Removing Debt: Encouraging Future Survival & Independent Discipline

Guest Author: Gale Newell

Disaster can strike at any time and in any corner of the world. If you are a person that prepares for your future and independent survival, it is imperative to remove yourself from debt. Debt is the ankle chain that keeps you locked down. reduce+debt+to+prepare+moreIt keeps you from acquiring resources and limits your ability to prepare for survival. I once had large sums of debt and know the consequences it can have on your ability to build stores and resources.  Luckily, I have also had the experience of fighting and paying off debt. It’s a tough battle, but makes prepping all that much sweeter. I have found the freedom and comfort that comes from being able to keep your own—hard earned— money.

Erasing or eliminating debt encourages future survival and independent discipline. Both are required if you want to have a better life.

Future Survival

If a hurricane or SHTF hits, your future survival depends upon your ability to have resources and a sufficient survival education. Being debt free makes it easier for you to have both. When you remove financial restrictions in your life, you are allowed to buy emergency supplies, food stores and other miscellaneous supplies that you can use now and for later.


It also allows you to free your mind psychologically from the anxiety that comes from figuring out how you are going to make it month to month. Imagine for a second that you receive your next paycheck and are allowed to keep it all.  It’s nice to be able to purchase the supplies you need for the future and have money for entertainment. When you have debt, this reality becomes obsolete.

Sure, you can probably purchase a few prepping items here and there, but true financial freedom is acquired when you tell your money where you want it to go and not the other way around. Your ability to survive in the future relies on it. If you aren’t sure where to start with getting out of debt, here are two good places.  The first place to start (if you don’t have too much debt) is with a structured budget. The budget should allocate a good portion on money every month to pay off debt. Another option, (if you have a lot of debt) is to consider other resources, such as consolidating you debt or negotiating your debt.

Independent Discipline

Debt has a way of sneaking in and taking over before you realize how bad things are. Far too often we aren’t even aware of the consequences it has on our ability to survive and prep for the future.  When you owe someone or some company, you are not practicing the independent discipline that is a cornerstone of being a prepper. Debt can enslave you. It severely limits how how you spend your money and can drain you of energy.  Sometimes, it even dictates how you value yourself.

Now is the time to develop the discipline you’ll need as a prepper. Avoid needless debt at any cost, but if you are already in debt then work hard to pay it off. Remember, don’t take on debt to prep, but get rid of debt to prep.  It takes discipline to prepare for the future and it will take discipline to navigate any forthcoming SHTF, so why not carry this same discipline over to your finances. Erase your debt and use your money for the truly important things in life, such as your family and preparing for the future.


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25 Critical Facts About This Ebola Outbreak That Every American Needs To Know

This is a very eye opening article. Makes you wonder why the ‘mainstream media’ isn’t telling us the complete story… [source]


(by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse)

What would a global pandemic look like for a disease that has no cure and that kills more than half of the people that it infects? Let’s hope that we don’t get to find out, but what we do know is that more than 100 health workers that were on the front lines of fighting this disease have ended up getting it themselves. The top health officials in the entire world are sounding the alarm and the phrase “out of control” is constantly being thrown around by professionals with decades of experience. So should average Americans be concerned about Ebola? If so, how bad could an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. potentially become?

The following are 25 critical facts about this Ebola outbreak that every American needs to know…

#1 As the chart below demonstrates, the spread of Ebola is starting to become exponential…

#2 This is already the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history by far.

#3 The head of the World Health Organization says that this outbreak “is moving faster than our efforts to control it”.

#4 The head of Doctors Without Borders says that this outbreak is “out of control”.

#5 So far, more than 100 health workers that were on the front lines fighting the virus have ended up contracting Ebola themselves. This is happening despite the fact that they go to extraordinary lengths to keep from getting the disease.

#6 There is no cure for Ebola.

#7 The death rate for this current Ebola outbreak is over 50 percent, and experts say that it can kill “up to 90% of those infected”.

