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There is so much information available on prepping that can become overwhelming and even depressing when you don't have much money and are just trying to figure out where to start. If you fit into this category, I have a suggestion to help simplify things for you. In my personal opinion, the emergency that is most likely to happen to all of us is a local electrical outage. Start out by collecting things that may help you and your family if that happens. Probably not a life-threatening emergency, but being prepared for it can make the difference between having a household in total chaos, completely stressed out and miserable during that time, and feeling confident and being as comfortable as possible until the electricity is restored. Forget about The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) scenarios for now, you really don't need information on how to run into the wilderness to survive off of the land, and it's unlikely anyone will be trying to break into your home to take what little you have. If the electicity goes out just after dark, what will you need to keep your family calm and comfortable until it is restored? What if your child gets spooked and runs to find you, trips and falls-maybe cutting themselves or spraining an ankle? Can you get to your flashlight quickly to asses your child's injury and reassure them? Do you have a first aid kit handy with everything you need? What will you make for dinner when you can't use your stove or microwave? What others may call a Bug Out Bag (BOB) will come in handy, but in reality may just be an old backpack or duffle bag used to keep things together that you may need to find in a hurry. Start with a flashlight or two with extra batteries (those hand-crank radio/flashlight combinations are awesome). Now that you have light, you need to clean and doctor up those wounds, so you need a basic first aid kit. Do you have a BBQ grill or camp stove that you can cook with temporarily? Do you always have fuel for it on hand? What if authorities you heard on that hand-crank radio say that your tap water isn't safe to drink? Do you have enough cupboard food to last at least a week or two after the food in the fridge and freezer spoil? How will you keep the kids calm and occupied with no electronics-Board games, cards, books? Do you know how to keep everyone warm enough when the furnace goes out? Once you have collected items to answer those few basic questions, you can start looking at other items to add over time. There are many great lists of items to add later, but you probably already have many of those items, and just need to gather them into one, convenient location. Every time you buy an extra flashlight, set aside an extra few bottles of water, cans of Chef Boyardee, pack of crackers, or butterfly bandages, you are taking those first necessary baby steps to become prepared for anything! (Your basic kit can be expanded later and used for any type of emergency) Beginning your preparations doesn't need to be expensive or difficult.
We have young kids and experience multiple-day power outages about once or twice a year - good post!
Being prepped (for us) makes the difference between a mostly-enjoyable time together or a really lousy few days of misery. It's also a lot cheaper to be prepared!
Our best "preps" for power outages with young kiddos are -
- new / special games or puzzles (I pick them up for $1-2 at yard sales, these are worth their weight in gold!)
- those "safety glow sticks" (buy in bulk on Amazon)
- food and water that they kids like and will eat
- sanitation plan (water for flushing, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer)
You'd be amazed what you can pick up at yard sales, re-sale shops and flea markets. Anything geared towards camping is an awesome find, if the price is right. You can get mini stoves for sterno cans (yes it will cook things), tents are nice for both outdoors and indoors- if you lose heat (set it up indoors and sleep in it, it helps enclose your body heat) let the kids play in it, they'll love it. Outdoors if you get to hot inside during the summer nights. Oil lamps are cheap enough and provide alot of light, I've got one in each room-just make sure you have something to light them with and always keep back up oil and wicks, still very cheap.
If you get some extra cash (income-tax refund) price generators, you don't have to get a monster, but they are a great investment. You can plug in space heaters, lights, sump pumps, Tv, microwave, I've used mine before for my Mothers oxygen concentrater worked perfect, the list is endless. Just make sure you know the rating and its abilities. I got a paper when I bought mine and it tells you everything you can run and how to add things as not to overload it. Obviously you can't run everything at once but usually can run quite a few things together, again depepnding on the generator. I'd hate to see someone buy a tiny one and only be able to run one thing off of it. when a couple more bucks would made a world of difference.
But the best advice I could give anyone (broke or not) practice with what you buy wether it's food, basic first aid, cooking outdoors (other than your normal items) pitching a tent inside, turning off your electric to see what really goes off. So many people (I'm not kidding one bit) don't realize water wells need electric. I find this most with newbies to the country, coming from city water to land with a well.
