If you’re thinking the economy is going to rebound anytime soon, you’re in for a shock. We’re riding out one of the biggest disasters we’ve ever faced, and the repercussions will be huge. Entire industries have been decimated, and experts believe it’s going to take years for things to return to normal. Many people have lost their jobs, and when you’re unemployed there has been no better time to get prepared.
Of course, prepping does require an investment, but there are many things that can be done on the cheap to ensure you and your family are ready to survive a disaster, even when you don’t have your regular paycheck coming in. Let’s get right into it.
Sort your water
For starters comes your water. Water is an essential element we all need to survive, but not just for drinking for all of your sanitation needs too. Building up a large supply of water is a good start, especially if you can make it a renewable resource. You need to collect bottles to store the water you need, but also think about sustainability. For us, I scrounged Craigslist for old tanks, repaired them and these became the basis for our first water storage system. It took a little time and about $30 in supplies and labor patching them up.
Sort your food
Stocking up on food gets expensive really quick, but there are ways around it that will save you hard cash each week. From coupon-clipping to negotiating with vendors at the farmer’s market for the fruits and vegetables currently in season, we’d stock up on whatever we could when it was dirt cheap, and then can and preserve it as we built our stockpile. You’d be surprised just how much a little planning can save, especially when you’re negotiating right before the market closes and they just want to clear that week’s fresh stock.
Sort your garden
Growing your own produce is one of the most cost-effective means to put a little extra food on the table, though remember that it won’t have an instant effect. Of course, seeds and fertilizer and pesticide all cost money, but there are many plants you can grow from the seeds you’d normally scrap. Tomatoes, peppers, beans and peas will all grow from fresh seeds, that you can collect as you cook and use to plant later. It’ll give you a good start, as you start building out your garden you can invest in more variety of seeds to grow.
Sort your meat freezer
Without much to spend on food, your next best option is to trap, hunt and fish. Depending on the particular season, take full advantage of whatever you can to get your family the protein you need. We’d take the kids down to the lake once a week, and my wife would let them play and splash around in the water as I’d fish and pull in as many bass and walleye that we could take home. These days I wear a small survival watch that means I've always got hooks and some line on me. Cleaned up, the fish we caught would go straight into the freezer and we’d make it just a little longer, with a decent bit of protein to add to each meal.
Sort your SHTF plans
Sitting down to strategize what you’d actually do in a crisis is a smart idea, and one that will cost nothing to execute. You just need to think about the likely disasters to hit your area, and what you can do to ensure you’re not caught out. Think about how your family will get home safely from school and work, how you’ll communicate with them, what preparations you’ve already made (and what you still may be missing), and also figure out where you may go if you do need to evacuate your home. Planning ahead makes it far easier to action the plan.
Sort your skills
With all the new free time on your hands it’s the perfect moment to put your skills into practice. Get outside and actually run through the things you believe you’ll need to know when you’re bugging out, and see how well you do. Learn to light a fire with a flint and steel, how to build a lean to out of fallen debris, how to create a water filter using rocks, sand and charcoal from the fire. It costs you nothing to learn these skills, and they may just make all the difference when the SHTF.
Sort your fitness
On a similar line of thought is your fitness. Getting in shape is not only good for your health, it means you’re going to struggle far less when disaster strikes. You’ll be able to hike further, carry more weight, and ultimately have a better chance of survival if you’ve got a good base of fitness to work from. Start slow, with walks or short hikes, and build up your endurance till you’re comfortable carrying your bug-out-pack for extended periods, and hiking mile after mile in a day. The sooner you get started, the more prepared you’ll be.
Sort your expenses
Finally, comes your expenses. I shouldn’t have to say it, but every dollar is going to count and you should be looking at whatever option you have to sharpen up your budget. Anything that you’re paying for on the month needs to go, things like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or whatever you’re outlaying good money on. When you’re unemployed you need to ensure you’re not spending your money on frivolous things, like a monthly repayment on your car. Buy something older, or better yet, get a bike. I used to bike because it helped me stay fit while keeping my gas costs down, and yet I could still get around for groceries.
Being more prepared is indeed possible when you’re unemployed, but it does take more effort. You don’t have money to throw at problems to get them to go away, but with a little ingenuity you can stretch every dollar you have so you and your family have a greater chance of survival. And that’s what matters most.