There’s quite a stigma about being prepared. If you say you’re a prepper, people will often have a particular image of what you must look/be/sound/think like before you even speak.
I’m a prepper. There, I said it.
I’m not at the more intense end of the bell curve where I have a bunker and surveillance system and bug out bag (but if that is you, then you do you!) but I am very concerned about personal safety, security, and food security. With things in the world the way they are right now, there is reason for heightened alarm.
Today I saw an article about an impending – or maybe it’s already here – gas shortage/issue where people may not be able to cook or heat their homes with gas. A concern for many of us.
It actually inspired me to write this post out of schedule, because more and more, and each and every day we are being hit by a new issue – rising rent prices, unemployment, record housing costs, increased cost of food and electricity – I mean, you name it and it’s in the news.
It seems no industry and no sector is currently immune to the economic upheaval that is currently in the world. And as a result, it is mindful to consider how prepared you are. This is going to be worse than the 2020/21 toilet paper fiasco.
I saw a fantastic phrase in my research today – “prepsteading – practical homesteading with preparedness in mind”. (Source: https://homesteading.com/homesteading-preparedness-prepsteading/)
I think this is brilliant. The term is meant to refer to someone who is part prepper, part homesteader. Maybe I actually fall under this term too!
This post is about those of us who are already prepared, but wouldn’t mind a top-up, or those who are looking at how to be more prepared than what they currently are.
I wouldn’t say it’s an entirely beginner’s option, but it doesn’t mean you cannot work towards some of the points listed to get yourself over the line.
With the world in current flux that doesn’t seem to be easing anytime soon, now is as good a time as any to have a little bit of planning in place to get through the difficult days.
- Make a short burst deadline and stick to it
- Freeze/preserve all excess bulk fresh produce
- Top up medical supplies
- Don’t advertise/tell anyone that you are stockpiling
- Replenish gas, firewood and fuel
- Look at budgeting bills and payments
- Stock up on warm essentials at a thrift store / op-shop
Make a short burst deadline and stick to it
The point of this how-to is to help you consider some short-term burst focus tasks you can do over a couple of weeks to replenish or add to your stockpile. The intent of this post is not to start a whole new stockpile process – though if this is what helps you get into that mindset then that is also brilliant.
Look at your budget, timeline for achieving this stockpile, and time on hand and make a plan. Maybe you need to get some things from Costco or Amazon – I prefer Amazon for bulk buying as it costs around the same as Costco and I can get everything delivered. There is not a lot of Costco’s around here – not enough to make it viable just to hop down to the store with no plan.
If however you do have time to get to a Costco, it wouldn’t be bad to stock up on some bulk meats and fruit/veg while you’re there. It might not be cheaper but you may get the quantities you’re after. I personally get meat from a farmer and local butcher, veg from my garden and a local co-op.
So, look at the time you have, the amount of extra funds, and the period you want to achieve this in. I think a burst focus of 1-month is feasible, especially if you need to stick to a budget because you can plan buying certain things on weeks where there are specials or you have codes for the store.
Focus target shopping
For the period of your burst stockpile, focus target additional shopping. This may mean stocking up on extra canned food, buying some bulk meat from your butcher or farmer, or getting some loaves into the freezer.
Make a list of the absolute basics you need. If you don’t use tinned corn for anything, don’t buy tinned corn. It’s a waste of money. Make sure that what you focus target your next month of shopping on is things you will eventually use and that can sit for a while if necessary.
When planning your list, think of things like:
- Frozen vegies
- Frozen fruit
- Basic cereals
- Flours, baking powders, baking soda
- Herbs and spices, salt, pepper, paprika etc
- Mince meat
- Slow cooker meat (brisket, pork shoulder, pot roast, belly roast)
- Frozen pizza bases
- Frozen pizza
- Sliced bread
- Butter (excess can be frozen)
- Long life or powdered milk
- Tinned tuna/salmon/mackerel
- Tinned vegetables: champignon, mixed veg, carrots, peas, corn, beans, etc
- Tinned tomato
- Instant coffee
- Maize/corn flour
- Fresh water
- Batteries, gas canisters for portable stoves, gas bottles for BBQ (refilled), lighters, candles
- Tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, wipes
- Band-Aids, paracetamol, cold and flu meds, multi-vitamin, extra asthma medicine, allergy meds, etc
- Fuel for generators, rider mowers, tractors etc
- Fire starters
- Chicken and beef stock
The above list is not exhaustive, but it is a good basic start to consider when making your own list. Make sure to check local catalogues or Honey to see if certain retailers have specials or discount codes, and plan your buys around those times to maximise and extend your budget and haul.
Freeze/preserve all excess bulk fresh produce
Whether you blanch freeze, dehydrate or use a freeze-drying machine, now is the time to take stock of what vegetables and herbs you have seasonally that you can store if you haven’t already.
I am part of my towns co-op and get a seasonal fruit and vegie box every week to supplement us with our garden. I look at all the fruit and veg weekly that I get in the box that can be stockpiled and do so.
Usually, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin and sweet potato is prepared for blanch freezing weekly so I always have some fresh organic frozen produce available.
I also look at what fruits freeze best, or whether blending/blanching certain fruit and veg helps store it better long term.
Many herbs can be frozen in oil in ice cube trays, as can things like spinach or bok choy. Just make sure whatever excess you have, you can preserve it in the best way possible and in a way that you will eat it (and also be able to use it when needed!)
Top up medical supplies
Make sure that you progressively update and add to your medical stockpile. This includes asthma and allergy medicine, basic medicine like paracetamol or aspirin, cold and flu medicine, multi-vitamins, heat rubs, swabs, bandages, wraps etc. Even the thing you think is not going to be targeted will be targeted if people think it is going to be out of stock, so it’s better to have a few extra in storage than to have none at all.
