Investing For Preppers – 12 Things That Won’t Lose Value In A Crisis

Rich M.
By Rich M. March 18, 2019 11:28

Investing For Preppers –  12 Things That Won’t Lose Value In A Crisis

One of the most forgotten areas of prepping is financial preparedness. It’s as if we all think that whenever the brown stuff hits the air movement device, all debt and other financial concerns will disappear. While that might be true in a few situations, like an EMP, it’s not something we can count on. We’re just as likely to be faced with a scenario which causes us all to lose our incomes, while still being stuck with the mortgage on our homes and the loans on our cars.

Planning our finances as preppers can be challenging. We are faced with the problem of planning for the same things our non-prepping friends and neighbors do, while also planning for any number of possible disasters. So we have to have a plan for retirement; a plan to survive short-term disasters and a plan for surviving a TEOTWAWKI event.

This makes investing a real challenge. The things most people invest in, stocks and money market accounts, can’t be relied on in a post-disaster world. For that matter, trusting in them in a normal world is a bit dicey, as the stock market can always crash. But that doesn’t eliminate the need for investing; just like everyone else in the world, we need to have our investments in order, both for the good times and for the bad.

This really means investing in such a way as to protect ourselves in the event of a disaster. If we do that, then our investments should carry us through the good times as well. What we need, in addition to our stockpile of supplies, are things that we can invest in, which won’t lose their value, even in a post-disaster world. May I suggest the following…

Gold & Silver

This one is obvious. Perhaps the most classic investment of all time is precious metals, specifically gold and silver. During times of financial crisis, these metals always increase in value, even when everything else is dropping in value. In addition, precious metals are what people are likely to return to, when needing some sort of money to trade with. So, as long as you have them, you can do business.

In this regard, silver is actually better than gold, as its value is less. So when it comes time to barter, you’re not dealing with a one ounce gold coin, which has a huge value. That might be useful when trying to make a major purchase, but not when trying to buy food.


When I’m talking about land here, I’m not talking in the typical way of investing in land. What I’m referring to the land your home is sitting on or land that you can use for homesteading. One of the best investments you can make, especially for surviving a financial collapse, is ensuring that you own your home. That way, it can’t be taken away from you.

Granted, it is hard to pay off your home and the land it sits on; but if you will make an additional payment of say $100 each month, that money will go directly towards the principal on the loan, not the interest. I don’t have the exact figures at hand, but check it out; that could cut your 30 year mortgage down to 15 years or so.


As preppers, we’re already stockpiling food. But we need to realize that our food is an investment too. Even in normal times, the cost of food is rising faster than the inflation rate. So, that food will increase in value faster than a savings account. Of course, in a time of crisis, it will be invaluable.

Related: How to Build a 44-Day Stockpile for Only $2.40 a Day

A Cottage Industry Business

Many major disaster scenarios are serious enough that they affect the world in which we live in, as well as the economy. Rather than just investing in things, think about investing in the skills, knowledge and tools to make a go of it, if your current job falls apart. You don’t want an internet business here, but rather something that you do with your hands.

Repair businesses could be an excellent choice, as they do extremely well after a financial collapse. Many of the old trades would do well after the loss of the grid. Ideally you want some sort of business which will provide an income after as many types of disasters as possible. Start with the skills you currently have and look what might work well for you.


People will hang on to their vices, feeding them, more than they will hold on to their most basic needs. in this, I think that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is wrong. People will feed their vices, even at the cost of their lives. That’s why alcoholics and drug addicts spend the money they need for food and heat to feed their addictions.

But you don’t have to be an alcoholic to want alcohol. People drink and use drugs to escape their problems. So in a time of severe problems, many will trade away the food they need, just to get a drink. This makes alcohol one of the most powerful barter goods there is.


Tobacco is like alcohol, in that it is a vice. People smoke to deal with stress and in a post-disaster world, there will be plenty of stress. Having a stock of tobacco on hand could be extremely valuable, perhaps even more so than silver.

I wouldn’t recommend investing in cigarettes, as they can go stale. Rather, invest in raw tobacco and rolling papers. If people want to smoke, they’ll learn to roll their own.


There are even more coffee addicts in the world than there are alcoholics and smokers. If you want something that people are going to be lusting after, willing to trade just about anything away for, this might be the golden ticket. Just about anyone is going to want coffee.

Whole beans will store better than ground coffee, even if you are keeping it in airtight containers. That means having a grinder on hand as well, so that you can grind their coffee for them.


Some have said that ammunition will become the common coin in a post-disaster world, especially a post-EMP world. There will clearly be shortages, even with all the people who have already built stockpiles of ammo. Concentrate on calibers that are useful for hunting and self-defense. Probably the most popular caliber for trade will be the .22LR.


Gasoline is difficult, as it doesn’t store well for prolonged periods of time. The more volatile hydrocarbons tend to evaporate off and there is some oxidation of other components of the gasoline. Adding a fuel stabilizer to the gas can extend the life, but then only to about a year.

If you can store your gasoline in sealed metal containers, it will last longer than it will in plastic gas cans. I’ve kept gasoline in a sealed steel barrel for over a year, without problem. And that was without adding fuel stabilizers to it. Even so, I would consider gasoline only a short-term investment, as it won’t last forever. You’ll want to cash in on this investment faster than others.

Toilet Paper

There have always been alternatives to toilet paper. In the pioneering days, they used corn cobs and the Sears & Roebuck catalogue. But for those of us who have grown up accustomed to toilet paper, making that switch will be difficult. I’d say that it will be even more difficult for women.

This one is a bit of a gamble; but I think that toilet paper will become highly valuable in a post-disaster world. You just might want a few extra cases, over and above what your family is going to use, that is.


If it comes down to long-term survival after a TEOTWAWKI event, probably one of the most important things to own will be seed. Not only will you need it, so that you can plant a large vegetable garden and grow food for yourself and your family, but everyone else will need it too. They’re also going to need your knowledge about gardening, so that they can get their gardens going and feed their families.

This is probably only a short-term investment; but could have big returns. I say it’s short-term because once they grow their own crops, they can harvest the seed as well. So you shouldn’t have people coming back to you for the next growing season, looking for more seed.

You may also like:

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7 Items To Stockpile To Keep Your Car Running After An EMP

Rich M.
By Rich M. March 18, 2019 11:28
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  1. TnAndy March 18, 13:47

    THE most likely SHTF situation will be economic. The longer deficit spending goes on, and the higher our debt, it’s pretty guaranteed at some point the buck will lose all value, leaving many in a lurch.

    Given it’s lost about 95% or so of purchasing power in the last hundred years….by design….it’s only a matter of time for the last 5%. Anyone counting on long term savings in dollars, or dollar denominated instruments (stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, etc) is going to be sorely disappointed when the purchasing power goes away.

    A small plot of land, paid for, and some real money set back so you don’t lose it to taxes (like many did in the Depression), the tools/knowledge/infrastructure to raise enough food to feed you/yours will be almost beyond value.

    Reply to this comment
    • Armin March 18, 16:57

      I tend to agree with you, Andy. I also think that the most likely scenario for a SHTF situation would be economic. I look at Venezuela as a test case. I don’t think it will come down to a world wide nuclear war. With all the nuclear weapons in the world today there would be no winners in a global nuclear conflict. Same thing with biological or anything similar. Germ warfare or whatever. The aggressor would end up shooting themselves in the foot if they started something like that. Same thing with an EMP strike. If a country did something like that then what would they do afterwards? You may take out the infrastructure but in the case of the United States being attacked like that you would have a whole bunch of very pissed off armed people running around and then again the attacker would have no choice but to try and fight a ground war. To me not a good strategy to try and take over a country. And then if the aggressor waits and hopes that everything goes downhill they have a big surprise waiting for them because then the country that was attacked like that has time to rebuild. So we come back to a world-wide economic crisis which would impact the maximum amount of people in the worst possible way. There are books out there like when the ATM’s close down and the like which hint at some of the possibilities if the whole financial system collapses. Right now it’s like a house of cards and it wouldn’t take much of a breeze to have it all come crashing down around our heads. Most people on websites like this by now realize that most world currencies are fiat currencies and literally not worth the paper they’re printed on. In addition, in the last few years, there have been some pretty smart people warning us that a global economic collapse is imminent which would make the great depression seem like a cake walk. And to me that makes the most sense if you want to cause the maximum amount of chaos.

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      • desert rabbit 41 March 19, 01:55

        I agree that the crisis will be financial, but consider this: right now the US is king of the mountain (kom) in the financial world. There are many countries that would like that to change. The 2 that are pretty much next in line are China & Russia. With no thought of trying to occupy the land, a massive emp would set our financial capability back many years. They can then sit back & let the chaos in the land run rampant. All the while they are solidifying their financial standing. When they’ve established their kom status, they could evaluate whether we are ready for a physical take over. A couple of years of infighting & unrestrained immigration would put the US in a real feces-in-fan (fif) situation.

        Reply to this comment
        • George Waters March 19, 12:21

          Russia has no intention of being “king of the mountain”, they just want Europe. China does, but they don’t want to be the worlds policeman.

          Reply to this comment
          • PatriotUSA January 11, 20:52

            please do not discount Russia for a moment. They are just quieter about their intentions. China is with them. Look, after HRC sold 20% of our uranium to Russia, who do you think they gave it to? hmm? IRAN. Please – all these players are in it to win it. Read Geo. Washington’s Vision for America (recorded in the Library of Congress), look up Tom Fife, “The First Time I heard of Barack” or anything on youtube by Yuri Bezmenov – so much more, so much. No disrespect but stay awake. Projection on the left (communist conditioned) is merely to take away from you looking at exactly what they themselves are doing. God bless America. Wake!

            Reply to this comment
        • Armin March 19, 17:42

          I agree with you, Desert Rabbit, that at this point America is the world’s largest single economy with a GDP of approx. 20 trillion dollars. The next single largest economy is China at around 13 trillion dollars. Never underestimate the Chinese. I think we have more to fear from the Chinese than the Russians. The Chinese are sneakier. Every once in a while a news article crops up that says that China is once again waging a cyber war against the US. It may be happening more often than we know. For all their bluff and bluster the Russians are not that stupid to start either a nuclear or biological global “event”. They have a huge country and a relatively small population in relation to land area so they still have room to expand in their own country. Putin is not stupid. Relatively speaking, the Russian economy is miniscule compared to that of the US, coming in at around 1.5 trillion. Even a country like Canada with approx. 1/10 the population of America has a higher GDP than Russia. Personally, I would still be more worried about China trying to take over than Russia. The Chinese are not our friends and never will be. Sooner or later China’s population pressures are going to force them to do something drastic. And there are a hell of a lot of them. At last count something like 1.5 billion Chinese with the world’s largest standing army at 2.3 million.

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      • Chuck March 19, 02:09

        Armin – when you use phrases like “Same thing with biological or anything similar. Germ warfare or whatever,” I learn that you have no clue about NBC warfare. Similarly your comments on EMP show us that you really do not understand that type of warfare either. So, why don’t you go study for a looong time before you post on such topics? Everyone thinks they understand the economy, so in that area it is less obvious that you are still just pontificating.

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        • 101st March 19, 08:36

          Correct. And while you’re at this – please go try and grow GMO seeds for future crops. Good luck with that – only heirloom seeds period.

          Reply to this comment
        • Armin March 19, 18:36

          As for you, Chuck (not LCC), you don’t know me well enough to call me either annoying, pompous or dogmatic. When I’m speaking with people on this website I do my best to be polite and respectful unless I’m speaking with an ignorant jerk. If you’re so well versed in either nuclear, biological or chemical warfare why don’t you enlighten the rest of us? If you can’t do that then please take your trolling activities somewhere else. The least we expect from people coming to this website is a modicum of politeness and mutual respect.

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        • CarmenO March 19, 19:07

          Chuck, it sounds to me like you are the one who should go study for a few decades at least. You are the one who doesn’t understand that type of warfare. All you are doing is making an attack, without any explanation as to why you think he is wrong. Sound mighty stupid to me. I’ve been around 72 years, 56 of those have been spent either doing or warning, and still too many fools think they know it all, while offering zero solutions. (By the way, I come from a long line of military and being that my grandson is a Air Force brat, same as I was an Army brat, it’s not stopping any time soon.) My dad gave me a copy of the Art of War, when I was still in elementary school and one of my hobbies is the History of Wars, mostly from the start of WW!, and until now. Either explain or shut up and go read.

