Wealth Building Habits for The Little Guy

By: Tom Chatham

Regardless of how much you earn it is always possible to save and build wealth little by little until it amounts to something substantial. Most people are in a hurry for everything. They want it right now and that mentality makes it impossible to deploy a long term plan to get where they want to be.

There are those that suddenly get rich but they are not typical of the average guy. The average guy needs a plan to get where they want to be and that plan will rely on certain habits to build wealth. The more money you save and the more wealth you build up, the more opportunities that will open up to you.

With the current economic situation threatening to get worse before it gets better it is even more important now to start utilizing some good habits that will help you . Good financial habits will help you get to the other side of any financial crisis in better shape than those around you. These habits will also allow you to see the long term picture and take advantage of opportunities that come about even in bad times.

Develop a stream of income- This is typically your primary income but it should also encompass any opportunities you come across that can increase your net worth. It can be a reoccurring payment or an occasional boost from opportunities that present themselves on occasion.

Increase ownership of productive real assets- You need to save for the future and that savings should be in real assets that will always be worth something regardless of the economy. It may be gold, silver, diamonds or real estate such as good farmland. These assets should also include ventures that produce a positive cash flow.

Save/invest some of what you make- You must save some of what you make regardless of how little that is. If you make $5,000 a week and spend $5,000 a week you are not wealthy just a highly paid broke person unless some of that money is going into fully owned real assets.

Invest in productive education- All education is not created equal. If you plan to go into debt to get a degree make sure it is necessary. Education in the medical or engineering field will likely pay for itself but going deep into debt to get a liberal arts degree may be a waste of time and money unless you already have a job waiting for you.

Read as much as possible- Reading is one of the most overlooked habits that people never think about. Most people today hate to read and that reduces their chances of identifying opportunities or solving problems. The more you read the larger your data base will be for solving problems or being creative in making money.

Don’t lose money- This seems like a no brainer but most people don’t really think about it. Making money is easy compared to holding onto it for the duration. If you are frugal but turn around and invest money in poorly thought out schemes or loan it to someone that won’t pay it back you have not accomplished anything.

Learn to read people- The failure to read peoples true intentions can cost you everything. There is always someone out there that wishes to separate you from your wealth and it is your job to prevent that from happening.

Building wealth takes time and work. To succeed everything must work properly. One bad habit can ruin all of your hard work and prevent you from reaching your planned goals. It takes planning, execution and willpower to keep it all together.

There is a saying that you can give a poor person a million dollars and they will just end up poor but you can take a million dollars from a rich person and they will just go out and make another million. I actually know a guy that inherited 50 million dollars and about 5 years later he was broke and had nothing to show for all of that wealth. Poor habits make you poor and rich habits make you wealthy.

There is another saying that if you hang out with poor people you learn how to be poor and if you hang out with rich people you learn how to be rich. This is all about learning certain habits regarding wealth and how to handle money. We learn throughout life and what we learn determines how well we do.

By learning good habits to building wealth, the average person can build an empire over time. It does not matter what your ultimate goal is. You can only achieve it if you exercise a certain amount of control over what you do. Learning what works and what does not is the key to unlocking your future wealth.

Preparing a Bailout Bucket

By: Tom Chatham

There are many people that have a bailout bag handy just in case and that is great but that is only a starting point. You need to think bigger and longer term when planning for severe disruptions that can cause you to flee your home for long periods.

There are many that are prepared to shelter in place for extended periods but at some point circumstances may change and force you to leave or potential threats may force you to hide your provisions from hostile parties. In the event one of these events happens you need to be able to quickly relocate your supplies to a safer area for the duration of the threat. This may be for hours or weeks so your supplies must be packed in such a way as to protect them, at least minimally, from environmental threats in your location.

This usually means from rodents and the weather at the very least. Keeping your supplies from getting infested and wet are two of the primary concerns you will face. For this reason keeping some of your supplies in plastic buckets with gamma seal lids is one of the easiest ways to protect these items.

If you are someone that has years worth of supplies you may not be able to move this amount of supplies quickly so it is necessary to have at least some critical supplies packaged for quick movement. A five gallon bucket full of supplies is easier to handle than large boxes and it provides more protection than boxes will.

Basically you are packaging a smaller version of your total preparedness plan. This will allow you to move these supplies in the event you need to evacuate quickly or you need to hide your supplies from elements that wish to take them from you upon detection. This is necessary especially if you cannot leave your location for a safer area.

The contents of these buckets can be an emergency food supply, weapons and ammo, clothing or a combination of items. The contents are determined by you depending on the potential threat you may face. Keep in mind this is something in between your bug out bag and the total supplies you may have. It allows you to save something when you are unable to save everything.

