Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Things you can do for FREE to get prepared...

Having been around the prepper/survivalist world for over a decade now, the number one complaint I hear from folks is that they "can't afford to get prepared." Having a lot of spare cash to spend on food, gear, and other stuff would be nice, but the fact is there is a lot you can do for FREE to get prepared. Money is simply not an excuse for not preparing for the bad times that are ahead. Here are some things you can do to get ready without having to spend any extra money:

Improve your health and fitness. Improving your health and fitness doesn't require gym memberships, special exercise equipment, or expensive "health foods." Here are some FREE health & fitness tips you can start doing today:
  • Drink water instead of sodas. You don't have to buy bottled water, as tap water works just as well (and the dirty little secret of most bottled waters is that they really are just tap water).
  • Skip the desserts. You'll lose weight and save money at the same time.
  • Skip the late night snacks. You'll lose weight and save money at the same time.
  • Eat healthier. This doesn't mean buying special health foods or more costly organic foods.  Instead, it means eating less junk foods, fast foods, & sweets, and more veggies, especially leafy-greens and cruciferous vegetables. Don't know what cruciferous vegetables are? Google it for FREE. Drink water or unsweet tea with your meals instead of sodas or sweet tea. 
  • Go for a walk. Walking is great exercise. Try to start with a 15-minute walk each day, and over the next several weeks try to work your way up to 45-minutes to an hour. Walk around your neighborhood, in your local mall (great way to walk on a rainy day), or at local parks or greenways. Don't quit. The key to walking for fitness is consistency. 
  • Be active. Yard work - such as cutting grass with a push mower, gardening, raking leaves, chopping wood - makes great FREE exercise. In fact, anything that raises your pulse rate and causes you to lightly sweat counts as exercise. 
  • Check out your local parks. Local parks often have walking paths, tennis courts, basketball courts, obstacle courses (sometimes called fitness courses), and other opportunities for FREE exercise. 
  • Calisthenics are FREE. Stretching exercises and calisthenics are FREE. Jumping jacks, sit-ups, toe-touches, leg squats,  push-ups, etc., require no special equipment and cost nothing. 
  • Stop smoking. Yes, this is hard. But it can be done for FREE and it will even save you hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars a year. 
Use your library card. Libraries are a great source of FREE entertainment and FREE information. You can check out a wide range of books gardening, country skills, health & first aid, home improvement & DIY, fishing, hunting, nature field guides, edible wild plants, wilderness survival, personal finance, and so forth. Entertainemnt, too, can be had for FREE at your local library, and not just books to read. Many libraries today have DVDs, board games, puzzles, and other types of entertainment that you can check out for FREE, as well as story times for kids and lecture series for adults.

Improve your finances. This will take some time and hard work, but it can be done. Many of the tips I give in my article Prepping 101: Finances - Get Back to Basics don't cost anything to do, and will help improve your finances greatly over time. Get on a budget or make out a spending plan. Avoid impulse purchases by using a shopping list and sticking to it. Cancel any unnecessary newspaper or magazine subscriptions. Use coupons, compare prices, and shop sales. Shop around to see if you can save money on your home or auto insurance, cell phone plans, etc. Consider cutting back on your cable or satellite TV subscriptions. Avoid overdraft or late payment fees by keeping close track of your spending and bills. Have a yard sale to raise some extra cash and declutter your house at the same time. 

Work on your relationship with God. I believe in the One True God, and that He can and does answer prayer. Perhaps non-religious folks will try dismiss that aspect of faith, but there are aspects you cannot dismiss. My faith, my relationship with God, provides me with great comfort, hope, peace, and joy. It relieves my anxiety and fear. Its help me stay calm and focused by providing me with inner strength, clearly defining my priorities, and providing an ethical framework for my decision making. All these are extremely useful benefits during times times of high stress, confusion, and turmoil. Even the most non-religious among us must recognize the importance of a good mental attitude to surviving difficult times. I suggest praying and reading the Bible daily. You may be interested in my weekly Patriots' Prayers series, posted on my website every Sunday, which includes both prayers for America and suggestions for daily Bible reading. 

Store some extra water. Again, tap water works just fine. You may already have some water jugs & containers with your camping or picnic gear. Use them for your emergency water storage. If you don't, there are other FREE options such as using 2-liter soda bottles (ask friends to save you some if you don't drink soda). Glass wine bottles also work. I buy one or two 3-liter bottles of table wine every month anyway, so I've been saving the empty bottles (they have screw-on tops) and using them to store water. (If you do buy water storage containers, please avoid the Ozark Trail 6-gal water jugs, which are defective - see my article Prepper Alert! Defective Product Design).

Putting together a survival or bug-out bag? Don't let a lack of money stop you. You don't need to buy a new backpack, which could easily run you $100+ for a high-quality heavy-duty bag with features like molle webbing. Those are great, but costly. Instead, make do with old backpacks, bookbags, duffel bags, or even tote bags. You likely already have some of these around your house. If not, ask your friends if they have any extras they are not using. As far as the gear you put inside, you don't need to buy brand new stuff to put inside. Make do with what you find around the house. For example, matches and lighters work just as well (actually, better) than celebrity-branded fire starters. VikingPreparedness (Pastor Joe Fox) has a YouTube video on making a quick, no-cost survival bag out of stuff found around the house.

Have a discussion. Having a discussion and making plans with your spouse, kids, friends and relatives costs nothing. You need to make some decisions and plans before the SHTF, and make sure everyone involved is on the same page in knowing what to do. I suggest you start by reading my short article Disaster Planning: Understanding Potential Disasters. Then, consider your particular situation and circumstances carefully. What are the potential disasters that may occur in your area? What disasters may require you to leave your home (bug-out) in a hurry? Where would you go? Do you know how to get there without using gps or google maps? What if the main route to your bug-out location is blocked for some reason? What happens if the disaster occurs when the family is separated (kids at school, parents at work, etc)? Do your kids know what to do? What communications plans do you have in place? What if the disaster requires you to "bug-in" for several days or even several weeks? Do you have enough food, water, and other supplies on-hand? What special circumstances does your family face (very young children, elderly members, disabilities, medical issues such as diabetes)? What plans do you need to make to meet those special needs? Think through and discuss these and other questions. Make written plans. Make lists of what you need to do or buy to put those plans into action. 

Exploit FREE information from the web. If you are reading this, you're on the Internet anyway. There are a lot of great websites and YouTube channels full of useful information for you to read or watch. This website is full of prepping & survival information. Other websites and You Tube channels I like include:
There are, of course, lots of other great websites and You Tube channels. The above list is just a few of my favorites. 

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