Thursday, February 29, 2024

Six Survival Skills to Teach Your Children

By Tim Gamble

1) Attitude of Self-Reliance -- Teach your children to start taking personal responsibility now for their own lives. Taking personal responsibility is the core of self-reliance. And self-reliance is the core of preparedness and survivalism.

Teach them that taking responsibility means doing what needs to be done, not just what is fun to do or what you want to do. Taking responsibility means not waiting around for others to do it for you. Taking responsibility means not assuming if you don’t do it then someone else will. Take the initiative and do it yourself.

2) Strong Work Ethic -- Having a strong work ethic is a major key to success in life in any situation, not just in survival situations.  Teach your children the value of hard work. Hard work is good, healthy, and effective. Its importance is revealed throughout God's Word. The idea of "an honest day's work for an honest day's pay" is part of the traditional American value system.

Children, even young children, should have chores that they are expected to do. And make them actually do their chores. The chores should be age-appropriate, but their responsibilities should increase as they grow older and gain maturity and skills. Older children can work part-time jobs outside the home. You are not helping your kids by shielding them from hard work.

3) Biblical and Traditional Values -- Teach your children to have a relationship with God. Make prayer, scripture reading, and worship a regular part of their lives. This means it will have to be a part of your life, too. Teach them the Commandments and the teachings of Jesus. Teach them to look to the perfection of God's Word as the ultimate authority for what is right and wrong, instead of the whim of worldly opinion. Don't just teach them what you believe, but why you believe it. Equip them for a world that is telling them that Biblical and traditional values are wrong. 

Also, teach them traditional American values - including the importance of individual freedom and self-reliance, the importance of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the importance of private property rights, the moral superiority of real capitalism, the value of hard work, the value of human life, common decency towards others, and the traditional monogamous family unit as the basic building block of society. Be sure to teach them that our rights come from God, not from government. (If you have any trouble explaining these concepts to your kids, it is likely because you were never taught them. This intentional dumbing down of America has been going on for decades.) First Aid (including knowledge of wild medicinals) -- If your children are old enough to be in school, they are old enough to learn basic first aid. They can advance their skills as they grow older.

I would also start teaching them early on how to identify wild edibles and medicinals, adding to their skill sets collecting, preserving and using them as they mature. Consider having them start and tend a medicinal herb garden. Again, start with the basics, and help them grow their skills as they get older.

5) Self-Defense Skills -- Teach your children situational awareness, which is more than just paying attention to what is going on around you, though that is an important start. It means both knowing what to look for, and how to assess (make decisions about) your surroundings. Check out my article on Situational Awareness and start teaching your children these skills.

I also urge parents to enroll your children in a good martial arts class. Learning a martial art such as karate or judo can be a fun hobby, provide considerable health and fitness benefits, improve self-confidence, and is a life-long self-defense skill set.

If your family or group has guns, then your children need to learn gun safety at a very young age. Your local gun store may be able to point you towards age-appropriate gun safety courses. Teach your children to respect guns, not to fear them.

It is up to you to judge the maturity level of your children and decide when they should start firearms training. I grew up around guns and was shooting and hunting with my grandfathers by the time I was 8 or 9. They were with me to provide guidance and supervision, but I was carrying and shooting my own gun (a .410 shotgun). I also had to help clean anything I shot, even at that early age.

6) Gardening Skills -- This covers planting, growing and preserving food, as well as saving seeds for the next year.  Have your kids help with your garden, or even set aside a small part as their garden (letting them choose what to plant and making them do the bulk of the work). I realize this may be difficult to do in the city, but perhaps you can join in a community garden in your area, or encourage your church to start one. At the very least, take your children on a field trip to a farm so they can learn that food comes from somewhere other than the store. 
AD:  Augason Farms Long-Term Food Storage - This is where I get powdered butter, eggs, cheese, milk, and other long-term foods for my Survival Pantry. Shelf-life up to 20+ years. Good quality, good taste, good value. For my money (literally, since I am a paying customer), Augason Farms is the best long-term foods option. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Looting in Small Towns and Rural Areas?

