Americans Aren’t Experiencing REAL Shortages Yet. We’re Just Living with Limited Options

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted

Imagine going to the store to pick up some everyday item – say, body wash for the shower – and not being able to find your usual brand. In fact, you can’t find any brand. The store is completely out so you have to go with bar soap.

In the grand scheme of life, this isn’t a big deal. Soap is soap is soap, right?  But in the United States, we have become spoiled with choices. In even a small-town store, there are dozens of options for body wash, lotion, toothpaste, and all the other things we consider necessary to live a civilized life. Don’t like the fragrance? Just go with a different brand. That laundry soap works better on your delicates and this one works better on work clothes.

Options.

Options.

Options.

This is NOT how it is in other countries. In fact, you regularly have to substitute something else entirely for the item you went to the store to purchase.

I would imagine that is also similar to how it may look in the US as the supply chain continues to crumble and personal finances keep plummeting. After all, in places like Venezuela and Greece, we watched on the news as people stood in long lines hoping to find basics like soap, diapers, rice, and cash from the ATM.

In the spirit of adaptability and resilience, let’s talk about life with limited options.

Some Americans are already accustomed to life with limited options.

Some folks are in positions in which you eat what you’re served, you use the products that are supplied, and you drink the coffee that is available. Your options are to take it or to leave it. People deployed overseas to dangerous places have a few choices on the base instead of the dozens of choices they’d have in the US. This has prepared them for the retail austerity that we’re just lately beginning to see in the United States.

Folks who have lived in poverty for a long period of time tend to be accustomed to a lack of choices because their decision-making is largely driven by price. You don’t see a lot of people who are truly struggling using salon-quality shampoo – they pick up a bottle of Suave or the store brand.

Also, folks in remote areas have fewer choices due to limited transportation. They have a couple of different stores to go to, and the stores must stock the products that most people want, not a broad assortment of specialty items. The advent of Amazon and other internet merchants has helped those in isolated areas have a broader selection, but if the item is needed right away, the choices are fewer.

But the culture of abundance in the US is changing.

We’ve published quite a number of articles on this website about the fragility of our supply chain. Not only are grocery stores showing the strain, but so are clothing stores, hardware stores, appliance stores, and places like Walmart and Target.

All you have to do is walk into any department store. Where do you see the bare spots? That’s where the products we used to get from China used to be. It should be a vast shock and an awakening that so much of our manufacturing has gone to China to give us our quick fix of shoddy yet shiny merchandise at low prices. Nearly all the things that are now limited are because either the product itself or a vital component of it is made in China. Months ago, I warned that we’d soon be seeing supply chain issues of these essentials that formerly landed on a regular basis from China.

And this is just the beginning.

The difference between a lack of options and shortages

The word “shortage” is being thrown around a lot and it’s being misused. The Cambridge Dictionary defines the word shortage as “a situation in which there is not enough of something; a lack of something that is needed.” We had a shortage in toilet paper and cleaning supplies last year, but if we’re being pedantic, we are not currently suffering from “shortages” in food or consumer goods.

What we’re experiencing right now is a limit of options. No longer can you walk into the store and have 17 shades of beige from which to select your bathroom towels. When bopping around internet forums and chat groups, I’ve seen people complaining about this type of thing. We’ve lived for so long with such an abundance of variety that to many folks, it seems positively unthinkable to no longer be able to spend a half-hour waffling between cerulean, navy, and indigo for your placemats.

But it’s important to be clear that at this point, we may not have huge numbers of options, but we can still eat food from every food group, clean our homes, buy socks and underwear, and get dish soap. Real shortages are when there’s simply nothing to buy.

I’ve lived outside the US for most of the past two and a half years, in southern Europe and Mexico, and the type of choices we have in American stores is absolutely unheard of elsewhere. I wrote about the grocery stores:

Let’s take meat, for example. Here in the United States, our stores have a lengthy expanse with hundreds of packages of meat down one aisle of the store. Outside the United States (at least where I spent most of my time) you had a little corner with a couple of chilled cases of meat. In those cases you could find chicken in perhaps three forms – whole, cut up with bone-in, and chicken breasts. For beef, you might find a roast and ground meat. With pork, you might be able to get a tenderloin, a larger bone-in roast, and some pork chops.

Moving along to other sections of the store, produce is not a vast corner with 25% of the contents of the store. It was a small section and the options were fairly basic. You didn’t have 17 brands or types of potatoes from which to choose. You just had potatoes in general in a large bin where you reached in and bagged your own.

There was food, and plenty of it. It was just that you didn’t have 29 different brands of salad dressing. You didn’t have as much processed food. You had access to basics. (source)

So while right now it feels like we have shortages, there are really only a few things that are actually in short supply. Currently, in comparison with many other parts of the world, we still live in the land of plenty. The sooner you adapt to limitations, the better off you will be when true shortages occur.

Living with limited options

The key to not feeling deprived is learning to live within our current limitations. Whether that is a lack of food options, undesirable homekeeping items, or a lack of money, we need to learn to manage this. Here are a few tips to help adapt.

