Lets face it. Prepping and survival planning can be expensive. To get where I would feel comfortable with my level of preparedness, I would probably need at least a few hundred thousand dollars (FYI, I don’t have a few hundred thousand dollars). This is because to feel comfortable, I would want a piece of property somewhere far away from any major city. A retreat location is probably the largest expense for anyone. If you already live in a place like that, then you’ve got that part squared away.
The other main expense amplifier is the fact that prepping, by nature, involves stockpiling. Depending on your level of comfort and what your goals are, you might be trying to stockpile in preparation for five to ten years of self sufficiency. Many of the survival preppers I know are planning on at least that span of time. That means you are buying food, medical supplies, ammo, toiletries, etc, etc….for several years to come. Stockpiling aside, don’t forget about all of the survival gear you are probably planning on purchasing (anything from guns and knives to clothing and footwear). You will probably be wanting at least two or three of everything so that you have a back up.
The list goes on and on. If you are the average American, your average annual disposable income is around $10,000 to $12,000. That is the amount normally thrown into savings or spent on non-essential purchases. It can certainly be discouraging to take a look at what needs to be spent to have a comfortable survival plan and then to see that you can’t afford it.
Here are some suggestions I have for you to make it easier and to not get discouraged.
1. Start with the most important stuff first.
You have to start somewhere. That is my best advice. Just get started. In my opinion, the most important thing is a Bug Out Bag (or a 72 hour kit, whichever term you prefer). Just think, if there was a disaster or an emergency right now, would you have what it takes to keep you and your family alive for the next few days? When I first started getting into prepping and survival, I was a poor, starving college student. I did not have any money. I was working, but all of my money went to funding my education and paying living expenses. Student loans made up the rest. While I couldn’t afford the survival gear I wanted, I knew I could at least get a bug-out-bag together and be prepared to take care of myself for a few days (I was single and had no kids, so it was not that hard). If you need help getting a bug-out-bag, I suggest you read my blog post Bug Out Bag Checklist: Essentials For Your Tactical Supply and Survival. After you have things squared away for the first few days, then follow that same approach and try to get squared away for a week, then a month, then six months, etc…you get the idea. I suggest you check out the 72-hour Survival Kits at Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center. They are very reasonably priced for what you get and they offer a 100% 6-month money back guarantee.
2. Live within your means and set aside a certain percentage each month.
Living within your means exactly the opposite to how the majority of Americans approach their finances. We tend to spend money we don’t have so that we can buy things that aren’t exactly needs. Maybe you will have to reevaluate your approach to how you spend your money and instead of buying that new big TV to keep up with the Joneses, set aside some money for your next survival plan purchase. I like the idea of having a certain set percentage of your disposable income toward your survival plan. What ever that percentage is, just set it as a goal and stick to it.
3. Learn valuable self-sufficiency skills.
Even if you don’t have any money to invest in a survival plan, there are still things that you can do right now to get going with your survival plan. Fill your head with knowledge and learn practical skills that will keep you alive in a survival situation. There are millions of how-to videos on you tube that you can watch for free. As long as you have an internet connection (which I am assuming you do since you are reading this article), you can start learning how to be self-sufficient. Learn skills like navigation, CB radio, water purification, signaling, trapping, starting a fire, finding shelter, gardening, etc…. First aid is a big one. I suggest you read my article on Stitching Wounds: How To Suture. There are probably a bunch of free first aid classes you can take from your local community college or civic organizations. On that same note, even if you are unable to invest much money right now, make a plan for what you are going to do when you do have the money. Which things will you buy first? And so forth…
4. Don’t get overwhelmed.
Similar to tip #1, just get started and be consistent. Who knows when the SHTF scenario will come? No one. It may be next year or it may be decades out. No matter how much work there is to do, just know that if you do a little bit each day, each week, each month, you will be better off than if you didn’t prepare at all. If you set a plan, stick with it, and learn all you can, you will be amazed to see how far you have come in just a few months.
5. If You Can, Buy In Bulk
If you are in a financial position to be able to invest a good amount of money, I would suggest buying your supplies and stockpile in bulk. Not everyone can do this, but it is more economical. Most online survival supply retailers offer bulk survival supplies. For example, check out the Ultimate Family Preparedness Pak from Nitro Pak.
The bottom line to remember is that financing your survival plan is the most secure investment you can make. Stocks, bonds, etc…will be completely obsolete when the SHTF. I’m not saying don’t invest in that kind of stuff, I’m just saying you should at least make your survival plan a higher priority.