By Tim Gamble

We know that the big cities will likely experience large-scale riots and looting during and after a political or economic collapse or other major SHTF event. The looting will likely spread to the suburbs  immediately surrounding these areas as people become desperate and attempt to flee the cities. But what about small towns and rural areas well-away from the large cities? Will they be safe from riots and looting? My answer is yes. And no. Let me explain:

Yes. Small towns and rural areas well-away from large cities will be relatively safe from large-scale riots and looting of the big cities. Looters will not spread out of the cities very far. They won't be able to because: 
  1. gasoline supplies will disappear within the first 24-hours of a major SHTF event and will not be replenished
  2. looters are not preppers, and haven't stored any extra gas or even topped off their tanks, severely limiting how far they can drive away from the city
  3. roadways will quickly become undrivable anyway, as vehicles break-down and run out of gas, clogging up the roadways
  4. most modern Americans are overweight, unhealthy, and very out-of-shape, therefore will be unable to hike out of the cities very far 
  5. most who try to leave the cities on foot will die of violence, heart attacks, heat strokes, dehydration, and other problems long before they reach distant small towns and remote rural areas. 

Just because you happen to live in a small town or rural area far away from a big city, and are therefore insulated from what is happening in the cities, doesn't mean you will be completely safe. You will still have three areas of concern:

1) A few city folks - Although the vast majority of the rioters and looters will be stuck in the cities for the reasons given above, a handful of particularly lucky or resourceful individuals will make it out, and they will be desperate and dangerous. Fortunately there won't be many of them, so you should be able to defend against them if you and your group or community have planned ahead for such a defense. 

See the book Retreat Security and Small Unit Tactics by David Kobler (SouthernPrepper1) and Mark Goodwin for more information on defending your homestead, neighborhood, or community. 

2) A few local folks -  Yes, a few local folks may become problems for the community. There are always some bad apples in any community who will try to take advantage of any situation that presents itself. And there will be others - good folks who just aren't prepared - that may eventually turn to looting and other crimes out of desperation. Think ahead about what (if any) help or charity you will be willing to give friends and neighbors, and how best to safely do so. You also may need to  prepare yourself for the possibility of having to defend your family and your property from someone you know should things become really desperate. 

3) Local government and law enforcement - In a true long-term crisis situation, local authorities, well-intentioned or not, may attempt to confiscate food and supplies for re-distribution within the community. They will have a long list of reasonable sounding excuses for doing so, will have the backing for any local media that may still be operating, and will have the overwhelming support of those locals in need of food because they weren't prepared for a crisis. 

Having government take other people's stuff and give it to you is very popular these days. You need to decide now to what extent you will cooperate with, or resist, such efforts. And if you plan to resist, how? Options include pretending to be among those in need (are your supplies well-hidden?), turning over a token amount of food and supplies (again, are the rest of your supplies well-hidden?), or physically resisting when they come to your home to inspect it for supplies you have "hoarded." If you choose the last option, are you prepared for a gun-battle with the local authorities, who will be at least as well-armed and well-trained as you and your group, and probably more so?  

Preppers concerned about a major SHTF event need to think through these issues, making plans and preparations now, rather than wait until its too late.
Ad:  Retreat Security and Small Unit Tactics by David Kobler (Southern Prepper 1) and Mark Goodwin, "will teach you how to organize your team or neighborhood into a force to be reckoned with. You’ll get tips to harden your home and protect your family, life and property, both now and after the stuff hits the fan."

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Gun Owners of America Announces Inaugural Convention

This Announcement is cross-posted on

2-27-2024 Washington, D.C. — Gun Owners of America (GOA) is excited to announce their inaugural Gun Owners Advocacy and Leadership Summit (GOALS), which will be held in mid-August in Knoxville, Tennessee.

This two-day weekend event is expected to draw tens of thousands of attendees and will feature speeches from leaders in the gun rights movement, educational panels, meet and greet sessions, and musical performances from major artists. Additionally, the convention’s festivities will kick off on Friday August 16th with an exclusive industry expo for manufacturers, retailers, and other firearms businesses.

