How to Prepare for Difficult Times in Life

How to Prepare for Difficult Times in Life

Life doesn’t come with any guarantees of security.  While we shouldn’t allow fear to dictate our lives, we should also know how to prepare for difficult times in life, should they arise.

If history is any indicator (and it is), difficult times will visit our lifetimes at some point and it pays big dividends to be prepared.

It’s naive to think that you’ll never lose your job, have a sick child, experience a fire or natural disaster, go through a divorce, experience a long bout with depression or even the death of a loved one.

Chances are good that you’ll experience many of these things and more in life!

I’m not speaking of the unlucky or under-priviledged in society, I’m talking about everyone!

Life happens.

How can you prepare for difficult times in life?

Frugal Living

Frugal living is by far the single most effective way to not only prepare for difficult times in life, but frugal living creates a more enjoyable life experience overall.

Why is this?

Because when you live within your means and practice contentment, you will almost certainly be assured of a more joyful and meaningful life!

Who wants to live their lives in financial dire straits when you could have just a little less and be happy?

Living within, or better yet, living below your means, allows for financial margin.

Financial margin, otherwise know as “disposable income” or monies that you don’t need to spend, means that you’ll be able to save for life’s unexpected expenses.

Margin also means that you’ll be able to pay cash for what you need and not fall  into the trap of having to finance your purchases.

Living a frugal lifestyle makes sense in so many ways!

If you’re living “high on the hog” and suddenly lose your income, you’re going to fall a lot further than someone who already knows how to live with less…

and is happy that way!

50 Frugal Living Tips to Save Money Now

 

Create Multiple Sources of Income

Coined as the “side hustle”, over 40% of Americans are earning income outside of their primary way of making a living.

And why not?

Multiple streams of income gives you a more financially secure life, allowing for more disposable income to pay down debt and save!

If you aren’t sure where to begin with ideas for a side hustle, I highly recommend Side Hustle Nation.

86 Ways to Make Income from Your Small Farm

window herb garden

Increase Your Personal Sustainability Factor

Instead of being completely dependent on the “just-in-time” grocery grid, why not start to provide for some of your own needs?

This involves transitioning our thinking from being “consumers” to being “producers”.

Building your personal skill set will reap adundant rewards as you learn how to do and make things for yourself and your family.

Doing for yourself keeps more money in your pocket, but also provides you with a skill to barter or trade with, should you need the money.

 

  • *Start with small things, like growing some culinary herbs in a corner of your yard or in your window!
  • *Maybe start your first vegetable garden this year!  (Free eBook to help you get started!)

13 Fast Growing Vegetables for Summer

*Learn how to make a simple bread recipe for your family!

*Learn how to sew, knit or crochet and make something that you can sell or use in your home!

How to Make Easy Cloth Napkins (Never buy paper napkins again!)

How to Make DIY Laundry Detergent and Pre-Treat (Never buy store detergent again!)

 

Learn How to Harvest and Purify Rainwater

You can only live for three days without water!

Insuring your supply of safe drinking water needs to be a top priority when preparing for difficult times.

Perhaps you have municipal water in your area.

Or you might have a well on your property.

However, it’s wise to not get too comfortable with your current water supply.

Wells dry up, water mains break and a grid-down situation could render your well pump useless.

Knowing how to collect rainwater is the first skill to learn.

Everyone home is different, but most homes have some sort of downspout system to tap from.

Rain barrels and conversion kits are readily available at your local hardware store or Amazon.


Purifying water is a topic within itself, however, understanding the basics of water purification and knowing how to check your water supply for impurities is critical!

For municipal water, we keep a Reverse Osmosis system under our kitchen sink.  

I would either use an RO or a Berkey for everyday water purification, I keep both.

For really dirty water from unknown sources, this video shows the method I would use to purify it.

How to Prepare Your Family for a Food Shortage

person holding asparagus from the garden

Grow Food with Focus on Perennials

There’s never been a better time to start a vegetable garden, folks!

It really doesn’t matter where you live, there is some way available to become a gardener!

Make it a priority!

Gardening takes time out of your life everyday, but it’s so worth it!

Gardening serves as some of my best therapy (besides my honeybees!)

For you gardening newbies, the difference between an “annual” and a “perennial” is simply that an “annual” plant will produce only for one year.

“Perennials” come back year after year!

Well, duh, perennials sound like the better investment of time, wouldn’t you agree???

Best Edible Perennials for the Lazy Gardener

Free eBook “How to Start Your First Garden”

However, many of our garden favorites are annuals, like tomatoes and peppers.

Grow a combination of perennials and annuals!

My gardening strategy is to plant and maintain as many edible perennials as I can, and then the annuals are my second priority.

That way, regardless of what life brings i.e. babies, knee surgery, death in the family, etc.,  I will still be able to depend on my perennials to bear food.

Those years when life and the weather cooperate are the best times to preserve as much food as you possibly can!

 

frozen berries

Learn How to Can and Freeze Food

Here’s the bottom line.

