When we consider preparing for natural disasters, job losses or other trials, we often consider the items which are high dollar. A lot of us think about freeze dried food, medical supplies, evacuation bags or luggage, etc. Many of us have emptied savings accounts in order to get our preps up to snuff. Prepping isn't just an activity, it is a mindset. Some of the most important things we can do toward preparation, don't cost much money, or they don't cost money at all. Of course, I listed many of these things in my book:
Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness
which incidentally, isn't a lot of money itself.
Many times, once we've shelled out savings for a generator, or perhaps a fully outfitted EMT kit this leaves quite a bit of time while you are saving again for additional preps.
Here are some things you can do toward preparedness during those frugal times:
1. Inventory and organize the emergency and preparedness items you do have.
I made the mistake recently of ordering a case of vinyl medical gloves for animal care without realizing that I already owned a case of vinyl gloves that was so large it had to be stored somewhere other than the medical supplies. Make sure you have notebooks with inventory. It's alright to have inventories on your computer, but there should be a hard copy as well.
2. Put some time in on training that dog you adopted for family protection or as a watch dog or an alert dog.
Get a couple of library books on dog training, and use this time to connect with and train your dog. Most of my dogs are rescues and 100% of them were trainable.
3. Get a library book or two on hair cutting.
Carefully cut a family members hair. This is a skill that can be learned. I have been cutting my family's hair for years, and I am much better at it than in those first few times. Wal-Mart actually sells quite good hair cutting scissors.
4. Read a couple of library books on Canning.
Be clear on which book works best for you before spending money on a canning book.
This is my favorite book on canning, but you might like another book more.
Mrs Wage's Home Canning Book
5. Actually write out your family evacuation plan and make a family evacuation notebook.
Review and update this plan with your family members every year. List out what emergencies would trigger a preemptive evacuation on your family's part. List out a family evacuation procedure which includes your pets. Remember to list locking of certain doors including exteriors before your departure. Find your local maps and place them in your family evacuation notebook. In a variety of emergencies GPS may not be effective, and often Google maps are quite incorrect in rural areas. Make sure that your family knows the name and number of an out of state contact you could use, should you become separated and need to contact a person to shuffle messages should communication in your own area become difficult.
6.. Write out each of your family's medical issues and medications they are taking, and put the pages in your evacuation notebook.
For the families who had to leave New Orleans in a hurry, this helped them renew prescriptions through doctors and pharmacists in emergency shelters.
7. Xerox copies of your dogs and cats immunization records especially rabies.
Place these in your evacuation notebook. Proof of rabies and other immunizations would allow them more boarding options should you need to leave your area in an emergency.
8. Locate a handy place to store your evacuation notebook.
It should be accessible but not easily picked up, read or moved by others who aren't in your family..
9. Go through your family first aid kits.
You should have a first aid kit that is prepared and used for family evacuation, and you should have one which remains in your home for use there. If kept in a cool, dry and dark place a lot of the items are useful beyond their expiration date, however, everything in the kits needs to be looked at and repacked annually. This is done so that you can replace anything truly expired, and also so that you are truly familiar with the items in your kit.
10. Photograph each room of your home and your possessions.
Whether you have homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance, neither of them will pay to replace lost items, regardless of the amount of insurance you pay, without proof. A room by room series of photographs of your home's interior and more detailed photos of more valuable possessions should be taken. Then make a couple of discs with the photographs on them, mark it with black magic marker, and also put the photos on a flash drive. Put one copy of the disc in your evacuation notebook, one in your safe, and give one to a trusted friend out of the area. You might want to make a copy of the declarations page of your homeowner's insurance along with the company name, agent name and all contact information including e-mail, fax, phone, and address. I have known several families who have lost everything to home fire or forest fire in the last few years. This is not a costly endeavor yet it could save you a fortune.
11. Research metal roofing.
See if the next time you need to roof your home whether this is an intelligent or viable alternative. For many people, it is.
There are many things that you can do until you once again have money for prepping. Some of these things are just as, if not more important than some of the high dollar items.