Category Archives: Economics
By: Tom Chatham
Any size homestead that fulfills your needs is a good size but here are some things to look at when designing one. Different people desire different things and that will determine how much land you need.
I have determined that 7 acres is a good size small homestead that can provide all of the items you need to be self sufficient to a large degree.
Two acres for a wood lot
One acre for buildings, garden, orchard
Two acres for pasture
Two acres for grain crops
Two acres of mature timber will produce about 1.5 to 2 cords of wood per year sustainably. That will provide you with wood for cooking and heating during the winter months.
One acre is enough for a home and out buildings, a large garden and a small orchard. This will provide enough food not only for your family but extra to sell.
Two acres for pasture will provide enough grass for two cows. A milk cow and a beef cow to provide dairy products and meat throughout the year.
Two acres will produce enough grain for your family’s needs and extra to feed hogs or chickens and still have extra to sell.
The amount of acreage you need will depend mainly on the systems you decide to have for food production and how much extra you want to produce for sale but the 7 acres outlined above will satisfy the needs of most people. It is important to understand that different people will have different needs. Some people may not want to produce meat for consumption and elect to rely on a vegan diet. This would require much less land, while others may want to produce excess meat for sale that requires more land.
Whatever you decide your ultimate goal will be, this 7 acre plot is a good starting point to insure you allow room for the production systems you plan to use. A farm of this size is within the ability of just about anybody in terms of cost and work load. The ability to produce food, shelter, products to sell and even a large portion of your energy needs can provide a good nights sleep when the world around you ceases to function as normal.
A homestead of this type can not only provide a means of income but provide a survival position to insure your family has the basics they need if financial difficulties grip the world once again. Having little money on hand becomes less of a problem if your needs are provided for internally. This is something many people never think about until they suddenly find themselves in desperate need of resources.
Most people work for a paycheck to provide enough income to buy the resources they need on a daily basis. The more resources you provide for yourself the less income you will need to produce. Producing a dollars worth of resources for yourself is worth much more than a dollar when you take into account taxes, transportation costs and other assorted expenses associated with making that dollar at an off sight job. Producing most of your resources internally can greatly reduce the income you need to get by which is becoming harder every day for many people.
Something as simple as a small homestead can provide you with many benefits depending on your situation. It can provide relaxation from a fast paced world, a retirement home to reduce expenses, a means to produce extra income or an escape when chaos engulfs the world. Building a small homestead does not have to be expensive or difficult. All it requires is a solid plan and the will to make it happen.
By: Tom Chatham
As the world begins its next adventure in financial chaos and rolls over to expose its soft underbelly of lies and deceit that have been perpetrated on the public, those that see the truth have been warning the people once again. You can give people the truth but you cannot make them believe it. That is for them to come to grips with.
Trade wars are usually bad for all parties in the end but between the beginning and the end there can be some surprising developments. Human actions and delusions on the part of the public can produce strange results at times. All of our systems are based on trust. When that trust is lost, everything will come crashing down. Until then, things will go on.
If trade tariffs with China have the short term effect of creating American jobs, that could have a wealth effect by creating more disposable income in American pockets. That in turn can have a positive effect on the stock market and consumer confidence. Also, commodities are set to soar in price soon and this could carry the stock market up with it for a while.
Richard Russell once said he believed we would have a third leg in the current bull market before the bears take charge. He was right in the past and could be right again, only time will tell. This situation can not last long due to the enormous mal-investment built up in the system over many decades. A house of cards will eventually fall and the taller the house the longer and harder the fall will be.
One thing that could destroy the temporary high could be the destruction of the financial system due to loss of the reserve currency status and the replacement of the petrodollar system. If and when that happens things will not be looking good for America for a very long time. China is taking actions that could result in just that type of outcome. Their new silk road initiative and oil trading system utilizing Yuan to gold will eventually have serious consequences for Americas standard of living.