#8 The incubation rate for Ebola ranges from two days to 21 days. Therefore, someone can be carrying it around for up to three weeks without even knowing it.

#9 For the first time ever, human Ebola patients are being brought to the United States. And as Paul Craig Roberts so aptly put it the other day, all it would take is “one cough, one sneeze, one drop of saliva, and the virus is loose”.

#10 This has already potentially happened in the United Kingdom. A woman reportedly collapsed and later died on Saturday after she got off of a flight from Sierra Leone at Gatwick Airport.

#11 A study conducted in 2012 proved that Ebola could be transmitted between pigs and monkeys that were in separate cages and that never made physical contact.

#12 This is a new strain of Ebola, so what we know about other strains of Ebola may not necessarily apply to this strain of Ebola.

#13 Barack Obama has just signed an executive order that gives the federal government the power to apprehend and detain Americans that show symptoms of “diseases that are associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, are capable of being transmitted from person to person, and that either are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic, or, upon infection, are highly likely to cause mortality or serious morbidity if not properly controlled.”

#14 And as I noted the other day, federal law already permits “the apprehension and examination of any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease”.

#15 According to the CDC, there are 20 quarantine centers around the country that are prepared to potentially receive Ebola patients…
#16 The CDC has set up an Ebola “quarantine station” at LAX in order to help prevent the spread of the virus.

#17 The largest health emergency drill in New York City history was conducted on Friday.

#18 The federal government will begin testing an “experimental Ebola vaccine” on humans in September.

#19 We are being told that the reason why we don’t have an Ebola vaccine already is due to the hesitation of the pharmaceutical industry to invest in a disease that has “only affected people in Africa”.

#20 Researchers from Tulane University have been active for several years in the very same areas where this Ebola outbreak began. One of the stated purposes of this research was to study “the future use of fever-viruses as bioweapons”.

#21 According to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone, researchers from Tulane University have been asked “to stop Ebola testing during the current Ebola outbreak”. What in the world does that mean?

#22 The Navy Times says that the U.S. military has been interested in studying Ebola “as a potential biological weapon” since the 1970s…

Filoviruses like Ebola have been of interest to the Pentagon since the late 1970s, mainly because Ebola and its fellow viruses have high mortality rates — in the current outbreak, roughly 60 percent to 72 percent of those who have contracted the disease have died — and its stable nature in aerosol make it attractive as a potential biological weapon.

#23 The CDC actually owns a patent on one particular strain of the Ebola virus…

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control owns a patent on a particular strain of Ebola known as “EboBun.” It’s patent No. CA2741523A1 and it was awarded in 2010. You can view it here.

It is being reported that this is not the same strain that is currently being transmitted in Africa, but it is interesting to note nonetheless. And why would the CDC want “ownership” of a strain of the Ebola virus in the first place?

#24 The CDC has just put up a brand new webpage entitled “Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in U.S. Hospitals”.

#25 The World Health Organization has launched a 100 million dollar response plan to fight this Ebola outbreak. Others don’t seem so alarmed. For example, Barack Obama is getting ready to take a “16 day Martha’s Vineyard vacation”.

Many are attempting to play down the threat from this virus by stating that unless you “exchange bodily fluids” with someone that you don’t have anything to worry about.

If that was truly the case, then how in the world have more than 100 health workers contracted the virus so far?

Health professionals that deal with Ebola take extreme precautions to keep from being exposed to the disease.

But despite those extreme measures, they are catching it too.


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Checklist Your Way To Survival

A good survival checklist can go a long way.

There’s a reason that a ton of industries use it. Airline pilots are probably the best example I can think of. Astronauts use a lot of checklists as well. The military uses checklists every day to make sure nothing is forgotten. Doctors and nurses use checklists because without them, they may forget to tend to a patient which can be VERY bad news! That’s why we’ve put together the following survival checklists, along with a short description for reach item. I know that it will help you get ready for the coming apocalypse, so start filling this sucker out!

