Surviving Resource Shortages
This is for more than people building their survival pepper supply kit. It’s for everyone! Remember COVID? It’s awful when the convenience we’re used to as shoppers goes away fast and supplies become rare. This is what has happened in the past, and it will continue happening in the future.
Think back to times when we’ve experienced shortages of supplies. There have been lines for gasoline. We’ve seen periodic shelf clearings of staples before winter weather. The power outage lasted for days, so people couldn’t use the faucet for clean water.
During the pandemic, there was a shortage of things like toilet paper, food, hand sanitizer, and baby formula. People also bought a lot of pet food and first aid supplies.
It’s an unsettling feeling – one that survival preppers hope to avoid. To prepare for shortages, learn what causes them, handle scarcity, and reduce its impact on your family.
Understanding the Many Causes of Shortages
To be ready for shortages, first, learn why they happen so you can plan ahead. We noticed that the pandemic disrupted the supply chains for various reasons.
During this time, we noticed decreased supplies like medicine, food, technology, and car parts.
Sometimes, a country gets raw materials from another to make something for consumers. When something interrupts this supply chain for one reason or another, it can cause shortages worldwide.
Read this – 2021 Texas power crisis
During the pandemic, some manufacturers closed to prevent the disease from spreading. This led to a shortage of workers and halted production, leaving stores without goods.
You’ll often see that it doesn’t take a major problem to disrupt everyone’s access to products. Even small circumstances can result in scarcity issues. These issues are usually fixed fast, and the consumer may not even notice it happened.
There are other reasons why we may experience shortages of goods. Weather can impact our access to enough fruits and vegetables in certain places.
They might cost more if available because there aren’t many, and many people want them. Occasionally, severe storms affect people’s access to essential items.
A good example is when extreme cold or hot conditions force a surge in grid usage. Sometimes, companies do rolling blackouts to save energy. During these blackouts, you won’t have any power or water.
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A weather event, like a flood, can make it hard to get electricity and water nearby. If stores shut down, you might be unable to buy food or use electronic payments.
Gas prices and availability concern consumers. This can also affect other industries. There may be a dispute between two countries about regulations or sanctions.
Peace of Mind Is Gained Through Scarcity Preparedness
If there’s one reason why survivalists prepare ahead of time, it’s to gain peace of mind. They want to go through life knowing that if anything occurs on a local or even wide scale for a short or long period, they and their family members will be capable of enduring it with ease.
One thing you want to do is be able to somewhat predict what kind of scarcity you may have with the supplies that you need and want in your life. This requires you to be able to forecast global events and weather trends.
Of course, you don’t have a crystal ball and can’t predict the future. However, you can stay informed and recognize where there might be potential shortages so that you can be proactive more than what you usually do in your survival preparations on a day-to-day basis.
Related – Survival Prepping 101 – Part 2: Water
You will already be stocking up on the supplies you and your family need, but when you get an impending shortage, you can take additional action to reduce the effect of that shortage even more.
Many people like to tune out of the local or global news. DON’T! Being aware of what’s happening politically, socially, economically, and in terms of climate and health news will give you leverage in a scarcity situation.
When the pandemic shortages began, many people in the middle states of America were paying attention to news reports about store shelves being wiped out on the East and West coasts.
Because most people weren’t prepared ahead of time, as soon as the news hit, the survival preppers were able to scoop up more of the supplies that others did not get. The unprepared found out about the shortages after they got off work and then realized that there was an issue looming.
Sometimes, the news that you will hear is going to be so specific that you’ll know exactly what supplies are in danger of being short period may be based on where the supplies come from or the type of issue that is occurring, such as a health issue where hand sanitizer might be necessary.
Try to understand the political tensions brewing worldwide to know if a particular conflict will impede the supply chain. You need to know what types of goods come from which area so that you know if there is a problem in that geographic location, you’ll want to stock up on extra supplies ahead of time.
Once you identify a potential problem area, you want to increase your purchases without going into full panic buying mode. You don’t want your entire family scouring local stores, but you do want to gradually and systematically increase your purchases because you will pay attention early on and have the time to do so.
This will require you to go through your records to see what you already have on hand and predict what your family will need for those items in the near future. Remember, this doesn’t just include food and water, hygiene products, first aid, and pet supplies; you must add personal items.
