By: Tom Chatham
In these days of declining paychecks and rising prices, people are hard pressed to get the most for their money. With every new dollar that is printed the value of your hard earned savings decreases and much buying power is lost. The conventional way to offset this decrease is to invest your money where it can earn interest and increase your holdings in real terms or at least keep up with inflation.
If you put your savings in the bank you might get .25% these days if you are lucky. This is at a time when real inflation is running close to 9% annually. In order to earn a better return on your funds you must put them in increasingly risky investments that have counter party risk that many may not fully appreciate until something happens. Just ask those fleeced by the MF Global bankruptcy.
There are few things one can place their money in these days that will maintain value or even grow. The normal safe haven in times like this are usually precious metals or investment grade collectables but those things must be sold in the marketplace in order to utilize the value of those items. What the average person needs is a safe haven they can hold and use at will and still reap the full value of those items.
When you earn interest on investments, your Uncle Sam will be standing there with his hand out when you liquidate that item so he can get his share. This just adds insult to injury when you loose buying power through inflation. There must be a better way to store wealth on a small scale that average people need and can use. That way is through commodities that you use every day.
When you buy a can of soup for .50 cents and put it on the shelf for several months and finally use it after the price has increased to .65 cents, you have effectively earned 30% interest on that can of soup. Where can you earn 30% interest these days with no counter party risk?
What makes this even better is that you pay no tax on that 30% interest. Can it get any better than that? This type of investment plan will work for anyone because everyone buys food on a regular basis. Not only that but the other things you use at home such as hygiene supplies, paper products, cleaning products, and hardware supplies will likely go up in price as time goes on and offer you the opportunity to save on your future needs. This also applies to things such as ammo, clothing, auto parts and energy supplies.
Some may say this is a waste of time because many of these things will have to be used within some time limit, but you will need to buy these things anyway at some point so why not increase your buying power by making purchases in a different manner than you normally do.
If you store a years supply of food at home and the real inflation rate is 8% annually, when you replace those goods that you use you may pay more but you will essentially be eating at last years prices. If inflation gets even worse in the future you will have more available purchasing power than others because you will not have to buy necessities every week like everyone else. You can wait for specials, deals on bulk purchases or seasonal fluctuations.
In a serious situation you would be able to stop purchases for up to a year and use that money for other things such as equipment to grow and can your own food. In the event of unemployment, it is also one less expense you will need to worry about. While food is a natural for this type of savings plan other household products may work even better due to longer shelf life.
Just imagine if you had everything you would need for the next ten years stored in your basement. How much would you save in inflated prices over that time period? With a real inflation rate of 8% prices would almost double every ten years. It is unlikely that your paycheck would increase at a similar rate. This type of savings plan is better than putting money in the bank because a bank can go out of business or outright steal your funds because of new laws that are now in place. The amount of money you spend on everyday necessities over several years can run into the thousands of dollars and that is sufficient to preserve a lot of money.
It is important for each person to analyze their financial position at regular intervals and you must be aware of the real inflation rate in order to devise a plan to get the most from every dollar you spend. This will become ever more important as the economy becomes more unstable as time goes on. In the end it is up to you to protect your hard earned money from loss due to economic conditions that are controlled by those that wish to destroy it.
By: Tom Chatham
With the realization that our production and distribution systems may someday fail, many people are storing food supplies to insure they can feed their families in the future. With the financial distress many are faced with, the storage of less than healthy foods is necessary for some. In addition to providing needed energy it is also imperative that your food supplies provide the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy long term.
A vitamin C (ascorbic acid) deficiency will cause scurvy. In 6 weeks or less of eating a ration containing no vitamin C, the first symptoms of scurvy would appear: swollen and bleeding gums. This would be followed by weakness, then large bruises, hemorrhages, and wounds that will not heal. Eventually death from hemorrhages and heart failure would result.
This disease would be one of the first to afflict people having only grain and/or beans and lacking the know how to sprout them to provide enough vitamin C. One good way to prevent scurvy is to eat sprouted seeds, not just the sprouts. The Chinese have prevented scurvy during the long winters in northern China for centuries by consuming sprouted beans. Sprouting seeds also increases their content of riboflavin, niacin and folic acid. Sprouting does not increase the protein content or protein quality of seeds, and it will reduce the caloric value of seeds. If a little over an ounce of dry beans or wheat is sprouted until the sprouts are a little bit longer than the seeds, the sprouted seeds will supply 10 to 15 mg of vitamin C.
