Preparing on a budget for SHTF

Picture of Selco


I am Selco and I am from the Balkan region, and as some of you may know it was hell here from 92-95, anyway, for 1 whole year I lived and survived in a city WITHOUT: electricity, fuel, running water, food distribution, without any kind of organized law or government. The city was surrounded for 1 year and it actually was a real SHTF situation. Our allies were our enemies from one day to the next. Today I’m prepared and share my experience on this blog.

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It seems a lot of people have to see where they put their money. Into preps or have to spend it on things for everyday living. I know how this feels and live like that the last decades.

After war I left city with two plastic bags full of random belongings. No documents and nothing else. I was refugee. But lucky that I was able to stay with family on countryside. I had no bug out bag.

I never really thought, ok now I prepare or anything. I simply wanted to have all sorts of things I did not have during my SHTF year. So preparing came naturally to me. No surprise. First it was all about weapons. Whenever I had money I bought ammunition, rifles and guns.

When I got my own place and job again I started to get other preps. Economic has ever been bad since war. Sometimes we get paid, sometimes not, sometimes late. So I never had much extra money but even when I got paid, I made plan what I need for next month and what not and then spend most of money on buying things in bulk. For example I drive every few weeks to gas station half hour away to buy 200 liters of gas. They have it cheaper and give discount. Buying in bulk is not only cheaper I get rid of my money and have things instead. That matters for me.

From other blog posts you also might know I do not value money much and never have after my SHTF year. You can’t eat money and when I do not get paid, or not paid in time I simply live of my preps.

People help when preparing on a budget

Interesting thing might be that my area is at brink of collapse again and has been for some time. We have 40% unemployed people so black market and exchanging things is normal. People do not have money so they exchange whatever they have. I might need new jacket but have knife I don’t want anymore and call a few people and get what I want.

Most of my friends have same or similar life philosophy, actually it is the matter of choosing right people to hang with them, so I do not have friends who find meaning of life in buying big LCD TV or having fancy car. It is more about having friends with who you can go into the woods for few days with very few things to check how it is like, or to discuss with them how we can get from point A to point B fast and safe when SHTF for example.

We meet for coffee or a few beer and plan this. It is our hobby and has been ever since war. We laugh and have good time, we fear little because we know what to expect and are prepared.

People with who you hang out have influence on you, either you like it or not, so you just have to choose with who you are gonna spend your time. Most of my friends are also exchanging / trading stuff, so it is easier for me to live without money and more with preps.

My guess is if there is slow collapse your country who is now better will come down to this level of where my country is, first before complete economic collapse.

In this state of half collapse I live in I just take safe route and that is having things. So what I write might be future advice for when time has come for your country. I just share how I prepare with my limited budget.

I can trade things now and if total collapse happens I still have more valuable things than worthless money. During collapse those with 1000 $ but broken shoes will pay 1000 $ for a new pair. Just not sure if I would sell because I can not wear those paper notes.

Friends with grey market traders

Another thing that helps is to get right connections. It helps to know some people who work in darker grey areas. People who sell stuff that “fell from a truck” are those who exchange and hustle for living and will be first who become big traders once SHTF. Their job does not change much, just more customers.

Now you may or may not approve this what i say, but consider knowing people from this “grey” area of life as a perfect part of preparing for future SHTF event. Those people is not your local drug dealer who is also on drugs, but more business people who focus on “lost and found” things.

If your country is far away from having trading people like this, look out for them once things get rougher. They will emerge fast. When they are there it is more than time to exchange money and have things instead.

Even now in normal time when i want to buy something, i always look for the word on the street where i can buy something good and cheap. If you have little you have to make things happen, somehow.

If I want military type bag, I always ask few people that I know have good info about that kind of stuff. They can point me to the guy who has that stuff for me. I do not ask too much questions, I do not want to know where that comes from, it is cheap, it is good, I have far greater things to worry about. If I had money I have guy who can sell me tuna cans, in bigger amounts, I mean 400-500 cans, almost in half price. How? Don t know, I do not wanna know.

There is the people here for buying anything, and I think it is similar everywhere i mean for most of the things there is the folks who are selling that, cheaper.

Jay who lives in Thailand went to supermarket manager to make his own deal and saved a lot. How supermarket manager could give him good prices like that? Nobody wants to know. If you do not know grey guys your local supermarket manager might be the go to guy.

