Preparing for 2020: Surviving the Coming Economic Collapse

In Prepping and Preparedness by M.D. Creekmore14 Comments

Over the years I’ve consulted with many clients through my consulting business who know that they should stock up on food, water, and other needed gear but they’ve become so overwhelmed with all the “prepper foods” and “prepper gear” suggestions (check out this article for my favorite gear) that’s being promoted on nearly every survival blog and prepper website that they don’t know where to start – so they contact me for help.

I love seeing the look on their faces when I tell them that they don’t really need all of that stuff or need to order anything online because everything needed to prepare for a local disaster or even a total SHTF event can be found and purchased at their local Wal-Mart.

Prepping should be a simple and low-cost expenditure, unfortunately prepping has been made into a business where you’re intentionally led to think that you have to spend thousands of dollars on long-term storage foods, firearms, bug out vehicles and other related gear, when in reality everything that you really need can be purchased quickly and cheaply at your local Walmart Supercenter.

Below I’ve put together a 20 step prepper’s checklist that once completed will make you better prepared than probably 95% of the U.S. population – all at a fraction of the price of purchasing an equal amount of foods and gear from the prepper supply vendors that you see promoting their products everywhere online nowadays.

You can do all ten steps at once if you want or you can divide each step into separate days or weeks. But you need to get it done as soon as possible. Keep in mind that this is only a starting point and isn’t presented here as a completed end-all list. Prepping is a lifestyle and you’ll always be working and improving your skills and adding to and or altering your supplies.

Now let’s get started…

1. Head to the nearest Wal-Mart and pick-up 20 lbs. of white or brown rice (white rice stores longer but brown rice is more nutritious) and 20 lbs. of pinto beans. White rice has a better storage life while brown rice has more nutritional benefits – your choice.

2. While you’re there grab 5 lbs. mixed beans, 5 lbs. of white sugar, 5 lbs. of iodized salt, one gallon of olive oil (can be frozen to extend shelf-life), 5 lbs. oats, 10 lbs. each of white or wheat flour and cornmeal.

3. Now head over to the canned foods and pick-up 20 cans of canned fruits and 20 cans of canned vegetables. Be sure to buy only those brands and contents you normally eat and nothing exotic. No need to shock the senses.

4. Now over to the canned meats. Pick-up 20 cans of various meats, salmon, stews, spam, and tuna. Again buy only those brands with contents you normally eat and nothing exotic.

5. Okay. Now to the to the peanut butter shelf and toss two 40-ounce jars in the cart. The listed shelf life is just over two years and each jar has over 6,000 calories. Peanut butter is excellent instant survival food.

6. Over to the powdered drink mix – go on I’ll wait…Okay, pick up two 72 Ounce Tang Orange drink canisters (provides 100% of the US RDA vitamin C requirement per 8 oz. glass). Also, grab six 19-Ounce Containers of Kool-Aid Drink Mix.

7. Off to the vitamin and supplement aisle, pick up 400 tablets “one a day” multivitamin and mineral supplements. I buy this brand at the local Wal-Mart – comes in 200 count bottle for $8 each.

8. Now to the department, we all love – sporting goods. Go to the camping aisle and pick up 4 five-gallon water containers. Fill with tap water as soon as you get back home.

9. While you’re there buy 250 rounds of ammunition for your primary defensive weapon. More if you can, but this will be a good start. Also a good universal cleaning kit.

10. And while you’re in the sporting good department pick up the best flashlight you can afford, extra batteries and bulb. Also, grab two boxes of wooden matches and several multi-purpose lighters. Don’t forget to date, use and rotate – remember first in first out. Let’s get started. What would you add to the list?

Please Watch My Top 10 List of Survival/Prepping Items

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And don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you don’t miss anything…

11. Go to back the grocery department and pick up 5 lbs of powdered milk or the equivalent of canned, now go over to the next aisles and throw in 5 lbs of rolled oats and a case of Ramen noodles. Ramen noodles aren’t the most nutritional food but they are cheap, add bulk to the diet and store well –  just don’t rely on them to provide all your nutritional needs. And don’t forget a good manual can opener.

