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By Kellene Bishop

Debt can weigh you down  Photo c/o usoge.gov

Debt can weigh you down Photo c/o usoge.gov

“I’ll start getting better prepared once I get out of debt.”  This statement makes me cringe, frankly. It’s a myth—a deceptive rationale—for SO many reasons. 

For starters there’s the misconception that being out of debt has “everything” to do with being better prepared. And yet there are countless aspects to preparedness that don’t require ANY money for success. Instead, they require an appropriate amount of willingness, a constant quest for knowledge, and a positive attitude. You can’t buy any of those things with money. In fact, I can’t think of a single time I’ve had to pay to go to the library and get books that educate me. I’ve also never had to pay for a CPR class or perusing the internet for additional information. Neither have I had to shell out a dime to a shrink to be better mentally prepared for a “what if” scenario. 

The other misconception about financial preparedness is that it’s a “top priority.” It isn’t. In fact, out of the 10 Keys to Preparedness, in order of priority, financial preparedness comes in at number 9. That’s right. There are 8 other more important aspects for you that will aid you in being better prepared for a disaster than having your mortgage and credit cards paid off. That’s not to say that getting out of debt isn’t important. But it’s not as important, for example, as making sure that you have food, water, shelter, and medical supplies in the event of a disaster. I assure you, your mortgage payment is the last thing on your mind if your child comes down with cholera, or the ground opens up all the way down your street due to an earthquake.

Overwhelming Temptation  Photo c/o southdacola.com

Debt Temptation Photo c/o southdacola.com

Also, as I’ve written about time and time again, it doesn’t always take money to increase your food, shelter, medical, and water supplies. There’s so much that’s simply given away at garage sales or by friends and family, and I can’t even begin to list all of the quality goods I’ve received for free or dirt cheap via coupons.

Another reason why financial preparedness mistakenly gets overrated is that folks tend to forget about the viable “fit hits the shan” scenario. One of the developing scenarios that I’m watching very closely is the possibility of an all out financial collapse—meaning that your money isn’t worth anything any more. And yet, if you had the necessary goods of sustenance in your home, regardless of what you paid for them, they will still be worth a great deal to you and your family. A case of tuna, regardless of whether you paid top dollar for it or got it for a steal will still give you 12 quality servings of protein in a pinch. I firmly believe 100% that there will come a time when a bucket of wheat is worth more than a bucket of gold. Why? Because currency will forever have its REAL place in the pecking order amidst a survival scenario—and that place is secondary to almost all others. You can’t feed your family on gold. You can’t even exchange gold for vital supplies if those supplies are limited in households across America. If you have a savings account plump full of money but no necessary supplies to survive an emergency it does you little good, right? What if there’s a serious power outage? How do you expect to access that hefty savings account, IRA, or checking account so that you can buy supplies? Oh, and let’s not forget about the fact that thousands of other people will have had that same idea just before you get to the store. (Going to the store at the first sign of trouble isn’t a plan. It’s a suicide wish.)

BXP27956

Just groceries or bargaining tools? Photo c/o motherjonesfoodpantry.com

When things go south, yes, some cash on hand will serve you well immediately—like in the first 24 hours if you’re lucky–but expect to see that acceptance quickly disintegrate into a non-currency environment. Commodities such as food, ammo, tents, diapers, etc. are what will be worthwhile. Having said that though, remember that being prepared has a great deal to do with being INDEPENDENT regardless of what comes your way. So, yes, being out of debt is a worthwhile goal for you to be focused on. Just don’t let the other aspects of preparedness suffer as a result. When compared with all else that’s more vital to your family’s survival, financial independence just doesn’t hold a candle to spiritual, mental, physical, medical, clothing/shelter, fuel, water, and food preparedness.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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Every once in a while it’s good to bring the “what if” scenarios a little closer to home. Sometimes an emergency doesn’t need to be brought on by Mother Nature, or a major financial collapse. Sometimes it can be brought to the forefront by a lack of common sense. So today I thought I’d share this clip with you regarding a very real, man-made water crisis in California. This is indeed a man-made disaster. But it is real nonetheless, with real consequences, dire in nature. It gives us just one more reason to remind us that we need to be prepared with appropriate stores of food, water, and financial strength. We also need to be more adept at recognizing the domino effect of situations. This particular water crisis in California actually affects the food supply of ALL Americans. And I’m certain that this type of stupidity is just the tip of the iceberg of what more can come. 

One final thought on this, I feel that the only anti-venom to such a scenario as this is for us to be prepared and to be more involved in what goes on around us. Where in our Constitution does it state that we are to protect the lives of wildlife at the risk of protecting our own? Where do we give Congress or anyone else the authority to put the life of a two inch fish over the strength of our commerce, our crops, and our livelihoods?

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

Food Storage.  It really doesn’t have to be complicated.