It allows you to load your vehicle and leave or to move items out of your home to the woods, a junk vehicle or some other hiding place on short notice and not worry about something damaging the items until you return. You may not have the option of leaving the area due to road blocks or dangerous situations you may encounter on the road.

Having your supplies dispersed on short notice can save you from losing all of them at once. Even if you lose the supplies you have stored in your home this stash will give you something to live on while you decide how to proceed. Having a cache buried in the woods may work for some people but you still run the risk of water damage if not stored properly and you cannot move the buckets as easily or as quickly if you have to constantly dig them up.

By keeping this supply close to home where you can readily access it on a daily basis you can rotate the supplies and change the contents based on a changing situation. If you need to grab this kit and run you will be able to carry several weeks worth of supplies with you that can be stored once you are safely away from danger. It can be hidden to lighten your load while you continue moving to evade hazards.

No matter how many supplies you have they should be set up in various size kits that can be moved according to the speed at which you need to move under various conditions. The more time and transportation you have the larger the kit you can load.

Having mobile supplies may become a necessary precaution in the future if events unfold that pit neighbor against neighbor and government against citizens. The more mobile your supplies are the greater the chance you will be able to keep them in a rapidly changing world.

One way to set up a bucket is to determine a months supply of basic goods such as flour, cornmeal, pancake mix, powdered milk, beans, rice, pasta, powdered mixes and spices. By setting all food buckets up with similar foods you can grab any bucket in that group and know what you have. Each bucket you grab will give you an additional month of supplies. To keep these buckets rotated you can simply write a month on each one to keep them straight. Buckets with hygiene supplies, clothing, weapons or ammo can be marked with special colors to make a quick selection if in a hurry to get out the door. The main point is to have supplies in small packages to adjust your load to what you can carry at the time.

There are many different ways this can be accomplished but a plastic bucket with a gamma seal lid is one of the easier options you can use to insure the integrity of your supplies over a variety of conditions. The buckets also provide you with a good container that has multiple uses when your supplies have been used up. Having even a few buckets set up like this will provide you with greater security than simply having a small bag to grab when the time comes.

When everything is at stake, the more you have, the better your chances will be to get through it safely. When seconds count you may not have time to pick and choose what to pack and the stress of the moment will make clear thinking much harder. Do your thinking now so later you will only need to grab and go.

What Is Your Ultimate Default Plan?

By: Tom Chatham

Most thinking people have a backup plan for disasters of some kind but do you have a final default plan if everything goes wrong? That is to say, do you have a final last ditch plan to provide the basic things you and your family need if all other plans fail.

I have written before that you should have a few thousand dollars set aside in the event things go wrong and you are forced to resort to a backup plan to insure your family has the basic things they need. This backup money would be used to create your backup system and not to continue living your normal life until all of your resources are gone leaving you no good options.

That basic plan was based around having or getting a good used camper trailer and a cheap tow vehicle you could pay cash for. Then buying a years worth of basic food items to put in it and some clothing for each member of the family. You would then want to get a basic rifle or shotgun and ammo for hunting and self defense. With this basic setup you could continue to care for your family even in the worst situation where you lose your job, savings, mortgaged home and vehicle.

Having a backup system like that would be ideal for many people but there may be many that do not have the financial means for even that these days. It has been reported that most Americans have less than $5,000 saved up for retirement and many have nothing at all. For these persons, losing the little bit that you now have would be devastating. It would mean losing all of the support structures you need to take care of your family.

In this event you would still need a basic system to take care of your family. There may come a day when you will not have the advantage of collecting money from the social safety net. If that system fails along with the economic system you will be forced to live with what you have on hand. For those with limited financial abilities, you will still need to develop a fallback plan.

A very basic plan would include buying a good four season cabin tent that you and your family could live in year round if necessary. Each person should have a good cold weather sleeping bag good to at least zero degrees. You will need a set of camping cookware and cooking utensils. A good backpack for each person and a good set of hiking boots per person in addition to suitable clothing for your area year round. You should have at a minimum a water filter, an axe, bow saw, hunting knife and shovel. Add to this a good rifle or shotgun with ammo for hunting and self defense.

You should have sufficient food supplies to last for at least two months. Since you might be carrying this along with your other supplies you will need to keep food items very basic and light. Rolled oats, rice, dried beans, cornmeal, flour or pancake mix, honey, salt, spices and powdered drink mix.

Any equipment and supplies beyond these that you can manage will make life that much easier long term. Keep in mind that if you find yourself in this type of situation, it will likely be something that will last for quite some time meaning months or years.

