If we think too much and listen to too much television, this could be a very scary day. Ukraine is dissolving the Crimean Parliament. Other nations say that they can't possibly have a referendum concerning the people of the Crimea electing to become part of Russia, during a Russian occupation. Canada ejected Russian soldiers and had some strong words against the Russian incursion of Ukraine. The European Union is talking about sanctions against Russia and Russia says it "will not accept them." Russia has also said that any stand against them by the United States will result in a "boomerang back to them". Russia sounds ready for a showdown, and no one is in the mood to be reasoned with a discussion. The US is very fragile financially, and Russia and China could well flood the world with American currency they hold causing an instant collapse here. Russia and China have had actual leaders while our leaders have spent time in a power grab from us, rather than protecting our nation or our economy.
You and I can't do much except tighten up our ship as much as we can, and keep our families as safe as possible. These are a few strategies to doing this.
First, have an emergency husband and wife budgetary meeting. You and your spouse should have these meetings four times a year anyway. In them you need to have a notebook where you have at least twelve sheets of paper, and in them a listing for the bills that are due for each month. January always has high utility bills along with your normal recurring expenses. February also carries higher utilities. In March it thins out a bit. April will see you either getting some type of a tax refund, or owing some money to the federal government. See that each paper has each months known expenses on it. Is there anything you can cut ? We found that we could purchase first cutting hay from a farmer near here more cheaply than we could get second cutting (the nice soft stuff the animals like best) from the feed store. The farmers hay is better AND cheaper than we had been paying. Over a week it's not much money. Over a month it's a savings. On a yearly basis, it's a fortune ! We have never had cable television and so that is not an expense for us. Is there anything that you and your spouse can safely reduce expenditures on ? Your goal is a reduction of 10-20% of your "as you go" normal anticipated budgetary expenses. Since we have been having budgetary meetings quarterly, focused on reduction of expenses, there is not much more we can cut. Some of you may be the same, but a lot of you probably could cut some expenses.
Contain Your Expenditures
Once ten to twenty percent it cut you have a little bit of money in order to put away some emergency supplies. Most people are completely stymied as to what to put away. I always try to plan for ALL events in one, rather than seven hundred separate possibilities. If you have nothing in long term food storage, then I think the best and potentially the least expensive place to start with freeze dried storage is breakfast food. Breakfast food is relatively easily prepared. It works well for children, the elderly and for sick people. It works well for people during a pandemic flu, for example. (So this strategy could work during a pandemic flu, power outage, hurricane, or job loss or financial collapse.) A soft diet is generally safe and easily tolerated, and breakfast fits the bill. Breakfast food can also be served as a dinner. Our kids love "breakfast for dinner" one night a week normally.
Begin Storing Emergency Food Which is Palatable to Your Family
Sam's Club stocks an Augason Farms breakfast container for about fifty two US dollars.
Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal – 3 pouches, 30 servings total
Morning Moo’s Low Fat Milk Alternative – 1 pouch, 20 servings
Honey Coated Banana Slices – 2 pouches, 12 servings total
Dehydrated Apple Slices – 1 pouches, 6 servings
Super Nutty Granola – 1 pouch, 6 servings
Buttermilk Pancake Mix – 2 pouches, 16 servings total
Scrambled Eggs with Imitation Bacon Flavored Bits – 2 pouches, 24 servings total
Particularly for a small family, this is a good start.
I bought something a little different at first.
Augason Farms also sells directly from them, a breakfast set with six number ten industrial sized cans of breakfast foods, all freeze dried and good for thirty years. I paid between sixty and seventy dollars and received the items below.
The information between the two sets of undulating lines is from Augason Farm's own website:
- Up to 30 year shelf life*
- 380 total servings
- 6 institutional size (#10) cans
- Easy to use, just add water
- Recipes on label
- No refrigeration needed
- For camping, everyday use, food storage
- 1 Buttermilk Pancake Mix (21 servings)
- 1 Creamy Wheat Cereal (36 servings)
- 1 Dehydrated Potato Shreds (21 servings)
- 1 Bacon Flavored Bits Vegetarian Meat Substitute (192 servings)
- 1 Freeze Dried Sliced Strawberries (18 servings)
- 1 Dried Scrambled Egg Mix (92 servings)
This is one of my own prior posts on freeze dried foods and suppliers:
We actually decided to stock one of these kits per week for a while, and we have reconstituted one of them and used it. It IS important to follow the directions for reconstitution exactly. This is ideal for the emergency food needs of a large family.
I don't receive any monies from Augason Farms for recommending their products, but it is the one that our family relies upon mostly. We do stock some other brands that we also like.
Emergency Essentials also stocks a breakfast kit in #10 freeze dried cans.
Their kit is:
It contains: Six number ten cans For about a hundred and fifteen US dollars
1 One can cinnamon almond granola
2. One can fortified orange drink mix
3. One can fortified milk
4. One can freeze dried strawberry slices
5. One can scrambled eggs with ham with red a green peppers.
6. One can scrambled eggs with bacon.
This is your starting point. Gather easily prepared, easily transported foods for your family for emergencies.
Diversify Your Savings
Most people should save something every time they receive a paycheck. How you structure this, I will leave up to you. There should be emergency savings which experts believe should comprise 3-6 months of savings for your normal expenses. In all honesty, if something happened in the United States which required you and your family to leave it, then this might be all the ready cash you have. I do think that beyond that, that some silver and some gold is wise, simply to diversify ones holdings. A financial planner can advise you as to how to grow a nest egg once you have holding beyond that. Real estate is also a means whereby people can diversify their holdings. I like varied real estate as a holding very much, but keep in mind that not only does real estate generate expenses in terms of property taxes, and if it includes a home or home you rent out, that the maintenance on these properties costs you money. Real estate is also not terribly liquid as an investment, and could be very difficult to unload in a world emergency. The point is to be mindful of your investments. Consider what you have at least annually and make changes once you have carefully considered them rather than made reactionary choices. An IRA is of benefit, but should not be your only holding. "Don't Put Your Eggs in One Basket" is an excellent adage here.
Correct medical issues or complete medical or dental work
A lot of people think that the medical system will come to a crashing halt following the Obamacare debacle. Some are planning to get medical care in South America while others are finding a really great family practice physician they plan to pay in cash. Others are simply getting in shape and addressing any known medical or dental issues immediately. I don't have a crystal ball, but I do think that it makes sense to take care of anything you know about before an acute emergency arises.
That's all for now. In a future post I will discuss some other things that might be a good idea in the slightly longer term. Of course, my book Rational Preparedness discussed a lot of the above in much more detail, but sometimes the short version touches more people, at least quickly.
Best wishes everyone.