(Bugout.news) Despite news that the economy is improving and that unemployment is falling, most Americans know that life is not as easy or good as our political leaders want us to believe. In reality, nearly half of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and have little if any savings.
With that knowledge, and with the massive snowfall along the East Coast serving as a prepper drill of sorts, two things are readily apparent: Preparing for any emergency remains a very important thing to do; and preparing on a budget should be a primary goal.
The good news is, there are a number of ways to become better prepared without having to spend any money at all. Below are 15 ways you can be a better prepper for a lot free:
- Know thy neighbors: Even in “normal” times it’s good to get to know the people who live around you. Good neighbors are like good friends – hard to find and harder to cultivate – so don’t wait until SHTF to introduce yourself. Besides, an emergency is not the best time to make new friends; getting to know your neighbors now will a) help you develop a trusting relationship; b) allow you to judge whether or not you’d even want a neighbor’s help in an emergency; and c) give you insight into how prepared they are for what may be in store in the future. You’ll also find out if they have any special skills that will come in handy later. Hint: Invite neighbors over for a barbeque or plan a block party as an icebreaker.
- Get it together: Make a bugout plan or some other plan of action that includes where you’re going to meet (to include plans about how to get to your meeting place if you’re away from home at work or visiting relatives, etc.), routes you’ll travel, what you’ll do with pets/livestock, and so on. If you’re sheltering in place like residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland and other eastern states have been ordered to do during last week’s historic blizzard, figure out what you’ll need beyond just food and water – like how to stay cool/warm if the power goes out.
- Figure out what you have: Inventory all of the prepping/survival gear you’ve collected. This will also help you figure out what you still need.
- Practice makes perfect: Since you’ve got all your gear out, practice with some of it to stay sharp. Tie knots, put a shelter up in your back yard, clean a firearm, etc.
- Documentation: Collect all your vital documents and make sure they are in an easily accessible place where you can grab them if you need to get out quickly. Start with this list.
- Get physical: Part of prepping that is cost-free is improving your physical endurance and health. After all, you can’t bugout if you can’t carry your gear, right? So go for a walk or better yet, find some hiking trails and get moving.
- Save those seeds: Do you garden at all? You should, even if you live in a city or the suburbs. If so, make sure you save your seeds for your next planting/harvest; that may be in a completely new location.
- Forage: Look around for anything that is edible that you can obtain and store. This will also help with your physical conditioning.
- Get some skills: Have you ever changed a tire? Do you even know where the jack and tire-changing equipment is stored on your vehicle? Finding it now and learning this will come in handy someday. Also: Go to YouTube and enter “uses for paracord” into the search engine.
- Speaking of YouTube: This resource is a gold mine of knowledge. When was the last time you just spent an hour or so perusing the site and watching preparedness videos? Tip: Grab a notepad and a pen – you’ll want to write some down some things you’ve learned.
- Know much about your house? Say there was an emergency that required you to leave your home quickly. Do you know how to shut off the electricity? Your water? Do you need special tools to shut them off?
- Pinterest: Like YouTube, Pinterest is also a magnificent resource for prepper/survivalist material. Mine in.
- Don’t forget the library: Hey, it may sound old-fashioned, but your local public library is also a treasure trove of information about prepping, gardening, toolmaking, etc. Register, then check out some books to read on various subjects you are interested in.
- Fill ‘er up: How’s your supply of emergency water? If you have some empty 2-liter bottles or other containers, wash them and then fill them up with tap water. How simple.
- Drill, baby, drill: Have you and your family ever conducted an evacuation drill? Not only will this come in hand, but it’ll also be fun! Make a plan and give it a whirl; take notes so you can tweak it and make it better the next time around (the military does this all the time).
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