With these supplies you would have the ability to move into a wooded area, possibly on the edge of a national park, and set up a camp. It would need to be near a water source but off the beaten path. With the basic tools you have you would have the ability to construct a dugout in the side of a hill to provide better shelter than your tent. With local building materials you would be able to construct a hillside shelter with overhead cover and even build a basic fireplace in it for cooking and heating.

This type of backup plan may not only be necessary during an end of the world situation but during current economic disruptions such as what happened in 2008. Even now, there are many people living in tents around the country due to their current economic situation. This is happening at a time when social services and government agencies are available to help. Just imagine what it would look like if these agencies ceased operations. While this is a level if existence you should try to avoid, it could happen if you fail to plan to prevent it.

This type of plan is your last line of defense when everything goes wrong and nothing else is available. No matter how well you may have planned for future disruptions, you need to have a very basic plan standing by at the bottom of your list that can prevent a total collapse of your living standards. Sitting on a street corner or in the woods with no supplies and no way to care for yourself is the last thing you want. Even if you have a good fallback plan keep in mind that something could happen that destroys that plan. If you are forced to flee you may only have what you can carry to start over somewhere else so you should know exactly what to grab if that eventuality ever happens. People always hope for the best but reality has a way of making life hard at times.

Nobody would want to resort to this level of living but the fact is many have and will suffer from events out of their control and how well they live afterwards depends on how well they are prepared to deal with it. If you fail to prepare for the worst you may be condemned to suffer through it when it happens. Preparing does not have to be expensive. It costs nothing to sit down and write out a plan of action utilizing the resources you have on hand now and working to fill any gaps you identify in that plan as time and money permits. Your well being is your responsibility so provide yourself a plan to succeed.

The Grand Jihad Deception

By: Tom Chatham

The president is trying his best to sell the nation a faulty bill of goods. He would have you believe that it is ok to allow a murderer into your home as long as that person does not have a gun. Anyone with at least two brain cells to rub together knows that if a murderer gets into your home with the intent to do you harm, it does not matter if he has a gun because he will find some other way to harm you.

He wants you to believe that we do not need to prevent these radical individuals from entering the country. He wants you to believe we only need to prevent them from getting guns and the way to do that is to take guns away from everyone. They want you to believe that will keep you safe. It is faulty logic at best and treason at worst. They are trying to disarm the population and leave the whole of the country open to genocide at some point.

They keep talking about the availability of certain weapons calling them assault rifles and weapons of war. They try to use words to make you think it is crazy to have these types of weapons. The government has declared a war on terror that covers the entire globe. That battlefield includes the United States homeland. If you live in the middle of a battlefield it only makes sense to have military grade weapons to protect yourself and conduct operations to eliminate the enemy.

When the enemy is allowed to enter the nation at will, unimpeded, it is a sure sign that those in power have ulterior motives and Americans are being set up for failure at some point. The president has already said that the U.S. is no longer a Christian nation and goes out of his way to defend the Islamic religion against any attacks while condemning Christianity every chance he gets.

With over 22 Islamic training camps in the U.S. now and the relentless call for more Muslim refugees to be resettled in the country, we are witnessing a silent invasion that will ultimately result in open warfare on the streets as Muslims attempt to eliminate anyone that refuses to convert to their faith. The so called peaceful Muslims are siding with their radical brothers by their failure to denounce the murder of Americans by these radicals. The majority of Muslims in America want to see Sharia law become the law of the land replacing the constitution and the freedoms it signifies. Sharia law and Muslim beliefs in general are not compatible with the U.S. Constitution or our way of life.

As far as Islam is concerned, there can be only one religion on earth and it is theirs. To this end they will do whatever they must to make that a reality and the U.S. is a major impediment to those ends at this time. We have seen the ease with which the invasion of Europe has taken place and the elements responsible want the same for America. The major impediment will be the ability of Americans to actually resist with lethal force and that is where we are today.

The elements that have captured the reigns of power in the U.S. are attempting to disarm Americans by any means necessary. There has been a 700% increase in mass shootings since Barack Obama has become president. Every shooting is met with the same demands of more gun control. Time is running out for them to complete the disarmament of Americans and the failure to do so will severely hamper their plans for complete subjugation of America under Islamic rule. Islamic rule would insure that a free republic would never rise again and any survivors would be loyal subjects to their radical ideology.

The radical liberal left is cooperating with this agenda in hopes of achieving their socialist utopia but they fail to see that their liberal policies are ultimately unacceptable to Islam. The current killing of homosexuals and Christians and the stoning of women is clear indication of what will happen to liberals when conservatives are eventually eliminated.

The gun culture in America is largely a conservative venture and these are the individuals that excel in war fighting skills. The loss of this block will insure liberals are left relatively defenseless in the future and will be unable to defend themselves against future hostility from Muslim aggression within the U.S. That is exactly how the current administration wants it. Eliminate the sheepdogs so the flock is helpless in the future. Then the call will be convert or die.

