Tag Archives: living simply

Surviving Global economic collapse in La Yacata

With the increased interdependence of formerly distinct countries and cultures, economic problems in one area will affect others which will effect still others in a giant domino tumble. Quite a few experts predicted 2016 as the beginning of the end in terms of economic collapse. (See also The risks for 2016 economic collapse, Global economy 2016, Will the US economy collapse in 2016?)

But what exactly is a global economic collapse and how will it affect life as we know it? Even Wikipedia had trouble coming up with a concrete definition. “The term has been used to describe a broad range of bad economic conditions, ranging from a severe, prolonged depression with high bankruptcy rates and high unemployment (such as the Great Depression of the 1930s), to a breakdown in normal commerce caused by hyperinflation (such as in Weimar Germany in the 1920s), or even an economically caused sharp rise in the death rate and perhaps even a decline in population (such as in countries of the former USSR in the 1990s) Often economic collapse is accompanied by social chaos, civil unrest and sometimes a breakdown of law and order.”

In Mexico, the value of the peso dropped substantially, and for a time was more than 20 pesos per dollar in 2016/2017. While quite a few Expat groups celebrated the high conversation rate, it really wasn’t a cause for joy in the everyday life of Mexicans or those that earn their livings in pesos. (See also Anxiety rises in Mexico as the peso tumbles, Mexican Peso surprising drop spurs speculation, The Struggling peso–Mexico for sale )

So it seems that global economic collapse just might be a world-changing event in the very near future for us. How have we prepared?

Keep Some Cash At Home. We have next to nothing in the bank. We keep our meager saving in cash. It’s not much, so we aren’t really worried about robbery.

Get Out Of Debt. We don’t owe anything on any of our vehicles or our house. All our construction projects are done as we can afford them. It does take a long time that way, but it keeps the debt down. (See Building a dream, Constructing a life)

Reduce Your Expenses. We live simply. (See Declaring Solvency)

Have a Place to Live that won’t be repossessed. We own our house in La Yacata. There aren’t escrituras (individual deeds) but all the lots are held in common in a sort of hacienda set-up. Hopefully, we will eventually be able to get individual deeds because this really does bother me. Of course, as the owner has said, nobody really wants La Yacata (there isn’t any water or minerals or petroleum to be found there) so we’re probably safe.

Start A Side Business. We’ve tried all sorts of business. We aren’t afraid to try and fail while we always hope for success. (See Failing at your Own Business)

Move Away From The Big Cities. La Yacata is outside Moroleon “city” limits.

Store Food. We store beans, rice and tea and other stuff. The stuff we store is often our emergency food between financial windfalls or financial trickles whichever comes our way. This is a temporary fix, though. Eventually, the food does run out. (Forcibly green, Obligatory Organic)

Grow Your Own Food. We grow a good selection of our own food currently and hope to grow even more in the future. (See Alternative Farming and Old MacDonald’s Farm) We keep animals which provide us with meat, milk, and eggs.  We also forage for food in our immediate area. (See Foraging)

Have a Clean Water Supply. We have ample water storage for about 2 months even with all our animals. We also catch rainwater during the rainy season. (See Water Woes)

Have A Plan. Our ultimate goal is to be completely self-sufficient. We aren’t there yet.

Have Blankets And Appropriate Clothing On Hand. Without money, these things will become harder to come by. Of course with my nifty treadle sewing machine, we won’t run out of these things anytime soon! (See Dirty and Ragged)

Have a supply of Personal Hygiene Supplies, medication, and a first aid kit.  I do have a 5 or 6 month supply of my medication for hypothyroidism and use a Diva cup rather than disposable any feminine hygiene products. We also have a small first-aid kit. Toliet paper can be replaced with reusable cloths or leaves (provided they aren’t poisonous) in a pinch.  My husband insists we can use rocks if we haven’t any paper, but I’m sure something else would be better. Soap is easily made from natural ingredients.

Entertainment. Watching a movie on our rechargeable DVD player, listening to guitar music, playing board games, sewing, knitting, reading, horseback or bike riding are all activities that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Know your Community. We know quite a number of people who are skilled at various survival trades. The butcher, the baker are accounted for. Still looking for the candle maker, though. In the event of economic collapse, it’s important to know people with skills that you can barter for.  It’s also important that you have skills people might be looking for.

Have a Supply of Survival Equipment. Matches, an ax or machete, good shoes, flashlight, radio, and such items are always a good idea. Who knows how long things will be tight and we’ll have to make due. We have all of that.