When you have your list, spend part of your prepper budget on securing more of these items instead of others you may have planned to buy for a rainy day. You don’t want to buy more than what your family needs if it is something that may spoil or that could be considered a wasted resource if you have too much of it when others need it more.
In a worst-case scenario, you will get one of the issues that will cause an extreme supply shortage, and you have no time to prepare. You can go ahead and place orders of items that are in stock and can be delivered to your home, but you can also go out in your local community and find what you need for yourself and your loved ones.
And if you do, you’ll often see that stores are price gouging for those items. During the pandemic, we saw people selling off the goods that they had gathered in those immediate days at a high price, and you don’t want to blow a budget having to purchase items in that way.
If this does happen, you want to keep an eye on supply chains and place orders ahead so that when things do come back in stock, your order will be filled, and you will have some of the delayed stock being sent to you rather than waiting until all of the store shelves are full again.
During the pandemic, it took many months for many big cities to see store shelves fully stocked with what they used to have. You could walk down a pasta aisle and see very few boxes or bags of consumer goods, and this was a startling, eye-opening event for many individuals who then turned into serious preppers.
Immediate Adjustments to Be Made When Supplies Are Short
In addition to quickly securing some supplies if the shortage is imminent, there are other adjustments you need to make instantly. The first thing you have to do is prioritize your family’s needs.
When supplies are dwindling, you need to focus on what’s a necessity rather than a preference and then learn how to conserve what’s left of the supplies you do have on hand.
You may have to teach them how to minimize consumption while meeting their basic needs. This is good to do ahead of time anyway, but if you haven’t done it to date, now is the time to do it.
Start by prioritizing food needs. You want to get foods that will last on your shelf for as long as possible, such as dried beans, rice, or canned goods. If you can purchase specific dehydrated survival food buckets and MREs, that’s also a good option.
It’s essential that each member of your family has their caloric needs met as well as their nutritional needs in terms of vitamins and minerals. Water is even more important than food, and if the item that will be scarce is electricity, that could affect your drinking water.
Make sure you have plenty of water purification options but also pay attention to the news to see if you need to immediately fill containers in your home for a short-term grid-down situation where you wouldn’t have access to water.
Related – Human Psychology in Survival Situations
You may want to go back and look at which medications and other items were affected during the pandemic regarding supply chain interruptions. If anyone in your family has a specific prescription that is in danger of being scarce, you may want to ask their healthcare provider if they can have an extra refill that you can order when something is about to happen.
We saw a short supply of personal protection gear during the pandemic. Things like N95 masks, gloves, and filters were hard to find. You can order these far in advance so that you have them on hand in case of another health emergency.
If it’s a weather situation with a strain on the grid, you may need to walk your family through some energy conservation methods that limit the amount of power they are using and conserve resources in the home.
Some of the adjustments will include rationing supplies. This may mean slight discomfort from what they are used to, but it will help ensure that your supplies last through the survival event.
There may be a more severe situation where you run out of cleaning wipes. For example, you must make your cleaners out of bleach and other items and use torn clothing as a substitute for your normal cleaning rags.
A little bit of creativity may help you get through some scarcity situations. While it may be a little uncomfortable compared to what they are used to, it won’t be as disastrous as not having access to any supplies whatsoever.
Try to teach your family how to repurpose or substitute items whenever you are out of a supply they wish they had on hand. During the pandemic, people made their own hand sanitizer and taught others how to do the same online when supplies dwindled to nothing.
If the survival situation lasts long, you may need to use your knowledge and skills to adjust to the limited supply. For example, this may mean gardening and growing your own food or canning it so that it lasts.
Being Resourceful and Adapting When Supplies Are Scarce
In addition to adjusting how you use your resources, you must adapt in other ways. First and foremost, there’s a psychological resilience that you must develop whenever you are dealing with shortages of items that you are used to having at your fingertips.
This can be more difficult for families with younger children who may not understand the crisis that is looming at that time. But it’s not easy for adults to navigate, and it will take a mental toll on your well-being if you are unprepared to deal with these stressful times.
Make sure you’re aware of and ready to deal with the stress and anxiety that can be triggered whenever your family has to go a long period without something they need or want.
Make sure you don’t react in anger to them or even to yourself when these emotions bubble to the surface. Feeling this type of disappointment and fear is normal, especially if it feels like a necessity, such as water, electricity, and food.
