Category Archives: Financial

Why Being Debt Free is Important for a Prepper

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

About two years ago I really started getting worried about the direction our country was heading. I started listing to Podcast like “The Survival Podcast” that focused on preparing for the future and I learned a lot. I actually started doing the things the host was telling us about; bought a water filter, started stock piling food and learning life skills. I even started sharing what I was learning by writing this blog and posting on my Palmetto Prepper Facebook page.

As the economy continued to get worse and the cost of everything started increasing at an alarming rate I started looking at my financial future. How could I protect myself when economy and the dollar ended up in the toilet?

Then I did something that the results scared me even more; I got out all my bills and added up how much consumer debt I had accumulated and I was shocked. I realized that not only are we slaves to our government but I was a slave to the people who owned all my debt. The number scared the crap out of me and that did not even include my house. I knew I could not be prepared and self-reliant until I freed myself from this debt. If things got bad I could lose my house and everything I owned.

I started searching for answers and a quick and easy way to get out of debt. I did not find any quick tricks but I did find this guy named Dave Ramsey and his Total Debt Make Over. I bought the book, with cash, and read it cover to cover in one weekend. I strongly recommend that you read the book also, I am sure you can find it at your local library.

What Dave taught me was his baby steps and I have been following them ever since. Step number one is to have $1,000 cash in an emergency fund. I believe he recommended having it in a savings account; however the prepper in me said nope – cash in small bills locked up in a safe place. I had that step taken care of in just six weeks. See my blog post titled “Cash is King” dated March 20, 2013 for more information about that. In addition to saving the $1,000 we cut up all our credit cards and started paying for everything in cash.

Next we compiled a list of all our bills, listing them from smallest to largest along with their required monthly payments. The list scared me to death. It started with a doctor bill that we owed only $140 on but we were only making a $10 a month payment. At that rate we would be paying on that on bill for 14 months. The first goal was to pay that one-off. At the beginning of the next month we made all our minimum monthly payment and I saw that our balances changed very little and I was almost out of money. I started trying to figure out ways to generate money and fast. I was able to find some odd job from neighbors; like raking yards, cleaning off roofs and helping with odd jobs. In just three weeks I had earned the money to pay off that first debt. It felt great to make some headway.

The next month I was able to start working on the next lowest balance and instead of making the minimum payment I added the $10 that I was paying on the doctor bill. I have been working it ever since. In the first year I was able to pay off $14,737.30 and save up $1,000 cash for my emergency fund. I know I have a long way to go, but it feels good to be heading in the right direction. The freedom we already feel is unbelievable.

Prepping is being prepared and being debt free is one preparation I recommend that you start working towards. If you want to get out of debt, you can get out of debt – no matter how much money you owe. Just take baby steps and you can get there!

Resources:

The Survival Podcast – http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/

Palmetto Prepper Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper?ref=hl

Dave Ramsey – http://www.daveramsey.com/new/baby-steps/

The Total Money Makeover – http://www.daveramsey.com/store/books/dave-s-bestsellers/the-total-money-makeover/prodtmmoclassic.html

Cash is King Blog post – https://ki4idb.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/cash-is-king-keeping-cash-on-hand-for-emergencies/

Advertisements

First Exposure – The Journey of Discovery

It is important to remind ourselves that we did not always have the peace and courage that comes from living the prepper lifestyle. We didn’t always know that “life as we know it” is not stable and that it can change overnight. The inner peace that we, as preppers, have realized comes from slowly taking the steps to insure that our families will have a roof over their heads, water to drink and food for them to eat.

The average person is just rocking along with life and my have had limited exposure to people like us. They might have a flashlight, some batteries and possibly a portable radio socked away for when the lights go out, but they are not prepared for any real life changing events. Then they meet someone like us and they think we are strangle and might even treat us differently. Our family will tolerate us preppers because they have to, after all they are family.

However then we have contact with that average person that was just rocking along and they have suddenly had the “First Exposure” with the need to be prepared. They may have just lost their job or knows someone who has. They might have just lived through a natural disaster that made life scary for a few days or a week and now they realize that their family is vulnerable. Or like most people they have discovered that our country cannot keep plugging along spending more money than it takes in every year and they have noticed that the cost of everyday living has risen very fast and it all gives them some concern. Whatever the reason is, they have started seeking out advice and are looking for justification to start spending a pile of money on things that they think they need so they can have the same peace and courage we have when we take on whatever life throws our way.

What we have to remember is that “First Exposure” sucks. Not only does it suck but the person that was recently exposed feels alone and knows that they cannot talk to most people or their family because they know that their friends and family will think they are crazy, just as they would have thought about us before their exposure. Now they are seeking out someone who does not think they are crazy!

Hopefully they find someone who is a level-headed prepper that will steer them in the right direction. Someone that gives them good solid advice and helps them think of thing logically and points them to reliable resources so they can educate themselves before they waste lots of money. I also hope that they find someone who will direct them to more like-minded people so they can start building community and a support group.

I have a feeling that 2014 will produce many new people who experience their “First Exposure” and there is a good chance that you will be placed in a position to be that SOMEONE I mentioned earlier. I ask you to remember what it was like when you had your “First Exposure” and that you help your new friend down the path of preparedness with understanding and patience.

