Prepping For Newbies: What You Should Focus On

If you’re just beginning to consider being more prepared, whether that be for economic crises, weather-related crises, terrorist attacks or some other chaotic event, it’s important to assess what you really need and want in a prepping plan and to put that down on paper. At that point, you can begin taking steps to be more prepared.

First Focus

I was delighted to hear from a highly-esteemed friend and big shot in the corporate world that both he and his buddies (who work in the security department at his major company and are former FBI agents) are just as concerned as I am about the thought of being prepared for disasters of any kind. Prepping isn’t just for the crazies, as I’ve said dozens of times on this blog. There are real and valid reasons why prepping is a wise choice in this day and age of increasing natural disasters, regularly-occuring terror attacks and financial uncertainty.

The best place to begin a prepping plan is to talk with your loved ones about what events concern you most. Is it the thought of facing a financial crisis that would limit your ability to provide food for your family?

Is it the thought of being caught in an active terrorist attack situation? Or the thought of having proper shelter and supplies in place should a tornado or hurricane come nigh your home?

We at The Frugal Farmer believe it’s important to be prepared for all types of situations, but for those just starting out that thought can be a bit overwhelming. So we suggest you start where your biggest concern lies.

  • If a lack of food concerns you, start by stockpiling some non-perishable goods
  • If being able to survive in a financial crisis – whether personal or regional – is a concern, make a plan to pay off debt ASAP
  • If being safe in a natural disaster concerns you most, build a safe house or storm shelter in your basement

Recommended Reading: Dirt Cheap Valuable Prepping: Cheap Stuff You Can Stockpile NowThat Will Be Extremely Valuable When SHTF

By starting with working on the one thing that concerns you most, you’ll be making a start instead of simply worrying about being unprepared, and you’ll begin the learning process of what it truly takes to be prepared for any situation.

Learning to Practice Quality Prepping Takes Time

Since we began our prepping lifestyle nearly 3.5 years ago, we’ve learned that what we thought we knew about being prepared wasn’t a drop in the bucket. We learned this primarily from real-life occurrences.

  • When we lost our power without warning for 5+ hours on a warm spring day, we learned real quickly that disasters aren’t always foreseen.
  • When we nearly ran out of propane in sub-zero temps because of a screw-up by the propane company, we learned real quick that you can’t always depend on others to keep you safe and that it’s important to take your safety into your own hands instead of relying on others who may not be able to come through as promised
  • When our garden major-league failed last year due to a crummy growing season, we learned that we can’t simply assume Mother Nature will cooperate with our plans to supply each year’s worth of food via our garden

These learning experiences taught us that learning to prepare well is a process. It’s a trial and error thing, so start now and begin learning what works and what doesn’t. Don’t just assume you’ve got it all covered from the get-go.

Beginning Steps for Newbie Preppers

If you’re looking for a quick guide to give you a great head start, here it is. The info below will help you to get a good starting grasp on prepping in nearly every area.

Financial

If the economy crashes or you lose the majority of your income from an unexpected job layoff or other force, you won’t want to be left in the lurch wondering what to do next. The more financially stable you are when the disaster hits, the less the disaster will affect you. What to do?

  1. Dump your debt ASAP. I cannot stress this enough. The less people you owe, and the less you owe them, the less people you’ll have hounding you should a financial crisis arise. The last thing you need during a financial crisis is phone calls from creditors and debt collection agents. You’ll be busy enough trying to put food on the table.
  2. Stock some cash away, along with some silver and gold if you can. (Warning: if you rely on stockpiling anything like this at home, you should invest in a video intercom system like one from Entry Vision or smart door locks to help lower the chances that someone will rob you.) The cash will be super handy if the banks shut down or if computer systems crash and no one can take credit cards. The silver and gold will be a huge help if the dollar completely loses value.

  3. Stock up on basic necessities and food. This may not seem like it will help in a financial crisis, but how much money would you not have to spend if you had a 6-month supply of food and toiletries on hand?

By starting now at working to make yourself as financially secure as you can, you are giving yourself a serious leg up on unexpected events.

Weather-related

Depending on where you live, the type of weather-related prepping you’ll do is different. Here are some things you’ll want to consider:

  1. Again, it’s good to have at least a two-week supply of food, water, toiletries, meds and baby supplies (if needed) on hand. If you end up stuck in your home or neighborhood due to some type of storm, you won’t have to worry about basic needs.
  2. Have some type of alternative power source. Maybe that’s a generator. Or a simple wood stove to heat the house and cook food on. Just have a plan for staying warm (or cool) in an electrical outage due to a weather event. People in major storms are often without power for 2-3 weeks as the power company deals with having to restore power to tens of thousands of homes.
  3. Have a bug-out plan. If you have the ability to leave the area and go to a safe place, do so. And have a quick plan for getting out of dodge. Have bug out bags packed, or at the very least have a list of what you need to put in the bug out bags so you can pack quickly. Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times. Keep water and snacks in the car in case your bug out destination is a long drive away.Plan two or three bug out destinations in advance so that you’re not scrambling last-minute to find a place to go.

