Being a prepper is all about being prepared to survive, whatever happens to you in life. Some plan for the short term only, in the hope that normality will resume fairly soon after a big event. However, if you’re only planning to live off your storage items for a few days, then you’re going to be totally underprepared. The thought that holds people back from prepping for the long term is often around money – for example, “Why should I spend on stuff I don’t need right at this moment?”.
It’s easy to demote your survival planning and preparation for what you consider higher priority spending.
The good news though, is you can start prepping and taking care of your survival needs even on a limited budget and in this blog post, we’re going to give you some hints and tips on how to do just that.
Make a plan
If you’re not familiar with how to plan for survival, then it’s easy to make mistakes.
Having sufficient food stores in obviously important, but that doesn’t mean you should head to your nearest grocery store and stock up haphazardly.
Your food stocks for survival needs to be carefully planned. This starts with having a checklist of ‘must have’ items. Take a moment to consider what items you must have on your survival list. If you’re thinking pizza, sausages and burgers, then you’re not thinking like a survivalist! We need to take food shopping back to basics.
We are humans, so one of the most important food stocks you need is clean drinking water. Think about how much water you and your family will need to consume each day. As a starting point, plan a short term water store, for example 3-4 days. If you have pets, then these will need water too, so also factor their consumption into your water needs. You can build up from your initial supplies in due course, once you have the budget.
With the water supplies taken care of, the attention now should be on your basic food requirements. Notice the use of the word basic here!
As with the case of the water supply, have an initial plan of 3-4 days of basic food stock. Plan for each person you’re responsible for. That means only buying what they’ll eat. It’s worth remembering however, that when one is hungry, they tend to be less fussy about what they eat. Of course, kids could still be fussy over food, so bear that in mind too.
It’s easy to make the mistake of buying foods that you think are must have items and end up spending too much.
As a prepper, you need to make some sensible choices about the food you should be buying.
If an emergency situation arises where you have to leave your house for 3 or 4 days, then you’re going to have to carry the food and water supplies. Ideally, these items should be ready to go whenever the need arises.
Special grab and go items can be placed in what’s known in the prepping world as bug out bags (or BOBs for short). These are bags made from waterproof and durable material, as well as being strong to carry a heavy load. You can read more about survival equipment, such as bug out bags in our free disaster survival kit– sign up here.
Don’t be tempted to purchase cheap carry bags as these have the risk of damaging your supplies if they split.
Have you thought about how you would keep in contact with relatives, friends and news announcements in the event of being evacuated from your home?
Having a reliable communication system could help your survival efforts. Here we recommend investing in a ham radio or world band radio. Make sure you buy one with a good quality antenna and solar charging capability.
Don’t be swayed by the number of features – just focus on good reception, that’s the main feature.
Not all the food you will have in stock can be eaten raw, so having a method to cook by is a prepper’s must have item.
A camp stove is ideal – again don’t buy anything too feature rich, just one that cooks will be fine! Camp stoves can be purchased for $20-$25.
Thinking longer term, growing your own vegetables is the ultimate aim. With that in mind, use some of your budget to buy heirloom seeds. These are seeds that are passed down from generation to generation of plant species.
Bulk buying your prepper supplies
If you have the budget and storage space, bulk buying your survival supplies makes sense.
Look for bulk buy discounts when stocking on your water, basic food and seed supplies.
Rice is a good starting point as that can be bought in bulk along with sugar and flour. Make sure they are well packaged and stored well to keep pests out.
Consider your hot drink requirements. If you like tea and coffee, then bulk buy those too. When it comes to milk, even long life milk only has a shelf life of a few months so powered milk is more ideal for a prepper.
Tinned food such as tomatoes, vegetable, beans and fruit can also be bought in bulk. Tinned food often has a long use by date so these are ideal addition to your to your survival store.
Once you’ve bought your food items, you need to carry out an audit periodically to check the expiry dates. For any items where the expiry date is approaching, these items will need to be rotated out and replaced with the equivalent item that has a later ‘use by’ date.
Washing and Hygiene
In addition to having food and water supplies in place, you should also consider the hygiene items too. Things like soap, shampoo, wipes, razors and blades, diapers, toothpaste, toilet paper and moisturizer. This isn’t an exhaustive list so you should come up with your own list of hygiene essentials.
For cleaning and disinfecting, bleach is good to have in your supplies. A well equipped first aid box is also a wise inclusion into your prepper supplies, should you need to treat any minor injuries.
Little by little over time
If you’re a on a limited budget then adding items to your survival lists little by little over time will soon see it build. It’s a bit like saving a little for Christmas each month – before you know it, you have a healthy pot at the end of the year!
The first step would be to just buy everything you need for one day’s supply (for everyone who you’re catering for).
Once you’ve done that , buy supplies for day two, and so on… After a week, focus on buying supplies for a whole week, then a whole month, budget permitting.
Keep doing that and you’ll be surprised just how quickly your survival supplies will grow and it won’t feel it has been a financial hit to get there.
Keep an inventory of the food you’ve added to your supply, along with any dates when you need to rotate certain foods out.
Tools and equipment are going to be needed if you’re a serious prepper! These include, but not limited to:
- pick axe
- can opener
Once again, this list isn’t exhaustive so make your own tool list – the list should include tools which will help with your 3 basic needs of food, clothes and shelter.
Shelter and Weather Gear
Basic shelter and weather gear items should include:
- Emergency Mylar thermal blankets
- Sleeping bags
- Waterproofs or poncho
- Rain boots
Timing when you buy
Don’t leave buying your items until there is crisis happening. Prices will be higher and stock limited as panic buying sets in. Instead, pay attention to sales and promotions to get the best deals every time you go shopping. Keep your survival list of items handy so you know what you need to buy.
When bad situations occur, you want to be ready to ship out with your supplies safe in the knowledge that you have enough provisions to keep you and your family fed and watered for days, weeks and possibly months away from home.
Should the worst happen to you, it won’t be easy but at least you’ll have something to fall back on while the SHTF in society.
Good luck and keep prepping!
(Don’t forget to sign up for our free Disaster Survival Kit eBook)