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        • CarmenO March 19, 22:05

          Chuck, honey, somehow the link in your response to me, does NOT bring me to you. A solution to war? Get real, it’s been going on since two people first came together from two different caves. I’m certainly not asking you “How to stop nuclear war.” what I was telling you is to put up or shut up putting someone down, with out explaining WHY you think they are wrong. Hint: number one way to tell when some windbag is just that, they insult without saying anything. “you have no clue”, “show you don’t understand”, “go study for a looong time before you post”, “you are…just pontificating”. Lots of stupid assumptions and zero valid information. If you are 78 and that’s how you counter what he said, I’m guessing you should get tested for some old age memory issue. You must have forgotten what you claim to know, because you said NOTHING productive. Even what you stated on your response to me, anyone who has been a prepper for a year, could have come up with the same information. Next time, explain, not try to prove your superiority with just an “I say so” attitude. You were a Colonel, same as my father, so what? You were NOT the one doing the work, it was the people under you. You were the pencil pusher behind the scene. At least dad had a Silver Star to prove himself, do you?

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          • Clergylady March 20, 16:46

            I pray we don’t go to war again any time soon. My family has been in Americas’ wars since the revolution. Dad and Uncle WWII. Dad sat in the tail gunners seat of a plane for several years flying over the Japanese Navy armed with a speedgraphic camera taking pictures while getting shot at.
            He made the model of truck lagoon for pilots to study for the bombing run on the ships that were destroyed there. His little brother was special forces. Inside of Germany before the surrender. Two of my sons were in Desert Storm. One Air force and one a Carrier Navy guy. The Air war went so fast my youngest son ended up being a courier between Saudi and Kuwaitt. The Navy kid was in some cabinet leval debriefings on the subject of war readiness.
            Monetary instability could easily happen with a habit of over spending. I’m no in a hurry to see a monetary value correction. My tiny income is just social security. I gave away my time and work to church. I don’t regret that for a minute. I pastored or co-pastored Native American Missions for 30 years. I also operated and taught in a K-12 mission school for 22.5 of those years. I taught where needed each year. I’ve taught beginning readers. And I’ve taught geometry and trig. I loved the kids. My favorites were the teenagers. Our aim was to see them going on to higher education. Some have done exceedingly well. But most all learned to love learning and reading. They have gotten stable jobs and done ok for their families. It was a good investment of my time. If the worst comes I hope to still be here with my garden. If not working in my garden then planted in the family plot.
            My state licensed illegals to drive and that’s cought up with the citizenry. Now to have real I’d we have to have a long list of documents to renew our licenses. As proofs for my name changes through being widowed twice and married three times I need a birth certificate and all three marriage licenses. My utility bill has to show a physical address in addition to my post office box since we don’t have delivery where I live. I’ve been jumping through the hoops but since the move I haven’t found my 2nd marriage license. Someone charged something to my bank account so my card is frozen and I’m awaiting the arrival of the new one so I can order a copy of the necessary paper from another state. Now my drivers license has expired. I’m having my own little crisis here. MS13 tats are pretty common around here. I guess I’m having my own little immigration crisis meltdown.
            Do I think only good times are ahead. No! That’s why being off grid seems imperative. And ultimately it saves on the bills. It’s just expensive getting started. Being mostly food independant is my goal. Working hard and saving the old tools for the shop and kitchen make sense. Besides I like them. I love the satisfaction of working with my hands. I grow corn for both fresh eating and saving for later. Dried corn can become corn meal fairly easily as long as you grow something easy to grind at home. Part of the corn is oven roasted then dried. Its reconstituted in soups and stews through the winter. My neighbors call it chicos and have done it for centuries. Of course seed is saved and stored away dry. Some becomes hominy by soaking in water that leached through wood ashes to become lye water. Soap is made with a stronger version of that same lye extraction then mixed with fat to make soap. I enjoy making breads so commercial flour is bought and stored 25 lb at a time but life would go on If I didn’t have it. I usually grow some stevia to sweeten my tea. The commercially prepared stuff lasts a long time so I keep a jar ahead of what I’m using. Sugar is mostly for baking but honey lasts forever and works just as well. I have both but if SHTF I’d like to know someone who’s keeping bees. I keep extra honey and sugar stored here but just a generous supply for two. I use little sugar. My husband loves it.
            I live what some see as a simple life. Really it’s busy year around. Always planning, doing, saving, figuring out how to do something. Currently I’m saving to put the tractor in the shop for a repair I haven’t figured out. If my husband had a simple old tractor I could have figured it out. The Kubota is nice with a frontloader and a backhoe. I’ve made simple repairs. This one I can’t figure out. I’ll have to winch it onto the flatbed trailer and haul it in to the dealer. 🙁 For that trip I need some cash saved up.
            Life is an adventure. There will always be good and bad things coming and going in this life. You know how you get tested for TB of what kind of pneumonia do you have… I’ve been tested for patience and I passed that one. I don’t have it.

            Reply to this comment
            • Armin March 20, 23:12

              On that I’m completely with you, Clergylady. Not only do I fervently hope we don’t again go to war any time soon, I wish even more that there will never be another world war. For I fear if another world war does start with all the terrible weapons that the major powers have amassed that we would wipe ourselves out. As one example of what can go horribly wrong, because of that person Chuck (not LCC) who said that he had all kinds of degrees and expertise in nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; I actually looked up a bit about biological weapons and was surprised (not really) how easily they can get out of control. At the start of WWII the UK was experimenting with biological weapons sanctioned of course by the hero of the people Winston Churchill. They managed to weaponize tularemia, anthrax, brucellosis and botulism toxins. And this was at the beginning of WWII. God only knows what they have now. And because of the testing they did with anthrax on the Scottish island of Gruinard that island was contaminated for the NEXT 56 YEARS. So, yes; Clergylady, I have a real fear that if WWIII does start there’s a very real chance that we will destroy ourselves. And even if a few scattered pockets of humanity do manage to survive the surface of the earth would probably be so contaminated and destroyed that it might be doubtful if those few survivors could rebuild the human race. I see no good outcome for another world war. Not with the weapons they have today. There’s supposed to be a Biological Weapons Convention and the Hague convention which prohibits the use of chemical weapons. But in times of war, especially a world war, anything can happen and if one or more countries are losing badly they just might turn a blind eye to all the laws and bring out those prohibited weapons.

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              • CarmenO March 21, 09:20

                My opinion biological and chemical. “Prohibited weapons” is nothing but a fairy tale. Why do I disagrees with people worried about nuclear weapons? That would be stupid, you use them and make an entire country radioactive and useless? You use the others, one) they are harder to identify, unless you use something like mustard gas. You make people sick and you can pretend (as is already happening) that it’s just mother nature. Anyone wonder why the majority of the population of the US is on at least one prescription drug and many (as in the majority) on two of more, while pretending that the US is a healthy nation compared to third world nations that are not as sick? 2) It’s very hard for very sick people to fight back. We can pretend all we want, but the reality is that wars are already being fought that way, conventions or not and the nations supplying them sure as heck signed those conventions’ agreements. I’m paranoid, I don’t eat 90% of what we are sold as food and I haven’t been sick since 1999, when I decided to go the other route. I cook from scratch and I am very careful what I do buy and I try to grow as much as I can. Anyone who wants to dream of unicorns and field of flowers, go ahead.

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                • red March 27, 16:29

                  Carmen, most bombs we have halve a half-life of weeks. In a few months, you can move in with no danger. No life would exist, but it returns. Even dirty bombs like those dropped by Hitler on Rügen Island and the Crimean the isotopes were very short lived.

                  We try to live out of the garden as much as possible. When one stepdaughter lived in NYC, she only bought out of halal and kosher stores. Everything has to be organically raised, even feed for livestock. She had some severe genetic problems that disappeared after a few months. Now, back in Penna, she can’t afford the high prices there and is sick again. the son-in-kaw, a Muslim, made her move back because they’re waiting for a new strike by friends of the dems, terrorists. He brings a lot of stuff up from the city for her every weekend and that helps. niio

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            • Govtgirl March 27, 11:52

              I wonder if there isn’t a shade tree mechanic nearby who would fix your tractor for some of that homemade bread.

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      • George Waters March 19, 12:17

        Armin, I feel you are right on target, if an enemy hits us with an EMP, our military stationed all over the world will retaliate, most likely excessively, but a financial collapse, that is more personal, there will be nobody to blame except our governments of the last 35 years.

        Reply to this comment
        • Armin March 19, 18:25

          It’s difficult to say what the next global “crisis” will actually be, George. To me a manmade economic crisis is the most effective and logical way to impact the maximum amount of people. Why destroy the infrastructure if you don’t have to? I’ve heard it said in some quarters that the ruling elite would like nothing better than for us to destroy each other. Put us at each other’s throats and save “them” the trouble of doing it. No one can know what the next global crisis will be, George, what form it will take or even if there is going to be another global crisis, war, etc. All we can do here, George, is speak in generalities and speculate and try and be as ready as we can in case something serious really does go down. And my next comments are not directed at you, personally, George, but at the trolls that occasionally crop up on this website. Sad but that’s life. And those that claim to know exactly what’s going to happen in our future are complete and utter fools. NO ONE can exactly know what’s going to happen. It’s just common sense to have a little extra on hand, just in case. Even if “just in case” is the power going out for a week or so. Even a short duration crisis like that would cause a great number of people severe distress. We’ve never had a global crisis involving either emp, nuclear, biological or chemical warfare so again no one can possibly know how that would play out in real life and those saying they do are again complete and utter fools. It could be just as possible that we could be hit be a huge asteroid, CME, Yellowstone could blow, the next ice age could start tomorrow or any number of other things. Anything is possible and we can’t be worried about EVERYTHING or be prepared for EVERYTHING. All we can do is just the best that we can. And again, George, I agree with you that the most likely scenario for a global event would be economic. But who actually knows for sure? I don’t and I’m the first person to admit that. And how can anyone know or say that they do. They can’t. NO one can know what the future has in store for us. Our future might be much more “interesting” than any of us can imagine.

          Reply to this comment
      • MikeyW March 27, 07:33

        Is the corona virus a biological weapon? Did the Chinese have a vaccine before they loosed it on the world? Funny how Italy and the US have greater infections and deaths than the country where it originated. Two months ago our economy was the envy of the world; now it’s in tatters and headed further down. Coincidentally, 90+% of our pharmaceuticals are made in China, and China is by far the largest foreign holder of US dept. Seems like we should be a little more self-sufficient, both personally and as a nation. Recovery from this will be tough.

        Reply to this comment
        • red March 27, 15:36

          Mikey: Not as bad as all the flu bugs the chicoms gave us. Every two years, a new one comes out, always in time for the elections. Always to favor the dems. WWII, Japan built plague labs in Mongolia. Late in the war, and the dems will never admit to this but it’s history, Hitler sent thousands of SS and Gestapo to Stalin. Stalin hung a few and adopted the rest. He sent a lot of them to Mao. Mao never destroyed the plague labs. Since the fiasco of Tienanmen Square, the chicoms got sensitive to world opinion–it cost the a lot of wealth. Wuhan is an epicenter of anti-atheism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism. And, the dems support the chicoms, blocking information and denying more. this virus gave the chicoms cover needed to stop the revolt in Hong Kong and elsewhere in China. It gives dems a chance to create a voter base which they had run off with Biden-like efficiency. Every two years, a new plague out of China. niio

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      • Govtgirl March 27, 12:06

        Which all make bartering a more likely piece of everyday economy. I think Rich’s suggestions are great. I also think it would be a good idea to have a variety of things so no one gets the idea that you’ve cornered the market on alcohol and decides to raid so a bottle here, a can of coffee there…

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      • Govtgirl April 20, 14:35

        Thanks, Armin. Your posts make sense. Catching up on email this AM just read your last post about the finances all going to hell. How great that Rich’s article was the next thing? Claude’s website to the rescue once again.

        Reply to this comment
    • Clay March 18, 17:41

      Right on TnAndy

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  2. left coast chuck March 18, 17:16

    A country that had runaway spending that isn’t in the headlines is Argentina. They have devalued their currency two times in recent years, the most recent being late last year. They continue to export and to live although crime is up countrywide. I recently read a book written by an Argentine about his country after the first devaluation. Things certainly turned crappy according to his account.

