Prepping for Everything, Hoping for Nothing

A lot of preppers will pick a disaster and go all out prepping for that one potential disaster. Some people will ask you what you are preparing to live through and you may feel obligated to come up with one answer. Here’s the deal. No one has a crystal ball. No one can predict the future. There are so many possible scenarios that could leave the world as we know it in dire shape, it is impossible to really pick just one.

While many disaster prepping scenarios have a lot of overlap, there may be things you miss if you concentrate solely on one potential apocalypse-causing event. Instead of being hyper-focused on one particular event, broaden your horizons and think of the bigger picture.

Some of the disasters that are often thought about and prepared for are as follows;

  • Massive natural disaster i.e. earthquake, tornadoes, hurricane
  • Flooding
  • Nuclear war—war in general
  • EMP
  • Economic collapse
  • Civil unrest
  • Power grid failure
  • Pandemic

Each of these disasters requires a little extra planning and some targeted supplies. For example; a pandemic prep will likely include a lot more medical supplies and protective covering for survivors. When you think about any large scale disaster, you have to assume sanitation is going to be heavy hit. That means more people are going to be sick. Without hospitals and medicines, a pandemic is likely to happen.

It would be wise to have the supplies used to live through a pandemic on hand regardless what you are preparing for. The same can be said of preparing for civil unrest. It isn’t going to be long before the power grid fails and an economic collapse ensues. When a power grid fails, it won’t be long before nuclear reactors meltdown.

Disasters are all linked in so many ways. One disaster triggers another. It is going to be a chain reaction. Your best bet is to prepare for everything and hope nothing happens. Cover all of your bases. That is the best motto for a true prepper.

Where to Start on Your Prepping Journey

If you are new to prepping and trying to figure out where to get started, you will find the answers you are looking for here. The trick is to take bite size pieces. You don’t have to go all out in the first week. As you can imagine, stockpiling food, water and other necessities can get very expensive. This is why you need to take it slow and easy and be ready to spring on a really great deal.

You will want to start by taking an inventory of your home. What do you have right now that you could count towards your prepping. Head to the attic, garage or wherever and start digging through the stuff you have stored in boxes. You likely have quite a bit to get you started. Things like;

Blankets that aren’t regularly used
Camping gear
Clothing you don’t wear, including old boots, gloves, coats and what not
Extra tools
Old dishes

These are items that will come in handy after a major collapse. Earmark these items to be included in your stockpile.

Next, you will want to find somewhere to keep your stockpile. If you have a basement, garage or attic, you can start there. If not, you will need to find a closet or designate an area in a room to stash your supplies. Ideally, you will want to do what you can to keep it as neat and organized as possible. This will allow you to find what you have easily as well as allow you to know what you have.

Once you have an area planned out, it is time to start thinking about food and water. Most people only really have the room inside their home to store a few cases or jugs of water. You can invest in an outdoor cistern or food grade rain barrels that can be filled up and stored against the house or in another shady area. You will need to purify this water before using.

Food can be purchased as you go. Buy a little extra each time you go to the grocery store. Try budgeting out $30 a week or so to buy extra food. Buy bulk dried foods when possible. You will save money this way.

Try to save a little money in a kitty jar that can be put towards a big purchase item, like a large water filter, solar panel or other item that will be helpful, but can be expensive. This kitty can also be used to buy when you come across a great deal.

Always scour Craigslist, the nickel ads and shop yard sales to pad your supplies. You will be amazed at what you can find. Take it slow and easy and you will see how quickly your stockpile builds up without spending a lot of money in one big shopping spree.

Prepping for the Kids

Prepping to survive a disaster is something many parents do in order to ensure their children have the best shot at surviving. Parents stockpile food, water, first aid supplies and whatever other necessity they think is needed to make sure their children will survive. It is a parent’s natural instinct to want to do anything they can to protect their children.

Unfortunately, prepping can be very cold and methodical. Your mind automatically goes to this place where you think of survival and not actual living. You stock everything you can that contributes to surviving after some apocalypse. What is often overlooked is entertainment or comfort items.

Children are not quite as hardened or jaded as adults. They are not comforted by the thought of having a roof over their head and food on the table. They want more. They want their favorite blanket or whatever else it is that brings them a little comfort and joy. As a parent, it is your job to make your child feel safe. You don’t want a child living in fear or bored out of their little minds.

You can help ease the suffering by taking the time to add a few more things to your stockpile that will ensure your kids have a healthy distraction from what is happening around them as well as a way to occupy their minds and little hands.

