|Low Budget Survival|
My guess is if this poem does not move you right now, then you are not the sort of person who is capable of preparation in a significant way and your problem isn't money, it's that you cannot act on any decision other than the path of least resistance. You will find any good reason not to act. Proverbs tells us that the fool goes back to bed saying "There is a lion in the street."
But this page is to give you the basic information and tools on what you can do on your budget. This poem will help you press on when there is nothing left within you except the will which says to them, "hold on!" And that day will dawn more than once.
For further information on becoming self-sufficient see the rest of the articles on this page and go to BUT I CAN'T MOVE! NOW WHAT? and see the articles on relocation found there.
Material compiled and updated by Joseph Foreman
You couldn't be alive today in America with "no-money" unless you were Amish, and even they have more filthy lucre than they sometimes let on. So what does "No Money!" really mean?
I have over spent in the past and am eaten up with debt payment.
I am doing something which keeps me from working right now, like school, or I am disabled so my income stream is already subsistence level.
If there is nothing you can do, and you have no resources, I'm sorry but I can't help you. There are people who are truly in this category and a day scarcely goes by that I don't get an email from them and sometimes I just cry. I can't help it, but I can't help them and that always rips me.
What I can do is outline a plan if you really are serious about planning for a worst case scenario. I'm not telling you it's going to be worst case. You must do your own research. But survival can be much less than to $200,000 fully stocked and renovated 40 acre farm.
Also, I am not giving you financial advice or telling you that any course of action is desirable. Frankly I don't find much of what I'm about to say my first choice either. But it may well be my last and only choice before all is said and done. I've told my wife, "I want to live in a 3,000 sq ft log home with full septic, solar and running water. But we may wind up in a trailer because right now we can't afford the log home and maybe we never can. No guarantees."
First of all, get your attitude straight even if you commit yourself for preparing for the worst,. At some point you may realize that you have passed the line of no return you are moving onto that farm and trading everything to get there.
When that point comes it may be hard not to hope you aren't doing all this for nothing, sort of like Sally waiting out in the pumpkin patch with Linus for the Great Pumpkin while she could have been trick or treating. Don't spiritually invest in it to the extent that you actually hope it will happen. That is immoral You should not be and I am not a Y2K missionary. Some think that I have too much invested in my doomsday predictions to be able to put forth an honest analysis of the facts.
If (and this is a very real possibility right now and it's scary too!) I trrade a very nice church and big house in the suburbs to move onto a farm in a trailer with one skinny cow, a goat, 8 hungry kids (mine, not the goat's!), a pregnant wife and Y2K doesn't melt down society I will still heave a huge sigh of relief. As any refugee or immigrant coming to the shores of this country can tell you are better off on the bottom of society here than you are on the top of society anywhere else.
The same holds for Y2K. I and my family will be personally better off with that one skinny cow scenario in an America that survives, than having that $200,000 farm and the nation melting down. I don't' say this out of altruism for lives and loved ones saved, I say it out of pure selfishness. I will personally be better off. (Of course I am glad that they will be better off too, but the statement does not depend on altruism to be true merely self-interest.)
The assumption of this series of articles is that you have done your homework and have decided that y2k is a serious enough possibility to make it worth you while to trade what you have for the things you will need.
The following is the bare bones minimum. Where will you get money for it?
Friends, neighbors, family early inheritance, sell the car, move to an apartment at half the current rent and so forth.
I don't know. The purpose of the page is not to tell you how to get the money, (assuming moral means of course) merely to help you target what you will need and where you can cut corners drastically.
Material compiled and updated by Joseph Foreman
First of all it will cost you time learning how to do what it takes to feed and house your brood. Let me direct you to two excellent sources of planning information.
Prudent Food Storage Questions and Answers. This is a FAQ giving basic questions and answers on methods of dry storing food. It is brief and pointed. It's the best I've seen short of buying books.
If you don't like the scary stuff you read from my predictions, and if you want to read about what the responsible folks are saying is a real possibility, read this Capers Jones contingency planning schedule of things to expect. Capers Jones is at the top of the list of Y2K remediation companies that are not considered scary fear mongers. His information will give you plenty to plan for.