    He indicated that because his country depends so heavily on the tourist industry to beef up its currency, tourist areas are heavily policed to keep the criminals under control but once outside the “Zone Rosa” as it were, crime is rampant. I suspect his accounts of killing people and disposing of the bodies is some heavy exaggeration, but I have no doubt that crime is rampant. We are experiencing it here in the PDRK although the local police department trumpeted recently that according to their statistics, crime is down. I suspect if reported crime is really down, it is because people just don’t bother reporting minor crime any more as it is a useless waste of time and frequently not only do you lose your goods, but if you put in a claim for the loss, your insurance rates go up the following year and so you lose twice.

    While Argentine currency was devalued, the biggest loss was the drop in the stock market and the limiting of the amount of cash one could withdraw from cash bank accounts.

    The author of the book recommends having firearms and being familiar with their use and stockpiling goods and cash. With jobs at a premium, one can purchase services for reasonable rates.

    I won’t bother to comment on Venezuela as it has been prominent in the news and anyone following news has an idea that things are quite sucky in that beleaguered country.

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    • Armin March 18, 23:06

      I think, Chuck, that as preppers, most of us can agree that it’s always a good idea to have firearms on hand and goods stockpiled “just in case”. I’ve always had that mindset. Comes from my parents. As to having either cash or gold or silver on hand that is a personal choice. For me gold and silver is a better choice than cash. Cash can always be devalued to the point of uselessness. Or completely changed so that the “old” currency is worthless and you only get a percentage when having to buy the “new” currency. Remember the German hyperinflation of the 20’s where a one trillion “mark” (German dollar) note might get you a loaf of bread on a good day. They were actually using the currency to paper their walls. Gold and silver always have intrinsic value. Gold especially as the metal is immutable. Not during the crisis but after because there is always an “after”, after every crisis. The Argentine economy HAS been pretty rocky over the years. As for the Argentine peso, if you look at the chart on Wikipedia it was pretty stable from about 1914 to about 1950 with the peso hitting a low of approx. 16 pesos to one USD at that time. After that the peso continued to decline in value, hitting a low of approx. 352 pesos to one USD around 1970. Then there must have been an economic reform as after that the peso went back to about 4 pesos to one USD. After that it once again started to lose value. In 1982 it went to a low of 68,000 pesos to one USD. In 1983 must once again have been economic reform as the peso went back to about 25 pesos to one USD. After that it was pretty chaotic with it hitting a low of approx. 10,000 pesos to one USD in 1991. Darn roller coaster ride. Not very pleasant for the people themselves. In 1992 it was better than par with the USD. After ’92 the peso has been RELATIVELY stable compared to its past history with it standing at about 38 pesos to one USD by the end of 2018. Currently the peso stands at about 40 pesos to one USD. From the looks of things it seems like the Argentines are really trying. Still not a place I would want to live in. As messed up as the Canadian government is I would still rather be here than there. 🙂

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      • Consco March 27, 17:05

        Personally believe that silver and gold are the safest form of cash. BUT remember when FDR stepped in, outlawed the private ownership of gold and “bought” it all back from people at a 30% discount? Back in the 30’s? It converted my grand parents to the Republican Party for the rest of their lives. Legalized thievery is gramps called it.

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        • red March 27, 22:18

          Conesco: Who was paid for their gold? Every coin had to be depositied in a bank account and they were given a book. 2 weeks bankers holiday and all accounts were closed, no refunds. But, wealthy people knew in advance. A lot of gold went to Cuba or Canada. One small town in New Mexico had a small gold mine that kept people fed and paid taxes for those who were sick or disabled. FDR stole the gold and a lot of people suffered and died. Save silver and copper. Gold is scary because libs love it more than they do humanity. niio

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    • Josey Wales October 3, 20:49

      Mr. Chuck. You have no idea how much I wish that I could know you. You are an amazing wealth of knowledge! There are so many topics I’d like to learn from you and maybe give you some of my limited knowledge too. I wish you would move somewhat north and east. I also wish I could know you on a more personal level. You’re kinda my hero!

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      • Consco March 27, 17:02

        I echo this sentiment. I am 58 and learn something from him every time I read his posts. It is a shame so many young people call us names instead of asking what we know

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        • red March 27, 22:14

          Consco: Hello there, young man 🙂 Mine don’t, but come to me for advice. Some take it, some don’t and often those who don’t come back to apologize for not listening. Wen they were small, if they didn’t behave, we told their grandparents. A little older, a warning, or if needed, a spanking. When they hit teens, they behaved or their friends told us. When you have kids, all their friends are yours, too. When still preteens, all of them, boys and girls, were taken to the armory and allowed to hang out. there, if they didn’t behave or got in trouble, the sergeants banned them for a time. No more Uncles or Aunts to talk to. And they learned. Even how to stay out of trouble, or at least not get caught… 🙂 Without respect, there is no love. niio

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    • Surfnken March 26, 17:39

      The crime statistics in California are lower because they have made every thing on longer a crime. If prosecuted criminals are released or protected by sanctuary status. An old friend of mine move to Mexico to getaway from the inflation of the Carter era, he sold all and put his money in Mexican banks paying 24%. Then one morning he woke up to find the peso devalued by 1000% turning him from a “rich man” to a poor one over-nite.

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    • Govtgirl April 20, 14:40

      Hi, LCC,
      Just posted a question to you on your last post re how to prepare financially and here we have Rich M.’s article and you and Armin posting. How responsive is that? Thanks for your insight.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Armin March 18, 17:19

    Pretty good article, Rich. I agree with most of what you’ve said. In the case of toilet paper it’s only valuable up to a certain point because at some point, in an extended grid down situation, we WILL run out of it. I’m not so keen on using corn cobs to clean myself with. So as preppers we have to be a little creative as far as personal hygiene is concerned. For me the easiest alternative would be to have some clean rags on hand. Something like bar rags. Maybe a dozen or so of them and when you use one for personal hygiene you clean it immediately and hang it up to dry. And then you have a clean one ready to go while the “used” one dries. Alcohol as a barter item is a good idea and it can also be used for valid medicinal purposes. Clean out a wound. Drink it if you need to have a tooth pulled and the like. As tobacco is in reality extremely addictive and ranks up there with heroin in that respect it is an excellent barter item. For those that have the land that can grow tobacco might not be such a bad idea to get some going. And in the same vein, if you have some cannabis seeds on hand and we end up in a SHTF situation might also not be such a bad idea to grow some cannabis as a barter item. And also to keep some for yourself so that you can make teas and such out of it. Same thing with coffee. A low level addictive substance that a lot of people crave. Excellent for barter. Again keep a little on hand for yourself. One of the last few things I need to get is some tobacco even though I myself don’t smoke cigarettes. I would buy some strictly for barter and in the sealed container that it comes in it should keep almost indefinitely.

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    • Meathead March 18, 22:07

      When I was a young kid in the 1940’s, my grandparents in Alabama had outhouses and at night, we used a “slop bowl” (2 gallon pot with a lid) instead of stepping on the snakes on the way to the outhouse.
      In both cases, we used newspaper instead of toilet paper. Take half a page, roll it into a ball in your hands to soften it. Ink today is vegetable based instead of petroleum based, so there’s no danger.
      Every time I went to the grocery store, I picked up six or eight Thrifty Nickel’s, brought them home and put them in a sealed tote. Over the last couple of years, I’ve managed to store enough to last the two of us several years.
      Put the used ones in a bag and burn them after use instead of flushing them.

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  4. Kurmudgeon March 18, 17:50

    Beg to differ. Your home can most certainly be taken away from you if you own it outright. Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to scammers who specifically target homeowners with mortgages that have long been paid off. As long as a bank has even a tiny ownership stake in one’s property, scammers are unlikely to get away with this type of chicanery.

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    • Jake d March 18, 22:27

      AND, if the State decides you dont need the land and they do they will take it. I dont care what your deed says if the government wants your land they get it.

      Reply to this comment
      • Armin March 19, 18:49

        Appropriation is a wonderful thing, isn’t it Jake? If the government is hell bent on getting your land I don’t THINK there’s much you can do about it. I’ve never been in that situation nor know of anyone that has so I don’t know for sure.

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        • Jabba May 2, 14:33

          Armin, I think its called Eminent domain. I used to work for a Land Surveyor. It is horrible being on the wrong end of the stick on this…

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    • Black Swan March 19, 01:04

      How are they scamming these homeowners if they have the title deed and mortgage satisfaction piece? I have heard of elderly people who didn’t pay their taxes and/or utility bills ending up losing the house because of ruinous late fees and interest, and while that qualifies as usury, it’s not a scam in the sense we normally mean by that word.

      If any of us have the slightest concern that our brains might be dropping a few more bits than they used to, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to ask for help from the kids, grandkids or someone else we trust. We can even hire someone to “do our checkbook” once a month and ensure that the bills get paid on time and no fees and interest can accumulate. I have an aunt in her 90s who is doing that, and so far, so good.

      I don’t feel the need for a checkbook person or financial PoA at this time, but I’ve given my banker the contact information for my adult son. If they think I’m messing up they are free to contact him. There was a form I filled out to make that official. I don’t expect they’ll be calling him anytime soon, but if I seriously slip out of gear in a decade or two, I have established that he’s someone I trust if he asks to be made PoA at that time.

      Circling back to the main subject here, I agree about the value of owning the house and land where you live if at all possible. Even if in the first week of the crisis, you lose the place to a well-armed band of invaders, when order is restored you will be able to reclaim the property and have legal recourse against the interlopers. That assumes you were able to hold out somewhere else during the crisis period–another argument for having at least a rudimentary bug-out plan even if you plan, as I do, to prep in place if at all possible.

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      • Armin March 19, 19:52

        I was wondering the same thing, Black Swan, and wanted to ask the same question but you beat me to it. So I looked it up. As I still have most of my marbles (LOL!) I’m not all that worried about it happening to me as I always err on the side of caution with e-mails and telemarketers. These are some of the most common scams against seniors. Some I knew about. Some I didn’t. Sometimes seniors are TOO trusting and not all that familiar with some of the negative aspects of the internet. 1 Prescription drug scams. Especially if a credit card and/or the internet is involved. 2 Investment scams. Otherwise known as fake investment opportunities. Obviously you can lose a LOT of money like this. Caveat emptor. If it sounds to good to be true usually it is. 3 Internet and e-mail scams. Many seniors are not that internet savvy. Winning the lottery in Nigeria might sound tempting but should be avoided for obvious reasons. 4 Reverse mortgage scams. Even if you want to go to the bank with a legitimate plan to use your home equity to buy a car or another big ticket item think VERY carefully about it as the consequences down the road can be disastrous. I have no debt. Everything is paid off. My neighbour keeps advising me to buy a new car with my home equity. I don’t want to be in any kind of debt. In the nicest possible way I keep telling him to go pound sand. I prefer to have my money in an appreciating asset instead of a depreciating one. I don’t know what the future holds. I’d also rather invest in food, guns, ammo, etc. 5 Charity scams. Taking advantage of a senior’s compassion. Some of the worst kinds of scam artists. These ones can go burn in hell. 6 Cheque scams. Involves a cashier’s cheque. Excess funds to be returned to seller. Buyer loses money and the item that they supposedly purchased. Scam artists and hackers. Two of my worst pet peeves. 7 And last but not least the “help” scam. This one I’ve heard about. The person gets a phone call from another person with some basic info about one of their relatives. Usually grandchild. Caller is convincing enough and tells them that their grandchild is in some serious trouble in a foreign country and a certain amount of money will get them out of that situation. Senior gets all panicky and doesn’t have time to think so sends the money. Loses the money. Real grandchild is ok. Just a quick story to tell you about some little scumbag that tried to scam me over the internet. Didn’t work. Reported them to my ISP but not much could be done. There’s not much that the scammer could do to me but I was worried that others might fall for the scam and actually send this little piece of garbage some money. I must have been on the contact list of some kind of a financial company. Sometimes they end up in my spam folder and I just delete them. The name was familiar. I suspect that their contact list was hacked. The e-mail I received was not addressed to me personally so it must have been part of a general mailing. The little scumbag tried to convince me that he had recorded my activities on a number of porn sites and had cracked all my passwords on those sites. Not possible as I don’t frequent sites like that. And then saying that he had hacked the camera and mike on my PC. Again not possible as I use “old school” computer. And if I did have to buy a new computer with a mike and camera installed I would PHYSICALLY disable both. And then that little scumbag had the gall to try and blackmail me for a $1,000 USD. I had to laugh at that because it just wasn’t plausible or possible in my case. And obviously I didn’t reply to the e-mail as then the potential blackmailer would have confirmed my e-mail. There are all kinds of scams out there and we have to be ever vigilant against them. Especially anything to do with the internet. Always have a good anti-virus program running and if you receive an e-mail that smells even the least bit off, delete it. The latest scam I’ve heard about involving e-mails are ones in which you don’t even have to open any attachments in the e-mail for malware to infect your computer. All you have to do is open the e-mail itself and then your computer is infected with a very nasty virus. I just love hackers. If I had my way they would all be rounded up. Stood up against a wall. Bullet through the head.That would give the rest of them pause. Hackers are our version of a modern day plague or pandemic. They don’t deserve to live.