Total debts and derivatives in the world amount to 30-50 times of world GDP. The bulk of this is derivatives and when they fail they will become worthless. The 250 trillion or so in global debt will default when asset prices implode and interest rates explode. When the debt bubble explodes stocks could decline by as much as 95%. Interest rates could exceed the 20% rates we saw in the 1970’s.
In the last 100 years the value of major currencies have declined by 97-99 % relative to purchasing power in gold. The last 1-3% will follow very soon. When the financial system collapses due to losses from derivatives and stocks it will erase all of the savings, and retirement funds people were expecting to get at some future date. This will instantly impoverish the bulk of the population.
As the system collapses the banks will likely try to re-inflate assets by massive money printing which will only cause hyperinflation at some point. As hyperinflation kicks in the price of many assets like stocks, bonds, investment properties and art will likely collapse in real terms. Items like gold, silver and productive farmland will likely fare better.
Eventually deflation will carry all asset prices down as the world falls into a global depression, possibly for decades. All of these things will likely result in social unrest and wars as people become hungry and angry at a system they took for granted for so many years. The trust will be broken and people will look for something else to believe in.
One thing is for certain. People today believe anything but reality and that will catch up to them all very soon in a very painful way. Things work until they don’t. Our economy has been rolling along for decades on the stored wealth of previous generations but that is about to run out of steam very soon. When it does it will be a shock to all but a few. You can ignore reality but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.
By: Tom Chatham
Numerous economists and investors are warning of another great financial crisis to come but few people want to listen to them. No crisis is ever exactly like the last one and the next great depression will be different from the last one. In the last depression those who had money were in a good financial position to ride it out but the next depression will see those with fiat money drowning in it as it becomes worthless.
Very few Americans have any significant savings today. Most live on credit and those with savings have it stored in financial instruments that will be wiped out as the bankers collapse the system to hide the theft they have been involved in for decades. Those who think they will retire with their IRA, pensions or social security will suddenly find them all gone never to return leaving them with no means to care for themselves.
The west line has moved to Asia. This means that North America is no longer the shipping center of the world. The consequences of this for Americans will be disastrous. This means our economy in the future will be smaller and slower and will result in a standard of living far below what it currently is.
Those that own very few assets free and clear will become the new homeless as they become jobless and default on all of their credit obligations. All of the social safety nets that exist now to keep people fat and happy will fail leaving mobs of people to roam the streets to seek out what they need to survive. One only has to look at Venezuela today to see where this will all lead.
The basic minimum wage in Venezuela today is $7 dollars a month. Not a day or a week but a month. Those that hold local currency see it devalue on a daily basis making things increasingly worse as time goes on. Had any of these people stored some of their wealth in gold they would have the ability to live a little easier as the economy collapses. One ounce of gold in the hands of a Venezuelan today would last them for years. This is a lesson we all need to heed.
Simply storing some of your wealth in gold and silver is no cure all but it is part of a bigger strategy to insure you do not have to suffer as many will in the coming years due to their blind faith in their belief the government will care for them. Keep in mind that the government is actually controlled by the same people that will destroy your standard of living so why would they care about your suffering.
Understanding what will likely happen and insuring you have a plan to deal with it is the only hope you will have of coming through the coming bad years in tact. Those who trust in government or only live for today will reap what they sow and it will be unpleasant at best if they survive at all. A simple strategy to insure you do not suffer does not have to be expensive or complicated. The best plans are simple and allow you to adapt to the changing times. If you invest in a simple, inexpensive plan and the world somehow goes on as normal, you will not be any worse for the investment but if things takes an unexpected turn and your plan becomes necessary, it will allow you to survive the crisis much better than the bulk of the population.
The strategy I outlined in The American Dream Lost is a basic plan that will work for just about anyone but is mainly designed for those that have only a few thousand dollars to draw on in an emergency. That is to say it is designed for the majority of Americans that have little money. It is important to understand that a plan of this type is an insurance policy against bad times that can do great harm to you and your family and needs to be understood in that light.