Medical Emergency Preparedness photo c/o ehow.com

Medical Emergency Preparedness photo c/o ehow.com

When it comes to emergency preparedness, there are actually 10 different components to consider, listed below in order of priority:

  1. Spiritual
  2. Mental
  3. Physical
  4. Medical
  5. Clothing/Shelter
  6. Water
  7. Food
  8. Fuel
  9. Financial
  10. Communication

empty-grocery-shelvesFood storage is only one part, and in order of priority would actually be “#7” out of those ten components.  What that means is there are a whole lot of other components that need attention more than your food storage in order for your food storage supplies to be usable and effective for you.  And yet when I mention “emergency preparedness” to folks, the first thing—and sometimes the ONLY thing that comes to their mind is food storage.  If your mind is fixated on all the obstacles of food storage, then of course it’s going to be overwhelming.  If you feel like you’ve got such a long ways to go yet to be even remotely “ready” then of course it’s going to feel overwhelming.  But just how much more of a burden do people create for themselves by trying to ignore it.  I assure you, if you think it’s tough doing food storage now, try doing it when there’s no food on the shelves, no money to exchange, no possibility of travel, and no way to prepare it.   That’s all you’ll be left with if you attempt to ignore or marginalize what may seem an “uncomfortable” or inconvenient activity.   But if you’re making progress on something that was previously uncomfortable, unknown, or inconvenient, then the feeling of stress and anxiety is eliminated.  You start thinking of what’s possible to accomplish in your preparation efforts.  If you continue in being overwhelmed, you’re likely arrive to a point of paralysis once you realize just how much more there is to preparedness besides food storage.  I assure you that such does not need to be the case.

preparedness-pro-iconWhen I teach my “UNDERwhelmed in Food Storage” class, my goal is to make food storage accumulation and preparation much less taxing on the attendees.  I desire to make it more of a “minor thought” instead of an overwhelming one, and thus free up time and resources to be spent ensuring your preparedness in the other categories.

Thus far I’ve shown you that food storage is cheap or free to accumulate in most instances, it’s easy to prepare, can still taste GREAT—so long as it’s a dish or food that you’re already familiar with—and finally, it’s even easy to prepare without electricity.  In fact, if you actually put into practice what I’ve taught you so far about alternative ways to prepare your foods, while initially you may feel out of your element, I’m certain that you will actually enjoy the alternative cooking recommendations.  In fact, the reasons I use a pressure cooker and a solar oven now in my everyday life is because it takes so much stress and time off my plate as I work from home and teach a bazillion classes.  Additionally it delivers a superior taste, texture and nutrition level than I would experience otherwise.

mcdonalds-angus-burgersI think a lot of folks are overwhelmed simply because they don’t have the mental preparation necessary to succeed in their preparation efforts.  Let me give you an example.  What if you saw that your beef prices just raised to $12/pound and were of a lesser quality that you were accustomed to.  That would stress you out, right?  Whereas if you were able to obtain your desired beef for less a tenth of that price, and be assured that it was a quality product, your stress would be alleviated substantially, right?  Well, guess what?  If you go to McDonald’s right now, you can order a “1/3 pound Angus Beef Burger” for only $3.99.  Let’s see.  That makes that beef about $12 a pound.  You also have some serious nutritional concerns with such a burger due to the excess amounts of salt added to it, as well as McDonald’s reputation for using less-than-stellar grade beef.  So, my question is, when you pass that marquis outside of McDonald’s, do you feel a bit of anxiety to think that a “fast food joint” is selling beef for $12 a pound?!  Of course not.  But guess why that is the case?  Because you simply need a little more strengthening in your mental preparedness category.  Let’s explore this thought further. 

Look at it this way, if I was selling a product to you that was cheap or free, easy to use, safe, easily accessible, and it would save your family’s life, you would embrace it in a heartbeat, right?  Well, that’s exactly what food storage is.  The only reason why we think otherwise is because we’ve heard so much to the contrary for so long.  So really, why be overwhelmed with it? 

Now, contrast that with overly expensive, overly complicated, questionable quality and nutrition, inaccessible—especially during an emergency—and definitely NOT lifesaving for your family.  Just how fast would you embrace that?

Keep your food storage as simple as you need it to be.  Increase your knowledge and your food “repertoire” as you desire and in a pace you’re comfortable with.

Keep it as affordable as possible.

Keep it as nutritious as possible.

And keep on storing it.

If you do, you’ll find that “overwhelmed” is quickly replaced by peace and comfort.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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I don’t usually post on Saturdays, but an important issue came up this morning.  In the name of financial preparedness, I’m sharing it with you as I believe it’s vital to those who are trying to make the best financial decisions to be better prepared.

chase-credit-cardChase Bank has just informed hundreds of thousands of card holders who were beguiled with a “low, low interest rate for the life of the balance of your credit card” deal that their minimum payment is going up.

As you know, a bill was recently passed which forbids credit card companies from increasing your RATE.  But there is nothing that says they can’t increase your minimum payment.  Well, get this.  My sister’s minimum payment is more than doubling!  It went from $500 a month to $1300 a month!  BUT… Chase Bank is telling their customers that if they want the low minimum payment they are welcome to apply for a higher interest rate card

It’s understandable why a lot of people are incensed by this.  It’s a mockery of the bill that was passed and it’s an unfair punishment in the name of greed against all of the credit-worthy customers who qualified for this excellent low rate in the first place.