I think that is all good advice as well. Most of us that read these posts have already done some research and started our preparations, so we are beyond what I mentioned and looking for new ideas. The reason I wanted to take a step back to square one is that there are many newbies here that haven't started prepping at all and are dependent on running to the store a couple times a week for basic necessities. Too many people don't begin preparing because all of the information is overwhelming at first and many know they can't afford what others have done. As most of us know, once you start a BOB and some basic food storage, it is very easy to gain momentum to improve and expand. However, too many never start and I just want to encourage everyone to begin, even if the first step is only gathering a few things they already have and organizing them together in one location.
This is all very helpful for me. I'm a newbie. A broke and very unorganized newbie. Our power went out overnight and my 4 year old had to use his Thomas the tank engine flashlight to help me find batteries for the only other flashlight in the house. His toy was designed to turn off every few seconds. Each time he pressed the button again for me I would hear "Bust my buffers! It's Dark in here!". I had to find a small screw driver in our cluttered garage, and then check various electronics for batteries. It was quite the ordeal. Thank goodness we had already had dinner. And then my husband was stuck in the car on a mountain pass during a snow storm and he had absolutely nothing in the car to keep him warm or to eat/drink. We decided then to start working on this issue. First plan is to get emergency kits together for the home and car.
Lynn you also might want to organize a small took box with tools that would be handy in an emergency, usually just basic tools are necessary.
Since money is an issue (broke is my middle name), starting out making certain you have basic emergency supplies is a good place to start. I don't have a kit. My emergency supplies are on one set of shelves in my enclosed back porch, other supplies are inside to make them easy access. I have a small emergency hand crank/battery powered radio on the hutch in my kitchen, next to it are a few candles, duct tape (you'd be surprise lol ) Shelf under that one stores my lamp oil. In the drawers are matches, extra candle wicks and parts for the oil lamps (walmart....get the ones that look like lamps, not lanterns they're better....candle isle and are cheap) There is an enormous candle in the center of my kitchen table, one on the counter, flashlight on my computer desk. Now you walk into the dining room and there is a flashlight on the desk (yes, I have 2) and a lantern on the buffet. Walk into the living room there is a flash light on the mantel a candle lamp on an end table, an oil lamp and my box of stored batteries (I don't go overboard) are in a box on the book shelf. Bedrooms all have flashlights, mine also has a non electric dependent old fashion alarm clock.
Now while that sounds a bit like overkill........ it never fails that when the power goes out it is DARK and the room I'm in will be the ONE room without a darn flashlight handy. Sooooo, now every room at least has one. lol By the way, I get batteries at Dollar Tree for a buck. I'm not looking for them to last me for 20 yrs, I want them working long enough to get oil lamps and candles lit. The sunbeam ones seem to do as well as any other brand I've used. Since you have a young child in the home, those battery operated xmas single candle decor things are great for kids.....for their rooms or for them to walk with from room to room.
If you have a gas stove, your heat is taken care of. Check to make sure it can be lit without the electric igniter as I've heard newer models can't as a safety feature. I've heated my home through several ice storms via my gas stove just fine. Also takes care of cooking issues. Both my girls are putting gas lines into their kitchen and switching over to gas. If your stove is electric you'll have to look into alternatives. In the meantime keep a stock of canned meals on hand like beef stew and such where you can just open and eat.
Once you get your basic emergency supplies done, you'll be ready to branch out a bit. See a fabulous sale on canned food? Buy an extra can or 3. Become a yard sale addict, thrift store addict, dollar store addict. My dollar store addiction is Dollar Tree, loads of handy things there for just a buck. Learn to use coupons when you shop and compare them to store ads for the best deals.
A little here, a little there, a new skill here, a new skill there and you'll be well on your way before you know it. Nice thing about prepping, is that it usually saves you lots of money.
Just turn off all the lights / electrical power, and turn off the water supply, and that will start to give you some good ideas what to do. Just make sure you do not damage any of your appliances, with this SIMULATION.