Help them get started and help them to feel normal. Living a prepping/preparedness lifestyle is nothing new. People until recent history lived this way. Remember you grandparents, their generation lived this way. They always saved and put supplies up for later use. People all over the world live a preparedness lifestyle. It was not until recent times that people were taught that we can just run to the store whenever they needed something. Well I believe that is a false security and that 2014 will show us all just how false it is.

Happy Prepping!
Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SCPrepper

Blog: https://ki4idb.wordpress.com/

Prepping Goals 2014

My prepping goals for 2014 include personal, family and farm goals … all of which will impact the safety, security and well-being of my family. The reason for me sharing my goals with everyone is that by letting others know your goals then you have someone to hold you accountable.

Family

– Get my 1100 gallon water barrel contacted to new gutters on the rear of the house
– Grow and can 50% more food to increase our food storage and improve the quality of food that is consumed by my family

Farm

– Build a new larger chicken coop (20 bird minimum)
– New roof on old pump house to increase storage and safety on farm
– Get current goat-herd registered
– Finish 40 foot high radio tower (for Ham Radio antennas)

Personal

– Continue Debt snowball (get all current doctor bills paid off)
– Build readership on blog by creating at least one new blog post a week
– Research how to start a podcast and launch Palmetto Prepper Network

Goals are important for every aspect of life. I would encourage you to make goals, short-term and long-term. Without goals it you are less likely to achieve the things you seek in life.

The two goals that excite me the most is building a larger better egg producing factory (chicken coop) and starting a podcast. Actually the podcast is the one that intrigues me the most. I am actually curious how many of my Facebook followers and blog readers would actually listen or be interested in this endeavor.

Good luck and happy prepping in 2014.

Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SCPrepper

Blog: https://ki4idb.wordpress.com/

Successful Prepping on $10 A Week

By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

Several years ago I was minding my own business watching TV and a crazy show called “Doomsday Preppers” came on the screen. I watch about a half an hour of those weird people before turning it off. But the concept of the show sparked an interest in the back of my mind and got me thinking about the safety of my own family. I really started wondering if they would be taken care of or if they would be safe if anything (SHTF) bad happened. I concluded that we were grossly unprepared and our family’s journey began.

I am a list maker so the first thing I did was make a list of what I needed for my family to have just two month’s worth of supplies (food, water, soap, toothpaste …). Once finished I looked at my list and then at my checkbook, I am a father of six with a stay at home wife, and I quickly got over whelmed and then I panicked. After a few days I got brave enough to broach the subject with my wife and we figured out where the disposable income needed would come from. Like most of you, the economy has not been good to me. I have not had a real raise in years and the price of everything keeps going up, even while the government is telling us there is no noticeable appreciation.

My wife came up with the idea of prepping in little bits and watching it all add up. We spent one evening going over our budget and found ways to save money. I cut out my bi-weekly trip to Starbucks, started taking lunch to work a few day a week. We even cut out some of our soda habit and we realized we could easily find $10 a week to put towards our preps, and that is what we did.

You will not believe what $10 can buy until you really start paying attention. Here are just a few things you can get from a discount store like Family Dollar or Dollar General:

Rice (3 lb. bag) $1.69 – you can store 5 bags for $8.45
Dried beans (1.5 lb. bag) $1.99 – 5 bags = $9.95
Sugar (4 lb. bag) $2.39 – 4 bags = $9.95
Toothpaste $1.79 a tube – 5 tubes = $8.95
Kraft Easy Mac (2.05 oz. container) $1.00 – 10 containers = $10

The list goes on and on. Again I can’t say it enough that you can quickly store lots of supplies for as little as $10 a week. When we found a big item we wanted we would just save our $10 weekly prepping money until we could afford to buy the item. I think the first big item we got was a propane burner. In just a few weeks we had the money needed.

The key is to be consistent and disciplined and make that $10 purchase every week. In just a few months into your prepping journey you will be amazed at what you’re accomplishing. Then at the end of the first year you will look into your prepper closet and feel a lot better about your preparedness.

Once you get the basics of prepping started, you will quickly start doing things like gardening, canning your own food, seed saving and other inexpensive prepping activities that will quickly increase your safety and preparedness.

For more information on prepping please visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper

Cash is King: Keeping Cash on Hand for Emergencies

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

There is a lot of information out there today about “prepping” which is really nothing more than following the old Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared”.  In everyday life there are many things that we might be prepping for that we did not even know would come up.

There are moments in life that will change everything and shake things up for you.  It may be the loss of a job, a positive pregnancy test that you were not trying for or a natural disaster.  Not all unexpected events are negative, but they are all unexpected and that is why we “prep” or prepare in advance for what life has in store for us.

One of the first step in preparing for the unexpected is to have a solid emergency fund in place.  An emergency fund is money that you have set aside that will allow you the freedom to take care of these unexpected emergencies.

In a real emergency such as a large winter storm or anything that could cause a prolonged power outage where debit or credit cards would be completely useless, having cash on hand could be a game changer.  Not all emergency would make these types of financial transactions impossible, but we need to prepare for the worse so I strongly recommend having cash on hand.