Try to think in terms of “different” instead of “worse.” The most important thing of all is to adjust your mindset away from one of deprivation. Where I live currently is beautiful with a year round growing season. Glorious, farm fresh produce is everywhere. But you can’t find the same kinds of processed foods that are readily available in the United States. At least in the part of Mexico where I live, you can’t pop into the grocery store and buy a frozen dinner or a frozen pizza or the same brands and flavors of potato chips they have in the US. I’ve heard ex-pats complaining about the “lack” of food when it’s literally growing all around us. But it’s different and some people are creatures of habit. Different is difficult for them.

I choose to look at the local food options and see them as a culinary adventure. I ask the local vendors how to cook things like jicama and plantain and they’re nearly always happy to make suggestions. (Although sometimes our conversations take place via a translate app on our phones.)

Your favorite brand of detergent isn’t there? Well, there are two kinds to choose from and the ingredients to make your own. Therefore, laundry soap is available.

Learn to cook with different cuts of meat and in-season produce. Maybe you wanted to make beef stew but there’s no stew meat available. Grab an inexpensive cut of roast beef and either ask the butcher counter to cut it up for you or cut it up into stew meat yourself once you get home. Learn to debone a chicken (here’s a quick video) and be sure to put those bones in the freezer to make some stock later on.

Start shopping for seasonal fruits and vegetables. You’ll save money, eat better, and you’ll be looking for what’s available as opposed to blueberries in December.

Buy locally. I can’t say this enough – you need to shorten your supply chain. By limiting the distance your products must travel to get to you, you will naturally have a more abundant selection. If I were to buy household goods here in Mexico, I could easily find pottery and copper, but stainless steel is an item that comes from much further away, and therefore, my selection is very limited.

This is true of household goods, manufactured goods, and food. Focusing on a local diet is essential for self-reliance.

Produce what you can. Are you producing or simply consuming? Surviving the current economy requires that you be a producer instead of a consumer. It’s not enough just to buy locally. You need to also be producing some goods. Building, sewing, needlecrafts, gardening, foraging, hunting, and animal husbandry skills will be more and more important.

Make sure to stock up on heirloom seeds while you can, as well as supplies and tools for the other items you produce. As well, learn multiple ways to preserve your extra food so that you have plenty to eat when harvest time has passed.

Make things last. Learning to mend, repair, maintain, and alter the goods you already have means you don’t need to replace them as often. Most folks really don’t think about how quickly things wear out when you use the same items all the time. My wardrobe is small since I’m mobile, so I’ve been wearing things out a lot more over the past two years. I hadn’t considered how often I replaced socks or how quickly I’d wear through shoes if I only have a couple of pairs for every day use.  I’ve never darned socks so much in my entire life.

Being able to alter clothing for growing children and for hand-me-downs can help reduce your wardrobe budget as well. Maintaining your essential tools means they will be in good shape when you need them most urgently. Instead of replacing, start repairing. A lot of small components are becoming more difficult to find, so get your spare parts now. Keep a few handy items on hand for quick fixes.

Use creative problem-solving skills. Finally, the most important thing is to learn to solve your problems creatively. Whether you call it workarounds or MacGuyvering, figuring out ways to fix things or make them using limited supplies is one of a preppers most vital skills.

When you have a repair done in Mexico, sometimes the handyman will ask you if you want it done the American way or the Mexican way. The American way will be prettier and the “proper” way to fix it while the Mexican way will be a little more labor intensive, require easy-to-obtain parts, and will be a whole lot cheaper. That’s why the USB port in my Jeep was repaired instead of replaced and why my bathtub gets filled using a garden hose that hooks up under the bathroom sink.

You may look at these kinds of alternatives right now with disdain, but I assure you that the ability to create a “redneck repair” will serve you well in the future.

This doesn’t mean there are no shortages.

There certainly are shortages of things like deep freezers, canning jars, certain automotive components, and specific foods. But we’re still at a point where we can work around this and keep living a lifestyle that is fairly normal.

However, it may not always be that way. As our economy continues to crumble we’ll see fewer imports and less manufacturing. After all, how are people without money going to buy consumer items? We could reach a point at which even if you have money, the items you want to buy are unavailable.

Start living more simply and going by the Great Depression credo: use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

Are options limited where you live?

Are you noticing limited options of specific items in your area? If so, what items are in short supply? How are you adapting to the differences in inventory? Do you have a plan to weather the shortages ahead?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She publishes content about current events, preparedness, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. On her new website, The Frugalite, she shares thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Americans Aren\'t Experiencing REAL Shortages Yet. We\'re Just Living with Limited Options
Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Excellent article- once again, you’ve picked a nail and hit it on the head. I agree with you that the “shortage” versus “options” introspection is lacking in many people. My partner and I have what we call “wants v needs” discussions. When I first really adopted prepping last year, it was a conversation we had almost daily. Salt was a need, soy sauce a want.

    I do the market shopping for us, and typically go 1x per week. Because of what I learned on this site, we shop to a menu and a small replacement list. I set aside a certain amount for the market each week and if I don’t spend it on the list, I look at the recommendations of “buy this each time you go to the store”. I track the price of staples very closely. Now, your article is about availability, but I am seeing a trend of availability and inflation going hand in hand. I saw, for instance, that the price of eggs sourced from a local farm (our market calls that info out on purpose) jumped 60 cents in 3 weeks. Can I still get eggs? Yes (and my chickens have started laying again a spring approaches). Will the eggs from outside our local area start to not be available? Possibly.

