Wednesday, October 31, 2018

10 Ways You Can Be A Self-Reliant Prepper


When you first start prepping, you think you have to spend a lot of money to be prepared. And in some ways, you do need to spend money to build up your food storage and purchase some necessary goods. However, at some point, spending money will not continue to make you a better prepper.

Being a good prepper is about learning the skills and using your knowledge to cope and survive in any situation or crisis that you are faced with. While being prepared for a large-scale disaster is a good thing, being prepared for the everyday situations and your own personal potential crisis takes more skills and knowledge than you could ever think possible. You need to become a self-reliant prepper.

Being able to rely on your own self is so important in prepping. A lot of preppers have groups or people that they can rely on and that is great. However, being a self-reliant prepper can bring a lot to the group too. So if you are a lone wolf or apart of a prepper group, being a self-reliant prepper is important.

10 Ways To Be A Self-Reliant Prepper

1. Buy used goods. This may not seem like a self-reliant skill, but it is. You are doing your part to stop the cycle of consumerism and keep perfectly good items out of the landfill. Beyond that, buying used goods helps the person or business you are purchasing them from. Usually, the person or business selling the used goods is a local person or a small business owner. By purchasing their items, you are helping to support the local economy and increasing someone else's self-reliance.

Here's the thing about prepping and being self-reliant: You may be able to produce most of your own goods and make things stretch for a very long time. However, at some point, you will need to purchase/trade/barter for some goods. You will need your local economy and you need to get to know your local economy. If you establish these relationships now, you will have a better chance of doing business after a crisis or an SHTF situation.

2. Mend your own clothes and other broken items. Fixing and mending items is a skill that most self-reliant preppers treasure and seek to grow every chance they are presented with. By fixing and mending your own things, you are decreasing your dependence on the economy. You should be fixing your own things instead of buying new every time something breaks.

3. Learn new skills - learn to be self-reliant. Self-reliance is not something you are born with. Some people may be more naturally inclined to be self-reliant, but most people have to learn how to be self-reliant. If you were raised in a self-reliant family, you are a step ahead of most people. However, not all is lost. You can learn skills and become self-reliant. Self-reliance is a conscious choice that you make every day. Learning new skills only increases your self-reliance.

4. Grow your own food and supplies. This is one of the most important things for being self-reliant. You need to be able to grow your food, have the ability to grow your own food and be actively practicing how to grow your own food. If you are able to, you should be raising your meat too whether that be just rabbits and chickens or even larger livestock. You should also be trying to grow herbs, medicinal plants, and more to provide for your needs.

5. Make your own things. We have already talked about mending and fixing your own things, but you also need to know how to make things too. Whether you are building a fence, building a shed, sewing new clothes, making salves and remedies, and more, you should be learning how and actively practicing these skills as much as you can to be self-reliant.

6. Cook from scratch. This may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people have no idea how to cook from scratch. They don't know how to take vegetables from the garden and make a meal from them. They still buy a lot of junk and/or processed foods from the store. Learn to cook from scratch now and actively use these skills every day. There may be some ingredients that you can not produce yourself like baking powder or baking soda. However, being the good prepper you are, you will have a good stockpile of those ingredients you cannot produce yourself!

7. Use your own power instead of gas or electric. In the case of a crisis or an SHTF, you will need to learn how to do a lot of things yourself because of fuel shortages or a lack of power. Being a good self-reliant prepper, you will understand that you may need to use your own strength and muscles to get the job done. Now would be a good time to start thinking of ways to do things yourself and getting into shape so you can. You can also set up solar and wind power solutions to produce your own power, but sometimes you will need to conserve those too. I would make sure you have hand tools to fix things and be purchasing or building non-electric/non-fuel powered items to do the work.

8. Read  - increase your knowledge. Learning and doing is some of the best ways to increase your knowledge, but having a library of books will give you the knowledge you need to start learning and doing. I would encourage you to build up a physical library with several good reference books. You can find a lot of books used through eBay, Amazon, thrift stores, and garage sales. Then you should sit down and read at least 1-2 chapters of a book a day to help you in your quest for self-reliant living.