The easiest way to insure your family has enough vitamin C during long emergencies is to store pure vitamin C which is the crystalline “ascorbic acid” form. Pure vitamin C does not deteriorate like vitamin C tablets. A one kilogram container can be bought at this time for about $24.
An ample daily dose is 25 milligrams, about 0.0009 ounces. Ten grams (about 1/3 ounce) is enough for one person for a whole year when eating unsprouted grains or other foods containing no vitamin C. If you have an ample supply a 50 mg daily dose may be preferred by either sprinkling on food or dissolving in water.
The storage of ascorbic acid is necessary for someone that stores a large amount of grains as an emergency supply of food. Of the many types of emergencies that people may face, a radiological situation may be the worst in may ways. This type of emergency will force you to shelter in locations for long durations where things such as water and sunlight or grow lights may be in short supply.
There is a product on the market now called Liposomal C which is a mega dose of vitamin C in a form the body can absorb. Normally a large intake of vitamin C into a persons system will get discharged before most of it can be absorbed by cells but this new product claims to solve that problem. Mega doses of vitamin C are reported to cure many illnesses and even repair radiation damage. An article on Liposomal C can be found here for more information. http://beforeitsnews.com/health/2013/12/life-saving-mega-dose-iv-vitamin-c-can-be-achieved-orally-now-2517326.html
The ongoing situation with Fukushima and the ever present danger of a nuclear war, financial collapse and food shortages makes the addition of vitamin C to your supply list an inexpensive and logical choice. There are many supplies you may want to have for a serious long term emergency and this is one you should give serious consideration to. With the addition of certain vitamin and mineral supplements, it is possible to store larger volumes of basic foods and still be assured of maintaining your health for the duration of the event.
Additional information just uncovered may be of interest to those who desire healthy sources of vitamin C. About 90% of all vitamin C manufactured now comes from China and is apparently made from GMO corn. Most vitamin E is also made from GMO sources. One source of non synthetic and non GMO vitamin C can be found at Purebulk.com.
By: Tom Chatham
It is a foregone conclusion that at some point in the future, you will need to have stored food to keep you fed until you can grow or buy more. It may be a natural disaster, a grid down situation or food disruptions due to energy shortages, strikes or destruction of crops due to rain or drought. When access to food stops, it will be up to each family to make do until the situation changes.
With the abundance of food available today it is easy to put together a comprehensive food plan consisting of a variety of foods. Many are constructing food plans that range from weeks to years depending on their financial capabilities. For the financially challenged, a long term food supply with a variety of foods may be too much to handle. A plan that spans several months may be possible but what about longer term situations?
What would you do if you suddenly realized a situation was developing that would require you to feed yourself for seven years and you had to make those preparations on you current salary? That may sound extreme but, it could happen in the world we now find ourselves in. What if that seven year supply were necessary because you would not be able to grow or procure more supplies during that time.
Most preppers have a long range plan that includes growing more food but what if the situation prevents you from doing that? It might be environmental conditions, local scavengers or military operations in your area that prevent you from utilizing the land. In that event you are totally dependant on the supplies you have stored away.
With limited funds what would I store? I would limit it to six items that I can stock in depth that are relatively cheap now and store well.
While these do not allow for a wide variety of meals they will provide you with the elements you need to function and prevent starvation. These provide a base to build around if additional funds become available. In a long duration event a few staples could mean the difference between life and death.
It is always preferable to have a well rounded food plan but when limited finances and long duration are taken into account, you must do the most you can with what you have.
Why would you want to stock for seven years? That may sound extreme but consider the Fukushima disaster that is still playing out. If it continues and gets worse, there may come a day when it is unsafe to grow plants in the exposed soil. If a major war breaks out there are several situations that may preclude you from growing plants in the open. A seven year supply may not take you beyond the emergency but it will give you seven years to plan for alternative food sources. It may take you that long to develop new systems such as aquaculture or indoor growing systems.
We are living in historical times and the worst may yet come about. The world has seen seven years of famine before and it may very well again.
A long range plan to get you through the worst of the situation is your goal. A simple plan is far superior to no plan and everyone needs a plan due to the unstable nature of the world we now live in. The basic supplies to keep you fed for seven years can be kept in a large closet or a corner of the basement.
The listed supplies, stored in 5 gallon buckets, are easy to store, move and to hide if necessary. There may come a day when hostile forces make every attempt to deprive you of food sources. In that event you may find yourself in a guerilla war where every day is a struggle just to survive. If your food source is secure, it will enable you to focus on other endeavors that may be necessary.