For those at the top of the ruling pyramid, an Islamic dictatorship would be easier to control than a prosperous free nation where the people have any say in matters. Bare in mind that we are in a global war on terror epitomized by the likes of Al Qaeda and ISIS, both of which were created and are funded by the U.S. government. For those who want their new world order it is merely a means to an end. I don’t need to wait until America looks like Syria before I realize what is going on. We have been slated for destruction and those behind it are using the hatred fomented by American bombs to encourage foreign Jihadis to do the bulk of the internal damage to us.

I could care less what you do in your country, on your land or in your home, that’s your business, but when you bring something into my country, onto my land and into my home it becomes my business and I don’t have to agree with it or put up with it. The U.S government has a habit of making bad decisions and they need to answer for them but if someone decides to make American citizens pay for the bad deeds of government all I can say is you need to pack a big lunch and wear a life preserver because you are about to jump into the deep end of the ocean and the critters that live there may not be very friendly.

33 Items An EMP or CME Will Not Affect

By: Tom Chatham

The threat of a massive CME or human initiated EMP that takes down most of the electrical devices we depend on has become more of a threat to modern survival than ever before. Modern man has become so dependant on technology that the loss of it can have sudden and catastrophic consequences to our daily survival. The 1859 Carrington Event caused much chaos in its day but life went on. The problem is that we have moved far beyond those simpler days of 19th century America.

A catastrophic loss of technical infrastructure today would have the potential to reduce the American population by up to 90% according to many experts in the field. This is due to the inability of modern populations to adapt to the sudden changes and the lack of modern delivery systems to supply large population centers. The inability of population centers to function without modern technology could be overcome but the lack of preparations by these people make it unlikely. This is due to the lack of a functional infrastructure to replace modern technology and the lack of supplies to carry people over until older methods could become functional.

Water and sewage can be moved by steam powered pumps and bulk food supplies can be moved by steam locomotives. The lack of these archaic items makes this unlikely today in the short term but possible none the less. You also find problems with modern food production where the current 2% that produces food for the other 98% will no longer have the ability to do so without modern machines. With modern technology removed from the equation we simply do not have the infrastructure to maintain the current population. That does not mean we do not have the ability to maintain a smaller population.

Even in the worst technology disruption we still have items that can help to maintain a smaller population and provide a good quality of life. It only requires that people embrace this older technology and have it available if the time ever comes that it is needed. The following is a list of items that will still function even with a catastrophic CME or EMP.

Mechanical clock or watch
Steam engine and boiler system
Steam locomotive
Woodstove
Absorption refrigeration systems and gas appliances
Compass and paper map
Pencils and pens
Typewriters and carbon paper
Manual printing press
Slide rules and mechanical adding machines
Gramophone and records
Oil lamps
Mechanical sewing machine
Windmill
Livestock, plants, seeds
Fishing poles and nets
Stills and fermentation tanks
Books
Sextant
Telescopes and binoculars
Firearms and ammo
Independent septic systems
Dug/shallow wells
Mechanical food processing equipment
Pressure caner
Mechanical weather instruments
Hand tools
Non-electrical medical instruments
Bicycles, sail boats, balloons
Blacksmith shop
Clothes line and washing tub
Bathtub
Your brain

This is only a small list but you can get the idea. Even with a catastrophic loss of modern technology we still have items that can function and carry a smaller population until systems can be rebuilt or repaired. One of the differences between the survivors and victims will be the amount of older infrastructure available to them when the worst happens. Those that have the ability to access older technology will fare much better than the multitudes that have no access. It all boils down to infrastructure and supplies and the masses that laugh at preppers will learn that lesson the hard way if this scenario ever comes to pass.

Many of the things on this list are already owned by many and other items are relatively cheap and take up very little space but will be worth their weight in gold if they are ever truly needed. In a massive CME or EMP many things will be lost but many things will still work and allow you to live if you have access to them. The day that everything suddenly stops, you will have what you have on hand to deal with it. A CME or EMP does not have to be the end of the world but unfortunately for most it will be. How well are you prepared?

Get Your LogPacs In Order Now

By: Tom Chatham

There is something happening now across the developed world that should make everyone very worried. You have no doubt heard of the chaos being created in Europe by the masses of immigrants flowing in almost uncontrollably today. The same thing is happening to America on a smaller scale but that will change soon. This is all a coordinated effort to ensure the downfall of the western nations.