  • Board games
  • Coloring books and crayons
  • Pencils and paper
  • Children’s books
  • Toys
  • Stuffed animal or other security type items
  • Pictures
  • Snacks/comfort foods
  • Dolls
  • Dress up costumes
  • Balls
  • Puzzles

These are just of the things that can provide your children with hours of entertainment as well as a way to get their mind off the devastation around them. These toys are also great ways to help them develop their coordination and allow their imaginations to run free. Don’t get too caught up in the serious side of prepping. Remember your brain will need a little break too.

10 Tips to Save Money to Buy Prepping Supplies

baby steps week 2 priceMost preppers are not people with loads of cash in the bank. Preppers tend to be a frugal group of people who are doing what they can to prepare to survive an apocalypse of some sort. These are the people who won’t have the luxury of jetting off to some safe place or building an elaborate bunker system. Preppers are the folks like you and me who live simple lives and are just doing the best we can in this often unstable, crazy world.

If you want to get more serious about prepping, but are not quite sure how you can budget the money to buy what you need, these tips will help you make it work. Stocking up a year’s worth of food, water and other important gear doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that is done over a period of time. It may take years to get what you need. The idea is to keep adding—never stop.

1. Cut out at least one coffee trip to Starbucks or Dutch Brothers. If you can, skip the coffee shops all week and make your own at home. Invest in a $100 machine so you can make delicious coffee in seconds. You will save time and money.
2. Skip the freezer meals and spend a few hours each week preparing meals from scratch. You can make casseroles and other meals on a Sunday, pop them in the freezer and heat during the week. This will save you money on your grocery bill.
3. Shop at thrift stores or buy second hand things like clothing, shoes and other necessities. You can find name brand, high quality items if you are willing to put in the time and effort to look.
4. Buy in the off season. Be ready to shop the clearance shelves after holidays. You can get winter gear in April for a fraction of the cost and use it the following year.
5. Cut out the cable or other television service. Really, TV is garbage anyways and you could be doing so much more with your time. If you need something, spend $15 a month and buy a Netflix or Hulu subscription.money challenge jar
6. Make a serious effort to cut your utility bills. Turn off lights, shorten showers, air dry your laundry and so on. Every $10 you save on your electric bill can go to prepping.
7. Make an effort to grow a garden. It can be container gardening. This gets you in the practice of growing your own food and can help save money on your grocery bill.
8. Pack your lunches. This is going to save you a small fortune every week. If you must, treat yourself to one lunch out per week.
9. Carpool or consider riding a bike to work or to run errands. Public transportation is another option. No, it isn’t always convenient, but if you can save $25 a week on gas, just think of how much food you could put on your shelves.
10. Use coupons. Most stores are moving to digital coupons, which makes it so much easier to use at checkout. You don’t have to worry about clipping coupons, printing or forgetting them at home. Before you make any purchase, do a quick Google search to see if there are any coupon codes available.

Every penny you save counts. Just remember, the extra money you have at the end of the week should go to your prepping. Don’t splurge and go shopping!

Revisiting Winter Weather Preparedness

snowWith much of the country gearing up for a wild winter, it is a good time to talk about winter preparedness. A heavy snowfall or severe weather that results in icy roads or widespread power outages can put people’s lives at risk. If you are prepared for such nasty weather, you don’t have to worry about much more than how you will pass the time.

Winter weather preparedness means you need to be prepared to get stuck at home for days on end. You will have to eat what you have in the pantry and fridge. There is also a good chance you will have to be prepared to stay warm without the luxury of your electric furnace. You will likely need a supply of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking if you don’t have a woodstove to cook on.

There are many elements to winter preparedness. You want to get prepared now, even if you don’t think you will ever need your preps. The old saying, “to have it and not need it is better than to need it and not have it.”

This list will cover the things you need to think about and prepare for.