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        • Black Swan March 19, 22:59

          Good list of things to handle with care, Armin! And since the hackers and scammers are always coming up with something new, I think it pays to keep one’s antivirus program set on Clinically Paranoid. (Or as close to that wording as they offer 🙂 ) And not respond to emails that say they’re from the government. They’re not–they send a letter in the mail.

          Wouldn’t it even be more fun to boil the hackers and scammers in oil? That’s what they did to counterfeiters in some places in the Middle Ages. These people are similar in that they extract value from the economy at the expense of honest people, while doing no work and providing no services in return.

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          • Armin March 20, 01:28

            So very true, Black Swan. I love your sense of humour. I’ll have to remember that. Clinically paranoid. Love it! As for government stuff you’re spot on. They may send you something by e-mail. May. But they certainly wouldn’t ask for any kind of personal info such as social security numbers and the like. And they would hardly ever phone you unless they had no other choice. I regularly get notices from my bank. Monthly. But that’s all they are and they do not ask for a reply nor is any personal info contained in that e-mail. Our equivalent of your IRA is the CRA. Canadian Revenue Agency. And people are so afraid of them. If your conscience is clear then there’s no reason to be afraid. I have no problems phoning the CRA and talking with them if I want to know something. I treat the person on the other end of the line like a human being because I know that they’re just doing a job like anyone else and they’re not responsible for the policies of the agency. I’ve had some really great conversations with some of the people from the CRA and they’ve been extremely helpful. You get what you give. You scream and yell at the person on the other end of the line and treat them like crap and that’s what you’ll get back. There’s no reason for us to be afraid of our tax agencies unless we have something to hide. Do what you’re supposed to do. Pay any taxes owing on time and there should be no problem. And sometimes these entities can also make mistakes. No one’s perfect. Phone them up or mail them and work WITH them to resolve any problems and you may be very surprised how much they will co-operate with you. Treat them reasonably and that’s what you’ll get back. I mentioned the CRA because the scammers know that so many people are afraid of them and that’s what they count on. A couple of years back there was a big scam going on with people getting phone calls from what they thought was the CRA and actually being threatened by the person on the other end of the line. Things to the effect such as that they owed a huge amount of money to the CRA and that if they didn’t pay it right away they would go to jail. They would be asked for their social security number. Here it’s social insurance number. Our SIN number. Interesting, eh? Or their credit card number and some people got in some very serious trouble giving them that info. Identity theft and all the rest of it. I don’t care who I’m talking with. If I think it’s some legitimate government agency and they start yelling and screaming at me (they wouldn’t have any reason to do that in the first place but if they did) depending upon my mood I would either tell them to eff off and want to speak to their supervisor or just hang up on them and then phone the complaint line and put in a formal complaint against them. What a lot of people didn’t realize is that government agencies don’t work like that. And you’re right that most of the time they will contact you by mail. And if you get something by mail from what you think is the government, and it seems the least bit bogus, phone the government and ask but don’t use the phone number provided in the letter. We have no reason to be afraid of our government. Yet. LOL! We may not like what the government does but until we have a better option we have to work with what we have. As for hackers they are one of my biggest pet peeves, Black Swan. Even being boiled in oil may be too good and too fast for them. Something like being eviscerated and their bowels pulled out a foot at a time. So that they take at least a week to die. In public. And the ravens peck out their eyes. Some of the worst things you can imagine. They are some of the lowest scum possible. You are right. They add nothing to the economy. They are anarchists seeking rather to destroy our society from within. They take and take but give nothing back. Have absolutely no sympathy for hackers. They are a huge zit on the face of society and they need to be “popped”. LOL! Enjoy talking with you. Like how you think. Take care.

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        • Govtgirl April 20, 14:55

          I got an email the other day that looked pretty official. It said it was from American Express and to contact them because it looked like there was some unusual activity on the card. My husband dug out the card from it’s hidey hole and I called American Express. I had deleted the email. They asked me if any card numbers were on the email, I guess like the last four. I said no. They said it was a scam. A friend’s father sent $1200 to some guy who said his grandson who was in the service was stuck in another country and needed money to get home. That man was retired with very few resources, but he got taken. Also, I don’t think you have to be naive to get swindled. A lot of supposedly street smart people of means get taken. So maybe if you think you’re smart you are susceptible too. What really gets me are those blood suckers who go after structured settlements and pensions cause “you need cash now”. To my way of thinking, they are just as bad as the hackers and scammers.

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    • CarmenO March 19, 19:16

      Kurmudgeon, Unfortunately, most people who lost home during the previous housing collapse, lost them to the BANKS, not to scams by outsiders, when they got behind in payments, regardless to how many years they had been paying. The biggest scam that can make an elderly person lose their home is the “reverse mortgage” and those are usually banks also. Yes, crook are all around but banks are less trustworthy, just because most people trust banks.

      Reply to this comment
      • Armin March 20, 00:36

        First of all, Carmen, thank you for speaking up. You’re very courageous and have as good a sense of justice and right and wrong as I do. We’re not supposed to put each other down on this website. We’re supposed to be of like mind and try and help each other as much as we can. That’s really what life is all about. If we do end up in a true extended grid down situation then we WILL need each other. There’s no way we’ll be able to go it alone. As for the housing collapse of 2008 wasn’t it something about Fannie May and Freddie Mac? Were they not giving out mortgages to basically anyone with a pulse? Even if they had no hope in hell of ever paying that mortgage back? I also don’t have much faith in the banks. They are a necessary evil and that’s how I look at them. It’s difficult to stuff a billion dollars in your mattress. LOL! And if you really look into it the banks are responsible for much of the world’s woes. They contract the money supply at the “right” time and all of a sudden you have recession or depression. Expand the money supply and everyone is living high on the hog. Everyone is doing great and let their guard down a little and then, WHAM! They once again contract the money supply and then many people lose everything that they’ve worked so hard for. To the banks it’s all a game and we’re the expendable pawns upon a global chessboard. As far as I’m concerned the banks are run by some truly evil entities. I wouldn’t give them the benefit of the doubt and call them human. They’re not. I just don’t understand what the banks gained by the housing collapse of 2008. Banks don’t want to own property. That’s not how they make their money. So what did they gain by such a huge number of people defaulting on their mortgages? Or did they miscalculate and end up shooting themselves in the foot? What is it that Shakespeare said, “All the world ‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts”. Wisdom from the bard? Take care, Carmen, and thanks. 🙂

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        • CarmenO March 20, 06:50

          No problem, I don’t like unjustified attacks. I have an idea why he attacked you. As to the banks, they do it for the same reason they do things, the money. You can bet most of the people who lost their homes paid thousands of dollars on late fees trying to save their homes. It’s like credit cards. In England they did a study about credit cards and found that people getting the highest credit limits were NOT the rich but lower middle class people, because they were more likely to get behind and have to pay huge late fees. By the time people lose their homes, the banks make more money and then can sell (or not) the homes to other people while making a profit. During the Great Depression many banks simply closed, taking the money people had in the bank. I don’t trust banks, and keep some money in a safe in my house, because if bank closes or the power grid goes down or too many people take money out of the ATM, you are out of luck. I don’t know if you heard but in France the Yellow Jackets called for people to go in masses and take out money out of the ATM machines to deliberately cause bank crashes.

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          • Armin March 20, 11:43

            Thank you for that, Carmen. Puts a whole new spin on it for me. I hadn’t thought of late fees and such. Don’t have a credit card. Too easy to fall into the credit card trap. If I want to buy something that costs a little more and I don’t have the money I figure I don’t need it right then and there and save my money until I do have enough to buy it. I think about the banks the same way you do and keep as little money in the bank as possible. For one thing their interest rates suck and if you do make more interest income you just have to pay taxes on it so you really don’t win. And the same as you, if the ATM’s really do go down at some point at least I have a little money on hand to help bridge the gap. No, I hadn’t heard that about the Yellow Jackets. Leave it to the French to come up with something like that. Thanks, Carmen.

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      • Govtgirl March 27, 12:01

        I worked at the food stamp office for 7 years and saw many reverse mortgage statements. They are awful! The fees add up really fast and there is always a good reason to tap that line of credit so pretty soon they own the house and there’s no money left to draw on. It Should be an absolute last resort. Another bad move is selling all or part of structured settlements and cashing in whole life. That annoying woman who says in the commercial”and add to our retirement” is going to be stuck refinancing her home when her husband dies and his pension and social security stop.

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  5. Bill March 18, 17:52

    This article is really great and I will send it to people I know who will appreciate it, not all “preppers.” In the fuel category, the author might have added alcohol as well. David Blume wrote a book called ALCOHOL CAN BE A GAS. And alcohol doesn’t degrade like gasoline. You will likely need electricity and my DIY back-up solar power system that can power up the coffee maker (coffee on the list!), raise a garage door and run power tools.) Costs less than $1000. See at power from sun dot com. (My other articles here are on on a bug-out house in Baja and rainwater harvesting).

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    • Yosemite March 18, 22:26

      I know Ethanol gas ill attract water and needs additives such as Sta-Bil to make it last for any length of time. Also ethanol fuels with high ethanol levels can eat or ruin seals in the engine.
      So not sure ho long Alcohol Ethanol fuels will actually keep…………I mean Alcohol made for human consumption and Ethanol made for fuel are different as I understand.

      Reply to this comment
      • red March 27, 16:38

        Yosemite: Ethanol is ethanol, but for fuel, it’s different enough to be toxic. It depends on method. Both can be fuels, and for human consumption is better in alcohol burners if used in the house. Human consumption, everything has to be spotless clean or the end product is poisonous.
        Two old hillbillies got caught working a still by the sheriff. He started to arrest them for making moonshine, but one old man said, “Moonshine? Lsws, no, sheriff! We’re making hand sanitizer!”
        the sheriff tipped his hat, grabbed a pint, and walked away. niio

        Reply to this comment
    • Consco March 26, 17:31

      Thank you for the reference to the book. I will look it up. Not sure how well it would work as fuel for an engine but am will to try anything in the old lawnmower. 37 years and counting.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Pauline Bronson March 18, 18:03

    Please send this email to
    We are interested in purchasing your books.
    Please call us at 435/427-5313
    Thanks you. Pauline Bronson

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    • Blackie March 18, 21:20

      In 1932 or 1933 the Buick dealer in Redlands California traded a brand new Buick for a hundred pound bag of potatoes. This was told to me several years later by my Father. Please remember Buicks only cost about $990.00 at the time, but that was still a high price for food.

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  7. Yosemite March 18, 18:27

    Something I would add is fish hooks and monofilament fishing line.. you could add sinkers…….

    There are ponds lakes rivers all over people can catch and clean fish to eat. granted they can improvise hooks.but many probably won’t know how..
    Mono line has many uses from tying/lashing things together to making snares and tangle foot and other uses…..making nets ………and many more uses.

    Perhaps basic eating utensils……forks and spoons.
    Spices Sugar salt pepper rice flour etc……..

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  8. Badmoon1 March 18, 18:27

    Gold and Silver only have value because we have a system of government and commerce in place. If that fails and we are in a Mad Max world good luck trying to buy food with those. Items that are needs will have value, not trinkets.

