Prepping as a lifestyle
Article by Sage Shannon
In the outskirts of Oakland County Michigan 50-ish Cynthia, a self-proclaimed prepper and single empty-nester, makes preparing for the unknown a part of her life.
Her household includes herself and a dog and a cat, who earn their own keep she says.
Cynthia’s modest home has room for a small garden and has access to state land for recreation, foraging, fresh water, hunting and fishing. Still there is room for improvement as far as she is concerned.
“I’m planning to sell to this house and move to a smaller one,” Cynthia says. “I want a house with a larger lot and perhaps a little further out in the country. My goal is to live simply and be as self sufficient as possible.”
Prepping is part instinctual, part logical and partly out of necessity for her.
“My instincts are telling me that we will be facing tough economic conditions that will also create a lack of access to affordable quality food, health care, services and supplies in the future,” she continued.
Having lost a good-paying job and she now earns 30 percent less than she used to and has fewer benefits, and fewer perks. Part of the problem she believes is not been able to find a better job due to her age.
“But, even if I did find a better job, I’d still be a prepper,” she insists.
Economic collapse concerns are tantamount for Cynthia.
“Prices for everything are increasing, while my wages are not, she stated. “We are dependent on a global supply chain that can break at any time. I’m concerned about the rise of corporatism and the powerful influence that a few corporations and powerful individuals have on our government and lawmakers.”
In addition she explained the potential havoc that a Black Swan event, plague, natural disaster, blackouts/grid problems, severe weather and environmental man-made disasters could have on society.
“If something major happens, the majority is not prepared and even those who have ‘prepped’, will have a tough time,” she said. “The ‘zombies’ will be those who have not prepared and have no self-sufficiency skills.
Despite her skills she doesn’t consider herself marching in step with some of the prepper movement. Buying multiple guns, stockpiling ammo and buying gold is not her style.
“I’m more realistic and am ‘prepping’ to be able to live as self sufficiently as possible,” she said. “I don’t stockpile guns, gold or money, but instead keep a supply of useful items such as basic cooking supplies, basic hygiene and medical supplies.”
Other items she considers essential are non-electric tools, water containers, matches, oil lamps, candles, plastic buckets, gardening items, vintage cookware, cast-iron, canning supplies, books, supplies for making repairs and DIY books.
She also continues to acquire new skills.
“I’m learning how to be self sufficient, repurpose, grow as much of my own food as possible, use food as medicine, and break away from the consumerism addiction, Cynthia said. “I’m not only prepping for an emergency, but prepping as part of a lifestyle. I’m finding that this lifestyle is also healthier and more personally rewarding.”
Since she has to watch her money she said that prepping on a budget is learning to focus on buying only essentials and be disciplined.
“You need to change your paradigm away from consumerism and following trends, she stressed. “Buy what you need, not what you want. Reuse and re-purpose as much as you can.”
“Buy staples when they are on sale,” she added.
Don’t waste money stockpiling items you will never use she advised, unless you could trade them or sell them for at least what you paid.
Instead of planting flowers around your home in the summer she said to plant vegetables, herbs and perennials that are edible. Save seeds and swap extra veggies and perennials with friends.
She also said to think of your items as cash and don’t throw away anything or simply give it away without getting an equal exchange.
On her wish-list to buy new is some sort of energy backup system (wind or solar) and also a wood stove.
Some things she will buy used.
“I’m fortunate that in my area, there are a lot of garage sales and estates sales that have quality items. I’ll buy just about anything used, and actually prefer vintage items to new, Made in China poor-quality items.”
She has bought lightly worn shoes, boots, clothing, blankets and linens at garage sales and estate sales. She has scored some packages of unopened underwear and socks on occasion.
“When at estate sales, you can also score some deals on pantry items and cleaning supplies, so don’t hesitate to take a look. I’ve found unopened rolls of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, canned salmon, tea and bags of good coffee that I was able pick up very cheap.”
Prepping brings Cynthia a peace of mind that a Versace handbag could not.
Article by Sage Shannon. Sage Shannon lives on a couple of acres in Southern California with her husband, three dogs, ten hens and one happy rooster. She writes, gardens and loves to cook. A former journalist for a daily newspaper, Shannon considers prepping an highly underrated skill in today’s world.