One of the worst problems people have is that when something bad begins to happen they attempt to continue living as they always have and ignore the future consequences until it is too late to do anything meaningful about it. If a person loses their job they continue to live as they always have using up their small savings in the hope that things will change for the better before they run out of money. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose, it depends on how lucky they are. This type of mentality often leads people to the point where they run out of money and only then do they try to come up with a plan. The problem is, by then they have no resources left to enact a plan with. This is what you need to avoid.
When your economic situation suddenly changes for the worse you need to immediately sit down and determine what the future is likely to look like. It is good to be optimistic but if the chances of finding a new job are not very good you need to decide how best to use what resources you have to maintain a decent living standard. You may have to make some very difficult choices but the option of doing nothing could be very harmful in the long run. For those that decide radical steps may be needed to continue caring for their family the following list is a good place to start.
Buy a years supply of basic foods and supplies that store easily
Buy some durable clothing for future use
Buy an older vehicle for cash that can pull a trailer
Buy a good used camper trailer for cash that can house your family
Buy a weapon and ammo for protection and hunting purposes
Buy a few rolls of silver coins to preserve wealth and act as an emergency fund
What this gives you is the ability to continue caring for your family even in the worst of situations if everything is lost to creditors. They will have food, shelter, clothing, transportation, security and the ability to buy critical items that are needed at some future time. Convincing your family they have to move to a camper for a while would not be easy but the alternative of being homeless would make it an easy choice. The fact that thousands of people all across America are at this very moment living in tents near large population centers is proof enough it can happen.
Depending on your shopping skills all of these things can be secured for under $5,000 dollars and much less if you have time to look for bargains. Your plan may be slightly different depending on the resources and skills you have. You may have access to a small piece of land you own somewhere that a cabin can be built on or you may have the skills to retrofit a van body truck or enclosed trailer for living in. In situations like this skills are worth as much as gold coins.
When the next great depression hits it will be unlike anything we have lived through before. Nothing will be as it seems and only those that have the resources to adapt will come through it whole. Preparation is the key to adapting to future events and those without resources will reap a bitter harvest as they struggle to survive. No announcements will be made, no warnings will be given by the establishment, it will just suddenly happen out of the blue and everyone will say it was unpredictable. But those who prepared will know better.
By: Tom Chatham
The bulk of the money and credit we use today is created by bankers and politicians. Fiat money is a way for those in control to siphon wealth away from the working class in ways that most people cannot understand. Through taxes, inflation and predatory lending practices the population is systematically impoverished.
It has become difficult if not impossible for the average person to survive without access to money on a daily basis. Everything we do costs money and your access to it is your lifeline. Few people today pay with cash. This makes it easier for those controlling the technology we use to control the amount of access we have to our money. Electronic money also makes it easier to create money and credit out of thin air. The governments monetary policy can make life easy or hard depending on their actions.
Venezuela is a good example today. Most of the population is going hungry because their money is near worthless and they have little of it to buy necessities. Capital controls enacted by the government to keep prices down have done what they always do, created shortages. This is only true for the average person though. The wealthy and well connected can still get anything they want on a daily basis. Those with the money or control do not have to contend with the problems of the masses that rely solely on fiat money.
Those that control the money supply can devalue the currency, reduce access to it or destroy it completely at will. This is the ever present threat that a controlled money supply has on the population. It is for this reason that society needs to realize how much peril they are in and take proactive measures to protect themselves from the actions that will surely come in the future as the economic system collapses from abuse of the monetary system as it is.
Gold and silver have been used as money for 5,000 years and are not controlled by any one person or country. They are the true world currencies that are stable by their very nature and people should once again embrace as the method to free themselves from the control of others. Most people today do not understand gold and silver because they have been slowly removed from the monetary system for the simple reason that people who hold this kind of wealth cannot be completely controlled by those in power.
This kind of wealth cannot be tracked, created out of thin air, or otherwise subverted by individuals because of its universal acceptance and ease of storage and portability. It can be traded between individuals privately, hidden for years just about anywhere and cannot be devalued by overproduction.