9. Learn to make your own medicines, cures, and remedies. I also know this has been brought up already to learn how to do, but this needs its own discussion. We talked about growing your ingredients and making your own salves and remedies. However, you need to be growing your knowledge of how to treat simple ailments and injuries. You should be making and using things to help boost your immunity, help with colds and coughs, treat ear infections naturally, and more.

You should be lessening your dependence on conventional medicines and doctors if you can. You should be eating well and being active as well which helps your overall health tremendously. Too many people run to the doctor for things that could be dealt with at home because they want a quick fix. Most illnesses cannot be treated with a quick fix, but with home remedies and time.

Resources: 
Prepper's Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils, and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor by Cat Ellis
The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not On The Way by Joseph and Amy Alton

*I am not a medical professional. If you have serious ailments and injuries, you should be seeking medical intervention. Some things cannot be cured at home and even the pioneers sought medical attention when necessary.

10. Simply life - want less, need less. We are so accustomed to giving what we want when we want it. We often buy or procure a lot of things we don't actually need. We own a lot of things we don't use. We see the latest prepping (or other) gadget and think we need to have it to be prepared. The truth is we don't need nearly as much as we think we do.

Being self-reliant does not mean you need buildings and a basement full of junk. The two things you need most in your journey to be a self-reliant prepper is your brain and your hands. The rest of the things you need to be self-reliant are tools and things that will help you be self-reliant. There will be tools and things you need. You need jars for canning. You need tools to fix things. You need candles, lamps, and flashlights for lighting.

I could keep going on, but you need to distinguish between your needs and wants. Then, to be self-reliant, you need to want less and try to need less.

This all being said, you want to be a self-reliant prepper. However, this has its limitations too. You shouldn't be so self-reliant that you cannot or will not ask for help if you need it. Sometimes the costs of doing something yourself is far more expensive than just buying the item or hiring the work done. Only you will be able to know the difference and act accordingly. Sometimes you may not have the knowledge on how to do something and need to learn. You should not be so prideful and into your self-reliance that you cannot ask someone to show you how to do that particular skill. You should not be afraid to ask for help.

What ways do you practice being a self-reliant prepper?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
Grow and Raise Your Own Food Now So You Can Learn From Loss and Failure Now Rather Than Later
What Are You Prepared To Live Without? 


Sunday, October 28, 2018

For Better or Worse, I Am Not The Same Prepper I Was Five Years Ago


Lately, I have been going through a lot of stuff. You might say I have been decluttering, but the truth is I have been taking stock of what I have. I have a lot of supplies. I took stock of what I owned, what I should purchase, and let go of a few things. The same goes for books, papers, notes, and anything else prepping related. I took notes on prepping things five and ten years that I find are no longer relevant to me and have let them go. I have preparedness items that I know now I will never use and have found new homes for them.

Nowadays I don't keep every darn thing that comes in my path in the event that I might use it someday. I don't want to look like a hoarder so I carefully consider what I keep and will use. I don't want to have so much stuff that I can't find what I need to use especially in a time of crisis. I am learning to say no to a lot of free things if I can not think of a good reason to have them. Once upon a time though I was not like that. When I first started prepping and even a few years ago, I would take and keep almost everything offered to me. I might be able to use it.

To say that I am not the same prepper that I was five and ten years ago would be an understatement. I am a different person nowadays with different priorities, focus, and viewpoints. We all change after a while and that is usually a good thing.

What has changed in my prepping?

I have more knowledge and skills. I have broadened my interests in prepping and branched out into homesteading and self-sufficiency. I can do so much more than I could five years ago.

My priorities have changed. My life has changed a lot in five years. I now have two adult children with their own lives. We have lived through the college years and will be doing so for another eight years with the youngest two. We have high school for another four(ish) years. I don't have little kids to worry about anymore unless you count the grandchildren. I am a little more focused on prepping for fewer people with the idea that I could be preparing for more people being here. However, now I buy Christmas presents for the adult children with an eye towards prepping minded gifts.

The more prepared I think I am, the less I worry about world events. While I still do worry about problems with our own country, what happens on the world stage worries me less. I still gear my prepping towards job loss and national financial crisis as well as weather-related events. I am still preparing for pandemics, power outages, grid down events, and having to be without services for a period of time.  I still gear my prepping towards learning skills, gaining knowledge, and stockpiling.