Make sure you also top up or replenish your first aid kit, snake kit and if you have a go bag, aka a bug out bag or similar, make sure it is ready to go and up to date.
Don’t advertise/tell anyone that you are stockpiling
Other than again, the stigma – which in actuality isn’t something that should be raised and if anyone does raise it tell them to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine – the reason I say don’t tell anyone is not because of stigma, but because of security.
Again, this may sound alarmist, but you never know what will happen if the economic crisis continues to worsen. You never know who is listening, who is casing or following you or who will turn unpredictable or violent when they can’t get what they want in the event of a severe shortage.
In general, you shouldn’t be advertising much of anything to anyone anyway. But when it comes to stockpiling, be strategic and smart with what you’re doing and don’t tell people that don’t need to know.
If you are stockpiling then you are doing it for you, and if SHTF and others find out you have food, medicine and water, you become a target.
Surely the end-of-world and zombie movies have shown us enough of this, right?! LOL
Make sure to visit multiple stores, or do click-and-collect where possible. Go out of town or to the next town if it’s feasible where others are unlikely to know you to do some of your stock up.
No but seriously – other than telling maybe your trusted circle, or people who are potentially involved in the stockpile with you, keep it to yourself.
If others want to stockpile, let them do it at their own will. If not, then when they’re on the nightly news standing in queues trying to get a loaf of bread and hollering at each other like wild animals, you’ll be safe to know you don’t need to do that and you have enough food to keep you sustained.
Replenish gas, firewood and fuel
This is a no-brainer but I am going to add it regardless.
Make sure you have enough to store fuel safely, whether it’s for your ride-on mower, tractor, car or quad.
If you have a gas BBQ at home, make sure the gas cylinder is full and go and get a few spares.
We power our house gas and cooking with BBQ cylinders as they are cheaper to replenish and have no rental surcharge like the bigger bottles do.
It’s far easier to have a single type of cylinder that can be replenished at the servo or hardware store, instead of those big ones that need a third party to come and replace (and who also charge you a rental fee).
If you haven’t already planned your firewood, get some dry wood cut, or see if anyone is offering free on FB marketplace. Stock up on firewood because if you run out of gas, you can at least whip out a cast iron pan and cook over a fire.
I’m being serious.
Look at budgeting bills and payments
I do this already, and it may seem like something that isn’t really relevant, but I think it is.
With increased costs of living popping up everywhere and in every sector, it may not be immediately feasible to suddenly change or add solar, or go totally off-grid if you aren’t already.
In Australia at least, there’s a lot of talk of the cost of electricity getting higher, the impact of no gas for cooking at heating – I mean this is just beyond a joke and utterly bizarre that in 2022 we need to be worried about this stuff.
But, as it is, we do. We do have to be worried.
There’s some things you won’t be able to change immediately, so take control of what you can do. I work out an approximation of what my bills are supposed to be over a year spread out weekly, and I pay towards all my bills weekly. Maybe fortnightly or monthly works better for you – whatever works is what you should do. But I do weekly as it works best for me.
As it stands, I am at least 6 months (if not more) ahead on all my bills – technically I could turn around and stop paying every single bill I have and not touch it for 6 months. But I won’t, and here’s why.
If prices increase more, or if one of us loses our job or can’t work for any reason, then that prepaid money will be a godsend when times get tough. As it is now, I simply set it up automatically and forget it. When my bills come in, I don’t have to pay as I already have a credit balance with the company/provider and can see how much ahead I am.
This alone has been monumental in increasing my peace of mind in difficult times, or times where I was worried.
Same as saving money for a rainy day, I put a little bit of money each week towards my bills and when times get tough, or as times get tougher is what I should say, I can increase those amounts by so little if I have to catch up.
So, as part of your surge work for this stockpile, make sure to look at any bills you can automate or pre-pay as much as you can afford.
Stock up on warm essentials at a thrift store / op-shop
Again, people look down on thrift stores aka op-shops, but I absolutely love them and have found so many useful things to repurpose and re-use from them.
Using thrift stores means you save money – you’re not getting some dodgy rubbish because the volunteer workers there have to make sure the items are suitable for use.
But if you’re new to thrifting or have concerns, go to one in a kitschier upmarket suburb as you may find items with tags still on them or better quality items.
When it comes to warm clothing and blankets, these can be expensive and you can find these in a thrift store. I love vests, and my favourite vest that I wear year in year out since 2017 I got at a thrift store for $8. I mean this thing would’ve been in excess of $50 brand new and I just cannot justify paying that type of money. I’m not poor – but this is one of the reasons why because I spend my money wisely.
If electricity costs become a burden, make sure you have good quality clothing to keep you warm. Consider natural fibres like wools, merinos and bamboos for layering, and good quality vests and jackets with down (If you’re in a colder region than Queensland that is!)
Make sure you have good socks and under garments to keep you warm, and you may even find you don’t need to use the heater as much, saving costs.
These are just some of the more imminent surge tasks you can do within the next month to replenish and add to your stockpile.
If you haven’t ever started a stockpile and would like to, this is something you can think about if you need to get something done quickly.
With rising costs of food, electricity, housing, rent and with threats of interest rates going up and many countries going into recession, it is never too late to think about being a little bit more prepared and having a little bit more in your stockpile to get through the tougher days.
I absolutely replenished my stockpile today, just before continuing to write this article. Not because I don’t have what I need, but because I don’t want to be in the position that things cost so much that I can’t feed my family.
If you’re a stockpiler, let me know in the comments below some of the things you focus on when replenishing your stockpile.
Until next time.