Do you think getting prepared is too hard? Are you overwhelmed by the thought of monthly goals? Then start here with these ten easy steps and you will be well on your way to preparedness in just a few months.
One: Assemble a 72-hour kit
This is the best place to start. Assemble a kit that can take you through a three-day emergency, perhaps one where you may have to evacuate your home.
This post will give you the basics of what goes into a 72-hour kit. Chances are, you already have most of the stuff you need already on hand. It’s just a matter of putting it all into a plastic
storage bin, backpack or suitcase. A trip to the dollar store (for travel-size shampoo, toothpaste and shelf-stable foods) and the thrift store (for a backback or suitcase and a change of clothing) and you’ll be set.
Two: Get CPR certified
Most employers periodically offer a CPR class. If your employer hasn’t offered such a course or it’s been a while, take one evening to learn CPR and first aid. It will be the best thing you can do for your family and neighbors.
Three: Buy two extras when you shop
For the next three months, whenever you go shopping buy two extra of whatever you are getting. Instead of a box of pasta, buy three. Instead of a can of soup, buy three. Use a Sharpie or a
permanent marker to write the date on each of the extra two packages of food and put them aside. The idea is that after doing this for three months you will have accumulated a three to four month supply of shelf-stable foods that your family regularly eats. Supplement this storage with a few spices and baking basics (like baking soda, salt or spices) and you have a Super Pantry. Read here to see why this is so important.
Four: Plant a garden
A garden is the single best thing you can do for food security. Even a small garden will give you several weeks of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you already have a garden, expand it so that you can grow enough to preserve some of that nutritious food.
Five: Keep an expense log
Less that 40% of Americans have a savings of $1000 or more. That means that one car accident or a water heater that dies can put your family into precarious financial straits. It’s essential that you are able to master your money. That starts by knowing where your money is going right now. So start keeping a daily log of every dollar that you and your spouse spend. This is the first step towards financial security.
Six: Cook from scratch
After rent and transportation, food is usually the next biggest expense. For most American households 40% of the food budget goes towards eating out. Since each person eats over 1000 meals a year, even small changes in how you eat can have a large cumulative effect on your budget. You can dramatically reduce your food expenses if you start to cook from scratch.
The idea of cooking everything from scratch may seem daunting and if you’ve
never done it before, it is daunting. So start by cooking just your weekend meals from scratch. That’s when you typically have more time, so it’s a good time to start learning.
Bonus: Most prepared foods have lots of added chemicals and other ingredients that just aren’t good for the human body. When you eliminate processed foods, you may find that your health improves.
Click here for five more ways you can save money on your food bill.
Seven: Reduce one expense
After you’ve kept a log of all your expenses for a couple months, see if there’s an area that you can reduce. Perhaps you’re frequently eating out for lunch. Instead of eating out four or five times a week, reduce that to two or three times a week. You don’t have to bring all your lunches from home, just do it a bit more than you currently are.
If you are subscribing to three or four streaming services, choose one or two that you can live without and reduce the cost of your streaming services.
Notice I didn’t say “cut it out altogether”? You don’t have to deprive yourself of these conveniences altogether. Just reduce them a bit. Maybe after you’ve lived on reduced conveniences you’ll decide it’s just not worth it to have them at all and cut them out completely. But for right now, just cut back a bit.
Eight: Store water
In the constellation of steps to preparedness, storing water is the easiest thing you can do. Go to Sam’s or Costco and buy a case of water. That will keep you going for two or three days during a water shortage. Add to it buy buying three or four 5-gallon jugs where ever they sell filtered water. (Here’s a rack that will hold six 5-gallon jugs of water.) Or get a set of these interlocking water storage jugs and fill them up.
Nine: Get a back-up radio
Stay informed and up-to-date on whatever disaster comes your way. Get a battery- or solar-powered or hand-crank radio. There are several types to choose from in a wide range of prices. Get whatever your can afford.
functioning, they are a great way to stay informed about any natural disasters on the horizon.
Ten: Learn one new skill
I’ve often said that having skills that lead to self-reliance is the single most important component of your preparedness plan. Imagine that your fairy godmother were to deliver to you all the food and water you needed for a year and all the generators and solar-powered batteries you need to live
without electricity (and, most miraculously, made it all fit inside your garage). You still would not be able to weather a disaster if you do not have the skills to make the most of these things.
So learn a new skill. Take your pick: canning, drying, hunting, home repair, whatever interests you. Here is my list of Top Ten Skills to Learn.
The right skills and the right attitude will ensure
that you and your family thrive in the event of a crisis or disaster.
These 10 steps are easy to do and will give you a huge boost towards being prepared. (The inspiration and some of the points of this post come from a podcast by the Surival Podcast. Listen to the whole thing here.)