Showing posts with label cash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cash. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cash As A Survivalist Tool

I don't think we put enough emphasis on cash.

I carry a knife and a lighter and a gun pretty much all the time. I use the knife and lighter for everyday tasks but the gun just kinda sits around. Odds I need a couple hundred bucks cash all of a sudden are probably higher than needing the gun.

If we look at realistic emergencies that are likely to befall us most of them will go a whole lot better with cash. Are we more likely to need a few hundred bucks during a regional disaster or a dozen buckets of wheat? Sorry folks but it is the cash.

Of course everything needs to be in proportion to your life. For an average guy a couple hundred bucks in his wallet, a few hundred in his BOB/ GHB and several hundred or more (say a months cash expenses) in the safe at home is realistic and covers a lot of bases.

Those numbers were for an average type income. For a lower income person cut those amounts in half. For a person with higher income and expenses add more money accordingly.

In most realistic situations cash is the way you will buy the goods and services you need.

Someone is inevitably going to say "cash will be worthless in a hyperinflation scenario so I use precious metals/ beads/ etc all". This person is ignorant. First because you aren't going to be able to readily trade those things in MOST REALISTIC SCENARIOS. Second of all cash is essential in the beginning of that type of situation, read some FERFAL. You just spend it. Third we are talking about a relatively small amount of money. Say add it all up and maybe a months income. If you wanted to keep however much gold and silver put back with the cash I would say that is fine.

Got cash?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

RE: Economy Watch with Bayou Rennaisance Man AKA What To Do With Money Today?

In Economics Watch our friend Peter talked about some applicable news and his current actions. In many ways it is a lot like my post a month or so back. In order of Peters comments:

-The housing market. Well this depends a lot on how you look at it. As an investment I would say there is considerable risk. As a way to meet your basic needs for housing well that is another discussion. If I was able to pay outright for a small cabin or cottage on a little bit of land that would be high on my list of things to do. I would rather have a cabin on a couple acres than live in a rental place and have 50 or 100k in the bank.

-Peter put his retirement funds into cash. I think the need for this extreme principle protection (At least as cash, now of course big mac's might cost $100 but there is risk in everything) may make sense if you are closer to the age where you will be using those funds. If you are younger I am less sure that trying to time the market then catch the knife is a sound move vs just riding the wave. You will have to make your own decisions.

-Precious metals and cash on hand are both pretty common sense measures.

-Storage of precious metals at an outside non bank vault certainly has potential. I would have to look into it some more.

Also of course as River Rider mentioned in my previous post buying those big ticket items you have been putting off, replacing tires on the family hauler before they are totally worn out, etc are good ideas.

Thoughts?

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Economy and You

The world economy has serious problems. China's stock market basically collapsed despite attempted government interventions. Their economy is cooling. Heck it is just not possible to have 10%+ growth a year for any length of time. They tried devaluing the Yuan but that just stinks of desperation.

 This means many peoples aspirations of a better life are not going to be met. Add that to the real estate market (in China) which is a disaster and there are significant issues. Fundamentally China's recipe of letting people make money in a quasi capitalist economy but restricting freedom of speech, etc all worked when the economy was awesome.

China has a bad case of the flu and all of Asia has gotten sick It is also affecting our markets, arguably pointing out their fundamental weaknesses.

Don't even get me started about the train wreck of the EU. Also slowly but surely the middle east is slipping into a regional war. A war that I can not realistically see a desirable end to. Things are bad there and are almost surely going to get worse.

The stock market had its worst day since 2008. This is bad.

So what can we do?

The standard survivalist advice to move away from a major urban center. Even if moving  to Elk Lake Montana POP 357 is out of the question at least move to a smaller town or bedroom community and for goodness sake get out of NY, LA, Chicago, ATL, Houston, etc.

Along other standard survivalist advice store some food, have guns and know how to use them.

Specifically for this situation.

Before we get started. Look I am not a CPA or a financial adviser.  I am a normal guy who makes what he thinks are the best choices and talks about it on the interwebz. Seriously if you choose to make significant financial choices based on the word of some random guy on the internet you are a fool and deserve everything that happens to you. Consult professionals or be a big boy/ girl and make your own decisions but regardless own your own decisions and don't bitch if they go bad. Consider yourself disclaimed. For whatever it is worth I do have skin in the game as things I talk about are generally in line with, if not exactly, what I am doing. 

Cash on hand. A couple hundred bucks is fine for 3-4 day power outage. Heck for most reasonably prepared people there is some margin in that to pick up a couple things for a neighbor who doesn't have any cash.

 My generic advice is to have at least a month cash expenses on hand at home.

We could define cash expenses as food, fuel, household consumables (trash bags, dishwasher soap, hygiene stuff, etc all), medical needs and the like. Basically the cash expense thing excludes stuff like rent/ mortgage, insurance, investments and other stuff and other such stuff that if need be you could A) send checks for or B) it would not matter immediately. Think about it like this. I have to put cash on the barrel head to get groceries or a tank of gas while, at least in the short term, if I send the land lord/ mortgage company a check they can't cash or not and I'm going to keep living there.

A months cash expenses in small bills (say $100 in ones, $100 in 5's and the rest in 20's up to say 2 grand then the balance in hundreds. ) is a good place to be at. Three months cash expenses physically on hand is a darn good spot to be in.

Saying a months cash expenses vs X dollars is significant because the right answer could vary widely. A single person or lower income family might need to stash $500 to meet a months cash expenses. On the other end of the spectrum a family of 6 in a very comfortable income bracket might need 3-4 grand to have the same level of stability.
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More cash certainly wouldn't hurt. Depending on your risk level to suddenly need to take a months discrete vacation (Tony Soprano style) and your overall liquid cash situation more money doesn't hurt. I know a retired person who has ten grand stashed at their place. That would be 6 months cash expenses for them easy. Things were getting weird and banks didn't pay jack in interest anyway so they stashed a bunch of cash at home. Also folks who went through the Great Depression tend to have some strong feelings in this area. They inherently distrust banks and stash cash under the mattress.

Silver and Gold.

Jim the Greek who bought stocks and mutual funds is pretty much screwed right now. His cousin Joe the Greek who bought gold and silver, physically taking delivery, is doing good and has some options.

A guy in an economic collapse who has a few fractional ( sub 1 oz) coins and a decent bag of silver has some options. A guy who has a few ounces of gold and a 50 cal ammo can full of silver has a lot of options. You get the point.