There has been an ongoing war between the people of the world and those that wish to have total control and it is about to come to a head. The latest act is to overwhelm western nations with Muslims to the point of igniting a war between Muslims and Christians. The point of this exercise is to have these groups destroy each other. When that is largely accomplished the new world rulers will swoop down and take control of the devastated nations. Those who remain will be so devastated they will welcome these rulers as their saviors.

It will happen in Europe and it will happen in America, order out of chaos. It is for this reason that those awake enough to see the writing on the wall must get their final preparations in order.

When the fighting starts in earnest, it will be too late to get the supplies you need to carry on the battles you must fight. It is imperative that you understand this strategy. Those behind this plan know many of you have the means to fight and they need to exhaust that means through prolonged fighting. Only then can they hope to get the upper hand after it concludes. This is the reason for attempts at disarming the public. It would make their job much easier and faster.

When the attacks begin in earnest in the U.S. and martial law is declared, the government apparatus will not be going after the terrorists committing the acts but will use the situation to go after the enemies of the administration which happen to be conservative Christians. As Christians fight Muslims for survival the administration will use the fighting to their advantage to decrease the opposition and the population simultaneously. When the population is finally war weary and displaced the second phase will begin where government forces take control of what is left. This is the plan unfolding in Syria right now. A dysfunctional third world country is easier for a dictator to control than a prosperous nation with laws where the citizens work together.

This is why you need not one but at least two logistical packages (logpacs) to get you to the other side of whatever happens. In military terms a logistical package consists ,of those items necessary to maintain your fighting capability. Food, ammo and medical supplies should top the list for those preparing at this time. You need one package to sustain your fighting ability during this invasion and subsequent fighting and another to resist the forces that will come later to subdue those that remain. That sounds like a tall order but that is how things are now shaping up.

This is one reason I have written before that those that cannot do the actual fighting must become a logistical support system for those that do the actual fighting. The duration and ferocity of the coming battles is thus far unknown but it could likely last a decade. Under those conditions it would be difficult for the average person to mass the necessary supplies by themselves to last the duration of the events. Individuals may do most of the fighting when the time comes but it will be a team effort that wins the day. Winning in this case means surviving, that is the most we can hope for at this time.

I expect every weapon imaginable to be used to reduce the population. This is why NBC equipment such as protective masks and chemical protective suits may be needed at some time during the chaos. This will be all or nothing for all of those involved in this event. That is why it will be brutal and exhausting. Only those prepared mentally and physically will have a chance to see it to the end.

It also means that only those with the necessary supplies will have the freedom of movement to make any difference. That is why it is essential to get those supplies in order now while you still have time. The show has already started if you do not know it already and things will really get moving after intermission. If this sounds alarming that is because it is and you only need to look at what is happening in Europe today to see what awaits us in the U.S. tomorrow.

Spend A Little, Live A Lot

By: Tom Chatham

Most people want to live a life of extravagance but their meager paychecks often fall far short of reaching that happy place. As a result they are forced to borrow their way to their imagined happiness causing them great financial stress along the way. People have been sold on the idea that newer and bigger is better.

Those that have seen through this thinly veiled sham have learned that happiness can come at much cheaper prices causing less stress and more fun. There are many ways to have a good standard of living without all of the expense. Living within your means is the key and learning not to try to keep up with everyone else is important. There are many ways to live well without all of the expense and the following are just a few of the ways to make that possible.

Buy used and save- If you find something in good shape that you like and at a great savings over a newer version why not get it. It can be furniture, toys, clothes or a car. I have a truck that I bought 15 years ago for 2 grand. Since then I have put another 2 grand into repairs and maintenance. For four thousand dollars I have had a vehicle to drive for 15 years and it still runs good. Over that time many people have bought not one but two new cars at an average cost of $20,000 dollars. This means these people have had to earn $36,000 dollars ( after taxes) more than me just to have a vehicle to drive. I can think of a lot better things to spend money on than a car.

Cook instead of order- Many people like to go out for dinner and there is nothing really wrong with that. If you work hard you deserve to treat yourself from time to time but eating out a lot can really add up over time. Cooking at home from scratch is much cheaper and healthier in most cases. This is especially true if you grow some of your own food. If you can save even one thousand dollars a year on your food bill that can add up over time.

Cheap Entertainment- One way to save a lot of money quickly is to dump the cable TV and get a HD antennae. These cost as little as $30 dollars and can pull in broadcast stations from up to 100 miles away. A typical cable or satellite bill can run $80 dollars a month. That amounts to $960 dollars a year. The antennae I have pulls in over 40 channels from two cities about 50 miles away, all for free. Many people off grid have given up TV completely but it is nice to have the ability to see the local news and weather at a minimum. There are also ways to save on family vacations. Most people live within driving distance of a park or historical site. These can make for great weekend getaways for the family and if you pack a pick-nick basket it can be a cheap way to spend time with the family. If you can add some fishing gear and basic camping gear you will have a way to spend several days away from home inexpensively as you fish, hike and explore. This type of gear also gives you equipment to use in an emergency at home where power and cooking ability are cut off.

