So, here is my list of indispensable foods to store in quantity for hard times. I have tried to take into account caloric as well as nutritional content, ease of storage, shelf life, and the intangible of enjoyable to eat. Let’s face it, it doesn’t have to taste good to keep you alive, but it does to keep you happy! Never underestimate the power of a good tasty meal to make things seem better, and never underestimate the power of a positive outlook to help survive in hard conditions!
“Next thing I see is, they hanged the colored boy, ’cause they caught him stealing. And they had established, I think, about 1,000 trees in the forest out in Mark Twain to hang people from if they catch them stealing or whatever. And I had a big dog—my dog died of bone cancer of all things two years ago. Buddy was half-Rottweiler, half-German shepherd. He was a dog, and he was with me in this. And I also have a police riot gun, a 12-gauge, that holds eight magnum shells. So I’m seeing all this stuff happening, and then I look around, and my dog’s gone. So I picked up my shotgun and went to look for my dog, and I found five men, and they were already skinning him to eat.”
A service interruption or a fuel crisis that takes your cooktop out of service for a week or two is the other hardship perhaps worth worrying about. It's not just about eating well: in an emergency, the ability to boil water is one of the best methods of making it safe to drink. While the owners of rural homes with 500 gallon propane tanks may have little to worry about, the rest of us would not be having fun. For those who cook using municipal natural gas, a simple backup is a small, countertop electric burner, costing about $15. Conversely, for people with electric ranges, a portable camping stove ($13) and a handful of dirt-cheap 1 lb propane tanks ($4 at any hardware store) can be a safe, no-hassle choice. A pound of propane can boil around 12 gallons of water; the entire setup is also very easy to put in a backpack if you ever need to leave - so it's basically worth getting either way.
It used to be that dashcams were prohibitively expensive; but today, the prices start at $50, so it makes sense to give the devices a try. I can recommend Rexing V1 ($100), but there are countless other options to choose from. The bottom line is, if you own a car, it's probably the most affordable and meaningful liability insurance policy you can get.
When you have to prep on a budget your food storage plan should be one of your first priorities. Always aim to have at least three days’ worth of food in your possession or in your storage area at all times. The more food you can keep the better. As well as having enough food supplies, you need to have the right ones. There is no point in having three days’ worth of canned fruit, as this alone will not sustain you during a survival situation when SHTF.
As a matter of practicality, don't worry too much about your existing mortgages or student loans: they are difficult to repay early, tend to have very low interest, and confer special tax benefits. But use your initial savings to pay off credit card balances, and do it quick. Be careful with new obligations, too. Unless you already have a very generous safety net, a home loan that eats up more than 15% of your paycheck over the course of 30 years is a very risky deal; and going over 30% is almost certainly dumb, at least as far as financial continuity planning goes.
Gale, you’re right about the bug eggs. I know it’s a little skeevy to think about but *nearly all* grain products (whole wheat berries, biscuit mix, pasta, cornmeal, anything) already have bug eggs in them. That’s what the dry ice is for; it helps stave off rancidity and it also prevents (ew) hatching! Or you can freeze the items for a week and then store long-term, but that’s a lot more trouble than it sounds like and doesn’t help prolong shelf life.
You can tour this slice of underground history today. After the Southwicks visited the bunker recently, they said they felt even more strongly about the need to prepare. Their family reflects a new preparedness instinct that has been growing since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After that shock, the government urged people to store food, buy duct tape and roll water barrels into their basements.
In tropical areas, a survival kit may have mosquito head netting, additional insect repellent, anti-fungal cream, a machete, water purification tablets, foot powder, matches, a flint strike, a compass, a wire saw, a space blanket, medical equipment (gauze pads, elastic gauze bandage, antiseptic creams, anti-malaria tablets, anti-infection tablets, bandages, etc.), salt tablets, a fishing kit, snare wire, extra socks, a candle, a signal mirror, flares, a sewing kit, safety pins, tinder, tape, a whistle, and rations.