to cook foods from scratch. (This includes practice replicating mixes such as Bisquick, muffin mixes, bread mixes and more).

Learn to garden, farm animal husbandry, auto maintenance and more. Don’t just write it off as ‘not your specialty’ – instead, become a generalist. Science fiction author Robert Heinlein once wrote, “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Play games   - All sorts, but mentally challenging ones are best. Rev up your brain. Engage in challenging games of strategy by playing chess or other mentally stimulating games. Do crosswords or Suduku and word scrambles. The key here is to challenge your brain – to make it struggle a bit, so that it continues to grow.

Engage in ‘what if’ scenarios – What if there is no way to rendezvous back home with your family? Where do you go? What if you are hurt, or they are hurt, are you prepared? What can you do to prepare?
If you aren’t asking yourself these questions and more; if you aren’t thinking of ‘what if’ scenarios, then you are not prepared. Your bugout bag might be sitting at home, twenty miles away and all your plans shot to dust.

Organize yourself – Know where everything is and have a place for everything. You should know exactly how much food you have in your pantry, how much cash (or gold or silver) you have on hand, and where everything you need to survive a SHTF situation. This means keeping the house tidy, evaluating and re-evaluating the need to keep items and where to store them. Do you have a basement jumble of ‘stuff’ that you haven’t touched in years? It is now time to go through it.

Can’t park your car in the garage due to the pile of belongings inside it? Figure out what needs to go and what needs to stay and find appropriate storage solutions.
Streamline your life and possessions as much as possible.

Increase personal productivity – Increase the number of things you do each day. Make it into a challenge to see how much you can get done (and how few steps you can take to do it) on a daily basis. You can start by making a list of goals…and then get started accomplishing them.

All of these steps will help you become ‘mentally fit’. Someone who is used to working out their brain, every day, will be better prepared for the twists and turns of an unknown future. They will also be better able to make a snap decision that may very well save their lives and the lives of those that they love.

Goal #3 – Physical Readiness
Exercise daily – Whether it is walking, running, working out with weights, yoga or Pilates. Ask yourself this – how far can you walk before getting tired? How far can you ride a bicycle before reaching teh point of exhaustion?
You don’t have to be in ‘run a marathon’ physical shape. What you should do is build your endurance each day, challenging yourself to go that extra five minutes, that extra mile, or that extra five pounds of weights.
Think about creating more flexibility as well. Yoga, Pilates, or just simple stretching activities are good for this. Coax yourself off of the couch and onto a treadmill – or better yet, a walk outside. Take in the fresh air, meet your neighbors, and scope out your surroundings near and far.

Learn a martial art – Increase your chances in surviving a personal assault by taking some kind of self-defense class (even consider fencing – it is mentally challenging and requires quick movement, flexibility and spatial awareness). It will help get you into shape, teach you good body awareness, and help if you are ever in a situation where you need to defend yourself against an attacker. This makes good common sense, with or without a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation.

Learn Gun Safety - Learn how to handle a gun. I was quite young when my father taught me gun safety, around nine or ten. At fifteen, I was the only other female and the youngest of our group when I attended a combat firearms course taught by Massad Ayoob in the mid-1980s. A special note to any women who may be reading this, do not depend on someone else for this –learn how to operate and clean a handgun. Your life may depend upon it.

Stockpile Medications - Maintain your health and stockpile any needed medications. Ask your medical provider if they will issue you a second prescription that you can fill at cost. Insurance might only cover one, but a good doctor will issue two if you request it. For those with chronic conditions (high blood pressure, Type I diabetes, and any other medication-dependent conditions) it is imperative you stockpile these medications. Most insurance companies will only pay for 30 day supplies, keeping you dependent on their medical system. That system is all well and good, until it breaks down in a socioeconomic collapse, or even a basic natural disaster. Medical records could be lost, and your store of medications could quickly run out. Stockpile what you can – and if possible, keep additional prescriptions on hand to be filled at a moment’s notice if things start to go bad.

The Side Benefits
All of these goals will prepare you for TEOTWAWKI or a SHTF situation, and give you that added level of preparedness that may well make the difference between living and dying. However, they are also good common sense.

Being economically prepared also means that you are no longer a slave to debt. Instead you are being financially savvy, and that is a huge step up from the neighbor who only buys Abercrombie & Fitch, or can’t live without getting a new car lease every three years. Your life in the here and now may be simpler, but it will be far better in the long run.

When we keep ourselves mentally challenged, we are encouraging our brains to work out hard each day. There has been a great deal of research into the possibilities that keeping our minds mentally fit is just as important as keeping our bodies physically fit – and could even stave off the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

And of course, when we keep ourselves at a healthy weight, exercise and prepare our bodies, we are more flexible in combat situations or able to flee while our neighbors huff and puff along behind us. Having the presence of mind to ensure our health through necessary medications will give us the upper hand when faced with others who have chained themselves to a system that is ripe for failure.

In Summary
I hope that you also now see that ‘being prepared’ is more than just a bugout bag near your front door. It is a lifestyle, it is a frame of mind, and it is also completely achievable. Better yet, it will keep you alive…come what may.

All Content on This Web Site Copyright 2005-2013 All Rights Reserved - James Wesley, Rawles -

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jim Rawles published on February 26, 2012 12:06 AM.

Two Letters Re: All You Need to G.O.O.D. You Can Carry on Your Back was the previous entry in this blog.

Do It Yourself Gunsmithing, by Charles M. is the next entry in this blog.

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