FREE: Emergency Prepper Plans

Click image for FREE: Emergency Plans

Acquire two different water purification systems.

This is so that you have a solid backup plan. Some purification systems work better in certain situations than others. Also remember that even though boiling water can work, this should not be considered one of these two systems! Think of it as a last resort.

Learn how to hunt and fish.

Obviously this includes learning how to clean and cook the animal. You can actually eat a lot of different parts, but there are a few things to be careful with. For example, when dressing the animal you must be sure to not cut into the intestine. If you do then the animal’s feces will spill out and the meat is ruined!

Learn how to build shelters.

Again, just knowing one method to build a shelter isn’t good enough. So what if you know how to build a log cabin- I highly doubt you’ll have those kinds of resources or time! Oh, you’re an expert at building a metal shack? What if you’re in an area without the proper metal materials? Don’t screw yourself- cover your ass and learn several different things.

Pack a compass and map of where you’ll be living.

Have you ever gotten lost? Kinda sucks. But what if you got lost during the coming apocalypse and couldn’t find your way back to camp? That would really suck. But, you can’t blame me because I put this on your survival checklist…

Get a solid backpack and have it ready to go at any time

This is pretty self-explanatory. The apocalypse isn’t going to happen at any known time. You have to be ready to get your stuff and GTF out of there!

Get a dog and train it how to hunt.

You don’t want the apocalypse to happen and then find a little puppy and then train it how to hunt! Instead you want your dog to be ready to fight off attackers, help you hunt, and be a loyal companion for when the shit goes down.

Identify three (or more) possible places to set up camp. Know how to get to them by foot.

Even though you may have access to a car or bike, don’t count on it. You need to know exactly where you want to hole up. Find a place with ready access to food and water, and hopefully has a built-in shelter like a cave or fallen trees.

So there you have it! It’s not the most complete survival checklist ever, but if you do all of these things you’ll be MUCH better prepared than most people.

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Tactics to Fortify Your Family Fortress

Do you stay home all day? If you’re like many people you don’t. Eventually the inevitable cabin fever sets in and you feel the need to leave your cocoon. Even with all the home amenities that encourage people to stay home these days, eventually you exit the comforts of your residence and leave the closed walls behind. You set forth from your front door to experience fresh air, run errands, visit your favorite shooting range, or take a hike. All of these adventures require time—time in which no one is watching your home.

Halloween House Pic

The most important investment you will ever own gets left behind. It is left desolate and unwatched.  All your food stores, emergency prep, and family air looms are alone. It’s left unprotected by a few sheets of glass, a steel lock, and a garage and/or back door; all of which create entry points for unwelcomed guests. Even the newest most “technologically engineered” homes often fail to have protection that is much better than the cabin built 100 years ago (unless you have a security installed). This leaves your valuables readily available, either for robbery or fire- especially if you don’t have a dog. It also makes your home less secure from strangers if a global disaster strikes or an epidemic comes to our country.  It is important to protect your family and home and tactically fortify your fortress. You never know who might be watching your home.

  1. Strategic Family Plan

Tactically speaking, it is crucial to have a family plan. A family plan gets all family members on the same page about home security. Let’s face it- a good crowbar, screw driver, or rock will get many people into your home; especially the people that were waiting for you to leave.  Create a plan that addresses’ the steps each family member should take to protect the home for when you are home and away.  This helps decrease the chances your fortress is available for easy attacks. Here are some suggestions and ideas to address in a family plan:

  • Have a designated meeting place outside of the home in case of an emergency
  • Give the kids the assignment of locking their bedroom windows
  • Have family members note suspicious individuals walking around the neighborhood
  • Help your kids understand the importance of not opening the door for strangers or giving out personal information on the phone
  • If you have a backyard and a fence with a gate, assign someone to lock it
  • Make sure everyone knows how to handle an emergency situation (fire, break-in, heart attack, etc. Line out the steps to take and numbers to call
  • Most Important! Practice emergency situations and put your strategic family plan to the test. Nothing will prepare you and your family like practicing emergency situations-especially if you have children. From a behavioral perspective, a fake emergency or security breach helps your kids learn how to act. Practicing also makes errors in the plan pretty evident and this can help the plan improve.

