So you have decided to become a prepper. How do you start? First, make a plan. Don’t just run of willy-nilly. Making a plan will save you money and help you avoid making costly mistakes. Here are four simple steps that may help you make a plan.
Step 1. Why are you preparing – What are the hazards in your neighborhood or geographic area?
- Do you live on an earthquake fault?
- Are you in a flood zone or an area of high fire danger?
- Are there major highways or railroad routes (which could cause chemical spills or explosions) near your home?
- What about major natural gas lines like the one that blew up in San Bruno California in 2010?
- Do you live close to a military base or major government facility?
- Is there a nuclear power plant near you?
- Are your reasons for preparing based on your religious beliefs?
- Do you fear our government?
Your reasons could include several of the above-mentioned ideas or be as simple as wanting three to five days of supplies for fear of earthquakes or severe weather.
Once you have answered these questions, go to step two.
Step 2. Now that you have a better idea of what you are preparing for, study and determine what supplies and skills will help fulfill your needs.
- Are you planning to accumulate a three-day supply or a year’s supply of food? I personally believe that you should stock at least one-year’s supply of the necessities of life.
- What are your most important needs? Normally this will consist of good water, food, heat, or fire for cooking and shelter.
- A big part of determining your needs will depend on where you live. Are you in an urban or rural environment? Do you reside in the hot dry desert of the southwest or a cold northern state?
- How much food and other supplies do you need to store? Food is like the cash in your wallet; it disappears quickly. In an emergency you want your family to stay healthy and in good spirits. Do not underestimate the amount of food this will take.
- My personal belief is that during a major disaster; you cannot plan on the government coming to your rescue for at least several days. The local, state, and federal governments as well as the Red Cross all tell us to have at least three days of supplies. However, do not forget the lessons of hurricane Katrina. With a large geographical area of damage, it took the government longer to arrive. In an even larger disaster, it could take weeks, months or maybe years.
Step 3, Now that you have decided what you are preparing for and for how long, it is time to take that first step Not very many of us have the financial resources to run out and buy everything we need at once. Therefore, we have to prioritize our purchases. The order in which you prioritize your purchases will depend on many things.
- Where do you live? What are the weather conditions in your area? Do you have hard winters and lots of rain or snow? Do you live in the desert? Do you need to store large amounts of water or is fuel for heating more important?
- Are you in an urban or rural environment? How much land do you have?
- Do you normally plant a vegetable garden? Do you raise crops, or have farm animals? Do you have a well or is surface water available?
- What are your skills? Can you start a fire without matches? Are you an outdoorsman or a city slicker? Have you had military training? Do you hunt?
- Are you on prescription medicines? How important are they to you? Think about how you can build up a reserve of your necessary meds. Do you have a good first aid kit?
Now that you have taken your location and skills into consideration, prioritize your needs. Good water is always your first consideration. Second is food or shelter depending on the climatic conditions.
Now taking into consideration your skill level and needs. Start to make a list of your basic requirements.
Do not worry about the list being incomplete because it will continue to evolve as your knowledge increases.
STEP 4. Prepare a budget. I strongly recommend that you do not go into debt. Consider eliminating unnecessary expenses. Do you really need cable TV? Plan to buy a few items every month, starting with the highest priority. If you are conscientious about it, you will be surprised by how quickly you will accumulate your supplies.
You can use several tricks to stretch your money. Pay close attention to the sales. Shop online: you can get better prices. Just make sure that you deal with reputable companies. Check the company’s reviews online. Buy products that are out of season. For example, purchase cold weather clothing in the middle of summer.
Do not forget about garage sales. I have saved a lot of money buying items like sleeping bags, tents and other camping gear, paying only pennies on the dollar. Remember to haggle so you can get the best prices. You will be surprised at how many discounts you can get just by asking.
Ebay and Craigslist are other good sources. When it comes to Craigslist you need to be quick and call fast, bargains sell quickly. Many of you may be leery about meeting people you do not know. I always like to do trades and purchases in public, well-lit areas like a restaurant or a fast food parking lot.