You can grow enough food to feed a city, but if you don’t know how to preserve it, that food will spoil in a matter of a few days and won’t do you any good at all.

Food preservation methods have been around since the beginning of time.

The methods we use most in this culture are canning, freezing, fermenting and dehydrating.

I strongly suggest that you learn as many food preservation skills as you can!

Having the knowledge and skill to preserve food allows you to:

  • Take advantage of sale or clearance foods at the grocery or farmer’s market.
  • Preserve all of the food that you grow and forage for!
  • Take advantage of your neighbor’s bumper crop!

If you know someone personally who is big into food preservation, my suggestion is to become fast friends with them!

I’ve taught a lot of people how to can and preserve food!

My only “fee” is that you help through the process and understand that I am “working”, not “socializing”.

Canning food is serious business during the summer, especially when the harvest is coming in fast.

But I can food ALL year round!

The winter months can be a great time to can meat and bone broth, whether you raise your own, buy from a farmer or just catch it on sale at the store.

Always adhere to the guidelines of food preservation and avoid any “new fangled” methods, like canning in the dishwasher. :0

Canning Tomatoes for Beginners

Canning Tomatoes for Beginners

Frugal Canning: Does Canning Food Really Save You Money?

How to Can Dry Beans

mylar bags

Learn How to Store Food Long-Term

 

Canning and freezing food is wonderful, but it will only get you so far.

Most frozen foods are best eaten within 6-12 months.

Canned foods will keep for one year or up to 10 years, depending on many factors.

But did you know that you can store food for up to 30+ years using mylar bags?

If your plan is to be prepared for difficult times ahead, you’ll want to learn how to properly store food for the long term.

Long-term food storage us easier than you might think!

How to Use Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers for Long-Term Food Storage

 

over the counter meds

 

Stock Over-the-Counter Meds and First-Aid Supplies

Having a good supply of common OTC meds and first-aid supplies can make the difference between life and death of a loved one.

Depending upon the structure of your family, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of supplies on hand.

Here’s a great list to get you started!

 

 

Menses happens regardless of what else is going on in life.

It makes sense to not only have plenty of pads and tampons available (it’s not like they ever go bad!) but to also look for alternative ways of dealing with menstruation.

The Diva Cup as well as cloth sanitary napkins are a good zero-waste alternatives and should be considered.

Practice Non-Electric Living

You know that feeling of dread that comes over you when the power goes out?

It doesn’t have to be that way, you know.

It makes good sense to incorporate “off-grid” options for light, heat and electricity throughout your home, as finances allow.

 

Off-Grid Lighting

A plethora of lighting choices exist from emergency candles to battery-operated lanterns to oil lamps that are reasonably priced, for the most part.

I like to use candles in the evening to create a warm and cozy environment, but I also use them so that I stay in the habit of using them.

If you are lucky enough to have a wood-burning fireplace or stove in your home, you should keep it maintained and get comfortable using it.

Keep a cord or two of wood around, even if you don’t use your wood heat consistently.

The outdoor wood-burning furnace fascinates me and could be a good option for some.

Without wood heat, the options for off-grid heat are quite limited.

There are propane and kerosene heaters for indoor use, but you have to be mindful of the fumes.

We have a Mr. Heater with extra propane tanks as one of our back-up options.

Off-Grid Power

Everything from solar panels to battery packs to generators (this is the one I own) are available to supply power for your home.

The effectiveness of off-grid power options will depend upon what part of the country you live in.

Solar panels create renewable energy and perform best in states that have a great deal of sunshine, all year long.

Here in Ohio, winter is very cloudy and dreary.  I think I read that Ohio gets about 165 sunny days a year.  Solar panels aren’t the best option for me, considering the price of the panels and power-bank.

However, if I lived in Florida or Arizona, I would have solar panels lining my roof top for sure!

In our area, our hybrid generator is the best choice for us, although I would totally prefer a renewable option.

We supplement with 3 portable power stations as well.

 

old habits, new habits

 

Stay Healthy and Deal with Known Conditions

Life is always more difficult with unresolved health conditions.

Some conditions are genetic and we can only do our best to manage them.

Other conditions are due to our poor lifestyle choices, to which I highly encourage you to get serious about correcting.

Habits that contribute to deteriorating health i.e. smoking, drinking, vaping, over-eating, etc. will catch up with you at the worst times.

Need I mention that all of these bad habits require monies that could be used for food, power and water in a crisis situation.

Would you want to go through withdrawals during a crisis?

The only things we can control in this world is ourselves, so we all need to be as healthy as our bodies and genetics will allow!

 

How to Prepare for Difficult Times in Life

Home Defense

Finally, we all have the right to defend ourselves in our homes.

What that looks like for you is probably different than what protection looks like for your neighbor.

However, deciding what type of home defense you want to incorporate shouldn’t be done in a crisis situation.

Home protection is part of a prepared lifestyle.

Talk as a family about the best way to protect and defend your home and family.

Check out The Well-Armed Woman website!

 

To conclude, I suggest that you sit down with your spouse and take inventory of what you have and what you need to work on.  The time to get prepared is today.

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