May 24th, 2010
I love emails where readers share suggestions about how they’re adapting and planning. Here’s one such email:
I enjoyed your recent newsletter. Another skill is needle arts. I am an avid crocheter, and can knit if I have to. I can make clothing, dish/wash cloths, dish towels, and many, many other items with these skills. These items could be bartered with as well. I have a good supply of yarns and threads to crochet or knit with, as I’ve been collecting them for 30 years. This was on purpose, so if I couldn’t get them, I’d have a stash to work from. I also studied midwifery, and had all 6 of my babies at home with my husband being the midwife for the last one, who is now 19 years old. As part of my training, I studied reflexology, herbology, anatomy and physiology, and emergency delivery. My husband has worked as an alternative healer for many years, so these skills are very useful. We are in a rural area with many like minded people that are working as a community together, and will have each others backs in time of need. We have a community garden and green house, as well as each with our own gardens. We store sprouting seed, as it is a fast nutritious source of food. My sons and husband know how to hunt and trap, and we have an abundance of rabbits, so that is a backup if needed as well.
You are doing a great service with your newsletter, and am grateful a friend shared it with me!
Editor: Thanks Annie! Maybe other readers can write in with stories about their own hobbies. Here’s another letter with a question we’re getting a lot of:
I enjoy your information, and feel it all makes sense. We purchased a villa on the marina in Ixtapa, Mexico a few years ago. We have lived here in Alaska for 38 years, and needed a warm winter place for a couple months each year. We have discussed that if it all goes horribly wrong in the States, as I feel it will, then we’ll head to Mexico. The economy there is good, the people are great, the food is fresh and cheap, and the weather is always good! Mexico has good health care, which is much cheaper too. Insurance is a fraction of what we pay in the States. Gasoline, food, labor, building materials, etc. are very reasonable. And the violence is not a problem. There’s more violence in most major cities in the U.S. than in tourist areas of Mexico. Just thought you might want to know.
David & Dianne
Editor: David & Dianne, I think you’re on to something. Increasing numbers of Americans are going “offshore” for their 2nd homes, retreats, or even permanent residence. While there is nowhere on earth that is a perfect paradise since Adam and Eve were exiled from Eden, some foreign countries offer an attractive alternative to our increasingly police-state existence here at home. Watch the newsletter for upcoming specials.
My husband and I are trying to decide whether it’s finally time to replace our 16-year-old 4-door sedan with a used, mid-sized SUV, two or so years old.
On one hand, we’ve always believed that it’s always best to drive the car you have for as long as possible. We also believe that these days people should save every penny and avoid unnecessary expenses. (Besides the cash outlay, our insurance would increase substantially if we bought a newer car.) While my husband has stable employment today (health-care related), you never know. Finally, the possibility exists that future oil prices or other circumstances would leave few people on the road driving anything other than bikes, etc, so why use our nest egg to buy something that might be useless in the future?
On the other hand, I am concerned about the safety of our car, and there are signs that old Betsy is getting tired (although she only has 70,000 miles). I’m hesitant to take fun outings with my son, since I would hate to be stranded too far from home. We also wonder if we might need to sleep in our car one day, something we would not be able to do in our current car. Also, our young son is often squished in the back seat, so it would be nice to have a car he could get into and out of with more space. Finally, we think it might be a good time to buy used cars, if people are having a hard time making payments on their relatively new cars; maybe we could get a good deal.
Do you think it’s time to buy? Or should we wait as long as possible?
Thanks so much for your publication!
Editor: Charity, you’ve raised some great questions, and I don’t have a “silver bullet” answer, but I can give you some general advice. The best car for your family depends on your plans when things take a turn for the worse. Is your plan to “bug out” to a safe house or retreat where you’ll dig in for the long haul? If so, you need a vehicle that is suitable for hauling you and a lot of your stuff over an uncertain terrain. That might require a 4×4, or at least a SUV or truck. On the other hand, if you plan to remain in place, your transportation needs are almost irrelevant, and any investment you make in a new vehicle now is almost money down the drain.
Of course, we don’t know when and how things will finally reach the boiling point, and what that will mean in different locations. Some places, with easy access to domestic oil sources, may have plentiful and inexpensive gasoline while others are completely cut off. If you don’t have access to gasoline, your car is only worth where it will get you on one tank. In situations like this, I always remember the guidance “plan for the worst and hope for the best.” Make a decision that is good for your family in a crisis but also is practical today. Maybe that means a five-year-old vehicle instead of a two-year-old one, or maybe it means keeping the current vehicle and buying a beat up old truck so you can “bug out” in an emergency. I know one family that chose not to upgrade their family vehicle and instead purchased cross-country motorcycles for the family. The adult members of this family felt they were better served by having flexibility, mobility, speed and great gas mileage than one giant full-size SUV. I know that’s a vague answer, but under the circumstances, it’s the best I can do.
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