Fuel and Alternative Energy Plans

A few cans full of gas will likely keep your vehicle running for while. A solar charger with some rechargeable batteries is  nice set up to have.

Anyway I guess in closing 1) Live outside of a major urban center. 2) Store your basic beans, bullets and bandaids and 3) It is prudent to stash some precious metals in case you need them later.

Hope you all get something out of this.

Thoughts?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cash or Card?

Lots of folks for various reasons say that you should only use cash. It will magically solve all of your money problems and keep the Trilateral Bildenberg conglomerate from knowing what your favorite order at Krystal. It is a cure all.
One of the theories is that people think harder before reaching into their wallet for cash instead of just swiping a card. Personally I do not think that argument is particularly meaningful. Maybe it is like that for older folks who spent most of their adult lives doing things with cash. For those under 30 or so it is my observation that there isn’t really a difference. Heck, some kids get allowances and pay for chores from their parents via online bank transfers these days. Unless you are the kind of person who gets stupid drunk and buys the whole bar a shot of Crown on your credit card or are so addicted to shopping that you spend money you don’t have I would say it doesn’t matter much.

Cash is better if you are seriously working about a tight budget. No surer way to spend $50 or less on groceries than to go to the store with two twenties and a ten. Obviously with cash you can only spend what you have. For those sorts of absolutely no wiggle room situations this could have a place I guess.
The downside to cash is that it is a lot harder to track where it has gone. I usually get $100 when I go to the ATM. A week later when I have $65 there is about no way I could tell you what I spent $35 on. Yeah I could carry a little notebook and a pen and write down every transaction but I am not actually going to do that and I do not know anybody who does. An advantage of online banking and services like Mint.com is that you can look and see what you have bought. Not in a month when statements come but this weekend when you are curious.
While nowhere near as desperate as trying to stretch things out to payday or whatever and going all money Nazi with cash it is good to know where your money is going. It lets you see trends you would otherwise miss and make decisions. Instead of saying “where did our money go?” you can look. Maybe you have started eating out a lot more or something and it is adding up to more than you would like. With this kind of information you can make choices that aren’t possible due to lack of information if you use cash.

Personally we mostly use cards because they are convenient. We both keep cash on us because it is necessary for personal transactions, sometimes it is convenient and it is good to have just in case (in addition to a stash at home). Also we like being able to look back to see transactions and recent trends as it helps us manage our money better.
There is some sharing of information with the Trilateral Bildenberg conglomerate but we are OK with that because we are boring. Who cares if somebody sees how much cereal we buy? If I was going to buy a thousand gallons of diesel, a truck load of chemical fertilizer, and some miscellaneous stuff from radio shack on the same day I rented a moving truck I would use cash. Otherwise I don’t see it as an issue.

Cash makes it slightly easier to manage total amounts and cards make it easier to keep track of spending trends so on the whole it is a wash. My advice is to use whichever you prefer.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

This week we added more cash to our on hand emergency fund. A few weeks back we were trying to figure out what to do with some money, a rather decent problem to have I guess. Anyway we decided that where it would do the most good is at home with us.

Also I got some tuna pouches and granola bars for the get home bag I am working on. It is pretty much functional now though I do need to order a few things. Kinda holding off on buying anything until the Glock 19 mag deal is completed.
We organized and inventoried our medical and hygiene supplies. I am pretty happy with what we have got, especially considering most of it can't be shipped when we move back to the US. My one big take away is that we need to be more organized. I think there were 2 half empty bottle of cough syrup and 3 things of Ibuprophen that were being used. We shifted to one area for stuff we are using and another to store replacement's.

Also I tweeked my workout routine some. More on that once it is solidly underway.
Though not exactly traditional preparedness tasks we did get some good stuff done this week. What did you do to prepare this week?

Edited to include: This was supposed to post yesterday, I am not sure why it didn't.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It Isn’t Useful For X

This is something that has bothered me in the past. I will be talking about how it is a good idea to have some cash around and someone will inevitably say “that cash would be worthless in a hyperinflationary economic collapse” or talking about PM’s and they would say “you can’t barter with PM’s during the Mad Max end of the world scenario I envision”. The implication is that since a given thing is not useful during that one specific event it isn’t useful at all. I am just coming to see this train of though clearly today.

The issue is simple. That something is not useful for X scenario does not mean it isn’t useful overall which is the implication of the above mentioned paraphrased quotes. Look at it like this. A Glock 17 is a poor substitute for toilet paper but that doesn’t mean it is not useful. Does the ridiculousness of that sentence explain the foolishness of this train of thought? You get a thing or learn a skill not for what it doesn’t do, but what it does.

Part of the problem is folks getting tunnel vision on one scenario. For some reason it is usually a very specific one and unlikely one. The guy who is worried that $500 in small bills would lose their value if hyperinflation hit is so fixated on that one thing that he discounts numerous, far more likely, scenarios where having some cash would be useful. Also he fails to see that there is a far higher chance that he will be able to use that cash to buy goods and services in numerous other situations than that it will go up in proverbial hyperinflationary smoke.

My point isn’t that you need to think or do like I do. Different folks have different concerns and at the end of the day we all pays our money and takes our chances. My point is that you need to look at the big picture, not just one possible scenario.

Don’t get tunnel vision.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Random Observation: Got Cash?

Wifey buys and sells a lot of used stuff. It is my job to pick it up and or deliver it and give or receive payment. I am like a drug used stuff mule. (Having a vehicle big enough to deliver puts me in that role and it also helps her close a lot of deals) Seriously it is sort of weird. I am regularly going to some place with a piece of paper that has an address on it to pick up or drop off something and exchange cash.

Recently she has been selling off unneeded stuff. Twice in the last couple weeks I have gone to deliver something and needed to run them to the ATM to get cash to pay me. Not a big deal really. Lots of folks here don't have cars and we can all forget something. The more interesting part is that we aren't talking about a lot of money. One time it was $40 and another it was $60. One of the gal's had no cash and the other was $20 short. I sort of shrugged the first one off but the second showed it is a noteable trend.

This was a stark reminder that there are lots of folks out there who have what amounts to no cash (probably a few crumpled ones and a bit of change) on hand. Folks who would be unable to pay for gas or food (I'd bet a c note the cupboards are almost empty too) if the electricity and ATM/ computer networks were down. Part of a day would be an inconvenience but if there was a power outage/ regional disaster these folks would be screwed.