Utility bills- One way to save on your water bill is to keep a few rain barrels by your home to use in watering your garden or lawn. This is also useful if the power goes out and you need water to flush the toilet. Having a few solar panels or a small wind turbine to charge a battery pack can help cut down on power usage. This is really helpful if the power goes out. One of the biggest power users in the home is the hot water heater. These things keep 60 or 80 gallons of water hot 24/7 just in case you need some. This is like leaving your car running 24/7 just in case you need to go somewhere. You can cut down this power usage drastically by getting a tankless water heater. These can be electric or gas and only run when the hot water faucet is on. Heat is also another big power user, especially in the northern states. Having a wood stove or fireplace insert can cut your heating bills drastically and they can be used even if the power is out which is a bonus.

Affordable housing- The single biggest expense that many people will ever have is the cost of their housing. Most people determine how much home they can buy by looking at their future expected earnings. This can have catastrophic consequences if they loose their job, home prices fall or the economy tanks. In the last few years we have seen all of these things happen. People are accustomed to buying more than they can afford just because someone is willing to lend them the money. Is it better to have a 1,400 sq. ft. home with a 30 year mortgage or a 600 sq. ft. home that is all paid for? This is something that people need to think very hard about because we are entering a new paradigm where easy money will be a thing of the past.

Ownership over debt- When you use debt to buy things you end up paying two or three times what the original price would have been if you had just saved your money and paid cash. If you go around in life paying twice as much for everything you will never have any savings to fall back on nor will you have as many hard assets that can preserve your wealth. When you think about it in these terms you come to realize that you are giving away most of your hard earned money to people that provide you with convenience and are taking advantage of the consumer mantra sold to people as the normal way to live.

I have stated before that if you have a paid for home and produce most of your own food and power, you could make $10,000 dollars a year and live as well as someone making $40,000 a year. This is because you will be saving a lot of money on interest and conveniences that the average person can provide for themselves. It is also important to understand that having a smaller home and an older car will save you a great deal of money on insurance payments and property tax every year. Reducing your necessary income will also reduce your income taxes every year as well. Why slave away every day just so you can give most of that money to someone else?

Reducing your expenses is more of a mental problem than a physical one. Once you have the right attitude about it and realize where most of your money is actually going it becomes easier to scale back your spending and start living like you should. Life does not have to be hard or expensive. Those are things we do to ourselves by not thinking things through and trying to take the path of least resistance.

Community Preparations for Catastrophic Events

By: Tom Chatham

Many people now feel that pending trouble is in the air. They may not know what or why but they can feel it deep in their bones. For these people the urge to prepare for potential problems is now incorporated into their everyday lives. When something far reaching and catastrophic happens the ability of groups and communities to pull together is one way to deal with the aftermath and work through the problems to remain safe and healthy.

When something happens that may prevent outside help from reaching you, it is necessary to have the infrastructure and supplies to help yourself until the situation stabilizes. For the group or community there are certain actions that can be taken beforehand to insure the group can sustain themselves for the duration.

A potable water supply must be present to sustain the group for as long as necessary. The water source must be available when current systems may be interrupted or destroyed due to the emergency. A water filtering system must be available when necessary to filter any suspect water from potentially contaminated sources.

A supply of food must be stocked to insure the group can maintain their health and strength. It is easy enough to store food for individuals or small groups but there must be a system in place to store extra for those that have no supplies for various reasons. If the community can be fed after an event it will greatly decrease the potential for acts of violence and help maintain order. This can be accomplished by storing bulk items for use by large populations. Grain bunkers can be constructed to store bulk grains for this purpose. A minimum of one bushel each of wheat, oats, corn, beans and rice per person per year for the expected population will provide the basics for feeding the affected population following the event. Any food items beyond this would be of additional benefit.

A team to assist those in need that may be trapped or injured must be available. This is where the local civil defense unit would be useful following an event. The local CD unit should be able to provide search and rescue, shelter, medical help, food and leadership after an event that may destroy local infrastructure and leadership.

A team to provide security for the group must be available to insure the groups safety. The local volunteer militia group, with the necessary training would work with the CD unit to maintain order and security to the population after an event. Some events have the ability to destroy local law enforcement abilities or at the least overwhelm their abilities to maintain order causing even more chaos.