    An additional tactic I have seen, referencing the China items at Walmart from above, is that stores will say that the company has chosen to “discontinue” the item, and will backfill their shelves with other products. “Discontinue” is a non-scary way to tell people “we can’t get that anymore”. I saw this a LOT in Dec/Jan up here in the North, and it was always the most random thing- ingredients for Chinese food (you could not get rice vinegar to save your life), or water filters for Brita pitchers, or certain brands of pickles.

    We are spoiled, as a country, on the whole, with the variety of what we can get and the frequency with which we can get it. Your observations on food chain differences are also illuminating. Our relationship to food here in America is very immediate- the fact that you can order McDonald’s through DoorDash is extremely telling. Who needs fast food faster? [side note: I know someone who does this routinely and it blows my mind]. I once had the opportunity to spend a week in Paris with my partner when we first got together and we used a little market a couple blocks down from where we were staying. The fridge is small, no freezer, and the chickens were sold with the head feathers still on. It wasn’t shocking, so much as different- I can’t imagine the average American walking into a Kroger or Food Lion and seeing chickens dressed out with the head still on! Our relationship with food is also very industrial- packaging, convenience, etc.

    Apologies for the long post, but this article is so informative- not just for what it calls out, but for what it should be making all of us think about- want v need.

    • GhostViking,

      I have 20 hens and because I extended daylight hours in the chicken coop (using solar driveway lights), my hens never completely stopped laying. You can get a couple from Lowe’s/Amazon/etc., activate them, put them out during the day and move them into the coop at night. The ones I bought advertise that they will keep lit for 8 hours, but actually only do 5. However, that is enough to keep egg production up. I never had fewer than 4 eggs per day.

  • Merchants are not discounting damaged & dated items as much as they used to.
    They have seen People are desperate for bargains and cut 30% instead of 50%

    • My mother brought a refrigerator last month from best buy. The sales girl told her that if it was dented my mother should still keep it because it was hard to get resupplies of refrigerator. My mother informed her that it was damaged she was sending it back. She was not going to spend that much money for damaged goods. My mother’s refrigerator was in stock and okay. The delivery guy said most Americans were buying the cheaper brands and not spending for the higher end appliances which is why my mother’s fridge was in stock. My mother’s refrigerator was not a higher end, but mid range. However it does show the state of the economy.

  • Less “options” for some items might not be a bad idea in my book. How much time do we spend deciding what “hue” of beige for a towel? And do some items (say shampoo), *really* do as advertised (moisture, volume, de-frizz, to name a few)? Retailers know the more time people spend in the store, the more likely they will spend more money. In our home, that is not true. Both of us will only spend so much time then we’re on our way to check-out (providing said retailer had what we needed). Shopping is used for entertainment (and “therapy” for some). I can find better uses for my time.

    • “Shopping is used for entertainment (and “therapy” for some).”

      This is such a good point and it’s part of the reason so many people wonder where their money went and why they don’t have enough leftover for bills. I personally detest shopping so I was always baffled when a friend would call me up and say, “Let’s go shopping.” I’d ask, “For what?” and they’d say, “You know, just shopping.”

      It’s a terrible form of entertainment.

  • My mindset is living a life of thankfulness. It will serve me well in encountering limited options. I was real disappointed that I couldn’t find the bacon I normally purchase during the beginning of the pandemic and what was available was very high priced. I remembered to be thankful that I had a lot of sausage in the freezer already and it would work very well in place of bacon for breakfast. Needless to say, I now purchase the bacon in larger quantities whether I currently need it or not when I see it. 🙂 This might seem like a silly comment, but when I couldn’t find it, I was sad!

    • It’s not a silly comment! I also live in a gratitude mindset. If I’ve got food, shelter, water, and clothing than I have more than 75% of the world has, and I’m grateful. In fact I had the “needs vs wants” conversation with myself last night, and chose to cook my own supper from food that I put up last year rather than spend $30 getting supper delivered. Adapting our thinking is IMO a most crucial skill. Those who adapt to circumstances will succeed. Those who continue to be devastated because they have to settle for indigo place mats when they wanted navy won’t survive. And hey, I’ve been using Suave for years. In whatever scent options I have to choose from.

      • Yup, gratitude certainly plays a large part of my thinking and adaptation. Also, though I am well off, I have always been frugal, and censor my choices based on price. And buy meat when the price is really low. And pressure can meat, soup, stew, vegetables. Most of all, I remember a (faux) uncle of mine, veteran of both WW2 and Korea, who was a POW in Korea, saying that many a prisoner died of ‘menus’. That is, when faced with wormy, watery rice and not much else, they dreamed/compared it with their diet back home, and refused to eat, with expected consequences. Adventures in eating, rather than feeling deprived — in reality, manipulating your own thinking, can be life-saving both physically and emotionally.

