Category: Financial



Softwater Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
3 ingredients!!

Ever wonder about all those homemade laundry detergent soap recipes that you see around? Many of them are made for places with ‘hard’ water, but lucky me! I have soft well water and have come up with this particular recipe that can be made for pennies per load that works well for those with soft water. If you have softwater you do not need all that soap to get things clean. And if you use too much soap in the laundry and you have softwater you can wind up with dingy looking clothing that actually HOLDS THE DIRT since normal rinse cycles are not enough to get the soap out.

I like to pre-make a lot of the soap ‘ingredients’ at one time so I have plastic containers that I keep them in ready at hand whenever I need to make laundry detergent or whatever out of the ingredients.
I prefer to make the liquid over using the powdered version since soap doesn’t easily ‘melt’ in cold water.

Note: the harder your water (and if you are on city water you have very hard water) the more ‘soap’ you need in the ‘soap’ and I will list an alternative reciepe to compensate for this.

What you will need:
Fels Napa or some other soap such as castile or even homemade soap
Borax
Washing Soda (not BAKING SODA)
5 Gallon Bucket with lid
Long Wooden Spoon
Metal Pan
Containers for finished soap- gallon milk jugs, old laundry detergent jugs, etc.
Grater
Funnel
Measuring Cup
Plastic Containers (if you want to make up more than one 5 gallon batch to set aside for future use, recommend!)

Gather the required items, the soap, borax and washing soda can typically be found in almost any grocery store or big box store, but you may have to check around for the washing soda.

Using a grater (I have a big dedicated ‘soap grater’ that I picked up on ebay for next to nothing which is actually an old cheese grater) grind up the Fels Napa Soap Bar or whatever soap bar you choose to use (just avoid ‘commercial’ bath soap…will NOT WORK). You will wind up with quite a bit from one bar…set aside.

In a metal pot, put 4 cups of hot water (from the tap is fine) and place ½ cup of grated soap (do not pack it) into the water. Put pot on stove and set your settings to medium-low…Stir this continually with wooden spoon until soap is dissolved/melted.

DO NOT LET IT BOIL

It will be slightly foamy. You are not done melting the soap until you have no chunks or flakes left.

Get your 5 gallon bucket with the lid.
Fill the bucket half full with hot water (the hottest water you can get from the tap will work just fine!) and put on the floor.

Take your melted soap water and add to the bucket
Next add ½ cup borax and ½ cup of washing soda to the bucket
The measuring cup shows 1 cup of the washing soda/borax mixture (1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup is 1 cup)

Stir WELL until all powder is dissolved.

At this point, finish filling your bucket with more hot water to about 1 inch from the top.

Stir WELL again…be sure to get down to the bottom of the bucket while stirring…this soap mixture will NOT hurt your skin at all and easily rinses off.

Cover and let sit for 24 hrs.

After this cooling off and waiting time take the lid off, you will find that it has thickened on the top and bottom into a ‘gel’ like substance….it may look runny or separated…or with chunks of goo through out the bucket…this is OKAY and NORMAL….STIR AGAIN WELL!

Get your containers and funnel and measuring cup now. I recommend putting down towels on the floor just in case of an opps so you don’t spend a lot of time cleaning the floor (trust me on this!)

Fill your containers now…I like to use the measuring cup to scoop out the liquid detergent from the bucket and then pour through the funnel into the containers…at this point if you would like to add essential oils then add 5mls per gallon and shake well…All done…no fabric softener needed.

OF NOTE: Shake well in the smaller containers before use each time, it will separate again.

Since I use laundry detergent containers I just use the same amount that I would as if it was store bought. So use the ‘normal’ amount that you would use of liquid laundry detergent. This is for softwater ONLY.

HARDWATER

If you have hardwater/city water you will need to INCREASE the amount of soap, borax and washing soda, but the directions on how to make are the same.
If you are making up a lot of soap at one time for future ‘making’ just be sure to grate one bar at a time and place what you get from ONE BAR into a baggie. Alternatively you may weigh out 4.5 ounces of grated soap bar.

Hardwater Recipe:

1 Full Bar of Fels Napa (or other soap) Grated or 4.5 ounces
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing

Follow the same directions for making softwater liquid laundry detergent.
When you are using this homemade liquid laundry detergent you will want to use ½ cup per load (about 160 loads or so) and slightly more for heavily soiled clothing.