Energy systems to provide power for necessary infrastructure to rebuild and repair systems to enhance and support a decent quality of life for the group. Electrical power to provide heat, cooking, lights, communications and water pumping are essential to long term living. Liquid fuels to provide transportation and generating capability will be needed in the days following any event. The ability to provide at least some power from sources such as solar and wind will greatly reduce the need to store large quantities of fuel and lesson the impact of loosing these supplies.

Safe shelter is necessary to provide protection from the elements and potential hazardous conditions that may exist as a result of the emergency. In these modern times the threat of an NBC event is as likely as any natural catastrophe. Many of the sheltering needs are similar in these events and any overlap will reduce costs in preparing for these eventualities.

The ability of the government to respond to emergencies is limited and requires days before help arrives in many cases. Any large scale event that affects a wide region or the whole nation will overwhelm government resources to the point that many localities may not get the necessary help. In this event it will be up to each locality to provide their own emergency management and solve their problems locally. In most cases emergency management is directed to survival of government operations and civilian populations only receive excess resources from government entities.

In some cases such as an act of war, events may eliminate government at some or all levels and necessitate that communities help themselves. If the community relies solely on government preparations and leadership and suddenly finds that entity gone or even hostile to the people, chaos can grow very quickly destroying any continuity that still remains among the population. Having a civilian group outside of government control to administer to the community today is not only logical but imperative given the nature of events that continue to unfold.

Of all the preparations that should be addressed by local communities, the need to have bulk food supplies available is the most pressing. Storing several hundred bushels of grain may seem too much for the average citizen but it is not beyond the abilities of many farmers. In the event of any supply disruptions, locally available food supplies will determine whether the community can maintain continuity for the duration. As it stands now, most large cities will collapse and most small towns will follow during any supply disruption. The government no longer stores sufficient grain to supply the civilian population in the face of any catastrophic event. It is therefore up to each community to take the necessary steps today to insure survivability if the worst should happen.

Utilizing 12v DC Systems for Primary or Emergency Power

By: Tom Chatham

When the grid power that you depend on suddenly stops for an extended time, you need an alternative supply to work with. If you have an off grid home you will have the same options to look at for power. The main thing is if you are living off grid for extended periods you will need to analyze how you create and utilize that power.

Using a backup generator for a few days every year is a far cry from providing all of your power on a continuous basis. A backup generator is great but most of them are not built to provide power on a continuous basis. Even if you had the fuel supply to run it for a year it is likely your generator will break down after only a few hundred hours if you are even that lucky. I have seen a brand new generator suffer an electrical failure after the first hour of operation with no load on it. The motor had to have an electrical component replaced inside the motor which required a mechanic with the proper tools and the replacement part.

For those that want or need to live off the grid it is necessary to look at the power system and understand where the weak links are. If you find yourself in a situation where you must provide all of the maintenance and repairs yourself, you must have the necessary tools and repair parts as well as the knowledge to do the job. In a longterm situation, the simpler the system is the more reliable it will be and the less you will need to fix over time. There are systems that are well made if you can afford them, and they will give many years of service but eventually you will run into the same problem. You may be called on to repair them some day and most people are not prepared to do that.

If you are contemplating a retreat to shelter you from some kind of catastrophic event, you will want something that the average person can work on and maintain with minimal effort for thousands of hours. It is common to find that the most efficient and easy to use systems are filled with high tech components that the average person does not understand and has no hope of fixing given a component breakdown. The more electrical components you have in your power chain from the generator to the appliance you wish to run, the more chance you have for a failure of some type that requires replacement of a component or equipment to restore electrical power.

Living off grid you have three basic choices for electrical power. You can have no electrical power, use 110v AC or 12v DC. In many cases you will have a combination of AC and DC components. To keep things simple you may want to analyze your situation and determine if using only 12v DC power may be best longterm.

Utilizing only 12v systems will greatly simplify your system and make it easier for the average person to fix when something breaks. A pure 12v system works well with alternative power generation such as solar, wind and hydro. In most cases you are generating power and storing it in a battery bank for later use. If your appliance is 12v DC you will be able to run this item straight off the battery system . In this instance you have reduced your components to the very minimum. Generator, regulator, battery and appliance. This is basically how the electrical system on a car is set up.

This very basic electrical system is easy to maintain, very durable and easy to repair. An automotive alternator can operate for thousands of hours and can be rebuilt with a few tools and repair parts by anyone with some mechanical ability. The automotive regulator either internal or external is easy to replace and easy to stock extras for future use. There are many 12v DC appliances available that can be useful in an off grid household to include refrigerators and freezers.

When thinking of longterm use the fewer appliances you have the easier it will be to provide the power you need. Having only a few necessary appliances and some 12v lighting will allow you to harden your system and get the most out of it over time. With a 12v system you can still utilize 110v appliances when needed utilizing power inverters but in the event these components become inoperative you will still have the use of your 12v system for full utilization.

