The Least Expensive Way Out

by LJ, Survival Blog

I’m writing to give alternative ideas for those of us who have less money. The basic idea is to spread out your funds to be able to factor in prepping costs. Now I don’t know how much money you get, but if you’re really dedicated you should be able to reach a reasonable conclusion which allows you to invest in prepping needs while also having enough for daily living; maybe you can set aside 4% of your monthly income for prepping. It gives you plenty for your prepping needs but also allows sufficient funds for your everyday needs. Now that was just an example, but you should be able to decide based on your own thoughts and paycheck. So I’ve came up with a few topics that should arouse some interest because of their necessity. These are the things that you will most likely want to have around. Notice that all of the categories are listed in their relative importance, depending of course on the disaster.

1. Water

You’ll need a large quantity of water, which fortunately is usually pretty easy to come by. The trick is to use empty containers that could be recycled to meet your purposes. Empty 2-liter soda bottles work nicely; they’re cheap and can deal with a good deal of harassment before they burst. A good place to store them is in old milk crates, which can be stacked in a garage. The average person should drink 1.9 liters per day, so be sure to stock up on more water than you think you’ll need. A good thing to keep in mind when storing water is that you’ll never have enough water no matter how much you have. Don’t forget water for washing clothes and dishes. You’re going to need a water filtration system once you run out of your water supply, so consider saving your pennies and buying a durable water filter. Water collecting is a fairly simple task; all it really requires is a tarp and a container. Suspend the tarp on four poles over the container and poke a hole in the tarp then wait for the rain. Remember you’ll probably never have enough water stored, so keep collecting.

2. Food

Food is a little more difficult to stock up on because you’ll need to make sure to rotate it so it doesn’t go bad, unlike water which has a virtually unlimited shelf life. So get yourself a notebook and write dates down so you can rotate the food properly. The types of food I recommend are the kinds that can be saved for at least six months. Make sure you stock up on the kinds of food you enjoy or want to acquire a taste for. It’s not good to have two dozen disgusting meals that get wasted. There are three types of foods that are ideal for storing– MREs (meals ready to eat), dehydrated foods, and canned goods. MREs at sometimes three bucks a piece are a good idea because of their easy use. Or if you want you can save up and for $4,000 get a year’s supply of MREs. However, I only recommend that if you’re prepared in all other aspects. Dehydrated foods on the other hand can be saved for over 20 years. Canned goods are so inexpensive for a great amount of food, and most of them have a two year shelf life. Each type of food has its own pros and cons. MREs are rather inexpensive and have a vast variety of flavors, while dehydrated foods last for an incredible amount of time without spoiling. Then, lastly there are the canned foods, which in my opinion are the best choice because they can be bought at pretty much any store, along with the fact that they can be stored much easier than the other two. Plus, they’re super inexpensive! Now, don’t forget about proper food storage, because there’s no point buying a ton of non-perishables if it ends up getting damaged. What you should do is get some plastic garbage bins with lids; then fill the bins with your food and duct tape the lid back on. Then you just need to find a cool place to store them. Also, when shopping, don’t forget condiments like salt, pepper, and other seasonings, especially salt. You might want to get some plastic forks and spoons, unless you want to end up eating soup with your fingers. Make sure you keep rotating!

3. Fire starters

Fire is up there in the top three needs, when preparing for major disaster after food and water, because though it isn’t an absolute necessity it is quite helpful in many ways. For starters, lighters are a relatively inexpensive way to start a fire, but if they get too wet then they’re going to be most likely useless, so be sure to store them in a waterproof container. My personal favorite fire starter is a mini BIC lighter, because they’re easy to carry and store; keep in mind their smaller size means less times that they can be used. The bigger BIC lighter are really good too, though it’s a bit strange to carry them in your pocket all of the time, but they’ll be very useful in every other aspect. Sometimes lighters come with little child locks on them, which sometimes makes them harder to use, but they can be removed if you stick a nail or a knife blade underneath the lock and pry it off. Don’t worry if it’s done right, it won’t damage the lighter in any way. Now matches on the other hand are a lot of fun, if you get the right ones. Strike anywhere matches are much harder to find but are much more useful, because they don’t need sandpaper to strike on. When you get matches, check to see if they’re waterproof. If not, you can waterproof matches by melting wax then dipping the tips in it. Then, when you’re ready to use them, just scrape off the wax. Be sure to store them properly, too. Then, there’s a fire piston. It’s much more versatile than the others but harder to use. A fire piston consists of a hollow cylinder sealed at one side and a piston with a handle in one end and indented in the other end, where it forms an air tight chamber so when a piece of cloth or dry grass is placed in the indentation on the piston and rammed into the cylinder it causes the air to compress and creates a sharp increase in temperature in the tube (approximately 500 degrees Fahrenheit) causing the tinder to catch, which then can be transferred to a tinder pile. Be sure to remove the piston quickly or else the tinder will use up the oxygen in the tube. Then, lastly, there’s flint and steel. The idea is kind of simple; strike the steel against the flint and direct the sparks into a pile of tinder. (Barbeque lighter fluid is helpful with this.) Some accelerants are helpful when starting a fire with wet wood. Isopropyl or denatured alcohol, and lighter fluid are all easily-used accelerants. [Editor’s Note: Of course NEVER use gasoline. The vapors are explosive and it is simply too dangerous–even when used in tiny amounts!] Be careful not to get any on yourself when you’re lighting a fire. Third degree burns are not fun in a bug out situation. Accelerants are just about useless without wood, so get plenty of it.

4. Medical Equipment

Medicine is very helpful to have to fight various diseases without relying completely on your immune system. Get pills if possible, since they last longer and are easier to store. Good types of medications are ibuprofen, Nyquil and Dayquil, and benadryl. Oral health is almost as important. Toothbrushes and toothpaste are highly needed because it’s going to be hard to deal with cavities and infections. So you should probably take extra care of your teeth. Don’t forget floss; it’s one of the most useful items I’ve come across. Floss can be used for sewing and for lashing sticks together, and it’s also clean (but not sterile), so in extremis you can sew gashes and wounds shut with it. I’ll bet you didn’t know that toothpaste can be used for bug bites. Just apply the toothpaste on the wound and then wrap it. For burns, cool the burn with water and then add then add aloe vera. What you need is a little case in which to store all your first aid stuff. The types of things that should be put in a first aid kit are: Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes, Neosporin, pain relievers, needles and thread, and rubbing alcohol, which also makes a great fire starter. Keep your first-aid kit in a dry place and out of the reach of children.

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