Enjoy!

UPDATE 8/23/2013
I have been using this batch of homemade soap for softwater for the past 2 weeks…EXCELLENT!!! no pre treating of light stains, clothes are brighter, softer and best of all, they smell CLEAN and not soapy!
If you try this, let me know how it turns out for you!

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Happy New Year?

Happy New Year my fellow survivors and preparedness believers…I hope you had the chance to spend the holidays with your loved ones in peace and comfort. I had most of my family in my home which was good and led to some interesting moments and some truths coming out, but I am grateful for them and being able to be with them all none the less. But as you and I go into 2012 I am wondering what this new year will bring to us.

Last month, December, was a month that I don’t care to repeat financially however…as people beat each other up over waffle makers, maced each other to get the latest Xbox and took shots at each other over tennis shoes, my own eBay business tanked and tanked hard right before Thanksgiving. So much for the holiday spending and from what I also understood from other sellers, they didn’t have much going on either which is really strange for eBay during the holidays. For me, there were some obvious reasons as I lost my ‘top rated’ seller status thanks to a nasty little man who tried to get a refund from me without returning the crystal (which resulted in my listings basically being on the bottom of the pile) but there was something else going on too…and that was the Euro…a lot of my big sales that sustain me during the winter months come from Europe and the month of December saw a dramatic fall in the value of the Euro verses the dollar…not good for sales and the governments over there are really getting hyper about getting their VAT taxes on packages that come into their country, so those sales are disappearing somewhat. And there are those who still think that what happens in Europe stays in Europe…ha! We are pretty interconnected economically and I for one am very concerned about the drop of the Euro. It looks like Greece won’t be the only country going down in flames this year and the Lehman Brothers didn’t learn a darn thing…or did they?

But anyway, things turned around on eBay for me last week in a big way as soon as my ‘top rated’ status came back…interesting huh? Supposedly this ‘status’ isn’t supposed to be such a big deal, but as I found out, lose it and you are punished. Call me paranoid, but I am left with the feeling that eBay does its best to punish sellers who make some buyers mad and caters to ‘the customer is always right regardless’ mindset which is part of the problem in this country…And I am left wondering how to prevent this issue from coming back up without resorting to being held hostage by individuals bent on getting something for nothing with their Khol’s/Walmart mentality nor having to cut prices and giving free shipping to all to keep sales up…but this is what I am up against and trying to find a happy medium the beginning of this year.

I had thought that perhaps having other websites would be a safety net against eBay meltdown but have learned otherwise and this leaves me feeling very uncomfortable this new year with more questions than answers. But I will figure it out, usually do if I just let it sit for a while. Amazon is looking better and better but the cost of doing business there and the difficulty of getting a storefront together on their site makes me shy away from them, but I may have to bite that bullet.

A few things I did learn from this experience is that I have done pretty good on my preps. Didn’t have to worry about food or toilet paper or diapers while I had no money coming in  and figure that I could last upwards of 3-4 months even with a house full of people on what I have on hand right now which means I am making progress!!! What little came in went to gas for the most part and dog food (have you noticed that the prices of dog have gone up and you are getting less for it??) I am seriously considering going to the following recipe for my Pitbulls to save on money and be able to stock up for them. I have copied this from Survivalblog.com and will post the entire posting in a bit just as an FYI as a reference for you… this is the permanent link to the article on Survivalblog : How to Make Homemade Dogfood

 

The “Third Recipe” for Dogs:

White rice- boiled with an optional chicken bullion cube – carbohydrates for energy, easy digestion and bullion cube for favor. You can substitute potatoes occasionally. No pasta, will ruin a dog’s teeth.

Vegetables – frozen or canned or fresh – green beans or peas/carrots or mixed vegetables – I prefer frozen over canned – and green beans are best. Easily digested and have fiber.

Meat – chicken, turkey, tuna or beef or wild game or eggs

Two half meals – morning and evening- and the cup portions depend on the size of your dog(s). All ingredients are roughly in thirds, but if you have an active dog, use more rice.