GOA is also excited to share that all attendees will be able to lawfully carry while in attendance.

Erich Pratt, GOA’s Senior Vice President, issued the following statement:    

“With gun owners, manufacturers, and dealers facing ever growing pressure and outright hostility from so many anti-gun forces today, this election is without a doubt going to be the most critical in history for Second Amendment rights.  

“With that in mind, our goal is to make this the premiere event bringing together Second Amendment enthusiasts and advocates as we prepare for the political fight of our lives this November. I can’t wait to reveal more details as we lock in speakers and other guests of honor.” 

Kailey Nieman, GOA’s Director of Development, added: 

“We’re thrilled to be putting on this event for our valued members and strategic industry partners. Between the educational panels and keynote speakers, the invigorating musical performances, and our large industry expo, this will be a can’t miss Second Amendment celebration. 

“Our greater GOA community is battle tested and laser focused on our no-compromise mission, and attendees can expect to leave G.O.A.L.S. energized and ready to make an impact on the serious challenges facing our Second Amendment. This conference will be a major springboard for our organization and the greater community as we head into November.” 

Admission to the summit will be free for GOA members, and those interested in joining GOA or confirming their membership is up to date can do so here.

Companies interested in attending the industry expo can learn more here.

Source:  Gun Owners of America Press Release
Venison Jerky Meat Snack Sticks - A Zero Sugar, Gluten Free, Nitrate Free, Low Carb healthy snack (one of my favorites). Perfect for the Paleo Diet, Keto Diet, Whole 30 Diet, Atkins Diet, and Low-Carb Diets. The animals are grass-fed and never given hormones or antibiotics.

An Overlooked Item For Your Bug-Out Vehicles and Generators

By Tim Gamble

You Need This For Your Bug-Out Vehicles and Generators
An extremely important, but often overlooked, piece of gear everyone should have in their bug-out vehicle is a portable fuel filter, such as the Mr. Funnel portable fuel filters.  Portable fuel filters remove water, dirt, and other debris from gasoline and diesel, thereby protecting the engine from harm. (They can also be used to filter kerosene, propane, and heating oil.) Clean fuel is extremely important for your vehicle (and tractor, and generator, and so forth).

Why would you need to use a portable fuel filter? At least three reasons come to mind: 1) In a bug-out situation you may be filling up using gas stored in five-gallon cans (or other storage tanks), which may have developed water issues due to condensation build-up (any air space inside the gas can will allow condensation, even if you are using additives such Sta-Bil). 2) You may be filling up at unfamiliar gas stations that you simply don't know the quality of the fuel. 3) Or, particularly in a slow collapse scenario, the quality of available gasoline may become "spotty" even with brands/stations that you are familiar with, as the infrastructure slowly deteriorates. 

Portable fuel filters come in multiple sizes with different flow rates (examples: the AF1CB filter has a flow rate of up to 2.5 gallons per minute, and the larger AF15CB filter has a flow rate of up to 15 gallons per minute).

Smaller fuel filters, with slower flow rates (1 or 2 gallons per minute) are less expensive and work best for smaller quantities, such as filtering the gas going into a lawn mower or small tractor. The larger filters with higher flow rates are more expensive but work better for fueling a vehicle with a large gas tank. For example, my Nissan Pathfinder has an 18 gallon tank. A small filter with a 2.5 gallon flow rate would take more than seven minutes for a fill-up. However, a larger filter with a 15 gallon flow rate would only take a little over a minute.

Note: Don't cross contaminate. Use a separate portable fuel filter for each type of fuel. In other words, have separate filters for gasoline, diesel, heating oil, kerosene, and propane. 
Venison Jerky Meat Snack Sticks - A Zero Sugar, Gluten Free, Nitrate Free, Low Carb healthy snack (one of my favorites). Perfect for the Paleo Diet, Keto Diet, Whole 30 Diet, Atkins Diet, and Low-Carb Diets. The animals are grass-fed and never given hormones or antibiotics. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

Improve Your Health and Fitness for Free!