If you do not keep some cash on hand you are a fool. Despite what the 'tangible investment' and beans and bullets folks say in all of the more realistic and likely scenarios people still deal in cash. You don't see complex systems of barter appear overnight in anything but a total collapse. Maybe a good bargain can be made for gas, shotgun shells or canned food but folks will accept good old greenbacks. As for how much you should keep around I am a lot more flexible. Different people have different needs and concerns as well as incomes, assets and tolerances for specific types of risk. I think establishing the minimum is significantly more important than setting a maximum.

Chief Instructor says that a month's worth of cash expenses kept on hand is a good number. Cash expenses would be stuff you need that is not locked into a regular contract. They are also things that if, and I am just tossing some stuff out here, ATM's crashed or banks went on a holiday, there was a power outage or whatever you would still need to pay for regularly in cash on the barrelhead for. Food and fuel are primary considerations here with stuff like medication, smokes, booze, vehicle maintenance, etc in there also. If you have drank the coolaid and are following Dave Ramsays baby steps just keeping baby step 1 ($1,000 in savings, $500 if you are real low income or 2k if you have a high income) in mixed bills at home. However you choose to figure it the end result is pretty much the same. The point is to have enough cash to get yourself through some sort of emergency or otherwise sustain yourself for awhile.

These low numbers should be fairly easy to meet with a bit of planning assuming you live a sane financial lifestyle. They aren't enough money that inflation is a significant issue but are enough to deal with most of what could come up. Also these minumum amounts are low enough that if your stash happens to get found it shouldn't break you. Though as Commander Zero noted once it is far more likely that your stash will be frittered away by you on a pizza here and a $20 for a trip to the bar there then actually get stolen.

As for the maximum. It is really about what you are willing to risk being lost in a fire or by theft. I wouldn't want so much cash in my home that I couldn't afford to lose it should something happen. A certain percentage of your overall liquid assets is probably the way to figure it out. For me 10% seems reasonable and 20% doesn't seem nuts. That means if you have 10 grand in various stuff 1 or 2k in cash. If you have 100k it would be 10 to twenty. Unless you live a particularly high risk lifestyle where you might need running money I would not want to go much higher than that. Baring the potential sudden need to get out of town for a few months I would not want more than then at risk of theft and getting eaten away by inflation.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Years Resolutions Concluded

Well the year isn't quite over yet but it seemed like a good time to see how I have done on my goals. Lined through are completed.


My goals for this year.

Personal:

1. Pay more attention to my wife. This one is continual but I think it went OK.
2. Travel a lot. We did pretty good at this one. Went to Croatia, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic and Paris.
Personal Stuff:

3. We can use a few smaller things like a new TV and another laptop. The main push however is to get a reliable second car which we pay cash for.
Financial:

4. Stash some more Euro's. Say E400 or so. Didn't quite get to 400 but I am calling it close enough.
5. Contribute 10% of our total take home to retirement.

6. Stash at least a half an ounce of gold and 40 ounces of silver. Didn't get too far on
the silver. Sorta misestimated what we were capable of. Also prices going up did not help.

7. Continue to not make stupid choices.

Skills:

8. Take an automotive class. They offer them on base and I need to know more about car repair.

This one got replaced by brewing some beer which I did.

9. Be able to setup and trouble shoot a small solar setup. Sorta mute since I went with a solar charger and a bunch of eneloop batteries.

Preparedness Stuff :

10. A good radio that can pick up everything. Probably a Grundig.

11. Maybe a Berkey water filter and maybe some spare elements for it and the portable filter.

12. A basic solar setup.

Gun Stuff:

12. Buy a full case of .223

13. Buy a full case of 9mm.
14. Glock 9mm mags. At least 10 and ideally closer to 20.

15. Some M1a mags. At least 10 and ideally closer to 20.

16. A few more spare parts and at least one AR15 full bolt carrier group.

Also picked up a full case of 7.62x39 and another 10 mags for that gun.

Food Rotation:

17. Get a pressure canning setup and can something.

This one just didn'thappen. We can't get any of the stuff locally and paying shipping negates any financial benefits. I am willing to do it just for the sake of the skill but not with that hassle.

18. Get a dehydrator and dehydrate something. Did this.
And Just To Get To An Even 20......

19. Get a subscription to Backwoods Home Magazine and otherwise work on my self sufficiency/ preparedness library.

20. Join a gun rights organization.

Time for discussion. Things went pretty well. All the more expensive goals have been met. A couple goals just didn't pan out. I never got around to more spare parts because I ended up getting other stuff. On the whole I am happy with this years accomplishments.

Oh yeah and click on my advertisers links and buy lots of their stuff.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Interesting Note and a Reminder To Keep Currency On Hand

Something sort of strange happened. My sister came to Germany and of course she brought money with her. A lot of banks charge crazy (10% isn't unheard of) rates for using ATM's in Europe so we suggested she bring cash. Usually changing it to and from Euro's is easy. However it just didn't happen before Thanksgiving and stuff was closed then. We headed out of the country for a trip to Paris, her destination of choice and weren't particularly worried because we figured we would be able to change it at our destination. Most countries have those little money changing booths everywhere.

Not Paris. There are no convenient money changing booths and banks won't change money. Maybe you can do it at the airport but I am not sure. We walked around for more than an hour this morning trying to change money. It is definitely very convenient if not impossible.

It wasn't a big deal in the course of things. Our travel money was mostly in an account that doesn't have punitive charges for outside of the US transactions so we just paid for stuff. Wifey told her to just have me get whatever she wanted and we would figure it out later. I got the bonus of being able to make fun of her for nobody being willing to take her stupid American money. Things like telling her a pick pocket would just give her wallet back because it's not like he can buy anything with or change dollars here anyway.

It was nice that we could make light of the situation. However as she pointed out if she was alone it would have been a real problem. I would extend that idea into preps. If you are planning to be able to buy stuff you need a means of exchange people will accept. While can openers, AK mags, common caliber ammo and 5 gallon buckets of food are great to have for a lot of reasons they are not regular means of exchange. You need a stash of whatever the currency in your area is. It isn't necessarily a bad idea to have some money in a currency you see as stable like the Swiss Franc or the Euro or the Yuan but that should be in addition to your stash of currency you can spend at the gas station, corner store, etc.

