Survival On a Shoestring Budget

I often get e-mails from readers claiming either directly or indirectly that preparedness is “only for wealthy people”–that working class people cannot afford to prepare. That is nonsense. By simply re-prioritizing your budget and cutting out needless expenses (such as alcohol, cigarettes, convenience foods, and cable television) almost anyone can set aside enough money for a year’s worth of storage food in fairly short order.

It is amazing what can be done with hard work, ingenuity, and very little money. While I do not endorse interloping on public lands nor do I suggest that you live like a hermit, the following stories are indicative of what can be accomplished with next to no cash.

First, here is an article about about a father and daughter that lived for four years undetected in a Portland, Oregon park:

Next a story about a hermit who secretly lived for at least three years inside the “secure” Los Alamos nuclear research reservation in New Mexico:

Next, an article about New York City’s semi-apocryphal “Mole People”:

I also vaguely recall in the early 1990s reading an article about a man who secretly built an underground house in parkland abutting the suburbs somewhere on the east coast. The house went undetected for several years. Its entrance was hidden in a berry thicket. He was only discovered because neighbors saw his comings and goings. When sheriff’s deputies arrived to investigate, after much searching for the entrance, they entered the underground house just as the man was taking a shower in his bathroom. (Perhaps one of you readers saved the newspaper clipping or has a link to the news story.)

I recommend the book “The Last of the Mountain Men“. It is the story of Sylvan Hart (a.k.a.”Buckskin Bill”), a famous Idaho solitary who lived deep in a roadless section of the River of No Return Wilderness. His solution to his own unemployment during the Great Depression was to move to the wilderness and live self-sufficiently. The book describes how Hart lived from the 1930s to the 1970s. He mined and smelted his own copper, made his own muzzle loading rifles and pistols, and constructed his house and garden. It is a fascinating book.

And for someone with a “maxi” budget? Consider this:

I didn’t point out all of the preceding references because I want you to live like hermits or flee into the wilderness and live in a hollowed-out tree like the boy in My Side of the Mountain. Rather, I just want you to start thinking outside the box. Survival is 90% sweat, ingenuity, and perseverance. It is only the remaining 10% that requires cash.