There was a man where I grew up that owned a store on the river. He acquired a small pile of gold coins over the years through normal business dealings. When the government called in all the gold in 1933 he kept his gold coins and hid them. In the 1970’s he sold these coins at a greatly inflated price. He was able to do this because the government did not know what he had. That is the beauty of gold and silver and why governments hate them so.
If you can feed yourself, protect yourself and carry wealth in a form that is free of government interference then you are largely beyond the control of the government in many ways and this is what they fear most.
To control the population the government only has to control the money and people will be forced to bow to their will. If people cannot get the things they need they will become desperate and desperate people are ripe for manipulation. This is the danger society faces if they have no alternative currency system in times of unrest. Holding gold and silver give individuals the power to resist government intrusion and manipulation and maintain their freedom.
If every household in America held three ounces of gold and a few dollars in silver currency, the nation would have sufficient real money to function in the absence of fiat monies. This idea may take some time to wrap your brain around but it is really that easy. The difficulty many have is trying to imagine todays prices in fiat money compared to the fiat price of gold and silver.
Many people today, especially government workers, make 50, 100 even 150 thousand dollars a year and the price of goods in the economy reflect those wages. One hundred years ago an average person only made about 600 dollars a year but that money was gold and silver money and the price of goods in the economy reflected those wages. This is what the average person needs to understand.
The people can be controlled by the government by manipulation of the fiat currency and this control will continue and increase in the future. The only way to break free of this manipulation is to hold real money that government cannot control or track. In the future the ability to engage in free market commerce will depend on your ability to hold and use real money that is not controlled by government but by free market principles. Your ability to survive a situation like the one in Venezuela may depend on your ability to pay for goods in gold and silver. That is something that is entirely under your control.
By: Tom Chatham
Many people that want to be prepared for disasters hesitate because of the potential cost of many items. This is because many people look at the ideal amount of materials to have on hand instead of starting with the basics and building on that over time. How many people have you seen following the recent hurricanes that do not have even the most basic things to stay alive?
Every time we have a weather event approaching we see people rush out to spend inordinate amounts of money on things like generators and bottled water when thy could provide these items for much less money if they only took time to plan ahead. When we have a weather event coming I fill a few one gallon jugs with water and set them in the corner in case I need them. Boom, water supply, done, for free. I have several different inverters to use if I need power during an outage. Even a simple plan ahead of time can have a large impact following an event. Here is a small list of things I came up with that a family could store for a small amount of money that would allow them to get through a crisis for 30 days.
2 LED bulbs
300watt power inverter
50’ extension cord
20watt solar panel
4 – 42oz. Oatmeal
10lb. Pancake mix
30 cans vegetables
2 – 30gal. Trash cans
2 – 30gal. food grade plastic liners
2 – 20lb. Propane cylinders filled
Gas grill or propane camp stove
5gal. Sanitation bucket with lid
15 – 5gal. plastic waste bags
4 – rolls toilet paper
The cost of these items will vary depending on how and where you shop. I can purchase all of these items for about $282 dollars. What does this give you?
You can use your car as a generator and battery supply to power a few lights and a TV or radio for a few hours a day. The solar panel allows you to use minimal power without having to run the car thus saving gas which may be hard to get at that point. The use of a larger inverter will allow you to power items such as freezers for a few hours a day to keep items frozen but may require the running of your car a few hours a day to maintain maximum battery charge.
This basic food supply can provide 4 people with two basic meals a day for a month.
The two trash cans can store 60 gallons of water providing ½ gallon a day per person for 4 people for a month. These can be filled from a faucet in the home costing you much less than bottled water from the store which may be in short supply.
The propane and stove allows for cooking of meals for the month. It can also provide a heat source for short periods of time.
The sanitation bucket and liners allows for waste disposal for 4 people for a month when conventional systems may not be functioning.