Primatene mist has now disappeared from the shelves and is now illegal to sell at all. It seems that is a victim of the ban on CFC’s but my instinct tells me that big pharm and the AMA pushed this. Just another victim in the march towards control of the populace in my opinion. I suspect that we will see an increase in deaths from Asthma in the coming months and years as those who didn’t know get caught without emergency asthma control or run out of what they were able to stock pile or expatriation dates come due on what is had.

As an aside, Sam’s club in my neck of the woods has some awesome deals on cold weather clothing and socks.

It seems that the Judiciary in Virginia has declared a silent war on bailbonds and Constitutional Rights of its citizens…magistrates in my neck of the woods are telling those with secured bonds to bring cash or titles to their office to get someone out, that the person who has a secured bond can’t use a bailbondsman. Regardless of your stance on bail, you have a right to use a bailbondsman to post bail for you if you live in this state (VA), you don’t ‘have to post cash or land’ in order to get someone out of jail. And the dangerous part of this new trend is that the STATE holds your money until you are adjudicated fully which can be months and then they take out fines and fees before giving your money back to you. Interestingly enough, they aren’t telling people THIS little fact, but instead are telling people that if you pay a bondsman you don’t get the money back (which is 10% of the bond amount) but if you post the cash or title you will get it back. They forget to tell the fine print…

Now, with this said, the state of Virginia is having a hardtime getting its fines and fees from those court ordered to pay them and I suspect that this is an attempt to ensure that these get paid. And IF you are late getting to court or somehow or other miss your court date, well, guess what? You forfeit that money you posted immediately, no recourse, no hope…done deal whereas if you use a bailbondsman no worries, the bailbondsman has legal recourse with the courts such as a time frame to make sure you ‘appear’ before he has to forfeit.

Interestingly enough we (myself and my partner) have seen the courts changing dates and times without letting the defendant know about it. Their (the courts) answer to this is ‘well, its YOUR responsibility to make sure you appear and that YOU have your dates and times right’. Now, with that said, somehow the lawyers involved (mostly court appointed) know about the change but the defendant doesn’t get the message…makes you wonder doesn’t it? Sigh…seriously? Somehow I have a hard time accepting that the courts can just change things and then expect you to somehow magically know this without giving notice in writing like they USED TO DO. You’d get a letter in the mail well in advance, but now they just let the ‘court appointed’ counsel know and let it go at that…and this person just happens to work for the state… I smell something rotten going on and regardless of your opinion or stance on crime or belief about those who get arrested, it should worry you when the courts start demanding money for release and don’t give you the option of using a bailbondsman (in the states where this is the norm) and then start changing dates and not giving notice to the person whom it most effects. It just doesn’t sit right with me…sorry, my opinion and I am not liking the trend that I am seeing. I can’t help but wonder how many other states are doing this too to get money in their pockets.

And just in case you have been hiding under a rock…Obama signed the NDAA into law on the 31st.  Read more about it here…NDAA There goes your rights…though ‘they say’ that it won’t happen…uh huh…isn’t that what they said about Too Big to Fail and bailing them out? Happens everyday now…

Anyway, life rolls on and I was able to replace what I used for the most part and add a few goodies too…bit the bullet and bought a case of freeze dried yogurt bites from Thrive the other day. My kids will eat this and dairy is important to have in your diet especially if you are female. Found a good deal on cotton tube socks on ebay yesterday too. And just a heads up for those who are stocking up on antibiotics…tetracycline is becoming harder and hard to get so you may want to look into this since it’s a ‘go to’ antibiotic.

Lastly, the flu is going around and manifesting itself as a potentially nasty upper respiratory issue that comes on quick and lingers. I am just hearing this from people that I know looking for ways to halt the slide into pneumonia that seems to happen if you don’t catch it in time. Suggestion here…get the homeopathic Bronchitis by Heel…it seems to stop it (the pneumonia) from happening and for adults I wouldn’t be afraid to use Mormon Tea mixed with rosemary to help yourself.

 

Happy new year one and all, keep your eyes open and keep on preparing and keep your loved ones close to you this year. Mend the fences that need mending and let go those things that no longer serve you. Life is too short and unpredictable to carry burdens upon your heart and carrying these burdens gets in the way of being prepared.