The future becomes more unstable every day now and any edge that you can provide yourself for future uncertainties will increase the likelihood that you will be able to navigate it successfully. Everyone would like to have a fully stocked bunker with weapons and supplies to last for decades but that is not a possibility for most people. You must work within your capabilities now to prepare for the uncertain times ahead. If the worst should happen, what 6 staples will you stock to insure your survival?
By: Tom Chatham
There are many people that have the ability to grow some vegetables during the summer. Many of these are eaten at the dinner table while at their peak of freshness and taste. Those that are thoughtful enough to plan for extra production and have a place to store it can enjoy their bounty for many weeks after the harvest providing good food and a secure food source for their family. Most people will either store their excess in the freezer or can it. Both of these ways are good but require either a constant supply of electricity or the time and resources to can.
This is fine when everything is going fine but the day may come when these resources are not available or are intermittent and undependable. The ability to store fresh produce throughout the winter utilizing a root cellar is an old and efficient practice. Unfortunately, with the convenience of super markets providing fresh vegetables year round and home freezers, very few people use or are even aware of this method of storage today. This is one method that is useful especially when power and canning resources are unavailable for storage and food becomes a difficult commodity to procure. By storing your excess in the ground you can extend your harvest to get you through the winter until the spring planting begins.
There are many ways you can go about building a root cellar but we will only cover five inexpensive methods here. When times get economically difficult it is good to have a backup storage plan that doesn’t cost a lot.
There are some things that will be similar among all types of cellars so for brevity we will discuss them before actually talking about the types of cellars you can build. A small plastic pipe should be installed to run from within 6 inches of the inner bottom to where it will project just above the ground covering. A second pipe should be situated on the opposite side of the enclosure and run from about 6 inches of the inner top to just above the ground covering. This will provide air circulation to the produce to limit the degradation during storage. As vegetables age and decay they produce vapors that can speed up the decay process so removing these vapors will aid in preservation. When temperatures drop below freezing you may need to cover the vents to prevent cellar temperatures from dropping too low and damaging your produce. It is also beneficial to have a screen over the vents to prevent bugs from invading your cache. To maintain the proper moisture it may be necessary to position a bucket of water in the cellar or a wet sponge in a plastic pan if space is limited.
Trash Can Method – For a person with limited space or food to store, a large metal trash can may be used as a cellar. The can will need to be dug in with the top at least 3 inches above the ground level. The outside should be painted to prevent rust and dirt should be packed around it to within 3 inches of the top. Your produce can be placed in small individual boxes and stacked in the can allowing sufficient air space around the items. This type of cellar will provide a water tight enclosure that can be helpful if you live in an area that has a high water table. Once you have your items in the cellar you can pile straw or even leaves over the cellar at least 24 inches deep to provide the necessary insulation to prevent freezing and maintain a constant temperature.
Clay Lined Hole Method – For a larger cellar you can dig a hole approximately 4 feet on each side and 4 feet deep. You should angle the walls out so they are about 4 inches wider on each side than the bottom of the hole. You can then gather a mixture of locally available clay and mix it with enough water to make it workable. You can then apply about 4 inches of clay to each wall providing a smooth and stiff structure that will resist collapse when wet. The floor of the cellar should be covered with about 3 inches of stone to allow ground moisture to maintain humidity levels while avoiding a damp floor. The top can be covered with a thick piece of plywood or other sturdy material and then covered with straw, pine needles or leaves for insulation.
Plywood Lined Hole Method – The plywood lined hole is similar to the clay lined hole only plywood is used to strengthen the walls. A hole 4 feet on each side and 4 feet deep can be dug and four walls consisting of plywood secured together with 2×4 lumber in each corner. The plywood should be painted on the outside and the inner edges to make the form last longer. Gravel can be placed in the hole then the form can be lowered in and backfilled with soil. A Plywood lid can be added and covered with straw, pine needles or leaves for insulation. This will provide about 64 cubic feet of storage space.
Refrigerator/Freezer Method – An old refrigerator or freezer can be buried in the ground and used as a cellar. When this type of item is used it should be painted on the outside to resist rust. This type of structure is fairly quick and easy to install and will provide a very nice interior for storage. It can be covered with materials for additional insulation and protection.