However, while I may be worried about what could happen, I don't panic about it. I am secure in my way of thinking, how much I have prepared, and what needs to be done. I don't let fear and panic control my prepping and drive me to make foolish purchases. If anything, I ask myself if I could live without it or have something else to substitute in its place. I find myself being a lot more creative in my prepping.

The need to prepare and constantly be doing something is so ingrained in me that it is just second nature. I will never sit back and think I am totally prepared. I doubt I will ever get to that point. However, I am still constantly preparing and I don't give it much thought. Learning new things has always been a passion of mine so I don't question learning something new in the name of preparing. I just think of it as learning something new and fun. I am always buying a few extra things and pursuing the clearance racks for extra preps. If I see a good deal at the grocery store, I stock up and put it in my food pantry. To me, that is just part of my shopping.

I like to challenge myself now. How long can I go before going to the grocery store? (Right now, two weeks if I am planning ahead. I still have two hungry teenagers!) How many ways can I stretch food? How many ways can I preserve food? What can I use in place of (something) so I don't have to go to the store? Can I grow it or make it myself? Can I fix it myself? What would I do if the trucks couldn't run or the power was out?

I just don't panic much anymore. I don't let fear drive my prepping purchases. There are things that worry me and I prepare for them. However, I don't find myself running to the store just stock up because so and so is happening. Usually, that thing that caused me to panic turns out to be nothing that is going affect me. Prepping is an insurance policy for what could happen, but worrying about the end of the world or a nuclear holocaust is not going to serve me. Most likely, those events would not be events that you could be prepared for even if you did survive. Nowadays, I just focus on what I can control and worry about things that are more likely to happen than the world ending events.

Why do I say all of this? I see a lot of new preppers who are literally worried about everything when they start prepping. I can certainly understand and relate to their panic. They weren't prepared and now it feels like they need to be prepared for everything by tomorrow. They don't really understand when experienced preppers say to take prepping one day at a time and focus on doing a little every day. Someday they will lose that panicked feeling and realize that they can prepare at their own rate unless something like a hurricane is coming their way.

(Want to prepare, but don't know how to start? Check out my book here about prepping on a budget and in a year!)

You can only do what you can when you can. You should not rack up credit card debt trying to be prepared all at once. While having stuff and a food stockpile is great, learning knowledge and skills will benefit you just as much if not more. While it seems like you need to be prepared by tomorrow because there are fear mongering preppers who will tell you that, you don't need to be. Likely, what you are preparing for will not happen tomorrow or the day after that. If you are facing a natural disaster, you need to be prepared as soon as the first warnings from the local weather service indicate some bad is coming. Even then, focus on the basics. Two weeks of food and water. Make sure your shelter, warmth, and lighting are ready to go.

One of the biggest things that have changed in my prepping is that I really want to see other people prepared. I used to not care if others were prepared, but that has changed. The more people that are prepared means the better the prepper community is. While there are a few "crazy" preppers, mostly it is people like you and me that prepare for the common every day things that could happen. The more experienced preppers want to see and help new preppers as much as we can. We did not prepare in one day or even one month. We don't expect others to prepare that way either.

So yes I am not the same prepper I was five years ago. I wouldn't want to be because I have grown a lot as a person and a prepper. I know what direction I want to go to prepping and I love the directions prepping have taken me. I love the people I have met in real life and online who help and encourage so many people in their prepping journey. I am thankful for the groups and forums that help and guide new and experienced preppers in their quest to be better prepared. Prepping is so much more accepted now than just a few years ago and that has changed prepping for the better.

So now I have a few questions for you. How have you changed as a prepper during your prepping journey? How long have you been prepping?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
I Have Been Prepping For Five Years, Now What? A Review Checklist for the Long-Term Prepper
The 10 Cold, Hard, Ugly Truths About Prepping


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

What Direction Should You Take In Prepping?


I am at a little bit of a crossroads in my preparedness journey. I know which way I lean in prepping, but I am now in a bit of a indecision. I know what I want to accomplish, but how far do I want to go?

I have spent (or wasted depending on your viewpoint) a fair amount of time on prepping groups and forums. For the most part, people just want to be prepared for everyday life and the craziness that can happen. They want to know they have the supplies on hand and the knowledge to survive 1-6 months without suffering much. They want to be able to handle natural disasters, some manmade disasters, job loss, financial impacts, and health scares. They want the comfort and the knowledge that they will be fine if something happens.

