Whilst Daves Travel Pages is mainly a travel blog, reflecting both my interests in travel and cycling, I do occasionally write about other things, and this is one of those – Is prepping such a dumb idea? This is likely to be a somewhat rambling piece of writing, linking together many different subjects, so please be patient!
So, whats it all about then? Well, perhaps the most important thing to happen so far in 2013, is the economic turmoil in Cyprus. Although it has been in the media a lot in recent days, I honestly think that most people have become so numb to the seemingly neverending Euro-crisis that they don't realise the significance of it, or just how easily events in Cyprus could be replicated in their own country. Watching it play out made me realise you simply can't take anything for granted nowadays.
How the Cyprus crisis came about is probably beyond the scope of what I can write about (although in my opinion, the whole banking system is just based on bullshit!), however, what is important here, is the last week or so before a deal came about to “solve” it. Basically, it was announced that all depositors would lose a percentage of their savings, with small depositors losing around 5% and larger depositors losing around 10%. This, quite naturally, caused outrage, and led to queues outside of ATM machines, and the banks themselves closing. The significance of this move was huge. Firstly, an unelected group of people decided to take away the money of people who had placed their cash in banks for security, and secondly, access to this money was cut off. With a real risk of civil turmoil (and the fact that taking away money from those with savings under 100,000 Euros was illegal under Euro law – whatever that is), a compromise deal had to be reached. This deal was in fact even more astounding than the first one – Small depositors would be protected, but savers with over 100,000 Euro's in certain banks could lose up to an incredible 40% of their money!!
The Cyprus crisis – Is prepping such a dumb idea?
Now, just take a step back and think about that, and just how outrageous that is. You could be the richest person in the world, but it doesn't mean a thing unless you can actually get to your money. If the banks are shut, and the ATM machines don't have cash in them, what are you going to do? This isn't a hypothetical situation – This is reality for the people of Cyprus. Even if the small depositors are now protected, the banks have been closed for 10 days. Just imagine that, 10 days without being able to get at your money in any significant amounts. Ten days of not being able to use cards from certain banks.
I could go into more detail about the Cyprus crisis, but I won't, as I want to get to the main subject of this article, which is – Is prepping such a dumb idea?
I know what you are thinking. Prepping is for Doomsday nut cases who keep predicting the end of the world. Well, I am not one of those, so chillax! What I am though, is quite a practical person. Events like this make you see things in a different light, and perhaps like i did, you should look at things as though you were in that situation yourself. (By the way, the following is equally applicable to those people in the north of the UK who have just experienced power cuts and being cut off from major towns by heavy snow – The principle still applies).
The first thing i did, was take a look in my wallet – I had about thirty quid in there. It was after a weekend, so i hadn't been back to the bank yet. Thirty quid is fine when you can get to an ATM machine any time, but it doesn't do a great deal if the banks are closed for ten days. The second thing i did, was take a look in my food cupboards. I probably had enough in there for about two weeks, which on the whole, was not bad. I tend to buy a lot of rice and pasta in bulk bags, so i've always got food to hand.
How many people live from week to week though? How many people are broke the last few days before pay day, or their kitchens have virtually no food in them? Prepping isn't just about preparing for an emergency such as heavy snow, or economic turmoil, its also about preparing for the unexpected such as being ill for a week, or losing a job. Prepping doesn't mean spending extra money, in fact, it can be a means of saving money as well.
Is prepping such a dumb idea? – A cyclist braving the snow
This is where this rambling article now links to one of my other popular themes – How to save money. One of the reasons that prepping isn't such a dumb idea, is that it can also be a way of beating inflation. What? I hear you ask. Its quite simple really – If you look at the supermarkets, they will run regular offers where items are reduced in price or have multi buy deals. Not only does this present a great way to prep by stocking up, but it also gives a chance to invest your money in products. Prices of things are not going to go down – Just look at the price of coffee today as compared to five years ago. By bulk buying, you are preparing for emergencies as well as getting a better return on your money. In fact, if grocery inflation is rising by 5% a year, and you would only get 3% interest in a bank (which may or may not take your money away from you at a whim if you live in Cyprus!), then you are better off investing it in things you will use over the course of time – razor blades, baked beans, coffee etc etc. Don't laugh – Think through what I am saying.
So, whats the point of this article? Good question! Hopefully though, I have opened up some different ways of thinking. Certainly, I will be aiming to keep upwards of two months of food to hand at any one time, as well keeping more money readily available. Not only will this ensure that should some sort of emergency happen such as losing my job or becoming to sick to work I will have food to eat, but it will also mean that over the course of a year, if i choose my purchases wisely, my overall food shopping big will be reduced.
Is prepping such a dumb idea? I think not, but I am always open to your thoughts, so leave a comment!