Tuesday, August 28, 2018

50 Free Resources for Preppers

You may be broke as a joke but that doesn't mean you can't still do some prepping.  Here are a bunch of free resources that may or may not be available in your community:

  1. Exercise.  Walking is free, calisthenics are free.
  2. Library.  Aside from free classes on all sorts of topics, there are free books to borrow on, well, everything.
  3. YouTube.  Binge on "how to" preparedness, bushcraft, and survival videos on this and other websites.
  4. If you don't have internet, you can always find free wifi in your community.
  5. There are many programs that offer free vaccinations.
  6. Check out Freecycle and Craigslist free stuff for, well, free stuff to add to your preps.
  7. Use social media to ask for the things you need (I've been amazed at free food/clothing/supplies/emergency rides/etc that has been shared with other on FB and free pizza/food/etc shared with others on Reddit).
  8. Head out the evening before trash day and pick up used but still serviceable things left out with the trash (be sure to ask first if there is any question about taking an item, my neighbor had a $500 grill sitting right next to his garbage can because he was waiting for a friend to come over and help him move it to the back yard and it disappeared overnight, probably by a local trash picker).  Note that this is particularly lucrative at college housing at the end of the school year.
  9. See what free stuff your local power utility is offering (in my area it's free thermostats and energy audits).
  10. Check other utilities for freebies as well (water, gas, trash, cable, etc).
  11. See what sorts of things your local fire district offers (I've seen free bicycle helmets, free CPR classes, free car seat installation/checks, free blood pressure checks, etc).
  12. Go to free community events and pick up handouts (usually it's basic stuff like free pens and key chains but sometimes you can score better things like gun locks and survival blankets).
  13. Volunteer.  Volunteering as an EMT trainee or search and rescue trainee will give you really good survival training, usually for free.  Volunteering with the Boy Scouts, your local shooting range, even a soup kitchen will put you in a place to learn a lot of good skills, also for free.
  14. Attend community preparedness events and classes.  You can learn CERT training, Block Watch, home safety, and other skills which are provided free from local agencies to help the community be better prepared.
  15. Participate in free job training courses.  Things such as Job Corps, employment training programs, and apprenticeship programs often offer free training, great preparedness skills (plumbing and construction skills are always useful in a disaster), as well as a path to a good paying job.
  16. If you are really having a hard time getting by, call 211 and see what kinds of programs you qualify for (food stamps, housing, free medical care, etc).
  17. You are feeding yourself anyway so make sure the things you cook are healthy instead of heart-attack-on-a-plate stuff.  Find excellent cooking resources online such as recipes and how-to videos to turn vegies, fruit, grains, legumes, and beans into healthy meals.  This makes your healthcare needs/cost much less than they would otherwise be.
  18. If your area is facing an imminent disaster, see what free resources are being offered in the community (free sandbags, free plywood to board up windows, free transportation out of town, free shelters for an extended power outage, etc.
  19. If you need food, hit up local food pantries as well as stop by for free meals for those in need at churches and the Salvation Army.  You can learn some interesting/unusual/useful survival skills just by listening to your dinner companions at these places.
  20. Learn how to forage for and eat wild edibles in your local area (usually there are books on the topic, or even better, free community classes to teach this skill).
  21. Take some free online preparedness courses courtesy of the government.
  22. Sign up for local emergency alerts in your area so you will be the first to know of coming disasters.
  23. Google emergency preparedness for your local area and see what comes up (I found a disaster guide, free classes, city disaster plans, and tribal disaster resources).
  24. Stop by garage sales and leave your name and number.  Tell them you will pick up for free stuff they don't want after the sale (people are usually too happy to get rid of the leftovers instead of hauling them to the Goodwill and you may be able to resell some of the items you don't need).
  25. Ask for free empty food buckets at local restaurants (1001 uses) and free pallets from local businesses (fire wood if nothing else).
  26. If you have been involved in a declared disaster, file a free claim with FEMA.
  27. Google your local Red Cross and see what free resources/services they offer (usually training, volunteer opportunities, and help if you are a victim of a local disaster such as a house fire).
  28. Ask local farmers/gardeners if you can glean their fields after the harvest.
  29. See what preparedness resources/services your church offers (the Morman Church is pretty stellar at this).
  30. If you are military, brush up on military-specific disaster preparedness resources.
  31. If you are a senior, check out your local Area Agency on Aging preparedness resources.
  32. Use online resources to teach your kids age-appropriate disaster preparedness skills.
  33. If you have been a victim of a disaster, you may be entitled to free legal assistance.
  34. Check out the organizations that offer free prescriptions if you need prescription meds.
  35. Many communities hold active shooter/evacuation/mass casualty drills and exercises.  Volunteer as an actor or help with the coordination of the project; you will learn a great deal this way.
  36. Check out reddit freebies for free stuff that may or may not be useful in your preps (at least it's free!).
  37. Pull your free credit reports annually to protect yourself from identity thieves.
  38. Google for freebies and see what you can find.  There are several sites that offer freebies (example here) which could allow you to stockpile a good selection of free stuff like household products, health products, etc.
  39. If you have a large enough social media following, ask survival gear suppliers for samples of their products which you will review/promote to your followers (and keep for yourself afterwards!).
  40. Go camping at a free campsite near you.
  41. Walk around public parks/your neighborhood/your city and see what kinds of useful survival stuff you can find.  You don't necessarily need to pick up the stuff you find like empty water bottles or plastic sheeting but it is good practice for if/when this becomes a necessity.  
  42. Use Google Earth and your outdoor walks to find free sources of water (lakes and streams, maybe an old cistern or well), wild edibles (old apple trees, blackberry patches), shelter (road culverts, abandoned cabins), etc.
  43. Let all of your friends and family know that you like hand-me-downs, invites to meals, and will gladly take any stuff they want to get rid of (you can always keep, resell, or donate the stuff).
  44. You can learn to code for free online.  There are several free programs, including those on this list, which can give you a good skill for earning money.
  45. Need to bulk up your emergency fund but your low-wage job won't cover this?  Consider busking or odd jobs.  There are thousands of businesses you can start for free (like dog walking) and plenty of other ideas online from just a Google search.
  46. Ask for freebies.  Sent on a business trip?  Ask the hotel maid for extra soaps and shampoos and take them for your stockpile.  Buying an item with a small blemish?  Ask for a discount.  Buying some bakery items at the end of the day?  Ask the staff if they have any other items they want to get rid of (they may at least toss you an extra donut or loaf of bread).  Always ask for discounts on everything.
  47. Go dumpster diving.  Some people have raised this to an art form.
  48. Sign up for birthday freebies.  It will at least give you a solid week of free food and snacks.
  49. Need to brush up on your job skills (like accounting, Excel, and thousands of other topics) for free?  Check out this huge list of free online college courses.
  50. Need a survival library at your fingertips but can't afford the books?  Download these 196 free survival manuals.

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