By Tim Gamble

Health and fitness should be at or near the top of every prepper's list of priorities. The good news is that improving your health and fitness doesn't require expensive sneakers, gym memberships, personal trainers, special exercise equipment, or over-priced "health foods." Here are some FREE ways to improve your health & fitness:
  • Drink water instead of sodas or sweet tea. You don't have to buy bottled water, as tap water works just as well (and the dirty little secret of most bottled water is that they really are just tap water).
  • Skip the desserts. You'll lose weight and save money at the same time.
  • Skip the late night snacks. Another way to lose weight and save money at the same time. A general rule of thumb for losing weight is "No snacks after 8pm."
  • Eat healthier. This doesn't have to mean buying special health foods or more costly organic foods.  Instead, it means eating less junk foods, fast foods, & sweets, and more veggies, especially leafy-greens and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower).
  • Go for a walk. Walking is great exercise, and its FREE! Start with a 15-minute walk each day, and over the next several weeks try to work your way up to 45-minutes or even an hour. You can walk around your neighborhood, in your local mall (a great way to walk on a rainy day), or at local parks & greenways. I even know an older couple who walk laps inside their local Walmart most mornings, rain or shine. Everyone has somewhere they can walk for free. Once you start walking, don't quit. The key to walking for fitness is consistency
  • Be active. Yard work - such as cutting grass with a push mower, gardening, raking leaves, chopping wood - makes great free exercise. In fact, anything that raises your pulse rate and causes you to lightly sweat counts as exercise. 
  • Check out your local parks. Local parks often have walking/jogging trails, tennis courts, basketball courts, obstacle/fitness courses, and other opportunities for free exercise. 
  • Stretching exercises and calisthenics are free. Jumping jacks, sit-ups, toe-touches, leg squats,  and push-ups require no special equipment and cost nothing. You can also find lots of free You Tube videos with fitness exercises and workout programs.
  • Stop smoking. Yes, this is hard. But it can be done for free and it will even save you hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars a year. 
  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is much more important to our long-term health than most people realize. Lack of quality sleep not only impairs our immune system, reflexes, and reasoning skills, but has also been proven to increase our risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and even certain cancers. We might be able to "get by" with less sleep over the short-term, but we are damaging our health over the long-term.
AD:  Augason Farms Long-Term Food Storage - This is where I get powdered butter, eggs, cheese, milk, and other long-term foods for my Survival Pantry. Shelf-life up to 20+ years. Good quality, good taste, good value. For my money (literally, since I am a paying customer), Augason Farms is the best long-term foods option. 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer

By Tim Gamble

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children younger than 15 years old (the leading cause is accidents). The good news is that, detected early, the overall survival rate for childhood cancers now exceeds 80%. The problem is in early detection. How do you distinguish the normal bumps, bruises, and illnesses of childhood from more serious illnesses such as cancer? This is made especially difficult in young children, who may not be able to properly identify and explain their symptoms to adults. 

Regular medical checkups for children are especially important for that reason. Although no one, young or old, enjoys going to the doctor, and it can be both costly and time-consuming, delaying or even skipping checkups can be dangerous. 

In addition to regular checkups, parents and guardians should be aware of the warning signs of childhood cancer. Although these symptoms can occur for reasons other than cancer, seek medical advice if any of the following are persistent and/or otherwise unexplainable. (This list comes from materials provided by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital,)
  • Persistent/unexplainable fever
  • Fatigue and paleness
  • Swelling or lumps anywhere on the body, especially in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Change of disposition, e.g. whining or crying spells, unusual irritability
  • Regression of toilet habits
  • Stumbling or falling
  • Double vision or other eye problems
  • Easy and frequent bruising
  • Nosebleeds or bleeding from any part of the body

Other possible symptoms include (additional symptoms from information provided by the American Cancer Society):

  • Persistent/unexplainable weight loss
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Frequent headaches or dizziness
  • Ongoing pain in a specific area
  • Limping or difficulty walking

Again, these symptoms may occur for reasons other than cancer. What you are looking for are symptoms that are persistent and/or otherwise unexplainable.

