Most neighborhoods have “those neighbors” that you can’t really avoid. Part of living in suburbia, however, is learning how to deal with them, ignore them, or learn to like them. These could be the neighbors with the obnoxious children, the dog that barks all night long, the guy with 846 piercings, the annoying 93’ Civic hatchback, or in my case: Eddy.
Eddy is one of those guys that the other neighbors have categorized as “the doomsday guy.” He has a large beard, is always working out in the yard, talks to the neighbors about the end days of America and how you won’t be supported if you’re not ready, and we can’t rely on the Government for anything. Although I have mixed views on the approaches he takes with his life, I have learned 10 things from him that could be very helpful for the success of a suburban family, should some catastrophic event occur.
Get a Decent Pocket Knife
Any young boy most likely had that moment around the age of 7 when he wanted a pocket knife. What would be done with this knife? That was usually the question that finished the discussion with a “no” from mom or dad. There are a few very general uses that a pocket knife can bring a normal suburban person. For instance you may find yourself in a situation where you need to cut something very strong, screw something tighter, open a package, need a paperweight, or even protect yourself. If you are not up for carrying it around, just keep it in the glove compartment of your vehicle for emergencies.
At the end of the day, there is no reason anybody should not have a pocket knife on hand just like they would have a screwdriver in their tool box. Here are two of the top rated pocket knives on the market today that even the knife experts drool over:
* Sunset Bone Moon Pie Trapper – $85
* Kershaw Leek 1660CKT Knife -$80
Lucky for Eddy, he has a 1-acre lot that gives him plenty of space to do everything. He has plenty of space to do everything that he desires with his land: have a chicken coup, a couple dogs, a large shed, a garden, and space to have the grandkids play. He is never short on space for the things that he wants to do. The land enables him to succeed in becoming more prepared for the future. Eddy suggests that if you do not own land to purchase some, even if it is somewhat of a drive away from your home. Many towns outside large cities sell 1-acre plots of land for fairly cheap. “If you do not want or decide you don’t need the land later on,” he says, “you can just sell it as if it were an investment.”
Plant a Garden
Eddy loves his garden. He doesn’t just garden in the ground, but he has even started a system of above-ground small-farming called hydroponics. Although a section of his yard looks a bit like an eighth grade science experiment, the fruits and vegetables he produces are unbelievably fresh. The salad he prepares almost tastes different than a salad I would make at home because of the textures and taste. Instead of going to the store to buy spices and herbs, he uses his own for flavoring in the meals he cooks. If you are interested in some modern ways to perform small farming at home, check out aquaponics (which involves fish farming) and hydroponics.
When I think of doomsday preppers, I usually think of a guy in a bunker underground eating packages of MREs (meals ready to eat). Eddy suggests that humans can easily live off rice and beans, so he has sealable 5 Gallon containers that he pours rice and beans into. Since Eddy is on an average budget, he simply picks up a large bag of rice and a large bag of beans when he shops for general groceries. By slowly accumulating food each week, he has developed an enormous supply in just a few years! Between the fruits, vegetables, rice and beans, Eddy can sustain himself for a long period of time.
Buy a Truck
Growing up in the city, I have had no interest in buying a truck, but Eddy makes a good point: you can transport nearly anything. He suggests that a car does great on gas mileage in most cases, but you pay for it when you need to transport a lot of material or something large. SUVs limit your overhead space, so he argues against these as well. Buying a truck that has a trailer hitch on it sets the average person up to succeed. Two top trucks you can get your hands on today are:
* Ford F-150 – Best all around truck purchase of 2013 due to its wide range of engine choices, long-lasting durability, and well-designed interior.
* GMC Sierra 1500 – Best truck in its class for its range of powerful engines and strong towing and hauling capacity. Although it falls short with its interior design, it compensates with its drivability.
Get out of Debt
Eddy studies about the US debt crisis and banking system a lot, and he believes it is going to crash and burn. “They can spend all the money they want, but I’m not going skydiving without a parachute with them,” he suggests. By paying off your debt, it not only frees you from the debt that you have accrued, but it enables you to save more money for later on in life when you might really need it. Here are three techniques he applies to conserve money on a monthly basis that has saved him thousands of dollars:
* Get rid of the cable bill – By eliminating the cable bill, Eddy saves $50 per month. He still has his internet bill but does any work or information gathering from his computer.
* Pay an extra payment on the mortgage and pay the payment biweekly – Eddy will have his 15 year mortgage paid off in 12 years, 6 months because of the interest he saves by paying half of his payment twice per month and by adding an extra payment onto his mortgage every year. His mortgage is about $2,000.00 a month, but by paying $1,100.00 twice a month, he will save a ton of money and be debt free quicker.
* Keep your vehicle for 10 years. Eddy has savings for his next truck. Every month, he puts away $250.00 for his next truck. Instead of getting a loan and paying the extra interest he spends that money he could save elsewhere. He also avoids higher insurance premiums due to not having a lien on the car. By taking this approach, he is able to keep his “car payment” lower than if he financed a $30,000 vehicle every 5 years.
“Does water expire?” That is usually the first question most inexperienced water savers ask when trying to decide if they’ll start. The answer is yes, but there is a way to keep it fresh. By putting a teaspoon of bleach in the water for every 7 gallons of water every year, you can keep water fresh. It is suggested that you store a gallon of water for every person in your household each day and that you always have a week’s supply in case of emergency. Eddy has purchased 55 gallon water barrels and stores them in his garage with fresh water. 55 gallons of water would sustain a family of four for 2 weeks! Online, these cost just around $60, and it is a purchase you can forget about and have peace of mind.
You can imagine that Eddy has a gun, or many, but I am going to twist this suggestion up a bit. Buy bullets, and lots of them. The bullet market has become increasingly popular because of a tight grip from the US government around the firearms market. Since this is the case, I see an investment opportunity. Bullets are becoming more expensive because there is a current increase in demand and decrease in supply, and the price is not expected to go down. If you can get your hands on bullets, your return of investment will only increase as more people want to purchase bullets and the government does not allow more bullets to be produced or brought within US borders. You might just be able to get a 400% return! Now that’s a great source of retirement income, and it doesn’t matter if you can shoot a gun.
Buy a Survival Kit for Your Friends
Imagine yourself in my neighborhood, sipping on lemonade, listening to the neighbors ridiculing Eddy for his lifestyle choice, and all of a sudden a serious earthquake destroys the town. Transportation to and from the area is limited, and food is scarce. You are stuck waiting for help for two weeks. Eddy has over 20 survival kits, not for himself, but for the people that come running to him now that are all of a sudden in need of his help. Instead of saying that he cannot help, he has these survival kits to keep his neighbors sustained until help can reach them.
Eddy agrees that if we do not share knowledge with each other, then others will be left behind. By teaching yourself, your family and your friends how to take care of themselves if the comforts of daily life were stripped away due to lack of electricity, gas, food or water, you are empowering them to succeed. Just by spending time with Eddy, I have learned about a handful of techniques such as these that I will now be able to put in my brain’s library. Let’s just hope I never have to test this information out!