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First, I am sending a brief greeting to the large number of new unique readers we have this week. Please take the time to join this blog so you may have the option of reading updates and new posts. Thanks again for visiting.
For a number of years now, people in the preparedness community have warned that not only would we be seeing an erosion of individual rights in the United States, but that we would begin to experience inflation. Some indicate that hyperinflation would be very likely. I remember enough in my childhood to recall that I did not like inflation. In inflation, everything you need to buy rises faster than you can earn more money in which to buy it. This can make going to college, buying a car, launching your kids so difficult that it can dash the hopes of doing these things, sometimes for years.
I can remember being a child and helping my parents grocery shop. Bread was twenty-nine cents a loaf. During the Nixon administration we heard that by the following year, a loaf of bread would be one dollar ! How will people eat ?, we wondered. By the following year, it was. Of course now, a lot of bread costs much more. So does milk, cheese, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables, meat, etc.
I am actually surprised that with all of the factors in government and our nation's crushing debt that inflation took this long to take hold. I suppose the Federal Reserve's interventions and Quantitative Easing may have hidden the problem for a time, but ultimately, we are chasing fewer goods with our paper money. Printing more money is simply a band-aid. The price of products must ultimately rise.
What can we do in the midst of inflation ?
1. Develop a family budget immediately. Make it realistic.
2. Cut anything you really don't need to have. Our family hasn't had cable television since the 1980s, and that is a great deal of money that wasn't spent. Rather than going to movies, would you prefer to rent or even buy a DVD ? We cut our recurrent expenses ten percent this year in part, by using only cellphones with a pay as you go feature. We chose to keep our landline phone because it is relatively inexpensive here, and because being a distance from everything, having it improves our safety here. Most of us have a recurrent bill which can be cut.
3. Grow whatever food you can. This can be sprouts in a jar on your kitchen window. This can be vegetables in containers on your apartment deck, if permitted. Anything you grow and eat should impact your health positively and start you on a journey of gardening skill.
4. Make a survey of what foods you buy that are honest to goodness consumed by weeks end. Recognize which foods you may have grown past. I used to buy artificial sweeteners, but I have found that I prefer throwing a few blackberries into my oatmeal to using artificial flavors. Shopping with a list and cutting the things you might not consume will save you more than you realize. When you shop, it's alright to "cherry pick" and go to certain shops simply to pick up their specials and stock up as permitted. Just be sure to get out of there before you buy their more expensive meat, for example.
5. Energy costs are rising quickly and the trend will continue. You can buy a device called a Kill-A-Watt that tells you the use of each electrical item that you are able to plug into it . I have one of those, and there were a few surprises. Most families hot water heater is their largest electrical expense. Electric heat if you have it, is also quite a chunk. In hot climates, like my own, air conditioning is an increasing bite. Appliances such as refrigeration use a fair amount because they run almost continuously especially in warm climates. Also, if you have a frij in the kitchen, one in the garage and a chest freezer somewhere else, they certainly add up. Use only what you can keep filled. Also,try to make sure your appliances stay clean. A ventilated refrigerator with space around it, which is kept dust free at the back is more likely to work at peak efficiency.
6. Water costs are rising worldwide. If you pay for municipal water, this is part of your budget that will continue to rise. If you have a well then you may not receive a monthly, or a bimonthly bill, but the costs to maintain and repair your well still exist and need to be budgeted and planned for. Such costs will rise.
7. Build Your Own, and Your Family's Capabilities-
A.) Look around the house. Don't sell anything that you really could use in the future because in all honesty, you may not be paying any less for it, and when you need to replace it, it may cost much more. However, most of us have a fair amount of things that we are not using, and very likely will not ever use again. I do box certain things in the attic for my kids, but we all should consign anything we don't need.
B.) Ebay is not as cheap to list upon as it once was, but I have known people who have made a tidy sum monthly simply selling outgrown childrens clothing, outgrown toys, pet supplies they don't need, and their gently used sporting equipment. One friend I had made thousands. I have been luckier as a buyer than a seller on Ebay but this largely depends on what goods you have been lucky enough to amass, that you would now be willing to sell.
C.) Learn something new. You might be able to do whatever it is for your family, or you may be able to do something for money, just in your neighborhood. Some people can sell eggs. Others can stencil rooms for others for cash.
8. Improve your health. This isn't as tough as it sounds, but it can take a fair amount of time. It took me a year to improve my health, as I thought with the advent of the "Unaffordable Care Act", I had better be in the best shape possible in order to help to take care of my own family. You don't need to fight Jean Claude Van Damme on television by Friday. However, you do need to gradually increase your stamina and general health. One of the ways you might do this is to go to www.half.com and buy a copy of the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by Balch. It doesn't need to be the latest edition. The older editions are quite good also. Look up your symptoms and diagnoses you have, and see what foods and supplements are recommended. Then, ask your physician if he/she have any objection to a clinical trial of that supplement or vitamin in the amount specified in the book or a dose suggested by your physician. Getting the right supplement coupled with regular gradual exercise can really improve your tolerance for work, your general outlook, and ultimately even your labwork. Some of us simply require more of some things than others. Sometimes, certain disorders cause us to use larger amounts of certain vitamins than we would on average. Be particularly careful with the fat soluble vitamins, which are A, D, E and K. Although we can excrete water soluble vitamins most often, in urine, this is not true of the fat soluble vitamins as listed above. Hypervitaminosis can be dangerous.
9. Make sure your home medical kit is complete and stocked. You are less likely to actually require professional medical intervention if cuts, injuries, sicknesses etc. are attended to correctly when they happen. Make sure that when you are cut, you take a break long enough to clean the wound, place Apinol or neosporin if that works for you, on it, and band aid it for a day or two. Check injuries at least once a day. Physicians see a lot of people who neglected initial first aid. (I will have links to first aid kits at the bottom of this post.)
10. The rest of surviving inflation is simply assessing your own situation, making the adjustments you need to, and taking care of those items you can attend to. It's not going to be an easy ride, but many of us, if we stay positive, keep strategic alliances with friends and acquaintances locally, we will weather this type of storm just like all of the others.
These are prior posts from this blog which delve deeper into something we touched upon today:
These deal with defensive finance:
These posts concern preparedness first aid and medical issues: