For folks interested in getting a nice, compact Geiger counter, Radex One ($120) is pretty hard to beat; it is tiny, inexpensive, and can be hooked up to a PC to continuously monitor the environment (and send e-mail or SMS alerts). The one caveat is that similarly to many other low-cost units, this device maxes out at 1 mSv/h - enough to know that something is very wrong, but not enough to tell if you're going to receive a life-threatening dose in an hour or somewhere within the next six months. In other words, some of the more hardcore preppers may want to invest in a more capable unit, such as ADM-300 (which goes all the way to 100 Sv/h) or RAD-60R (3 Sv/h). Decommissioned military and civilian devices in excellent working condition can be found on eBay for around $200.
Don’t despair. This is your ultimate guide to becoming a prepper, complete with some assessments to help you figure out where you’re at right now, and the steps you need to take to get to where you need to be. Best of all, this is a guide that doesn’t require you to drop $11,298.36 (aka big bucks) today to become prepared in one fell swoop. Many of these to-dos are absolutely free!

“I was a computer jockey,” he says. “So for example, when you think of press 1, press 2, press 3 on the phone: I built one of the first systems in banking on the East Coast, and I apologize for that.” Finelli’s company began securitizing debt portfolios, a process that began in the ’80s and fed into the mid-2000s financial crisis. Finelli didn’t like that. “That’s when I had that moment of, ‘This is a house of cards,’” he says. So in the late 1980s, he quit and became a farmer, first out East, then in Grovespring by 2005. 

The value of such a step extends beyond the mere task of shielding you from glacial shifts in the job market: if a major disaster suddenly cripples the local economy, there may be no more jobs for insurance claims adjusters or account executives, but carpentry or metalworking skills could be in high demand for the coming year or two. You can never predict it exactly, but the more you can do, the better you can cope with whatever adventures come your way.


“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.”

The format is fairly standard for a "reality documentary". It does go with the more extreme folks rather than the more common folks who are just putting some things aside for rougher times. But that's OK, in most of the cases. I found many of the people to be pretty ingenious in how they've approached what they perceive to be The End Of The World As We Know It. Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong. A few might even be slightly over the top (well, there are a few that I think put a step ladder on the top and went from there...) But they have what they consider to be valid reasons for doing what they're doing, so who am I to argue?
By January, 2015, Johnson was sounding the alarm: the tensions produced by acute income inequality were becoming so pronounced that some of the world’s wealthiest people were taking steps to protect themselves. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Johnson told the audience, “I know hedge-fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.”
The Pasta Alfredo has a very pleasing flavor, but the sauce tastes more like the gravy in biscuits and gravy, not alfredo. Specifically, it tastes of salt, black pepper, and flour, rather than parmesan cheese which is the hallmark flavor of alfredo sauce. Thin noodles with a good consistency (not mushy) in rather a lot of sauce. Tasty and filling, but the flavor profile is confusing.
I try to shop just as the supermarkets open if I’m doing a big stocking run. Around here there are usually just a handful of shoppers between 7 AM and 7:30 AM on a Saturday or Sunday, so it’s easier to avoid prying eyes. Then I just joke with the cashiers that it’s such a great price and now I won’t have to buy more for six months until the next sale. Or if I’m seeing a cashier too often I’ll say I’m donating to the food pantry, and while I do donate regularly to the food pantry, most of the stock is going into my personal pantry… If you find your supermarket is crowded just after opening, then try visiting at odd hours if you can to find a time where the store isn’t as busy. Then it’s just the cashiers you have to talk with, unless the store has self-check. I love using self-check since one store near me allows me to scan items as I walk around the store and bag it as I go. When I get to the self-check then I scan my card and the computer knows what I bought. Occasionally they will do an audit to make sure people are keeping honest, but it’s a lot easier to hide mass quantities from prying eyes when you can bag things up before leaving the aisles. 🙂
Food storage cheap – Shop around.  Since I had a meager budget, I wanted to maximize every dollar that I spent.  This is where urgency can get you into trouble.  The more patient you can be the better the deals you can find.  First, investigate the stores in your area.  I was amazed the stores that I had shopped at for years had bulk items I never noticed before.  Second, check local store prices against online prices.  Third, get creative.  If you are working on getting cheese and powdered milk for your food storage see where the closest cheese factory or dairy is and how their prices compare.  I lived 35 mins away from a ConAgra Food Company (they make my favorite spaghetti sauce) and didn’t even know it.  I learned about it after moving to Idaho.  The more you research food storage items the better the price you will get for it.  
If you want to prepare for more outlandish, long-term disasters, or if you have a large family, you can make realistic plans only if you live in a single-family home. This decision alone may give you access to 50-100 gallons of water sitting in the water heater (unless it's a tankless design). Next, if you have some backyard space, you may opt for relatively inexpensive 55 gallon plastic barrels ($60), taking up about as much space a small curbside trash can. Another common option, costing about the same per gallon stored, is a 275 gallon tote ($325). Such solutions can easily provide water for an entire family for up to several months at 2 quarts per person per day, with some allowance for laundry and hygiene needs. Some preppers stockpile even more - but really, if you waited this long and the conditions are still dire, it may be high time to hit the road and find some other place to live.
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!
Everyone in California is waiting for "The Big One," an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 or greater that will destroy infrastructure and cause mass panic. Yet when I moved to the Bay Area from the East Coast, I discovered that since most of the people I knew were making do with small apartments and ever-increasing rent, having supplies on hand for a natural disaster required a space premium that many couldn't afford. I began to put together an earthquake kit that would not only serve my household (which over the years fluctuated from one to three other people) but also my neighborhood, if needed. Even with all that work, I didn't consider myself a prepper, just someone who heeded the Red Cross's warnings.
I asked Hoffman to estimate what share of fellow Silicon Valley billionaires have acquired some level of “apocalypse insurance,” in the form of a hideaway in the U.S. or abroad. “I would guess fifty-plus per cent,” he said, “but that’s parallel with the decision to buy a vacation home. Human motivation is complex, and I think people can say, ‘I now have a safety blanket for this thing that scares me.’ ” The fears vary, but many worry that, as artificial intelligence takes away a growing share of jobs, there will be a backlash against Silicon Valley, America’s second-highest concentration of wealth. (Southwestern Connecticut is first.) “I’ve heard this theme from a bunch of people,” Hoffman said. “Is the country going to turn against the wealthy? Is it going to turn against technological innovation? Is it going to turn into civil disorder?”
Sooner or later, you may find yourself unable to access your bank deposits for a couple of days or weeks. It could be a matter of IT trouble at your bank, of a lost wallet, or of being a victim of identity theft. Heck, take Greece or Cyprus: when the confidence in the nation's financial institutions is shattered, it's easy to get caught up in government-imposed bank closures and withdrawal controls. (Folks in the United States may also recall the forced closure of Washington Mutual in 2008, or several state-level "bank holidays" imposed to combat bank runs during the savings & loan crisis back in the 80s.)
At seventy-seven, living on a tugboat in Sausalito, Brand is less impressed by signs of fragility than by examples of resilience. In the past decade, the world survived, without violence, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; Ebola, without cataclysm; and, in Japan, a tsunami and nuclear meltdown, after which the country has persevered. He sees risks in escapism. As Americans withdraw into smaller circles of experience, we jeopardize the “larger circle of empathy,” he said, the search for solutions to shared problems. “The easy question is, How do I protect me and mine? The more interesting question is, What if civilization actually manages continuity as well as it has managed it for the past few centuries? What do we do if it just keeps on chugging?”