    • I love bacon but seldom use it except as a seasoning. I now buy precooked crumbled bacon that equals 5 lbs of bacon in a zip lock bag at Walmart. It makes good tasting gravy to top hubs biscuits or flavor cornbread ect. It’s even good in place of ham in split pea soup. Its aurprising how long a bag lasts. And without a refrigerator I don’t have to worry about keeping it. We haven’t had electricity in 14 months. Doing fine without it. Solar chargers for phone and batteries. Inverter in car for battery tools. Using more hand tools for construction and kitchen needs.
      Parents born in 1904 and 1907 lived through the Great Depression and knew older ways and newer ways. I still have hand planes and a brace and bits in the shop and hand egg beaters etc in my kitchen. Raised my kids to know those things as well.

      • can you tell me where u found this type of bacon in walmart and isle where its found thanks Mark

  • “Are you noticing limited options of specific items in your area?”

    just ammo. not really something where you can just improvise alternatives.

    • No there is no substitute for ammo but you can choose to buy Remington hollow points instead of Hornaday critical defense. This is what the point of the article is. The selection of everything is low and may never come back

  • “Do you have a plan to weather the shortages ahead?”

    find local producers and patronize them now, help them to build up now.

  • I’m in the Midwest and do see fewer options at many places like WalMart and Hyvee. The big shock for me, being the owner of several adopted cats, is the catfood shortage! Especially cans. Yikes.

    • Yes! Canned cat food shortage! We have 2 cats that eat a combination of dry and wet foods. This past fall the wet brand my cats liked seemed to be limited in the variety of flavors so I got them accustomed to that. Now, though since January, the shelves are actually empty in every store I’ve been able to go to. I was in Walmart today and was shocked, actually at all the bare cat food shelves. We’ve lived in and moved in 2 different states since November. I have had the opportunity to shop in 4 states because we lived in the corners of the 2 states. All the states had empty cat food shelves. My local grocery had a sign last week apologizing to all the cats. I have started mail ordering my cat food, though the company has some items out of stock also.

      • deb rowley, For certain the cat food AND cat litter. We buy basic clay for our two as DH won’t pay for the clumping kind LOL. Our elderly cat got put on a prescription diet kidney food last year. EVERYBODY is out including the vet now, ( I bought the last case, sorry), her pricing is the same as Chewy so if we needed to before the Chewy order was delivered I could pick up a couple of cans or a small bag of the dry. The vet is not sure how long it will be before she gets more, Chewy says the same thing on a lot of the prescription foods. The other one has the regular food both of them had been eating, he’s only 3 and very healthy. We had bought a big bag of dry food and 4 boxes of the wet food awhile back. So we have plenty of food for him. The stores around here seem to be getting supplies in, NOT full shelves but looks like everyone can get something they need so far. Limits are still in place but My DIL2 and I pick stuff up for each other when needed.

        • For cat litter I switched to free sawdust my neighbor gives me (he has his own saw mill) It works great for my cats. Just an out of the box idea

      • Let the house kitty out we got from a shelter as is my custom at about 5am. At 630am cat came back with a rabbit in it’s mouth, dropped the rabbit next to the food bowl and ate some dry food. The rabbit came out of it’s stunned state and I chased it through the house for 20 minutes until I could shew it threw the door.

        I’m of a mindset the cat will out live me.

  • So, what you’re telling me to be prepared for disappointment the next time I am back in the land of the Big BX.

    My wife laughs at me when I darn my socks, saying I can afford new ones, but that’s not how I ever ticked 😉

    • Alarmist, based on your reference to the Big BX, I assume you are military. If you are, be prepared for a shocker at commissaries here in CONUS. I am in the Camp Lejeune NC area so have visited most of the commissaries within a 150 mile radius since COVID. What I have been told by some of the store managers is “the commissaries are in trouble.” Initially in February 2020 the commissaries were very well stocked. That lasted for only a month or so into the plandemic. After that it has been like going into the aftermath of a war zone. There were periods of time when the meat bins were completely blocked off by plastic sheeting because there was nothing in them. Just today I went to one of the larger bases and saw signs all over (that have been put in place since early last year) apologizing for not having certain items in stock. Honestly in this area the quality of things is not that great and the prices are high compared to what you can buy out in town food wise. Very sad.

    • I darn my socks all of the time. I am not poor and can easily afford to replace them new. I just don’t like the idea. I have a stock of brand new socks of different kinds (mostly white athletic socks and military boot socks), but those are for if SHTF and when my repaired socks finally give up the ghost beyond my sewing skills. I usually darn socks at night while watching TV. One of my sisters asked how I could darn my socks if we had a serious electrical outage. I said its easy. Pull a light bulb during the day and darn in the sun. Simply change the routine. Bless my mom for teaching me these skills and the military for reinforcing them.

      • Have to laugh,but mama was right.Illusion of choice and abundance is cracked and Americans are learning why g.ma or g.g.gramps did things a certain way and maybe Hoarded a little-they were the original preppers!I darn my socks,mend my raggedy quilt,use old t.shirts for washcloths or bags,been making my own coffee,tea blends,salad dressing,laundry soap,candles,yogurt,icecream,makeup,pillows,etc.RE. The commissaries,I am So sorry this country has so much $ for certain subcontractors acting as military then losing or wasting Insane amounts of $ while active duty has expensive housing and food if you can secure it.At least you are not fed raw,undercooked,moldy,dangerous food like the troops in d.c.