*A backup source of heat i.e. woodstove or fireplace, if this isn’t possible, you will need to be prepared to seal off a room in the house to try and keep warm with candles, blankets and body heat

*Have a supply of non-perishable foods, you have to assume the power will go out and food in the fridge and freezer will be difficult to cook and may spoil

*Have a supply of rock salt to make the areas you need to walk on outside a little safer

*Have plenty of board games, books and your favorite nonelectrical hobby to keep entertained

*If you do have a woodstove, load up on dry wood nowwood-1767521_1280

*If possible, invest in a portable generator

*Have an emergency kit that includes candles, matches, flashlights and spare batteries

*A snow shovel will be a must, if you can get your hands on a snowblower it will save you some manual labor, don’t forget a roof rake to pull the snow off the roof to prevent a roof collapse

*Plenty of winter gear i.e. wool socks, coats, hats, gloves and waterproof boots, have backups in case the first set gets wet or tears

Usually, in the event of severe winter weather, life gets back to normal within a few days. During that time, you must be prepared to do with what you have at home. You may not be able to go to work, schools will typically be canceled and the whole family will be home. Prepare to feed, entertain and keep everyone warm. Look at it as some time to bond with the family.

Your vehicle needs to be prepared as well. We will cover that in next week’s post.

5 Quick Prepping Tips to Do This Weekend

food pantry-1Before the holidays soak up all of your time, spend about 10 minutes this weekend taking care of some tasks that will ensure you are prepped and ready to go should SHTF tomorrow. While we all hope we could see the signs and have a little time to prepare, that isn’t always the case. The best thing you can do is to always be ready. When the warning is sounded or an alert is given, the millions of other people who are not prepared are going to be rushing to take care of all the stuff they put off. You will find the shelves empty and you will be out of luck.

Check out the 5 things you can do this weekend.

1. Check your stock for signs of spoilage. Bulging cans or dripping jars are bad news and need to get disposed of quickly. If you have wood shelves, the leaks can rot the wood and cause serious problems.
2. If you have a shelf full of empty canning jars that won’t be used this season, fill them with water. Put clean lids and bands and you will have extra water, just in case.
3. Do a quick inventory and organize your food into like categories. Putting like foods together helps you do a quick visual to see what you need to balance out the food groups. If you have a lot, take it a step further and put canned corn together, canned beans and so on.meal planning
4. Jot down items that you need or want to add. Put the list in the car so you have it handy. A copy of the list in your wallet or purse will give you a quick reference when you are at the store. Use the memo section on your smartphone to list the items you need.
5. Put together a go bag. This doesn’t have to necessarily be your bug out bag. Something small that includes matches or some kind of fire starter, an emergency blanket, water purification and a multi-tool. This can be stashed in a small ziploc bag or some other small zippered bag. This bag can be quickly packed into a suitcase or tossed in a purse if you have to leave home for a short trip.

These quick tasks will pay off in an emergency. They won’t take more than 10 minutes. Revisiting your storage and tidying up will help you stay on top of things and know where everything is, what you have and what you don’t. The goal is to keep your prepping top of mind. Carve out some time this weekend and get it done!

Planning for Prepping in 2017

illuminated-1479168_1280As we roll through the next 6 weeks that will likely have us all so busy spending time with family and friends, shopping and enjoying the holidays in general, our prepping can get put on the back burner. Any extra cash in the budget is likely allotted to gifts and holiday parties. Although prepping should always be a priority, it isn’t out of the normal to focus on living today and worrying about tomorrow, later.

The holidays may take up a lot of your time, but when you are asking for gifts or giving gifts, cool gadgets that aid in survival would be the gift that will keep on giving. You will also want to think about those holiday sales on certain foods. You can get some great deals on canned soups, baking items and some spices. Don’t forget to shop the clearance aisles once the holidays have passed. Learn how to get the longest shelf lives from the foods you do buy. Mylar bags are your friend!food storage

Once the new year kicks off, put prepping at the top of the list. Truly commit to making room in the budget for food and other supplies. You don’t have to fall into the trap of making a New Year’s Resolution, make it a way of life. Stockpiling items should be a habit. When you walk by a garage sale or check the free items on Craig’s List, think about things you can use to rebuild and really help your family survive and thrive when there are no more stores. When you can’t run to Home Depot or Wal-Mart to pick up garbage bags or a box of nails.

Find the room in your house and make it happen. Don’t just think about it. Do it. The times they are a changing and you better be ready to roll with it all. You can soften the blow of a job loss, sluggish economy, aftermath of a natural disaster or civil unrest by committing making your stockpile a priority in the coming year.

Practice Makes Almost Perfect Survival Skills

mountain-man-205306_640The old adage, “practice makes perfect” is rarely accurate in the true sense of the word, but it can make any skill pretty close to perfect. Survival skills deserve the same kind of attention you would give to a professional sport. Athletes practice quite a bit to be the best they can be at whatever it is they do, as do hobbyists. The more you practice, the better you get. Don’t you want to be the best you can be at starting a fire, building a shelter or hunting when your life depends on it?

