Someone posted a comment in my LJ about preparing on a budget.
I’m single, which helps immensely. The biggest drawback isnt money, its space. Ive got a good sized basement and I have part of it dedicated to nothing but storing my preps and gear. (Although alot of it is cached elsewhere for safety/security).
My preps revolve around the usual: food, water, shelter, fuel, ammo, clothes, medical, and assorted gear. We all know whats involved.
Food hasnt been that big a deal… I lucked out and got a security job for a week when the local sporting goods store was having a big sale in their parking lot. I got paid with store credit. I took it and used it to buy all the #10 cans of Mountain House that they were closing out. I bought about thirty or forty cans of various food. Cost me about $360. One-time purchase. Shelf life is around fifteen years. Thats $24 a year, for fifteen years, or two dollars per month for the next fifteen years for the security of knowing I have two months worth of food. Cheap insurance. $15 gets me 15-gallon water barrels at the local ranch/feed store..a trip to CostCo and ten dollars puts 50# of rice in one, wheat in the other. CostCo has been the best thing in the world for this sort of thing…canned goods, which keep a year, are stocked up and rotated out..and 8-pack of 15 oz. canned vegetables costs the same as half that many from Albertsons. Magic Marker the purchase date on top of the can, shove it to the back of the shelf and rotate as you go. Several websites have ‘decoder’ tables for deciphering the manufacturers packing/expiration dates on the cans. Every time I go to CostCo, I spend ten bucks or whatever I can spare for canned food, drink mix, powdered milk, rice, canned vegetables, pasta, canned and dehydrated soup. Meat is a bargain up there and once home I repackage it and seal it up with my vaccuum sealer and deposit it in my deep freeze, or dry it to make jerky for snacking. The deep freeze stores alot of my bottled water in frozen form, this way when the power goes out the meats will stay frozen for at least a few days which gives me time to dry or ‘jerk’ them or cook them and use them up. And, at the same time, gives me a place to store drinking water. When Major Surplus N Survival has a sale on MRE entrees, me and the Like Minded Individuals will go in on bulk purchases to reduce shipping and get ourselves good deals. You can sock away alot of food if you can come up with ten or twenty bucks a week. When I get hungry at the shop I ask myself do I wanna spend ten bucks on pizza or take that ten bucks and add to my food stocks against the day I *dont* have ten bucks? Usually, I skip the pizza. A spreadsheet lists food, servings per unit, calories per unit, expiration date, etc. At a glance I can tell that on a 2000 calorie per day diet I have 63 days of food. If I decide to go with a more/less caloric intake the numbers are instantly adjusted. My local Albertsons has a ‘bargain bin’ where they put meat that has hit its ‘sell by’ date. You have to freeze it or use it immediately. Its usually marked down 40% or so. I’ll spend four bucks and get a a package of round steaks or pork chops, take em home, vaccuum seal them, and put em in the deep freeze. Ive used stuff outta the freezer thats been almost two years old and vaccuum sealed. Absolutely no difference that I could tell.
Water is simple. Spend ten bucks for some water-storage oxygenation drops (Available from most survival enterprises) and add a few drops to every five gallons of water. Wal-mart has stackable water jug ‘cubes’ for around eight bucks. Pick on or two up when Im there and have some spare cash. I throw an old pillowcase over the container to keep it from getting dusty and to keep dirt of, keep it raised off the floor, and its good to go. Additionally, I have spare filters for my camping water filter and consider my two 40-gallon hot water tanks, once shut off from the city supply, to be a reserve of water.
I usually only buy clothes once every year. No big deal to grab an extra dozen packs of socks for $8 at CostCo, a couple extra pair of jeans at Wal-mart, some t-shirts and underwear, vaccuum seal it all and stow it away. If during the year I see a good deal on underwear or t-shirts, I’ll pick up a few extras and add them to the stockpile. Same for footwear…when I buy new footwear, my old ones, which still have alot of life, get putback with the clothes.
None of this stuff is cheap, but all of it can be done gradually and in a ‘here and there’ way. Its easy to find good prices on things with the advantage of the internet..gun shows usually have plenty of surplus gear that comesin handy like ammo cans, field gear, etc. The internet is my source for plans for backup power systems, generators, LED lighting arrays, radio modifications, etc. Its just a matter of being willing to stick with your plan to stock up on the things you want. If you can afford to spend ten bucks one week, twenty bucks another week, five bucks here and there, you wind up with plenty of stuff in a hurry…esp. food. For me, the priority was food and ammo. Once those were under my belt, I moved on to other things..water, fuel, communications gear, medical gear, storage containers, clothes, lots and lots and lots of books, etc, etc. If you can give up buying lunch one day a week and not renting videos every few days you can afford to sock away at least a month or two worth of food, water, fuel, toiletries and the like.