If you don't have money
but you do have food,
then definitely turn to the food storage QA page for valuable how-to information.
When you look how inexpensively you can gather your own food, you may wonder why people pay so much to buy pre-prepared foods.
But when you try to preserve and can it yourself, or you are going on your fifth straight month of rice and beans, you will stop wondering. Companies like Ready Reserve and Alpine Aire and Food Line One more than earn their money. A few days at the cannery will demonstrate that to you -- if you can find one.
But if money is the problem, there is plenty of edible, if not enjoyable, food.
Bare bones survival diet, which I do not recommend but have heard you can live on is 400 pounds of dried food per person per year. That's about 1,200 pounds for 4 adults and probably less for normal (if emaciated) modern family of 2 adults and 2 children. So lets say you decide that you need a lot more food just to be sure. The figures I will give are rough estimates based on what I can buy here in Southern California.
1000 lbs of wheat $150 + 1000 lbs corn $110.00 + 500 lbs beans $165.00 + 750 lbs of rice $150.00 + 50 gallons of cooking oil $80.00 + $85.00 basic grain mill = $745.00. For another $100 you can adequately store it because you'll only need it for a few years. I guarantee that in the next three years one of the following will definitely happen: 1) You will either need food to get you through the crisis and you will be glad for whatever you have however it is preserved; 2) or there will be no y2k crash and you can give the food away in two or three years however it is preserved; or 3) or you will be dead and whatever happens doesn't matter, you certainly won't be eating anything anyway. In any case, you only need this food a few years and it should keep that long with minimal precautions. But keep in mind with minimal precautions there will be a certain amount spoiling and eaten by bugs that are inevitably in the food. In three years the loss should be minimal, and the quantity I am recommending should more than compensate.
The amount of food you have just bought is over 3000 pounds. You buy it from the nearest grain wholesaler or coop. It will easily feed you family of four for a year and a half or more, closer to two years in a real pinch.
Scrounge around. You can find a camper trailer that costs under $5,000 if you're a big spender and under $2,000 if you're frugal. This gives you mobility and shelter. You can buy everything else you need to garden including books seeds and tools for under $200.00 more dollars.
This is bare bones survival for under $3,000.
In what follows I am not making recommendations for servitude which may violate any existing US laws. I am not advocating you violate any known law which you or I might be subject to.
I am speaking of how to respond to a situation where the law courts and law enforcement have broken down and with them all of the present means of order which we take for granted today.
If you think such a situation is likely, and if you want to prepare for such a situation, get the things listed above.
If you can't move, then start attending Church as far out in the country as you can -- no closer than 70 miles out. Study the country around your city and pick a remote rural community and then survey all the Churches there. Find one that you are most compatible with and begin to attend.
(By the way, if you aren't a Christian then I would stop offending God and begging for his wrath by thinking and acting as if you have what it takes to survive this thing on your own. Repent of how you have offended Him. Repent of living as if you were self-sufficient and could call all your own shots perfectly well -- that's called sin by the way. Fully surrender to Him as your Lord and Savior. Then commit yourself to serving him the rest of what is left of your life. Buy a Bible read it and you'll know how to live.)
OK, back to the Church. Find one that your family fits in with and begin regularly attending. Plan to make Sunday an all day thing, visit as much as possible. Attend at least one other activity a week. Within a few months you will begin to get the feel of the place and make friends.
Look for a farming family if possible. (Older couples may have children suddenly descending on them in the last months of 1999 and you could be viewed as an interloper, but beggars can't be choosers.)
Make friends with them. As 1999 draws on if it looks like a real crisis, offer to move out onto a part of his farm (Make sure it's big enough) and help him work it. Without mechanization he will need you if it's more than 40 acres.
Your wife can offer to assist his wife around the house. Again, without electricity, everything becomes a real chore. Don't worry about initial rebuff. There will be someone to take you in. You may even find as the farmers realize what is going down that you become a hot property and they are begging you to come work their farm.
You are part of their fellowship. You are faithful. You can feed and house yourself. You have provided to the extent you can.