The awareness that you will tap into for your family is not something you need to avoid just to keep your stress levels down. You must stay aware, but that doesn’t mean immersing yourself in negative fear-mongering 24/7.
If you or anyone in your family is experiencing heightened anxiety over scarcity issues, make sure you are cultivating a positive outlook for your family based on gratitude for what you have and help them engage in some relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and meditation.
Read this – Food Preps When You Lack Money
If you have to make adjustments, such as learning how to garden and preserve your own food, try to make it a fun activity that is interesting rather than a chore that is just another burden everyone has to deal with.
Let them know that this form of self-reliance will make them more resilient against any situation where others are nervous, and they can be confident that they will easily get through it.
If you take a proactive approach before there is a shortage, they will learn how to engage in things like portion control and water and power conservation and find happiness in the various creative ways they can reuse or repurpose items so that they are not simply wasting things with an overabundant lifestyle.
This may seem like a very eco-friendly, sustainable slant based on an environmental issue, but it can also serve you well with supply chain shortages.
Community Networking for In-demand Items That Are Short on Supply
Now that we’ve gone over what you can do personally, you also want to focus on how your community can work to support you if there is some scarcity issue. Before this type of situation unfolds, you want to build a network in your community so that you know your neighbors and you know who you can exchange resources with if and when you need them.
The kind of networking you want to do is not being isolated to the point where you don’t have anyone to turn to if you are in a dire situation and there is a resource you desperately need for your family’s well-being.
This type of tight-knit community is also vital for safety reasons when there are shortages. It provides additional security when neighbors are working together to protect community members. Still, it also allows you to share skills and knowledge, such as how to grow a garden or repair something if there are things in short supply.
There’s a sense of emotional relief when you know you can turn to a neighbor or community member to discuss your fears and find help with something you need assistance with.
You can either join a local community group or start one yourself and open up the channel of communication between your particular neighborhood or town. You might do this by exchanging phone numbers, starting an email list where you can send out a newsletter, or planning in-person meetups with like-minded individuals.
Some people are starting survival communities where everyone approved to join the community brings something the other neighbors don’t have regarding knowledge or supplies, such as a big tractor.
If you start one of these groups, not only do you want to make plans for sharing resources, but also help with the exchange of knowledge. This can be planning training sessions where one neighbor teaches the others how to do something.
If your local community doesn’t yet have a food bank, you may want to start one. During the pandemic, some local individuals would set up a personal food bank at the end of their driveway so that people who couldn’t find food at their grocery store could simply take what they needed and leave what they had to share.
Emergency Response Services Can Help Shore Up Some Supplies
Preppers never want to fully rely on the government or emergency services regarding their needs and supplies. However, if you are in a situation where shortages are happening, you want to be aware of what is being offered so that you can take advantage of it if and when needed.
Emergency personnel will usually show up and serve local communities after a major weather event like a hurricane. You can get food, water, shelter, and other needs if this happens.
Many preppers will show up for basic supplies even if they have plenty of supplies because if they don’t show up, neighbors will know they have a stock on hand, making them a target for theft.
Being prepared for shortages will allow you to react calmly if anything happens to cause goods to be in scarce supply. There may be things you didn’t expect to occur, but your resilient mindset and ability to adapt will serve you well in those instances.
I’m the daughter of 2 original survivalists who moved from the north to sunny Florida. My mother, along with her parents, bought 30 mostly uncleared acres in 1938. The first home was made of pecky-cypress and built by a house-raising. My mother raised 10,000 chickens.
My divorced mother met and married my father in 1948. From pine trees on our property, he hand-built a log cabin. He also built a tarpaper-lined 65’x45′ pool with duck pond overflow. We had an artesian well for our water and powering our hand-built waterwheel for the pool. He built a substantial cantilevered roof workshop with a car pit in the massive cement floor.
Since my early teens, I have read a ton of books about survival, prepping, the bomb, an apocalypse, homestead living, and SHTF situations. As an adult, I continue to read sci-fi, survival prepping, and science. I practice a prepper lifestyle albeit a bit modified, read a lot, buy a lot, pack/store a lot of anything survival related.
Read my About Me post for more details on our self-sufficient living. I lived there until I went to college in 1968.
My SurvivalPrepperSupply.com blog strives to educate individuals on coping with natural and human-caused disasters using article posts about preparing for emergencies.