Starting prepping can be daunting. When you are prepping on a budget it’s difficult to know where to start. But don’t worry, it’s possible to start prepping without spending huge amounts of money.
Here are our top ten tips to help you start prepping on a budget. Some of these won’t even cost you a penny!
Don’t Panic, Focus On Here & Now
When you start prepping, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed. There is a huge amount of information out there (and here!) about disasters you need to prep for. You don’t need to prep for everything all at once.
There are always scares and worries about what might happen. We talk about what the most likely disaster scenarios are, but the risks of any disaster happening tomorrow are very low. When you start prepping on a budget, don’t think you have to have everything ready immediately.
Stick To Your Prepping Budget
When you are prepping on a budget, it’s easy to think that you have to buy a lot of things very quickly. You don’t. Start small, and don’t get in to debt. Managing finances and avoiding debt as much as possible is an important part of prepping.
Even if you only have a small amount of money to spend each month on prepping, you can still be a prepper! Set a budget for your prepping, and stick to it.
Focus On Prepping The Essentials First
When you start prepping on a budget, concentrate on the things you really need first. To survive, you need water, food and shelter. In many disaster scenarios, you sheltering at home is preferable to bugging out. So assuming that shelter is going to be home, focus on starting a stock of food and bottled water.
A food and water supply for a few days will be enough to survive many of the more common disaster scenarios. For example, severe weather, major power cuts and many other scenarios will mean being stuck at home for a few days. A small food and water supply will be plenty to get through these.
Buy What You Eat & Eat What You Buy
Build up your food stock by buying a extra of things that you already eat. There’s no point buying a huge supply of beans if you don’t eat beans. You’ll have to use your food supply at some point, either when a disaster strikes or just to rotate your stores. It’s much easier if you actually like to eat the foods you have stored.
Identify the foods you eat that have a long shelf life. This should form the basis of your food stock. It also makes it easy to build up your food supply by buying extra of the things you already buy.
Buy A Little Extra When You Can
Don’t stock up on large quantities of food at once. Instead, each time you go shopping just add a little extra. This means that you can keep your budget small.
It has an added benefit that each time you buy a few new items, they will have later expiry dates. If you buy large quantities of food at once, it will all reach its expiry dates at a similar time too. Use the oldest items in your store, and add new each time you shop (called the first in first out method). You will build up a stock of food surprisingly quickly.
Prep For More Common Events First
Preppers are often thought of as being prepared for the end of the world, but that’s not really what prepping is about. Prepping is about being prepared for anything, including the smaller, and actually more likely, disaster scenarios.
Prepare first for small disaster scenarios, for example bad weather, power cuts, floods. This is a great way to start prepping on a budget. If you plan for these scenarios, you’ll already be well on the way to being prepared for more major events.
Only Buy Equipment You Can Use
Learn skills first rather than focussing on equipment when starting prepping on a budget. Then you will be able to buy only things you really need to be able to practice those skills.
Start with equipment you really need to survive, rather than things that might just be nice to have. Prepping kit that is really important for survival includes:
- A first aid kit, which is always useful to have in day to day life too. You never know when you might need to look after an injury.
- A water filter will be very useful in any disaster where there is no mains water supply available. Use it to get clean water from streams and other water sources. We like the Sawyer Mini water filter. It’s small, but works well for providing drinking water.
- A fire starting kit is important in any scenario where you will need to spend time outdoors. Use it to start a camp fire for warmth and cooking whenever you need to.
- A knife is an extremely useful tool to have, and can be used for many different things. Our favourite knife for prepping on a budget is the Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Knife. It doesn’t cost a fortune, but has a good knife blade and several other tools.
Improve Your Fitness
Prepping isn’t just about stocking up on food and water. Preparing yourself by improving your fitness is a great way to be ready for difficult times. In a disaster scenario, you might need to work hard and rely on yourself. Being as fit as you are able to be will make it a little easier.
You can improve your fitness without spending any money. There are many different things you can do to exercise without any equipment.
Don’t Buy Three Things When One Is Enough
When starting prepping, it’s very easy to get carried away and buy too many things that you don’t need. Instead, when you buy equipment, think about whether you really need it or not. You may want to have a bug out bag, which is really useful but may contain duplicates of equipment you use elsewhere. The same applies to your EDC, get home bags, car emergency kits or any other kits you have.
Instead of buying extra items for your bug out bag, when prepping on a budget, use your bug out bag to store items that you use regularly. When you need the equipment, use it, and then put it back in your bug out bag. That way, you don’t need to buy two, but your bug out bag will still be ready to grab when you need it.
Knowledge Is Free, Great For Prepping On A Budget
You can learn a huge amount without spending any money. When starting prepping on a budget, an important thing to do it get to know local area. Explore the area you live to find potential water sources, places to forage and more. See our article on getting to know your local area for more information.
Practicing survival skills doesn’t have to cost you anything, but the skills could save your life. There is a huge amount of information available on the internet (including our site of course!). Your local library will also be able to find some great survival books.
If you have a little money left in your budget, books are worth buying too. If you own a survival book, you’ll have it for reference whenever you need it. We’ve listed twelve of the best books for preppers, covering everything from preparedness and survival to food and medical skills. If you can only afford to buy one book, the SAS Survival Handbook can teach you almost everything you need to be able to survive in the wild. It also includes many survival skills that you can practice for free.