Pay me in Cash: How to Survive Without a Paycheck

Apparently 30 million working-age men are managing to survive without a paycheck. Here’s how they do it and what you can learn from them.

According to this article on Yahoo News, almost one third of working-age men are not in the workforce. I guess I am one of them. But I’m not alone, that’s reportedly 30 million people, and that’s just the men.

You can read the entire article, but the author suspects these people are surviving on one or more of the following:

Unemployment insurance – Except that’s long gone for most of us.

They retired early and get a pension –Many public servants and union members can retire with a full pension and health insurance. Some pension programs allowed you to retire when your length of service and your age equal a magic number, like 75 or 80.

Disability payments – the article seemed to presume these were often fraudulent claims, but I know there are plenty of people out there who are legitimately claiming disability.

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Ten Foods Every Prepper Should Have in Their Pantry

Need to know where to start on your food preps without spending a ton of money or getting ripped off? This list is a great starting point.

We’ve been getting back to prepper basics recently, including our Prepping Primer: Five Basic Steps for New Preppers. This article builds on that and gets a little more detailed in providing ten specific foods any prepper should have in their pantry. Best of all, if you are a brand new prepper, you can go out and buy these foods at your local grocery or big box store.

1. White Rice

Yes, plain old basic rice. You can get converted rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, long grain rice, or whatever you like best. It doesn’t matter. I don’t recommend instant rice or brown rice.

Rice is great for preppers because it is easy to store, has a long shelf life, is inexpensive, and is easy to cook. Once you make it, rice goes with lots of things, and almost everyone eats it.

Get as much as you can afford.

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Why Every Prepper Should have a Headlamp (or Three)

Flashlights are handy, and I carry one as part of my EDC, but headlamps allow you to go hand-free which is important when you have chores to do in the dark.

I used to wear one of my headlamps only when we had a power outage or when I was working in the crawl space or the attic. I would rarely wear one if I went outside carrying a shotgun to see what went bump in the night.

Now I wear one every night when walk the dog. That’s when the rechargeable batteries come in handy.

Every night, I walk the dog sometime between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. At first, I used my EDC flashlight, a 1,200 lumen handheld torch that uses an 18650 battery. I quickly switched over to one of my headlamps that uses two 18650s and has three brightness settings. When the brightest setting and the medium setting are about the same, I know it’s time to recharge the batteries.

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Prices Rise but Some Bargains Remain at Sam’s Club

The prices of meat is rising from visit to visit, but there are still some good buys to be had for the prepper at Sam’s Club.

I just got back from a trip to the big city where I went to Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply and made a couple other quick stops. Tractor Supply had the parts needed to correct the problems with the electric fence. I got lumber at Lowes (because Home Depot didn’t have what I wanted). I picked food and supplies at Sam’s Club, because for a rural prepper, no trip to the city is complete without a visit to a warehouse club store.

Rising Costs

Everything I see online suggests the peak of lumber pricing is far behind us, but someone needs to tell Lowes. While plywood pricing was down from its peak, the premium pine boards I bought to make shelving were more expensive than when I bought them this past winter. I paid about $35 then and I paid $39 now. Not what I expected.

At Sam’s Club, meat was more expensive than ever. I like an occasional rib eye steak. Last time we went shopping, they were $12.95 per pound. This time, the cost had jumped to $14.95. Crazy. They were cheaper than that at my local grocery store.

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A Prepping Primer: Five Basic Steps for New Preppers – Part 2

Too many beginning preppers don’t know where to start or focus on the wrong items. Learn from my experience and avoid stupid prepping mistakes.

This is part two of our series on five steps you should take to prepare. We covered steps one and two yesterday and recommend you read them first.

Step Three: Build To Three Months of Preps

Once you have completed steps one and two, your next step is to bulk up on food. I suggest you set targets: Aim to double your food supply so you have four weeks’ worth of food in your prepper pantry. Then double it again. After achieving two months of food storage, adding another month’s worth of food should be relatively easy.

Storing that much grocery store food means you will have to make things from scratch, so as you build your prepper pantry, start buying bulk bags and packs. When shopping at club stores, you can buy goods in six-packs eight-packs. We even buy ramen in a 48-pack. Then buy larger bags and boxes instead of the one-pound bags usually offered.

For example, buy flour and sugar in 25 pound bags and practice baking from scratch. Practice with bread and similar items, like rolls, flat breads, biscuits, etc. Then learn to make your own pasta and similar items like dumplings. By practicing your baking skills, you will identify things you need, from spices to yeast and baking powder, to cookware. Acquire these items now, as part of your prepping.

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A Prepping Primer: Five Basic Steps for New Preppers – Part 1

Too many beginning preppers don’t know where to start or focus on the wrong items. Learn from my experience and avoid stupid prepping mistakes.

