Reduce, re-use, and recycle. This article addresses intelligent consumerism for the new survivalist. You’ve heard it many times before: you get what you pay for. As consumers in a global economy we have more choices than ever, but perhaps not as many wise choices. Imported junk fills the shelves of many stores and being a smart consumer is not as easy as knowing a few brand names. Once upon a time you had a general sense of quality by the brand name of a product but the new global economy has made brand names largely irrelevant outside their use as a marketing tool. If you want to be a discriminating consumer in the modern age you need to ask yourself; what is this item worth? Is a knife worth $6.95 because you can always run to the store and by a replacement, or should a knife be worth $75 because you will never need a replacement? The smart consumer will chose the latter. Granted we can’t all afford to buy “the best”, but nearly everyone can afford to be a smart consumer. It is wise to place the proper value on things we need. As survivalists we need to think beyond our next trip to the store or the bargain of the day. We need to think long term and we are all aware that many, many things in our society are built for the short term. From the latest plasma television, to disposable razors, to tennis shoes, these things are not going to be here for long. Many high-tech items are not made to be repaired at all, if something happens and it is out of warranty it must simply be discarded and replaced. A time will come when simple replacement is out of the question – so choose wisely.
I recently decided to see how long a “disposable” razor would last. I shaved with it once a week for six months! It’s nice to know I can get a lot of use out of a disposable item if needed. Yet to too many people it’s a single use “disposable” item. I have broken regular non-disposable razors as well, after hitting them against the side of the sink many, many times, so I know they won’t last all that long either. Short of an actual straight razor, they are all basically “disposable” items. I’m not an earth-hugging-greenie-weenie mind you but I don’t much care for our “disposable society” attitude either. Firstly it is wasteful of money and resources, and secondly it is unwise especially for anyone concerned with their long term survival.
How many things do you throw away every day? How many of those things can be re-used? We can reduce our use of packaging by buying food in bulk quantities. We can reduce our use of natural resources by buying quality first and cost second. We can reuse many items like plastic bread bags and water bottles, and we can recycle almost anything.
The way that I shop is by first looking at where something is made. As a general rule I don’t support communists so about half of all goods in any given store are off limits because they are made in communist China. I realize that many times I don’t really have a choice and my kids do need shoes so I pretty much have to get shoes made in China for them. For adults we can still find shoes made elsewhere, but I haven’t seen the same options for kids. If I can find what I want and it is not made in a communist country then I can compare quality, features, and value. Too often cost is an overriding factor for many people and I try not to fall into that trap, I prefer to shop for value. To do this I ask: how important is this item to my/our survival? If it is truly a needed item and not simply a luxury I can justify nearly any cost to make sure that I get a quality item that will perform as needed and have a long service life. Luxury items like an auto-drip coffee maker are of far less importance in our household than any survival plans. By being smart consumers and thinking about ways to reduce / re-use / recycle, we are enforcing good practices that will help ensure our long term survival. Survival for us is not just about being prepared, but being well prepared, not just about having the stuff, but knowing how to use it, and not just talking about surviving a long term crisis or TEOTWAWKI  but by implementing intelligent, purpose driven strategies in our everyday life that make a difference. – “A. Friend”