This is all very basic and does not seem too much for the average person to acquire yet very few people have even these basic items. If everyone stored just these few things there would be much less desperation immediately following a disaster. This list may differ from family to family but it gives you an idea of what things you need to provide for and a basic way to go about it.
Your preparations will vary depending on your particular circumstances. If you live in an apartment and connecting to your car is not an option you may want to buy a deep cycle battery and trickle charger to keep it fully charged. Then when you need it you can hook a 100watt solar panel and inverter to it for a stand alone power supply. Your options are only limited by your finances and imagination.
I can understand people being desperate for food and water if their home was washed away or burned to the ground but many of the desperate people we see still have a home to some extent but had no supplies to get them through the aftermath. It also bothers me to see people standing in line for hours just to buy overpriced bottled water when it is so easy to fill a few containers beforehand. I understand city water is not that good but a simple water filter can take care of that.
From an economic standpoint things are not going to get much better than they are now so you should take this opportunity to prepare at least at a basic level. Your wellbeing and that of your family will almost certainly depend on it in the future at some point.
A wise man learns from his mistakes. A genius learns from the mistakes of others.
By: Tom Chatham
Most people say they want to be free but will also say we must do as we are told. They see government controls as safety from the world surrounding them. You cannot be free and be under someone’s total control at the same time. They force compliance by threatening to take away the things you need.
The more independent from the system you are the less control they have on you. The less stuff you need the less money you will need. The less money you need the less dependant you will be on the source of that money and the financial system in general.
I have said before that in order to solve some of our problems, we need 20% of the people going back to live on small family farms. Living on a small farm reduces the amount of things you are dependant on from others.
A farm provides you with shelter, food, energy, clothing and employment just to name a few. Providing these things for yourself should not be underestimated when it comes to having more freedom. The more power you have over your life the more freedom you have.
You can build a home to live in of any shape and size without many of the rules and regulations that hamper city living. Governments like everything to conform to their visions and they could care less what you want. Many areas force you to build homes of a certain size and type to insure you will be paying sufficient property taxes every year.
On a farm you can grow the types of food you want without all of the pesticides and chemicals now used. You can produce your own electricity with solar and wind or fuels like biodiesel and ethanol from your own crops. You can choose to home school your kids and teach them a vocation at the same time. You can make some of your own clothes from the leather, wool or cotton you produce. You can free yourself from the bondage of working for a company where you could be fired at any time for any reason.
Being more independent does not mean you need a 200 acre farm. A small 5 or 10 acre farm will provide most of the things you need to get by and even excess to sell for income. By taking control of your life you inevitably achieve more freedom as time goes on.
As the government gets deeper into debt they will ultimately become more repressive as they try to strip assets away from individuals in order to stay afloat. The more dependant you are on the system, the easier it will be for them to do this. Those with no other recourse will have to grin and bear it. It does not have to be this way for you if you depend less on the system.
Being independent will allow you to stand your ground as others falter in the face of shortages and chaos. Being independent gives you options that the dependant will not have. You will have strength instead of fear.
When you have freedom you have the ability to follow your conscience instead of doing as you are told. Desperate people will often resort to desperate actions that lead to totalitarian practices. The only weapon that can defeat this is independence from the oppressive system some wish to impose on you.
The amount of freedom you possess is directly correlated to the amount of independence you have from controlled systems that are designed to keep you compliant. In the coming months this will become more evident to many that thought they had freedom just to find it was just an illusion. As governments at all levels become desperate to maintain their control and income, they will devolve into more despotic rule of the masses as they try to strip away the few remaining assets they can get their hands on. Those that do not have the means to resist will lose everything including their lives.
By: Tom Chatham
Rural America is dying a slow and miserable death but only the local inhabitants seem to notice. It was happening slowly but now it is happening faster. The crown jewels of the rural areas, the graduating children, are leaving and taking their potential with them. As rural businesses shut down and opportunities dwindle, younger people are leaving to seek out greener pastures. That is a travesty for small towns and the traditions they have maintained for generations.