May I suggest that you not only get rid of your Chase Bank credit cards, but to get rid of your personal and business checking accounts there too.  As the song goes “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

cutting-couponsI can’t think of a single person I know who wouldn’t love more sanity and peace in their life.  But I suspect that very few of them would think of cutting coupons as a source of that sanity and peace, right?

Last Sunday at church, a guy gave a lesson to the whole congregation on financial preparedness and being financially prudent regardless of whether you’re struggling or not.  His advice was timely and right on.  But today… I saw his wife in the grocery store behind me lugging around three of her four children.  Now since I don’t have this experience when I go to the grocery store, I’m probably not the most sensitive as to what they were going through in this moment.  So I asked her as she was putting groceries on the conveyor belt, “You’re not paying too much for those groceries, are you?”  She stated that that the cereal she had just put up there was “only $2”, etc.  I gave her a brief example of what cutting coupons could do, namely make her cereal that was sitting there on the belt only 50 cents.  I even had a coupon for her handy that I was willing to give her so that she could do this.  But alas, she told me “I don’t even have the time to think about those kinds of things.”  

This isn’t about trying to get a woman to switch from her favored “Cocoa-Puffs” to generic rice puffs.  This is about saving substantial amounts of money on what folks are already buying by cutting coupons. 

*Heavy Sigh.* One word: disappointing.  I’m certain that with her family size of 6 that she could save at LEAST $3,000 right off of her food budget every year!  Can you imagine what her husband, who’s an investor, could do with that extra $3,000?  Do you realize that I’ve spoken with countless household heads that have reduced their grocery budgets for their large families down to only $100 a MONTH!?!  Just from cutting coupons and using some type of online service to help them know where to best use these coupons.

Cutting coupons literally brings you sanity and peace.  I don’t cut coupons because I’m cheap.  I cut them because I’m smart… and patriotic.  More about that in a moment.

Photo by Pat Ramsey

Photo by Pat Ramsey

In honor of “National Donut Day” I watched hundreds of cars stand in line at the drive thru at Krispy Kreme last Friday.  Gasoline wasting away.  Time being sucked up, all for a free piece of sugar and dough.  Yet some say they don’t have time to SAVE precious money and to provide food storage for their home?  Folks don’t have time to literally save thousands of dollars a year?  If you don’t have time to save thousands of dollars a year, you better be making millions of dollars, because that’s the only way that kind of math really works out.  PUH-LEEZE.  It’s FREE food, folks.  It’s FREE food storage.  There’s not a billionaire I know that will pass up free food because they understand the value of lifesaving commodities.  How do you think they got to be so wealthy in the first place?

“I guaran-dang-tee you” that if you don’t have time for emergency preparedness now, you certainly won’t have time for it when everything hits the fan.

I’m really not being judgmental here.  I’m trying to point out that for so many people something so important is usually off of their radar.  The ironic thing is that it’s usually not a part of their playbook for the very reasons that it SHOULD be—the kids.  Yes, the kids in our life take up a lot of time and focus.  But when the soccer games and the dance lessons are cancelled because of an EMP, earthquake, or financial collapse, those distractions won’t seem very important and you’ll be kicking yourself for not having the focus and foresight.  Worse, because you didn’t prepare properly you may very well BECOME one of the bad guys, desperate to do anything you can to save your family.  Food for thought.

In addition, if more people were to implement the method of cutting coupons to save money on what they are already buying, there would not be a barren food bank in America!  Additionally, you can donate your excess coupons to military commissaries overseas.  Military commissaries will a will accept manufacturer’s coupons for up to six months after the expiration date.  So if you don’t use your coupons, simply send them on the collection organizations and they will help the military families serving overseas.  There are quite a few organizations you can hook up with to do this.  Simply by going to www.ocpnet.org you can learn how to “adopt” a military base and how to mail coupons to that base.  I also have a contact here in Utah for this as well: Julie Young of Brigham City, Utah will accept your coupons, categorize them, and send them on to the military.  She currently sends coupons to London, Guam, Iraq and Germany.

cutting-coupons-military-familiesMs. Young is also looking for more coupons to send to stateside military families, who need current coupons, ideally those that will not expire for several months.  To contact Young, you can e-mail her at coppertop@favorites.com or call her answering service at 435-730-4280. 

There’s a surprising need among military families actually, especially those with little babies and small children that need diapers and formula, but can’t afford to buy them.  Meat, detergents, milk, juices, canned vegetables and fruits are the most expensive items.  Any coupons in those categories are the most requested by my military wives. 

Cutting coupons not only can save your family a significant amount of money while stocking your food storage shelves, but it can also be a very patriotic act as well!  So, start cutting your coupons.  The sanity and peace can literally be worth the life of your family.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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