Most people will stop there in preparedness. There is nothing wrong with that. Actually, if all people wanted to be prepared to that level, the world would be a better place. Agencies like FEMA would be used for their true purpose in disasters and not to save and feed the people who didn't want to be prepared. If you lost your job or had a bad gardening year, you would be able to feed yourself without a lot of hardship. If you were without water for 2-3 days, you would still be able to have water to drink and cook with. Life's problems would be hard, but manageable with your preps.

However, there are preppers who would like to take their preparedness to the next level so to say. Most of the time, in their pursuit of prepping knowledge, they realize they want to be more self-sufficient, more self-reliant, and more independent. They want to learn about and become homesteaders, survivalists, and/or off-grid living enthusiasts. They feel the need to be more reliant on themselves to be prepared and less reliant on a system that looks like it is doomed to fail.

Prepping creates a sense of independence that cannot be replaced by anything else. You are reliant on yourself and know that in most situations you can care for yourself and your loved ones. You won't need to be saved. You won't be waiting for family, a government agency, or a private organization to have water, food, clothing, or other goods. You might not have everything you need, but you will be able to take care of the basics. That is a good feeling.

Some preppers want to take that sense of independence a step further. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I encourage it. I started out being interested in food storage and going from there to homesteading and self-reliance. I like being able to grow and preserve my own food. I might not be able to produce all my own food, but I won't go hungry. I enjoy raising chickens for eggs and will be venturing into meat birds. I take pride in having 3-6 months of food stockpiled in case of hard times. I enjoy that sense of independence and learning the skills that will help me even more in the future.

There is no right or wrong way to prepare despite what other preppers may tell you. I will tell you to keep going the way that feels right to you as long as you are not infringing on my rights or other people's rights. If you are happy with just food storage, water storage, emergency supplies, and a way to shelter and heat your space, good for you. You are miles ahead of most people in an emergency situation. If you want to take that preparedness further and explore survivalism or homesteading, good for you. You might find out you like it or you might find out you aren't cut out for that life. Your choices are only for the benefit of you and your family. Being prepared is for the benefit of the greater good.

Now there are some directions in prepping that I will not condone. Some people just plan to stockpile guns and vehicles so they can steal from hardworking folks. Stealing is wrong in any form. I have a hard time condoning it even in times of chaos. Terrorizing people to get what you want is wrong. Threatening people to give you what is theirs is wrong. For those who have marauding as their prepping plan, you really need to rethink your plans. You might not like what you encounter from those folks who actually did the work.

Some people just plan for others to do the prepping for them in exchange for leading a group of preppers. They believe they have the knowledge of skills and leadership to be in charge. They know better than anyone how to distribute resources and assign jobs. I don't believe in this direction of prepping either. Sure, prepping communities are a good thing and strongly encouraged by most preppers. However, if you are not actively stockpiling, prepping, and practicing yourself, you should not expect others to do the work for you. What happens when your plans fall apart? What if you can't meet with your team? Then you will be a prepping leader without preps.

Whatever direction you choose in prepping, choose the direction that feels right for you. Only you can decide how far you want to go. You might decide to just stick with food storage and emergency supplies. You might decide to have more than a month's worth of food and want to have six (or longer) months worth of food. You might decide to install a rainwater catchment system in addition to storing water in containers. You might decide to start gardening or set up a homestead. You might decide to learn more about being a survivalist.

There are a lot of directions you can go in preparedness. The choices are for you to make. You have to decide to do what is best for you and your family. You have to decide what feels right. Just know this - you have already made the decision to start preparing and becoming prepared. You are already doing the right thing. Anywhere you decide to go from here is only going to make you a better prepper.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
For Women, Prepping is More Than Just Being Prepared
10 Non-Perishable Food Preps You Should Be Buying Every Month

Saturday, October 13, 2018

For Women, Prepping Is More Than Just Being Prepared


Everyone should be preparing. Young and old. Men, women, and children. Everyone should be preparing. However, I especially encourage women to be preppers.