There are two main reasons why the youth of America are leaving small towns. One is the economy and the other is the social environment. There are no good jobs and there is nothing to do outside of work. Growing youth need to be kept busy with something and lacking that they will seek out excitement. When the community they grow up in fails to provide them with the opportunities they need they eventually leave and never come back. This is leading to ever smaller towns that are beginning to disappear as the older generation dies off.
If rural communities want to reverse this trend they will have to solve those two problems. They will need to promote locally owned businesses to provide the jobs needed to keep people from moving to cities and they will need to provide a certain amount of entertainment to keep the youth happy.
Multinational companies have stripped the economic base out of small towns as the profits from these businesses get sent to wall street instead of being held locally providing capital for growth and innovation. Smaller local operations employing 5 to 10 people can capitalize on local resources to provide good paying jobs to entice the youth so they can stay local and start a family there. Replacing a few multinational companies with dozens of local operations will make the local area more resilient during economic downturns and insure local access to products produced there.
This type of return to a local economy will happen eventually anyway if economic conditions deteriorate to the point of cutting off goods and services to rural areas. Out of necessity these areas will reconstitute an economic base to provide necessities to the population unless government gets in the way. Multinational companies will pull out and go to where the money is in the world leaving the impoverished towns in their wake after having stripped them economically.
At that point the only question is whether the town is still big enough to rebuild a local economy or if the aging population will simply see the end of the community. With no youth to help rebuild the economy it will likely signal the end.
It has been said that the most important thing a farmer raises are a set of children with a good work ethic and a set of moral values. These two things are something that the current youth is desperately missing in America. As more people migrate to larger cities to find the life they seek, their urban children are left to their own devices as both of their parents work full time to provide a home where children no longer need to have a job and are entertained by the moral codes prevalent in the urban areas. This is creating a generation of entitlement minded youths that provide little value to their communities.
With fewer of these youths growing up in rural areas, the values that helped build this country are becoming obsolete. A new paradigm is building that will ultimately tear this country apart as the old world with its traditions and the new world with its entitlements fight for control. As the song says, you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything, is a lesson today’s youth will have to learn through bitter experience.
As rural areas go, so goes the nation. The destruction of our rural heritage will signal the coming of a new paradigm that is not sustainable and will provide no hope for future generations. Unfortunately, that is what certain groups are hoping for. The destruction of the nuclear family will provide a future of chaos and confusion and allow a select few to maintain power over the many. Unless there is a shift back to rural communities and local production soon, the future of this country will be very different from the past, and not for the better.
By: Tom Chatham
The black market is merely the free market operating in the shadows when government rules and regulations become so oppressive that everything begins to seize up and all commerce and production stop. People can be very creative when there are needs to be filled but government has a way of destroying that potential as they try to maintain control as they slowly lose power.
As the government destroys the economy, people will only play along for so long before they seek out the things they need from any source, legal or not. This is where the free market rises up in the shadows to fulfill those needs. Rules and regulations are no substitute for actual goods and services but this is a notion that is lost on politicians.
When goods begin to disappear from the marketplace, people will try to cope until things get better. But as goods get harder to find, not easier, people will seek them out from those that have them to offer. Those with the resources to provide these goods will soon appear in back alleys and the back of vehicles to sell their goods to anyone with the means to buy them.
Prices will often be higher than before due to supply and demand principles. If you have excess resources at this time you will be in a position to operate an underground business that can likely provide you with a good living. For those that desire those resources, a means to pay for them will be required. In most cases the paper currency normally used may be worthless at some point. Those that do not possess an alternative form of money will likely be left in want. This is the cold hard reality we must live with.
For those that do no see potential supply disruptions soon enough and lay in a supply of goods or alternative payment means, they will suffer from lack of goods they need for their very existence. Unfortunately this will be the fate of a majority of the population that expects things to always be as normal or the government to care for them. You do not want to be one of these people.