ESPECIALLY your hot water heater (maybe turn that off first before turning off the water supply).
thanks to both of you! the simulation idea is a good one.
Luckily I'm already a yard sale addict. Come this summer I'll know just what to be looking for
There are a few websites that show you how to get several months (if not a year's) worth of food for just a few extra dollars each time you grocery shop. Also take advantage of the buy one-get one and 10 for $10. You will want to start with food that your family eats, canned meat (tuna, chicken, ham, hash, etc), vegetables, and thick soups (recommended by my Mom who went through the Great Depression). Basically foods that will 'stick to your ribs'. After you have that built up, then you can fill in with other foods. I'm a big fan of lists. That will help get you organized and lower your stress level.
The library is great for borrowing books to learn new skills.
Florida Region 3
"Everyone has the right to be stupid; some people just abuse the privilege."
First have a plan. What will you do before and during and after any emergency. Make a checklist of what you would need in a situation. Example big storm with power knocked out possible for days.
Water,food,warmth, protection,means of escape,way to heat or cook,sanitation.
Now make a check list of what you already have in the house and check off your first list of what you have covered.
Example of above list.
Water..bottled water,toilets,water tank,fill bathtub,extra containers filled.
Food. Food that does not need to be cooked, canned, can opener, pots pans, means of cooking. Grill, gas, fire,etc. Warmth, blankets,sweaters,hats,clothes,etc. Means of escape. Car full of gas, neighbor house, friends house, motel etc. Getting the idea yet. It's called prepping for a reason. Prepare and things won't be an emergency when it happens. You can put all the things you already have in house in a large tub prior to storm or event so you can easily find them in stressful situation. Then put them back when it's over. Hope that helps
If I may inject my opinion, I recommend the book Poverty Prepping.
It's short, basic, and to the point. I've been prepping for over a year, but when I purchased this book for my Kindle, I was surprised at how this book would have saved me some initial anxiety.
“Once you have established the goals you want and the price you’re willing to pay, you can ignore the minor hurts, the opponent’s pressure and the temporary failures.” Vince Lombardi
I think it makes the most sense to prepare for the smallest, most frequent mini-disaster you can think of and build from there. It's amazing how preps for larger disasters can build upon the preps for simple little things. My first preps were to get ready for a power outage, but my alternate heat, light, and cooking preps are equally applicable for a longer term loss of utilities or a bug out situation. The same things I keep around the house for MRE or minimal prep meals during power outages go into my 72-hour kits, one of which will be going with me each weekend this spring and summer that I do a practice bug outs.
A good place to pick up cheap groceries is, believe it or not, your local grocery store. Our local Safeway is constantly resetting their shelves in order to cut in new items. The discontinued items or overstocked items are generally put on the reduced rack and marked down 50%.Also, after major holidays, such as Passover, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc., most stores reduce holiday merchandise up to 50% or more. Have been able to pick up a lot of prepper supplies (dry soup mixes, candles, pasta, canned meats, etc.) at great prices. Stay away from the dented cans (possible source of botulism) and other damaged products, but otherwise these foods are a great and cheap source for building up your preserves.
Also new and broke.
I love that you said taking back to square one and that the information can be overwhelming.
that is me in a nutshell. I am such a perfectionist, that I am too paralyzed to start a kit, because I am overleaded with lists upon lists of what it should include, and not being able to purchase all ot if, right now, makes me not do any of it.
this is very helpful!
New take it one step at a time. Yoy can use the subforum headings to break it down by sections.
Start with the simple things -- start your preppers binder (which does not have to be in a binder,) printout out information from the forum that you want to apply to your situation and paperclip or rubberband the pages together.
Water is cheap to prep and the most important prep. A water bob costs around $25 (linter for the tub with pump attached, it holds over 100 gallons.). Well rinsed soda pop bottles are handy for water storage.
Pasta is dirt cheap, filling and provides a little protein. If you only have a couple of dollars, I'd but 2 lbs of spaghetti -- that will give you 16 (petite) servings at 2 oz ea.
So for $2 and some rinsed out 2 ltr pop bottles you have some food and water prepped!
Baby steps are good steps!
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