Our family's philosophy doesn't include the word fear. We could be afraid of the unknown, but since we don't know exactly when an emergency will come, only that it can and will at some point in the future, having fear now is useless. We believe in the importance of living in the here and now and we can do that with less distraction and worry because we became "preppers." What is productive is knowing the fact that bad things can happen, and just like having homeowners insurance, car insurance or savings in the bank, having emergency plans and emergency food stores are just one more insurance policy that will keep our family nourished and protected if bad times come to our doorstep.
So whether you want emergency food storage in case of inclement weather, a national emergency, or you just want to stock up in case you or your family member loses their job, here are a few guidelines to help you jump into prepping! Remember to read the "Disclaimer" page, these are only suggestions based on what we have done to prepare our own family.
Five Pointers on How to Jump into Prepping:
- Do not go out and buy everything you need all at once. Unless you're independently wealthy, you will need to plan your preps (meaning the items you need to store for an emergency) to fit within your budget. Never use credit to build your stock pile. Just cut out as many "extras" (like eating out, buying unneeded luxury items) so that you can have cash to purchase emergency water and food supplies, as well as save cash for an emergency. Keep emergency cash in a savings account you can access quickly or in a safe location in your house or at your planned evacuation location if you have one. Remember in the event of a power outage ATM's will not be available.
- Before you buy anything, buy water first. Water is essential. We cannot live more than three days without it. Begin with three days of water and then gradually build up to larger quantities as your budget allows. Ready.gov recommends having on hand no less than one gallon of water per person per day. For example, a family of four would need no less than 12 gallons of water on hand for a three day emergency supply. If you have pets or homesteading livestock you will want to store additional water for them as well.
- Stay organized. Once you start purchasing supplies you must have an easily accessible place to store your emergency supplies. If you have a basement but have problems going up and down the stairs, don't put your supplies there. Put things in the basement you don't use from an upstairs closet and store your emergency items in the closet instead. Use whatever system works for you, just remember to keep your storage area neatly arranged so you can find things quickly and easily if an emergency arises. Also, keep a list of "supplies still needed" and work from that list, adding missing items and then deleting items as they are acquired.
- Don't buy what you do not need. We have seen emergency preppers who find lots of great sales on items and do extreme couponing to supplement their supplies. However, they often store hundreds of one item, like razors or lip stick. Even though these items might come in handy as barter or trade items in an emergency, it's not necessary to store so much of one item if you will not even use that quantity within a year. Be prudent. Think through how many you actually use of an item in a month and start there. If you have money left then use it to by items you don't have instead of buying large numbers of something you may never use. If there's an emergency the last thing you'll have time for is shaving or applying make up.
- Don't panic. Starting the prepping process can sometimes seem overwhelming. You'll worry you don't have enough food or water or that you don't have enough money this week to buy any preps for your storage. Don't forget you already have many things in your house right now that will help you get buy if an emergency came tomorrow. Water in your hot water tank, food in your cupboards, tools in your garage, and more. Make prepping a part of your daily life, get everyone, including children, involved. If you're single include those family members closest to you or trusted friends. You will feel more and more secure as you keep working to build up your emergency supplies. It is worth the effort to get yourself and your family prepared in case of an emergency, your planning now might save your life later.