12. While you’re in the grocery department be sure to pick up an assortment of spices to taste, such as Basil, Chili powder, Cinnamon, Garlic, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme and Black Pepper. Spices can go along way toward making unfamiliar foods palatable. Also, while you’re in that area add 5 or more lbs of salt to your shopping cart, as you know salt has 101 uses.

13. Okay, counting what you bought during our first trip to the shopping center, that should do it for the grocery. Now go over to the area near the pharmacy and pick up 3 large tubes of toothpaste, 3 brushes, 100 double edge razor blades, (note: if you don’t have a razor you’ll probably have to order one from and don’t forget a brush and bowl), I’ve used this type of razor for years and think it is a cheaper long-term solution than disposable.

14. While you’re there, add the most comprehensive first-aid kit that you can find to your cart and don’t forget over the counter pain meds (Tylenol, aspirin, etc.). If you’re a woman (or have one in your life) go over a few shelves and pick up enough “feminine” supplies to last three months or longer.

15. With all that food in your pantry its only a matter of time before you have to poop. I know, it’s shocking but we all do it.  If you have a water source such as a stream or lake nearby you can still use the toilet in your bathroom, all you have to do is manually fill the tank in back and flush as usual. If this isn’t an option, you’ll need to look for other alternatives such as the Portable Toilets sold in the sporting goods department or making a  sawdust toilet from a five-gallon bucket.

16. What’s next? You guessed it toilet paper. If you poop you need to wipe, if not you probably need to start. You could use a corncob, cloth, Roman sponge on a stick or paper from discarded books or newspapers but I would wager most of you prefer the softness of Angel Soft. Get enough to last at least a month, more if possible and remember women need more than men so plan accordingly.

17. While you are in that area of the store pick up a supply of disposable plates, bowls and plastic utensils. Don’t go overboard here but having a small stockpile of these items on hand can save a lot of water that would otherwise be used to wash dishes. Also add two or more gallons of regular, unscented bleach to your cart.

18. This is a biggie and can’t be done (legally) at the department store pharmacy without the signature of a doctor – that is stocking up on prescription meds.  Getting more than a 30 day supply, at least in the U.S., can be difficult if not impossible. But there are ways to get most of what you need for long-term survival.

19. Now push your cart (man this thing is getting heavy) over to the hardware department of the store and pick up a carpenters hammer, vise grips, adjustable wrench, screwdriver set, duct tape, electrical tape, ax, pry bar, crosscut saw, hacksaw and a large can of WD-40. This is your bare minimum survival toolkit.

20. After you get your toolkit, go over to sporting goods and in the camping, supply aisle pick up a propane camp stove and 5 or more 1 pound propane cylinders or a bulk 20 lb tank and hose adaptor – yes the pressure in the small bottles is the same as a 20 lb cylinder or even 100 lb tank, just be sure to get the proper adapter and hose assembly. Another alternative and the one I prefer is the Volcano Stove because I can use propane, wood, and charcoal.

21. Okay, we are just about done  – only a few more steps you’ll be out the door and heading home. You’ll need a way to keep in touch with your group so go to the electronics department and pick up the best two-way radios that you can afford – I have these. Don’t forget a battery-powered radio and extra batteries for both. While not necessary, I prefer a radio capable of receiving AM/FM and shortwave broadcasts – I have this one.

This shopping list will have you better prepared than probably 90% of the U.S. but it should not signify the end of your preps only a good start. There’s always something to do and learn never become complacent – remember the quote “On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of those who on the very threshold of victory sat down to rest, and while resting died.”

What did I leave out? What would you add? Let us know in the comments below. Below is an easy printable checklist…

What would you add to the list?


  1. Reading glasses–even if you’re young enough to not need them, odds are, someone in your family/group might. These are great not just for reading, but stitching up clothing or wounds, reloading ammo, gunsmithing, trading etc. Dollar Tree has them in varying strengths for $1.00/pr. In fact, Dollar Tree also sells canned foods including Tuna, Sardines and Mackerel, Spam-like meat, Vienna Sausages, Toothbrushes AND Toothpaste, OTC painkillers and antihistamines, Bleach, Dishwashing Liquid–which doubles as handsoap as well as laundry detergent and thousands more items all for $1 each.