        • b,

          Bad food for the military is almost traditional. History tells us about moldy bread, wormy hardtack, salt pork and beef poorly preserved, etc. It hasn’t entirely changed. I never got bad food in a Marine Corps mess hall, or an Army one for that matter. Navy and Air Force mess halls, on the other hand, I had poor luck with. Navy food just tasted crappy. Air Force food caused me dysentery twice. Once in Vietnam and once in Desert Storm. In fact, nearly the entire Wing got sick in Desert Storm. When the Wing Commander crapped himself while in flight, we knew there would be hell to pay at the chow hall. There was. We could hear the Wing King yelling at the mess sergeant and mess officer at the other end of the camp. I stopped eating in the chow hall in Vietnam and we paid our hooch maids to cook food for us. Of course it was Vietnamese food, but we never got sick and the food was good. Weird sometimes (like dog stew, monkey, water buffalo, etc), but when in Rome…

  • For the last 20 years our grocery shopping consisted of (in order):
    1. Farmer’s Markets (we are very lucky here in Silicon Valley that there are a plethora of them)
    2. Whole Foods
    3. Sprouts (or as I like to call them “Whole Foods Lite”)

    What little “processed food” we consume consists of things like milk, butter, eggs, cheese, etc. The “pandemic” saw the bulk sections of both stores shut down. Although you can get pre-bagged packages of some items, I miss making my own choice as to how much of what. But it’s a minor annoyance.

    No longer seeing shortages of paper products. Instead of driving all over the place to get certain personal care products, I started ordering them online last year.

    On a BRIGHT note: The local nurseries are jam-packed with wonderful selections!!! Prices are a bit higher, but the “options” are incredible.

    The ONE THING I will not scrimp on (aside from hair color…blue black) is the food I feed my cat. The local Pet Club has incredible prices (much lower than online). Like humans, the better quality food you feed your pet the less health problems he/she will likely develop.

    Oh, and being a vegetarian doesn’t hurt either. Veggies are a lot cheaper than animal flesh.

  • Daisy,
    Just for reporting purposes I live in the Cleveland, Ohio area and most of our shopping is done at Costco and Mark’s a little at Heinens. We have noticed a little less of everything and none of certain things. We still can’t get Lysol spray. Meat is in supply however, not with the variety and amount. There are sporadic shortages of everything. Costco staples I have used for years are not there now. Not a great inconvenience but annoying. We try to use local sources as much as we can, small local markets are booming in our area and always busy. I grow my own produce as much as I can and have a small hydroponic unit during the winter I still like my fresh herbs and salads. I try to use organic food as much as I can so we have local sources of meats and eggs. I have already talked to all of them about the future and they say they remember their steady customers and have them on e-mailing lists. I do get e-mails from them but not very often.
    As of this point anything we can’t get we are able to substitute other things for. I maintain exsess supplies of certain things like medical supplies and ammunition. My camper is now fully stocked in case I feel its time to get out of town, for what ever reason. We didn’t experiance the social unrest here that was scene in other cities. Cleveland’s mayor did not allow things to get out of hand and immediately brought in the National Guard. He actually did a good job of keeping things under control. I live a little over 20 miles away by Freeway and did not feel threatened in any way.
    I thought that people might like to know what is happening in this part of the country. People are still wearing the silly masks and social distincing is still in effect, most of the schools are open and some have closed when infection rates went up. I went to a real crowded restaurant last week, the first time we have seen a crowd in over a year. It was almost strange with all the people, We live in a eastern suburb out of Cuyahoga County which is what Cleveland is in. My two collies are enjoying all the extra attention they are getting since we are home more than ever before however, they miss the traveling we usually do in the camper. I think we will start traveling again this year.
    Things here are not back to normal but are much better than last year. Dewine, our governor is holding back on completely opening the state and people are starting to say enough is enough.
    Well that’s what is going on in Ohio for anyone wondering.
    I feel as prepared as ever and maybe a little more than usual. I still don’t go anywhere unarmed and don’t know if I will ever feel comfortable without a firearm again. I have been carrying most of my life but now I don’t leave home without it. If I can’t carry I don’t go, period. I was a police officer and when I got out I was happy not to carry. I was happy not to be involved. Now I look on that time as a failure to live up to my responsibilities as an American and as a personnel failure. I don’t know about the rest of you but I am ashamed of what I missed going on in this country as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    God bless protect and guide our country and it’s people.

  • While we are working on providing our own food(gardening and egg chickens), eating local is a mystery to me. We are rural but it seems like those who sell local food assume you are a niche market and charge accordingly. That niche are people who make way more money than we do.
    We have a lot of experience with the lack of choice due to prices at the store. You get used to not even really noticing the vast amount of brands out there. Until your article I never thought about people having trouble adapting to a change of choices.

    • I’ve noticed that as well. Used to be you could find locally grown produce cheaper than the grocery store. Not any more, at least not here on Vancouver Island. I still try to buy local or from BC, or from Canada and the USA. Don’t think I’ve bought a food product from China in years. This year we’re growing a bit more of our own.

    • “who sell local food assume you are a niche market and charge accordingly”

      no. that’s just what it costs to raise and sell it by hand. “simple” living is not simple, nor is it cheap.

