Here are some of our favorite tips on how you can prepare yourself and your family for any emergency on a tight budget.
Decide What to Prepare For:
Take a moment to sit down and decide what scenarios are most likely to impact you and your family personally. Do you live in tornado alley? Is your home situated near a fault line? Is a family member especially susceptible to disease? Is yours or your spouse's job unstable?
Additionally, you can also choose from scenarios on a much wider scale. How long could you survive financially if the economy were to take a tumble? Hell, with the way 2020 has been going, we wouldn't be surprised if preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse makes your list.
Whatever you decide, narrow it down to a few necessary goals and what you'll need to gather to reach them. For example, let's use:
I want to have a supply of food on hand to feed my family in case supermarkets close or I can not afford to purchase food.
I want to start an emergency fund for any situation.
We live in an area susceptible to earthquakes and wildfires, I want to have emergency go-bags for my family.
Now that you have your goals, formulate a list of the items you'll need to collect. This will be especially helpful in the next part...
A Little Bit at a Time
This is an excellent method that we touched on earlier in "The End of the World as We Know It: (Do You Feel Fine?)" . This is a method that works incredibly well not only for those who wish to dip a toe into the world of preparedness, but also for those who may be operating on a tighter budget.
The plan is simple, every time you go to the grocery store, buy ONE thing to store. Start there, and start small, and before you know it you will have amassed a healthy savings of supplies for yourself and your family. On days you feel up to it, or have a bit more cash lying around, buy two, three, four items, or expand your search from the grocery store to the camping section of Walmart. The important part is to start somewhere, and with every trip you'll be a bit better off than you were before.
An important factor in this plan is that you don't need to wait to start. While some may favor saving up to make a large or bulk purchase, with this method you can start preparing for disaster immediately, just in case the unexpected comes sooner than you planned.
Gardens Don't Have to be Big or Expensive
A single planter of tomatoes on your window sill is better than no tomatoes, and as soil and seeds are a relatively cheap investment, this one seems like a no-brainer. If you lack time and happen to have a small amount of yard to work with, you could even plant foods that will continue to grow every year on their own, such as asparagus or rhubarb.
At the very least, consider picking up some seeds. While they wouldn't do you much good in a short-term food shortage, seeds will be invaluable in a long-term situation. Make sure you get the right kind, as not all seeds will produce food capable of reproducing. (See: heirloom seeds)
The Emergency Fund
Or favorite method of creating an emergency fund (or saving for anything, really) is very similar to the "little bit at a time" approach to gathering supplies. Simply choose a receptacle, (we recommend an inconspicuous box or jar) and set it somewhere that you will see it often enough that you remember it exists. There are lots of methods you can then take to filling it with cash, for example:
All of your spare change
Only (and every) $5 bill you come across
Your change from transactions
If you're someone who doesn't often use cash, apps like Chime will round up the change on your purchases and deposit them into a savings account automatically.
Shop Clearance and Thrift
It doesn't matter if your emergency backpack is hand-me-down or ugly, as long as it's bones are sturdy, it will get the job done. While it's important not to waste cash and space on cheaply-made or gimmicky supplies, you should remember that having even a handful of quality supplies is better than nothing at all. The point is to start somewhere and keep on growing.
Keep an eye out for more articles about being prepared, and please don't hesitate to contact Wildline Solutions if we can help you with any aspect of the process.