Schedule some time to get outside doing the things you will likely have to do in a true survival situation. Don’t just get out when the weather is nice and warm. Get out when there is three feet of snow on the ground. Get out when the wind is howling and the rain is pouring. This is the only way you are going to prepare yourself for real life situations that are more likely to occur. When you think about it, what are the chances of you being forced to flee for the wilderness when it is a nice 70 degrees out? Not likely. In fact, not probable at all considering a natural disaster is what very well may send you running.camping food

Get the feel for what it is like to feel the rain on your face or what it feels like when you have to walk a mile in deep snow. Every discomfort you feel or problem you face is an opportunity to learn. Learn from those problems and grow your skills. This is how you get better, just like a star football player practices twice a day for years.

Block out some time this month and go for a hike. Go in the backyard and practice making tinder bundles. Practice using your flint to spark a fire. Do some studying about edible plants in your area. Sign up for classes and learn from experts. The more practice you do, you will get pretty close to perfect.

Getting Ready for Winter in the Middle of Summer

firewoodIf you live in mountain country or an area where wood heat is a staple, you have probably already started collecting the wood you will burn through winter. Relying on a woodstove to heat a home is a common practice for many in cold areas because it tends to be cheaper and more reliable. A winter storm that knocks out the power can leave those who rely on a furnace for heat in the cold. No power and no heat can be life-threatening. As a prepper, you need to have a backup heat source, like a woodstove or a fireplace. It is common sense and often one of the first things on the list for a prepper.

The investment into a woodstove will run you anywhere from $500 to $2000 depending on the size of the stove and how much work needs to be done to install a chimney. If you can swing it, this is the summer to get it done. Buying a woodstove out of season is going to get you the best deals. You can get the clearance models that need to go before the new stock comes in for the upcoming winter.snow WV

Once you get your fireplace or woodstove in, it is time to start stockpiling wood. Depending on the size of your house and the average winter temperature, you could burn anywhere from 2 to 10 cords of wood. You have a couple of options for getting wood.

You can have it delivered already cut and ready to be stacked in a shed or somewhere you can keep it relatively out of the weather. You can save a little money by having rounds delivered, but you better be ready to do a lot of work. You will need to split the giant rounds in order to get the right size logs for your stove.

Another option is going to cut the wood yourself. You can buy a permit from the forest service that allows you a certain amount of wood. You will only want to take downed trees. In many cases, you will need a chain or some way to drag the log down a hillside. From there, you will need to use a chainsaw to cut the wood small enough to load into your truck or trailer. Once you get home, it is more cutting, splitting and stacking.

If you have your own property, you can use downed trees as a source of wood. You are also free to chop down any trees on your property and use those for wood. You will of course want them to dry out for several months to a year before you try burning.

Now is the time to think about winter readiness. You never know when the first winter blast is going to hit and getting caught unprepared could be disastrous.

Are Your Kids Too Young to Be Preppers?

forest-386751_960_720Preppers come from all walks of life and tend to be chameleons. They blend in, doing what they can to keep their prepping practices on the down low. Usually, the whole family is involved in the prepping in some way, shape or form. However, there are some parents who take care of the bulk of the prepping needs and just assume they will be around to guide the kids and tell them what to do. But, what if you are not there? What if you are incapacitated somehow? Wouldn’t you want the kids to be able to take care of themselves or take care of you if needed?

Some people ask, “How old should my kids be before we start teaching them about prepping and survival?” The answer is simple—they are never too young. Prepping is a lifestyle. Your children learn from you from the very moment they enter the world. You have a very pliable little human in your hands, ready for your teaching. Use it wisely.

Kids should be taught basic survival skills early on. How many times have we heard about toddlers wandering off and getting lost in the woods overnight or being gone for days. There are plenty of miracle stories about those babies living through their ordeal. If, by some chance your little one finds himself/herself in a similar position, don’t you want them to be somewhat knowledgeable about what to do?children-770258_640

When you are stocking the shelves, putting together bug out bags or storing water, explain why you are doing such things to your children. Have them help you. Talk about what to do in various scenarios. When you are out and about, have the child keep an eye out for things that would be good to add to the storage shelves. Take them camping often and let them get some real practice.

Make it a family affair. Teach them so they are ready and feel more secure when things do go south. Having more hands on deck is only going to help you and them survive whatever comes your way.