Observations From a Rookie Prepper, by Silver

I am a rookie prepper, too bad for me. This underlying lump of fear of bad times coming has been residing in the pit of my stomach for a long time, ignored and deprived of the necessary attention it is well deserved of. Recently I have awakened to the call of cover your own ass or someone or something else will force me to become non-existent. So to heed the warning sign of government irresponsibility and bad times coming I let the monster of fear come to the surface, and so I have begun my journey of self-reliance.

This is my story. Several months ago in September of 2011 is when this all started to surface for me. I began paying more attention to the nonsense and idiots in the world around me, so I decided to do some searching on the net for survival information and try to find out what the hell was going on in the world because the news stations weren’t telling anything other than cruise ships and the legs of superstars. SHTFplan.com is one site I visited and liked very much. I started reading all the news articles that we don’t see in real life. This was scary stuff and helped me with releasing the fear monster within. So I started with some survival research and worked on a plan that seemed to be functional for myself, this took a few weeks before I actually did anything. I began with an inventory of all things that I thought would help in a bad situation. Things that I have on hand right now, a complete and honest budget, and what I know personally for survival, being ex-Air Force and a Life Scout. I took all things into account and Guess what; I was already in the Schumer. Not a good starting point for me. I can cook on an open fire and even start one without a lighter or match, I know about keeping a low profile or walking quietly in the woods, always be aware of your surroundings, I know enough things almost well enough to make it, can build a shelter in the wilderness, canoe, and hike even been growing a small garden for the past several years. But being prepared for the worst situation you can possibly think of is a whole other story.

The very first thing I did after my personal assessment was to make a list of things that I found on the net and in books and magazines and from personal experience  that would help me in a survival situation, no small task. After several lists and several more lists and panic attacks and headaches and then deleting some things and adding other things, I kind of got my starting point. I decided that I did not have enough money to get where I wanted to be, and was too deep in debt to have a monthly fund for my journey.  To begin with I inventoried everything in my house that was useless and served no function to life or survival itself. These items would be sold for survival funding and debt reduction, if only I can keep the money secret from my non believer girlfriend whom will complain more than anyone that we have no toilet paper while trying to wipe in the dark after the power is gone for good. To keep things on the straight and narrow, all the items for sale were and are my own items and collections of society induced unnecessary items that served no purpose whatsoever, and fortunately I have a lot of “stuff” to get rid of and sell or trade.

The first step involved three things, one I must list 10 to 20 items per week on the Internet for sale, I have done pretty well keeping on task with this step selling every impractical or un-needed thing possible, coin collection (except silver coins), Hot Wheels, comics, old watch collections stacks of useless books and other unneeded items. I feel that all bases cannot be realistically covered being a late starter to the prepping world, so I had to make some hard decisions. I feel that if things were to get bad like a SHTF situation I would be better off having the ability to can my own garden food and be able to dehydrate food than trade coins. This step has proven fruitful in paying all my small credit cards off and putting them away for absolute emergency’s only, so far so good. Debt reduction has been more than 50% not including the house payment. I realize that in a SHTF situation debt probably would not matter, but we are not quite there yet, so I have to pay these off to get to where I want to be. This has freed up about $300 per month in credit card bill money no longer being tied up, money toward the next process of my prepping journey. The second step was the rule of buying at the minimum two extra items at the grocery store on every trip, no exceptions regardless of why I was there, even if I went to get some milk and the Sunday paper, I bought at least one extra item to put up. Anything was better than nothing, coffee, tea, powdered milk, spam, rice whatever just get it. At this time I have a pretty good head start on food extras, not a lot, but enough to keep me happy and moving forward, if it works don’t fix it.

The third part was personal health and animal care, so far I have been able to afford some minor dental work and started walking for some exercise, trying to quit smoking, gave up the soft drinks and cut back on sweet stuff, I don’t eat fast food so I’m good in that department. I have also taken some of the pets to vet for checkups and shots, can’t do it when the SHTF, so get it done now while I can.

While all this is an ongoing everyday process I have initiated the second part of my prepping journey, home defense. Because of my situation I will not be bugging out, this will be a fight to the end, they will have to kill me, and  I know it would be very hard to harm another human being but I am sure when it comes down to it I can hit that switch and take care of business, I hope. I took inventory of all weapons and ammo on hand, pretty sorry situation. On hand I have , a few shotguns, each with about one box of shells, a small .25 semi auto pistol and a Western six .22 revolver. I also have about 270 rounds of 7.62 x 39, 150 rounds of 22LR and a few boxes of .357 and .38 cartridges. This was stuff I got during the Y2K scare and haven’t touched it since.  So I began researching guns on the net and with my financial constraints I have decided it was best to try and get the money up for an AK-47, a Ruger 10/22 rifle, and a .357 revolver. This decision came from the fact that I won’t need to spend much more for ammo, well maybe, but it gives me a head start with the ammo I have on hand now, and if the world takes a dump before I get more ammo at least I have something. So some of the guns on hand  are up for sale and trade and hope that I will be where I want to with the gun situation by the end of March. So far so good, a few bites on the guns and have already spotted the ones I plan getting as soon as the money is in my sweaty palms.

