In a recent Prepper Website poll, “Which one word/phrase best describes your “type” of Preparedness the best,” 18% of those that responded (2nd most) considered themselves “newbie preppers.” This is not surprising since many people are “waking up” to how fragile our society has become.
But living a life of preparedness, much less getting started, can be overwhelming. Sometimes you just need to know where to start. This is a list of things you can do right now to get started. Most of these suggestions will cost you nothing. Some of these suggestions will require a very small investment. But every move here is solid!
• Make a plan – Whether you write it down (recommended) or have it in your head, be able to articulate your preparedness plan. You and anyone in your family need to know what your plans are for food, water, bugging in vs bugging out, finances, medical etc… You also need to know what you are actually preparing for. Do you have a plan for natural disasters related to your area of the country? And do you have a plan if things in this country go south? That last statement might not require a detailed plan, but it is something that you should talk about and consider.
• Learn as much as you can – The key word here is balance. It is very easy to get sucked into all the information out there for preppers. Blogs, forums, podcasts and Youtube videos are all good resources, but, take it from someone who knows, they can keep you glued to your computer and you never actually get to “practice” the skills you are learning. Lisa Bedford, The Survival Mom, wrote that if she had to do it all over again she would read less Survival Blog and watch more Youtube videos, “Survival Blog gave me a big kick in the pants for getting started in preparedness, but it also sucked me into near-panic attacks and bouts of despair. One day my husband came home from work to find me at my desk, in my pajamas, hypnotically reading article after article on Survival Blog. Rather than motivate me into action, I was frozen with fear.”
John Maxwell, my favorite leadership author, quoted Earl Nightingale, “If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject.” I would suggest that a person would need to “study” and “practice” to become an expert in preparedness.
Suggestions: Limit your preparedness learning to 1 hour a day. Set a timer and then stop. J.W.R. of Survival Blog (hehehe), posted one of my articles on learning. I still do this today. After the hour, go out and practice something you recently learned.
• Fill-up 2 litter bottles with water – You might not have the money to purchase a Big Berkey right now. But that doesn’t mean that you postpone storing water. You don’t have to drink the 2 litters either. There are plenty of people out there who would save their 2 litters for you.
Resources: Here is an article on using 2 litter bottles for water storage – click here.
• Start your food storage program – This means different things for different people. Some of you reading this think you need to drop $3,000 on freeze dried food. That is far from the truth. Use the copy cat method to stock up. Budget, plan meals, use coupons, buy when items are on sale. There are many stories from preppers who don’t drop a ton of money on freeze dried food and MRE’s that you can learn from.
Resources: Here are few articles that you can use for research – click here, here and here. Then, think about what you and your family eat and try to buy a few extra cans of food next time you are at the grocery store.
• Budget/Save your money/Get out of debt – We don’t like it, but the fact is that if you budget your money, it will go further. Most people don’t do it because it takes an initial time investment and then discipline. But the experts will tell you that this is the way to go!
Suggestion – Visit Dave Ramsey’s site to create budget or for information on how to get out of debt. Also, check your utility bills. I was talking to my neighbors and they were surprised how little I was paying per kilowatt hour of electricity. In Texas, you can visit Power to Choose to compare prices. I’m sure every state has something similar.
• Get to know your neighbors – In America, especially in the suburbs, it is easy to do your own thing and never know the people around you. You never know what kind of help someone can be; they have skills you might need (a/c, electrical, plumbing), will watch your house if you leave (security) or just fun to know.
Suggestion – Get to know your neighbors. Just walk over and say hi!
• Get important documents together – Lately, we have seen people have to leave their homes in a hurry for fires that all of the sudden made a turn towards their homes. In a scenario like this, when there is so much going through your head, would you be able to locate all your important information: house, auto and medical insurance, passports, driver’s license, Social Security cards, marriage license, diplomas, will, important phone numbers, list of medications, birth certificates, tax forms, etc… After you find them all, make copies. You can also scan them or use a free app like CamScanner to make a pdf and then transfer them to a secure usb drive.
Suggestion – Take some time to find your important documents and secure them!
• Recycle/Reuse – One of the scenes in the movie Book of Eli has stuck with me for a long time. In one scene, Denzel Washington tells the young girl, “People had more than they needed. We had no idea what was precious and what wasn’t. We threw away things people kill each other for now.“ What do you throw away that can be reused? There are many sites online that show ways how to repurpose junk.
There are many more suggestions and ideas that belong in this article. The main thing that I would want to leave readers with is to, “Be purposeful!”
If you have other suggestions for FREE preparedness ideas, please post them in the comments section.
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