I have a tight budget. I’m talking, poverty level budget, and with survival products being over the top expensive, prepping can be really hard. There are hundreds of articles about prepping on a budget. They present us with products that are “budget friendly,” and ideas on what is the best way to prep and save money, but those products don’t fit the budget, those ideas don’t fit the forced lifestyle of the poor. The “Impoverished.”
I’m a college student and currently I gross $8000 annually, and have had to work extremely hard to get up my preps. The following are a few tips to help others with getting ready in a similar situation.
Every step of this process is going to take some time. It’s tempting to blow a whole paycheck on survival gear, I know, but it’s better to show yourself that you can work and wait for what you need. Think about growing vegetables, you can’t pick all of your tomatoes just because one of them is ripe. Everything has to be ready, at it’s own time. Don’t rush anything, even if it feels urgent. We’re turtles, and we will win the race.
Cut it Off
Get rid of what you don’t need. You can use a towel and wash it, instead of using paper towels. Doing dishes is not going to kill you. You don’t need Air Jordan’s if you aren’t on the college basketball team. Why do you have Wifi, if it comes free with your apartment? It’s slow, but it works.
Save money wherever you can, just to save it. Take shorter showers, turn off the water when you brush your teeth, and open the blinds, instead of turning on the lights.
P.S. You’ll be lucky to have running water, let alone internet, when SHTF.
Budget gas, groceries, rent, savings, insurance, bus fare, fun. Whatever you need to pay for each paycheck, budget. Write how much you can spend, on each item and only spend that much. Seriously. For people like me the most important things are going to be rent, and gas/transportation to make my next check. Write what that costs, and then prioritize and move down the list. Fun is the last thing you budget after you read the next two items.
Budget a savings amount, I save 8% of each paycheck, when possible. After two years of doing this, I have a month of cushion, if I were to lose my job. After your “Normal” expenses are accounted for, you need to budget in prepping. Just $10 per month. Less if you have less, more if you have more, this is a priority, above going to the movies or the bar; be responsible.
Make sure your math adds up, don’t have a $1,000 spending budget with a $500 paycheck. A good tip for those who are really struggling, is to make payments each paycheck; save a little from each paycheck to put towards your bills.
Learn and Practice
No book you buy can teach you more than you can learn for free, you’re on the internet, use it. Learn to make a fire, learn to make a shelter, learn how to fish and make traps. Learn to do this with just I knife and what nature has given you, because buying a tarp, might not fit your budget.
Learn what is edible and poisonous in your geographical area, how to identify it and how to cook it. I love clover, in salads and as an add in, in curry.
Practice all of this. It’s fun and free. Those two words are beautiful to see in the same sentence. Practice with kids in your family. Practice on a date; firelight and natural shelter in the woods, with some soup boiled over the fire… I say romantic. Run drills, for everything from fire and power outages, to riots and looters.
Don’t be a Gear Snob
I understand the importance of quality, the $1.00 knife you have is better than the $100 knife you would have someday. If you’re struggling to even eat, you don’t need to be turning up your nose. There is a time and place for quality, and yes, one $50 shovel may outlast five $10 Shovels, but we need to make sure that we have a shovel. Search before purchasing, find the best deals, that you can.
Hoard, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
If it is safe and reasonable to keep using something, do. It saves money. Your backpack for school is your edc, last year’s backpack is your bug out bag. Make do. Use what you have. You can even learn to make a gas mask from a coke bottle and a beer can.
Shop the bulk aisle for groceries and for preps, I watched the store employee pour brand name flour in the bulk bin, once… that’s quality and quality at the cheapest price.
Use the library for information. Use the food shelf to find canned and bagged food to stock pile. Get help, if you’re below the poverty line, these resources are for you. USE THEM. My food stash is all canned goods from the food shelter, I just keep track of the date.
Now, I mean this as in after you have your basics. Once you have a decent emergency box BOB, car kit, and edc, you can buy more high quality products to replace what you have, especially when something breaks.
I told you how to save money, throughout this article, you should have preps and maybe even some money left over. Save up for something fun, with your leftovers. Life spent only planning for the future, isn’t really a life at all.
I could write books on this, but I have class, a job and a daughter to deal with. I hope I can help even one person in my situation to be ready for whatever the future may bring. Do what you need to do, only you know what you can do.