Doomsday Prepper vs. Lifestyle Prepper

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what constitutes a prepper. The mainstream media likes to put an ugly spin on it, of course, trying to portray us as kooks and conspiracy theorists hoping for the end of the world. The general population may see ‘Doomsday Preppers’ and think we’re all building underground bunkers and stockpiling ammo and for some that maybe true. There are folks preparing for TEOTWAWKI or ‘The End of the World as We Know It,’ and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. What’s the harm? The worst-case/best-case scenario for them is that nothing happens. Heck the US Government suggests you have 3 days worth of supplies on hand (read here) and the German government is telling its citizens the stockpile 10 days worth due to the heightened terrorist threat (read here). However, I think most preppers, like my wife and I, are ‘lifestyle’ preppers. We see prepping as the commonsense practice of saving; yes, read that again – saving. I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase ‘saving for a rainy day,’ we’ll that’s exactly what we’re doing. Having extra food, water, medical supplies and other survival gear is like having an emergency fund; like having savings in the bank. Having an emergency fund covers that unexpected financial emergency such as a large medical bill (thanks Obamacare!) the transmission goes out in the car, or a water pipe bursts flooding your man cave – you get the idea.  Having a stash of prepper supplies covers you in case of a State, local, or even National emergency such as a blackout, flood, tornado, etc. Having a good stash of supplies at home gives us the same peace of mind that our financial emergency fund does, just for a different kind of emergency.

The desire to save and prepare has led us to learn new skills or skills that used to be common place, but that our society has lost for the most part. We’ve begun growing some of our own food, going to farms and farmers markets, juicing, canning, freezing and dehydrating food; doing things your parents or grandparents did. Each week we learn a little bit more and each new skill or experience makes us that much more prepared to face what ever the future may hold.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

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Top 10 items for any emergency

If you’re depending on some Government agency to come rushing to rescue, odds are you’ve found yourself here by mistake! However, if you believe it is your responsibility to take care of yourself and your family, then you’ve come to the right place. So without further delay…

Water – you can’t live without it and you can’t have too much, also consider having a Water Purifier.

Food – basic canned goods along with other longer shelf life products can literally be a life saver. Check out our big incomplete list of items to store:

Medication and basic first aide – any prescription medication that you or your family need plus Baby Aspirin, Band-Aids, gauze, antibiotic creme etc…consider a small First Aid Kit.

Light – getting around a darkened house can be dangerous; a couple of good flashlights, LED Lantern and of course batteries will brighten any situation.

Heat source – particularly in colder climates, a small indoor-safe propane heater can be the difference between life and death when the power goes out.

Propane stove/grill – obviously not all food needs to be warmed/cooked to be edible, but having a camping stove definitely opens the menu a bit.

Fuel – usually becomes scarce quickly and your nifty stove and heater are useless without it.  Also, if you need to ‘bug out’ your vehicle is a lot more effective if it has fuel!

Radio – knowing what is going on in any emergency situation is critical for planning as well as for simple peace of mind. A good AM/FM radio is fine, but I like the Red Cross Hand Crank Radio that you can use to charge your cell phone with.

Firearms and ammo – it many disaster situations looting starts almost immediately; all the supplies you’ve stashed won’t do you any good if you can’t protect them. Please be sure to not only practice using your firearm, but make sure everyone in your family does as well.

Cash – cash is still king, at least for now. I don’t recommend hiding all your money under the mattress, but a few hundred dollars in small bills may buy you out of a jam. We keep a decent stash of cash at home, some in each vehicle as well as a few bucks stashed behind the old cell phone cover.

Yes, there a dozens of other items that could be added to the list, but for now let’s keep it simple. Regardless of what you’re personally preparing for these 10 items will give you a definite advantage over those who simply go through life chasing Pokemon and watching America’s Got Talent.

Happy prepping!

Prepping on a budget

I’ve heard some say they can’t afford to prepare for the future, but at the same time you really can’t afford not to. I doubt very many preppers just woke up one day and ordered $6,000 worth of freeze-dried food, a fully stocked ‘bug out bag’ and a remote mountain location to hunker down in. No my friends, not everyone can buy everything they need all at once, it’s a process. All these folks you see on ‘Doomsday Preppers’ didn’t get where they are overnight – they all got there in steps and so can you. So cut back on the Starbucks, drop a premium channel or 2 from your cable service and lets get prepping!

Start small

You have to start somewhere so what are you waiting for? For example if this week you put back 5 cans of fruit, 3 1lb bags of dried beans, a jar of peanut butter and 2 cases of water – you spent less than $20 and you’re already better off than most of your neighbors. Then say next week you buy 5 cans of soup, extra pack of toilet paper and order a $10 LED Flashlight from Amazon, still just $20 and you’re making progress! Do that every week and soon they’ll be calling you a prepper!

We buy a little extra of something or some things every time we go to the grocery store. Each purchase is deliberate. We list what we will need for the week then add a few extra items for the prepper closet. In addition, twice a month (I’m paid twice a month) we purchase something off our Amazon wish list based on what we feel is the biggest bang for our prepper buck. Today I ordered a couple of Solar Chargers that I’ll review after I spend some time with them; 2 weeks ago it was a Vacuum Sealer, and some LED Lanterns before that. So sit down and start writing your list; then prioritize and remember to ‘buy what you use.’ Baby steps, folks, baby steps.

Check back soon as we’ll be posting our suggestions for your prepper closet.

Happy Prepping!