Something I have noticed over the past few months that seems to be accelerating…goods are disappearing from stores. Have you noticed this? Stores are carrying more and more store brands (the quality of which I find questionable in many cases) and removing the brand names. Less of particular types of goods are being carried and by result, there is more ‘space’ in a store (less shelving). And goods are not being restocked and less is being restocked. This goes from Walmart to grocery stores to the local Sam’s club to Target even down to Pet Smart. (In fact, one Walmart store has completely removed their jewelry section). This is troubling to me and I can’t quite put my finger on ‘why’ this is occurring. I understand that we are in the midst of an economic depression that isn’t being spoken about and that sellers are adjusting to lower sales of ‘higher’ priced items (read that name brands) and that they are putting in less choice because they don’t want to put the money into items that are or could be slow movers. But not restocking? Is there a supply problem I don’t know about? Or perhaps shipments are being delayed because they are running less trucks and they are trying to save on money for fuel? (but give me a BREAK, fuel costs went up 2 years ago so that doesn’t float with me). Or is it that we, the public aren’t being told the truth about the value/exchange rate of our dollar and the supply problem (thanks NAFTA) is starting on the other end of just getting the raw product or item into theUS? Something is a miss when the Pedigree dog food I buy from a particular Walmart is ‘missing’ for weeks before they get it back in. Something is not right when a good selling product (such as organic canned veggies or even Dr.Pepper soda) goes on the missing list and I am told they don’t know when or IF they will carry it again. Maybe I am spoiled…but the list of things I have noticed go ‘missing’ is growing and rapidly growing, but the cheap crap from China (including food that is of  a questionable nature in terms of safety…such as apple juice of which over 60% comes from China and contains levels of cyanide that I find unacceptable…that stuff never gets out of your body and you wonder why I insist on organic??) is coming in here faster than it can be sold. What is the deal there? I understand that money is being deflated and costs are being inflated making it harder and harder for the average American to maintain a higher standard of living…but this is starting to feel like an attack is upon us…a trade/monetary war of which is not being spoken. Take a product away and they will buy something else from us. But what about socks? I swear a month ago I went looking for just run of the mill cotton socks and the local Walmart had NONE or next to none in any size, neither did the Target, neither did the Old Navy store near by. And it was only 2 weeks ago that they refilled the shelves. I even had a hard time finding ordinary socks online IN STOCK!! This just strikes me as very odd…and its alarming at the sametime to me, one of the indicators of collapse is the unavailability of goods for a length of time. And before someone points out this to me, I do understand that this past year the cotton harvest was abysmal, so that could be a part of the problem too. But I have to wonder, what are we not being told? Where is it going? And the big question…why?

With this said, I am going to give you a list of items that I have noticed are ‘disappearing’ or getting hard to get that you may want to get when you find:

1)      Cotton socks

2)      Fire starting methods (lighters, lighter fluid, matches, etc.)

3)      Quality Canned Goods (store brand is the lowest grade of food available, avoid if you can!)

4)      Bottled Water

5)      Baby Food

6)      Quality Pet Foods

7)      Ammo

8)      Batteries of all types

There are other things such as soda, garbage bags, detergent of all sorts and media (CDs, Books).

Anyone else notice the ‘disappearance’ of something I haven’t mentioned? Maybe I am paranoid or maybe I just spoiled about having choices, but what I am seeing is concerning me, anyone else? I know at this point, when I see these items I am very likely to get everything I can afford to…tell me what you think?

 

So the silly season is upon us, the opening shot fired being Black Friday…sigh…and so it begins. I will be honest in saying that I went out into that fray for one thing (okay, stupid! but I promise you it wasn’t for a toy or waffle maker nor electronic…in fact, it was for something that will help me when the crap hits the fan, but I will never, ever do that again and I am not sure that I even want to go into town ever again unless forced to…the madness, meanness and hatred that I felt in town that evening was hair raising and all that over some cheap items that had no real value in terms of survival (unless you call keeping up with the Jonses survival, but I don’t). It gave me a good dose of reality of where people are mentally and I didn’t like it one bit. Result? I am redoubling my efforts at being prepared…every penny will go towards being ready for a bad turn in the world and practical use.

Questions to determine value:

 

Will it keep me/mine warm?

Will it keep me/mine from being hungry?

Will it keep me/mine healthy?

Will it provide me/mine safety?

Will it give or provide me/mine the knowledge to any of the above questions?