You may still need a motor to turn your alternator but you will have more options to do so. You can use a small air cool motor that you already have and if it breaks you have the ability to replace it with another one. You can even use your car to provide the power and use it to charge a battery pack. The ability to power engines with homemade fuel also allows you to generate power when fuel is hard to find.

Making automotive alternators the center of your power system will give you much more flexibility over time. It is much easier to find another alternator than an AC generator especially in desperate times when everyone is looking for them. The same can be said for power inverters. We have an AC generator for emergency use but to date it has not been used.

In the past when we have suffered power outages lasting for days we have used a home built system. We take the motor off of our rotor tiller and bolt it to a board with an automotive alternator. This system charges a set of deep cycle batteries. We then hook a power inverter to the battery pack to run the freezer. With this type of system we can run the motor only a few hours a day and have uninterrupted power all day and night. This helps to conserve limited fuel supplies and limit’s the wear and tear on the motor.

When the power goes out we take everything out of the kitchen freezer and put it in the deep freezer. We then place gallon jugs in the deep freezer to freeze and rotate these into the refrigerator to keep it cool. This allows us to keep everything refrigerated and only have to power one appliance to conserve on power.

Having some type of plan to maintain power to essential devices is essential to maintaining your quality of life when you can no longer depend on the power grid. Whether you use 12v exclusively or a combination of AC and DC power, you will need to have something you can depend on if the unthinkable happens and you are thrown back on your own resources.

Massive Railroad Shutdown Looms In 2016

By: Tom Chatham

In 2008 Congress passed Positive Train Control (PTC) legislation to reduce train collisions and over speed accidents. These new electronic control systems can activate train braking systems when dangerous conditions are detected. These new systems were to be installed by Dec. 31, 2015. After this effective date it is a violation of federal law to operate trains on certain sections of track not controlled by PTC systems.

BNSF Chief Executive Carl Ice, advised Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) in a Sept. 9 letter that BNSF would shut down most of its network by Dec. 31 rather than violate a new law mandating that positive train control be operational by Dec. 31. CSX has also questioned whether it should violate federal law and other Class I carriers may follow suit. This presents the real possibility of a transportation shutdown at the beginning of 2016. Most of the public is unaware how much the national distribution system relies on rail transport and without it how quickly we would cease to function normally.

BNSF has spent $1.5 billion so far on the upgrades and will likely spend another $500 million to fit about half of its track that handles 85% of its traffic. Portions of both trans continental routes will not be operational by the Dec. 31 deadline set by Congress in 2008 nor will commuter zones in Chicago, Seattle and Minneapolis.

BNSF reads the law as saying no train can legally operate on a PTC mandated line after Dec 31 if the system is not operational by that time. Ice is careful in his letter to state BNSF will not refuse to run their trains in violation of the law just that he does not see how they can due to exposure to potential legal claims should an accident occur.

Everyone thought the six years given to implement the system was sufficient but implementing it has been a nightmare. Most of the system components are new, FRA was slow to issue new rules, signal engineers to build the system and make it work are few and everything was kept on hold for a year while they waited for the FCC to issue permits for the construction of new towers and antennae. They are also having problems with the new system activating braking systems unnecessarily causing rail delays. Of the 82,043 miles of track that must be equipped with the new technology only about 5,151 miles have been completed. As of 2014 only 3,376 locomotives have been equipped with the technology which is about 15% of the nationwide fleet.

The railroads have sought an extension but Congress has thus far failed to issue one. In July the Senate passed a highway funding bill that extends the deadline but so far the House has failed to pass it. If they do not act soon the bulk of the rail system will come to a screeching halt on Dec 31. A shutdown of the rail system is a critical link that can wreak havoc on the just in time delivery system which is critical to many functions in society such as food distribution and energy supplies such as coal.

There are only three possible outcomes to this problem.
– Congress will amend the law
– Congress will give an extension to the railroads
– The railroads will shut down

If the railroads shut down the majority of their rail shipments the shelves across America will start to go bare within a few months. It will take this much time for most of the durable goods currently in the distribution system to be delivered and sold to end users. Perishables such as fresh and frozen food items will be affected much faster and shortages will show up within a few weeks. It would also be a problem for the bulk agricultural products people depend on such as corn and wheat. Even if the system is only shut down for a short period it can create a dead zone in the distribution system that will take time to refill. Railroads are warning customers to prepare for a worst case scenario according to Association of American Railroads President Edward Hamberger.

In all likelihood Congress will issue an extension for the railroads but due to the dysfunctional nature of the government these days, we cannot count on that so you should plan ahead just in case the worst does happen and rail traffic stops.

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