Check your progress

Just a quick look at the news today should reinforce your desire to prepare your family to survive; devastating earthquake in Italy, tornadoes in Indiana and Ohio, and parts of Louisiana still under water. The world is reminding you of just how fast your situation can change. So take a moment to check your progress; how’s the food storage going, how about water? Do you have a way to cook when the power is out? Do you have emergency lighting? Can you hunker down in your home or do you have somewhere safe to go if there is civil unrest? How about security? Where are you in your prepper journey and what‘s your next step or next purchase?

Take inventory

Look at your stash of goods; how many days worth of meals do you actually have? Not enough? Take an inventory of what you have, how many meals can you actually make and what do you need to add? Is your stash balanced or do you have 100 AA batteries and only 5 days worth of food? Do you have 10 boxes of 9mm ammo for a gun you haven’t shot in 2 years? Assess your situation and make a list of what you need to address. Face it, if you have enough food and water to last you 5 days, you’re far better prepared than 99% of your fellow citizens.

Happy prepping!

Your parents were preppers!

Well mine were anyway and probably yours too, or depending on your age it may have been your grandparents, but most people used to plan ahead at least a little. No they didn’t call it prepping, to them it was just common sense. I remember working in the family garden and going to u-pick farms and picking beans, corn, and cucumbers that mom would can, pickle or freeze. I remember sitting in the back yard snapping beans or shucking corn; we worked through the summer to prepare for the winter. My parents were both born in the Deep South during the Great Depression; they knew what hunger was, they knew what it meant to do without and worked everyday to keep from ever experiencing that again. Today, most of us have lost those skills, the ability to plan and save, the skills to can and preserve for tough days ahead.

Admitting you have a problem is the 1st step to recovery!

I’ve been there and you may be there now. The average American family can’t come up with $2000 cash in a financial emergency and 66% have less than $25,000 saved for retirement; those are some scary numbers folks. Most people are living in the moment, not planning, not saving and certainly not prepping. This isn’t a financial lesson, I’ll get into that in later post, but simply an example of how completely unprepared the average American family is. Most people are teetering on the edge, living paycheck to paycheck, no savings, no food in the fridge and would probably starve in a few days if the pizza delivery joint was closed. Sad. People have become so dependent on the system that they really can’t do anything for themselves.

Baby steps

Getting back to the basics; planning, saving, preserving, canning, freezing – even growing some of your own food! These are the most basic first steps to self-reliance. Sit down and write out a plan; stash away some basic supplies, then use that as a basic foundation to build upon. Do you have a place to grow a garden, do you know how? If so, what will you do with what you grow? Where will you store what you save? And where on earth are you going to store all this water? Start simple with a plan to slowly build from there and as always, save things you will actually use. No point in stashing 30 cans of beets if you hate beets, save what you eat. Baby steps.

 

Happy prepping!

Got pets?

Got Pets?

If you are like us and have a furry creature or two at your house (we have 3 dogs and 3 cats) you need to make sure you’re prepping for their short term/long term survival as well. The average dog needs an ounce of water per pound of body weight; the average cat needs about 8 ounces per day. These numbers do vary according to the type of food they eat, if you feed them only dry food then their water consumption will be slightly higher. Canned dog and cat food has a pretty decent shelf life, about 2 years in most cases, but dry food is only about a year. You can extend the freshness of dry food considerably by vacuum sealing a few bags for later use. So now that you have a good stash of food and water for them, are ya good? Well, what about flea and tick medicine if they venture outside? Do they take any medications?

Stress

Animals, particularly dogs, quickly sense when you are stressed and react as such. Just the changes in your routine during a blackout or other minor emergency can cause the furry members of the family to become stressed. Show them some love! We have some extra treats put away in a vacuum sealed bag that we can break out in just such emergencies (chewy treats are best.) Stash away a toy or two; a new toy and of course some chewy treats can turn an otherwise stressful time into an awesome day for our little best friends.

Happy Prepping!

Discretion is the better part of valor

Most gun owners know to keep your guns out of sight; out of sight of the repairman, postman, UPS man, etc…because if it becomes common knowledge that you have them, you may become a target for theft. The same may be applied to prepping. If everyone knows you’re stocking up food and water, you may become a target when those things become scarce. If you’re neighbors are sitting in the dark for the 3rd day in a row and your grilling goodies on your camping stove and watching your favorite movies – they will soon decide it’s OK to take it from you. They may have called you a kook in the past, but when the SHTF they will pounce on your stash like Rosie O’Donnell on an unattended donut. So keep your mouth shut!

Oh, I must pause here to recommend a movie you may find interesting called ‘Blackout.’ Made by National Geographic it’s a fictional tale of a cyber attack on the grid and how people cope or more accurately how they don’t. There are 2 versions, one set in the UK, one set in the US – take you’re pick. The US version is available for free on YOUTUBE.
Blackout

OK, so what about your fellow preppers, isn’t there strength in numbers? Why yes, yes there is, as long as they also keep it to themselves. Case in point; my mother-in-law recently purchased a home just 7 miles from us here in the hills of Tennessee. Love her to death, but it did seem a bit odd for someone who had never lived in the country before, but all good. So I bet you’ve guessed the next part already, yup, she’s also working to be more self-reliant. I wouldn’t go so far as to call her a ‘prepper’ at this point, but she is however working to be better prepared and more self reliant. Now that we both know, we can join forces, share resources, share ideas and experiences. We now have 2 remote locations to ‘bug-in’ in case one becomes compromised. Just remember; mums the word.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Happy prepping!