    Reply to this comment
    • lc65 March 18, 19:38

      Current day Venezuela and history has proven you to be wrong on the value of trinkets.

      Reply to this comment
    • Armin March 18, 21:47

      I think the point of that, Badmoon, is that in an extended grid down situation obviously gold and silver will be more than worthless. But no matter how long the SHTF situation lasts, sooner or later it will end and then gold and silver will once again begin to have some value. Gold and silver have no value during an extreme extended crisis but afterwards it may once again begin to have a place in the financial system.

      Reply to this comment
    • Meathead March 18, 22:19

      Currently, in Venezuela, a whole chicken to cook costs 6,400,000 Bolivars OR 1/4th ounce of silver. Bolivars have absolutely no value as the dollar, in the same situation, will have no value.
      If you hold onto dollars, they can be used to start fires to cook over.
      SILVER, 1/10th or 1/4th ounce denominations should be what you are stashing. If silver goes to $500 an ounce and gold goes to $5,000 an ounce, silver will be much easier to negotiate with than gold.

      Reply to this comment
      • Armin March 19, 17:53

        That is unbelievable, Meathead. I feel so badly for the Venezuelan people. And all because their government was so short-sighted and put all their eggs in one basket. The “oil” basket. And when oil prices tanked so did the Venezuelan economy. Horrible, unnecessary suffering.

        Reply to this comment
  9. Michael_in_Arizona March 18, 19:30

    One commodity that I’ve never heard mentioned that used to drive ancient trade is salt. Living here in the desert South West it’s probably more on my radar than many who are from cooler wetter climates yet is no less of a necessity. If you’ve never become depleted in electrolytes you’ll be in for a rude awakening as to how debilitating it is when your muscles seize up on you.
    We’ve sort of taken it for granted yet if supply chains are shattered where would you turn to get this necessity of life? I’ve thought having some bulk for your own use but maybe some cases of those individual packets to have available as a trading medium.

    Reply to this comment
    • Yosemite March 18, 22:54

      See my post above that starts off with fish hooks and Monofilament line.

      I mention Spices Salt Pepper Sugar Rice Flour etc…..

      I will also add Bar Soaps and perhaps feminine Hygiene Products… Women will still be around an so will their need for such items…..get he right one and they make excellent bandages….

      Dawn Dish-washing has numerous uses as well…so something to consider…

      Something else not mentioned are razors for shaving….unless all men are going to wander around with scruffy beards and Women with hairy armpits and legs……. no not necessary for survival but definitely nice to have so along with other luxury and vices

      Another item is nail clippers I prefer the larger toenail clippers that can be used on fingernails…… No reason to suffer hangnails….especially ones that go the “quick” and nothing you can do about t. Suffer this once and you will probably quickly learn how necessary they are/can be. They are also handy for trimming monofilament line string and such.

      Nor anything about scissors for cutting material and the kind for cutting hair…I suppose one could run a barber shop for their local community……..just something to think about…….

      Brewing beer and wine and distilling whiskey are also good skills to have and be prepared with supplies on hand,,,,,Something else to consider… can start brewing your own beer no and will learn hat it takes/needs to brew a decent brew.

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    • Armin March 18, 23:32

      You’re right, Michael. We can do without a lot of things but we can’t do without salt. And at one point salt was so highly valued that they actually used it as a form of currency. If memory serves I believe it was the Romans that did that. Among others. There were actually salt trading routes across Libya in the 5th century BC. In the early years of the Roman Empire, roads were built for the transportation of salt from the salt imported at Ostia to the capital. In Africa, salt was used as currency south of the Sahara, and slabs of rock salt were used as coins in Abyssinia. Moorish merchants in the 6th century traded salt for gold, weight for weight. And it goes on and on, Michael. You can read this for yourself if you’re interested. Salt is extremely important to our existence. All throughout history the availability of salt has been pivotal to human civilization. They think the first city in Europe was Solnitsata in Bulgaria. And it’s a salt mine. The name itself means “salt works”. It’s been providing salt to the Balkans since about 5400 BC. So, YES. Salt is extremely important for us. Not only for eating but also used as the most common preservative.

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      • left coast chuck March 19, 02:48

        The English word “salary” comes from the Latin “sal” which means salt in that language. Yes, part of the Roman soldier’s pay was in salt.

        Touring antebellum estates in Mississippi and Louisiana, the tour guides showed us the spice, salt, tea and coffee cabinet. She stated that those items were so expensive that the cabinet was kept locked and the wife of the estate kept the key on her person. If they had an extremely trusted housekeeper, she might keep the key to the spice cabinet. The spices, including salt were doled out on an as needed basis.

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    • Dana Pearson March 18, 23:51

      What I feel is an amazing commodity for everyone is to stock up on spices that you can’t grow in your climate. We live in Washington State, so any tropical items for cooking would be the most valuable. Cinnamon, Salt, Pepper,Vanilla, dried Tropical Fruits, etc will be very valuable. It will take people a long time to get used to not having these luxuries.

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      • Armin March 20, 04:14

        That’s the next item on my list, Dana. I have to get a good supply of the most common spices together so that they don’t attract moisture and last for a good long time. If and when the poop is thrown out by the ventilator spices are another item that can be used for barter. Good idea! 🙂

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        • Clergylady March 20, 07:35

          Armin just remember to keep those seasonings in the dark and well sealed if you plan to make them last. Even long past usual use by dates they are still pretty good.
          Have to admit spices can make simple food wonderful. I grow many fresh herbs but cinnamon, cardamon, and cloves et haven’t made an appearance in my garden.
          My husbands favorite rabbit stew would be nothing without the Cajun seasonings. It’s the seasonings that really make food special.
          Dana what would sweet rolls be without vanilla? Vanilla makes cinnamon or cloves really stand out. Our state cookie is really a simple cookie made with flour, sugar, and lard. It is the annise that makes it special. Biscochittoes are borderline addictive.

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          • Armin March 20, 11:54

            Thank you for that, Clergylady. As much as possible, all my stored goods are kept in a cool dark place. I understand that about spices and will make sure to at least double seal them. I just thought of a kind of wacky thing, Clergylady, and don’t know if it even makes any sense. Can you keep properly sealed spices in a freezer for an indefinite period? Don’t know if it’s a viable way to store spices long term or if they would suffer from “freezer burn” just like other things kept in the freezer for a long time. If any one has tried it please let me know. Thanks, Clergylady. 🙂

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            • Clergylady March 20, 17:21

              I really don’t know how long term freezing would effect spices. They would have to be in glass or freezer safe containers. That is an interesting question.

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  10. TSgt B March 18, 19:36

    I agree with Yosemite, but I will take it a bit further. BUY A FISH TRAP. You can find these on

    Also, buy at least one quality bow with a couple of dozen arrows/bolts.

    I have obtained a dozen “automatic fishermen”, spring-loaded spools with 60 pound test on them. You can use these as fishing gear, snares, and booby traps, along with a use as an alarm trigger. They are cheap, and you can find them on

    Invest in a high quality single stage reloading press, good dies, and powder, primers, bullets, and brass. BRASS AND LEAD WILL BE THE “NEW” PRECIOUS METALS”. Wheel weights make very good bullets, and are cheap to come by. Also buy bullet moulds for your centerfire calibers, both rifle and handgun, and learn to use them.

    I also have black powder weapons, and a goodly supply of black powder and caps. Don’t forget the patches!

    Additionally, I have a couple of dozen high quality knives, and several tomahawks.

    Finally, buy high quality GARDEN TOOLS. Spades, shovels, hoes, rakes, and add a few axes and splitting mauls.

    And don’t forget chickens, goats, and larger cattle if you have the space.

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    • Meathead March 18, 22:23

      Rabbits are much easier to raise and maintain than chickens and we have both. Rabbits for meat and pelts and Chickens for eggs and meat when she stops laying.

      Two goats to give us milk, which is better than cow’s milk.

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    • Meathead March 18, 22:35

      You can bait your fish trap with cornmeal mixed with some bacon grease to make a dough ball. Catfish have a sense of smell about a thousand times that of the best bloodhound and bacon grease WILL excite them.

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  11. Meathead March 18, 21:32

    If you need to store gasoline, consider purchasing Coleman Fuel at your local hardware or building supply. It IS expensive (@ $8.00/gallon), but it will last for many years. I used some this past fall that I purchased in 1992 to run a small generator and it ran fine.

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    • Arde January 15, 18:49

      You sure want to have enough silver aside to pay your taxes on your land, because in all reality we do not own it mortgage paid and all

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  12. Jake d March 18, 22:32

    AND, if the State decides you dont need the land and they do they will take it. I dont care what your deed says if the government wants your land they get it.

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  13. left coast chuck March 19, 00:05

    I am always amused by the survival kits that include a fish hook and line and a little sinker. If you are bugging out are you going to spend hours trying to hook a red-eared sunfish? A crappie? A couple of six inch trout?

    If you are going to line fish, you need a trot line. That is a long length of fairly heavy duty twine with multiple hooks spaced along the line. You have a fairly heavy sinker at the end of the line that gets wound up and tossed into the lake or stream. You leave it in all night and pull it out in the morning.

    Did you ever notice third world fishermen fishing? Did you ever take note of what they are using to catch fish? It wasn’t a fishing pole and a single line, was it?

    No, it was a net. A net is a far more efficient way to catch fish than any line or multiple lines. Instead of wasting your time with a fishing pole or a couple of poles, get yourself a throw net and fish the way people who subsist on fish do it.

    Rather than storing alcohol, why not get yourself a still and learn how to make alcohol? It can be burned, it can be used as a preservative (ever have brandy soaked fruit?) it can be used as a disinfectant for wounds and it can be consumed. You can trade all kinds of things for alcohol. It probably is the best trade item there is.

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    • Yosemite March 19, 02:39

      You fishing for one person or for more? One can set bush hooks as long as they remember here they set them. There are numerous tidal creeks and bridges and ponds to fish or cast a net…. Catching a lot of them hat do you do with them?? other people to give/trade with use them for fertilizer in your garden? Do you know how or have the capability to smoke them??

      Traps you can take out hat you need and put them back in the water to keep safe to eat…

      In tidal waters one must use a boat to run a trot line…to get the line out far enough…..and to make sure iit is secure.
      One can also take gallon jugs secure the hook and like and set the hook and bait about 2-3 feet down….and make a long line of them as well…..but have a way to get them a boat or canoe….. other wise the tide will take them up to the river bank and tangle there

      Those little fish hooks in those kits ere meant for fly fishing… I am talking about larger hooks……and heavyweight line not that 3 or 12 pound test line….. say at least 50 pound test OR MORE

      There are numerous fish to catch in the area Live…..Saltwater and freshwater…. cast net for shrimp or mullet or bait fish…… crab traps oysters and clams in some areas to be had./harvested…..
      Some of it is seasonal…a boat does help ….Throwing a cast net can be a waste of time and energy if the fish or shrimp are not there in numbers…. might or might not catch anything……

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    • Clergylady March 20, 17:36

      I love to sit or stand by a lovely streem fishing. But that’s an iffy way to eat if your depending on supply for current eating. I’ve rented small boats to go fishing but it was for pleasure. And I usually catch enough to get by for a few meals. But where I live in the desert there is no fishing. Still if I were dependant on that to eat I’d trap. I trap fish by luring them to something they want in a trap. Same with crawdads. As a kid I’d find them under rocks. At night they come out to clean up fish guts left in the water if fish haven’t gotten it all first. A funnel into a trap with bait will get them. Just make sure its a big enough opening to easily enter. Finding the opening to make an exit is not impossible but is less likely.
      If you’re hungry patient fishing for fish one at a time isn’t going to cut it. You need firewood, shelter, other forraged food. Too much going on while you have daylight.

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  14. Get Prepared March 19, 01:21

    Wow, I’m really surprised that manual tools didn’t make the list. Tools with a battery or a cord may be useless, so investing in manual tools seems like a pretty good idea. We get our water from a well and have a manual tool to draw water from our well without power ( as well as a manual meat grinder, manual wheat grinder and all manner of hand tools.

