As Preppers There Are Some Things You Cannot Have Too Much Of
It’s unfortunate, but most of us have limited finances, space and time when it comes to getting prepared. The few minutes daydreaming about an arsenal in the basement, with tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition can be a brief reprise from the humdrum of the day, but it is only a daydream.
It is nice to fantasize about opening the door to an underground bunker to find rows of shelving weighted down with food, blankets, medical supplies, protective suits and masks and full water barrels by the hundreds lining the walls. In your mind and the mind of most people you cannot have too much when it comes to prepping, but again space is limited, and money is always in short supply and time, there is never enough time.
What Can Be Done
In reality if you do not have it, cannot make it, or trade for it during a crisis then you will have to survive without it, if you can. This means you not only need a supply on hand, you need the ability to produce life essentials or be able to barter for them.
Skills will be in demand during a crisis so do an assessment of what skills you have that can be used in trade. Everyone has skills, and it is never too late to learn some more.
1.) Learn how to make gunpowder it is not that difficult, but getting the raw materials gathered up and stored can be a problem. The ingredients are common knowledge, sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate (saltpeter). The concept is simple you have two fuels (sulfur, charcoal) and an oxidizer (potassium nitrate). The rest will be left up to you however. Black powder is stable and it has a high flash point over 800° F, so it can be stored and transported safely if certain relatively simple precautions are taken.
If you know how to make it and can find the ingredients you have a marketable skill. Someone else may have a bench loader, spent brass, primers and so on so, but he or she cannot make black powder for their propellant, and so they may need your skill and materials and would be willing to barter.
2.) Learn how to distill grains and fruits to make alcohol. Alcohol will be in demand especially certain kinds of alcohol for first aid/medical applications. Again the process is not difficult to understand but it does require skill and materials. Copper tubing, yeasts, grains, fruits and so on but if you have the skill and certain materials you can come together with others that have a piece of this or a bushel of that. You cannot do it all on your own but collectively anything is possible during a crisis.
3.) Learn basic firearms repair (gunsmith) and start gathering parts for firearms that could be used. Parts for firearms will be a barter item, so do not discard anything, because someone may need the parts and would be willing to trade.
4.) Sewing skills will be in demand at some point and while it may not be a lucrative endeavor you may be able to use those skills to barter for small items. If you can make clothes then that is a more advanced skill that would be more marketable during a crisis.
5.) Knowing how to raise livestock and foods of course, will be needed if the crisis is an extended one. This takes knowledge and hands on experience. Simply gathering up the supplies is not enough. To be successful you would need practical experience behind you.
Hand tools will be in great demand such as saws, hammers and axes just to name a few. You will need tools for your own and some that could be used for barter. You can gather up ax and hammer heads, and learn how to sharpen saw blades and ax heads while you are at it as well.
As you have already figured out you cannot store enough food for an indefinite period, so you need seeds, rifles for hunting, traps, fishing gear and the tools for butchering and the skills to preserve meats and vegetables.
Hunting, fishing, and trapping may be productive in the short-term but as time passes more and more people with little experience will be out tramping through the woods, and polluting creeks and ponds, so for long-term survival you would need a sustainable and renewable source.
You can raise your own fish and vegetables through aquaponics, which is a system that combines raising produce with raising marine life to create a self-sustaining and renewable system. Of course you need the room to do this, and it should be done so that not everyone knows about it. It can be done in an enclosure with artificial lighting or in a green house. The space used would be relative to the yields, so the bigger the space the bigger the harvest.
Before bartering would become common the crisis would have to have been ongoing for some time. Everyone will need the basics such as food, water, and medical supplies and as time goes on they will want other items as well, such as tobacco, alcohol, baby items, toys, reading materials, lighters, and seasonal clothing.
There are literally hundreds of items that may be in demand during a crisis, do not limit yourself, virtually anything would have some value.
A cup of sugar, a pound of flour, a packet of yeast, and some baking soda/powder will be more valuable than a wallet or purse stuffed with dollar bills.
Salt, sugar, pepper, honey, and cooking oils for example, will be the new dollar bills and pocket change. You would need to gather things like these now, just as you put all of your spare pocket change in a jar until you get enough to cash in.
The biggest problem is that supplies run out, and if you do not have a system in place well before supplies run out you are in trouble. You have to begin thinking long-term. Six months worth of food supplies is not much when you consider it would take longer than six months for any garden to produce if it is not already established. You cannot just sow seeds in the ground and expect an abundant harvest before your food stockpile is depleted.