It is never to late to start getting prepared or self-reliant. No one knows what will happen in the future though we can make educated guesses based on history or what has happened to people but the biggest thing you need to do is start/begin. That is often the hardest step to take so it’s okay to whine we have all been there. While I do think there is time to prepare you will need to priortise how you spend your money because things are getting tight and you can’t afford to make many mistakes.
- Shelter: I know this might seem an odd item to put first compared to most blogs, but for a late/new prepper you have to know that without shelter, cooling/heat you can die in a matter of hours, either from heat stroke or hypothermia in winter. So evaluate your shelter, do you have a basement? Basements stay cool in summer and warm in winter and since the are below ground they make a great start for a storm bunker. If you don’t have a basement can you cut off heating/cooling part of your home so you are cool or warm? I’m not a big fan of central air and I have found you can put a small A/C unit of 5000-6000 BTUs in a window and have a cool spot to sleep and only uses 500-1000 watts of power depending on it’s size. Cost for the small A/C unit is about $200.00 or less. Heat in winter: If you don’t have alternative heat source like a wood stove or fire place I would recommnd the Mr. Buddy type heater and store a few propane tanks away from the house. I have tested these heaters and in below zero temps it will keep at least 2-3 rooms warm if supplied with a fan. A 1 pound tank will last about 4-6 hours depending on temp. outside and how hot you set the stove. For my test I used a Mr. Buddy heater and the hose adapter for the average propane tank and about -10 to 20 degrees as a test. Well insulated small house 1200 Sq. ft stayed about 60-65 degrees with an added fan to circulate heat. An average propane tank would last about 5 days. The Mr. buddy heater will cost about $70.00-$140.00 depending on features and a small 15-20 gallon propane tank will cost about $50.00 or less. It’s not easy to come up with that cash but add in a small 1500-2000 watt generator and for about $300.00-$500.00 you will have a backup heating and cooling system that you control and will last a week or so.
- Water: You need water to regulate your body’s thermostat in both hot and cool weather. Water is a great cleaner and is needed for yards and gardens. Now filtering water is needed I recommend the Sawyer water filter for about $20.00 on Amazon. I recommend rain barrels of some sort but if you can’t afford a rain barrel I would go with a tarp and any rain collector you can set your hand on. I have no faith at all that any local creeks or river will provide clean drinking water without some sort of treatment. If you are counting on a local creek as your backup water supply there must be others thinking the same. Water is very heavy, one five gallon jug weights over 40 pounds if you don’t have some sort of vehicle to transport the water. You are screwed! You can store all the water you want for pennies per gallon if you want to have it on hand all you need is a container. Your choice but I figure about a $1.00 per gallon storage price is okay. I’m sure there will be plenty of excuses that you can’t afford rain barrels, or water storage barrels. That’s okay for you as I have been preaching to get prepared for at least 5 years. Your choice, I know I have safe drinking water stored today and have tested my water plan.
- Security: I think guns is a big part of security, but you may not be of that mindset. I do think a person should escalate if allowed from pepper spray on up. But when push comes to shove many “bad guys” or desperate people will kill to eat. If you stand in front of your preps the “mob” will see you as a threat and as a person that is keeping them from the basics of life. I hope the “mob” will move along when faced with deterrent and a person that is willing to implement but I can’t say that will happen. I think knowing your neighbors and setting up a small little barter collective is the best defense against the mob! I don’t know for sure as I’m new to the whole global economic collapse idea. But I know it is a good idea to know your neighbors.
- Food: Store long term foods, all grains, rice, beans and any basics like coffee, salt, sugar. Other than coffee most of these item last for decades if store properly. Learn how to grow a garden, gardens take work and it is not easy to grow plants. It takes a bit of practice but even a black thumb like me can grow a darn good garden if persistent.
- Skills to barter: I have no idea what you are good at. I seem to be good at medicinal and some basic thing like soap. I’m fairly good at building PCs. I also have a good selection of tools. I have no idea what will be of value if the SHTF all I can do is try and learn basic skills and hope for the best. I think bread making might be huge and of value. I have all ingredients on hand already and it strange that many people think making bread is akin to magic if not bought from a store.
It won’t be easy to prep but it is doable for a 3-6 month time frame for your family. Will it be enough? I have no idea but at least some minimal prep gives you a bit of time to plan to keep things going.