I think God will continue to open doors for you. The fact is, if things look bad they will probably get concerned about you and the entire church will try to find a way to take you in and get you out of the city. But even if they don't you are still in a position to be a maximum blessing to them and a minimum problem.
Material compiled and updated by Joseph Foreman
In these pages, I am not outlining the easy way out. If you don't bother to prepare and save; If you simply presume that someone will take you in, or God will take care of you; go read about the temptation of Christ. Satan quotes Scripture and says, "If you are the Christ, then throw yourself down from the pinnacle of the temple for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge of you to bear you up lest you dash your foot against a stone.' But Jesus said, 'Be gone, for it is written, do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Or go read about the five wise and five foolish bridesmaids. The five foolish were not simply rebuked for not being prepared, they did not simply sin by presuming that everyone else would take care of them, they are apparently cast into hell for their error. Jesus said, "go into the outer darkness where there is weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Material compiled and updated by Joseph Foreman
If you will go to But I Can't Move! Now What? you will find a similar basic list of how to live off the land. Click on the menu item there called "Items you need to plan for and price for subsistence Life." the lists are similar though differing in focus. The one at "But I Can't Move!" is geared toward the median price of items you need. This one is bare minimums you can possibly get away with..
If the Fall of the West is complete or close to complete you will need these items in a city as much as in the countryside to survive. If the Fall is not complete, those you will be at the mercy of will have the items on this list. So why be at their mercy? Get them now.
This list is geared for lowest budget pricing. I try to give some examples of how you can slash for that bottom line. You can do the same for each of them. The fact is, you need the basics on this list in one form or another to survive. (With the exception of electricity of course.)
Do keep in mind that you get what you pay for and you have to live with what you get . . . and don't get.
What you need to get started is a simple list that cuts to the chase for a quick preliminary budget and scan of necessary things. As a list it represents the bare bones minimum attempt to preserve the comforts we enjoy today, from flush toilets to drinkable water and a little electrical energy. Under each item you could amass an exhaustive list of detailed items and subcategories. But first it helps to have a basic look at the field.
The idea of my list here is not to exhaust, but to give you the main categories. For instance, there are dozens of options when it comes to water system. But the fact, is you had better have some system in hand. Whatever food you eat, budget it now. Whatever waste disposal system you select, you need to realize now that need to budget it -- even an outhouse must be dug, perk tests run and a screen of some sort built for privacy -- that's $400 minimum right there.
I am not including the price of labor to install or build unless otherwise specified. My prices are on the cheap side. And I do list the medium price. What you may look for is what the bare bones price is. So on fencing , you may find it cheaper to have a single wire and electrify it with on o' them new fangled $250 solar electric thangs and that's it, a mile of fencing for about $400. Wow. But if that's all you can afford, then it's better than no fencing at all. Or, God forbid, just quitting because further planning is hopeless.
The prices are rough guesses from around the country. If you think any of them reflect a hopeless optimism or pessimism on the price, let me know and I'll be glad to correct them.
10) You write me and tell me what I missed. Keep it brief and include basic price. (No need to include guns here they are discussed elsewhere.)
Combining a small community effort may be the least expensive but will require extensive piping and ditching to a common high point reservoir and then out to the various homes and barns. It also puts all eggs in one basket. Figure 75 cents to a dollar per foot for piping, a dollar a gallon for the holding tank, another $500 for the pumping station and pump (if a ram pump) or $5000 if a well dug and pumped electrically. (keep in mind back-up systems in a possibly non technological future.) You can also put a 55 gallon barrel in your attic and pipe down from it as long as you can get your water up there.
Ram pumps can run anywhere for $145 for the el cheapo but functional, to $475 for the cast iron ones that pump 6,000 gallons a day. They are simple and you can make your own from the lawn sprinkler shop.
The absolute bare bones is, 200 lbs wheat, 200 lbs corn and 100 lbs soy beans for one working adult for one year. Remember to include basic tools of preparation -- grain mill for instance. Also as a back up get a mortar and pestle. (I'm not kidding!) To compare it to the industry standard, that's 2000 lbs of food for four people for one year. You won't die.
