One of the most common concerns people have with prepping is the cost. It can add up. Shows like Doomsday Preppers show people who have spent millions to stock, fortify, and even build “bug out” locations. Fortunately, we’re here to talk about practical preparedness. Prepping, if done correctly, is not only easy to do but affordable! Disclaimer: I am not a prepping expert. I would still consider myself a beginner. I merely intend to share my experiences and [limited] knowledge in order to help others prep on a budget.
I started out simple enough. A few news reports about inflation, pandemics, and terrorism. It seems like we hear these words every single day. The more you hear them, the more real they become. Throw on top of that the record shattering flood we had just over a year ago here in Michigan which did thousands of dollars in damage to my home and you can see why I’d rather be prepared. You don’t have to be crazy or a bored millionaire to see the value in having some supplies tucked away in case of an emergency.
The most important thing to remember is to prepare within your means. I typically budget $50-$100 a month to emergency supplies. Whether you can only spare an extra $10 a month or you’re able to afford more, you’re still preparing. Many of the basic survival tools you’ll need in an emergency situation are $5 and under!
Today I want to touch base on some of the most important areas of budgeting to prep for any emergency. Later in the series, we’ll touch base on what you’ll need to put together some of the most common (and useful!) emergency kits.
Know what you’re planning for
First things first, you need to know what you’re planning for. Natural disasters are the most common reason to prep and they vary by location. If you live in California, you’ll need to plan for mainly forest fires and earthquakes. Whereas here in Michigan, I’m prepared for tornadoes, snow storms, and floods. There are lots of useful tools out there that’ll help you determine what to plan for — My favorite is this one over at Be Prepared which has a great, responsive interface.
Plan what you’ll need to purchase
Once you know what to plan for, you can start determining your needs and planning out your purchases. If you go in without a plan, you’ll end up forgetting something or having too much of something you don’t need, which could potentially waste money and defeats the purpose of budgeting altogether. It also helps organizing supplies later a lot easier and makes re-stocking a breeze. We’ll discuss what supplies you need for each kit so you can plan before you purchase later in the series.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
One thing I can’t stress enough is researching products and brands before buying. There’s always something new and improved out there to lure you in, and often times you can find something that works just as well (or even better) for your needs at a cheaper price. Practical preparedness is exactly that, being practical. Compare prices, compare brands, and read all the reviews you can get your hands on. My favorite resources are Amazon’s reviews and answers. You can find honest feedback, customer pictures, and get answers to questions about all the products you could ever wish for. One of my favorite places to buy my prepping essentials is Menard’s. They sell bulk and a ton of camping and outdoor gear at really great prices. This is my first stop for camping lanterns, shelf-stable prepackaged meals, and lighters.
Bonus tip: Buy in bulk
Buying bulk is a GREAT option. Why, you ask? You can get a lot of your every day needs in larger quantities and still have stock left over to add to an emergency supply. I’m always scooping up foods like pasta, rice, canned veggies, and frozen grilled chicken. I separate out half for the everyday pantry, and put half in the emergency pantry in the basement. Once the everyday pantry is low, I rotate emergency to everyday and stock up again. The aim is to have 1 month of food on hand in case something was to happen.
Next week we’re going to talk about creating a storm kit to keep you and your family safe in the event of a power outage. What are some preparations you want to make or have already made at home in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency? Let your thoughts in the comments below!
Missed a week? Find the rest of the series below.