Women can be seen as being weak, irrational, incapable, and more derogatory terms that are not even remotely truthful. Women can be seen as the weaker sex. Women can be seen as less than (anyone) which is just wrong considering all the progress that has been made towards equality. What makes this doubly wrong is that history has shown that women have run large households, did the barn chores, ran businesses, did all the outside work, and were more than capable for filling in for the men when wartime or other problems happened.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a feminist. I will never be unappreciative about a door being opened for me. I will never turn down a nice dinner out or be mad because I got flowers. I will also never turn down a guy who wants to carry something heavy for me. None of those things make me think that I (or another woman) am less than capable or being demeaned. It means a guy was raised right to do something nice for a woman.

Prepping helps people to think about what could happen and be as ready for it as much as they can. Prepping is actually a natural fit for women. Women are usually thinking ahead to anticipate their needs as well as the needs of others. The wiring in most women's brains is set for thinking ahead and being ready for it.

When you become a mother, you think of everything you might and will need for the baby. When you leave the house, you have all the things you think you will need for yourself, your significant other, the baby, and/or other children. If you have a partner or spouse, most women will think of their needs as well or more than their own. That is being prepared for anything that may happen.

In a way, women are natural worriers but we don't always realize it. However, being a worrier helps to be a better prepper. When you worry, you think of everything that can happen or you may need. Then you gather those things and have them with you or stored in your home/bag so you don't have to worry anymore. That is being prepared.

In the prepping community, women are encouraged to be prepared but often encouraged to be more like the men. Men tend to prepare in many different ways, but they have a tendency towards survivalist and bushcrafting skills. While it is worthwhile for women to know these skills, I think women are better suited to be prepared for everyday problems as well as long-term problems. We tend to think about what could happen today, tomorrow, and in the future in a more domestic atmosphere. There is nothing wrong with this thinking.

Women can and do think about catastrophic events, but the reality is that natural disasters, job loss, income loss, loss of support and community tend to worry women more than the grid going down or a solar flare. Again, not that we shouldn't be worried those cataclysmic things, but the things that would affect their daily lives and their reality now worry them more. Again, there is nothing wrong with this thinking.

Being prepared for women is more than just being prepared. For women, preparedness gives them a sense of safety and security. If something bad happens, you know you can handle it. You have food and water to provide for yourself and your loved ones. You have the supplies on hand to weather most storms (literally and figuratively). For women, feeling safe and secure is two of the best feelings in the world. Being prepared only enhances those feelings.

Many people (including husbands, partners, and family) do not understand why women prepare or even start preparing. People don't always get it that women want to have a sense of safety and security. By prepping, women create that sense of safety and security. For most women, we want to know that we are taking care of our loved ones the best we can. We want to create those feeling for everyone around us. That is why women should prepare and why we do prepare.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts: 
You Have Lessons To Learn From Those That Survived The Great Depression
10 Ways To Prep When Real Life Gets In The Way


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Small Batch Canning: Saving Time, Money, and Sanity!


Wouldn't it be wonderful if you had time during the garden harvest to can all day, every day? When you see super awesome deals on produce at the store, you could purchase them and can them right away when you get home?

You don't have that kind of time? Me neither.

A lot of people ask how I get so much canning done when I am busy with a full-time job and kids. I have a good sized garden and we like to eat fresh produce from it. However, I plant tomatoes and cucumbers with the sole purpose of canning them. I like to take the extra garden bounty and preserve it so we aren't wasting food. However, I don't have time for marathon canning sessions. Even on the weekends, I have plenty of other things on my to-do list besides canning.

I practice the time-saving practice of small batch canning. If I can preserve something every day or night, I can get a lot of canning done. I can keep up with my garden better by small batch canning.  I am not waiting for a lot of tomatoes to be done at once. I can wait for 6-9 pounds of tomatoes to be ripe and can them according to my recipes.

When the beginning and end of the gardening season occurs, I can also use small batch canning to keep up with the garden. Did I mention I am not a fan of food waste? I don't like watching the garden to wait for enough to can when I can do a few jars here and there. I do put away some produce in the freezer to wait for enough produce to can, but I try to avoid doing that because of the quality of the product after it has been frozen.

