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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Changing on the fly



This whole slow motion collapse crap is kind of a drag. It was a lot more fun when doom was going to be sudden and widespread. How naive I was in my younger days. Instead it's a slow grind downwards.

It's friends either being on the edge of losing their houses or actually having lost them. Good well paying middle class jobs have been replaced with low wage jobs. Even people who make better than minimum wage have discovered their work week cut to 30 hours or less.

Remember free medical insurance? Now many of us are free from medical insurance.

Official inflation numbers may not be too bad, but food and fuel are not factored in. Poor folk are acutely aware what those things really cost. That is, if you can get real food. It seems much of our food has been replaced with the factory produced chemical known as high fructose corn syrup. Package size has shrunk and quality has gone down.

As a prepper, my strategy has to change. I must admit that I got a surprise when my pension suddenly dropped a $1,000 August payment I used to get. Maybe I should have been paying more attention to what was going on in the state legislature, but watching those guys makes me crazy. I'd factored in the fact that there would be no more cost of living raises and thought that was good enough. Planning for steady drops in income now looks like a necessity. Expenses can only be reduced so far. Increasing my self employment income will be the way to go.

A prepper can't just follow one strategy. Changing to adapt to different conditions is necessary.

Moving to the the country has been an overall good move.

Alternative energy has been a huge plus for my situation. Producing most of my energy has insulated me from steep rate increases. Being able to burn wood has almost totally eliminated my fuel oil and propane use, at a huge savings. If anything, eliminating reliance on the grid or fossil fuels, or at least reducing my use of them even more, makes sense.

Having a good well has saved a lot of money and provided peace of mind. Friends in town tell stories of huge water bills. My water is not free because I'm my own water works. If the well pump dies, that's my responsibility. However, since I put in the whole water system I can certainly repair it when it fails. So far, my “water bill” remains a tiny fraction of what city people pay.

No sewer bill for me either. Then again, I once dug up my whole leech field and repaired it by hand. The sewer bill has been paid, but not in money.

There are a couple of big negatives when it comes to living out in the woods. EMS services, police, and fire are a long ways off. I've medical kits, fire extinguishers, and guns. They are not perfect solutions, but they buy precious time.

One big downside to country living is transportation. There's no public transportation. at all. Everyone must drive their own car. Running vehicles on waste veggie oil has greatly reduced my transportation. bill. I'm not sure how long that will be a viable option, but it's worked for over a dozen years so far.

I've a good bicycle, so that's a good thing. Next summer I'd like to experiment with a 3 wheel solar electric powered bike. My wife's car, when it finally dies, won't be replaced with another car. Maybe we just won't go into town as often.

Collapse was a lot more fun when it was hypothetical and fast. It's real, here now, and a real pain. It's a slow gray grind. Of course, if you are one of the handful living like it's a new Gilded Age, you've no idea what the heck I'm talking about.

For the rest of us, look around and check how things are going. Where do think things are heading? What can you do about it? Have things matched up with your expectations?

-Sixbears

18 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear of the sudden income loss.It is becoming more common than people know ever hear of pritchard ala.It hasnt payed retirees since 2009.Most states will not be able to meet there retirement payments by 2020 or so acording to a lot of reports.Sixbear have you thought about doing consulting work?How many years have people asked you to look over their off grid plans or setup and you have done it for free.It may be a good chargable service (you walk the walk).Your lifestyle and own setup shows you know how to do it.

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    1. There are lots of things I can do. It's just a matter of finding what I like for the right price. Pensions are in trouble across the country.

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  2. No cost of living raise here in going on 3 years, but the food prices go up every month. Getting by on a fixed income is getting harder and harder.

    The slow grind is as bad as you say, for sure!

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    1. Even the account that my raises used to come from has been eliminated. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

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  3. Gary's got a point, Sixbears, and you'd be providing a much-needed service. I'm with you on the slow grind. I lived better 30 years ago.

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    1. I used to be well off and didn't even know it. On the other hand, I've been much much worse off. I can deal.

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  4. Wow, I had no idea it was and is so bad over there... Our pensions here are set in stone and receive annual upward adjustments in line with the cost of living...

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    1. It is bad here. Pensions are pretty much a patch work deal here in the US. Some Social Security, maybe a 401 investment plan that depends on markets but often has high fees, and maybe a private pension, but those are fading fast.

