Restaurants & taxis. Many young, urban-dwelling folks frequently dine at restaurants, go to clubs, or take cabs around town. If that sounds like you, don't give it up, but scale back slightly by designating several days a week strictly for public transport and home food. Contemporary frozen dinners can be surprisingly tasty, and Netflix has some good shows.
Preppers don't buy that. Jay Blevins, a former deputy sheriff and SWAT officer in Berryville, Va., says social unrest from a financial meltdown could be devastating. He has formed a prepper network of family and friends, people with varying skills such as knifemaking. They'd help one another in such a calamity. He says his Christian faith drives him to help others prepare, and although he is not certain the end is near, he thinks getting prepared is an act of personal responsibility.
There are plenty of horror stories of people going bankrupt from trying to use coupons, or of people ending up with a lifetime supply of Rice-a-Roni and toothbrushes and nothing else. What if I told you, though, that it is in fact possible to amass a significant, well-diversified stockpile for free using coupons? While it may seem too good to be true, it is possible. But, successful couponing requires a lot more skill and strategy than meets the eye, and the intelligent prepper will do his or her research before jumping into the coupon world to avoid some of the potential foibles mentioned above.
A subset of this is also worth keeping in a car. It's not just about zombies or life-and-death situations: if you hit something in a parking lot and your bumper cover comes off or your liftgate won't stay shut, it's nice to be able to tie it down and get back on the road. Similarly, a shovel can help you get back on the road after getting stuck in snow or mud. But speaking of survival: a pocket knife, kept within reach (e.g., in the center console), can be used to cut seat belts if you get into a wreck; and in a pinch, it will double as a self-defense tool. Belt cutters can also fulfill that first task, and may be easier to operate if you are hurt - although they are less useful for other purposes. I'd also recommend getting an automatic center punch - it's a neat $7 tool that effortlessly shatters tempered glass (i.e., side and rear windows) when the doors won't budge. It works way better than many of the specialized car escape devices sold on the Internet.
Having a medium-size bucket ($8) at home is a must, too. If you own a bicycle and are expecting to use it in emergencies, it would be wise to throw in a bike tool ($20), several tire levers ($5), a patch kit ($5), one or two spare tubes ($10), and a portable pump ($10). Finally, for those who are worried about the decidedly unlikely prospect of having to escape home and fight off radscorpions in the wilderness, a a lightweight hatchet ($25), a folding saw ($20), a larger fixed-blade knife ($24), a folding shovel ($25), a compass ($9), and some matches or a lighter in a waterproof container can come handy in several ways.
This, of course, is easier said than done. We tend to scale up our living expenses in proportion to earned income, so even in the $100k+ bracket, people living paycheck-to-paycheck are not a rare sight. And it's usually not the big-ticket stuff that gets them: we're far more likely to overspend on all the smaller, habitual purchases, because their cumulative cost is less apparent - and potential savings are much easier to miss. The patterns to look for will depend on your lifestyle and on how much you make, but here are several suggestions for where to search for that 10%:
It's easy to pigeonhole the prepping hobby—and that's mostly what it is, a hobby—as the province of paranoid knuckle-draggers, the kind of people who proudly fly "Don't Tread on Me" flags over their trailers. Who refuse to pay taxes as a matter of principle but complain about perceived wastes of taxpayer money; who anticipate a future race war with what seems frighteningly close to glee; who distrust the president, FEMA, the lamestream media, doctors, and almost anyone else of authority. These people exist.
Your emergency medicine book will go into more details about setting bones, applying splints, or even doing field amputations with a knife and a saw. But even just to deal with a sprained ankle, a folding cane ($14) may be good to have somewhere in your stash. Beyond that, bandages are useful for improvising splints; in areas where improvisation may be difficult - say, in the desert or up in the mountains - portable folding splints ($10) can be handy, too.
Finally, when prepping for food, meticulously keep an eye out for coupons. This may mean that you purchase dozens of beans one week and tons of rice the next. However, if you set yourself a budget of $10/mo and max this out as much as you can, you will soon see your food supplies growing. That would be $120 worth of seeds, food, and canned goods that you could have at the end of the year. We’ve said it a number of times already, but preparing even a little bit at a time is better than nothing at all.