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    • Clergylady March 19, 07:03

      Good point Get Prepared. I have manual meatgrinders and sausage filler, flour mill, potato ricer, coffee grinder, manual egg beaters et.most but not all were hand me downs from parents and grandparents. I like camp coffee so one year my two younger kids went together and bought an enameled pot for me to use in an open fire. I have grandmas cool handle frying pans and great grandmas cast iron pans. Moms old crank cherry pitter still works fine. Old oil lamps are still favorites of mine. I love tools so I saved dads old manual drill, many different planes, hand saws, and assorted different kinds of hatches. Pipe benders and threaders as well as pvc cutter. I have metal and pvc pipes in the shop. Someone took my antique grinding stones but I still have whet and oil sharpening stones. Almost any common power tool I have is also in an old manual version.I have lots of power tools as well and with inverters and solar panels I do use them without connecting the shop to the power company.
      I have 5 different sewing machines that require power but I have a treadle machine as well. I’m wondering how many things I can find a way to use when connected to an old exercise bike.
      I use a clothes line by choice. I wash clothes with a bucket and new toilet plunger when I’m saving my solar power during long cloudy spells. There are folding drying racks for bad weather. I have three sizes of pressure cookers and an electric pressure pot. I can pressure several meals worth of stew in minutes or safely can meats and vegetables. I also have water bath banners in two sizes for larger batches and the other as small as three jars. I have canning jars on hand from 1 cup to 1/2 gallon.
      Preps are are just a satisfying way of life for me. We even have an old manual typewriter that still gets used but I’ll admit I use my laptop and three in one printer most often.
      I’ve made candles for years and sold decorative ones many times. Crafts and pies helped raise a family and buy a home for them.

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  15. Clergylady March 19, 06:00

    Old sailing ships carried beer rather than a lot of fresh water. It kept well for a very long time. I don’t brew beer but can make pretty good wines now.
    I have a very small income. I live frugally now and plan ahead for survival. Without help we pay for our utilities, food, and medical supplemental insurance. Home is off grid solar now. I can, dry, raise a garden and save heirloom seeds. I don’t have gutters on the newer repo mobile home were living in But old plastic totes sit in areas along the roof drip line and planting areas capture some of that water. I grow flowers with my fruits and vegetables. Each year I try to replace things I’ve lost by being away from here for 12 years. This year I have 4 blackberry vines, 3 grapes and 3 raspberry plants ready to put out. I have a few more asperigus to add to the old bed. I’m going to move some young wild cherries and my yellow wild roses. Its a matter of continuing to add to what I have already and replace what needs replaced. I still plan ahead and collect bits toward projects that I still want.
    I see folks spending money without really learning how to to save seed or food for later. It won’t store forever.. And saving food and saving seed from season to season makes a lot of sense.
    Toilet “rags” and feminine need “rags” aren’t new. Hence the phrase “being on the rag”. My mother grew up that way. Just good white cotton cloth that could be used, washed, and sun dried will last for a long time. A good store of them might be worthwhile. Sewn thick reusable pads are still being made. We always made diapers for the babies from thick soft cotton materials or nice flannels. I save old tee shirts for dusting and cleaning with.
    Knowledge and work are worth a lot. A vocation that could be applied to tough times is worth a lot in sales barter value. Medical care, midwife, herbalist, knowledgeable forrager, blacksmith. Knife maker, arrow or bolt makers. Bow maker, trapper or mechanic and many others are of value to you and to others. Have it as a hobby or a side job.
    I live the rural life just because it brings me joy. I live simple and practice what is needed to live frugally while adding something new constantly. I love craigslist. I watch for things we need in volumn to make the average 2 hour drive worthwhile. I have most of the materials to build a greenhouse. I have saved mobile home trusses for the top of my planned walapini pit greenhouse. Used metal roofing is my favorite skirting material for a trailer. I have a beautiful sink and soaking tub for a summer outdoor shower room near the outdoor cooking area I’m working on.
    I have 3 grapes to add to my old arbor with one large old vine still growing there. It seems to be the spring for adding vine fruits. My garden is getting started in trays in front of every window. It won’t be long till I can plant it in the garden beds I’ve been working on. I’m trying to add some new planting areas each year.
    The cacti I’ve been adding this past year along the fenceline by a dirt road is all rooting nicely. Pads and fruit for food and flowers for medicine as well as a bit of security where I can’t watch so easily.
    I’d like to add more 22 LR ammo but I’m more inclined to keep learninging my way around a crossbow. I haven’t made arrows since my teens so that should be on the list of things to practice.
    At 72 I’m a 24/7 caretaker for my husband with dementia that is quickly getting worse. That means almost everything is up to me now. I’m still learning and doing a bit nearly everyday to improve the place. I have bobs for us but reality is.. Bugging out now is not a good choice.
    I raise chickens, ducks and rabbits for food along with our vegetables and fruit. I’m working to buy less and less. It just seems like a prudent way of life. I’m not buying up silver or gold. I’d rather have cast iron cookware, canning jars, and garden tools. A new ax and maul are on my wish list and maybe another skinning knife. I’d have liked to add some new apple trees and a sweet cherry or two. They can come later but at 72 the time to enjoy the harvest is limited.
    Don’t let what you haven’t done stop you from getting started. Even if the paid off place just becomes a nice retirement home get started.
    Hey LCC glad to see you’re still here reading. I see I’m not the only one amused by a nearly usless bit of hooks and line for survival fishing. Personally I’d rather have a fish trap in a stream or on the edge of a pond or lake. A trotline makes good sense.

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    • Armin March 20, 12:27

      You’re one heck of a person, Clergylady, and you have a LOT on your plate. Feel so bad for your husband. I know what it’s like to be a 24/7 primary caregiver and it is mentally and physically exhausting. Hopefully your 22 is a repeating rifle. 22 LR ammo IS still relatively cheap. I’ve also been toying with the idea of a crossbow. Too many darn rabbits around here. The only thing I don’t like about a crossbow is that it’s relatively slow. Great for hunting small game because it’s silent but not so good for defending against hordes of attackers. You’ve chosen your location well. The hordes may never make it to where you are. I have to figure out some way to buy a “vacation property” as my emergency bug out location if I have no choice but to leave where I am now. And where I am now much too close to one of the biggest cities in Canada. I’m not keen on having millions of people coming through here if SHTF actually happens. I also have no choice but to bug in at the moment. But I would still like to have the choice. My problem is my back. Hopefully my mind will still hold out for another 20 years or so. I try my best to eat salmon at least 3 or 4 times per week. Canned salmon obviously. Fresh is waaaay to expensive. To make it more palatable I add salt, pepper and cayenne to it. Then a few dollops of my version of mayonnaise which is called Miracle Whip. I enjoy Miracle Whip so much that if I could eat it straight from the jar, I would. But after about a month of that my arteries would be completely clogged and I would have gained a hundred pounds. LOL! So not a good idea. To me Miracle Whip tastes much better than just plain old mayonnaise. Then for lunch I add a slice of cheese to it, pop it in the oven and I have my version of a salmon melt. Get all my omega 3’s and 6’s and whatever is supposed to be in salmon and also get my daily intake of calcium through the cheese. I know how important cheese is, especially as you get older. Keep the faith, Clergylady. Always enjoy hearing from you. 🙂

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    • CarmenO March 20, 14:08

      Clergylady, like your posts. I just turned 72 and I am similar to you, except that I don’t have to care for anyone. My daughter lives not too far and she and her husband do much of what you and I do. I trained her from childhood, even when we did not live in farms. He and his siblings own a farm that’s 5,000 acres. Now that his father died, they are turning it into organic, it is the largest farm in their county. (I supply them with seedlings for their home garden, you go figure.) People underestimate us older Baby Boomers. I don’t have to chop much wood, my 100 year oaks like to drop branches, which I then stack. I do plant a lot of wild edible in my food forest area, because if things get bad, 99% of people will not see them as food. I am very lucky because since I changed my diet in 1999, I have not been sick, so no supplemental insurance for me. (Huge expense.) I just save the money, I don’t have to spend. I know Armin asked you how to find water, but I can’t find his post. So this is for him. In my case, I pay attention. Part of my property is uphill just a bit, so I paid attention to where the snow melt ended up (really soggy area, because this is Minnesota) and that is where most of the underground water in my property is. I don’t need to use it yet, because we get a lot of rain and my house was build on top of a cistern, which collects rain water, almost 100 years ago. The man was a genius, even has secret rooms and an indoors tornado room. I do collect rain water for my vegetables with barrels. I only have two sewing machines, you could set up a shop. lol

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      • Armin March 21, 05:06

        Thank you for that, Carmen. In your case you used a little common sense to find the most likely spot for water on your property. I like the idea of building a house on top of a cistern. After you said it seems so logical AND practical. But what I was asking Clergylady specifically was how she found an underground river. She said that she has two wells and they both hit that underground river. So I was wondering how she did it. It’s not like you can hear it roaring through the ground above ground. Doesn’t work like that. She also said something to the effect that if she hadn’t drilled in the right place then instead of a 30 or 40 foot hole she would have had to go down 300 feet or more to find water. So I was wondering how she managed to hit that underground river TWICE and having to only drill 30 or 40 feet down. Seems more than just random chance or blind luck. There must be a way to find those underground rivers but I don’t know how to do it. Did she use a dowsing rod? Did she drill test holes every five feet or so which seems like a LOT of work and you still don’t have a guarantee of hitting that underground river. Because water is so very important I really would like to know how she found that underground river and if it’s repeatable by most everyone. It’s probably really simple if you know how but I don’t. If you hear someone explain it, it’s probably one of those “AHA!” moments where you smack yourself in the forehead because it is that simple and you didn’t think of it. That’s all I’m asking, Carmen. 🙂

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      • Armin March 21, 13:18

        Carmen, just a little more info about how to find underground water, especially underground rivers. I had no idea. I got a little frustrated so I looked it up. Apparently there are electronic water finder gizmos that can find underground water. They must be something like a modified metal detector.They come with an antenna. You walk around a little bit on your property and when you get close to an underground source of water you get an audible warning that you’re close and the antenna does a little jig. Really handy if you’re living in a very dry area like Clergylady and if you miss a water source then obviously you’re out of luck. There’s always dowsing and I know it works as I tried it when I was very much younger. Used a forked twig and held it properly and when I got close to a source of fresh water, no matter how much I resisted, I just could not keep that twig from bending down. I was amazed by the power of it all. There is some serious psychic ability in my family and my mum had it in spades. Down right scary sometimes at the power of HER ability. Hope this helps.

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  16. CarmenO March 19, 11:22

    Same old, same old. Cut and paste the exact same list that thousands of people have already posted. See photo of the food garden? Get ideas from there. # One thing: food. #One thing you will not find: food. See all the things around in the garden photo, those are things you will need. Get them now. I guess you call it the infrastructure of food growing. Everyone needs food. Then there is the question: How do you protect the area? No way, if you are thinking many acres, you are better off with intensive gardening (lots of stuff in small spaces). Not something you learn in one day or less. Yes, toilet paper is essential, so grow it. Try Cowboy Toilet Paper (or Common Mullein), large and fluffy and yes, they did use it for that. It grows with no care, just some seeds, that you can probably find when you notice a big tall plant with fluffy leaves, that grows wild. Items necessary for food preparation and conservation, some you can make for free with instructions online (dehydrator). # Two most important: A rain water gathering system, base on what you can afford. Heck, you can even sell the water. Hint for all those of you “bugout” people, all the stuff listed on top would require a 16 wheeler to bug out with, asides from the worthless gold (trying getting change for a bowl of rice) and the seeds. Think more “life or death”, food and water and how to defend yourself, with not just weapons. Many suggestion online, for as long as you can access online. So I suggest a few books, especially on wild edibles of your area of the nation. You can earn money making and selling canned food items, just make sure you have a tons of canning lids, and tell people to bring back the jars and containers, if they want more.

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  17. rick March 19, 12:15

    You forgot marijuana!

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  18. humbug March 19, 12:16

    read a great series of books last year and was struck by many ideas.. one of which was this.. if the US suffers an EMP either man made or solar- they may launch nukes to create the same effect worldwide- a “level playing field”- then we will all be back to square one in a sense.. I have been considering options based on the possibility too.. fyi

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  19. Mrs. George March 19, 16:11

    I heard that if cigarettes are stores in a big straw with the ends sealed, they will keep a long time. Is this true? If so, they would/could be another long-term bartering item.