Right now storable foods are costing from $2,500 for a family of four to $6,000 depending on the company. There is a 4 to 6 month wait. Y2Kfoods can do a lot better to stretch your dollar than any other food company I've looked at, they give you 3,000 pounds of food -- that's a 3,000 calorie per day diet for four men for one year. It's the best out there but it isn't free and they still have relatively timely dilevery. Only one month wait I heard.
I know right now of only one alternative to either doing it all yourself from scratch or buying storable foods at top dollar and in most cases having to wait forever. Right now New Man Foods is offering to ship a do it yourself package of basic foods to your door for around $1,350.00 plus shipping -- 2,100 + lbs of food and you pack it in buckets. It including grains, rice, pasta, beans, TVP, salt, sugar, soup base (2,800 cups of soup) and other stuff. It's basic but it goes out the door within 5 days from order and it will hold four working men for one year. (Not just a mom and dad and two small kids which is what most 4 people for one year packages actually are designed for.)
Cheapest and quickest is the prefab or camper for under $2,000. Many states have very accessible mortgages for mobile, prefab and modular homes. These start around $40,000 complete and are up in a few days. You can expect to pay as little as $200 a month financing depending on how much you finance.
You can look for second hand and foreclosures for relatively little. One strategy is to wait for the stampede and in all the bankruptcies and foreclosures that follow, snap up the mobile home of your choice. I have seen 2nd hand single-wides from as little as $1,000. But this is a gamble strategy. Go out now and start talking to dealers and see what they say. You may be surprised. Take $800.00 in your hand and see what sort of a deal you can swing.
Remember, no matter what you spend, you need to figure at the very least another $500 to haul away and set up. Then another $500 for basic repairs and hook up.
All fireplaces are very inefficient except the Rumford. It is worth your time to research and convert an existing fireplace regardless of your budget. The Rumford fireplace is designed to put out close to the same heat as a stove, they really are amazing and easily affordable. I've lived with people who heat exclusively by a Rumford and was totally blown away dude! (as they say in these parts.)
Heating stove, you can buy wood burning furnaces that run heated water into radiators. But for the interior the small wood stove can run from $400 to $1500. You can make your own by buying a door and plans for $80 and carving up a few old barrels.
If you plan to cook on this stove take a look at the design and be sure the baffles direct the heat to the top, many baffle it in different directions and the top surface is not hot enough to cook effectively -- surprise, surprise.
Cooking stoves run from $600 up to $4,500. Of course you can cook on a heating stove and there are kits to enable you to turn a barrel into a stove for a lot less. But you tend to get what you pay for. Bare bones will keep an eye in the 2nd hand pages.
If cash is a problem any sort of storable fuel arrangement will be out of reach.
I don't care how poor you are, you must get perk tests, check with your county health or water people. They will cost around $250 to $300? It goes by county. Don't poop in your own back yard until you find out if it can disperse it properly.
Don't play games with sanitation. I hate codes and regulations as much as anyone, but your life could depend on this one. If you plan to live on the land time perk testing will tell you if the soil can filter out your own waste. Soil that won't perk right will either back up and fill your yard or field with your own waste or go strait to your water supply and contaminate it.
You need to perk test for even a simple outhouse. But having done that, it may be all you want or need. figure about $300. (Remember Halloween comes once a year and approach it cautiously at night!)
Flushless composting toilets can be expensive from $600 to the fancy stainless steel crank toilets from $1000 $3,000. These produce usable compost in a month or so which is a pretty good idea though fairly unbelievable from where I now sit and type.
The absolute bargain basement is to construct a toilet seat lid over a 5 gallon bucket. After each use sprinkle in lime and sawdust covering. When full take it to the compost heap and it is theoretically usable. . . . hmmm. Doo your own research before you try this. Go to Amazon books and enter "humanure" into the search box and check out the book. All BS aside, I think this is an important book for your library.
Of course if you have running water in the home, then you need a septic system installed for about $2,500 including labor. Do it yourself, and it will cost about half that or less. (You dig the leaching field, spread the gravel and rent the backhoe to dig the septic tank hole, etc.)
The best systems combine barbed wire and electricity.
