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…
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.
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…