Is Prepping Keeping You Poor?

Is Prepping Keeping You Poor?

Face it, you probably don’t have the financial resources of the fictional survivalist character ‘Burt Gummer’. Most of us don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared for disaster, but I’ll admit, it would be nice to have all the toys and survival gear the character has on the Tremors movies and television series

The underground bunker with hardened panic room and escape tunnel, the five-year supply of MRE’s (meals ready to eat), 1,000-gallon fuel storage, backup generators, percussion grenades, tricked out four-wheel drive truck, Barrett .50 caliber and a room full of other firearms, weapons and other assorted gear.

I’m getting excited just thinking about all of that stuff. But, getting back to reality, (yes, I know it sucks) I know I’ll never be able to afford all that stuff and chances are you won’t either. But that’s okay because we can be prepared for disaster without spending a lot of money. I’ve done it and you can too.

The truth is, you don’t have to be rich or spend a lot of money. Unfortunately, emergency preparedness has been commercialized to the point where most people give up before they start, thinking what’s the use, I’ll never be able to afford all this stuff. Why should I even try…

I often hear this from new readers who have just started reading the blog. Like I tell them, there is no need to spend a lot of money, there are alternatives to big-budget survival planning.

Let’s take a look at three areas that we all must consider…

Survival Food

There is nothing wrong with commercial survival foods (I have some myself), they take up little space, are lightweight and have a long shelf life – but they are expensive. A basic years supply can cost several thousand dollars and most of us don’t have that kind of cash.

Most of what you need can be bought at your local supermarket or grocery and best of all you don’t have to buy it all at once. Since most canned foods from the supermarket shelf have a listed self-life of two years or more if stored properly you can add to your supplies as finances allow.

The key to keeping a fresh supply is to eat what you store and to rotate – first in, first out. You can build a rotating canned food shelf or you can buy one prefabricated but these are expensive.

What should you buy at the supermarket you ask. That depends on your particular needs and tastes, but this post “10 Things To Do Now!” should start you in the right direction. Be sure to read the comments as there’s some great advice given by readers there too.

The bulk of my food storage consists of whole grains, however, a lot of people aren’t interested in processing their own foods from basic grains. That is a shame because stocking up this way is the most cost-effective way of building your food storage and saving money now on your food budget.

Even if you skip the farmers market and buy your grain pre-packaged for long-term storage through one of the commercial survival food vendors the saving can still be huge compared to an equal amount of other commercial survival foods.

Just be sure to use what you store in your everyday meals to avoid the shock that can result from a drastic change in diet and be sure you’re not allergic before stocking up on large amounts of wheat.

Water Filters

A source of clean drinking water is essential to survival and while there are many ways to go about this, from boiling to purification with sunlight, I think an effective water filter still makes a lot of sense, especially for a family, but they can be expensive.

I’m a fan of the Berkey Water Filters but most of us can’t afford to spend $258 for a water filter (I got mine through a barter deal with an advertiser) luckily it isn’t difficult to make your own for less than half the cost. I give full details, with photos of how to make your own filter in my book “31 Days to Survival“.

Firearms For Foraging and Defense

I recommend starting with a reliable .22 caliber rifle. A .22 rifle will allow you to take both small and large game with proper shot placement and it can be used for self-defense if needed. Best of all ammunition is cheap enough to allow the stockpiling of thousands of rounds without emptying your wallet.

As to budget rifle choices, I’ve received good reports from several readers about the Romanian M-69 .22LR Training Rifle, however, I can’t vouch for these myself, because I’ve never owned one, but I think they are worth looking into if you can still find one for sale.

If anyone has any experience with these rifles please share with us in the comments below.

A good used break open single shot shotgun such as the 12 gauge H&R Pardner can often be found in used / like new condition for under $100. I’ve seen several recently at the local pawn shop priced for under $75. A 12 gauge shotgun is a very versatile survival tool.

Any retailer selling ammunition will carry at least a few different sizes and weights of shotshells, but in my option #, 6 shot offers the most versatility for hunting small game. Slugs and #00 buckshot work best for larger game and self-defense (check local laws).

The Smith & Wesson Model 10 Military & Police Revolver is the most successful handgun of all time. This revolver has been manufactured since 1902 and has been produced with many variations for both commercial and military use.

Even after a full century of technological advancements the Model 10 is still hanging in there as a reliable weapon with respectable stopping power. As a survival handgun one could do much worse than having a model 10 strapped on your side. Used ones start at around $275 in my area but are getting hard to find.

As you can see you don’t need a lot of money to prepare for disaster but you do need realistic expectations. In the words of Burt Gummer; “You have to do the best you can with what you’ve got”.

We would love to hear your ideas on how to prepare on a budget in the comments below… I’m sure we can all learn something new from each other…

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  1. The link in y our newsletter to article one, bring us here. 😉

  2. Good article! Thanks for writing more prepping articles. I am a firm believer in FIFO shopping/eating. My more recent task is to make sure I have enough water.

    Idea: Want to have a brick cooker for Shtf but don’t want anyone knowing you have it? Those bricks are great for holding up a bed or bookshelves. This idea is for those who can’t put bricks in the garden.