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  20. Chuck March 19, 19:46

    Well, CarmenO, I’ll lay my credentials against yours any day. I have degrees in science and engineering and most of my 78 years have been spent in nuclear weapons effects planning (radiological, blast AND EMP), in chemical munitions (offensive and defensive applications), in biological weapons (growth, employment, etc) and in conventional munitions (planning, designing, manufacturing, disposal, etc). I was a colonel in the Army Chemical Corps and CEO of a civilian munitions company. So, no, I do not need to study. While others have spent time reading, I spent a LOT of time doing. And, offering solutions? What solutions would you consider appropriate? How to stop nuclear war? How to rebuild the country after a high yield, high altitude burst over Kansas shuts down the power grid, all communications, transportation, etc for a very long, indefinite time? Nah, I think I’ll pass on providing solutions..

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    • Armin March 19, 23:12

      If what you say is true, Chuck (not LCC), then you’re one heck of a smart person. And you’ve accomplished a lot in your life. A lot of people on this site are also a little older. I’m also 70. LCC is over eighty. And at that age we should have learned a bit of empathy, compassion and tolerance for others. And if you are that smart why not share some of your knowledge with us instead of attacking us. I’m sure you have some amazing insights into emp, chemical and biological weapons and we could all benefit from your expertise. I’m saying this in all sincerity. Not trying to be a smart ass. We don’t often run across people with your credentials or skillset and we could all benefit from your experience and knowledge. I’m sorry we got off on the wrong foot and that you think so little of us. This website is all about sharing and if you also have a prepper mindset why not give us the benefit of what you’ve learned. Most of the people that are “regulars” on this site have discussed emp and related subjects to death here but none of us are experts on the subject, as far as I know, and I would love to hear from an expert on these subjects. There’s no way we can stop a nuclear war if countries are hell bent on starting one. But I really don’t think that’s a viable option for the next crisis, if there is going to be one. Most of us on this site realize how bad it would get if a powerful emp device were exploded over the United States or even multiple devices. Most of the things we take for granted would be gone including the pumps to run our water systems. Without water we would be in dire straits within three days. When I used the phrase “Same thing with biological or anything similar. Germ warfare or whatever” I was obviously speaking in generalities because most of us on this site don’t have the specialized knowledge needed to speak about NBC warfare. But you do. So why not let us know what the reality would be like. What we could expect. Most of us here already know at least a little about EMP. What I do know is that when the US carried out the Starfish Prime test in 1962 it affected Hawaii which was almost 900 miles away. And that was “only” a 1.44 megaton bomb. So a HEMP attack is nothing to be taken lightly. And I don’t know how an EMP attack would play out. Would the enemy wait until anarchy and complete chaos reigned or would they come in right away and figure that their enemy was weakened enough so that resistance would be minimal? A global nuclear war could very easily get out of control and destroy large swaths of the earth’s surface especially if they started using dirty bombs. Biological warfare might actually be more dangerous over the long run as I can also see it very easily getting out of control and then only leaving very isolated pockets of humans to restart the human race. Basically throwing us back to caveman days. We’ve all heard about weaponized anthrax and the like. I am sure there are much, much worse things out there. Chemical warfare has never been used globally but was obviously used in the first world war and as a result over a million people died. Over a hundred thousand were civilians. I can see chemical warfare being used locally. Maybe in a type of mop up operation but not globally as it would be dispersed by weather conditions, topography, etc. So if you’re really as smart as you claim, yes, I would really be interested in hearing your opinions. Otherwise why are you on this site? To laugh at us and insult us? To mock us with your giant ego and your big brain? If that’s all you’re here for then we don’t need you. If you want to be a mensch and share some of what you know with us, then welcome. The choice is yours.

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    • Dana Pearson March 20, 00:09

      WTG…Chuck!!!! I totally agree with what you say. I always think about the fact that threy are going to take us out no matter what. My hubby and I are as prepared for most anything but the bottom line is…It is not going to be pretty and all the preps in the world will not help if we have a nuclear cataclysm!!!…Even if it is an EMP or or some kind of grid hack…we are done. The planet is dying also and where I live they spray us so much that last year our garden soil was so tainted that what did grow was mutated. They want us dead!!! Oh, I have ALL the books, all the 12 things in the article including Cannabis. We have an embarrassingly large abundance of food. We do not live off the grid…but…we have and we learned a lot. Nothing like experience. My hubby worked construction and he has every tool known to man…LOL..and we are SUPER PREPPED!!! But…if it ends up being a bomb and we have the third largest SAC base in the USA near us that will surely be a target, we will jump in the old VW we have stored that is in pristine condition and drive towards the Air Force base…Who in their right mind wants to live in a nuclear winter??? If that ends up being the scenario all you best laid plans are useless. I wish us all well though and I am glad that I am not any younger. Is MEGA PREPPING really worth it??? I ask myself that question all the time. I know one thing…when it goes down…it will not come back!!!

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    • CarmenO March 20, 13:35

      Sure Chuck. “So, no, I do not need to study.” That’s your #1 problem, things change, you don’t. You are still in the 60’s when you went to college. You missed all the changes during the past 50 years. LOL Me, I do things to put what I learn in place, a lot, but since I have a brain which needs to exercise and to collect new data, I do both. Heck, you were born decades before the internet. Not even Donkey Kong had been invented yet, heck even Pong did not exist. You missed A LOT OF NEW TECHNOLOGY. (No wonder, you can’t come up with anything.) My brain is still growing at 72, you are not that much older than me.

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  21. tweell March 19, 19:58

    Gasoline can be stored for years if it is stabilized and doesn’t have alcohol in it.

    The best (tested) stabilizer is PRI-G, preppers have treated unadulterated gasoline with this and used it ten years later with no issues. STA-BIL is more common, but don’t trust it for more than a year or two.

    I wouldn’t stock this for barter purposes, more for own use – tractors and chain saws are handy.

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  22. Clergylady March 19, 22:21

    My late husband didn’t smoke but he chewed. He’d get dried out old plugs of tobacco from a friend that had a tobacco shop. When he wanted to use one he moistened it in the foil wrapper and closed it up for a few hours. Pineapple juice, maple syrup and such were used. I’d think that would be easier to store than rolled cigarettes. Of course my opinion of what it looks like in use is near to horse manure. 🙂
    I do enjoy a good cup of coffee but I made up my mind I wasn’t going to be addicted to anything worse that food, air and water. I have many herbal teas that have been gifts. I do enjoy those. We use cota or a green thread plant as a tea that tastes much like a good black tea hot or cold. Mormon tea is in that plant family. Natives here gather lots of it about August every year. A breakfast favorite is home grown, home ground, blue corn made into a thin gruel. Some like it with a pinch of salt or a bit of butter and sugar. I also grow mint for flavoring and tea.
    There are salt deposits in many scattered areas of the state. Learning where would be beneficial. Owners of those lands would have a good trade item. Natives here drive to a salt lake on a reservation to gather salt crystals that they keep in a bowl on the table. It has a very pleasant flavor. I keep a bit in a pepper grinder. Freshly ground, is better than ground and stored, although that would taste like commercially purchased salt and is acceptable. We are so far removed from easy sources of iodine that storing iodized salt would have some value.
    Mullin was mentioned here as a TP substitute. It works nicely but in desert country it doesn’t grow in large enough quantities. I’d lean toward old, men’s undershirts and tees cut in pieces. Easy to wash and dry quickly. Lasts a long time.
    Reverse mortgages are being pushed with rather deceptive adds. Sounds safe and easy but isn’t safe at all if you out live the money you’re offered. “They” get the home for pennies on the dollar. My current husband had one. Sold the property with some balance still in it so was able to pay it off and clear a bit of cash. I’ve owned this place free and clear since 1981. Having been widowed twice and married three times, coming back to the property when I was retired was a lifesaver.
    I hope more here will sacrifice to get a rural spot out of debt as soon as possible. My 3 acres isn’t large but its enough for me to be taking care of. I can raise most of what I want and survival would be possible with the wild amaranth et that are here with my gardens and fruits. I started planting wild fruits here in 1981. I’ve added grapes and more a little at a time as I find or can buy things. I’ve planted cacti along a 400+ ft fenceline on one side. Pads are edable as is the fruit and the pollinated flowers are medicinal. That is easy. Just lay pads on the ground and let it heal off then root. No particular care needed.
    I buy up jars and lids as we get into winter and little canning is being done. It saves me quite a few dollars each year and I’m prepared at all times. Sometimes I make a lot of soup and can it. I can add pasta or potatoes or even some cooked rice to it when I’m ready to serve it. It saves odds and ends of meats or vegetables and can be ready for a quick warm meal in a hurry. Seasonings are key to it being good. I don’t usually can cooked beans as I pressure cook dry beans when I want them but I found that if I do can just a few, they last long and are the basis of a good meal if I have company drop by.
    I plan to order a hop bine to grow on a shop building. Hops are a necessity for beer brewing but they are also a natural relaxant related to marijuana. My Dr has recommended hops to help me sleep when my feet and legs are bothering me. It’s natural and works for me so I’ll plan to grow some. A bine ( not vine) can live for years once established. I’ll have extra but not sure I’ll try brewing. Could trade or sell the excess.
    I have a lot of very sour wild cherry trees and red wild plums. They care for themselves once planted. I like the wild fruits for that reason. Cherry makes great pie and jelly. The plums make good jelly or wine. My grape started from cuttings are Thompson seedless, so we eat all we want fresh then dry the rest for rasins.
    I’m starting a lot of lavender this spring. It’s good to scent soap or lotions. Aroma therapy uses a lot of it. Flowers are pretty in bouquets. Some folks make tea with it. I’ll sell some plants then dried buds are going to local soap and lotions makers. I may even sew sachets to barter or sell. Sprigs will be pretty in candles also. Once planted, if covered for winter, they can live for years.
    There are things anyone can do toward that independent life many of us desire. I even buy marked down orchids and care for them. Most will soon rebloom to sell or grow tiny baby plants so you can multiply them. I have both going right now. Care is relatively easy but you do need east or north windows for the light source. I’m always looking for things I can multiply and sell. I’ll be growing more than we will eat or can so I can trade or sell excess. I often set out free things at church for anyone to take. Families save egg cartons for me. I set up an honor box on a table of produce out by the gate. Folks stop to buy what they want. It’s rare money isn’t left for an item and just once the box was emptied. I figured someone needed it more than I did. Eggs are in an ice chest and I want a shade over the table this year. I just go mist fruits and vegetables with water several times a day with a spray bottle.
    I can’t be too tied to a craft or art work at present but I keep looking for ways to make a bit of cash. I repurpose cabinet doors with cute sayings or fast art work on them. They sell well and are sometimes requested for gifts. I just did one last week as a wedding gift with names, date, a stylised house and the phrase bless this house.
    My son makes flint arrowheads and arrow shafts. He uses feathers from my chickens as fletching.
    What I’m pointing out is there is something everyone is able to do that can supplement or create an income. If your still paying on the land always aim to add some extra when you make the payment. I was paying double most months. Everything extra makes it pay off faster. That saves interest and makes it yours sooner. Of course we always have taxes to pay.
    I just aim to live quiet and peaceably. And keep adding each year to the stock of tools or plantings that help me live successfully off grid. I couldn’t take the entire property off grid initially but bit by bit that is the aim. I’ll be required to keep something connected so I’ll plug in the motor home I use for a guest house. That will satisfy the legal requirements. We have three ceptic systems all made larger than required. In nearly 40 years we had one tank pumped once and the other large one pumped twice. The smaller new one hasn’t needed pumped. We live too far from a town to be concerned about a sewer line going through. That is a plus. County and state regulations are stringent but we don’t have the added burden of city rules and taxes.
    There are many ways to find and buy rural land. My advice is decide carefully. Look at the taxes. What can or can’t you do with the land. How is it priced? What terms can you get for the purchase? Is there water? Is it worth drilling a well there? I am sitting above an underground river. Both wells hit the river and were just drilled 65 feet. It you aren’t on that river you may be drilling 300 foot dry holes. A proven well is a real plus.

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    • Armin March 20, 12:38

      This may be a stupid question, Clergylady, but I’m curious. We can do without a lot of things but not water. How did you manage to hit the underground river? Twice! Was it pure “blind” luck or did you use some method to let you know it was there?