If your child frequently exhibits any of these symptoms, seemingly without cause, seek medical advice as soon as possible. Early detection is absolutely key to the successful treatment for childhood cancers. 

The American Cancer Society provides the following information about seeing the doctor (links are to pages on their website):

"The doctor will ask about the child's medical history and symptoms, and will then examine your child. If cancer might be causing the symptoms, the doctor might order imaging tests (such as x-rays) or other tests. Sometimes if an abnormal lump or tumor is found, the doctor might need to remove some or all of it so that it can be looked at under a microscope for cancer cells. This is known as a biopsy.

If your child is found to have cancer, you can learn about coping and moving forward after the diagnosis is made in If Your Child Is Diagnosed With Cancer."

Sources: Information in this article comes from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the American Cancer Society. Please visit their websites for more information.

*** Liked this article? Never miss out on future articles by following Dystopian Survival


The Way, Issue 16 (Spiritual Preparedness for Believers)

By Tim Gamble
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." -- John 14:6
Get Out of Woke Churches

The following is from an article I wrote in May of 2023:

Get out of modern liberal / progressive / "woke" churches.  Instead, find a small Bible-believing, Bible-teaching congregation to join. Or find a home church or private Bible-study group to meet with on a weekly basis. Or start one of your own with family and friends who also believe in the Bible. 

In the 1960s and1970s, modern feminism (anti-male, anti-family, anti-traditional values) began infecting many Christian Churches. Many pastors and other leaders did nothing, or even embraced modern feminism, often out of fear of losing members, donations, or even their jobs, if they didn't fit in with modern times.

In more recent decades, the concept of "social justice" (which is absolutely not the same as Biblical justice, see the book Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice) has infected many Christian Churches. Likewise, "environmental justice" - another non-Biblical concept - has also gained traction in many Churches, Today, most pastors and other leaders have embraced social and environmental justice out of a desire to fit in with the modern world (though they would call it being "relevant" and "authentic" - two buzz words of the Far Left).

This desire to "fit in with the world" is condemned in Scripture many, many times. Yet, many modern Christians try to adopt worldly ways, thinking it is okay because they are giving it a supposedly "Christian" spin. It is not okay. We are followers of The Way, not followers of The World. We are called to be set-apart, not to fit in.

God, and God alone, decides what is right and what is wrong, what is sin and what is not, what is good and what is evil. What God has decided is never "out dated" or "old fashioned." We have not "out grown" what God has revealed to us. We do not become "relevant" or "authentic" by rejecting God's Laws. The world may praise us for doing so, but God won't. 

Let me be clear on this: God decides what love is, not us. God decides how we are to love Him. God decides how we are to love others. We don't decide this for ourselves. God tells us exactly how we are to love Him, and how we are to Love others. It is NOT up to us to decide how we will love Him, or how we will love others. God has already decided this for us. Read the scriptures. Its all laid out right there. 

Worldly ways are not God's ways, and slapping a Christian bumper sticker on it won't change that fact. Follow God, not the World. Reject modern "Christianity" that tries to fir in with the World. Reject churches, pastors, and teachers that worry more about being seen as relevant than about pleasing God.

Link to the original article: Dump "Woke" Churches!

Scripture Readings For This Week

Exodus 30:11 - 34:35
1 Kings 18:1-39
Mark 9:1-10 
Proverbs and Psalms

Try to read one chapter a day from both Proverbs and Psalms. 

Scripture Memorization For This Week*

Continuing the memorization series on the Ten Commandments, from Exodus chapter 20. This week features the Ninth Commandment:

Exodus 20:16 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." 

* The above is from the NKJV, but feel free to memorize using whatever version you are comfortable with. 