      • I live in a rural county in the southern US. Here, buying local direct from the farmer is reasonably priced. Like you said, it’s what it cost them to grow, and enough above for a small profit. However, the price of that same farmer’s goods at one of the slightly less local grocery stores— the markup is often exorbitant. Same with local wineries, breweries, and distilleries.

        • “enough above for a small profit”

          right now they can afford the small profit because they’re supported by other activities and their side sales are a hobby. later when the side sales are no longer a hobby but an attempt at subsistence survival you’ll see prices skyrocket.

      • Regardless of the root reason for the prices we simply cannot afford to eat that way. Part of it is niche pricing though. Having grown my own vegetables there is no reason to price ordinary tomatoes at the farmers market higher than the locally owned grocery store.

  • Excellent article. Should reduce the stress to look at it that way.

    Talking about China, I would have expected biden to cancel the trump tariffs on china. I haven’t heard anything about that. If he had done that the “options” should be better. What’s up with that?

  • This may not be an option for everyone, but I buy a half or whole cow at a time. It is cheaper than trying to buy from a grocery store. My butcher is still selling half a cow for 3.59 a pound. It cost more upfront, but steaks, roast, ribs and even hamburger meat is cheaper. A local rancher is now offering to sell his livestock to individuals. He will take it to the butcher for you if need be. Because of where I live, I only shop once a month. There is no grocery store in my county. The nearest HEB is 100 miles away. I see the prices going up from month to month. I am a craigslist junky. A lot of my furniture is used, but in good condition. I pay a fraction of the original cost for these items. I image a lot more people will be shopping there for things they can no longer afford or else can’t find. You can always tell how the economy is doing by seeing what people are selling. They start with their “toys” (antiques, cars, boats, motorbikes, etc.)

    I don’t depend on modern medicine. I do have a place where I order tinctures that are organic for different modalities. It is a mom & pop business.

    I remember what Butch from Homestead Heritage once said. He said in the beginning his wife and him agreed to choose one item not to buy at the store and grow a years worth on their own. They started with green beans. Every year they added more to their list of items they would grow and not buy. They even got some Muscovy (quack less) ducks to raise for meat while they were living in town. There are some people in towns starting to raise rabbits again. I foresee more and more Americans doing the same.

    My goal is to eliminate as much as I can from my shopping list. Milk is my one concern. No one around here is raising milk cows or goats. I buy my milk from a farmer over 4 hours away and freeze it. I miss my dairy goats for this reason. I

    • “No one around here is raising milk cows or goats”

      raise them yourself. be the monopoly, charge double price while everyone is grateful to you.

    • I am canning milk, half and half, cream cheese fir that very rayon. Not enough freezer space and all of it lasts years in cold storage.

  • I’m experiencing great limited options. But what I would like to know is why are the shortages happening at all? Jason Christoff is saying to be completely prepared by June 2021 because it’s coming. What are he and others actually talking about?

    • “why are the shortages happening at all”

      business failures, silent embargos, ukrainian-style holodomors, whatever the actual reasons “they” probably will never tell you. “I’m sorry sir we don’t have that item anymore, I don’t have any further information, please press 1 for other options.” probably gonna hear that a lot more.

      “What are he and others actually talking about?”

      not anything in particular, it’s just something preppers say every year, been saying the same thing for twelve years now, and survivalists (remember them?) for decades previous. “we’re all gonna die!” again.

      that said this present situation – stolen election, zombie “president”, armed occupation of d.c., $4 trillion in new spending right off the bat, “final solution” gun control in the works etc – looks impressively doomy and is touching a lot of red lines. just get ready.

  • I am getting what I need now. Notice I said “need” and not “want.” My shirts are all well over 6 years old. My shoes just gave up the ghost this week after 8 years. I bought a pair of 6 inch boots to replace them. (Hope they last 8 years!)
    Folks…hate to say this but the days of “milk and honey” are probably over. If you like to eat better learn to garden and get to know your local farmers, ranchers, dairy farmers etc. Learn to freeze, can, dehydrate, freeze dry , salt, pickle, etc. I wish I could make peanut M&M’s!
    Lots of “stuff” is getting hard to find. Had a case of that this week. Costs for lumber, electrical, etc are rising in the 100’s of percent: had a case of that today on three projects. One professional and 2 personal. Tribulations are on the horizon.

    • “My shirts are all well over 6 years old”

      what shirts are you wearing, and how do you wash them, that they last six years?

      • I’ve got a bunch of t-shirts over six-years old. Mostly brand name (Gildan, Hanes, etc). Like socks, I repair those little tears and wears myself. I do have some brand-new in my stash, but that is for when the older shirts really need replacement and self-repairs aren’t getting it any more.

        I also have a daughter living nearby who is an accomplished seamstress, as is her mother. Daughter owns an olde-timey treadle sewing machine and a bunch of spare parts. Her mom also knows how to repair it as she learned as a girl growing up in Cuba. There is a country with limited supply and options.

        • “Daughter owns an olde-timey treadle sewing machine and a bunch of spare parts”

          she’ll be the domina of the aftermath. but this guy doesn’t sound like he’s repairing them, sounds like they’re just lasting that long and I’d really like to know how.

          modern clothing seems to be designed to fail in non-repairable ways. pockets pull the main fabric apart, shirts simply open up down the middle, elbows don’t simply develop a small hole but disappear outright for many inches.

