Welcome to another installment of the Be Prepared Channel. Today we are going to talk about normal people in abnormal times. Now many people would say that being a Prepper, Survivalist, or even someone who considers the things going in the world and plans for the worst is really a nut job, crazy, lunatic, and fringe. To that I would say in today's definition of those words that would be true. But the funny thing about definitions... they seem to constantly be changing. See not so long ago, and even going back a couple of generations in this country it would have been unthinkable to not have a pantry stocked full, to save for a rainy day, and to expect that things are not always sunny. Sadly times and the definition of normal has changed.
Living for today, to heck with tomorrow
Seems today's definition of normal means we focus on today, we spend for today, and we are gratified today. The idea that one saves for the future is a foreign concept. The national statistics show that the average person in the US that has a 401k retirement plan has about $50k in the account. They are in debt for cars, houses, credit cards, and misc toys. They are infatuated with the latest toys and gizmo's... Just witness the Apple cult that has developed. Sadly many of these people are waking up to a new day, and are suddenly starting to realize something is wrong. The job market has tanked, house prices have tanked, the consumer and the government is up to their eyeballs in debt. Even after seeing all of this they are still in denial, and somehow think they all still live in "Pleasantville" while their way of living and life is crumbling all around them.
Denial, not just a river
Denial is a funny thing. Having watched round after round of layoffs and hearing the same story again and again from those hit by the layoffs. "I'm not going to let this change my life, I am going to keep living the way I have been" is the standard refrain from those getting hit. If you mention to them that it might be a good idea to cut back on cable tv, Tivo, cell phone plans, gym memberships, eating out, going out, shopping etc... The look of disgust comes across their faces and they get really short and snappy with you... "I am not changing my life".
In times past you could expect that a resilient economy would produce more jobs and that you would be back on your feet in a few months. That was a long time ago, and the situation now is a far different world. Today if you lose a job you may not find more work. Depending on the state which you live will determine what kind of unemployment benefits you might be able to expect. Even then the fact that the states are broke and that the Federal govt is writing the checks to the states to keep the unemployment system functioning should be red flags for anyone with a couple of firing brain cells. Now even if you assume that unemployment benefits are still there for you, in most places the money you would get on unemployment just isn't going to be enough to pay the bills. This means that for you to pay the bills your going to need some sort of nest egg to draw on. Without that the choices your going to be left with are going to be UGLY.
Normal people think and plan
In today's times we cannot assume we will have jobs tomorrow. And we cannot assume the unemployment and welfare systems are going to be there to save your behind. This means that in order to pay the bills even when times get hard you need to plan for the worst, while hoping for the best. This means stocking up that pantry. Starting a food storage plan, thinking about what expenses are really essential and cutting the fat out of your budget and building up an emergency cash fund. Dramatically cut your expenses and treat trips out to eat as a special treat once in a while, or instead of going to a movie maybe rent one, or find a dollar theater if you have one in your area to cut down on costs. Pay attention to your grocery advertisements, shop the sales, and stock up on things when they are on sale. Thinking and planning for a rainy day is what a prepping is all about. Not to say that different preppers have differing levels of preparation, but the concepts are all the same.
Starting prepping can be as easy as using a concept called copy canning. When you go to the store and buy items you use regularly, pickup an extra one while your doing it. Set it aside, and maybe make a space to store your extra items. Start with small goals such as a two week food and water storage, and build from there. Keep your goals simple when starting. There is nothing abnormal about having a plan and being prepared. In these uncertain times there is no way to know what is going to happen next.
PIGS coming to your country
PIGS stands for Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain and they are the poster children for bankrupt countries in Europe that are about to cause the EU to break up. The resulting civil unrest, and chaos is going to spin Europe into a possible war situation and there will be runs on banks, food shortages, rioting, and horrible things happening. Sadly the reason the PIGS are in the headlines is due to the world banks are trying to keep everyones attention on these countries as they think they can keep the financial contagion from spreading, and to keep your focus away from the much much larger threats posed by countries like the US which has a far worse financial situation than any of these countries. By keeping people thinking about these small incidences it buys the banks time to try and print their way out of this disaster financial mess that they created.
When the bankers can no longer keep you focused on Europe and it become obvious the US is far worse than any example cited today we will see similar things happen here in the US. Rioting, shortages, and possibly even wars could break out. By starting a simple emergency plan today and building it you will be far ahead of many people who are still in denial that any of this is taking place. The deniers are going to also be your rioters, looters, and those creating the chaos. Don't be one of the idiots. Take care of yourself and your family today by copy canning, and developing a plan.
Pretend that your about to be hit with a layoff
Just pretend that you heard a rumor that your being laidoff in the next 3 or 4 months. In that time you have to decide how your going to respond, what will you do differently, and how will you prepare for this layoff? Now start thinking through what you would do if you knew that you wouldn't be able to find more work for a year, or more... How would that change your plan?
Don't be one of the "normal" people and wait until problems arise. Don't be a denier. Take steps now, and start to make subtle suggestions to family and friends. Many people are starting to get nervous and they may actually welcome your suggestions and will look to you for advise.
If your looking for possible plans there are many out there, but one I can recommend that you can find more info about online is the food storage plans of the Mormon Church. I am not a Mormon, but their thinking and planning is good advise. You can get info on what they recommend, and how to plan from many places online. It is good advise and a wise move for those that are serious about taking steps to protect themselves.
As always, have fun with your prepping. Copy canning is fun!