These simple steps will dramatically reduce stress levels during a chaotic situation.

Recommended Reading: Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit

Violence-related

Obviously, we can’t always make people not do crazy things, but we can be taught how to best defend ourselves from quickly-arising violent situations.

  1. As I talked about here, it’s important to always have a search and scan mindset, to be aware of the people around you and to have an emergency exit strategy planned out in your head, just in case. Know where all exits are in whatever building you’re in, and have a “get out” plan and “get out” code word for your family.
  2. Learn some basic self-defense moves and learn them well. Obviously, your best defense is to run if you can, but if you can’t, you need to know what to do if someone attempts to harm you physically. Most community education programs and local police departments can hook you up with someone that teaches basic self-defense moves.

Learning and following these beginning prepper steps will give you a leg up on the unexpecteds in life and help you to be more prepared to survive and thrive in a chaotic situation.

Do you have any disaster preparedness plans in place? What are your best tips for being prepared for unexpected situations? 

 

22 comments

  1. Mostly I’m just trying to prepare for if something would ever happen to my job and I needed to live off savings for awhile. My place is tiny so I can’t store too much food or supplies. I do have a red cross 3-day survival kit in my closet and in my car, but I wonder how long they last since one I’ve had for about 10 years. Hmmm.

    • Laurie says:

      Love that you have the survival kits, but yeah, they probably need to be replaced at this point. 🙂 You know you can hightail it up here if the crap hits the fan. 🙂 Just make sure to keep your tank half full. 🙂

  2. Josh says:

    We are saving for a wood cookstove that can double as wood heat for our us. Once we get it, it will keep our electric bill down in the winter. Plus if the power goes out you are able to at least keep your living area warm & can also cook food if you get it hot enough.

    • Laurie says:

      That’s exactly what we want to put in, Josh!! Can’t wait to save money that way – can you imagine? Especially up here in the north. Our heating bills can get ridiculous.

  3. Iforonwy says:

    Whilst doing chores today I found myself thinking about this post Laurie. I was thinking about storage and then thought there is something that does not need storage space – knowledge,know-how and practical skills.

    I wonder how many youngsters would know how to feed themselves on anything that did not involve The Golden Arches?

    Just being able to repair things and forage for simple foodstuffs could go a very long way to survival. Again with medication – try not to get ill in the first place and then learn what natural things will do almost the same job as those meds.

    As you know we use solar power for much of our electricity in our home and water heating but of course that needs the back-up of electricity too. We are looking into ways of storing that solar heat and power by means of batteries. Also swapping things to be solar powered such as lighting and radios.

    • Laurie says:

      Such a powerful comment, my friend. I think the fact that the majority of people have no idea how to fend for themselves will be the downfall of this country. It scares me, honestly. In pioneer days, everyone knew how to grow, harvest and prepare food from scratch. Now, few people have a clue because we’ve made it so easy for them. Same with how to get water, power, repair stuff, etc. Lord, help!

  4. We’re pretty unprepared, I’m afraid. Now that we’re not doing a water service anymore, we need to start laying water by. One of the biggest issues here in the desert would be a water shutoff, especially starting around May.

    I like that you thought about personal safety in addition to actual prepping.

    • Laurie says:

      That’s certainly something to be prepared for, Abigail. Glad you’re thinking about it! Maybe a couple of those 55 gallon water containers would be a good start.

    • Laurie says:

      That’s a great idea, Jayson. We are great about staying stocked up on meds, although we do need to get better about being stocked up on batteries.

  5. Laura Beth says:

    All great tips. I need to learn to be more prepared in many of the ways you mentioned, but I especially liked your tips for preparing financially. Thanks for a good read.

  6. fehmeen says:

    ‘Dump your debt’ – I like the alteration!!! I agree with you here that it’s absolutely vital to have a backup plan for everything, especially for keeping yourself warm during winter season. The same goes for electricity and that is why one of my relatives got tired of the endless power breakdowns and got solar power instead

  7. James says:

    I make a disaster preparedness plan, Laurie. One of which is that I keep my family’s most important documents, such as birth certificates and passports, and photo albums in a safe place in case I need to grab them and leave the house.

  8. Laura @ Piggy Bank Dreams says:

    I appreciate the experiences you shared. It’s the same here. This morning, a semi went off the road just a quarter mile away from us and took out a telephone poll. We woke up cold with no power. Thankfully, it didn’t last for more than a few hours, but it certainly got me thinking about this very topic and what we would need in an emergency like that.

    • Laurie says:

      Wow! Yes, it’s experiences like that that make you understand the need to be prepared. The situation can be great training ground for you guys as you house shop, though, Laura!

  9. kay ~ the barefoot minimalist says:

    These tips are great! I think I’m ready to go on the prepping now. I look forward to it. Especially now that I’m back in a double couponing state. Thanks for keeping these kinds of posts coming Laurie!

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