Doomsday Preppers Guide to Prepping Without Losing Money and Your Mind
I started prepping several years back. I prep not because I am afraid of what is to come, I prepare because I have been there before and I KNOW that we should all be prepared. Back in 2005 many people heard and saw the many issues that resulted from Hurricane Katrina. For those of us that went through it, we know that if you aren’t prepared, you're screwed. I never seen the news during this time, I was living it.
Many watch the show called “Doomsday Preppers” on National Geographic and there are a slue of shows and movies that cover this type of thinking. I think that National Geographic personally foud some of the more extreme preppers for their show, obviously to help ratings. One thing I have noticed is that each person focuses on one catastrophe or another, whether it be a flu epidemic, volcano eruptions, solar flares, civil unrest, hyperinflation and many, many other fears that have been internalized.
Truth is, we should prepare for everything. I am not saying you should live in fear, but know that we live in a very delicate balance of life. We cannot stop hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters, but you can prepare your family. We as citizens can do very little with our debt and our government’s seeming need to spend more each year than they have. We cannot stop an flu that would potentially wipe out a large percentage of the population and we certainly cannot stop what the sun does.
So what do you do?
That is the million dollar question. How do you prepare yourself and your family from the uncontrollable chaos that is in reality right around the corner? The biggest problem that most do not understand is because we live the way we live, we have lost so many life sustaining skills through the generations. Many children and even many adults do not have the skills that would be actually needed to survive.
Survival is basic, a lot more basic than we think. We need food, water and shelter, some would say security as well. So how much of each do you actually need? I keep a 3 month supply of REGULAR food, I find many of the long term food stores are too expensive and not very palatable, anyone who has eaten an MRE can attest. Yes you will have a hot meal, but it will taste like dog food and curiously all the same. Most canned food and dry goods will already last a couple years, maybe a little less. Pasta, beans and rice can last for up to 10 years when stored correctively. If you want those dehydrated goods that last longer, make your own. Spend 20-30 dollars on a dehydrator and Learn. To avoid food spoilage, do what restaurants do, rotate your stock and use the old stuff first. For long term survival past your stocks, I recommend a seed bank, nothing too crazy just 20-30 different types of veggies and fruits that you can grow if SHTF. A few bags of soil may also be helpful to start seedlings indoors when you are unable to leave your home. Farm animals like chickens and goats are fairly easy to care for and can provide constant protein. They are also good for fertilizing your crops. Another idea for sustainable food source is bees. They have many benefits like pollinating your garden to increase production, as well as honey and wax that have many benefits. Point is guys, you do not need a grocery store in your house. Even in Katrina as a wide spread disaster, life returns to normal after a couple of months, grid was back up and life goes on.
Mainly you and your family need to learn the skills of food, how to acquire it, make it, cook and preserve it. Learn to dehydrate foods, grow food and take care of your own family. While you may think you need years of food, truth is you can use all the time off to make your own healthy delicious food. End of the world, do you really just want to sit around and wait?
Water is an important commodity that we all need and we cannot go very long without it, so how much do you need? I keep about a month or so of water on hand. The money spent in water should be minimal. What a person must really understand is how to clean dirty water for consumption. There are a variety of ways to clean water, but I have found the best way is a filter and then to boil it. Almost any water can be made portable this way and you really only need, sand, charcoal, two containers and a fire. Worse comes to worse there are many water options available and should be utilize. Don’t waste a room in your house over something that you can find almost anywhere. Many would be surprised at how much sits in there house in their own water heater. Even salt water can be desalinized with a little time, sun, container and plastic. Also unless you are in the desert, there will be precipitation in the form of rain and snow, collect it. So once again, learning is key to survival, not stuff.
Shelter is what keeps your family and your provisions safe. Where ever you are will have to do. Do what you can to keep your self safe with what you have. Keeping items like extra ply boards that can fit over your windows can have many benefits. Boarding up windows can do double, even triple duty. It can keep debris from entering your home in an event of a natural disaster, which is what kills the most people in that situation. It can also help keep out intruders as well as more protection from gases and chemicals you don’t want in to your life. A few things that would also help would be common items that you could keep on hand, like duct tape and drop cloth plastic. This could keep harmful chemicals and debris from entering your home in the vulnerable nooks and crannies. Keeping your bushes trimmed to under 3 foot can also help protect your family from giving would be intruders no cover. If you have the money to buy a bunker kudos, but for the rest of us, all you can do is what you can do. Gadgets like motion detectors and other sophisticated alarm systems will not work, use your intuition to find other ways to safeguard your house.
