When you start researching how to prepare for disaster and what you will need, you will quickly discover how expensive prepping can be. When you think about what humans need for survival, you will likely come up with 5 basic areas to tackle.
Shelter, food, water, energy and security are the 5 basic areas of prepping. How do you know which one to go after first and which one to put off until last? Everyone has their own priorities, but the bottom line is each area needs covered before the SHTF.
So what do you do if you are like the rest of us and on a tight budget? You start by prioritizing you preps, then look at frugal ways to tackle each area.
Shelter is the single most important need a human has to satisfy in order to survive. When we talk about shelter, we also talk about your clothing because it is the first barrier between yourself and the elements. Your clothes are the most immediate form of shelter your body can possess. In severe winter climates, hypothermia can happen in as little as an hour. In climates with extreme heat, you could get severely dehydrated or sunburned by being out in the sun all day. Establishing shelter is the most immediate need you must fulfill in order to survive.
Your clothes are important in a survival situation. Although it should be human instinct for you to bring the most appropriate clothing along with you for a survival escapade, you may feel the need to procure better clothing before you have to go into survival mode. A cost-effective method of buying survival clothing is to go to your nearest military surplus store and buy used BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform). Military grade clothing is designed to keep you camouflaged as well as keep you warm. BDUs can also be washed quickly, rolled up and transported easily in a backpack. BDU pants and jackets can be procured at surplus stores, thrift stores and online outfitters for under $20 each. At thrift stores, you can sometimes find BDUs for under $5. You should also procure a set of rugged boots that are pretreated with a waterproofing agent. These can also be found rather inexpensively at a military surplus store.
When you begin establishing shelter, it is important to first evaluate your options. Do you have a shelter already available? Perhaps you live in an urban area that will require you to flee the city? It is important to know what your options are in case you must immediately evacuate your living quarters.
Solving your water problem could be easier than you think. As recommended above, it is suggested that you go ahead and scout out a location that has access to a fresh water source. This will enable you to collect water and begin using purification methods in order to bring it up to drinkability. If you are able to camp out near a fresh water source, it is recommended that you procure a personal water filtration system.
If you would rather build a cache of water, a frugal method of storing water is to reuse the milk jugs you are already buying at the grocery store. It is important to thoroughly wash these out with soap and bleach in order to completely sanitize out the inside. It is recommended that if you store water using this method, you may want to label the containers drinking water. Storing water in milk jugs is only helpful if you are able to store it at your shelter. It would be difficult to carry several of these jugs for long periods of time. Your individual strategy may vary.
Food, Energy & Security
If you are a a single prepper, you can begin acquiring food with a long shelf life by adding a couple extra dollars to your grocery budget each visit. Five pound bags of rice and dried beans can be procured for just a couple dollars. These foods stay good for up to 10 years and provide essential nutrition such as carbohydrates and protein. Cornmeal can be used to make breads and tortillas. Oatmeal is also a tasty food that is popular to store because it can be easily transported and it contains nutrition that will give you energy. Granola mixes and nuts typically stay good for long periods of time as well. For under $20 extra per grocery trip, you can begin stocking up on these items so that you will have plenty of food in the event of a crisis.
In terms of energy, the most important energy source you will need is fire. While it is common knowledge that you can start a fire by using friction as taught in the Boy & Girl Scouts, you could always purchase an extra lighter or two here an there to add to your survival cache. If you buy lighters in bulk online, you can get deals where lighters can cost less than 10 cents each. Having fire on demand will be extremely beneficial to your survival as you will then be able to cook meat and boil water. You can also purchase fire starting kits for under $5 or begin stocking up on strike anywhere matches.
Security is a hot topic because you never know how much security you need until it is often too late. You can secure yourself in a variety of different fashions but the most cost-effective method of enforcing personal security is to begin training in martial arts, Krav Maga or some other self defense discipline. You will not have to join a gym or a dojo to begin practicing these arts because there is plenty of information freely available that will help you with the basics. If you require a weapon, you will want to use weapons that are multifunctional for your survival. For example, a Gerber knife can be used for stripping branches, cleaning wild game or as a weapon in case of attack. Non-lethal options such as stun guns and pepper spray can be acquired for under $10 from select online retailers.
Have you found some frugal tips on your journey to preparedness? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.