I also keep this in mind…pay now, pay later, but pay you will…I use this saying and keep it in mind when trying to decide if the price in dollar terms is a ‘good value’. Just because its cheap does not mean it’s a good value. I’d rather pay more money wise and have it last and work long term than go ‘cheap’ and have it last 2 seconds and need replacing or repair quickly. And this includes FOOD. Garbage in, garbage health…again, pay now, pay later, but pay you will, some how, some way.

If the answer is NO to the above questions then I am not wasting the time, effort or money on it. Not going to do anything for me but take up space.

So what are items that I intend on procuring for warmth?

MORE Firewood

Extra clothing (gloves, hats, jeans, etc.)

A way to safely procure wood in the future.

So what are items that I intend to procure for the hunger question?

More can goods concentrating on meats and veggies

More #10 cans

A rocket stove

More raised garden beds (this can be done during the winter)

A small root cellar

More canning jars and extra lids.

Salt

Sugar (various forms)

So what are items that I intend to procure for the healthy question?

Multi-vitamins

More soap

Hydrogen peroxide

More Vinegar

Alcohol (it has many uses and not just for getting drunk!)

More solid shoes to be stored for later use.

So what are the items I intend to procure for safety?

A CB radio.

An external dial up modem to retrofit my computer.

More ammo.

One more weather radio, preferably solar/hand crank.

And on the knowledge front? Well, I have always been a collector of books but I will periodically check amazon for new ones and I am always interested in medical books…can never have enough knowledge.

So that is my list. What’s on yours?

I have been pretty feverish in my efforts over the last year or so and have a good start, these are the dirty little details that I am left with at the moment.

Remember, plan, set goals and then go out and do. Every little bit counts and gets you that much further ahead of the hoards. Your needs will be determined by your own personal situation, but the these questions will help you to determine what you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.1

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

85% of domestic violence victims are women.

Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.5

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.

Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.8

Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.14

In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder. 

Less than one-fifth of victims reporting an injury from intimate partner violence sought medical treatment following the injury.

Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.16

The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.17

Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence.17


There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence annually, which costs $37 billion.

(from ncadv.org)

There is no way to tell for sure if someone is experiencing domestic
violence. Those who are battered, and those who abuse, come in all personality
types. Battered women are not always passive with low self-esteem, and batterers
are not always violent or hateful to their partner in front of others. Most
people experiencing relationship violence do not tell others what goes on at
home. So how do you tell?

Here are some signs to look for:

Injuries and Excuses:
In some cases, bruises and injuries may occur
frequently and be in obvious places. When this happens, the intent of the
batterer is to keep the victim isolated and trapped at home. When black eyes and
other bruising is a result of an assault, the person being battered may be
forced to call in sick to work, or face the embarrassment and excuses of how the
injuries occurred. In other cases, bruises and other outward injuries never
occur. When there are frequent injuries seen by others, the one being battered
may talk about being clumsy, or have elaborate stories of how the injuries
occurred. The truth about the source of injuries will not usually be told unless
the one told could be trusted and/or the one being battered wants help to end
the relationship.

Absences from Work or School:
When severe beatings or other trauma
related to violence occurs, the one being battered may take time off from
his/her normal schedule. If you see this happening, or the person is frequently
late, this could be a sign of something (such as relationship violence)
occurring.

Low Self-Esteem: Some
battered women have low self-esteem, while
others have a great deal of confidence and esteem in other areas of their life
(at work, as a mother, with hobbies, etc.) but not within their relationship. In
terms of dealing with the relationship, a sense of powerlessness and low
self-esteem may exist. A battered woman may believe that she could not make it
on her own without her partner and that she is lucky to have him in her
life.

Accusations of Having Affairs: This is a common tactic used by
batterers as an attempt to isolate their partners and as an excuse for a
beating. It could include accusations of looking at other men, wanting to be
with other men, or having affairs with the man bagging groceries at the local
supermarket. Friends of the couple may observe this at times, but what is seen
in public is usually only a small fraction of what the battered woman
experiences at home.

Personality Changes: People may notice that a very outgoing person,
for instance, becomes quiet and shy around his/her partner. This happens because
the one being battered “walks on egg shells” when in the presence of the one who
is abusive to her. Accusations (of flirting, talking too loudly, or telling the
wrong story to someone) have taught the abused person that it is easier to act a
certain way around the batterer than to experience additional accusations in the
future.