Log Covered Cellar Method – This type of structure can be as large as you need and can hold many bushels of produce. A hole 6 feet by 8 feet and as deep as you require can be dug. If the walls are sufficiently strong and no internal bracing is needed you can either leave it as such or apply a layer of plastic to provide a cleaner appearance. If internal bracing is needed the walls can be reinforced with logs, masonry or a cob type of substance. The floor can be covered with gravel to avoid creating a muddy surface. Logs 6” in diameter and at least 4 feet longer than the hole opening can be cut and placed on the roof and can be packed with a cob type of material or covered with plastic for water proofing. Then the logs can be covered with two to three feet of dirt for insulation. A small entrance can be dug into one end and one door placed at ground level and one flush with the inside wall to provide an air lock to keep inside temperatures stable in very cold weather.
Root cellars can be built in just about any size you may want and with many different types of materials that may be available to you. The main points to keep in mind are proper ventilation, stable temperature above freezing, sufficient humidity, sufficient space for produce and a sufficiently sturdy structure to house your storage items. Each person must decide what type of cellar will best suit their needs then decide the best method of construction for their area. When times get tight and you find the need for storing excess in a simple and inexpensive way, you should have a plan for a root cellar that you can utilize. Modern storage systems are great but you never know when they may fail or become undependable. A well built cellar may even be utilized as a storm shelter so all possible uses should be considered before construction to get the most from it.
By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost
Corn and soybeans contribute to almost everything we eat and the sudden rise in the price of these items will filter down into price increases of just about everything. Corn prices are expected to get as high as $12.50 per bushel and soybeans could go to $20.00 or higher. Some commodity specialists have even suggested that soybeans could be the new silver.
Corn and soybean meal are staples in animal feed and the rising prices and drought conditions are forcing farmers and ranchers to sell off their herds for slaughter. This will cause a glut in the market over the short term and you may see lower meat prices as a result but this will only be temporary. By next year the prices of meat will rise as the supply of livestock reaches multi decade lows. Supply and demand will push prices higher as a result.
Larry Pope, chief executive of Smithfield Foods has recently given a dire warning. “Beef is simply going to be too expensive to eat. Pork is not going to be too far behind. Chicken is catching up fast.” He also stated that government regulations are going to make things even worse. Almost 40% of the U.S corn crop goes to make ethanol fuel. Pope said, “Its almost a government- mandated disaster here, which is distressing”. He warned that meat prices will rise by “significant double digits“.
It is good to be optimistic and hopeful but those feelings need to be tempered with some reality. Prices are going to go much higher in the future and for those that are already living near the edge of food insecurity, it is only smart to plan ahead and store up some food items you know you will need in the future. If you buy now and eat it later when the price is higher, that is the same as making interest on your investment and that interest is immediate and non taxable.
If you have the means to store away some extra meat products it will be worth your time and money. If you plan to keep this extra in the freezer you need to have a backup power supply for it that will last at least several days so that any power disruptions will not cause the loss of your food. For those that are considering buying a freezer to store meats in, I strongly suggest you look at propane freezers as an option. They are more expensive but will continue to operate even when the power is out and unlike using a backup power supply, you don’t need to be there to insure power is maintained. If power should go out while you are away, the propane unit will continue to operate as normal, preserving your supplies.
As stated in earlier articles, the benefit of having a propane supply will enable you to power generators, stoves and heating units as well as the refrigeration unit. A large propane tank or two can enable you to go without power from the grid for weeks or months with the proper equipment so it is definitely something to think about. For those that cannot afford to go this route it might be more economical to buy some canning equipment and can some meat from the store as the price drops in the near future. This will provide you with the meat supply you need without having to worry about refrigeration.
It is in this type of environment that you should consider having a few acres of land and some livestock to help provide for your family. Having a garden, a small flock of chickens, some geese and ducks, a breeding pair of hogs and a small field of corn to provide feed for them would go a long way to offsetting the high price of food that we are inevitably going to see on a recurring basis in the future.
One of the dangers in the near future is the fact that over 48 million people in this country depend on food assistance payments from the government. As the price of food goes up, it is unlikely that those payments will keep up with the food cost and families will find themselves getting fewer groceries every week until they find they can no longer buy enough food to prevent starvation. Even those with a weekly paycheck may soon find themselves in dire straits when confronted with higher prices. In an extreme circumstance, where food supplies are very tight, certain foods may not be available at any price.
For those that do not already have a well stocked pantry, I implore you to begin buying food staples now while you can. Even if you only have $5.00 per week to put toward staples like flour, cornmeal, beans, rice, pasta, canned vegetables and powdered milk, over the course of several weeks you can build up a supply that will act as a buffer when prices finally overtake your buying power. The warning sirens have sounded. Those that fail to heed the warnings will have no one to blame in the future but themselves.