Dave Steen is a survivalist plain and simple and his latest guide, Prepping for Pennies, focuses on putting together a survival plan and amassing survival gear on a limited income.
Steen tells us about a life or death survival ordeal which he and his niece were subjected to during the Hurricane Katrina disaster and how expensive gear would have done him absolutely no good in that situation. Reflecting on that incident and how a simple inexpensive piece of gear stood between him and possibly death is what formed the impetus for Prepping for Pennies.
Prepping for Pennies is bundled with three other survival books all with the intent of saving you money on survival gear, insuring you have the right plan for the right situation, and when the next disaster strikes you and your family are ready.
Developing a New Budget
To start with, you need to figure out where the money you’re going to use is going to come from. Most preppers consciously make some lifestyle changes, so that they can afford to prep. This is usually a combination of cutting unnecessary things out of their lives and finding less expensive ways of doing things, so that they don’t cost as much.
Let Prepping Save Your Budget
Let me give you an example. If you decide to grow your own fruits and vegetables, along with raising a few chickens, you can save on your food budget. The money you save can then be used to increase your prepping. This is the type of budget decision that is becoming common amongst preppers.
Other preps can reduce your budget in other areas of your life. You’d be surprised what the average family spends per month on purified water. But if you’re going to invest in a water purification system anyway, why not use it? That way, you don’t have to keep buying purified water all the time.
Don’t worry about the amount you are going to budget for prepping as much as that you actually have one. If all you can do is five dollars per week, you’re five dollars ahead of your neighbor who’s not doing anything. Do what you can with what you’ve got and you’ll find that you have more to work with than you thought.
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Prepping on a budget – Do it Yourself to Save Money
There are a lot of things you can do to save money on prepping. To start with, forget about buying everything you need. Every time you buy something that someone else has built, you’re paying their salary. So, if you can learn how to do it yourself, you’re going to save a bundle.
Time for another example; lots of preppers use solar power as a means of getting off the grid. Solar power is cheap, abundant and solar systems are virtually maintenance free. There’s only one problem, buying solar panels is expensive. Most people who go all solar to get off the grid spend around $30,000 to do so. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford that. So, I have learned how to build my own solar panels. I can save about half of the cost that way. I save even more by installing them myself.
Granted, there are limits as to what you can do yourself. Most people can’t build their own pickup truck from the ground up. Besides, if you tried to, the cost of the parts would be worse than buying the truck. However, you can buy an old truck and rebuild it yourself, getting a new truck for about a tenth of the cost of a new one.
Recycle and Repurpose
There are a lot of ways that you can come up with things you need, without spending a bit of money. Learn what is used where and how you can use it as part of your prepping. Look for things that people are throwing out and see what you can salvage from them. For that matter, look around your own house for things that you thought about getting rid of and ask yourself if those things would be useful for prepping.
Scavenge from the trash
I wanted to make a Fresnel solar cooker a few months ago, but I didn’t have a big Fresnel lens. While I could have bought one, that would be rather expensive. So instead I started keeping my eyes open for an old style big-screen projection TV. These use a Fresnel lens right behind the screen to magnify the image coming from the projector. When I found the right kind of TV on someone’s curb, waiting for the garbage man, I made my own pickup and scavenged the Fresnel lens out of it.
Check out garage sales
Another great way of repurposing is with candles. You can spend a bunch of money going out and buying candles to have for emergency lighting or you can go to garage sales and pick up miscellaneous decorative candles for about 25 cents each. Take them home, melt them down and make your own survival candles in old spaghetti sauce jars.
Take Advantage of Price Breaks
As far as I’m concerned any prepper should be a bargain hunter. My wife and I are always checking out the sales, looking for something that we can add to our stockpile at a fraction of its normal cost. As I was writing this article, my wife came home with half a dozen three pound summer sausages which she got on a close out for two dollars each. A few months ago, she found some canned chicken for a dollar a can and bought 170 cans of it.
Coupons, a friend to your prepping budget
Coupons are great, especially for canned goods and personal hygiene items. For some reason, those seem to be the two areas where we find a lot of coupons to help us with our prepping. So what if it’s a different brand than what we normally use, at least we’ll have it.
Buy in bulk and watch your prepping budget go farther
When you’re planning your stockpile, it’s necessary to think long-term and short-term at the same time. What I mean by that is to think of how much of an item you’ll need for a year, while you are really trying to build your stockpile only a month at a time. The reason for this is that there are some things which it just makes more sense to buy in bulk.
Take salt for example. We just recently put 75 pounds of salt into our stockpile. You might think we were nuts, but if we are going to end up preserving any meat, whether by making jerky, smoking or making cured meat products, we’re going to need salt. By buying the salt in 25 pound bags, we got it for about 25 cents per pound. But if we had bought it in normal one pound containers, it would have cost us four times that much.
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