In this precious metals have an interesting category. They are bought and sold everywhere it is legal and the same I presume is done underground in places where it is illegal. It is however not convenient. In most places you have got to sell them to an individual who understands them, knows the value and how to make sure they are legit, etc. You've got to sell them to a guy to get currency before you can go to the store. I can see how a reasonable person might not want to hold onto a ton of dollars these days, particularly if they bought a good amount of gold and or silver 5 or 10+ years ago at very good prices. However I would still say they need a decent stash of cash (sticking with a months cash expenses as a minimum) just to make things work for awhile and then if need be sell some PM's. Of course there is a risk of those dollars getting hit by inflation but there is a risk to everything. I would however submit to you that if things are bad enough that a months cash expenses getting inflated away rapidly (vs a high of even 8-15% in a year which would still be devastating) in weeks or months then you've got bigget problems than missing that bit of cash.

So keep some of the currency that is used in your area. Might not be a bad idea to keep some currency of an area where you could reasonably decide to go to if things get wonky. Wouldn't get crazy about that but enough to rent a room and get some food would be wise.

Personally I keep both of the currencies I use. I also store precious metals. Regardless of the situation I cannot see how I wouldn't go through all of at least one type of currency (even if in a day or two) before going to the shiny stuff. It is downright hard to realistically see a situation where random prep type items (even barterable ones) are more desirable for trade then the shiny stuff, let alone cash.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Caching Assets

Our friend Bison Risk Management wrote a great post about caching assets. I strongly suggest you read it and think. I also have some thoughts.

First I think it is important to consider that kind of scenario is making you want to cache assets. Mostly we are talking about physical cash or precious metals though I guess the same stuff pretty much applies to bearer bonds and bags of diamonds for the super rich. Maybe you are worried about a banking holiday or shenanigans with the dollar or other economic/ government issues. While of questionable legality maybe you want to maintain a low profile so keeping cash in the bank is out or you need to hide assets from somebody. Maybe you're just a shady guy and might need to leave town for a few weeks. While I obviously do not condone hiding money from the government, dodging court settlements, and such I will talk about them in a judgment neutral fashion.

If you are trying to hide 50 thousand dollars from your ex business partners lawyer you just need to keep it off the radar. Nobody is going to break into your house looking for it. If you are into something shady and occasionally need to take off for awhile unexpectedly then you probably want your running money stored someplace discrete. If you hear Big Lou is looking for you then going home to get into the wall safe would probably not be very smart. However it is unlikely that Big Lou knows anybody at the bank in another city 100 miles away where you keep a few thousand dollars.

Broadly speaking there is a compromise of security versus access. For example if you keep a big stack of money on the living room table it is very accessible but not very safe. Conversely anyone with modest handyman skills can hide compact items in such a manner that you would have to destroy the house apart to find it. That same stack of cash would be very safe but not very accessible. This theme of access versus security as well as security from different threats will drive your decision making.

Some smart people suggest that if you are going to keep cash of precious metals in your home or office you have two safes/ locations. The first is obvious and easily accessible. This is your 'diversion' safe. I also think this is a good place to keep stuff you want to access more than once in a blue moon. Your other location is well hidden maybe in a wall or floor type cache. So lets say you keep ten grand and some precious metals at home. I would keep a couple grand in the diversion safe. First to get someone to stop looking and not find the real stash. Secondly there are some times you want to get to some cash in a reasonably convenient way. Don't want to need to take a hammer to the wall to buy a gun, at a very good price, for cash on the weekend. Same deal if your neighbors house burns down and you want to give them some cash to help them out.

I think it is really important not to put all your eggs in one basket here. Of course every method of caching discussed has weak points. I would say that as a general approach using different methods to limit your overall risk is a sound idea. Your goal is to mitigate risk and preserve at least some of your wealth. If your home burns down the safety deposit box at the bank is still fine. If your home is broken into it is doubtful they will search the nearby park. Especially the nasty spot away from the trail with the prickly bushes with a metal detector.

How many baskets to have is an interesting question. The amount of assets you are looking to cache is a big factor. Common sense dictates some kind of threshold what amount of assets is worth establishing a cache.

It would be worthwhile for a rich guy trying to stash a few million dollars worth of assets to have a half dozen or more separate caches of different types. He might have a diversion safe, wall cache, safety deposit box, buried cache, safety deposit box in countries B and C, wall cache in your vacation home in country B and on his boat. He would need to balance the upper limit of size/ value he wants in any one cache with being overwhelmed by trying to set up too many caches. Really the only upper limit on the total number of caches would be the amount that you could realistically establish and keep track of. If you have far more modest means and want to cache a few ounces of junk silver and a couple hundred bucks in small bills then it probably isn't worth a second cache let alone a half dozen. For most normal folks who are somewhere in the middle three or four caches is probably a reasonable number.

As a final thought I just want to remind you that caching assets is a very personal decision. It is based upon your financial situation, what you are concerned about, your lifestyle and goals. You might want more eggs in one basket for a particular reason. However the concept of having multiple diverse baskets should probably be followed none the less. There is of course risk to all the methods we have discussed. If you can't sleep well at night with a bunch of cash in the house then don't keep a bunch of cash in the house. The goal of this is to be and feel more secure, not the opposite.

Friday, June 18, 2010

quote of the day

"Personal history has shown me that long before TSHTF in a cataclysmic, biblical, Mad Max, zombierific way there’ll be plenty of small scale ‘personal SHTF’ moments….job losses, broken limbs, faulty transmissions, clogged pipes, broken furnaces, uncovered medical treatments, and that sort of thing. The sorts of situations that cant be fixed with an AK47, solar panels and a case of MRE’s. So…being pragmatic….we prepare for those ‘minor’ emergencies as well.

It follows, naturally, that if we’re not plunking down several hundred dollars a month to service debt then we’ve freed up that money to do other things…things we want to do rather than have to do. So…yeah, minimizing debt may definitely open up a few doors."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Be Able To Buy Stuff

It is great (and essential) to be able to sustain yourself and for family without outside help. However in almost every possible situation you need to be able to buy stuff. Even if you have a paid off place and can produce a good amount of your own food property taxes and the need for fuel aren't going away.You need to pay for a place to stay, food, fuel and depending on how long you hang out someplace all sorts of other stuff. However in many situations the best course of action is to, at least for a little while go somewhere else. We have bug out bags and plans to go here or there. All of that stuff is great. If you are getting out of town because of an upcoming hurricane and plan to crash at your cousins 500 miles inland it is probably more important to have money than a dozen 5 gallon pails of beans (though 2 pail is probably smart).