Barbed wire costs about $22 for a quarter mile of single strand 4 point.
The electric fences are about $200 to $400 for the solar collection system which will charge 24 miles of wire. The wire and insulators and posts will cost another 15 to 20 cents a foot.
Even if you ad two strands of barbed wire to make the electric seem a bit more substantial and threateing to the animals, you can still keep it under 25 cents a foot by posting more than 10 feet apart. However, hope your animals never find out how little is holding them back.
I figure $1000 - $3,000 can get you the cow and goats and feed for one winter that you need. But this is an area to find an expert to help you in the purchase. You think used car lots are hard to get a good deal out of wait till you go to a cattle auction and realize that your life depends on the choices you make.
(Always get more than one goat or he will get lonely and join your family. Keep all billy goats segregated from the herd except for reproduction. They stink and they ruin the milk.. hmmm is there a sermon illustration here or what?)
Goats are very handy if you have sections of overgrown pasture. You fence them in and they forage it down to the grass. Goats don't eat grass much they chew the bark off trees and briars and scrub bushes down to the roots. If you notice in the Bible when it refers to preparing a goat to eat it's always a kid. Apparently the older they get the less you want to try to eat the blighters. But here could be part of a long term, edible land-clearing solution.
Whatever livestock you get plan to feed them by food stored for the winter months. They can't graze and forage all year long.
$15,000 is supposed to be a pretty good deal. I think you can do a lot better though at $10,000 or less.
But animals don't need barns for warmth (unless you live in the Frozen Nawth.) Horses and cows were forged in Europe and can get by without anything. But a roof over their head would be good, so putting up a roof without walls is a good cheap solution -- 20 4x4's and 8 sheets of Plywood and 15 packs of shingles or 3 rolls of roofing and you're in. Eyore would love it!
You should be able to do a chicken coop for under $100.
Keep it brief and include basic price.
As I said before no need to include guns here. Guns like electricity are not essential to survival. If you absolutely must have one, then do not buy it until you have bought everything else you need first. Then choose between a shot gun, high-powered rifle -- reasonably sufficient to hunt deer -- 22 and handgun (which should be no smaller than a 38 special and need not be larger than a 45). If you can afford it, you need ($100 - $200) for 500 rounds for each of these which are good barter material too. I don't think these are appropriate for the basic needs list because you can live comfortably without a full range of guns, you can't live comfortably without the other items here. (A pump pellet gun has its uses also on small varmints and on animals you don't want to kill or injure.)
Everything else is hopelessly unnecessary detail or useless fantasizing. Don't waste my time with it. Go to your local gun dealer.
You can get a workable model of each of these for an average that will fall under $250 each. So, write me about real items that require thought and don't waste everyone's time on this one.
Don't hold me to these figures they are very rough and everything depends on time and place. But if you're like me, you're looking for a rough-in to start with and to reality check your work as you go along.
Excluding the home, all the peripherals to get a reasonable start on a functional subsistence farm should cost about $5,009 give or take $1,000. Could you do it all on $3,000? Absolutely. If you are like me, you might have to. But regardless of your budget you will cut corners somewhere. Look! with as little as you and I know about farming, I can guarantee this, you will waste money in some places and completely over-look others. Get lots of advice and ask questions in a way that does not sound like you are trying to either teach the person you are questioning or show off your great ideas.
Notice I've left out Tools, Tractor, Basic fuel stores, ploughs and seed. Another $2,000 to $4,000 if you scrimp on the tractor and fuel. Oh did I mention putting in roads? And . . .
There are other things I've left out too which you will discover. But if I put them all in, then I wouldn't have a basic list, now would I.? It would start being one of those mind numbing monster lists.
You may remember that when the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts they had almost none of the things I have put down on this list. Furthermore they were saddled for the first 3 years with financiers who insisted that they organize themselves communally. About three years into the effort Governor Bradford realized that they were about to go under and so he bucked the home office and divided up the land and put each family on its own little three acre plot and let them own it. The colony took off, they began to thrive and the rest is history.
