The Five Principles of Preparedness
By PHIL BURNS – APN
Brought to you by The Prepared Pirate and
The Pirates Ready Store
The Five Principles of Preparedness are basic principles that keep us and our families grounded that are key to our happiness as a family unit while we Walk the Path of the Prepper. There is safety and peace that comes from having car insurance, home insurance, medical insurance,etc. What many families frequently ignore is “Standard of Living Insurance”. At its heart, this is what Preparedness, Self Reliance, Prepping – however you want to call it – is. By Getting Started in Prepping, or continuing in Prepping as the case may be, and following these five Principles of Preparedness we can provide our families with the assurance that we will be able to maintain a certain standard of living.
This standard of living is dictated by the level of preparedness we are able to achieve and maintain.
For example, if a family falls into crisis and they have no preparations then once the average two weeks of supplies they have on hand has been used up, they will drop to a poverty standard of living. If that same family had a month’s worth of supplies stored up, they would have a buffer of a little more than a month before they suffered consequences of their situation. Likewise, if they had a year’s supply of essentials stored, they would effectively be giving themselves a year to be able to recover and plan in the event of a paradigm changing event.
Standard of Living Insurance, or Prepping, provides us with a hedge against calamity. There is much talk recently of “Doomsday” events – which are inappropriately and improperly titled. After all, Doomsday literally means the last day before the end of the earth. What point is there in preparing for that? Massive, widespread crisis, such as; an EMP, Nuclear War, Coronal Mass Ejection, Economic Collapse, and so on is a frequent topic as well. While these things are important to consider in preparing, it is a mistake to hyper-focus on them. There are many other immediate, closer and more likely scenarios that make sense to focus on such as the loss or major injury of a breadwinner, loss of a primary job, extended sickness, accidents and other personal calamities. These happen every single day and each of us likely know someone to whom this has happened. These are the things that are most essential to develop a “Standard of Living Insurance” against.
The most common effect of living an abundant life, as many of us do, is complacency. As we progress and develop disposable income the complacent tendency is to adjust our standard of living upwards by purchasing a bigger house, a new vehicle, a boat or other recreational toys instead of investing that money to insure the standard of living that we previously grew accustomed to. It is most prudent to instead, in times of largess, not expand your standard of living right away but to choose to ensure that if the current boon withdraws the family is not affected by it.
Complacency however, leads us down the path of seeing increased income to the home as play, expendable, or rewarding money – all of which it can be with the proper perspective. That perspective is to view this blessing as an opportunity to ‘play’ at increasing our stores as much as possible, to purchase as many ‘expendable’ goods as possible – that can go into storage, or to ‘reward’ ourselves by adding a more expensive item to our storage that will significantly increase the amount of coverage our Standard of Living Insurance provides us. It also gives us the opportunity to scrutinize our funds and storage to determine if the family can splurge a little and enjoy some recreational time without it impacting the bottom line of our Standard of Living – but adamantly without changing our cost of living.
Following the Principles of Preparedness allows heads of households to reduce stress, find peace and be comfortable in an ever-changing and tumultuous world.
Practice thrift and frugality
The depression era saying of “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without” sums up the practice of Thrift. Living thriftily is not a popular concept in our “Staying up with the Jones’s” mentality, but the folly of that mentality is that if one thing goes wrong and your family slips into crisis, you will have to learn all about “Staying above water”. Living thriftily is a very simple, effective and immediate method to increase your spending power. Imagine being, instead of a consumer; a creator, a repairer, or simply abstaining. It is phenomenally financially wasteful to eat at restaurants on a regular basis, in addition to being typically un-healthy, it also takes away from time spent together as a family creating a personal dining experience at home, together. Thrift is a practice of not wasting anything including time and money.
Frugality dictates that we live within our means and “Waste not, want not”. It requires us to be prudent with how we spend our money and to cautiously and guardedly decide how to distribute it. Why do Americans work themselves so hard and as soon as the paycheck comes in, they throw it to the wind as quickly as they can – leaving them with no reserves, no safety and no peace? It is because we have come to accept abundance as our standard. We foolishly assure ourselves that there will be a check next pay period – which there normally is, until there is not. It is the high possibility that at some point something critical will happen in our lives that brings us to the conclusion that it is very likely that at some point, that check will not be there.
One massive waste that Americans have become very comfortable with is living on credit. We have become extremely complacent with our finances in this regard. Instead of doing without for a short time while we save, we finance everything and as a consequence, pay financing fees and interest that we somehow justify as necessary. It is not necessary that we ever pay financing fees or interest for anything, even a house, if we are willing to be prudent. Instant gratification is the bane of thrift and frugality. We Americans have deceived ourselves into believing that we ‘deserve’ to live a better lifestyle than our parents (which took them a lifetime to achieve) – when in reality – we DESERVE to be secure and at peace in our lifestyle. It is ironic that as a society, we will dicker over $3,000 on a new vehicle and then finance it for 5 years – wherein we condemn ourselves to paying several times that in financing fees and interest.
What good have we done ourselves by shaving $3,000 of off $30,000 when we just finance it? If you’re willing to pay astronomical fees for the pleasure of immediate gratification, amortizing $3,000 does NOTHING to our monthly bill. A frugal person would take 3 years and save monthly as much as they would have paid out on their car payment with a little bonus savings here and there over time. In that short period of time they would accumulate enough cash that they could go into the car dealership and lay down a pile of $23,000 in cash and say they want to walk out with either their money or that $30,000 car. They’re going to walk out with the car because the dealer wants the instant gratification of the cash versus selling an amortized note at a discount.
Living a thrifty and frugal lifestyle is truly simple. Use it up. Wear it out. Make it Do. Do Without. Waste Not. These things lead us to not being left wanting when a crisis strikes our family. These two highly empowering tools not only give us the ability to build up our Standard of Living Insurance, they also bring an assured peace and allow us to live a truly abundant lifestyle where we are in control of our money instead being a slave to lenders.
A Prepper who successfully follows this principle for a few years will find themselves in a position where they are able to spend time not working without it affecting the family in an adverse manner.
Seek to be Independent