Security is one thing that everyone seems to be obsessed most about, well beyond their personal grocery stores. Security is so pressed upon because of what many see on the news, remember they show you the worst to keep you watching. Yes after Katrina things were crazy, however the worst part was the government, the guns, the martial law. Yes, people were killing each other, cops as well were found guilty of murder, however remember, New Orleans is a very dangerous city anyway, there are murders daily on a normal day, so yeah things got hairy. So stay inside and wait it out if you are in that type of environment. Use common sense. Have a weapon or two, however maybe staying stocked like an army man may be over kill. Also, drop the me vs. you thinking, all people are not bad, they can even help you. Use your common sense and gut feelings, however don’t put yourself in a sticky situation and stay aware of what’s going on. True after catastrophes there is little to no help from the police, however calling 911 does not guarantee your survival. You are your own person, there is no one to save you in most situations, so don’t take it to the head.
Communication is another issue that many people may want to touch on, ham radios and other low tech forms of communication may be the only thing that works after a disaster. Radios were still working after Katrina, however most cell phones were made useless. To avoid losing your electronics from an EMP (10% chance in the next decade) a faraday box is an easy solution that can cost very little to make, A faraday box is all metal on the outside, sealed with metal tape and then lined inside with foam to keep the electronics from touching the metal. The pulse would circulate through the box and be unable to short out your electronics inside. What many don’t understand is that communication becomes so much more local, you get to know your neighbors.
Basic and cheap items that may also help in any situation would be some medical supplies. Hospitals will be over by druggies needing a fix, as was Oschner children hospital in New Orleans, other hospital shut down all together, others were damaged by the storm itself. So to get your hands on supplies, think outside of the box. Fish antibiotics and other animal antibiotics can be used in a pinch and have many of the same ingredients. Regular first aid should already be in your supplies and knowing a local doctor can help you expedientially.
Radiation detector is an easy item to get your hands on, better yet is a card you can carry in your pocket that will tell you if the radiation from whatever is high or low. Under five dollars or I would not consider this. Iodine is another multi use product that can be used as an antiseptic, as well as not allowing your body to take in radiation by merely wiping small lines of it on your arm.
Generators are a great tool, however they are worthless if you do not have the fuel for it. After any disaster is declared, gasoline is taken by the government, they will control all gas stations for their vehicles and fire support. So if you don’t have a bit before, your generator will be a high dollar door stop.
Money, cash more specifically should be kept. If you want to put your dollars in to other monetary means like gold and silver, just have something on hand. Many think that there will be a fall of the dollar, which knowing that NOT ONE civilization under fiat currency has not fallen, it would be arrogant for us to think that we are above that. So whatever type of currency you want to keep, keep a bit at home and out of the bank. After Katrina, no electricity, no banks, no way to get it. People were spending bad checks and I don’t that will fly again because a lot of businesses lost money.
Heat and cooking is something that must be addressed, especially depending on where you are. IF it is usually cold or in the winter, you will have to find a way to heat your home and cooking food helps moral and taste, especially if you have nasty freeze dried food. There are older model heaters that can be directly connected to a propane tank of which will last a few months making it a cheap cost effective choice. Sterno stoves are a great way to cook food cheaply and effectively. Just keep in mind, a carbon monoxide detector should be paired with it to ensure you don’t kill your family while you sleep.
Beyond stuff, you may want to take some time to learn things, such as:
Basic recipes such as bread, tortillas, pancakes and other simple ingredients recipes you may not know by heart.
Learn to make your own laundry detergent with a bar of soap and some baking soda
Learn to make your own soap and candles
Learn to can food, as well as dehydrating food
Learn to grow your own food
Learn to purify water a couple of ways.
Learn what helps you survive, because knowledge cannot be taken away from you and as long as the internet is up, information is plentiful and free. So save your money and your sanity.