Remember: You Only Fail When You Give Up

Missed a day (or several) reading your Bible? Got busy with life and forgot to pray yesterday? Having a hard time with the memorization? Don't sweat it! Just keep trying. Remember, you only fail when you give up. 
Two of my favorite and most often used Bibles: 

The NKJV, American Patriot's Bible, The Word of God and the Shaping of America - One of my favorites, the New King James Version is literal, accurate, and easy-to-read for most modern folks. The American Patriot's Bible "shows how the history of the United States connects the people and events of the Bible to our lives in a modern world. The story of the United States is wonderfully woven into the teachings of the Bible." Lot's of articles and study notes showing the importance of God and the Bible to our nation's founding and subsequent history. Available on Amazon

The Scriptures - This new English translation includes Genesis through Revelation, and restores the Name of our Creator to the text in each place it occurs. This new version in English is a literal translation by Institute for Scripture Research, overseen by Dr. Chris Koster. New in this 2009 edition: Improvements to the text - seeking a yet closer equivalent to the literal meaning of the original language. Quotations / Allusions from the Old Testament are in bold type in the New Testament, and are accompanied by the text references - aiding your understanding of the original contexts, and how they influence the writers drawing upon them.  Available on Amazon

Friday, February 23, 2024

How To Afford Paying Off Debt and Building Savings

By Tim Gamble

"A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned."

This maxim by Benjamin Franklin is very true. If you can find $25 worth of savings from your budget, then you suddenly have $25 put in your emergency fund or to pay down a debt. It is as if you earned an extra $25. Most of us think our budgets are already fairly tight, so you may be wondering How can I save money? 

First, realize that small purchases add up to big money.  Money spent on little things - sodas, snacks, and impulse items of all sorts - can add up really quickly. A great example is a guy I used to work with who constantly complained about not having any money. Every afternoon he would head down to the break room and buy a Pepsi and a Snickers bar from the vending machine. It was only a $1.75 (this was years ago, obviously), but he spent that money five days a week. Over the course of a year, that adds up to almost $450. No wonder he didn't have any money!

Ideas to Avoid Impulse Purchases:
  • Don't to pay attention to TV, radio, or print ads. Hit the mute button. or simply don't watch or read the ads.
  • Don't watch infomercials or home shopping channels.
  • Leave junk mail unopened. Recycle catalogs, fliers, and leaflets unread.
  • Don't use shopping as a form of entertainment or a means to relax. Don't go to the mall or shopping center just to have something to do.
  • Avoid social shopping with friends. Friends tend to talk each other into things, not out of them.
  • Shop only with lists, and stick to them.
  •  Don't browse Amazon, eBay, or other Internet sites. Shop them the same way you would a physical store - with a list.
  • Shop with cash only. Spending cash feels more real than using checks or credit cards, so you are apt to spend less.
  • If you do find an item you think you can't do without, wait at least 24 hours before buying it. Chances are the impulse will pass.

Second, look to big categories for big savings.
 This list may both inspire & horrify you:

1- Stop smoking. In my home state of NC, a pack-a-day habit will cost you more than $2000 a year. In many other states the cost is much higher (due mainly to taxes). Think how quickly you can grow your emergency fund or pay off debt with an extra $2,000 this year! 

2- Conquer your other addictions. It is not just smoking which is costly, but all addictions - alcohol, gambling, drugs, etc. Not only are they bad for your health (physical and emotional), but they wreck havoc on your financial life, too.

3- Brown bag your lunch. Many of us eat out for lurch during the week, but this can be costly, even if you stick to the fast food value meals. If you spend just $5 a lunch eating out (and you probably average more unless you truly do stick to the dollar menu at McDonald's), it will cost you over $1,200 a year.

4- Skip the next version of your iPhone, iPad, and other electronic toys. It will cost you hundreds of dollars to impress people by having the absolute latest toy. Do you really care that much about impressing others? If so, why? Besides, there is rarely hundreds of dollars worth of improvements from one version to the next.

5- Drastically reduce your entertainment expenses. Watch a DVD at home instead of going to the movies. Get a library card (lots of free knowledge and entertainment). Have a family game night at home. Cut back on your cable/satellite TV package (going from the EVERYTHING INCLUDED package to a more basic package could save you more than $100/month, $1,200/year).