  3. Something I never see suggested anywhere is reading glasses. If you’re much past 40 yrs of age, you’ve already noticed a deterioration in your eyesight which won’t get better over time. For stitching up torn clothing, addressing wounds, handloading, tying fish hooks, gunsmithing and just plain old reading, you’ll find these worth their weight in gold–without closeup eyesight, you’re unlikely to survive anything. You can buy them at Dollar Tree. While they’re not always the sturdiest-built,they’re not $20.00/pr, either. As a barter item I don’t think you can beat them…

    • HappyHousewife

      The readers are very important – and pick them up in various strengths so you have what you need at that time. A magnifying glass is also key for splinters etc.

  4. All the cash in the world is useless when there is nothing on the shelf to purchase. We are just beginning my sixth rainy /typhoon season here in the Philippines. One year, there was more than average damage to infrastructure. Roads around us were more or less back to normal within two weeks. In other parts of the Phils, trucks could still not pass for many weeks, so deliveries to our area were very slow to come back. Believe it or not, many items we regularly stock in our storage were only beginning to be restocked two and three months after the end of the storm. We just think of our storage as paying for our eats well in advance. It truly is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

  5. Prepared Grammy

    I always plant a garden and put up food for the winter. I canned nine pints of unstuffed cabbage rolls and thirty-two pints of chow chow. I have freeze dried foods that I bought, but it’s my long term storage.

  6. Here’s a guy with another take on SILENTLY feeding oneself during an SHTF situation–during less perilous times, one can sell hides to generate money, while filling your belly…

  7. Patrick Poe

    How about: (1) printed topographical maps of everything within 20 miles, (2) a couple of good comfortable bicycles, and (3) a few military duffle bags for carrying anything on your back while gathering, trading, and scavenging (they store well when not used).

  8. the Romanian is a good rifle but the mag only holds 5 rounds. Also the mags are very hard to find and expensive. The Tiawan ones suck also. It would be nice if some one made a good 10 round mag for it at a sane price.

  9. You don’t need a fancy roll-the-cans-around rack to practice first in, first out food storage. I just take a Sharpie and mark the purchase date on every box, can, or bottle after a trip to the supermarket. On some items, I mark the sell by expiration date instead. For instance, when I get home I have found bottles of lemon juice that were by side on the shelf were manufactured several months apart.

    Then I pull all the older items off the pantry shelves, put the new ones in back, and work restocking back to the front by date. Buying double of what is being used up builds up a stock on the shelf, especially if you remember to put an item on the shopping list clipped to the fridge whenever you open a reserve container. Once a known number of spares is reached, mark the shopping list before a trip with what is needed to keep the reserves full.

    Even with no disaster, the big name market we use may have less than a dozen units of a favorite item on their shelves, and often they may all be sold out. Knowing we are not completely out keeps us from making extra trips. Shopping is down to about one trip per month. At 28 mpg, that saves the gallon of gas used per round trip from home, or five gallons from the retreat.

    Prescriptions are handled the same way. I figured out that our prescription plan allows refilling 90-day supplies (lowest co-pay) a week before the 90 days are up. I mark the calendar, and call for refills every 83 days. That builds up 4 weeks of spares each year. I have 6 months extra of pills I that have been taking for many years, and at least a couple weeks of some newer ones. Marking the dates and rotating the supply is critical with the meds. I have also arranged all my prescription refills to expire on the same date, so there are only 4 trips to the pharmacy each year.

  10. Sarah Querry

    HELLO FROM SEATTLE,WA.! I got my family into “PREPPING” I am 75 and disable but I shop very fugal BECAUSE I don’t have too much MY damn TAX eats my $$$ up so I shop on CREAGESLIST for the free stuff JUST last week I just got another 5gal. of KEROSENE for free ! my garden is doing very well “BUT’ the strawberries don’t make it in I eat them then I shop at WALMART on there mark downs for prepping food last month I got a can of chicken soup for 10.00$ IT is very hard to save $ on a fix income but you can do it I even use COUPONS to help ! I have enough food to last me and my son that is my caregiver 30 days my son and I do are Owen reloading of ammo to help in saving ! GOD BLESS YOU ALL

  11. One way to have the food to store to start with is this method:

    We buy in bulk as much as possible when it comes to rice and beans. Powered milk is so expensive now that most people can’t afford it. Keep your eyes open for sales. That’s the only way I know of to afford the Milk, which is a must in my pantry.
    When I cook a meal, I always make more than what we will eat in one sitting. In fact, I make double. I then dry what is left after the meal.
    We have a vacuum sealer and boy do I love this thing. This saves so much money, time, and spoiled food.
    Dry your extra food, package and vacuum, then store in a marked 5 gallon bucket. Keep it dark, dry and cool. Cold is even better.
    Now, I realize that food dehydrator’s, and a food saver vacuum sealer are not cheap to start with. But the money you are saving by processing your food will pay for these items in about 1 year give or take. Also, your dehydrated meals will be very nutritious.
    Save pennies, dimes, nickle’s and any money you can, and buy a dehydrator. There are some model’s that are great and don’t cost the $ of an Excaliber. These model’s use a fan that sits on the back of the unit which is far better than the “round one’s”.
    Watch the sales carefully and you should be able to find a good vacuum saver. That’s the key. Remember you will need to buy a supply of the bags too.
    Hope this helps.

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