Before my trip, I had wondered if I was going to be spending more time in luxury bunkers. But Peter Campbell, the managing director of Triple Star Management, a New Zealand construction firm, told me that, by and large, once his American clients arrive, they decide that underground shelters are gratuitous. “It’s not like you need to build a bunker under your front lawn, because you’re several thousand miles away from the White House,” he said. Americans have other requests. “Definitely, helipads are a big one,” he said. “You can fly a private jet into Queenstown or a private jet into Wanaka, and then you can grab a helicopter and it can take you and land you at your property.” American clients have also sought strategic advice. “They’re asking, ‘Where in New Zealand is not going to be long-term affected by rising sea levels?’ ”
3. The water will slowly filter through the charcoal and drip out of the cap. Put a bandanna or another cloth over the hole to filter out any bits of charcoal. (If you’re experiencing intestinal distress—and you very well might be, since your body goes into different kinds of shock in these situations—eat a little bit of the charcoal. It’ll help bind you back up.)
Kimberly – In an electrical power failure you probably have three days. If this is purely local outage then a generator is no problem. If it is a large event with scarce fuel available like hurricane Sandy, then that could be a problem without alt.fuel. If you only had 3 days you could yank meat out and cook it if you have non-electric cooking sources. I wouldn’t depend on more than 20 lbs of meat being useful after electricity failure. Is saving frozen meat beyond what you could cook immediately worth the expense of the generator, fuel, maintenance, etc. in a long term outage?
Despite the trauma, I kept going to protests. I felt grimly determined, and as I kept going, I became more desensitized to the chaos. My medic bag evolved into something more suited for treating the effects of police brutality than simply a place to keep extra snacks and water on hand. I learned from other medics how police often target medics and organizers for arrest in order to destabilize and demoralize the entire group, and I grimly prepared for an inevitable attack or arrest.
That doesn’t mean that some companies aren’t marketing freeze-dried food as an innovation. After eating the Wise Company meals for three days, I switched to Thrive Life’s Simple Plate program, a Blue Apron–esque service that teaches you how to cook from the company’s store of freeze-dried ingredients, which customers can also get mailed to them in recurring shipments. Unlike Wise Company, Thrive Life’s website makes no mention of emergency preparedness, instead emphasizing the sorts of qualities, like saving money and avoiding waste, that might have appealed to Lydia Maria Child in her time: “These foods won’t spoil in a few days... You won’t be thawing, degreasing, or cutting raw meat. You won’t be chopping veggies or washing and peeling fruit.” I reached out to Thrive Life’s founders to hear more about their rationale for marketing freeze-dried food for everyday use, but didn’t hear back.
Rice. This is an old standby. It can form the base of many tasty and nutritious meals. Be aware that although it requires no processing, it does require quite a bit of water to cook. It is most economical to buy rice in 40 lb bags and repackage it into buckets yourself, a 5 gallon bucket will hold a 40lb bag. For a bit more you can find rice sold pre-sealed in buckets from a number of sources.
Because of its very high value-to-volume ratio, physical gold is stored and moved around very easily, but keeping substantial amounts at home can be ill-advised; theft is a very real risk, and most insurance policies will not adequately cover the loss. Safe deposit boxes at a local bank, available for around $20 a year, are usually a better alternative - although they come with some trade-offs; for example, the access to deposit boxes was restricted by the government during the Greek debt crisis in 2015. Non-bank storage services do not have that problem, but cost quite a bit more.
FoodSaver Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.
Per #17: Consider 25 pounds of sugar, even if like me, you don’t use it; it can become like money because so many have a sweet tooth for it. Next: at least the same amount of salt. (I buy sea salt for the iodine within and it’s a mineral all animals need in their diets so it too, can be used like $$. Third: black peppercorns, in past history this was used as money everywhere along the spice routes. Why? Because they have a very very long shelf life without losing potency. Then buy a pepper grinder, coffee/spice grinder and/or a mortar and pestle.