With small batch canning, I can use a lot of shortcuts or I can spend more time on a recipe. Since I am not one for complicated canning recipes (and have a strong love for Mrs. Wage's packets), I choose to do simple canning recipes that do not take a long time to cook on the stove. I don't mind long canning times, but long cooking times and long canning times can take more time than I have on a weeknight. I also like that I can experiment with different or unusual canning recipes if I have the ingredients on hand. You might like to make the standard strawberry jam, but with small batch canning, you can make strawberry vanilla or strawberry blueberry jam. You are only making a few jars which means you have less waste if you don't like the new recipes.

How does small batch canning save money? Wasting food is wasting money which is heartbreaking to a frugal person. By small batch canning almost every day, you save money and help to prevent food waste. You might think you are spending more money on electricity and/or gas by canning every night. However, you are using the same amount of power as you would be canning all day for several days.

You can also control the amount of money you spend to can your produce. You will have a better idea of how many jars you need and if you need to buy more. You will be able to buy your extra ingredients as you need them or you can stock up at a good price knowing how you need.

Do you need any special equipment for small batch canning? As I talked about in this canning post, you will still need the basic canning equipment as well as canning jars, lids, and rings. However, instead of the big water canner, you can use a smaller stockpot. You can also use an electric pressure cooker instead of the large pressure canner depending on how many jars you are canning. My electric pressure cooker can do four pint-size jars comfortably. I use a washcloth or folded small kitchen towel on the bottom of the pot so the jars do not rattle or bang too much. I like to can broth this way. 

You can also find some great books on small batch canning. These books specialize in smaller canning recipes and allow for safe experimenting in canning. The following books are excellent resources:

The Complete Book of Small-Batch Canning: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round
Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round
The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes

I hope you give some consideration to making canning simpler and less intimidating. So many people think they do not have time to can, but that is simply not true. Just like any other skill, you just need to break it down into smaller sections and do it simply. Small batch canning will definitely help you with that! 

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
What Do You Need To Start Canning Your Food?
The Prepper's Canning Guide Book Review


Monday, September 17, 2018

10 Non-Perishable Food Preps You Should Be Buying Every Month


New preppers wonder what they should be buying for their preps every month. More experienced preppers wonder what holes they should be plugging in their food storage to be better prepared. We all know we should be constantly adding and rotating our food storage every month in order to have a good supply.

Since I have written the 10 Preparedness Items You Should Be Buying Every Month and Top Ten Items You Need For Your Food Storage, I have found my preparedness mindset changing a little bit. I think they are things you should be buying every month that are perishable items and non-perishable items. This list will concentrate on the non-perishable items because those are the ones most important to your food storage.

To explain what I have included on this list, I will give you the criteria. I am making this list as basic as possible. Meaning that you can go to the grocery store and buy these items right off the shelf which means the items are shelf-stable. They will not expire or go bad easily. Most of these items will last beyond their sell-by or expired date if you wish. This list is simple and for beginning preppers. However, the more experienced preppers should take a look at this list too and see if they have holes they should fill in their food storage.

If you want to, you can purchase these items in whatever manner suits you. If you wish to can them yourself, buy them in bulk, freeze-dried, dried, or whatever, you can certainly do that. If there is an item on this list you or your family does not eat, then replace it with something they do eat.

Because the #1 rule in food storage is: Do Not Buy Food You or Your Family Will Not Eat!

I don't care if you think "If we are hungry enough, we will eat it." That may be true, but why would you do that to yourself when you can simply purchase food that you will eat ahead of time!

The quantity of each item to purchase each month is your choice also. Depending on my budget, I will only purchase 1-2 items each or I will purchase a case or flat of that item. I also have a continuous grocery list where I write down when I use up one item so I can replace it right away on the next grocery trip. For example, I use up a bottle of olive oil. I write it down on my list and purchase it on the next trip to the grocery store. If I find myself getting low on an item, I will do the same thing.

10 Non-Perishable Food Preps You Should Be Buying Every Month

1. Salt and Pepper. Food without seasoning, bleh. You need at least salt and pepper to liven up your food. You can also stock up on other seasonings too. You might have ones you think you can't live without like garlic salt at my house.

2. Honey and/or Sugar. If you can live without these things, great. However, most of us cannot live without something to sweeten our drinks with. I also use sugar and honey in canning jams. Honey is also great for sore throats.