Break ins are scary

Having a plan helps improve home security and the ability to protect your fortress and family. This isn’t to say that many improvements haven’t been made in our homes or society, but it does say that that one factor often gets neglected- the importance of having a strategic family plan.

  1. Improve Your Fortress Security

Let’s say disaster strikes and the world is struggling to find resources because the government, transportation, electricity, and water are completely shut down. As a prepper and survivalist, you want to protect your investments right? For many preppers, there is a lot of equity in the home. This includes all the food stores, emergency equipment and survival goods. Your home needs to be updated so there are specific security measures in place to protect these goods.

Technology can help protect your property

Why should you take measure to protect your home? Think about it, your home is built and then sold to you. Once you own it, you are responsible for your belongings, family and all your prepared goods. Why would the builder of your home care about this? Why would they care about the security of something they don’t own inside your home?  In many ways, the builder probably wanted you to pay for the upgrades to appropriately secure your investment. There are a variety of tactics that will help improve your fortress.

  • Install a lock on the inside of your garage door and on the door leading into your house from the garage
  • Make sure garage door openers are accounted for at all times
  • Since many home burglaries occur in midday, consider adding a home security system. Home security systems are often neglected in the construction of homes these days. Think about installing one as they help detect burglary, fire, co2 leaks and can be programmed to call in extra security if you or your home is in             peril.
  • Add landscape lighting and various exterior lighting to illuminate your home at night. The addition of lights deters most burglars from robbing your home and helps neighbors see any suspicious activities
  • Act as if you were going to break into your own home and make adjustments accordingly. Imagine you were the burglar and you wanted to break in. Think about the door you might pick, or the window you might break down. Go to that location and examine the window or door. Fix and improve as needed.

As a survivalist you are left to protect your family and fortress if something goes awry. Protecting your home is critical while you are off on an adventure or in the fields learning new survival techniques. It would be even more important if disaster strikes.

The next time you consider taking the tactical advantage to secure your home, consider some of the above tips. The thousands lost in a robbery or fire can be prevented by following some of these guidelines.  It will help protect all the equity in your home-including your family, food store and emergency supplies. Isn’t that worth saving?

Guest author: Lukas Nicholson has been an avid survivalist and prepper for 15 years. Lukas has been committed to educating others about survival techniques and home security measures. He has two kids and supports his family by working in the security industry.

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Water: Nature’s Cure-All?

Water: Nature's Cure All?

Water: Nature’s Cure-All?

Aside from quenching your thirst, drinking the right amount of water can benefit your overall health in countless other ways. From aiding weight loss to boosting productivity, let’s look at how water can improve your health.

We Are Water

… well, we’re mostly water.


Proportion of water in adult human body (1)

How much water is in … (2, 3)

Blood: 92%

Brain: 73%

Heart: 73%

Lungs: 83%

Skin: 64%

Muscles: 79%

Kidneys: 79%

Bones: 31%

Nature’s Wonder Drug

Water’s basic functions include regulating body temperature, flushing waste and moving nutrients through our cells. But what can that mean for some of the most important illnesses and health issues? (4, 5, 6)

Aids digestion

60 million

Americans affected by digestive disorders (7)

Improves circulation

Helps create saliva

Reducing appetite

$60 billion

Annual U.S. consumer spending on weight loss efforts (8)

Providing fuel for muscles

Moisturizing skin

Clears skin of toxins

Facilitating kidney function

1 in 10

U.S. adults with some form of chronic kidney disease (9)

Boosts productivity and ramps up brain power

Preventing muscle cramps and strains

Prevents tiredness


Adults who get less than 6 hours of sleep on the average night (9)

Relieving minor illnesses

Drinking It In

About 20% of our water intake comes from foods like fruits and vegetables. That means the rest comes from the beverages we drink. (4)

Good news, then, that water is the most popular beverage in the U.S., recently eclipsing soda for the top spot.

