Archive | February 2014

Prepare on a Budget – Disaster Prep for Everyone

So… many of you scoffed at me and called me a “prepper” last fall. I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so! Hahahah!

With global warming, climate changes are the first of many mild to moderate disasters I am sure we will be seeing more and more often. From power outages for days, to downed cable and gas lines, even water.. are YOU prepared?

I am going to give you an easy way to prep for a short term disaster. Perhaps 24-72 hours maybe more if you stock up on more you surely can go exponentially longer.

This list is EASY and not expensive. I will list practical things you can do on a very small budget. I suggest picking up a few items a week (which is what I did) and more as you can afford to. Skip the latte and buy a bottle of propane! You can do it!

FOOD:

For the most part, disaster food is readily available, but at a premium. Walmart and Costco stock those cans of meals and meats etcetera, dehydrated and ready to go. Some of that is a great idea, but for the most part, do you really need dried fruit in a disaster? no.. and you will be paying for it. I suggest getting parts of those kits, and foregoing others. Make sure you buy what you will ACTUALLY EAT otherwise it’s money out the door.  Rotate your stock throughout the year. If you check your dates on the items, and actually buy what you can eat, then  it will get used and replaced as part of your regular grocery shop. Most items can be safely used past their dates, especially in the case of dried foods such as rice/beans/pasta/soups etcetera.

My personal inventory :

Dry Food — Only needs  water and can get at walmart or discount marts very inexpensively:

TopRamen – get as many as you can afford. I get them by the 12+pack on sale. They last forever, take virtually no prep and can be eaten dry (yuck but they can). I will use with pasta sauce, cheese sauce, etcetera because the noodles will cook quickly without using tons of your heat/cooking resources.

Mac & Cheese – cheap and lasts forever, and also the cheese and noodles can be used seperately if needed.

Rice – I have a 20 lb bag of cookable rice, and a few boxes of instant rice.

Beans – Pinto and Red beans can be used with the rice creatively.

Cans of Dried Food  – Vegetarian “meats” chicken and beef, large cans you can get  cheap, smaller cans of dried eggs and potatoes, easily hydrated with hot or cold water. Can be added to other things to get your protein.

Pancake mix, instant oatmeal, buscuit gravy mix, cheese powder, muffin mix, noodles, powdered drink mixes (gatorade huge can, tang, kool aid etc for the kiddos – keep em happy believe me ;o)

* MRE’s – These are military “Meals Ready to Eat”. They work, but are VERY expensive for what you get. Likewise with the camping meals, and power bars. A few here and there are great, but to do your entire survival out of these would bankrupt you fast.

Canned and Pre Packaged Foods:

Peanut butter, sugar, spaghetti sauce, tuna, soup, fruit cocktail, refried beans, soup mixes, vegetables, etcetera.

The only thing I do not like about canned, is that you do have to be on top of the dates, and also they are heavy and your shelves will feel it. Also if you have to leave your house and take with, they are bulky and heavy. But, they do add variety and spice to an otherwise bland survival meal.

Water:

Bottles!!! lots of them. I use single small bottles and the big gallons. You definitely should invest in a purification system ( a water pitcher, or camping filter – look on Amazon) if you do not have a ready supply nearby. I live near tons of rivers, so getting water would be a hassle but not impossible. If you do NOT live near running water, stock as much bottled as you can afford. Buy two gallons a week for your stock 😉

Heat and Cooking: 

Often overlooked, and I even had to rethink and redo this myself. I can keep warm with layers but what about your pets? Kids? Can they be bundled all the time? SO.. I bought a Mr.Buddy Heater. It is 100% efficiency propane, meaning no co-2 or monoxide so it is safe to use indoor. It has a run time of 6 hours on one of those small camp propane 1lb containers and 3 hours at high speed. Can take the larger bbq canisters with an optional hose. It was 100.00 but HEAT IS NECESSARY!!! And, even if you don’t live in a “cold” climate.. Look at what happened in Georgia! Get a 12pk of 1lb propane cans at any store for roughly 20.00 or less.

I also have tons of firewood (outdoor only as my home has no fireplace and no wood stove) to cook with on a bbq that was super cheap (charcoal kind). I also bought a cheap “fire pit” and metal screen, if needed. Charcoal is not cost effective but if you have the space, go for it.

Propane!!! Get two of the big exchange type bottles. You can get a propane bbq and cook on it, bake in it even. Also backup for the Mr Buddy heater in case you don’t stock enough 1lb propane cans.

Medical:

I bought a huge kit on Amazon for 40.00 including sutures, iodine, etcetera. You probably have amassed enough basics in your cabinet for emergencies, but don’t forget the kids! They can’t do aspirin, so stock up on tylenol and motrin! Also a bad cold will REALLY put a damper on trying to survive so get some cold meds for everyone.

Power and Lighting:

I bought a 4000 watt generator from HarborFreight Tools for only 289.00 .. it’s a luxury and I won’t use unless I absolutely have to. I run only a small space heater with it, or lights, power my cell phone, and maybe minor things. I do not use it to pretend the lights aren’t out lol. GET LED lighting! You can use the LED lanterns and they will last a week on one set of batteries. Don’t use candles. That’s dumb. It isn’t safe, and you could burn your house down.  Get a gas can of gas, and of course if you don’t use it in a few months, fill the lawn mower with it and get new.

So, here you have a basic way to stay safe and warm, and power out the no power. I did all this for well under 500.00 generator included…under 750.00. Of course, I have been working on it for a year or so.. but I am happy I did. I was without power for over 12 hours and hardly noticed. Please do yourself a favor, and reconsider “doomsday preppers” into “ice storm preppers” lol or similar. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world, to really mess up your day. :o)

Take care,
Heidi

@heyHeidiHanson twitter