Trade-Offs That Matter

A couple of years ago, when both the national plus world economies seemed unstable, my husband and I began casually prepping. It wasn’t much. We picked up a few extra items here and there and stored all of them away, just in case.

I also decided which i was too dependent on the amusement of modern life. If I needed drinking water or electricity I could just convert a handle or flip a switch. It was a simple matter to run to the store to pick up any food or other items I needed. But at some point I asked me personally what I’d do in the event all those conveniences were no longer available. It had been a scary conversation, to say the least.

Therefore , along with storing a little bit of food away, I decided to learn some brand new skills. Not the general baking plus sewing skills that I already acquired. But I wanted to learn how to make items that I’d always purchased in the past. We began using goat milk (we have goats) and making my very own soap. I also used goat milk to make yogurt and cheese. I acquired hold of some vanilla beans plus made my own vanilla. Then I made the decision I should grow my own vanilla. I acquired fruit from the store and discovered how to do canning. And then We decided to start growing my own fresh fruit. And on it went.

It was an excellent exercise, but the biggest thing I actually learned was that there is a trade-off for almost everything. For example , alternatives to paper-towels and toilet paper will most likely need water and soap.
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Water is easy if everything is up and working. But if the water system goes down, exactly where will I get water? I could get a well. But that takes money and time, and then I’ll need to hand have all that water. And making my very own soap? I’ll need to have lye and lard, along with various types of oils available. And I need heat. So most I will have accomplished is that Items have substituted store-bought soap for store-bought lye, oils and lard, and electricity. The amount of labor required for making my own lye is too huge, and I would need to get the wood to obtain. The same is true for the oils as well as the lard. By the time I’m done, a single bar of soap will have cost me a fortune in materials and labour.

Growing fruit trees isn’t tough, but it requires that I get water and fertilizer in place of paying the particular grocery store for the finished product. In the long run it will probably be cheaper, but it certainly won’t be free. One way or another, it’s going to require me to pay to get that fruit. I either pay the store, or I spend on water and fertilizer, and I place in some effort.

The moral of the story is that it is possible to become more self-sufficient, but it’s still going to price us one way or another. There will always be some sort of trade-off. I can substitute solar regarding electricity, for example , but I need the particular stuff that goes with it, such as sections, wire, inverter, charge controller and batteries. And those things won’t final forever, so I must consider replacement value. I can have a well dug, but it means a lot of hand transporting of water, unless I’m going to spend the money on having it routed into the house. Then I must have water tested periodically. And consider foods, such as meat. It’s possible to get away from buying store-bought meat in order to raise my own, but instead of paying the food store, I pay for feed and healthcare, along with barns, butchering, and all the equipment that’s needed. It’s better for me, certainly. But it’s not free.

It’s always good to be more self-sufficient, but it will still cost something. I possibly buy it, grow it, develop it, or trade for it. An example is sugar. I must either purchase it or trade with someone for it, or live without this. Otherwise, I have no way to creating enough sugar on my little piece of property. Or hay, for instance. My goats and horses need hay. I don’t have enough real estate to grow it. So I must discover someone who does. I either business for the meat, or I trade for the items to grow the meat myself. Either way, I pay for that meat.

Nearly everything convenient has a cost or labor-intensive trade-off. I must understand what those trade-offs are, and make a decision on what’s most important. A good way to start is by paying attention to every thing I use and do throughout the day. As I discover something, such as needing a way to charge my electronic devices, I can look around for an alternative, such as a solar charger. I then can weigh the costs and benefits and decide which way is best. A few things aren’t worth it. For example , I actually find that it’s just plain cheaper to buy vanilla from the store. But if items go sideways, I at least understand how it’s made. The same could be stated for other types of food. It may be cheaper right now to just buy this. But it’s not a bad idea to know how you can do it myself, and know what kind of equipment or supplies are needed to be able to accomplish the task.

It’s a wonder our forefathers accomplished as much as they did, knowing now how much labor is involved with manually doing some things we have machines for these days. They spent hours on washing, cooking and creating because they had to first grow plus develop their resources, and then collect them by hand before any work could start. And though it’s a large amount of work, I highly recommend that people experience this exercise. Why? First, much more them appreciate our modern opportunities. But second, and more importantly, it will help them think through all the trade-offs which will be required. They can then make a lot more informed decisions on what things are important and what, ultimately, can be cast to the wayside.

We can’t live without the basics of food, water, clothes and shelter. But if I can no longer charge my cell phone? I can live without that. It’s critical which i focus on the trade-offs that really issue. Then I’ll be prepared with the supplies and time for the important things to ensure that I can not only survive, but thrive through the hard times.