February 24, 2014
By Gaye Levy
Three years ago, I wrote about our deteriorating economy. As I recall, the words were “current lousy economy”. The good news is that so far, a global economic meltdown has been abated. And the bad?
From what I can determine by simply opening my eyes and looking around, we are nowhere near the recovery that politicians and the economists in their hip pocket are touting. If anything, we are barreling forward to a collapse not unlike the big crash of 1929.
I say this without intending to invoke fear. Quite the contrary. Living in fear is simply not my thing. Okay, I lied. I do fear the ramifications of Fukushima. But other than that, surviving an economic meltdown is something that I will do by continuing to build up my supplies, skills and knowledge so that I can soldier through whatever the bad guys (and you know who I mean) toss my way.
So How Bad is Bad?
Who is to say? I am lousy at textbook economics. I prefer to look around and be observant of the families around me. I watch what people are putting into their grocery carts and mostly, I read all of the comments and emails that are sent to me from Backdoor Survival readers around the world.
I see a lot of financial downsizing. I see people making the decision to pay for food or for medicine but not for both. I also see vacant storefronts while the thrift stores are doing a booming business. Most of all I see a thirst for learning how to do things the “old fashioned way” or like the Amish, the Native Americans, or our grandparents during the great depression.
I read things like 10 Stories From The Cold, Hard Streets Of America That Will Break Your Heart and my heart does indeed break. It is almost as though suffering has become invisible in power elite and upper class circles.
The Future Looks Bleak
Why? Here are some of the reasons:
- There is a continued lack of employment opportunities for those that are currently unemployed of underemployed. Or, sad to say, old of age but not of spirit
- Droughts, freakish storms and other natural disasters are affecting the viability of farmlands resulting in increased costs for for food
- Out of sight fuel costs affect transportation and heating costs
- The cost of health insurance, for many, has doubled if not tripled
- Devaluation of homes and real property continues in many parts of North America
- Cities are declaring bankruptcy and reneging on public employee pensions
- Crimes against persons (knifings, murders, even road rage) indicate a barometer of frustration and malcontent among citizens in almost every modern, first world country
These are just a few indications that an economic meltdown of horrific proportions could be on its way. (And since I am an economics knucklehead, I won’t get into the technical reasons having to do with the way monetary policies affect the economy. To me, the anecdotal and real-time experiences with real people are good enough).
Oh sure, there are pockets of economic growth here and there. But for the most part, I see and sense a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness when it comes to money and matters relating to the economy. As much as I hate to admit it, even I feel that the middle class life I have known most of my adult years will never be the same. Pretty depressing when you think about it.
What to do?
Prepping and learning to become self-sufficient are a good start. The problem, though, is that you can store water and food, stow away some cash or even gold, and insulate yourself from short-term off grid situations. But what happens if the economic meltdown lasts longer than six months or or a year?
I feel that the only solution is to embrace a lifestyle where consumption is kept to a minimum. And to that end, here are some tips that I have been noodling around (in no particular order).
1. Reduce housing costs. This may mean taking in borders or sharing your home with extended family members. Are you renting a large home or large apartment? Take it down a notch.
2. Manage food costs. Stock up when you see a great sale. Double up and by two instead of one, or three instead of two, and so on.
3. Create a mini-store in your own home and shop from your own supplies. Your pantry will become your friend when money or supplies are short. Don’t forget sundry items and personal items as well as food when it comes to stocking your home based mini-market.
4. Only purchase foods that you will eat. This is related to #3 above. Don’t purchase canned Spam if you will not eat it. That is just silly.