3. Beans. Dried or canned whichever you prefer. I like to use both, but in a hurry or being lazy, I will grab a can of beans first. So I stock up on canned beans. Beans are a meal unto themselves but are better with soups, chilis, casseroles, and one pot meals. They also help to fill people up and give energy.

4. Peanut Butter. This is packed with protein and fat which will help give you energy in a crisis. Beyond that, most kids and adults like it and will eat it plain or with bread/crackers. If you are allergic to nuts, look for a substitute like a sunflower butter or coconut butter.

5. Canned meats. As much as we would like to think we can raise our own meat or hunt your own meat when a crisis or situation happens, this may not be a possibility. Again, canned meat such as tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey, and ham will provide a good source of protein which helps give you energy in a crisis.

6. Canned tomatoes, fruits, and vegetables. While the nutritional value of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables is better than canned, eating canned fruits and vegetables is better than eating junk. You can use these in casseroles and salads too.

7. Canned soups, broths, and meals. Sometimes when you have an emergency or crisis, the easiest thing you can do is open a can and heat up the contents. Even if you are in a hurry at night and need a meal, you can save money by opening a can of soup, heating it up, and have a quick meal.

8. Crackers and cereal. Many of you will not think this is necessary, but I have teenagers. Kids like cereal and they love crackers. My kids think saltine crackers and soup go together like peanut butter and jelly. Cereal can range from cold cereal to hot cereal. I like to eat oatmeal and will make it from scratch, but when I am in a hurry or just plain tired, the little packets are awesome.

9. Pasta and rice. Let's face it. There is very little nutritional value in pasta and rice. They are just carbs even if you buy the veggie pasta. However, they help to fill up the hungry stomachs and keep the teenagers from completely taking over the kitchen. They help to keep the meals budget-friendly. They are great to have on hand to make casseroles, soups, and one pot meals. They help to feed a large crowd during a crisis.

10. Coffee and Tea. Water is great for hydration, but it is boring. Most people drink coffee or tea in some way, shape, or form. I like to have a stockpile of coffee, various kinds of teas, and even some instant packets of coffee and tea. If coffee or tea is not your thing, look at getting some drink packets and/or mixes to liven up the water.

Honorable Mention: 

1. Oil. Whether you use olive, vegetable, coconut or other oils, they are good to have on hand and keep a good stock of.
2. Protein and cereal bars. 
3. Pasta sauces.
4. Ethnic sauces and seasonings (salsa, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce,etc.)
5. Chocolate.

Like I mentioned before, you can switch out items and customize this list for your household. Some things listed may not be something you would ever eat while some people could not store enough of that item because they eat it so much. This is a general guideline I use when I go to the store. This is so I can put a meal on the table whenever I need to without completely stressing out over the meal no matter what is going on. The meal may not be very exciting, but the consumers of the meal will not walk away hungry.

Some of you will notice that I did not include such items as ramen noodles, various meals in a box, and macaroni and cheese. You can purchase these, but most of them have very little nutritional value, exceptionally high sodium levels, and feed very few adult people at one time. I don't usually include them in my food storage list for those reasons. However, if you want them in yours, you can certainly do that.

What do you like to store in your food storage?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
10 Ways To Prep When Real Life Gets In The Way
What Are You Prepared To Live Without?


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Should I Stay or Should I Go? A Prepper's Guide to Evacuating or Staying


As preppers, we like to think we can live through and survive anything. We are tough. We are prepared!

However, there is a reason we have and talk about bug-out bags and 72-hour kits incessantly. We want to be prepared if we should have to leave in hurry for any reason. While we want to stay in our prepper palaces, sometimes that is not feasible.

What should be the criteria for staying or going in an emergency situation? Why would you leave your prepper stronghold? You have spent hours making this place the prepper palace that can withstand almost anything. Why would you leave? What could make you leave?

The short answer to these questions would be common sense and safety. 

If you have the warning and opportunity to evacuate, you should be strongly considering evacuating. With most of our current natural disasters, adequate (usually more than adequate) time is given for evacuating. We have top-notch weather warning systems and weather prediction systems in place to tell us when bad weather is going to appear, how bad it will be, and what you should do to be safe.

