Survivalism or emergency preparedness is a movement, not a passing fad or even a trend. Individuals and groups engage in activities to “hope for the best and plan for the worst” on an ongoing basis. Many people have practiced preparing for worst possible outcomes for years.
For the newcomer to training for staying alive despite the odds, when the chips are down, here are some kick-butt tips to save time and precious money.
1. The Plan, Man (or Woman)
First and foremost, do not improvise or act on impulse when you first begin getting ready to deal with disaster. Instead, make a plan. Know what your goals are and how to get there. A shopping list for essential supplies is an important part of a good plan, but remember to set up a contact network with loved ones, know escape routes and fueling spots (if driving), and make a backup plan (or two) if you can’t follow Plan A for some reason.
Your plan will probably change over time as you perfect your bug-out procedures. Get together with your contact network periodically to make updates and discuss how to improve the plan. Allow for flexibility. Heck, plan it in.
2. Scrimp and save. Now.
Emergencies – and preparing for them – are expensive. It is usually much harder to earn more money than to save and stretch what you have. As Ben Franklin observed, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Learn now how to prioritize, economize, and maximize every dollar within your control, if thrift is an unfamiliar concept. There are literally 100 ways to begin a life-long habit of saving rather than spending.
Even though preppers are getting ready for a bad situation, often there is no clear and present danger. In that case, avoid overspending with prepper suppliers. Wait for a bargain, sale, or seasonal markdown. If your plan calls for a boat, the price might be better in the fall (at the end of the boating season) than in the spring (when everyone is thinking about floatin’ and boatin’).
3. Tips for storing water.
There is no reason on Earth that you need to buy bottled water for emergency rations. You may prefer it for drinking – which is fine – but consider collecting water for washing and other non-potable purposes. Store water in new, food-grade tanks. Buy a pre-owned water tank only from a trusted source.
If you are looking at a pile of empty plastic milk jugs as an alternative to buying new storage tanks or containers, think again. It is almost impossible to get rid of all the milk residue inside the container. Add water and you’ve got a bacteria garden instead of good water – when you need it the most.
4. Food sense.
When shopping, buy what you like to eat but add to the quantity you would normally buy in order to build a stockpile. For example, if you need one can of beans, but three and store two of them. Take advantage of in-store bulk discounts – buy 5 for the price of 4 – and never buy a bargain that no one likes to eat. You do not want to stare down a dozen tins of sardines – they were on sale! – when famished, if you hate them.
As previously mentioned, cost-conscious preppers buy in bulk and save. Bags of beans and rice are quite heavy so be sure your storage shelves are strong enough to bear the weight. Avoid the temptation of using flimsy or make-shift materials to build weak, teetering shelves. Spend some money on new or gently pre-owned sturdy shelving.
5. Spread your stash around.
The old proverb “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” tells us to avoid stockpiling prepper materials and food in one place. If everything you need is on shelves in the basement and the basement floods, your supplies are sunk. Literally.
To the best of your ability and circumstances, build storage areas (caches) here and there, high and low, inside and outside, wherever you live. Keep a bug out bag in your car and keep a rotating stock of food and water at your bug out destination
6. Stockpile know-how and mad skills.
The savvy prepper will store not only food, water, and emergency supplies but also knowledge. Mastering some basic survival techniques could literally save your life someday.
If you want to get ready for a post-apocalyptic world, consider learning a survival skill that would bring value to a survivalists community.