In most situations in the continental US dollars are best. Dollars are generally pretty useful in other places too however that may be waning a little bit. Even if the dollar (or whatever the local currency) takes a  major hit you will still need to buy stuff. Having some other currency like the Euro or Swiss Francs or the Yen or gold or silver will let you purchase stuff.


Be able to buy stuff. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Work was pretty nuts for me but that is life sometimes. Monday I dehydrated some apple slices for Wifey. Stashed some Euro's because instead of going out for dinner we just grabbed a pizza and stayed home on Saturday. Had some fun with the shortwave radio last night. I cleaned out the paperwork cabinet getting rid of unnecessary or outdated stuff and excessive copies. While doing that I took all the real essential stuff which isn't in our wallets and put it into one of those plastic paperwork envelope things. Passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, car title and an extra checkbook. The stuff we would really want if leaving in a hurry and packing light. I had been meaning to do that for awhile. We picked up some extra ketchup at the store today because it was on a good sale.

All things being equal it was a pretty productive week. 

What did you do to prepare this week?

Unconventional Thinking: Prioritizing Financial Preparadness Higher

A lot of my thinking recently has been about preparing for realistic scenarios (1,2,3, 4) . Maybe it is just that the last couple years have been pretty nuts but I have been thinking financial preparedness is far under rated. As Chief Instructor said "money gives you options."

Now I wonder..........

Are you better off having a few hundred bucks in an envelope  or  a Mini14/AR-15/AK-47/FN-FAL/M1A/HK G3? We all talk about how it is essential to acquire a good basic 4 (centerfire rifle, pistol, shotgun, .22) or more with lots and lots of mags and cases upon cases of ammo. However would you be better off having, say a defensive pistol and a pump shotgun (plus maybe a .22 but they are so cheap) and a wad of cash? I like guns. In particular I enjoy semi automatic magazine fed military pattern rifles. It seems like you don't get legitimate survivalist/ preparedness credits unless you have a safe/ closet with a Mini14/AR-15/AK-47/FN-FAL/M1A/HK G3 to brag about in posts, forums and comments sections. However if there are even semi common situations where a person in America needs a rifle for defensive purposes I have not heard about them. I can not thing of a single situation of a normal citizen having a 150 meter standoff rifle fight with psychotic murderers, gang bangers, meth heads or home invaders.

Don't get me wrong, I think having a Mini14/AR-15/AK-47/FN-FAL/M1A/HK G3 just in case you do have to fight off the people from the next block who are trying to steal your cereal is great. I am just not so sure that, considering what sort of situations are most likely to happen, and given the choice between the two you would not be better off with several hundred bucks in an envelope instead of a Mini14/AR-15/AK-47/FN-FAL/M1A/HK G3. As covered above the genuine defensive need for a Mini14/AR-15/AK-47/FN-FAL/M1A/HK G3 is questionable. However there is a real chance that when the power is out you might need to buy something. Maybe you have some sort of a crazy banking situation.There could even be a banking holiday and it sure would be nice to have a few hundred bucks in mixed bills lying around.

Taking that same train of thought a bit further. Are you better off having an honest years food storage for your family (a very worthy goal) or a solid emergency fund? Having a lot of food is a good thing. It lets you know your family will be able to eat for a long time without resupply. If need be you can just not go to the grocery store for a long time if money is short. However when was the last time large groups of people were totally unable to purchase/ barter for any food for a whole year? Sure it has happened now and then over relatively recent history throughout the world. Unlikely but possible.

However what are the chances that you will have a significant emergency like a sudden job loss or your house burning down or need for a lawyer or a major injury? I would say a lot higher than that you will not be able to get food from any source for a year. Sure if you don't need to go to the grocery store (because you are eating out of your food storage) for a long time that would drop your expenses some but the bank/ landlord will not accept bags of wheat as payment nor will the gas station accept canned chili. A legitimate argument could be made that you are far more likely to need a solid amount of money set away then enough rice, flour and beans for a whole year. 

I am not saying that it is not prudent to have a quality defensive rifle like a Mini14/AR-15/AK-47/FN-FAL/M1A/HK G3 or that you shouldn't have stashing a whole lot of food be a priority. Being able to defend yourself if all of a sudden your neighborhood looks like Mogadishu or feed your family if that absolutely unlikely wheat rust/ 9 month pandemic quarantine/ full on Mad Max scenario are great goals. However doesn't it make sense to work from more realistic threats like needing to buy something when our typical very fragile banking system isn't working, or having a solid emergency fund set aside.

As for how to measure all this stuff up and choose where to put our resources (time and money) the word that jumps out at me is proportion. Work from most likely scenarios such as a home invasion, or whatnot to less likely ones. Maybe get a month or two worth of food as well as say, a pistol and a shotgun plus a few hundred bucks in cash. Then work towards more ambitious goals like acquiring a good rifle, setting aside a solid emergency fund and stash some more chow. Later on go crazy stashing away a lot of food. While some of these thoughts may or may not turn into a full post later the relatively current economic mess (and problems it has caused people) has shown me that we are far more vulnerable to financial problems and emergencies than other stuff we generally prioritize higher.

Thoughts?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Disappearing For A Bit: A Guest Post By The VP of Awesomeness

[ TOR here real quick. Today's post is brought to you by the VP of Awesomeness. He was a bail bondsman for a long time so I solicited his thoughts on this topic. My comments will be at the end in italics.]

Ok, let's face it, bad things happen to good people. I learned that shortly after I started by Bail Bonds business... I've seen people get in trouble and have to "disappear" for a short time. Just a couple points to cover in case this ever happens to you.

Always try to be the "Grey Man". Avoid the lifestyle bumper stickers at all costs. The ones that were successful at hiding, all drove average vehicles, wore nothing that would stand out and did nothing to draw attention to themselves.

Cash is king, while I do have some gold & silver put back, on the run or short term bugging out, use only cash. Split it up in your gear, don't keep it all on your person. Now the only exception to this that I've seen, that actually worked, was a Money Card. The woman was running from a violent relationship, her sister was putting money on a Walmart prepaid card, which works like a Visa for the most part, but you really have to trust the person applying the funds as they may have access to the card history.