6- Skip the expensive vacation. "Staycations" are the hot new trend anyway. Stay home, relax, and visit local swimming pools, parks, and museums. The savings will range anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on your family size and what your normal vacation is.

7- Shop around for a better deal on your bank accounts. Fees vary widely between financial institutions. Be especially aware of over draft fees. Switching from a high cost mega-bank to a low cost credit union potentially could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Same goes for your car insurance, home owners insurance, and other financial products. If you haven't shopped around lately, you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars worth of savings.

8- Don't ever take a pay-day loan. These loans are stunningly overpriced, and borrowers often get trapped into constantly taking out these loans each payday. If you really need short-term cash, talk to your bank or credit union. Many have started programs similar to pay-day loans, but with a much less expensive interest rates. If you really are desperate for a one-time short-term loan, take the uncomfortable step of asking a friend, family member, or even your church for help.

9- Drop the gym bill. Unless you are a professional bodybuilder, there are cheaper ways to get the exercise you need. Walk, ride a bike, go hiking on the weekends, get an exercise DVD or two, do your own yard work (use a push mower), garden, buy a set of barbells or free weights (and use them), get a jump rope, do yoga at home (get a friend to join you)... Depending on what your gym charges, the potential savings is hundreds of dollars a year or more. 

Ways to Raise Money

I wish I had a magic solution to the problem of how to raise money for prepping, but I don't. No one, not even Uncle Sam, is giving out free money for people to become more self-reliant. The only ways to raise money that I know of entail sacrifice of time, talent, effort, or property. Here is my list of ways to raise money:
  • Get a raise, or more hours, at your primary job. Difficult to do, I know, but a great way to raise extra money if you can pull it off.
  • Get a second, or third, job. In my twenties, worked a second job for years at a B. Dalton Booksellers, mostly on weekends. It only netted me about $80/week (this was more than 25 years ago), but over the course of a year that was more than $4,000. A second job will pay off a lot of debt or make a nice contribution to your emergency fund.
  • Do odd jobs. Can you sew, tutor, mow lawns, bake, babysit, or do "handyman" jobs? Post or handout fliers around your community. If you have a pick-up truck or van, you can rent it and yourself out for a lot of odd jobs involving hauling.
  • Start you own side-business. Perhaps one you could eventually turn into a full-time business. Some ideas include gardening and lawn care, small engine repair, tinkering (repairing/sharpening knives, tools, and other small metal items), leather-working, wood-working, catering, making/selling gift baskets, auto-detailing, Camper & RV cleaning service... 
  • Collect money owed to you. If you loaned money to a friend or relative, it is time to collect. Asking a friend or family member to pay back money you've lent them is uncomfortable, and may lead to some icy Sunday dinners at Grandma's, but it is your money after all. And you need it.
  • Cancel your subscriptions. Most newspapers and magazines will refund the unused portion of your subscription when you cancel. It might not be much, but every little bit helps.
  • Hold a yard or garage sale. Get rid of your junk and get rid of the clutter in your life while making a few bucks. If you live in an apartment, maybe there is a nearby flea market you can sale your stuff at? Or ask a friend if you can hold the yard sale at their place.
  • Sell your big-ticket items in your local classified ads. This is a great way to sell individual items such as ATVs, exercise equipment, furniture, electronics, and so forth.
  • Rent out a room. If you have a spare bedroom, consider renting it out. If you rent an apartment, consider taking a roommate. Be careful who you are renting to, of course, checking references and so forth. And be sure to use a written contract!
Venison Jerky Meat Snack Sticks - A Zero Sugar, Gluten Free, Nitrate Free, Low Carb healthy snack (one of my favorites). Perfect for the Paleo Diet, Keto Diet, Whole 30 Diet, Atkins Diet, and Low-Carb Diets. The animals are grass-fed and never given hormones or antibiotics. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Building An Emergency Fund While Paying Off Debt

By Tim Gamble

The top two financial goals for most folks should be setting aside an emergency fund, and paying off high-interest debt items such as most credit cards and car loans. Between the two, I would actually prioritize the emergency fund until you have at least $1,500 set aside. Dave Ramsey says $1,000, but his advice is from before the high inflation of the last few years. Other money experts suggest having an emergency fund of at least 3 to 6 months of expenses, but that is a large number and a daunting challenge for many. The $1,500 goal is more realistic. You can always add to it later. 