      Stone is not as solid as it used to be. Promises were made to me too that have now been broken.

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  5. The 'country' is going to get more crowded when people cannot afford to live in the cities anymore. Or because there is no work. Maybe the pioneer spirit will be revived once again.

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    1. It might go the other way as jobs dry up in the country and on one can afford to drive long distances for work.

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  6. The medical insurance comments above are no joke. My coworker two months ago replaced his pacemaker (5 years old) for a new one for the 1st time. His OUT OF POCKET cost - $4900 ! The insurance itemized list said the unit cost $80,000 by itself. His hospital stay was slightly less than 24 hours.

    Most of the people I know who retired went back due to this (insurance cost). It has gone up substantially in price and the benefits are less. One of them joked that he would like to move to Borneo and live with the Bird People, who live in nests on the sides of cliffs, but wonders if his insurance deductible would rise ...

    We need to get used to living on less and being happy - its inevitable.

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  7. Even if I had insurance, the deductibles could still destroy me. My parents went bankrupt years ago just from the deductibles on their "good" insurance.

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  8. My only income is Social Security. I have learned to live within my means. Since I do not owe anyone anything, all I have to pay out is for utilities and insurances and upkeep of vehicles.

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    1. You were smart enough, and lucky enough to put yourself in a good place. Years of self employment must have taught you the value of living within your means.

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  9. hi.
    several comments.
    1] real food. we cannot digest gluten and daughter found a gluten-free corn chip.
    she eats them with hummus when she is out and about because gluten-free and dairy-free are hard to find and eating out is $$$$.
    after a couple of weeks she found she was getting a spare tire.
    a little research about GMO corn and she dropped the corn chips and found an organic, GMO-free brand. a couple more weeks and the spare tire was gone
    make of it what you will.

    2] wood-burning. i read somewhere that wood smoke is 15 parts per million of something [i forget what]. congress has just made it illegal for smoke to have more than 12 ppm. which is impossible. it is their way of making us dependent on them for heat, and jack-booted thugs to you if you dare to continue keeping warm against their will

    3] h2o and pumps. just reading self sufficient mountain living--i think that's the source--about well pumps. apparently you ought to buy a backup pump if you can afford it before prices go any higher. also replaceable parts.
    here fracking is the rage--already some damage from an earthquake they caused!--and people don't seem to realize that the water table poisoned by benzene will kill you and your animals and your crops, they don't seem to care if their non-fracking neighbors suffer, too. i guess they think they'll be so rich with fracking $$ they can move to paradise somewhere.
    lack of potable water may turn out to be our worst disaster..

    4] tortoise, don't rest too easy. read where poland took all pension money. probably won't get to the pensioners. governments are run by devils. don't rely on them.

    5] with taxes land is never your own. never. so when there is no money for food will you be able to pay taxes?
    we may all be living under bridges. no cardboard boxes!! that would be littering!

    a few positive thoughts to brighten your day.

    love in Jesus, deb harvey

    .



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    1. Hi Deb Harvey.

      Some of the money I used to spend on health insurance now goes to buying quality real food. I figured it would be a better deal than good insurance and bad food.

      My wood fired "cookstove" is exempt from those regulations, even though it heats my whole house.

      If I can't find or afford a replacement pump, I've got a good old fashioned hand pump ready to go. Those things last forever, and can be repaired.

      Taxes just have to be paid. Few ways around that. The trick is to eliminate as many other bills as possible so the tax man gets his bite.

      Nothing's perfect, but remember, the bear eats the slow campers first.

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  10. When I got disabled I got cheap very quickly and I think my life is as good or better than before when I played the "game". I got my woodstove installed and next month I will be adding another 200 watts worth of solar panels, though I will need to add a couple more batteries I think I will be able to run the most critical electric items and keep the house going. I'm just guestimating and there will be a lot of tweaks that will be needed. LOL
    I know I used to be in the fast collapse camp mostly because I wanted it over with so we could move on. Now I can handle the slow grind because I'm still getting things done to make me more self-reliant. Plus every day more people wake up and every person that gets prepared is one less "Zombie" to deal with, at least for some time.

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    1. Looks like you took the action you needed to get by.

      I like the idea of people waking up. More allies for real people.

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