I have been a prepper for about 2 years. Before I started I was blasting off left, right and center trying to figure out why I was preparing. You know the feeling that you are missing something but you can’t quite define what it is you are trying to accomplish. Then it became a thing I wanted to be prepared for anything, but that covers almost too much ground. I needed a focus, a goal to work toward. I did not have much money so the plan had to be done cheap and I did not want to eat MRE’s I had enough of those in the Army. I wanted to eat real food and as long as I was planning I did not want to plan to be miserable. I wanted to make my life as good as or better than it is right now. My goals became defined as Food, Water, Sanitation, Shelter, and Security. Now I believe those 5 items will give you a goal to work towards. But they also expand as you get better prepared. These are all needed, one is not more important than the others these are just the basics. I do want to say the cheapest thing you can prepare is your attitude and your physical well being. I may add this to list because I found it came later in my prepping adventure. I know when I started I was thinking a “Mad Max” or “Armageddon” type scenario but everyday disasters occur from storms or power outage, losing your job, to a chemical spill.
- Food: This seems the focus of most survival/prep and it is important but you need to think differently about food. Look towards scratch cooking just using basic ingredients and spices. Get away from processed foods. Heck you are paying folks to mix products and you can do that yourself. Also buy foods you can and will eat. If you are “gluten intolerant” all the wheat in the world won’t help you. If you hate beans don’t store beans it’s not a good investment. You will be under enough stress, foods you like will help you feel in control and give you the energy to deal with anything. My $100.00 Shopping list, not perfect but it should keep 1 person alive for 6 months and it gives you the basics.
- 50# bag of rice $12.00 $16.00 = 500 4 oz. servings
- 50# bag of Pintos $
25.00$30.00 = 500 4 oz. servings
- 50 # White Flour $15.00 = 50 1 pound loves of bread
- 10# bag Sugar $5.00 More if you have a sweet tooth/baking or add to coffee, tea or make your own candies
- Powder milk Lg. Box $18.00
- Honey, Real 5# $12-17.00 Great multi-tasker, anti-bacterial and lasts forever or at least 3000 years
- Yeast 1# $2-5.00 Starter for sourdoughs and gets you going for baking breads, donuts and more.
- Salt 4# $5.00 Kosher, iodized, and Pickling Salt
- Crisco $7.00 (Butter Flavor) Baking and cooking.
- Now remember this is just a start and you will need to make this work for you. I’m a carnivore so I’d prefer have more meat on hand. The beans and rice will make a complete protein. What I like about this is it’s easy to store. It gets you out of “panic mode” thinking, and gives you time to shop and get bargains. It’s not perfect at all but I want you out of panic mode and this shopping list will get a family of 4 at least 2 meals a day and 1 month of food to eat and stay somewhat healthy. For most local disasters a month of food should see you through.
- Now after you have your start as described in the $100.00 shopping list the next month you get to build your comfort foods and other needs. For example I will be spending about $50.00 on my shopping list this includes 10 pounds of pasta, 13 ponds of pork sirloin and a 50 pound bag of rice. I have $15.00 left over for some 1st aid, feminine protection and some dish soap and some chocolate candies.
- A person suggested to find out how much you need of any item is write the date on something when you start using it. That should give you an idea of how much your household needs every week or every month.
- I did a 2 month test of my “food supply” because of a big vet bill. I found my snacker self sorely tested. I am happy with Ritz crackers compared to chips. But it would have been a better idea to store or make my own chips/crackers and not to have craved them. Now I tend to crave salty foods, some crave sweets. If you have sugar and heat you got caramel. Make this work for you is what I’m saying.
- Water: Critical!! You must have clean drinking water. You will only last about 3 days without it, and if you don’t have a safe supply you will get sick. Now if you have a tank type water heater you probably have 30-50 gallons already “Stored”. You need a min. of 1 gallon per day per person, cooking, drinking and sanitation. I use camp jugs and 2-3 liter soda bottles to add extra water to my storage. If you are on city water just wash and fill the bottles. If on well water you may want to add about 4 drops of 6% bleach per gallon. Just to give some residual protection. I recommend you have a couple of pitchers on hand to re-oxygenate the water. Just pour the water back and forth a few times in the pitchers the water will taste better. I’m adding flavor additives like coffee, tea, tang and drink mixes to my storage.
- Sanitation: or the lack there of will probably sicken or kill most folks. Trust me some idiot will dump “Black water” down a storm drain. Assume all water is contaminated, it’s safer that way. Now If you don’t have a lot of property for an outhouse invest in a chemical or straw dust toilet. I know there are several plans on the web for both of those items. Plus they are great multi-taskers for camping. You can build your own grease traps and kitchen waste areas following the Army manual FM 21-11. Buy extra dish pans, if you can’t use the sewage system, or if you need to conserve water for your plants, dish tubs are great for reusing rinse water. Now you will want to keep insects away so I recommend Diatomaceous Earth (Food Grade) it’s a pet and kid safe product for controlling insects. Works great on outhouse smells and insects as well. Mouse/rat traps or a cat. I like the cat idea they are better stress relievers than mouse traps much easier to pet.
- Shelter: Now this everything from your home to a clean pair of undies. Remember your first protection from the elements is your clothing. Now this can be as simple as your car getting stuck in a snow bank, up to and including a bunker. You will have to take in account what you can afford and how much you can do given what you are allowed to do where you live. I would recommend on having duct tape, heavy duty plastic (6mil) and have some 8ft 4×4’s and some plywood on hand. If you can replace your doors with heavy duty steel doors no windows and consider “Burgler Bars” or storm shutters and at least dead bolt locks. If someone really wants to get in they will. But if you make it difficult they will probably go someplace easier to attack.
- Security: Keep in mind I do believe a gun is required but, if you are not absolutely sure you can use a gun to kill someone do not get one. You should keep in mind the ability to escalate. I’d start off with “Pepper or bear spray” then a tazer then a gun. I prefer a 12 gauge pump with 00 or double ought buckshot as a home defense weapon. A handgun on your person at all other times. I prefer .357 mag or higher calibers. I’m a big believer in bigger calibers but if you want to carry a 9mm or a .380 or whatever it’s on you. The best gun in the world is you hit what you aim at; you are comfortable with and have confidence shooting.
- Communications: I like Cell Phones a laptop with wireless capabilities and then radio. VHF, CB or Ham. I think the Cellular system will be the quickest and easiest to be replaced in the event of a catastrophe. Plus a Laptop can be recharged via alternate energy and you will have a games system and entertainment system as well as commo if the internet is up. Radios I think should go without saying. We used radio systems for years for getting and broadcasting info. Just like the wheel it still works great.
Now this is the “Big Picture” way to start out, and it does make some assumptions. Such as, we will have at least some electrical power and some communications via internet or phone. Always more to add to the list and try out, it’s to give you some ideas to start with and spark some more of your own. I do have some more items to add as must haves from lighting and heat to 1st aid and pet care. I think this will give everyone a nice and easy introduction without seeming to overwhelm folks.
You don’t need a couple of grand to start preparing for a family of 4 it can start as easily as $20.00 per month. Heck that is a $5.00 a week or grande latte or 2 at the local coffee shop.
This is not about you having to live like a monk it’s about you doing for yourself. I know you can make good or better bread with a little practice than you will get in your local megamart. If you like expresso get a little expresso machine and instead of spending $5.00 for a cup large expresso you spend the money to make your own fresh coffee and expresso and depend on your self and not the local barrista or supply chain. By doing for yourself you will be able to still have those things you used to pay a premuim for but it will be a lot cheaper.
How many oz. of coffee do you think it takes to make your $5.00 Grande latte?