IF you decide to travel with a firearm, I would keep it limited to something compact and easily hidden. While I would MUCH rather have an M4 and a chest rack full of mags, I keep it to a quality handgun & mags VERY well hidden.

Prepaid cell phone. If you find yourself in need of communicating, this is the ONLY way to go. Even then, use it enough and "they" can track it. Keep it short and sweet.

It really helps to have some sort of GPS in your vehicle, getting lost can lead to all kinds of problems. Follow the traffic laws, more people are found by your average traffic cop doing his job than by Hi speed warrant teams.

Unless you a have very deep pockets, you're going to need a source of income, and having a job on the books will not cut it, if you plan on staying free for any amount of time. So it's more often than not, it's going to be something in the building trades. Now, with the Job Market being what it is, unless you have usable skills, you may have some trouble finding something.

Find out where the Day Labor's hang out, you will be with a bunch of Hispanics, but if you are Legal & speak English, you should have a better chance at finding something. Something else that has worked, find a construction site and offer to do clean up afterwords. Salvaging cans and scrap metal is an option too. Just keep in mind you're trying to stay alive and free, not trying to compete with Donald Trump.

Keeping your expenses low. Living in your vehicle can be done and is being done a lot more than most people realize. Staying in a hotel will eat up funds and assist in getting you found. The successful one's I've spoke with, most were Van Dwellers, shopped as places like Aldi's and live cheap. I've added a link to a guy who lived successfully in his little Toyota Pickup for quite awhile to give you some idea's..

Use common sense, keep your head low and be the GreyMan...


cheaprvliving.com
Use common sense, keep your head low and be the Grey Man..



There really isn't much else to say. One significant point I just want to rehash is to think about who is looking for you. The implications are significant because who is looking for you (how they look) plus their motivation and resources/ reach will dictate how you need to act. 

I can not help but reiterate that having a functional vehicle with up to date tabs  (registration) is essential. Nothing flashy but the turn signals/ lights/ etc need to work. Also it is worth noting that having a valid license and insurance card is essential. Unless there is a warrant for your arrest if you have the right basic paperwork all but the worst traffic violation (driving 100 in a school zone or hitting someone) is handled with a simple ticket. Don't have that stuff and your likely going to face arrest and have your vehicle impounded and things will likely go downhill from there. 

Personally I think everyone should keep some cash around. For an average person a months worth of cash expenses is a good start and not a bad finish. If something weird is going on that is plenty to take a sudden 10 day vacation, particularly if you keep expenses down. Lets face it some lifestyles and jobs are a bit more prone to potential problems than others are. For a person with more risk having a higher percentage of their total assets on hand in physical cash would be prudent. 


When it comes to guns a good pistol with some mags is probably the way to go. Keep in mind that you are worried about basic self protection, not fighting off zombies. In a case extreme enough that your disappearance is going to be lengthy having a cache with some firepower would be wise. In many areas of the US even if a cop asks if you have a gun saying "Yeah I have a Glock/ 1911in my  backpack/ trunk (depending on the region)" will not raise suspicion. However having 2 semi automatic rifles, a shotgun, a sniper rifle and a carbine sitting on the back seat might cause problems. 


When it comes to communicating with friends and family it really depends so much on who is looking for you. If anything short of a widespread law enforcement search or  heaven forbid men who have  split their adult lives between the back woods of FT Bragg and the 3rd world then a quick pre paid call to tell Momma that you will be away for awhile but are safe would be fine. 


I like the van/ truck idea. 

Edited to include: Three more things jumped out at me while pondering this through the day. 

First is about essential prescription medications.  I am not highly informed on this topic but between meth maggots/ the abuse of prescription drugs in general, insurance and computers I do not think it is not so easy to discretely purchase meds these days. This is yet another reason to have some extra lying around, at least a 30 day (and ideally 90-180 days) supply. 

The last two are really just a bit more explanation of my thoughts on the "Grey Man" concept. I am sorry but aside from loitering around alleys and other obvious non typical behavior the biggest thing cops seem to profile is appearance.  While certainly not always the case often scum bags dress like scum bags. Having a normal average appearance with decent clean clothes helps a lot. If you want to avoid police scrutiny instead of looking like a member of Pantera or somebody on the Discovery Channels gang special look like a normal clean cut guy. The sort of boring guy you won't look twice at or remember seeing. 

Going along with the "Grey Man" theme DO NOT BREAK ANY LAWS YOU ABSOLUTELY DON'T HAVE TO! Think about it. You have gone to great lengths to disappear for awhile.  This is not the time to enjoy a nice cold roadbeer or punch the loudmouth jerk at the next table or try and get some weed. in a strange town or whatever. The "Grey Man" follows the rules, all of them, all the time, or at least it seems like he does. This is part of why he is so boring and nobody is interested in him.



Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. Please give the VP some kudos for being nice enough to share his knowledge with us.



Sunday, March 21, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Well a case of .223 ammo alone made this a good week for me. I also dehydrated some pineapple. It is pretty good though I need to really figure out the exact right amount of time. I did a lot of cooking this week in the crock pot. Since Wifey is working these days our dinner choices seem to be crock pot, quick pasta or meat and taters kind of stuff and occasionally some sort of cheater meal. For a little while there we were slipping from eating real food as a general rule. We started eating out a bit more and then when our cheapness made up knock that off moved to easier stuff. Not that there is anything wrong with some good processed Americana like hot dogs now and then but too often just isn't good for you. This week we were better which is good. Today I made barley casserole which is pretty darn good.

We put away some more Euro's which is good.  Folks occasionally question that. Some of them likely weren't tracking that I am in Europe right now. I keep some Euro's around because that is what spends here. If I was in Japan I would have Yen and if I was in Canada I would have Canadian Dollars. Other folks don't seem to see the point in keeping cash on hand and favor silver or something. The thing is that you need cash. Yesterday I counted up our random change and took it to the bank to exchange for a fiver. One of the interesting parts of having one and two euro coins instead of bills is that having too many of them gets bulky and heavy fast. We do keep some onesies, twosies and change around for small purchases. Stashing a 10 or a 20 every week seems to be working pretty well. It isn't particularly likely that we will need them but like the case of ammo, when you need it you really need it!