In a number of prepper online groups, you will see responses like "Nothing will ever get me to evacuate" or "Why would I leave" or one of my favorites "It is never as bad as they say it will be". First of all, ask anyone who survived a hurricane or other natural disasters how bad the experience was. Ask how they felt when they saw the rising waters and realized they couldn't escape. Ask they about the panic they felt when they realized they were in danger. Second of all, would you seriously put your loved ones and yourself in that kind of danger for your pride?

So what should you do? If this is before a disaster is going to occur and you know you are in the path, you need to evacuate. Forget all the nonsense about your location and your perceived confidence in your ability to survive. Common sense dictates that you need to leave for the safety of yourself and your loved ones. You are in the path of danger and you should leave as soon as you can. Part of prepping is being safe and practicing good survival skills. You are not being safe if you are willingly putting yourself in the path of danger just to see how well you will survive.

If you are worried about your home and your possessions, staying home while in great danger will not save your home or your things. If you are under mandatory evacuations, if you are not forced to leave your home then, you will run the risk of having no help and no emergency personnel to rescue you. You will run the likely risk of having no power, no cell service, and no internet to even reach out for help. If you have a landline phone, that may not work either depending on power and phone lines.

Staying home while in the path of danger and destruction is not a wise choice and most people will not think of you as a survival hero if you do survive. Most people will wonder how you survived and why you didn't leave when you could have. You will probably also be dealing with the physical and mental fallout of staying in such a traumatic situation. Staying when you have the chance to leave is usually not a wise choice.

What happens then if you are suddenly thrust into a dangerous situation or have no warning that something bad is going to happen? What happens when a storm suddenly becomes a very dangerous situation? What happens if you are suddenly hit by flash flooding or worse? A wildfire suddenly switched directions and is headed your direction?

You need to evaluate and assess. You need to ask yourself a few questions:

1. What is the situation? 

2. How dangerous is the situation?
3. Did you or are you being asked to evacuate? Is evacuation mandatory?
4. Will you be able to leave - safe/unsafe routes, traffic congestion, state of the roads, roadblocks, etc.? 

5. Is your life (and your family's lives) in immediate danger or can you wait out the initial panic? 
6. Will you be able to even travel - health, gasoline/diesel availability, state of the vehicles? 

Your ability to leave may be hampered by a lot of things and it is important that you gather as much information as possible before making the decision to leave after the disaster or emergency. You may not be able to leave at all. You may be able to make contact with someone to see if the roads are safe or what the situation is down the road. You may be able to call emergency personnel to see how bad the roads are or listen to emergency management dispatches for updates on the situation. Again, common sense and safety should rule your decisions, not fear or pride. 

As stated before, if you have an adequate amount of time to leave before a disaster and you know you are in the path of danger, you should leave as soon as you can. I know people will say to wait it out or that they will never leave, but I wouldn't want to be in that kind of danger. If you have no warning before a disaster then you need to evaluate and assess.


Some of you will stay no matter how bad it is or will leave at the very, very last minute. However, if you are truly in danger or do not see a way to save yourself, call for help immediately!

Either way, you should always be prepared to leave. If you do not have dedicated bug out bags, now is a good time to start putting them together. You need to think about what you need to survive for 3-7 days or until you get to a location where you can stay and restock. To me, bug out bags are not wilderness survival bags. They are a way for you to stay alive, fed, hydrated, and clothed until you get to where you are going. There are many great lists on the internet for what you should have in your bug out bags, but here again, common sense should rule. Also, you need to make sure you can carry your bags on your back if you need to. Do not overload your bags or the bags your kids will carry.

You should also make sure your vehicle is ready to leave. You should have emergency supplies in your vehicle along with a good first-aid kit and medications, water, food, sleeping bags/blankets/pillows, jackets/coats/ponchos, and anything else you or your family might need. If you think you might forget something (and you probably will), make a list and keep it with your bug-out bags and in your important documents. When you are in a hurry, you can forget a lot!

The choice is generally yours as to whether you want to stay or evacuate, but no one will want to hear about your death if you did not choose to be safe. You will not be a hero if you stayed in a dangerous situation and was not killed by it. Most people will not be impressed that you put your loved ones in danger because of your pride. You and a very select few others will be the only ones impressed with your ability to survive an avoidable situation.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
Preparedness on the Cheap: Evacuation Plans Part 1
Preparedness on the Cheap: Evacuation Plans Part 2


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