Vegetable shortening. Extremely cheap and energy-dense (2,500 kcal per dollar, 4,100 per pound), making it a unique choice when space or money is in critically short supply. In contrast to other common fats, store-brought cans of vegetable shortening should stay fine for 4 years or more. The product is very bland, but it's perfectly palatable when spread on crackers, mixed with bacon bits, and so forth. It does not provide complete nutrition - but again, that won't harm you in the short haul.
Last thought. I live in a small subdivision, in a small southern town, and a lot of the stuff I mentioned, are very natural to us, because we grew up around it. I can’t even remember the last time I bought a tomato at the grocery store! Our small community established our own disaster plan in an effort that if there was a great catastrophe or crisis, we can block off our subdivision and go straight into “survival mode”…it is not that hard to do, and remember there is always safety in numbers.
Check dried goods: rice, flour, grains – frequently for bug infestation. You can mix food grade diatomaceous earth in with dried goods and it will kill pantry moths and weevils. It is safe for humans and pets (as long as it is food grade). It works by shredding the exoskeletons of any soft bodied bug. It is used in grain silos to keep bugs from infesting grain. You can probably get some through a feed store. Some garden centers carry it. You can also order it online, but check the shipping cost. Pantry moth larva and weevils can squeeze through some very tight fitting lids. We’ve been fooled often by them.

To start, I suggest purchasing a basic 3 month supply of your everyday foods! Then add a little each time you shop. I have a mix of freeze dried, dehydrated, LDS, Thrive Life, 5 gallon buckets with Gamma Seal lids. It really depends on the item. I actually eat what I store. Be realistic. I buy boxes of red beans and rice, Zatarians, use a freeze dried beans, It cooks super fast and is nutritious. Same with scalloped potatoes. These are easy to cook comfort meals that are good for emergencies. Add a can of Costco chicken and you have a great meal.

I still hand wash clothes and hang them out to dry..yes, I do have a washer and dryer, but sometimes I just like sun dry clothes. You can set up a clothes line between two trees, in less of an hour. At the lake, we dry clothes over pallets. By the way, speaking of pallets…they are free and you can use them to start up a fire pit or fire place. Get you some. Pallets are good for LOTS of things. Keep that in mind.
18.  5 pounds of Coffee or 100 Tea Bags.  There are those that will say that life without coffee is not life at all.  Whole bean (assuming you have a hand grinder), ground or instant – take your choice.  Or substitute tea.  Green tea and many herbal teas are quite therapeutic so if you like tea, this may be a good way to go. To learn more about bulk coffee processing and storing for preppers, read this guide here.
Awesome article. Really useful tool for assessing where I am in the process. And planning the next step. Once again, Gaye, you give us the important information without the fear. Some walk away from the fear and don’t get started. Some, such as me, rush headlong into the fear and then have a panic attack. So the fear is not productive. I appreciate your style.
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The communications equipment may include a multi-band receiver/scanner, a citizens band (CB) radio, portable "walkie-talkies" with rechargeable batteries, and a portable battery-powered television. The power supplies may include a diesel or gasoline generator with a one-month fuel supply, an auto battery and charger, extension cord, flashlights, rechargeable batteries (with recharger), an electric multi meter, and a test light. Defense items include a revolver, semi-automatic pistol, rifle, shotgun, ammunition, mace or pepper spray, and a large knife such as a KA-BAR or a bowie knife.
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