 The next several weeks are going to see little to nothing getting done but that is life. Tonight or tomorrow night I will fiddle with the Shortwave Radio which is getting more entertaining as I can hear stuff now. Will write about that later.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Savings and Debt

A lot of conventional advice says to pay off debt first. Dave Ramsey says to stash a grand (or a bit more or less if your income is real low or high) then pay off all consumer debt before getting an emergency fund set up. I am not so sure this is the way to go. It is complicated and there are a lot of variables (how secure your job is, interest rates you are paying, etc) but I like holding cash. If you loose your job and get into trouble having a bit less debt will help but it will not put food on the table or pay to keep a roof over your head, for that you need cash. Suze Orman seems to be thinking more along the lines I am.

As for how much of an emergency fund you should have. Folks say as little as two months to as much as a full year. I think it varies based on your financial situation, job stability, 1 vs 2 incomes, etc. Right now I am comfortable with an emergency fund of 3 months. (Not factoring in cash on hand or precious metals) My job is pretty secure and since we have minimal debt our lifestyle could really be changed if need be which would allow that cash to last awhile. I have a couple of friends who have good jobs in the trades. One was out of work for 4 months recently. He got unemployment which helped but he was fine. With the time he went on a long trip to visit his brother who is going to school a couple states away and did a lot of hunting. He was able to do this because he lives the same modest lifestyle he's had for awhile though income grew significantly and saves a lot. Another friend works in a trade where he is fairly often unemployed between projects. He has an under the table (far lower paying) job for in between projects and also saves a lot. He usually is unemployed for about 2 months strait during the winter.


If we were a one income family and I worked in the private sector we would want to save some more. People like my friends and real estate agents who work on commission  or contract need to save more.  Chief Instructor once said that you should plan on a month out of work for every $10,000 a year earned and that is probably worth considering. The more at risk your income is the more you need to save. At the end of the day you know your individual situation better than I do.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Flashy Fantasy Seems To Beat Boring Reality

When I was in High School we had a Gym Teacher/ Coach who was a cool guy in that cheese late 70's sort of way. He had a saying "curls for the girls and cleans for machines."Kinda cheese but it had a real point. His point is that the exercises to build a showy beach body are very different than for a very quick, strong and functional body. That analogy can be used for emergency preparedness also.

I have noticed that general interest in boring practical stuff is often absent. Also I have noticed that same lack of interest extends to practical stuff in peoples considerations and preparations. The biggest areas people seem to ignore are financial preparedness and physical fitness. Maybe it is just that I take a broader and more holistic view of emergency preparedness than some folks, but I am not so sure.

I read a lot of blogs and keep in touch with a lot of great folks. I do not mean to take jabs at anyone as I do honestly like them all. I enjoy the personalities and seeing all the stuff people do and all their great ideas. It is just that occasionally I am really surprised by things. 

I am baffled when I read someone gets financially devastated by a relatively minor and common event. A car having a typical $500-700 breaking down or a higher than expected electric bill are throwing people for a loop and in some cases leading them to sell tangible goods or go into debt. I can't understand this at all. I am not trying to be judgmental or anything. I know life is hard. Things are always getting more expensive and wages are not going up. It is difficult to save money. We have a fairly average income and minimal expenses but it still took us a whole year of dedicated saving to get a 3 month emergency fund put away. For someone whose expenses are closer to their income it might take two or even three years to meet that goal. Having a grand or a months cash expenses is probably a darn good start. Even someone in the worst financial situation should have a few hundred bucks set aside. Being prepared for a major disaster or even the end of the world but not to put a clutch in the family car is something I can't understand.

Fitness is far more lacking. Maybe it is just that it is easier to take an anecdotal non scientific like survey because lots of folks have pictures up here or there. I am periodically surprised that people who are so together in a variety of ways are completely out of shape. I am not going to say that being thin or looking fit is the big thing. Obviously being functionally fit is more important than having nice abs. Plenty of guys who would be lean at one weight are just fit and average sized and 10 pounds heavier. I have known a few guys whose appearance showed they liked burgers and brewskis that were in good solid shape. However it would be a real uphill battle to convince me there is not at least a loose correlation between excess body weight verging on obesity and being in really bad shape. Many people who spend lots of money and time doing great things to prepare are completely failing to prepare arguable the most important asset they have, their bodies. These folks would be better off cutting out two or three hours a week of great preparedness stuff and doing some brisk walking.

Why do people completely avoid preparing their finances and getting their bodies into decent shape? I think part of it is that preparedness is a lot more of a hobby then we are willing to admit. As a hobby (at least of sorts) we naturally gravitate to fun stuff. Most of us were gun enthusiasts to begin with and that is what lead many people to preparedness in the first place. Guns, gear and gadgets are fun (also they all start with g) so it is not that surprising that people gravitate towards them. Also there is an element of fantasy that is involved. It is cool to think about how you would go all pioneer on the plains and shoot it out with some sort of bad guys. It isn't very exciting to daydream through a boring afternoon at work about how your emergency fund will help when the car breaks down or how being in decent shape will allow you to walk 15 miles home when your car gets stuck in a jam.

Specifically when it comes to finances I think a lot of people like to ignore reality. For some reason lots of folks take a head in the sand approach to finances. Their situation isn't real good so they ignore it and then go figure, it doesn't get any better. They like to pretend that somehow things will quickly fall apart in a certain way so the bank never comes calling about the mortgage or the car loan but their area will be fundamentally OK. 'Their' home would really be theirs. They do not like to think about any situation (say a slow slide or a long term depression or a total mess like Argentina) less than that total but idealized collapse. There is no pretending in saving money to have a dedicated emergency fund or eating rice and beans to pay off credit card debt.

When it comes to fitness I think the simple answer is that it isn't easy. Fitness takes effort and restraint. Eating a reasonable diet and doing some sort of exercise 2-3 times a week will do it, if you put a bit less on the place and actually go for the walks. Diet can not be over rated. Calories matter a lot and over time small differences of 200-300 calories a day add up to huge differences. A couple cookies or drinks or the worlds smallest bowl of ice cream is often the difference between being of a fairly healthy weight or too fat to walk home when you need to. Now don't get me wrong the eat a reasonable diet and walk some is not going to get you ready for the RPAT but it would probably get you ready to walk a few miles home. I can not help but to observe that many of the knee and back problems that keep from exercise would be greatly reduced by getting to a healthy weight. Fitness is a situation where good things build up to make more good things realistic and possible. Certainly getting to a basic level of fitness will go a long way in helping you with a variety of tasks.