        • My husband has T-shirts that are WELL OVER 6 years old. I wish I could get him to stop wearing them! (Although they do look surprisingly good for being oldies-but-goodies.) I always turn them inside out, wash them in medium warm water, not a great deal of soap, and only tumble dry /normal but leave them a tiny bit damp. Then I hang them up on hangers.

          However, it may also be that the older T-shirts were actually made better than the quality we get now. If he buys new T-shirts, they may wear out faster. (I also have a clothes line in the garage, but if I don’t use the dryer a little, they seem to dry wrinkly, and I am definitely NOT ironing T-shirts!)

    • Zerohedge.com,wolfstreet.com,and iceagefarmer will be Very useful for all.These topics have all come up.Lumber/construction costs are way up because Many more people are fixing up their home/building new one/relocating/replacing one ruined by natural disaster.Shipping containers have been cery backlogged at many ports due to covd illness/restructions/new inspection rules.Shipping containers cost more,much more.Many containers have been utilized by China as a way to hide missiles.This has been somewhat public since 2016.Increases in fuel and labor costs and all the extra ppp for covd.Obviously the astronomically increased number of people worldwide All ordering online is too much for all the ports,airports,trains,trucks. Some Very Important wars being waged worldwide between old,deepstate/bank cabal types and forced for truth,transparency,and freedom.Pay close attention to all the famous people who have been photographed with black eyes during the last 15 or so years,most of them have been chipped.Look Closely at photos/video of famous people like fakeprez biden,merkel,Hillary Clinton.Even the pope is fake.Recent video of fakepope with eyes a different color from older videos.Different ears,headshapes,eyecolors,dominent hands-biden signing order with left hand one day while signing with other another day.Actors,clones,cyborgs galore.

  • Great article. I’ve started a response several times and keep deleting it. Think I’ve got it this time.
    We’re in our mid-70s and have seen both days of plenty and days with barely anything. We’ve lived in 7 states and Sicily. We’re happy to have a roof over our heads, food to eat, clothes to wear and pretty good health.

    Our needs are few and so choices are minimal – we’d like to have 2 or 3 to choose from , but 1 will be enough.We do not need, desire or buy new unless necessary. We are continuing to downsize (getting rid of stuff that does not make life better) to make our life easier while increasing our stock of things like non-fiction books, jigsaw puzzles, and lists of movies to watch thru the library, Amazon, & Roku free channels. We raise as much of our food as we can in containers, and sprout indoors.

    We still wonder when shopping became a necessity when choosing where to vacation (when you could) or when shopping became a hobby or just something to do. Our shopping is in and out in as little time as possible except perhaps at yard sales or thrift shops when items are not categorized.

    We hope we will live long enough to see a shift in perception of need vs want and shortage vs options but really don’t think we will. The best we can do is try to pass it on to our daughters-in-law and grandkids – our sons have our mindset thank goodness.

  • I’m having a hard time finding the correct light bulbs for ceiling fixtures. Lowes has probably 40% less in stock, the varieties are less.

  • Yes, Daisy! Your insights about the mindset of those living in North American plenty are spot on. The more people can “unplug” from this mindset and simplify now, the better off they will be, I think.

    I believe that many products we think we “need” are, in fact, a need manufactured by people who want out money.

    My own examples?

    Soap – I only use a vegetable based castile soap for EVERYTHING. Dishes, washing the car, my hair, body wash, hands, floors, clothing (both farm clothes and delicates). Diluted, it works beautifully in a foamer, washing the dishes takes only a few drops. This is a natural soap made in a sustainable way. My next step: making this kind of liquid soap myself using my own homemade lye.

    Toothpowder – I recently ran out of my own homemade remineralizing tooth powder and one night, used a “natural” storebought toothpaste. That morning, I was astounded how much more plaque there was on my teeth. Coincidence? i think not! Some natural health sources I have read state that glycerin can coat your teeth, preventing them from remineralizing themselves. Just TRY finding any toothpaste without glycerin in it, even those made for children. I am so happy with the health of my teeth since I started using my own toothpowder I will never look back.

    Eating – Along the same lines of your arguments regarding shopping, I would put eating in the same category. I do not eat for recreation or entertainment, but for practicality. I believe in the medicinal qualities of quality home grown foods and will eat something that doesn’t “taste great” if I know it is good for me. For example, kale. I had to eat it for years before I began to enjoy its taste, raw or cooked, without anything added.

    How do I benefit from my homestead lifestyle? I feel great, work heavy manual labour at age 50 plus years and looks years younger than my age, wearing absolutely no make up and doing nothing with my hair other than brushing it every day. I share my journey on my blog, mytinyhouseadventures, and invite anyone interested in learning about how I strive for self-sufficiency and sustainablilty to drop by for a virtual visit!