Six months into my journey and I feel that I have been doing quite well for myself. Two weeks ago I found seven brand new still in plastic wrapper disaster relief blankets at a local thrift shop for three dollars each, and grabbed them all. That was a great find. I have also spent about $600 on over the counter medicine, bandages, sutures, first aid items, hand sanitizer and wipes, energy bars, hard candy for the bad times and trade (need to have something for morale booster) and enough seeds too start my garden in the spring, adding a few new crops to the list this year. I have also gone through the house and started gathering tradable items to store in one place, extra pocket knives, lighters, candles, etc. I also found old eyeglasses to put in my emergency stock, they are about three years old but if need be I can still see with them. I found a local store that deals in coins and hot wheels and pocket knives and started trading some of the hot wheels for zippo lighters and case pocket knives, not much luck selling the hot wheels but they seem to be a good trade for something I can use for trading later on.

This seems to be a never ending headache inducing process of figuring out the next step while keeping up with the game plan. I feel that I am on the right track, we have chickens, have had them for about a year now so that is a good thing, fresh eggs and also tradable. I will have a good size garden but still need the tools for canning and dehydrating. Have all supplies in one area for now but still trying to figure out placement for dividing it up in case some of it is found or taken. Still need to get a lot of items like plenty of toilet paper, trash bags, disposable plates, and utensils, don’t need to be dealing with dish washing while trying to survive. Have figured out trash disposal for sanitary reasons, live by a creek so water will not be a problem only making it drinkable, have a septic system so we can still flush with creek water, that is a good sanitary point. I would like to get a small solar charger and some rechargeable batteries for the small stuff; internet probably won’t be up so starting to print first aid and safety and survival information to keep in a note book. Also want to get Mylar bags, oxygen packs for sealing a lot of the food stuff. Need to get some alcohol for wound cleaning and trading, so many things to do, so much to get so little time so little money. Every day brings new ideas along with concerns, stress, headaches and new items for the survival list. I have figured out one thing, I will never be able to get enough to survive on forever or even for a whole year, and probably not be able to get everything on the list. So I have sort of prioritized the list with things I know we cannot do without to things that would be nice to have.  I have also divided up my categories and lists into a three month plan, six month plan, nine month plan and twelve month plan, with a section at the bottom of each list for new add items on and items that were missed for that time period for carry over to the next three month list. Here is part of my six month list.

Get all fishing gear out, clean, adjust and prepare and store it, go through all camping gear, clean, adjust, prepare and store, purchase items – two very large packs of toilet paper, paper plates, spoons, forks, knifes, one month’s supply of cat food x5 cats (dry and can), ruger 10/22, ammo for same, ammo can for storage, emergency solar/hand crank radio, two  bottles whisky, one bottle vodka, one bottle Baileys Irish cream  ( got to have something for myself, the Irish cream ), two box 12 ga. Shells, two box 16 ga. Shells, fill all propane tanks, other guns if trading and selling permit, peroxide, quick clot, sealable Mylar bags, oxygen packs and heat sealer.

Now I take this information put it into groups like liquor, decide when it looks like I have the funding for such and put it on the calendar, I pick a weekend or two or three and do the fishing and camping stuff, decide what day I will do the propane probably one per week for a month, when the gun trades are finished I will do the gun stuff, it’s not too difficult if you come up with a plan and try and stick to it, I think it’s called commitment.  I spend my weekends taking photos of stuff to sell, than I post it, than I wrap and ship it, I load things in my truck and take it to places to sell, I look for small stores that trade and sell in the things I have to get rid of, I post on the local trading posts and papers, take phone calls wheel and deal all for the means to an end, hopefully not my end.

At this time I am coming up on the end of my six month list. I have not been able to get everything on the three and six month list but I keep moving things around to accommodate the situation, sometimes I come across a good deal for something that’s on a latter list and have to trade off. I hardly ever have any extra money but have found that I don’t miss buying all the unnecessary society induced nonsense that piles up around the house. If I want to go see a movie with my girlfriend or something like that I put it in the monthly budget. I keep my vehicle full of gas and this month I will be filling all four of the propane tanks for the two gas grills, along with getting the rest of the garden needs along with whatever else is on the list that I have missed so far to date funding permitted. I think about this situation all the time, it influences a lot of the daily decisions that I make. I don’t regret any of this and it’s actually quite exciting to see myself become more independent and responsible. The reason I am writing this is because I feel that everyone in the world should pay more attention to what is going on around us and pull their head out of the sand. Everyone and anyone can be self-reliant and dependent and we/they have the ability to do so if it is chosen, if we just start somewhere, anywhere just start. It’s never too late until it’s too late, and then guess what happens? I eat and you don’t.