Think of it, bare bones housing, heat and every other thing a farm needs sitting on top of 3 acres of New England soil and they began to thrive? If they can thrive, you can support yourself on half of what you think is necessary and still thrive.
It's who God has made you to be that counts.
You do not have to give up, you do not have to steal!
Material compiled and updated by Joseph Foreman
Material compiled and updated by Joseph Foreman
Lots of money is more than $400,000 available to spend on relocation and survival.
If you have money and if you believe that y2k stands a very good chance of being a worst case scenario then you need to listen very closely here. Don't laugh thinking that you have the money to take care of yourself. It is as foolish to think that your current resources are sufficient as it is foolish to make a generator and guns your first purchase to prepare for Y2K (regardless of your income level).
If you have more than $200,000 to spend, I would think strongly of investing a third of it in neighbors -- common farming, electric, water and food for the needy projects.
Resist the temptation to feather your nest extravagantly. Be modest.
Think about it, if your neighbors want what you have all the guns in the world won't protect you.
If your neighbors want what you have, then living in country seclusion won't help you. Your country neighbors will find you. You are an outsider.
For those of us without money, a move to the country takes a big edge off of our problems because once there, we won't have a significant edge on our neighbors to make us a particular target of their envy.
The fact is, the more you have to keep the creature comforts of modern living around you, the more you need neighbors who will not envy you.
Of course I am not applying Jesus' advice exactly as he meant it, but it is a valid application none the less. Instead of thinking purely in terms of your own individual hideaway, think in terms of finding a community of folks who are preparing and help them finance their preparation projects.
If they succeed you will succeed. If they fail, they will try to move in with you or just plain take what you have the old fashioned way. Remember you can't take your wealth with you through a worst case scenario. (Just picture what you would do with $400,000 worth of gold? that's 80 pounds of Gold that everyone knows you have! That's 4160 pounds of silver! I dare you to imagine how you will take care of it in the event of the breakdown of all law and order. And don't kid yourself they will know you have it.)
You can however translate your wealth into the life and success of those around you and they will be a far greater wealth down the road.
1) Before guns, before food, before generators, find a group you can live with and survive with and join them. I mean buy land and move there -- be within walking distance of those you have selected. If it means buying 300 acres and recruiting 15 families and settling them and housing them and outfitting them -- do it.
2) Better yet, find such a group and join them.
3) Look for ways you can help finance a common electrical system, drinking water system, barns livestock and seed.
4) Look into adjoining property and expand the group.
5) They will have done the research you can make it a reality.
6) Don't mess around with this. If you think it is bad enough to take steps for subsistence survival, and you did not grow up on a farm, you need to view a community (not a commune!) as the most valuable single commodity you can purchase. Then buy it!
7) Prepare now for those who will need your help in the broader community and be open-handed with them. You don't need to advertise this beforehand -- they will know. Be sure the thousand or so families within a mile or three of you will all be able and welcome to come and "borrow" food from you. If they have a vested interest in your survival your community will be much more likely to survive. Invest now in silos of corn, wheat and soybeans. You will be surprised at what $20K will buy when traded for good will down the road!
8) Let each member in your community have charge of one silo each and let them distribute it this will further help you keep from becoming the Lord over vassals. As tempting as this sort of power is, it will consume you or your children. Don't take the road that Joseph used to feed Egypt in Genesis. The end result will be the same tyranny and failure for you as it was for Egypt.
9) This is the hardest advice I have to give, but a commune won't work. This means you need to not only stay away from joining one, you don't want to let your native greed push you into forming one as you follow the above advice. Free independent associates will take you farther than servants and serfs. Do not trade your wealth for serfs. You do this by divesting yourself of ownership as you set people up on the land or fund projects.
10) Don't waste time. The longer your money is in electronic form, the less chance you have of even being able to provide for yourself much less others. If you believe people are going to panic then you know your days of being able to act are numbered.
I am sure that you won't do number 9, just as I am sure that you will not invest in others if you have the resources. Why? Because you have $500K to spend you probably have that money because you very carefully tracked and governed it. You didn't give it away. And this trait that stood you in such good stead to amass your wealth will eat you and it alive.
Material compiled and updated by Joseph Foreman