      • Hi ant7. Thank you for your interest! I researched numerous recipes I found on the internet and then came up with my own. I combine baking soda with calcium carbonate powder, myrrh powder (I crush myself in my mortar and pestle), clove powder, cinnamon, bentonite clay powder and non-iodized very fine salt. When it’s time to brush my teeth, just dip my wet toothbrush into the powder and go! This doesn’t foam up and doesn’t taste minty. It gets kind of liquidy, so I just tilt my head back slightly when brushing. Hope that helps. My teeth are doing great and I am happy to have a better handle on what i put on them (no chemicals, no detergents for foaming effect!). I combine this tooth powder brushing twice daily with once daily flossing and daily oil pulling with organic coconut oil. My gums and teeth have never been healthier. All the best to you!

          • Yes, of course, Kathleen. Here is a very approximate recipe. I change it a bit every time, based on how the last batch turned out and what i feel like, or what I feel I need:

            Remineralizing Tooth Powder

            1/2 cup Calcium Carbonate powder
            1/4 cup Baking Soda
            2 Tablespoons Bentonite Clay (mine is green, other colours would work)
            1/4 fine Himalayan pink salt (lots of minerals in this)
            2 teaspoons ground cloves
            1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
            1 small chunk myrrh, ground by hand (antimicrobial, good for gums)

            This makes a good sized batch that I keep in a pint mason jar in my herbal medicines cupboard. I keep the stuff I’m using in my bathroom in a small plastic container with a screw on lid. This lasts so long I always can’t remember the last time I made it!

            Please keep in mind that I do several things in my dental care to prevent over brushing, as this is likely more abrasive than a standard toothpaste. I use only Extra Soft toothbrushes. I brush only twice a day, after lunch and before bed.

            When I brush my teeth I use a modified method my dental hygienist recommended for gentleness, as some of my gums are receding: I start brushing just above the gum line, with the brush at 45 degrees, using just one single gentle brush motion away from the gums for each tooth surface. I only use a “back and forth” motion for the flat chewing surfaces of my teeth.

            Hey, if SHTF, what better prep to have than healthy teeth and gums?

            Wishing you the best!

  • Good articleIe. Variety here is becoming quite limited. Fresh meats are down to 2 refrigerated cases. Variety in produce is somewhat more limited but enough to still have a good variety. Seed supplies are limited. Canning jars and almost don’t exist.
    I use Mexican laundry soap but I also have laundry bar soap that can be grated for use. Cleaning and laundry supplies are in short supply. Some weeks there is no bleach. I shop once or twice a month. I was given a box of past date salad dressings but I’ve usually made myown. I have several years supply of garden seeds. I have added more long term fruit planting this year. I ordered 50 strawberry plants that make plenty of new runners. That should help keep us in fresh fruit for years. It’s a strange time and your article is right on. Luckily I sew, remake clothing, and I’m pretty good at figuring out how to make do with what’s on hand or cheaper.

  • Yep to all of the above.I would add that you may want to download pdfs of Oldschool frugal wifery/homesteading books from pre1930’s.Many Americans are whiny babies,not adults and they annoy the crap out of me.We Americans need to hook up with the Maker movement,offgridders,homesteaders,and international peasantry as theyve had to adapt just as your article pounts out.Adapt and improvise to survive.Rummage sales fleamarkets,thriftstores,estate sales are great resources as are Some recycling/junkyards.Get materials to build a greenhouse or shed,look for bicycles,tools,carparts.As lumber has become insanely pricey and hard to get,look for salvaged stuff from condemned places,salvage shops,dumpster diving home reno work.Save and exchange seeds/cuttings.

  • Excellent article Daisy. My husband and I have been practicing this for years and I grew up having to be self-reliant. We were on a farm with NO running water or electricity, trips to town we stocked up on what we needed and my clothes were ordered from the Sears catalog. People look at me like I’m a circus freak when I talk about growing up that way. So while others have been upset over not getting their Alfredo sauce I’m just happy every day I can go to a grocery store and buy what I reasonably want. And yeah, I rely on local farmers for pretty much 80 percent of our food here. And yes, China supply chains are majorly cut. Not just because of the pandemic I suspect, but because the government there has no interest in the welfare of its people and just churn out cheap supplies for the rest of the world to buy while killing/starving their citizens. I saw this coming years ago so my husband and I try to NOT buy anything made in China and we support/buy local. We do without a lot in some people’s books, but we are not hurting. And I also hunt second-hand stores, antique stores, resale all the time. My family turns up their noses, but I have well-made items that have lasted through decades not just one year. Now that I’m in this mindset I won’t be going back, no matter what. Again, thanks for such a great article.

  • One other thing… we may be seeing hyperinflation really soon, so we may not be able to afford as much anyway. Michael Burry (of The Big Short) recently issued a dire warning about really bad hyperinflation coming to the US. If you can find a record of his tweets (he has now gone offline), they are worth a read. They will inspire you to get out of debt and if you do invest, look for ones that will benefit from hyperinflation.

    It doesn’t really seem possible that we could see hyperinflation (along the lines of Weimar Germany), but Micheal Burry is a really bright guy who could see the 2008 housing crisis coming before it actually arrived, so if he says it is possible, he may be right. He is a math whiz who really does exacting analysis. In his opinion, the current MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) that says it doesn’t matter how much debt a nation has is incorrect. And in his opinion, the US is headed for really bad inflation.

    Of course, I have also read a web site that says economic collapse of this size cannot happen in the US, so I guess it depends on who you read. So it makes sense to learn to live with less money and be happy with fewer choices.

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