Average annual consumption in gallons (10)

Soda: 44

Water: 58
It’s not all plain water, though. Many Americans are getting their fill of water thanks in part to the myriad “flavored” waters on the market.

People who reported drinking any flavored water in the past week, in millions (11)

Spring 2010: 8.92

Autumn 2010: 8.57

Spring 2011: 8.69

Autumn 2011: 8.13

Spring 2012: 7.68

Autumn 2012: 8.07

Spring 2013: 8.96

1 in 5

U.S. households that buy bottled water and liquid flavor enhancers (12)

These enhancers often contain additives like salt, dyes and other chemicals. A better option is going natural. Don’t like the taste of water? Consider adding: (13, 14)

A few chunks of frozen fruit

Mint ice cubes

A slice of citrus

Mashed berries

Unsweetened fruit juice

Sliced cucumber


Water: Nature's Cure All


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Build The Benefits of Raised Beds

Raised beds are the perfect way to start your own garden. Fruits, vegetables, flowers and shrubs can all thrive in the raised bed environment. The popularity of raised beds is on the rise because of their many benefits – reduce soil erosion, the ease of access to control weeds and pick vegetables, creation of a warmer soil temperature in the spring, plus many more

Follow this guide to learn how to create your own raised bed garden. From the building materials to the vegetables – We dive into everything you will need to create a flourishing raised bed.

Click to Enlarge Image Build The Benefits of Raised Beds Build The Benefits of Raised Beds Infographic by CustomMade

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Camping Hacks for Families


Make Your Next Camping Trip a Breeze

Ah, the family camping trip: fun-filled days at the lake or river, restful afternoons lying in a hammock slung between two trees, roasting marshmallows by the fire, and snuggling into cozy sleeping bags at night. At least, that’s what glossy magazine covers and campground brochures would have you believe about the experience. If this idealized version of events doesn’t exactly mirror your own camping experiences, you’re not alone. My first few excursions into the great outdoors with my kids involved more work than play, more chaos than relaxation, and far more dirt (on everything) than I bargained for. In the years since, I’ve learned some tricks of the trade that have turned my camping trips into (almost) the postcard version.

Want to ensure that your next camping trip is relaxing, stress-free, and focused on the fun, not the chores, in the outdoors? The following camping tips will ensure more time in the hammock and less time over a camp stove.

Double Duty - Make your next camping trip a breeze with these fun hacks for families. We'll help you save time, space, and money with these tips for easy camping with children.

Simplification is the key to creating a relaxed camping atmosphere. Reduce clutter around the campsite and shorten your packing list by bringing a few ordinary objects that can double as useful camping tools.


  • Instead of hauling bags of ice (and dealing with the mess), freeze plastic water bottles and let them slowly melt, first cooling your food, then ensuring hydration.
  • Skip the bulky camping lantern: instead, simply wrap a standard headlamp around a clear plastic water jug. It will light up the entire picnic area for games of cards after dark.
  • No need to bring sleeping pads and water toys. Sleep on plastic blow-up air mattresses that can go straight from the tent to the lake. Float on them during the day (or take a nap!), then return them to the campsite each night.
  • Don’t buy an expensive camp kitchen set. Bring a hanging shoe organizer to store camp kitchen supplies, such as spices or grilling tools.
  • Why buy fire starter or chemical-based gel? Use dryer lint as your fire-starter: simply save lint in cardboard egg carton pockets, pour wax over each pod, then bring along to start your fire.
  • If you buy coffee at home, there’s no need to buy a toilet paper roll container. Store toilet paper rolls in your empty plastic coffee containers (the big ones work best). The toilet paper will stay dry and be easy for kids to find when they need it.


Must-Have Luxury Items - Follow these fun camping hacks to save time, space, and money on your next family trip!