I recommend keeping cash in small denominations in both a home safe as well as a bug-out bag.  Most people don’t carry much cash anymore so if the SHTF you will be one of the few who will have cash to purchase items like gas, food, water or other supplies that you might need.  Hopefully as a prepper, you already have most or all of these things stored at you home.

My goal is to have a three months’ supply of cash on hand.  This should be enough to keep my family with enough cash to make the house payment, buy groceries, paying bills and generally living life while I try to get ahead of the moment that has shaking up my life.  I recommend starting with about $100 in small and medium sized bills (nothing larger than a $20) and work up from there.  When you have a spare five or ten dollar bill at the end of the week add it to your stash.  It will add up faster than you think.  Good luck and happy prepping.

For more information on prepping please visit and like my Facebook page at:

http://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper/posts/382263251881683?ref=notif&notif_t=like#!/PalmettoPreppermoney

 

Stashing Junk Silver for Bad Times

Stashing Junk Silver for Bad Times

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

 

There was a time when you could buy a loaf of bread for a quarter or a soda for a dime.  Those times are long behind us.  Now, a loaf of bread can cost almost $4.00 and a 20 oz. bottle of soda cost close to $1.75.  Today those same yesteryear coins have about the same or more buying value as they did back then.  According to today’s silver value ($32.29/oz.) a yesteryear quarter is worth $5.85 and a dime is worth $2.34.

Why is that?  Because pre-1964 dimes, quarters, half dollars and silver dollars contain silver, they are composed of 90% silver and 10% copper.  Even nickels from 1942-1945 are made up of 35% silver.  These coins were in standard circulation until silver was removed from all coinage about 1964.  These pre-1964 coins have come to be known as “Junk Silver” because they have no real numismatic (coin collecting) value.

If money becomes worthless, and it is becoming more worth less every day, possessing junk silver currency in a collapsed economy may help you get the food and services you and your family need.  The reason is, that almost since the beginning of time, gold and silver have had value.  With the price of gold it would not be advantageous to attempt to use it in exchange for everyday goods and services but silver would be.  The other reason for collecting Junk Silver to use as a money source during a time of a collapsed economy is because people recognize it as currency.   This might not be the case with silver billion.

I have even heard story’s in parts of rural America where people are currently trading Junk Silver for things like gas and food.  These store owners already understand the value of silver compared to the worthless money of today.  An example of this, based on melt value of the metals used in today’s money vs. Junk Silver; a 2010 dime has a melt value of $ 0.0188501 and a 1964 dime’s melt value is $ 2.3430.  Which one would you want?  I know I would want the pre-1965 coin.

How much Junk Silver?

This is only a question that you can answer for yourself.  I know that someone of my income level (single income family of 9) that I can hope to obtain somewhere between $300 and $400 worth of face value.  I only started saving Junk Silver three months ago and have obtained a face value of $17 worth (silver value of about $400).  So I have a long way to go to hit my goal.

If you are just beginning to obtain Junk Silver, you should only consider saving it after you have laid in food, medical supplies and tools.  Before I started, I made sure I had a months’ worth of water, food, medical, hygiene supplies and a minimum of 100 rounds of ammo for each of my guns.  Only once I completed that goal did I start putting up Junk Silver.  Once I get a $20 face value of silver coins I will work on another month of prep supplies.  I will repeat this until I achieve my goal of protecting my family the best I can.

Where do I find Junk Silver?

There are several ways to obtain Junk Silver and I use them all.  The first thing I did was go to my local bank and obtains rolls of coins.  I always asked for rolls that customers brought in and not what the bank obtained from the mint.  The customers rolls are were you will find the Junk Silver.  You have to be patient because people have been gleaning the silver coins out of circulation for years.

Another way that has worked for me is by placing an add on Craig’s List offering to buy Junk Silver.  In my ads I always gave a price to purchase the coins that was lower than the spot metal price.  EBay has been another source of securing Junk Silver; just make sure the purchase price and shipping are not much over the spot price of silver.  Lastly I check local coin and pawn shops for Junk Silver, most will try to sell you the coins at a large markup but if you are lucky you will be able to find a dealer that will treat you fairly.

Which Junk Silver coins?

The Junk Silver dimes, quarters and half dollars are an alloy made of 90% silver and 10%
copper, as are the new “proof” coins.  But because of wear and tear I always try to get the newest coins available.  I start looking for 1964 coins first.  There are several reasons for this.  First is that the older the coin the more wear it has, resulting in less weight in silver.  Another reason is that lots of people seem to think that older coins are worth more because it is old. They think a Barber circulated dime is worth more than a circulated Roosevelt dime because Barber dimes are not as easy to find.  We have to remember that circulated coins don’t really have any coin collecting value and all we care about, as preppers, is the value of the silver.

One resource that I have found to be very helpful is www.coinflation.com .  Before I buy any coin I always check its melt value.  It also will show you which coins past 1964 contain silver.  I would add this website to your list of favorite sites.

Your thoughts and ideas are always welcome so please feel free to comment and share this note.