I am certainly not saying that I am perfect. In the past I was pretty gun centric and too light on food. I am getting better about a more balanced approach these days but am still not perfect. My intent is not to be holier than thou but just to point out that the boring practical stuff is at least as important as the flashy fun stuff.

Your assignment for this week is do something that is boring and practical, like going for a long walk or saving a couple of twenty dollar bills.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cash, You Need Some. And I Do Mean ALL Of You

Every time the topic of cash comes up somebody writes a comment. They say something like "I don't keep cash, I buy beans and bullets" or "I stock barter items" or "I believe in tangibles". All of these people are wrong. They are not wrong because they choose to purchase beans and bullets or stock some barter items or are down with the whole tangible thing because all of that stuff is good to have. They are wrong because simply put, none of that stuff replaces cash. 

This is where someone else will say "After the dollar/ world collapses my beans and bullets/ barter items/ tangibles will be worth a super duper whole bunch and dollars will just be good for tinder and TP."

Both of these ideas are seriously wrong and here is why:

First unless our economy/ the dollar collapses entirely it is what people are going to accept as a means of exchange. If you look at what happens during significant local or regional disasters, people trade CASH for stuff. Sure there is some bartering I imagine but matter of fact if you go to the grocery store during a power outage they are not going to take silver dimes at 14X face value or want to dicker over the value of .22 shells. The credit card machines will not be working and it will be cash on the barrel head. Some stores will take checks but I would not want to plan on that. This is where someone says they have all the stuff they need for a power outage so they don't need any cash.

What if your house is damaged and you need to make emergency repairs? The local hardware store will be open even though the power is out or off and on. I would bet they are not going to accept silver dimes or .22 shells or one pint bottles of booze either. If they have the couple sheets of plywood you need (likely in a power outage where an errant tree limb went through a window but unlikely for a hurricane) you are going to need money to pay for them.

Maybe there is a disaster in your area and you need to relocate for a little while. You toss the BOB's in the family war wagon and the other essential stuff from your list and get driving. You have got some fuel stored (a good idea in general and essential in hurricane country) but a couple hours down the road you see a gas station with their lights on thanks to a generator and no line. Thinking it would be a good idea to stop and top off the tank you pull over. Your kids are excited because it is 105 degrees outside and the place might have ice cream. They won't be taking credit/ debit cards and a check from some guy from a long way away is not going to get a nice look. A sign that says Cash Only will probably be present. I doubt this guy is going to want silver one ounce rounds or 9mm ammo or pints of booze. You will need cash to leave with a full tank and an ice cream for everyone.

If you are in the South you will likely see a BBQ place about every 5 miles. In the long run these folks will have issues keeping meat cold or getting resupply but for a couple days a lot of them will be smoking hogs and selling those pulled pork sandwiches we all love. It would sure be nice to stop for a few minutes and have big old BBQ sandwiches instead of MRE's for lunch. You might be able to barter with these folks but they will definitely take cash. Also when you get to whatever your destination (that is unaffected by the disaster) it would sure be nice to get a place to sleep. Again it is entirely possible that the fragile complicated credit card system might not work because of problems with its networks and such. This sort of thing happens in normal times. Last I checked the Holiday Inn does not accept fractional gold coins or rifle ammo.

So I have made the case as clearly as possible that you need to have some cash. This brings us back to the "After the dollar/ world collapses my beans and bullets/ barter items/ tangibles will be worth a super duper whole bunch and dollars will just be good for tinder and TP" argument. This argument is terminally flawed for one reason. Look at all the possible emergency situations you could face. Depending on how specific you get there might be several or the sky is the limit. In how many of them will people be trading dollars for stuff? The answer is almost all of them. Except a currency collapse or a genuine full on Mad Max scenario your dollars will buy stuff. Also if you rank order the possible emergencies you will find that all the likely ones will find dollars very useful. Think about it, power outages, ice/ snow storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, riots/ civil unrest and hurricanes really cover all the likely scenarios. Preparing for likely scenarios before preparing for unlikely ones just makes good sense. In fact in the scenarios the people you need to deal with (gas station, grocery store, hotel/ motel, hardware store, etc) will not barter. The kid working the register at 711 doesn't have the authority to barter and neither does anyone you will interact with at Safeway or Home Depot. Also people who have the option to barter (small business owners, contractors, etc) might or might not be willing.

Of course dollars do not replace food, water, fuel, etc but you need them also. Personally I would start on cash on hand about when I said in this recent post which is pretty darn early in your preparedness efforts. As for how much cash to keep on hand I think $300 in mixed bills split about evenly between ones, fives, maybe some tens and twenties is a decent start. It could buy a few tanks of gas, a few meals and a place to sleep for a night or two if need be. By then you can probably figure out how to get to your bank account or sell some precious metals or get to a friends to crash or whatnot. If you are a hardcore Australian (edited to include I meant Austrian, suppose the Australian school would be giant cans of Fosters beer and boomerangs or something) School of Economics tangibles type or just have a pretty low income it might be an OK place to stop. Personally I like a months worth of cash expenses on hand in mixed bills. To me this is a good balance between having enough cash to get through a pretty decent emergency and the risk of keeping cash at home. Some folks like more cash on hand and in some cases even have their whole 3-12 month emergency fund on hand in cash. The amount of cash you should have at home could vary based on numerous factors including your family size, income, needs, location, other resources and the like. What is right for the Smith family might not be right for the Anderson family a street over. While the amount of cash you should have on hand could be debated I do not think there are decent arguments against having some cash on hand.

Thoughts?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What I Did To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty productive week though admittedly efforts were split over several fronts:

Really got fitness cranking by doing good PT every weekday morning and hitting the weight pile 4 times after work. Nutrition wasn't perfect and admittedly I ate a little bit too much, nothing drastic but will try and do better next week.

We put about 40 Euro into the emergency fund toward the long term goal of a few hundred Euro's in cash.

I also added some cash to the fund allocated for Glock 9mm mags and spare parts. Waiting for the ATM card for the local bank to show up so I can put cash in and order stuff already. It will be nice to have my mag to gun ratio up to par and have enough spare parts to fix the likely failures in my core collection of guns.

Got some more food: wheat flour, corn meal and some other stuff. Wifey is doing the buy two of everything we would have gotten anyway plan so we will get stuff we will really use.

What did you do to prepare this week?
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