Monday, February 4, 2019

20 Prep Tips for Poor People

You don't need a lot of money to be prepared for a range of disasters, in fact many of the thing you can do are cheap or even free...

  1. Make sure you have working smoke detectors.  There's no excuse not to have working smoke detectors, which are cheap (under $10) and often free (call your local fire department).  
  2. Have a working carbon monoxide detector as well.  These are a bit more expensive than smoke detector but well worth the cost of a life.
  3. Wear your seatbelt (and make sure passengers do as well) anytime you are in a car.  Note that many organizations can provide free child safety seats if you can't afford one (check
  4. Get a library card.  Knowledge is free at your local library so take advantage of this to learn everything from basic first aid to outdoor skills to other survival skills.
  5. Take a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) class.  These classes are offered free in many communities and come with a bag of free disaster gear to keep upon successful completion of the class.
  6. Attend community health fairs.  These are held at random times throughout the year and can offer everything from free vaccinations and free health gadgets to free school sports physicals for kids, free classes, etc.
  7. Volunteer.  Many community organizations need volunteers and come with the added bonus of free preparedness training.  Places like the Red Cross, Search and Rescue, even volunteering as an EMT with the fire department, provides great training opportunities just for the use of your time.
  8. Use the internet.  You can use Google and YouTube to learn everything from how to secure your home on the cheap to how to camp in the winter as well as a zillion other preparedness skills, all for free.
  9. Hit up the Goodwill and other thrift stores for great deals on gear.  You can pay $100 for a fancy wool sweater or $5 for the same sweater at the Goodwill.  Ditto camping gear, household supplies, and any other prepper supplies you can think of.
  10. Hit up the $1 store for other preparedness supplies (bleach, duct tape, tarps, rope, food such as bags of beans and rice and oatmeal, etc).  For $5 every week at the $1 store, you can be pretty well outfitted within a few months.
  11. Practice prepper skills for free.  Hold a fire drill for your family, cook over a bonfire in the back yard, camp out in the back yard with your $1 tarp, $1 rope, and blankets if you don't have sleeping bags, etc.
  12. Break out your cell phone and download emergency apps, use the video camera to film a complete home inventory for insurance purposes, use the camera to take photos of each of the medications you take, etc.
  13. Store water for emergency use by rinsing out milk or soda bottles and filling them with water then storing them in a cool, dark place to use during an emergency (be sure to rotate this water regularly).
  14. See what kind of (free) help you can get from your state/county/city/town.  This includes applying for a tax abatement if you qualify, getting a free home energy audit from the power company, getting a free low-flow shower head from the water company, etc.
  15. Make a family emergency plan (free templates here).
  16. Grow a garden if you have the space (Google free garden seeds, there are several places that offer these).
  17. Sign up for any social service programs you qualify for (food stamps, kid's free school lunch program, Medicaid, etc).  These programs can help you get through difficult financial times.
  18. Exercise.  Many disasters require a physical response and sadly, many Americans are in piss-poor physical shape.  Exercise is free--from calisthenics to walking, running, lifting things, climbing things--so there is no reason not to get in better physical shape.
  19. Build an emergency fund.  Everyone, no matter how poor, needs some spare cash to use in the event of an emergency.  Short-time gigs, reselling things, selling blood, babysitting, bartering, etc. are all ways to earn a bit of extra income quickly.
  20. Make significant life changes to put yourself into a better place (physically, psychologically, emotionally, socially).  Move to a lower cost of living area, file bankruptcy if you have no other option for getting out of debt, get rid of the expensive car and buy a beater for cash (or even get rid of the car and get a bike/ride the bus/take Uber if it will save a great deal of money).  You want to make big life changes not just for preparedness purposes but to move you forward into a better position in life.

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