Setting aside extra supplies is a reasonable thing to do in these uncertain times. Having excess in a few items will allow you to trade for items later that you had not planned on or for services that cannot be stored for later use.
When systems collapse and black markets arise a good means of exchange can be found in gold and silver. These metals are universal stores of value and can be used to get many types of goods and services in desperate times. Those storing even a few silver coins will be in a better position to deal in the black market for items than someone with household items to trade. In desperate times some things are just worth more than others.
By understanding the dynamics that take place in a functioning black market you can position yourself to function with it and insure access to the things you need. Those selling on the black market are providing goods that are difficult to obtain in the legal marketplace. For this reason you will pay a premium for what you want
The prices may not seem fair to you but this is how the free market works and that is what you need to be prepared for if you want to get what you need. That is why you need to store some gold and silver for trade if you ever have to deal on the black market.
Why gold and silver? Because they are already recognized as a universal medium of exchange. Gold and silver are the best all around mediums of trade because they are compact wealth that can be stored for as long as you need.
There are other goods you can store that will be valuable depending on the specific circumstances. Things like storable food, medicine, booze, fuel, tobacco products and chocolate have proven to be good trading mediums in some cases. It all depends on the prevailing circumstances you find yourself in and how long the troubles persist.
When the current bubble economy collapses there will be a transition period between the time the bubbles burst and the time that prices stabilize with the introduction of a new currency. It is in this period that you need to have the means to acquire the goods you need. You must have a physical medium of exchange that exists outside of government and banking control. The current war on cash is a way to stifle any black market activity following a currency crisis keeping people dependent on banking services under government control.
Gold and silver provide a means to operate within a black market but outside of government controls. Those holding gold and silver will also find some very good deals that could set them up for success following stabilization if they have the means to take advantage of these deals during the turmoil. When the normal market collapses for whatever reason, you need to be in a position to function in the world that follows.
By: Tom Chatham
One thing many homesteaders and farmers need is extra income, especially if they are new to the area. It can be difficult getting a market established if you have to compete with others that are veterans to the local market. Producing a product is usually easier than finding enough return customers to make the farm sustainable. In this situation you need to think of unconventional services and products you can provide to fill the financial gap.
Rent RV storage space- There are many people that have RV’s or camper trailers for traveling or even bug out use if the need arises. These people may not have the room to store these items where they live or an economical place to store them. By providing a few parking spaces in an out of the way area on your land you can give them a cheap alternative.
Rent storage lockers- It seems everywhere you go these days you see storage units. One way to separate yourself from the pack is to offer these services to urban and suburban preppers that may not have a place to bug out if things get bad in the cities and need a place for their extra stuff. A 20’ cargo container makes a great storage locker and a potential temporary shelter.
Sell bulk grains to individuals- If you only grow a few acres of grains you want to get the maximum price for them so why not sell directly to people who want to store bulk grains. These people are usually willing to pay prices that are premium for the farmer but still lower than people can get from retailers. If you can process these grains as well into flour, cornmeal or rolled oats, you can get even better prices from potential customers.
Make your farm a vacation destination- If you have sufficient area to park a few RV’s or camping sites, your farm could become a seasonal vacation site for some people. If you can also offer things like a small store, horseback riding, swimming pool, fishing or hiking then you have something to draw people in. You could even offer the “farm experience” where they help slop the pigs, collect eggs or milk the cow.
Bug out site for urban dwellers- You could go one step further with the RV parking space and allow extra footage so a person could park their RV, have a storage unit and have room to plant a garden. This might be very appealing to many preppers that see the need to get out of the cities at some point but have no place to go long term.
Just over an acre of land can provide 12 50’x75’ blocks for rent. A road down the center of the area with blocks on either side and a gravel pad down one side of each block to place the storage container and park the RV is all that is needed. At $75 per month per block, a farmer could potentially make $10,800 per year if all blocks are rented. For the price of a monthly cable bill you could provide someone with storage space and a place to camp anytime they wanted.
