Preparedness is a difficult topic to breach in many households. While it is common sense that you should be prepared for a disaster, be it SHTF, a natural disaster, earthquakes or otherwise, many believe that the cost will be too prohibitive. It is not difficult, in fact it is easy to spend thousands of dollars on preparedness plans. Here at Living Rational we have many customers who have spent many thousands of dollars on survival and emergency food alone. If you have a big family or an entire company to prepare for, the costs can add up quick. With that said, the majority of people are not in this situation, and there are many ways to prepare while being on a budget.
First you need to be reasonable. You are not going to get everything in the world if your budget is $100, but $100 is better than nothing, and with research, you may be surprised just how much you may be able to acquire for your preparedness plans. Understand that preparedness foods and products are expensive. Sometimes budgeting means adding a little bit at a time. If you need to start off small, that’s fine.
Saving Money in Bulk
If you have ever been to, or even heard of, Costco, you know that buying in bulk is one of the keys to savings. While bulk buying is not going to mean you will spend less money, it will allow you to get more bang for your buck. This strategy in piecing together a “cheap” preparedness plan assumes that you have a decent amount of money to work with. If you fit into this criteria, good for you, because you will not have a tough time creating a very cost efficient survival plan.
Bulk savings in preparedness and survival are most apparent in emergency food. Ordering a 72 hour food supply for 5 people will cost more if you buy 5 individual kits. If you buy several hundred meals as one bulk order, however, your savings will drop dramatically, The cost per serving can go from around $2 per meal, all the way down to $1.50 or even less when you are buying in bulk. At 1,000 meals, for example, you would end up netting at least $500 in savings (50 cents x 1000 meals).
Now, the key to considering this strategy as a means of being cost efficient also relies on making sure that you are going to have a need for everything you are ordering. There is little (see: no) need to buy 1440 meals if you are an individual. Outside of years of survival, you are never going to be able to consume this much emergency food. Sometimes bulk doesn’t make sense, and this is one of those times
Saving Money by Budgeting
Budgeting is the more practical, and common, way that people look for ways to create cheap preparedness plans. First determine how much money you are able to allocate. From here, prioritize the items you would like to obtain. If you are starting from the beginning, this might mean ordering a few very basic survival kits. If you already own survival kits, it may mean creating a food stockpile. Whatever the case may be, you have to first determine what you are able to spend. It would be backwards to shop for items and then realize that you can’t afford them.
Let’s say you have a budget of $200. If you don’t have anything for your preparedness plan, it makes most sense to start off with a kit that, by default, will create savings as a product of it being bundled. Kits are a great starting point when you want a cheap survival plan. They are not the end point, however. If you already have a kit and have $200 to spend, we suggest buying the most calories and/or meals for your buck. Instead of putting name brand, or even taste, as the priority, it makes more sense to have more meals when you don’t have a lot of money to spend. In the case of an emergency, you are going to be much more concerned with *how much* food you have to eat, and a lot less with its quality. It is certainly nice if your emergency food tastes good, but if you want the most out of your dollars, treating your rations as fine dining does not make sense.
Buying the Bare Survival Essentials
Once you have an emergency bag and emergency food, you will naturally want to expand your horizons into some new survival products. Believe us, there are no shortage of survival items to choose from. Whether it is an axe for hunting, an outfit to protect you from chemicals, or anything in between, the list of survival tools is never ending. Don’t bother with items that are not relevant to you. Is an inflatable raft going to be that useful if your biggest concern is an earthquake? Outside of tsunamis, probably not, so don’t spend your money on tools that don’t apply to you. Having a large budget and buying some fun survival items is one thing, but if you are trying to be cost efficient, they are nothing more than a total waste.
Finding Preparedness Products That Last
Just like employee turnover is a major cost for any employer, so too is product turnover for you as a survivalist. You would be much better off spending $10 for a product that lasts near a lifetime than you would be to spend $5 for the same product of lesser quality that will outrun its utility much more quickly. Don’t try to cut corners in the near term when it is going to cost you in the long run. Remember, saving money is a long term approach that adds up over time, and you will absolutely be shooting yourself in the foot if you try to save a couple bucks now in exchange for spending more later on.
While there are survival tools that may lose their efficiency quickly, the most obvious long term item is your survival and emergency food. Some products last 5 years, some last 10 years, and others still last closer to 25 years. Of course, the actual shelf life for emergency food is largely dependent on how you store the food, but the product will come with its general guidelines and advised shelf life. You will save a lot of money if you buy emergency food that does not need to be replaced. Make sure that you are purchasing food that is designed specifically for long term storage and preparedness, as many survival food products are actually designed more for things like hiking than they are for emergency preparedness. For example, Mountain House foods are freeze dried, but they are much better for camping than they are long term preparedness. On top of this, they cost more than most other brands, making them a poor choice for cheap and cost efficient preparedness plans.