*Prepping On The Cheap*
A question was asked: "Has the state of the economy changed the way people are preparing?"
I thought that to answer the question might make for a good article.
So first I should tell you a little about my preps:
The danger I face the most (after street attacks for which I train in a martial art for) is job loss; therefore I took a look at what items I use on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and from that stored away a 1 year supply of cleaning and hygiene products. Should I be laid off from work I will have a year before I need to spend any of my savings on shaving cream or floor cleaner. This ONLY works if you follow the "use one, buy one" motto. Sure it takes a cash out flow to initially stock up, but after that if you "use one, buy one" during the good times and you'll always have a years supply.
Secondly I take advantage of the BOGO or buy one & get one free offers at the local super markets. We have two main chains here so they compete and usually have their BOGO sales at the same time. I do most of my shopping on the weekends, which is when the flyers come out. I prefer to do it on Saturday (for convenience only) but the flyers come out on Sunday, so if it is not BOGO week I'll wait to Sunday; the idea being that you must be flexible in your shopping patterns to take advantage of the sales. Stores have their good times and bad times and they try to even this out with sales. You need to know the prices as sometimes sale on brand name goods are still not as cheap as no-name brands, but with BOGO it's easy to come out ahead.
Make survival your hobby.... I do not spend money on cable TV as I prefer the Internet for learning and communicating with survivalists, but some of you are spending money on both. Luxuries are fine if you can afford them and still prep, but if you are finding it hard to get the money to lay in some supplies then you need to look at what luxuries you can do with out. I don't even like renting movies but prefer to get them on loan for free from the library, sure the selection may be less but it's a sacrifice I'll gladly make in order to have better preps.
Thirdly, buying paper is much cheaper than buying an item only to have it break two months later of finding out that there is a better item you could have bought. If you have been stumped by the Rubicon slogan of "Buy once, cry once" it simply means that you may cry over the amount you had to pay for a quality item but you'll cry twice if you buy poor quality only to have it break and then need to go out and buy what you should have in the first place.
To use paper effectively first write down all the disasters you are preparing for. Don't fall into the B-movie survivalist trap of preparing for the Zombie hoards; take an honest look at the threats in your area. Live near a river? Think about flood protection. Near a train track? Think about chemical spills. And let's not forget the un-sexiest disaster of them all...job loss through lay offs, down sizing, and overseas factories.
From this list of disasters you are preparing for you can then write down what you would need to deal with them. The magic of paper really shows through here...you can buy and store anything on paper! Before you buy something you don't need, you can cross it off your list and keep refining it until you are pretty sure that your list only has the things you need.
When it comes time to buy you need to look at your list and think of which disaster is most likely to happen and buy preps for that disaster first.
So you have your list and even after several drafts it still looks like a lot; don't worry, there are ways to get it cheap and still be quality.
There are at least 20 survivalist forums on the Internet that have buy & sell sections. People who have not done their homework like you have just done have already paid the big bucks for goods (many of them quality) and are now trying to sell them off because they didn't buy right. I try to make it a rule that if it's used I'll only pay 50% but it really depends on the condition and how important the item is to me.
There is also eBay but you must be very careful not to get caught up in a bidding addiction and end up paying more than an item is worth, so do your homework!
If you prefer to shop in person then find out what chain hiking stores are in your area as they often clear out seasonal stock for often up to 50% off. One in my area has a Gear Swap where you can sell your outdoor gear but the store also sells returns and overstock; many times I've bought broken gear that I could sew or broken gear I could send to the manufacturer for repair/replacement because the store sold the return to you because they did not want to bother shipping it to the manufacturer, my savings here is in the 70%-90% range!
Don't forget flea markets, used clothing stores, and pawn shops (I often find brand name knives in pawn shops).
In closing, the most important thing I can tell you is to do your homework. I used to buy any thing if it was cheap and I thought might have a use for it. I've spent the better part of two years getting rid of the stuff, some I was able to sell, but most had to be thrown out; now I have space for educated, planned prepping.
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