When you have to compete with others in a small market, it may be necessary to find that niche that others do not see that you can fill. With the large number of preppers scattered around the country, this segment of society may be a good demographic to target for services they cannot find elsewhere.
We see offers for food storage and survival land for sale but seldom do you see anything in between that people with limited funds can afford. A bugout camping site on a farm may look very appealing to many on a limited budget that see the need. If the need ever arose the farmer would have likeminded people on site that would be of great benefit to him. If the world suddenly turns into a lemon, it would be good to have people around to help make lemonade.
By: Tom Chatham
Many Americans have been in dire straits for the past 8 years since the last economic implosion. Many still do not have full time jobs and some do not even have part time jobs. These people have been left behind while Washington plows ahead as if everything is just fine. To those with government jobs life is just fine. When times are bad it helps to have a guaranteed paycheck regardless if you produce any meaningful work in society.
For those that need employment all they are greeted with is a chorus of go get a job from elitists. That is easier said than done in many cases. When you are confronted with a need to earn money, you need a plan to make it happen. When jobs are hard to find then you need to think outside of the box and create a job for yourself. Having good luck is great but for the rest of us brainstorming is a must to find a niche to fill.
To brainstorm, all you need to do is take a sheet of paper and pencil and begin writing out a list of things you know how to do, things you have the tools to do it with and things you think are an unserved need in your area. Once you have a good long list start looking over it and assess the potential of each item.
Typical ways to make extra money are to offer a service that people in your area may need such as lawn maintenance, tree trimming, small engine repair, auto repair, welding or handy man services. These are some tried and true jobs that work just about anywhere. This is a way to cash in on some of your hobbies or special talents such as wood working, sewing, riding lessons or teaching a musical instrument.
For the last two decades, the internet has provided people with ways to earn extra money through web design, web sites and e commerce sites to name a few. New technology is always welcome when making extra money requires new ideas.
One problem many people will run into these days is the fact that many ways of earning extra income are service related jobs that depend on a good economy and people that have money to spare. When the economy gets bad the types of jobs will shift to things that people must have or will save them money by having you do it.
In a bad economy certain things happen like cars and homes get repossessed. The people who end up with these items may need someone to clean them up for resale, repair items or maintain the location until it is sold. You can sometimes find these kinds of jobs by talking to your local banker. Many people may find these types of jobs distasteful but if you need the money you’ll have to make a decision.
The first things people will seek to satisfy are food, shelter and clothing. These are the primary needs of humans. So in a bad economy something that fills one of these needs is a good choice if you can provide an economical price in your location. Growing some food to sell, converting your garage into a small apartment to rent out or mending clothes are good examples. If you are good with cars you might be able to buy cheap cars to fix up and resell for a small profit. In a bad economy many people will be looking to get a cheap car because they need transportation but cannot afford a newer one.
What services or products do you look for when your money is tight and you need to stretch it out? Is there something there that you can provide for others? We all hope things get better but if history is any indicator, things will likely get much worse before they improve substantially. The west line has shifted from North America to Asia. The west line indicates where the shipping center of the world is at any given time. Once it shifts away from a country that location will suffer the types of economic degradation we are now witnessing in the U.S. We can try to get some of our jobs back but that ship has sailed so we must learn to work with a smaller, slower economy if we are to survive as a nation.
Many people will not want to hear that but the truth hurts. Those that understand the dynamics of this phenomenon will be better able to cope with the new reality and plan their future to deal with it. This means understanding what products and services people will need and having a plan to provide them as the economy continues to be unstable for years to come until some type of equilibrium is achieved.
Many people have dreamed of being their own boss and running their own business. The economy we see unfolding will make it imperative for you to have more control of your income opportunities. Taking some time now to evaluate your current finances and developing a plan to insure your family has the things they will need will determine your standard of living in the coming years. Failure to plan now will likely end in a lower standard of living for you and force you to navigate the many difficulties ahead with far fewer resources.