Fear of Conflict: As a result of being battered, some may generalize
the experience of powerlessness with other relationships. Conflicts with
co-workers, friends, relatives, and neighbors can create a lot of anxiety. For
many, it is easier to give in to whatever someone else wants than to challenge
it. Asserting one’s needs and desires begins to feel like a battle, and not
worth the risks of losing.

Not Knowing What One Wants or How One Feels: For adults or children
who have experienced violence from a loved one, the ability to identify feelings
and wants, and to express them, may not exist. This could result in
passive-aggressive behavior. Rather than telling others what you want, you say
one thing but then express your anger or frustration in an aggressive manner
(such as scratching his favorite car, burning dinner, or not completing a report
on time for your boss).

Blaming Others for Everything: The abuse, which usually includes the
batterer blaming others for everything that goes wrong, is usually targeted at a
partner or ex-partner. For example, a simple drive somewhere could turn into a
violent situation if the batterer blames the partner and/or children for getting
them lost. Co-workers and relatives may observe this type of behavior, and it
may be directed at others as well.

Self-blame: You may notice someone taking all of the blame for things
that go wrong. A co-worker may share a story about something that happened at
home and then take all of the blame for whatever occurred. If you notice this
happening a lot, it may be a sign that one is taking all of the blame is being
battered.

Aggressive or Care-taking Behavior in Children: Children who live in
violent homes may take that experience with them to school and to the
playground. Often the class bully is a child who sees violence in his home
(directed at mom, or at some or all of the children in the home). Children who
seem very grown-up and are sensitive and attentive to others’ needs may see
violence at home as well.

https://www.msu.edu/~safe/facts/warning_dv.htm

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

SHTF- My Money

Been away (again) for a while, just absolutely unable to attend to this blog due to personal issues that created a really nice perfect storm in my own life, in other words the crap hit and came at me from so many directions…sigh….from kids to family to money to work to my health…it is all settling down for the most part now and my head doesn’t need to be where my hands are so much today so I thought I would start sharing…which, by the way is something that all of need to do to help each other through storms, through sharing our own experiences we can learn from and help each other…

First and foremost, and probably the biggest lesson…don’t ever put all your eggs in one basket and don’t believe for one minute that you are ‘safe’ and can just go around without a worry because ‘they are taking care of it’. As I learned the HARD WAY, nothing is sacred, nothing is safe (no matter they tell you!) and when it comes right down to it, protecting yourself against financial calamity is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY up to and including being paranoid about things. I will be honest, I was a slackered when it came to finances. I became comfort, and got busy doing other, ‘more important’ things. I let my vigilance drop (first mistake). I trusted the system to work (second mistake)…ha! I know better now…

 I work for myself, have several streams of income, but over the past few months as things got really busy for me I didn’t pay too much attention to my paypal account that I use on a regular basis. In short, I got hacked…someone stole my debit card number and well, let’s just say that I LEARNED the hard way.

Financial institutions are on top of things (for the most part, after all, they HATE loosing money worse than we do) and honestly, very quick to notice unusual activity and then call you. They block activity that they feel is not in line with your typical usage (which can absolutely irritating when it is you). HOWEVER, as I discovered, the financial thieves of today are getting ahead of the curve…Paypal denied a transaction, cancelled my card and somehow the thieves were still able to force a payment through (I will not bother describing the financial hell that ensued but suffice to say, I spent days closing things down and having to redo a lot of things to fix the problem).

Now, I had become comfortable and trusting and ignored my first impulse when I first became aware of the situation which was to close everything down and start all over to protect myself…but I didn’t listen to myself and well, SHTF happened and here I sit, 2 weeks out still unraveling the mess.

As a note, and something else I became aware of during this time, thieves are actually able to steal your debt card numbers right from your wallet! Yep, that is right people, there is technology out there that allows them to read your card without having to have the card in hand. After talking to friends of mine this has happened to at least 3 people I know in the past 6 months. Mental note to self (and you too) get a metal wallet to carry your cards in if you have to take them with you…this is the only way to stop the scanning and stealing of your number.