Extra Gasoline. We might have a liter or two of gasoline about the house, but that’s about it. Our motorcycles are way more economical than either Myrtle the volcho (VW bug) or Butch the truck. When the gas runs out we can always use our bikes or walk.

Self-Defense Equipment. These are supposed to help keep your supplies safe from the hoards of people that haven’t prepared. We do have a machete or two, and a big scary looking but friendly guard dog, but that’s about it. Our windows have bars, but it’s far from burglar proof. Guess we’ll get to work on that.  Adding motion detector solar lights helped beef up our security.

Keep Your Prepping To Yourself. OOPS! Well, since you’re reading this, I guess I’m not following this tip so well.  However, just so you know, La Yacata is the place to be in the event of global economic collapse!

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Declaring Solvency

thoreau-grasshopped

Oh, you say, but you live in México and everyone knows things are so much cheaper there. But the truth is, they aren’t. For example, a loaf of bread costs $24 pesos, a liter of milk $11 pesos, and a stick of butter up to $8 pesos, a bag of sugar $16, an ice cream cone costs $15 pesos etc and the average wage is less than $50 per hour.

Oh, but you don’t have very many expenses then, you might say. But that isn’t true either.

We have accumulated a little bit of debt. Last year, my moto fell to pieces and we had to buy a new one on credit, which wasn’t easy to obtain. However, making prompt and weekly payments of $315 pesos, my moto will be paid for in 14 weeks! Yippee!!

We have regular expenses such as tortillas (now $14 pesos per kilo), gas for the vehicles which every month is more expensive, clothing and shoes for a growing pre-teen and during the dry season, feed for the animals. Then there are the occasional expenses such as my current quest to become a Mexican resident (See Getting Legal–Trip 1 and Trip 2). And finally, there are emergency expenses like last week when my husband accidentally sliced open his arm with the machete while cutting grass for the horses and had to get stitches.

Since employment is iffy at best (See The Working Man) for my husband and I, becoming self-sufficient has been essential to our survival.

We have been able to eliminate some expenses entirely.

We have no running water, so we bring our water from nearby springs in water storage containers instead of supporting the Pepsi and Coke companies that sell water in garafones (water jugs) here. (See Water Woes) We do not have electricity, so we don’t have that bill to worry about. We use a power converter from our truck battery to run or charge the occasional electric appliances we use, like the blender for salsa, or the laptop and DVD player. Not having a refrigerator also means only buying what can be consumed in a day, so no prepared frozen foods for us.  (See Simple Living)

We have been able to reduce some of our daily expenses to next to nothing.

live simply corn.jpg

Our mini-orchard provides us with limones (limes), duraznos (peaches), guayabas, naranjas (oranges), chayotes, chillimoyas, and moras (blackberries) in season. La Yacata provides us with nopales (cactus), pitayas, (See Picking Pitayas) and tunas (See Picking Tunas) in season. Our goats provide us with meat and milk (See Separating the Sheep and the Goats) and our poultry (See Why did the chicken cross the road) with eggs and meat. We plant maiz, calabaza and frijol (corn, squash and beans)–the three sisters–for both us and our animals. We have also recently decided that our weekly loaf of Bimbo bread was a luxury item, so now we make our own, cutting our expenses from $24 pesos for one processed loaf to $15 pesos for 2 loaves of home-baked organic goodness.

donkey riders

It would be some advantage to live a primitive and frontier life, though in the midst of an outward civilization, if only to learn what are the gross necessaries of life and what methods have been taken to obtain them–Henry David Thoreau

Our wardrobes have been reduced to a few serviceable sets of clothing that are replaced when needed. Our cleaning supplies have been reduced to soap and water, a broom, a mop, a rag, and bucket. Our entertainment expenses consist of board games, horse or donkey rides (See Donkey Races in La Yacata), long walks, bike rides, visiting friends and relatives, reading, gardening and the occasional incidental adventure or two, all of which cost next to nothing.

When we moved to México, we decided to make a fresh start and live within our means. It has been an ongoing process and one that hasn’t been easy. It has required a rethinking of our lives, not just how we spent our money, and reclassifying many things that we thought were essentials as luxuries. (See Forcibly Green-Obligatory Organic) Our diet, our spending habits, and our family has changed dramatically in the 7 years we have been here. I can’t say that it’s been a bad thing becoming solvent.

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