Disasters happen everyday, they might be small like losing a job or suddenly becoming disable and are unable to work. It might be a house fire of a big vet bill for a pet or medical bill for a family member. Prepping is not just about getting ready for SHTF, TEOWAKI or WWIII. I believe it is about getting ready for any possible bad times starting with yourself and your family and then you slowly build up your skills, tools, preps and gear that will make you a survivor as well as a blessing to your local community for rebuilding locally.
- Mental/Spiritual prep: This does not cost money, but it does take time to learn new skills as well as mentally get ready to survive. While can not say I will survive any disaster. I have done as much as I can to give me the best odds for survival. I know my chances are a bit lower because of my disability. So I cheat and find ways of storing what I need ahead of time and buy tools, learning skills that should increase my odds.
- Filtered Water: This is your bodies way of controlling it’s internal temp. and is critical to have on hand in the first 24-48 hours of survival. I like the Sawyer water filter ($15.00-$20.00) at Amazon.com or at many sporting goods stores. The Sawyer mini water filter can be “flushed” and is supposedly good to filter most bacteria/viruses for 100,000 gallons of water. Life straws are somewhat smaller, cost about $20.00 can’t be flushed but are good for about 200 gallons of water.
- Storing water: I like having insulated Igloo drinking jugs in the 2.5- 5 gallon range. While these jugs keep water cold and can be used as backup ice chests. They will also keep water hot for 18-24 hours and warm up to 48 hours. Prime these jugs with hot water for 10-20 minutes and you will have hot water for washing your self as well as dishes or just general cleanup around the Bug in/Bug out location. On average a 5 gallon Igloo type jug will cost about $20.00-$40.00 new, but you can find them at some pawn shops or yard/garages sales for as little as $5.00 so shop around. I like the 5 gallon size as most adults can move the jug. The bigger sizes are just to hard to move without help.
- Cooking: You will need to hot water for boiling water, cooking and cleaning and there are a lot of low cost options for alternate ways of heating both food and water. If you don’t have a indoor propane/ wood stove or oven. A butane burner or two makes a great way to cook meals safely indoors. For heating water on a burner I recommend an 8 quart/2 gallon stock pot. For cooking over direct/high heat get stainless steel or cast iron cookware. A good pressure canner/ pressure cooker is a great addition. A pressure cooker will cook grains in bean is a couple of hours compared to soaking over night, and whole grains that take 40-60 minutes on the stove are done in 10 minutes. I recommend both smoke and Carbon monoxide battery powered detectors for every prepper. There is nothing wrong with using a gas grill or charcoal as your out door cooking option except the smell of food grilling is quite unique and you might attract unwanted attention. That being said I cooked nearly every eveing meal out doors on my gas grill for over 5 months and I used only two 15 pound tanks of gas.
- Heat: Most people use electric, gas or oil heaters supplied via the “grid”. For backup heat I recommend the Mr. Buddy line of propane heaters. I have a small home of 1200 square feet , I test the mid-range Mr. Buddy heater at 0-10 degrees F. outside temp. and the Mr. Buddy heater did a great job heating the whole house to about 65 degrees F. using a battery powered fan. I did a week long test in 10-20 degree F. outside temp. for 5 days and I used one average BBQ gas tank. I shut down the heater at night but with an insulated house the temp. in the house stayed above 50 degrees F. those 5 days. I like the safety features of tip over, shut off as well as the oxygen sensor shut off. While staying toasty warm is nice a Mr. Buddy heater will keep you from freezing to death is somewhat safe to use indoors and you can buy either a 20 pound tank for a week or 1 pound tanks as your budget allows some stocking up. Cost Mid range Mr. Buddy heater about $70-$90.00, 15- 20 gallon refill, new about $50.00 per bigger tank. one pound tank on sale about $3.00 each.
- Food: I like my $125.00 shopping list that will give you bulk foods that will give you a healthy diet but it is only an “emergency food storage” https://myadventuresinselfreliance.wordpress.com/how-to-save-money-shopping/
- I am not a big fan of freeze-dried food in a bucket. I like real food and while I store whole grains I can tell you unless you make your own bread daily from whole wheat. You need to store some white flour especially if you buy your bread at the local mega-mart. Ground whole wheat bread will tear up your guts unless you cut the whole wheat flour with a bit of white flour. So let’s cut to the chase on grain storage. Store Unbleached white flour and learn to make bread. You don’t need to buy a grain mill. Okay you are gluten intolerant, Buy corn meal, Masa Harina(great as the B vitamins are released) to make tortillas. Buy other grain flours for storage. My mom has IBS yet she has no problem eating my home made unbleached white flour bread. Yet store bought”wheat bread” inflames her IBS. Learn to make real food. The $125.00 food shopping list is just a start for your food prep. I hope you will add canned veggies, fruits and meats. Plus lots of spices! Avoiding food fatigue is critical so with a few grains, rice, beans along with fresh veggies an herbs from the garden you can eat very well. With spices you can create any type of cuisine with just a few basic ingredients.
- Sanitation: dealing with poo and trash. This is something you will need to deal with getting rid of or recycling stuff in ways you never considered. Make a “poo” bucket and or make a small portable toilet. Most porta-potties require special chemicals. The 5 gallon bucket needs a comfortable seat, sawdust, kitty litter or even shredded paper and lid to contain the odors. I’m no eco-freak, I compost, and many paper products are great to add to the compost pile. I think you will have to separate trash a burn some of your trash to safely dispose of the filth.
- Don’t forget to prep for your pets/animals. They need safe drinking water, food they like to eat. Plus the need to stay warm have some basic 1st aid supplies along with basic food/ vitamins/grooming items.
- Last but not least prep what you eat and eat what you prep. While some people suggest simply buying stuff. I don’t, If you hate a food today, you won’t want to eat in a disaster. Why prepare ahead of disaster to eat foods you don’t like? I prepare ahead to eat foods I like eating. If you like pasta grow veggies for sauce and buy a pasta maker.
Now depending on how many people live at your home, their ages and skillsets . This set up should cover the basics for a family of four at $400.00 or less and will give them at least a month of the basics in any disaster. I live cheap, but well if you need a person to tell you what you can live without in your budget, I’m your gal! Start small and buy the most critical needs first. Prepping is a process/journey. You probably can’t afford everything you want to have on hand. Get the basics first on hand, and then slowly build up your preps.
Prepping is cheap after you buy your basic stockpile. Yesterday I bought some 16 rolls of Bounty paper towels for about $6.00 via a sale and a coupon. No special shopping just ready to buy needed goods for the future at a good price. Once you have your basic food preps stored you only have to shop sales and your food costs will go lower.
I’m sure many people want guns, knives, axes, tomahawks , magnesium fire starters. I felt a bit restrained as I wanted to add more water storage stuff, Guns and security and gosh don’t get me started on all the things I want on hand…If you can’t have safe water, food and sanitation. You will die! Not sexy cool Hollywood Armageddon type stuff. Just life!