Most Prepper types that I know appear to have a common trait: they are good at evaluating risks then moving to mitigate those risks in a nimble manner. What that means, in somewhat plainer English, is they have the ability to evaluate a situations, make a plan, learn from it, and ultimately act in a responsible manner.
Along those lines, more recently I have done some personal analysis and put more focus on what I call “hard times ahead”. With my disaster preps more or less in order, I want to ensure that my own household will get through a period of difficulty when, for instance, there is not enough food, work, or money to go around.
A couple of years I shared 7 Tips to Prepare for Hard Times. Today, with even more concern about an eminent financial collapse, I suggest 9 more tips to prepare for hard times ahead.
Are You Ready for Hard Times? 9 Things You Can Do Now
1. Accumulate cash and store it under your mattress, preferably in small denominations
No silly, I don’t really mean that you should store cash under your mattress (so do not come over and look under mine!). Rather, you will want to store cash is some well-hidden place or places where you can get to it in secret, if needed. Although I have not done so yet, I plan to locate a cache of bills underground in two or three different locations.
2. Practice blending in and looking normal and nondescript
Even if you are normally reclusive and keep to yourself, get out in the community and be seen. Wear drab clothing and look ordinary. The point is that you want to be seen as a “regular” but not noticed because you appear different or worse, as a stranger to the community.
3. Practice haggling and the art of barter for goods and services
A good place to start is at flea markets or thrift shops. In my big-city days I have even tried this in boutiques but I never did have enough nerve to do so while shopping for shoes at Nordstrom.
For many, this will take you outside of your comfort zone so start modestly and work your way up toward more sophisticated barter transactions.
4. Take care of major or minor health concerns now
Get your teeth cleaned and take care of any dental work that needs to be done. If there is a medical procedure you have been putting off, do so now. Are you overweight and in poor physical shape? Cut out sweets for awhile and start walking to build your stamina.
5. Keep your vehicles in top working condition and always top them off with fuel
A vehicle does not have to be a shiny new model in order to function well. As a matter of fact, part of “blending in” means you will have an older vehicle but one that is well taken care of.
Here is Washington state, many of us have Subaru’s because they are four-wheel drive and run forever. Have a white Subaru in my State? That is the surest way to hide in plain sight. See what I mean?
6. Take care of home repairs that have been on the deferred maintenance list forever
This one is near and dear. My home was built in 2006 so it is fairly new. On the other hand, it is getting to the point where walls need to be touched up, boards on the porch need to be nailed down, plumbing fixtures need to be checked for leaks, and a lot more.
All of those little things around the house that have been put off may be an mere annoyance now, but down the road? Anything and everything in disrepair can and will come back to haunt you.
7. Learn to cook bulk foods from food storage
In a recent comment, a Backdoor Survival reader took issue with the “store what you eat” mantra of food storage. And in a way she was right but with this twist.
Without question, beans, rice, oats, wheat and the like are going to be the cheapest food storage items out there. Rather than shun them because you don’t eat them now, learn to prepare them in such a way that they become palatable to your family. For very little money, you can store a year’s worth of bulk foods. Perhaps they will not be as tasty as a juicy hamburger, but you will not starve.
I suggest you start with the ubiquitous pinto bean: Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean
8. Make arrangements for alternate living quarters just in case
This is a two way street. If something should happen and you could not live in your home, where would you go? It would be nice to have a reciprocal arrangement with family or friends, even if they are not preppers.
Speaking for myself, I have set up such an arrangement with friends and likewise, have prepared my small home with those things that will be needed in the event my non-Prepper brother and his family needs a place to stay.
9. Learn to become self-entertaining without spending money
Like an old broken record that has a repeating skip, I am again telling you to become self-entertaining.
Learn to enjoy your free time without being dependent upon money, cable-TV, or trips to the shopping mall. Read, ride a bicycle, play cards or board games, dance or go for a hike. There are are way more pursuits to keep you occupied than I can list here, and yet it amazes me how many people can not stand to be by themselves.
The Final Word
As cliché as it may sound, prepping IS overwhelming. Likewise, it is a lifestyle choice that will provide insurance against disruptive and possibly catastrophic events. I find it interesting that whereas the US government promotes preparedness, they tout economic recovery rather than prepping for hard times.
Let us take control of our future and prepare for hard times. They may, or may not occur, but at least we will be ready.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.