I’ve been telling people to prep and talking preps here for 18 months, but there are still some people who want detailed instructions on what they should do. I believe that everyone’s preps should be customer tailored to their family size, their budget, their geographic location, their greatest fear, and a host of other variables. However, I’m going to work around that and present Five steps to being prepared for the end of the world as we know it.

Step One: Prepare to Survive Short-term Emergencies at Home

To start out, aim to have supplies that can support you for two weeks of disruption in your current home.

For example, nine days after Hurricane Ida roared through New Orleans, there were still 430,000 people without electricity. Your short-terms preps should be able to get you through an emergency like that. Unless you just moved to a new area, you should already know what to prepare for as many of the natural disasters recur every few years.

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Prepare for Unrest, War and Regime Change Next Year

As food prices rise in the U.S., its worse in countries that import the majority of their food. Expect shortages and much higher prices to cause disruption in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The world is heading into some troubled times. It’s going to be worse in third-world countries, but it will affect developed countries, up to and including members of the G7. It’s going to be especially tough in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The chief driver of this trouble is going to be a shortage of food leading to rapidly rising prices. Those hit the worst will be countries with lower standards of living, where food costs can consume half of a family’s income or where the government subsidizes food. The more population in poverty or close to the line, the worse the problem will be.

If you live in the U.S., you should get prepared by setting aside some food storage. If you are an American living abroad, consider returning home in the next six months or make plans to bug out when things get bad. Citizens of other countries should also prepare; prepping is not exclusive to the United States.

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China Cracks Down on Corporations, Freedom

he CCP’s crackdown on corporations, starting with the disappearance of Jack Ma, is unlike anything seen since the revolution.

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, was the richest and arguably most successful man in China. Then he gave a speech that offended the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by criticizing state-owned banks and their regulators. He was immediately summoned to Beijing and has not been seen in public since.

China would have you believe Jack is painting, playing golf, and devoting his life to charitable works, but the short videos they released are about as believable as when the emaciated and battered hostage reads a letter telling the world his captors are treating him well.

Imagine if Donald Trump had summoned Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, to Washington and Bezos was never seen again. Think of the uproar that would ensue. (There was little or no uproar in China.) That’s the equivalent of what we are talking about with Jack Ma. That demonstrates the power that China wields over its population. It also tells you something about their government.

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We are Caught in a Death Spiral

Things have been getting worse for decades, but so slowly it is easy to ignore. Now the bad news comes faster and we cannot escape the death spiral.

In the Hemmingway novel The Sun Also Rises, Mike was asked how his money problems came about:

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.

“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

Remember this, because if someone in ten or twenty years asks you, “How did the United States collapse?” You can answer “Slowly, and then all at once.”

The Collapsing Dollar

The value of the dollar, of what it can buy, has been collapsing for decades. You could argue it started with the creating of the Federal Reserve. The dollar has lost 96 percent of its value since the Fed’s creation in 1913, so there may be some truth to that.

I believe that set the stage for our collapse, but the trigger point happened 50 years ago when Nixon took the country off the gold standard and the value of the U.S. dollar was allowed to float. Well, “float” is the financial term; in reality, the dollar started to sink. Today, the dollar has lost 85 percent of the value it had in 1971. The only reason our head is still above water is that most of the other big economies also ditched the gold standard and because the dollar was the International reserve standard.

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Why it’s Important to Check Your Preps and Maintain Your Gear

Checking your stuff and keeping it in good condition is one of the things that separates preppers from hoarders. Don’t wait too long.

Over the years, I have had ammunition stored in cardboard sleeves corrode, #10 cans rust, elastic in stored clothing lose its stretchiness, batteries leak corrosion, pasta poke through vacuum-sealed bags, mice eat stored food, and plastic handles on buckets fail. The sad truth is that you cannot store something away and expect it to be perfect five or ten years down the road. You need to check on it occasionally to preserve your investment. This will allow you to prevent an infestation before it gets too bad, repackage something before its current container fails, or replace it if you cannot salvage it. No one wants to grab their bugout bag and have the strap break due to rot or find out that the action on their rifle is frozen just when they need it most.

If you have equipment you plan to depend on in adverse conditions, test it out at least one a year. Can you still pump up your Coleman stove or does it leak? And how long do those lantern wicks last, anyhow? Will your generator start when you need it to? Will your hand-crank grain mill still turns or do you need to buy some food-grade grease? Does your red dot still light up or are the batteries dead? Is it OK that some white granular stuff is leaking out of the crimp on your shotgun shells and the brass is tarnished? Will your seeds still germinate? When did chain sharpening files get rusty, and will they still work in that condition? How long ago did your antibiotics expire? Who used up the last of the yeast and didn’t replace it?

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