LESSON LEARNED: Pay attention to your gut! If your first impulse is to do something then do it. I saw something that seemed a little off a few days before these jerks got into full swing, but I didn’t think much about it. I ignored that ‘little voice’ because I was busy and hurting physically and just didn’t want to deal with another hassle that evening (I should listen to myself more often!)… I learned that I need to stop accumulating large amounts of money in just one place (such as my paypal account). Typically I don’t do this but I became lax (actually comfortable and very busy)…you cannot let your guard down, especially as things become progressively worse economically. In fact, as suggested by many, keeping cash on hand is wise in the event you have thieves steal your financial information. I tell you, going one week without $$ was hell and they didn’t even get all my money…I just couldn’t get to it myself!

 And what does this have to do with SHTF? Truly and honestly, for a time money/cash will still be the way we do business. But if banks close down (and don’t for a minute believe that to stop panic they wouldn’t close their doors!) or the Feds decide to kill the internet (which btw is how most financial transactions occur) then you are SOL. If you watch the news, pay attention and get ‘a feeling’, don’t hesitate to yank your money out or leave just enough to cover the automatic drafts that occur and pull the rest. You can always put it back in.

Also of note, as things get worse financially (and it will, you can count on that) you may find it harder to find a working ATM or that safety using one is getting harder. Figure out where the out-of-the-way ones are and use those. Safety first!

Also, keep records and copies of EVERYTHING having to do with your financial information in a secure location (or even better, 2 or 3 places, just in case!) This means, bank statements, pictures of debit cards, credit cards, blank checks, etc. You may have to ‘prove’ one day what was where and when.

 I would also like to bring to your attention the possibility that 401k’s and IRA’s may become nationalized to prop up the stock market. (This up and down is not over and the trend that I am seeing is just down). IF you can find a way to make your savings accounts ‘untouchable’…tangibles, private banking accounts, etc. Now this may seem a little paranoid (and maybe I am) but with QE3 getting ready to roll out (inflation/deflation) the downgrade in the US credit rating, the volatility of the market and little return percentage wise on most 401ks and IRA’s (they are all tied into the stock market) and the biggest buyers right now being the very people who issue the stocks…well, a little paranoia might be wise. I am not saying to run right out like a chicken little right this moment…just BE AWARE and ready to move if you have to. I don’t wish the end of the world as we know it, but I want to survive as I am sure you do too and making changes or just even having a plan could be the key to this survival.

Things are changing, including the availability of funds, fees, length of time it takes to get things done when it comes to money, etc. I have to wait a MONTH before I will receive another paypal debit card (excuse me?) and 3 weeks for a new bank debit card and checks… I had to wait until every transaction went through before I could even begin the process of filing for fraud protection and even after THAT I had to WAIT before I received my money back even though it was obvious it was fraud. You may find yourself in a position where time is of the essence so that you can survive a SHTF scenario…even a hurricane can create financial hell…so be on top of things please! Don’t wait, don’t not listen to your gut instinct…and ignore the party ‘feel good line’ (if you are being handed that then you really KNOW something really isn’t right).

 These are times when we have to pay attention and be ready to act on gut instinct to protect ourselves, not only physically but financially too. THEY ARE OUT THERE (and by ‘they’ I mean those who absolutely could care less about YOU and your well-being) just waiting for the right moment to strike and steal from you what you have worked hard for in order to take care of themselves or their own interests. Am I paranoid? Nope, not one bit, but I am just very aware now of the possibilities.

Rarely do we think about banks, accounts and such, we depend upon their security to protect us, but as I learned, even the best security can be circumvented, even their best efforts to protect you can fail. And trust me when I tell you, their interests come before YOURS. They really don’t care about you, that is a veneer that is fading fast as things all over the world turn upside down.  The big boys will protect themselves first and you are on the bottom of the food chain when it comes to money.

Protect yourself please, get a plan, make changes now, because this happened to me so quickly and escalated beyond my span of control so quickly that I sit here blogging still without much access to my money (which is driving me bats). Better to loose a little than a lot…better to have to get a money order and mail a payment than have to try and explain to those you owe money to what happened (they don’t care and trust me when I tell you that your mortgage company really doesn’t care what happened, evidence those poor people down in Joplin, MO whose homes were destroyed and still had to pay the mortgage on time). Better to be offensive than have to react. Be PREPARED!