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  23. Wannabe March 20, 01:03

    Tools, can’t dig a hole without a shovel at least. A pick is a big one too. What about splitting firewood? A good maule helps. Hand saw, files ( both for chainsaw and to sharpen an axe. And what about an axe? Hand tools are very important and can be used to do a lot of work for your self and for others. Sledgehammer can do a lot too. All of a sudden gold and silver can’t dig a ditch.

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    • Clergylady March 20, 14:59

      Someone made a private comment about the ceptic tanks being pumped. I had a 70 member church and 40 student K-12 school here for many years. That system was the one pumped twice in the 28 years since we built it. I add yeast now and then to all three tanks. I also don’t use much bleach that would go into the tanks. That can kill the action that breaks down everything and keeps it moving.
      I read the war comments. I guess its prudent to plan for those possibilities but I stay too busy to think a lot about that. My home is already off grid and I’m working toward getting the well I’m not currently using” off grid with a solar powered 12v system. I have many old time manual tools in the shop and in my kitchen. I grow a lot of what we eat. The aim is to have green houses and more intensive grow beds. I’d like to get purchases down to milk, flour, sugar, some spices, and oil and some beef once in a while. I’m aiming for nearly being food independent. I buy bulk and use it up and replace it before running out. For me it’s about security. I can more than we eat in most years but we just keep using up first in, first out, so things stay inside of optimal quality time. I ignore use by dates. They don’t mean much in reality.
      I’m not flippant about war. Don’t take that wrong. But I can’t change it. I vote. I pay my taxes. I have opinions. I used to write political opinion stuff. I certainly care. I’ve thought a lot about the what ifs. That’s why I’m taking this place off grid. But I like being pretty indpendant. I grow my garden and have the chickens, ducks, and rabbits for the joy of it.
      My husbands dementia ties me down but my desire to be here and enjoy life would have tied me back to my land anyway. An injury has sidelined me far too much this winter. I haven’t seen my critters since December. My friends in the trailer on my land are caring for them. I’m begining to walk some in the house without crutches but doing much has been beyond me. My garden is starting in containers everywhere. Most of the old beds need nothing more than a light weed pulling to be ready to plant when the time comes. The new areas my husband will help as long as I’m with him every minute. Otherwise he’ll forget what he’s doing and just stand there befuddled or take off hunting for me. We’ll make it and the garden will get put in. Then I need to start building the new hutch and pen for the chickens. Then I can start on something better for the ducks. I have an old boat someone abandoned here during the 12 years I was away. I plan to use the hull as a duck pond. That’s the only thing good about the boat. I have piles of used lumber for both projects. I’ll also build pens inside for my broody hens to raise chicks. Very young chicks can walk right through the holes in chicken wire and drive their mama’s nuts. I’ll use hardware cloth for them. I need to buy the hardware cloth and a narrow roll of chicken wire to lay on the ground flat all the way around the entire enclosure. It will be wired to the sidewall chicken wire. That’s to keep dogs, coyote, and skunks from digging in so easily.
      If the world goes crazy and decides to unleash Hell on us, I’ll hope my dugout rootceller/food storage room will be ready so we have a safer spot for a time. If prevailing winds stay true… We should be ok. The Air force base with bombs stored under a mountain lies many miles east of here. Usual winds are SSW to NE. That takes the downwind danger further away from me.
      I’ve seen some comments about hackers. I have to agree with the feelings involved. I’ve had one hard drive destroyed and lots of good saved information and correspondence lost to those useless people. My phone has been wiped back to factory specs twice in this past 12 months. Each time you loose something you wished to keep. This last time things came back but without access until I reconnected every little area by going in and finding it and answering yes to re do it all, step by painful frustrating step. Boiling in oil might be a bit light. Flaying then staking on an ant hill might be more satisfying.

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  24. Rj March 20, 21:59

    One thing I’ve never heard anyone talk about is condoms. Being pregnant wouldn’t be good in a crisis.

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  25. left coast chuck March 21, 05:50

    With regard to cigarettes, yes, they do get stale as time goes on, but for a smoker a stale cigarette is much preferred to no cigarette at all. They will not turn up their noses at stale cigarettes. In the 50s when I was in the Marine Corps our C-rations had Lucky Strike green cigarettes. The red circle supposedly had dyes in it that were important to the war effort so Lucky Strike changed the red circle to a green circle for the duration of the war. It was called “Lucky Strike goes to war with green” and was their advertising campaign during the war. In the mid 50s that meant that the green Lucky Strike packets in the C-rats were WWII vintage, ten years prior or earlier. Even though cigarettes were available at the PX when back on base, the C-rats cigarettes got smoked. Nobody that I knew threw them away. So I wouldn’t worry a whole lot about cigarettes going stale. In a time of crisis I would expect that cigarette usage and tobacco usage in general would expand. Folks who had managed to kick the habit would revert back because of the stress of the times. It seems as though in stressful times tobacco use increases rather than decreases. Any GI from WWII and just after the war will tell you in Europe and the Far East the hottest black market item was cigarettes. You could trade anything for them. I mean anything. Folks didn’t have enough to eat but would trade for cigarettes.

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    • WidowChic April 1, 20:47

      Hello left coast Chuck! I am a new prep or female 67 years old widowed, with two years experience. Unfortunately I live in a city of 250,000, I’m on Social Security, and I have to live month to month. I’m in a little apartment, first floor. I have stored about 13 gallons of tapwater, in plastic jug bottles. I’m worried about bacteria, or other critters getting into the water while it is stored for up to a year. Do I add a few drops of bleach to it each bottle? Do I have to dump it out and refresh it after a year? I buy what I can, have a few 25 year food packages, shovels, small solar charger, propane Coleman stove, etc. etc. I feel I could live for at least a few months as I don’t eat much. I love this website, I’m even starting to read prepping novels fiction. I enjoy them and I learn a lot. However, I’m not as prepared as clergy lady. I wish I could go live with her. I could take care of her husband. I was a nurses assistant specializing in dementia. I think I could pull my weight. Please answer my question about the water bottles? I’d hate to think that all my storing of water would be no good to use, or that I’d have to filter it through a straw filter that I have also. Please reply, I read this often. Thank you.

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      • left coast chuck March 26, 18:19

        Widowchic: Eight drops of bleach will sanitize one gallon of water. I would recommend putting in eight drops when you first store the water, especially if you are using city tap water to store. You can add the eight drops again when you open the water to use. You need to let the bleach sit in the water for 30 minutes before using it. There are instructions on Clorox bottles on how to sanitize water.

        If you still have utilities, you can boil the water before using it. You don’t have to boil it for ten minutes as most instructions state unless you are living in Denver or some other high altitude region. How long you need to boil the water depends upon your altitude. If you living below 1,000 feet you can just boil the water until it reaches a roiling boil and then take it off the heat. By the time it is cool enough to drink it will be clear of any organisms that inhabit this planet.

        You can also use the SODIS method of purifying water. I have copied a portion from the web. Look it up.

        “Solar water disinfection (‘SoDis’) is a type of portable water purification that uses solar energy to make biologically-contaminated (e.g. bacteria, viruses, protozoa and worms) water safe to drink.”

        Clean water never goes “bad.” If it had organisms in it to begin with, they may continue to develop but the water can be easily restored to a safe condition. Water will store longer in a cool dark space such as at the back of a closet. Store it in the coolest room of the house. The closet in the bedroom you never use or even under the bed and put the water bottle in a brown paper bag to cut off the light.

        Good luck with your preps.

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  26. Hoosier Homesteader March 25, 22:04

    I try to keep my life simple. Hand tools, food storage, toiletries, etc. The less complicated your stuff is, the better!
    I enjoyed this post, and all the comments even more! This is a great community!

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    • Josey Wales October 3, 20:53

      Mr. Chuck. You have no idea how much I wish that I could know you. You are an amazing wealth of knowledge! There are so many topics I’d like to learn from you and maybe give you some of my limited knowledge too. I wish you would move somewhat north and east. I also wish I could know you on a more personal level. You’re kinda my hero!

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  27. Clergylady April 2, 06:09

    Widow. 8 drops of bleach will make water pretty safe for storage. I just refill my containers with fresh well water three or four times a year and keep it out of sunshine. Light on untreated water will grow green slimy algie. The drops of bleach would stop that. I just have quite clean 38 degree well water and it keeps nice with just several changes a year. I use it up watering my plants then refill the container. Much like rotating food. First in, first out.
    The 2, 5 gallon containers are pretty hard for me to handle these day. Surgery on right forearm bones with metal and screws play nasty tricks on ones strength. The 2 1/2 gal water containers I purchased at Wal-Mart stack and lock together without being too heavy for my recuperating arm. If I find more I’ll pick them up.
    Watch for things that work for you. If you decide to try canning, tart fruits, jams or jellys, pickles, older varieties of tart tomatoes all benefit from the higher acid content helping to make them safe to store with water bath canning methods. Follow directions and recepies to stay safe. All the rest will need to be pressure canned or dehydrated or even frozen. I don’t freeze by choice but freezing provides wonderful foods. My solar array doesn’t provide for running a freezer. If someday I add more panels and battery storage I might consider adding a freezer. For now it’s a choice to live within my means.
    I grew up sundrying fruits and some vegetables. I’ve made a few workable solar dehydrators but I don’t have one here at present. We do get some summer rains so I’ll be aiming to build another one. I really do like the dried split green beans like my mother learned to make from her grandmother. Fresh picked green beans were cut down the middle almost to the stem end. Blanched in boiling water 1-2 minutes then hung on the clothesline to dry in the summer sun. When dried crispy hard. They were stored in glass jars. To use put some in boiling water with course chopped onions or some dried diced onion and boil till tender. Season with a bit of salt or crispy crumbled bacon. They are as almost meaty flavored. The drying does change the flavor but it’s a richer concentrated flavor. They are also good added to soups.
    It’s a matter of trying things and see what works for you and what you like. Mom liked coq a vin while my daughter prefers her chicken noodle soup. I like both but if I had my choice I’d have beef pot roast.

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  28. WidowChic April 2, 14:15

    ClergyLady: thank you so much for your reply. I don’t have much room to store things, although I would like to get into canning. I just don’t know where I would put it all. Your advice is well taken thank you again.

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  29. red October 4, 01:35

    Good advice, thank you. Small distilleries are available, like doctors once had to have. But, if you have copper sheeting, learn how to put it together after SHFT, when you’re less likely to be arrested just for owning a whiskey distillery 🙂 Best seal is a paste of flour, not lead!

    A lot of non-hybrid tobaccos will self-sow, if allowed, and tobacco is native in all of the lower 48 states, and now growing wild in Hawaii. It’s still considered one of the best healing agents a sacred-person has. niio

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  30. Arde January 15, 18:44

    You sure want to have enough silver aside to pay your taxes on your land, because in all reality we do not own it mortgage paid and all

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  31. red March 26, 17:50

    Tobacco, alcohol, hard candies, anything people need to remember better days. As long as the seal is secure, powdered cocoa should keep a long time as it’s defatted and processed with lime. Honey is a major item. It can be kept for centuries. Vanilla extract and intimation maple syrup kept sealed. Both come in small bottles and store well. Whole seed spices sealed in bottles and jar; most are from outside the country and have to be sterilized, which means no insect infestations. Coffee, whole bean, sealed in bags or canned, will keep for years. Tea, bricks, must be sealed or it grows stale. niio

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  32. rick March 26, 21:26

    Don’t forget Pot seeds…………………

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  33. Dennis April 20, 21:17

    I’d like to lighten the mood a little bit. During the Corona virus, I got a job on weekends picking groceries for people buying them online. I’ve come to believe that if I were to show up to an SHTF barter or negotiation with a box of Cap’n Crunch cereal, I could name my price! Even at 4 weeks, there is not a single box to find. Also, if you show up with a plate of oven fresh biscuits or rolls, everyone you meet will be your friend. Hah!

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    • red April 21, 04:48

      Sounds good, but some how I get this picture in my mind of Hillary the Beast using oven mitts to hold a pan of cold cookies. Scary, very scary. niio 🙂

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  34. Chuckster59 April 21, 20:26

    What about having coffee in the small single serving packets? Delicious, easy to make (just add water) and an easy barter item.

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  35. Valley November 8, 01:12

    I know a rancher who paid $9 extra a month and took years right off of his 30 yr loan.

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