Don't stop making your minimum payments, of course, since late fees and penalty interest rates add up extremely fast. But put any extra money into the savings for now. Once you have that emergency fund of $1,500, then you can tackle your debt with extra payments. 

Eliminating Debt and Building Savings Is Preparedness
Bad economic times are a part of most collapse scenarios that worry most preppers. And even if a full collapse never happens, can be certain of economic downturns and recessions in the future. Bad economic times are especially difficult for folks who live paycheck to paycheck (which is most of the middle class in America today), are in debt up to their eyeballs, and have little or no savings.  Debt – whether personal, business or government – is bad for many reasons (I'll talk about those reasons below). So, my personal advice to you (and to me) is to make paying of debt and building your savings a major part of your prepper activities.

In your personal life, work quickly towards eliminating consumer debt – credit cards, car loans, payday loans, personal loans, and installment plans. This will mean you have to put yourself on a budget and stick with it. It will mean putting off major purchases, avoiding impulse purchases, and **gasp** denying yourself luxury items. It may mean taking bag lunches to work. Or selling your car to get out of the loan, buying an older model with cash, or perhaps making do with only one. Consider having a major yard sale to raise some money, or try to find a second job. It will take time and sacrifice to eliminate debt in your life, but the benefits will be more than worth it.

Put the money somewhere safe, such as an savings account in a stable bank or credit union (do your own homework, or check with one of several companies that offer ratings on the soundness and safety of various financial institutions). Don't worry about getting the best possible interest rate. Safety and liquidity are the goals for your emergency savings, not growth.
Pro Tip: Check out Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps and read his the book Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money for more on getting out of debt.
Debt Busting Idea #1 - Making payments on your vehicle?  Sell it and buy a more affordable vehicle with cash. Downsizing your vehicle to get out from under the loan is an idea Dave Ramsey often suggests to his listeners. If you can't get enough for your vehicle to pay off the entire loan, you will need to raise some extra cash using other ideas from this article. 

Debt Busting Idea #2 - If you own any "adult toys" such as ATVs, boats, sports cars, RVs, pool tables, dune buggies, hot tubs, motorcycles, or other big ticket items that you use only for recreation and entertainment, consider selling them and dedicating the proceeds to debt repayment. Same goes for any home gyms and expensive exercise equipment that you don't really use. Depending on what you have to sell, you may be able to raise anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. That's a lot of debt you can pay off.

Q.  Why pay off debt if we are headed towards high inflation? 

Inflation is often used by some folks as an excuse to not pay off their debt. It may be true that by waiting to pay off debt, you will be paying it off with cheaper dollars. However, there are other considerations. For one, debt puts you, your family and your assets at risk. Pay off your debts now while you are employed and you run less risk of losing your home or other assets if you become unemployed later.

Also, debt can be very stressful, especially in difficult times, which can be a real detriment to your health, and to your ability to make calm decisions, at a time when you most need both.

Proverbs 22:7 "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." (NKJV)

Another reason is that debt can shackle you to your current job and circumstances, when what is really needed at a time like this is freedom and flexibility.

Additionally, people tend not to realize how fast interest, late fees, and other penalties can add up. You may be paying off your debt later with cheaper dollars, but still end up paying more in real terms because of all the added interest and penalties.

Finally, debtor's prisons are a thing of the past, but depending on what a future collapse looks like, they could return in the future. This is partially true if the future collapse includes a true police-state phase in which the Constitution and Bill of Rights are suspended or done away with completely. 

ROLOWAY Large Fireproof Document Bag. The ROLOWAY Large (17"x12"x5.8") Fireproof (to 2000°F) and Water-resistant Document Bag is perfect for your important documents, cash, and other valuables.