Unfortunately, not every camping item can be “MacGyvered” from items you already own. A few camping “luxury” items can go a long way toward ultimate comfort and fun in the outdoors.


  • A good hammock: We stand behind the Grand Trunks Goods double hammock (as reviewed on, which is easy to set up, comes in a compact stuff sack, and fits two people comfortably.
  • Headlamps for everyone: A headlamp can be picked up for under $10 and allows for hands-free illumination. We’ll never return to clumsy flashlights again.
  • Hydration packs: Want kids to stay hydrated? Outfit them with small hydration packs (one liter will do). Most day packs now fit hydration pack bladders, which can be purchased solo for under $30.
  • Water shoes for the family: Say goodbye to stubbed toes and splinters in little feet. Water shoes can be worn in and out of water, performing double duty as light hiking shoes. We love the Keens and Columbia options.
  • A dining set for every family member: Check out Light My Fire: this camping product company makes individual meal kits that include a plate, bowl, cup, and utensils that all fit together. Kids take pride in ownership, which means they’ll do their own dishes.
  • Mosquito bands, candles, or clothing: Mosquitos are an unfortunate evil of outdoor recreation, and repellent spray is often unhealthy and smelly. Mosquito bands are a non-intrusive alternative, and they can be bought for just a few dollars. Ditto for citronella candles, which can be set out on picnic tables after dark. If you want to go high-tech, try insecticide-treated clothing, with repellent infused directly into the fabric. and both make shirts, pants, and bandanas in this fashion, but they won’t come cheap.
  • Sun and shade shelter: Everyone remembers a tent, but many campers overlook the convenience and comfort offered by a sun and shade shelter. These simple canopies can be set up over picnic tables for shaded meals and card games or brought to the lakeshore to protect kids from the sun.


Dining Hacks

Families can have all the right gear and convenient household items, but if you’re still slaving over the camp stove, your trip won’t be relaxing. The following dining hacks make meal prep and planning a breeze. We prefer to cook most of our meals over the campfire or on the BBQ to make food fun and clean-up simple.


  • Grill fruit on the barbecue: Fruit is more appealing than grilled veggies to kids, and with a little whipped cream, you can skip the marshmallows. We prefer to create fruit kabobs with stone fruit such as peaches, pineapple, grapes (cut in half for young children), and strawberries. Local berries bought at farm stands or even picked by the family work well, too.
  • Make “pocket” dinners: Create pockets of tin foil and fill with sliced potatoes, zucchini, onions, and other veggies, and then let them cook in the coals. It’s best to use heavy duty foil to ensure that ashes don’t get into your meal. Each pocket is customizable and fun to eat! Best of all, when you’re done, simply ball up your foil and toss it on the fire. Dishes are done!
  • Pack milk substitutes instead of cow milk: Milk substitutes like soy, almond, and rice milk don’t have to be refrigerated, and vanilla or chocolate flavors are appealing to most kids, so there’s no need to worry about keeping milk cold for breakfast cereal.
  • Skip the dishes: Use empty snack-size chip bags as individual serving “bowls” for chili, stew, or even oatmeal. Kids love these “on-the-go” containers.
  • Don’t get fancier than boiled water: If you really want to simplify mealtime, buy dehydrated backpacking single- or double-serving meals. They taste just fine in the wilderness, require only boiling water, and take about five minutes to prepare.


Cooking Up A Storm - Taking children on a camping trip is rewarding but also hectic. Follow these camping hacks for families to make your next trek to the outdoors with children run smoothly

Camp Close to Home

There is no need to drive hours for a family camping trip. Find a campground close to home to keep stress at a minimum. Plus, being near home allows for spontaneous camping or quick returns home for forgotten items. Check your region’s state park listings and then search for available sites online. is a good resource for campsites with kid-friendly amenities, like pools or mini golf courses. A short drive and familiarity with the surroundings helps campers to relax more quickly.


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