    No, I don’t work for Dollar Tree, just a recent convert…

  2. Definitely a good start.

    Some suggested changes,:

    1.500 rounds minimum for your primary weapon.
    2. A backpack of some type
    3. A good knife
    4. Food for pets
    5. Canteen
    6. 12v inverter and AA/AAA battery charger and rechargeable batteries.

  3. I really like when you repost this list. It always comes at a time reminding me to double check it from the last restock. Granted, this is a great starter list… my lists and amounts have grown.
    Sometimes we just get too busy to keep up with our details… and these are the details I don’t want to mess up on.
    Thanks MD

  4. First and the last item on the list – don’t tell anyone you have anything.

  5. A small break down fishing pole, several spools of line and lots of hooks, With line you can make limb lines, Any food you can catch even out of mud holes that nobody would give a second thought to means that much less of your supplies you have to use

  6. Great article, thanks. As for prescription medications, you might be able to get 90 days if you ask your doctor.
    Another thought, if you can safely do it, is to take your meds every other day and at the end of 30 days refill your prescription. Do this for 6 months and that should give you 3 months in reserve. After that rotate as usual.

  7. I’ve said this before, but it also bears repeating.

    Our prescriptions have the cheapest overall co-pay if we take a 90-day supply each time. I discovered that the insurance will provide refills 7 days before I am scheduled to run out. I mark the calendar for 83 days from the date they were last filled, and call for refills on the marked date. This practice adds an extra week’s supply 4 times per year, plus any accidentally missed doses. There is no need to intentionally skip doses.

    My supply of newest prescriptions are only a couple of weeks ahead, but my older ones taken for years would last several months. I make sure to date refills clearly on receipt, and practice first in, first out rotation.

    Of course, anyone taking controlled substances for chronic, debilitating pain is a different story. There are no refills, the doctor needs to write a new script every 4 weeks. You aren’t allowed to pick up the new medicine until the day you actually run out, even if it’s during a scheduled blizzard.

  8. A $20 Sawyer water filter from Amazon or the Sporting Goods section at Walmart. If water runs low and you have to use water from a creek, ditches, rooftop drainage etc., one of these filters will make thousands of gallons drinkable without need for a fire / boiling.

    Candles. Whether cheap tea lights or taper candles, you can buy a LOT for cheap at yard sales, thrift shops, or on clearance at Walmart if you catch a sale. Candle light is economical and useful to conserve batteries, provide a little warmth, etc.

  9. Antibacterial wipes such as Wet Ones are very useful for cleaning and hygiene when water is not plentiful. Having several canisters on hand would significantly help in the conservation of a limited water supply. Avoid products such as Clorox or Lysol wipes, which can’t be used on the skin or food surfaces such as dishes, utensils, cutting boards, etc…

    There is a difference between a water filter and a water purifier.
    “Simply put, the main difference lies in the level of protection they provide. Generally speaking, a water filter is designed to remove waterborne protozoa and bacteria, but not viruses. A water purifier is designed to combat all three classes of microbes, including viruses.”
    In a disaster such as Katrina, where flooding compromised every natural water supply by overflowing sewers, a purifier is needed to make water safe.

    A small solar charger capable of recharging battery powered items would be very useful… Especially so if a backup generator is not available or out of fuel!

    If it looks like electricity will not be available for an extended length of time, everything in the fridge/freezer will spoil. Having the knowledge and resources on hand to preserve that food through canning, dehydrating or fermenting would be very useful.

  10. Zippered freezer bags. Boil your food in them and the pot will not need washed. Regular plates and bowls can be placed in a bag turned inside out to keep the plate/bowl clean without washing. Turn the bag right side out, put napkins, paper towels, or other trash in the bag and zip shut. The spoon, fork, and knife can be licked clean. These work well for back packing trips too.

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