Getting into the preparedness movement you start to realize quickly that things get expensive and add up. You begin to consider how to be a prepper on a budget. Many of us don’t have the ability to buy a lot of the needed supply and gear due to employment circumstances, dependents and even health problems.
This is what discourages a lot of preppers and causes many to give up. Others live in a constant fear believing they will never be able to afford to survive a collapse or SHTF scenario. It causes many to lose focus and not prepare strategically.
However, there are few ways that you can prepare on a budget and still thrive in a collapse scenario. I’ve decided to put together some tips of what I have learned on how to be a prepper on a budget. I believe that you are able to be a strategic prepper on a budget.
How to be a prepper on a budget
Set a budget
There is a saying that the more you make then more you spend. Our society has taught us to live from paycheck to paycheck without taking money to save for a rainy day much less a collapse. So we slave at work each day for someone else who is getting rich while we are growing older and broker.
It is important to set a budget so that you are living below your means. This is especially true for a prepper who really wants to be one day self-sufficient and reliant. Our expenses should be no higher than 80% of our income.
Many older generations taught the importance of spending less than what we make. For example, the Hebrew were taught to plow the fields but to leave the gleanings. These gleanings were the left overs. They were meant for the poor so that they could come behind them to gather needed food to survive.
This not only teaches us that we should give but that we should leave some gleanings of what we make. Not only do we want to give to the poor but we also want to give to our families and friends. That way if they are in need then you are able to help them out.
Setting your expenses to no more than 80% of your income also gives you room to save. This also provides a cushion for emergencies that come up. I’m of the belief that if something CAN go wrong then it WILL (Murphy’s Law). Such emergencies include transportation, medical and other types of issues.
Setting a budget also puts you in control of your finances instead of your finances controlling you. With each pay period you should be telling your money where to go. So pay off your bills immediately instead of waiting for the due date. That way you are getting rid of that temptation to buy some fancy record player or a butt load of AR15’s.
If your expenses are over 80% of your income then you need to identify ways that you can downsize. It may make your life uncomfortable but you will appreciate the freedom afterwards. If you are paying $600 a month on a huge truck maybe you could consider downsizing to a smaller truck for less per month. You could also downsize by not eating out as often. You just need to look at where your money is going each week and identify ways to downsize.
Avoid the fear mongering
In the preparedness movement there are a lot of fear mongering radio hosts that scream that the collapse is coming in a few days and you need to buy their products in order to survive. They are proclaiming that all the “Elites” are going into their bunkers and you need one too. Then the next week the collapse hasn’t happened and a lot of people are broke struggling to pay their bills because they maxed out all their cards thinking TEOTWAWKI was here.
AVOID THESE MORONS AT ALL COST! Instead I encourage you to prepare the smart way and strategically. You should only be purchasing gear and supplies that you absolutely need and can afford. I will be discussing this more in my upcoming book where I break down how to do a threat assessment and prioritize those threats.
In simple terms, if you live in a location that is known for having hurricanes and not nuclear fallouts then you need to be preparing for a hurricane before you would a fallout. I’m not saying that a fallout could never happen but I am saying that in your area you are more likely to face a hurricane sooner than a fallout.
Cut up credit cards
“The debtor is slave to the lender.” The governments of this world have found an enticing way to enslave billions in a fiat currency driven by debt. As long as you are in debt then you have to rely on a job that you work for someone else in order to pay your bills. This will hinder you from truly being self-reliant and self-sufficient.
We are taught that our credit score is an indication of how successful we are. However, most rich people have horrible credit scores because they don’t use debt. They use cash.
Pay off debts quickly
Yea right. Many of us can barely pay our bills from paycheck to paycheck. So how in the world do you pay off debts quickly?
When considering how to be a prepper on a budget paying off debt quickly should be a big focus. The more money that you can free up then you have more that you can spend on buying gear and supplies. When I was laid off in 2009 I was able to pay off $15k of debt on unemployment. I owe it all to a book called Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.
In this book Dave Ramsey teaches a method called the Debt Snowball. You begin by organizing your debts by lowest principal amount to the highest. Then you add any extra that you can find to pay on top of the amount due for the lowest debt. Once that is paid off then you can take that amount you were using to pay that bill to pay on the next lowest bill. The process continues until you have them all paid off. The process starts small but builds up faster like a snowball rolling down a mountain.
Another great tactic to deploy is to begin reaching out to your debtors to see if they will make a deal with you. This tactic helped me pay off a car that was repossessed with $9k still left to pay. They told me if I would pay $900 they would consider the debt paid off. It seems like a fairytale but you will be surprised and amazed once you try.
Learn Prepper Skills
Knowledge and skills are the most effective preps that you can have and cost you nothing. In a previous post I talked about how to prepare for an economic collapse with no money. In that post I talked about the jobs and trades that will become valuable during a collapse scenario.
There are many opportunities all around us that provide us with the ability to develop those prepper skills that will be valuable during a collapse. For example, you can go camping to practice your survival skills. Many times you can find informational videos online that teach you about survival. Now you have to actually practice what you learn in order to develop it into a skill.
Another great way to develop a prepper skill is to volunteer at non-profit organizations like Habitat for Humanity. This organization will actually teach you carpentry skills for free. Carpentry will become valuable to help you build for others or even build your own off grid shelter. There are many opportunities. You just have to look for them.
Learn DIY prepper projects
There are many informational sites online that will teach your survival hacks that you can use from household items. For example, you can learn how to make a stove from a Pepsi can. You could also learn how to make a homemade bulletproof plate. There are many great examples that you can find online.
Source gear and supplies
Many times when you consider how to be a prepper on a budget you can find cheap prepper gear and supplies. You can visit yard sales, Goodwill or even the Army surplus. Some of it may not be in the best shape but it will help you until you are able to afford something better.
So altogether these would be my tips on how to be a prepper on a budget. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any additional suggestions or feedback. Your advice helps the prepper community prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.