14. Canned Cheese – A little company in Australia, called Bega, makes a wonderful canned cheese that can for a LONG time! The manufacturer says that the shelf life is only 2 years, but canned goods if handled properly can last much longer than that. Here is one prepper who opened them after 13 years, and the cheese still tasted great! Grab some Bega for your next camping trip, and see how you like it, may make a nice addition to your long term food storage plan!
Regardless of where you live or your family situation, become a community with others. Even if your community consists of only two or three persons, these few people will serve as your support group and sounding board for the tactical decisions you will make when things get tough. In addition, you need at least one other person to watch your back as you will watch theirs.
Keep your firearms in a quick-access safe if you have young children or expect people with kids to visit you every now and then. A safe is also a good way to deter opportunistic theft; a clever hiding place will also do, but criminals often have the same ideas as you and know where to look. Be smart about picking the right safe and placing it sensibly: you don't want to have to walk to the other end of the house, or to fiddle with keys or rotary dials, when every second counts. Electronic combination or biometric safes are usually pretty good, unless you go for the bargain bin (don't).
How many mals can you get from a can of baked beans? You can get 14 servings from a pound of beans. Grains of all types can be cooked like rice hence a pound of grain can give you a weeks worth of meals. Plus you can grind them into flour and make bread or pasta, Beans and whole grain keep almost indefinatly but once ground or cooked (even canned) have alimited shelf life. Just a bit of humble advice.
*We wanted to test the Augason Farms 30-day bucket, but due to the 2017 natural disasters driving up demand for emergency food, we couldn’t get that exact one in time for this article. Instead, Augason sent us a 1- and 2-week bucket, which together have the same food as the 30-day. We used the nutritional data from the 30-day bucket in our analysis.
Catastrophes do occur with regularity—think Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Sandy, to name a few—and when they do, there's much to be said for having your own preparations in place as opposed to relying completely on government intervention and large-scale relief efforts. People do fall through the cracks, and working out ways to take your fate into your own hands is a useful exercise in self-reliance.
Young’s observations rang true: Though the Wise Company meals would keep me alive in the event of an emergency, they were simply a lot more carbheavy, with a lot less animal protein and a lot fewer vegetables, than what I eat on a typical day (many of the Wise meals I bought substituted small globules of vegetable protein for actual meat). For the next two days, I supplemented my diet with freeze-dried vegetables, fruit, and yogurt I’d bought from another company, called Thrive Life, and felt the low-bloodsugar sensation dissipate. (Wise Company also sells individual ingredients, in addition to full meals, but I thought I’d diversify my sources.)
Forums and Facebook groups are littered with the same fundamental questions asked over and over again, but they often give incomplete, conflicting, or even dangerous answers. Then we’d read a blog where the author did some quick googling and cranked out a post just to get some traffic. Or we’d have to dig through crazy propaganda and extreme political opinions in the hopes of finding good advice. It drove us mad — we just wanted the facts and straightforward answers!
I have a Kindle loaded up with a bunch of K12 text books for just that reason, and with my solar panels and battery packs I’ll be able to keep it running for years assuming it doesn’t get smashed. And it’s a lot lighter than a bookcase full of books if I have to bug out. 😉 Right now I have over 1000 books loaded on that Kindle, everything from cookbooks to prepping to classic fiction to school books and lots in between. Almost all of them are freebies…gotta love the free book come-ons that happen from time to time to boost a book’s stats. I’m shameless about grabbing them when they’re free….
During a catastrophe, there may be an extended period of time where you need to sustain yourself. For these situations, we offer 3-day personal survivor kits, as well as larger kits for families. Kits are ready to go when emergencies strike and are filled with the supplies you need for fire-starting, tending to medical situations, and ensuring you can get the nutrition you need when food or clean water is not accessible. Our prepacked emergency survival kits are perfect for storing in your car, basement, closet, or cabin to ensure you always have access to life-saving supplies.