How far you wanna go with buying some things from some grey people is up to you. I do not suggest anything when it comes to that. Each and everyone of us have to decide about that.

You may like this way or you may not. If you are poor or have to make difficult choices when buying preps it is form of survival already. When SHTF there will be way more difficult choices and you will laugh about this.

Find those people who trade things now

Even in good times (which are still bad times here compared to most other countries) I can get what I want with exchanging stuff. Pay good attention to when things become more valuable or better investments than money.

If I buy 4 pairs of boots that I know I will use and get them cheaper now, I do this. I live like this for years now but your country might not be there yet, but know time will come.

Money is good, money is great actually, but do not get caught up in situation like in the middle of the night with 1000 $ in your wallet, and S. has just hit the fan, and your 1000 $ is worth 10 cans of food, yesterday it was worth 400 cans, but…

We all expect that we gonna recognize signs, have time.. but we actually can be suprised, all of us. Looking at some alternative media sites I’m not sure if they promote truth or themselves more.

In the end we prepare to be safer and that is something you have to do today, not tomorrow.

Don’t prepare, save money

I know from forums that some people have problem justifying spending money on preps because other family member believe collapse can not happen or the government will provide.

This was never problem for me because all family knows preparing is only smart thing to do. Still you do not have to prepare for collapse officially. I save money by buying in bulk and also save gas by not making that many trips. Also saves my time because we do not have to leave house that often for buying things.

We are slaves of money, modern way of life is doing that to us, and it is hard sometimes to prepare but all of life is full of hard choices and making right choices today might safe one of your family members life tomorrow.

Not being a sheep today

Another good advice I think is that you have to not be one of the herd. Having new iPod might be a must have, but I do not care. It might be easy to say for me because priorities have changed a lot but I do not need most things media of advertisement tries to tell me I need.

You can start having survival mindset today. Those who think they need big LCD TV or latest iPod will have even bigger challenge once times get tougher and they are left with little or nothing.

There are many ways to do this. In this article I explain mine (my 6 months supply list is in course area).

What are your ways of preparing and staying within budget?

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62 Responses

  1. Certain preps that you use every day are simply an alternative form of saving, especially when you save even more by buying in bulk. For example, we have a deep pantry with a year’s supply of food (everything from a large chest freezer filled with meat to bulk and freeze dried foods). This reserve means we could get buy without spending any money or could survive on 1/5th or less of what we spend (i.e. only buy a few fresh items). Having a lot of tools, building supplies, and DIY skills means I don’t have to pay contractors for a lot of home repairs and improvements.

  2. I appreciate your comments and instruction very much. Even if I don’t go through a shtf in my lifetime, I will feel more peace of mind knowing I am preparing.

    I think if you prepare ahead you won’t need the “gray” market so much. Also it is a decision you can make that no matter how bad things are you won’t steal or deal with people who do. It is a choice. But I do not judge.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

    1. @jj
      You might be right, with preparing on time you could avoid dealing with certain type of people when you looking for some stuff.

      But on the other hand, i am thinking in some other terms, on some other scale, because things that i experienced changed me in the way that some things are not too important for me, like dealing with certain kind of folks.

      There is different names for that, in different times. I do not think too much about that names, it is not important for me.

      But i agree definitely, it is choice, and there is not too much sense in judging. We all free to choose.

        1. Dealing with grey people and black market is pretty much similar in every part of world, in normal times.
          There is our understanding of “right and wrong” things. So it is up to us how much we want to use those kind of people in buying stuff that we need.

          1. Yes, I understand that it is up to us on what we do or judge, but I like to hear more about about the black/gray market. How did they first establish themselves when SHTF? Who ran them? Did they have a particular place or were they always moving from place to place?

  3. I buy in bulk canned food items because it is available. I also buy items necessary for first aid and have it stored.
    Food is always a priority as it is rotated out and used and the need to buy new items is a must. I also buy shoes 2 pairs at a time, same for clothing items.

  4. I just wish to say that every time I think that the articles on here are as good as they can possibly be, I am surprised by a new one that is even better. this is one of the best posts I have read here, and there is usually more information in ONE post on this blog, than in a dozen posts on many other blogs. Thank you, and keep up the great work.

    1. You are quite right. His writings are concise and full of real information that can be found in one article, as opposed to reading theory after theory on other websites and blogs. The human quality and the sincerity of his words make me keep coming back. I know that when I finish reading one of his articles, I can walk away believing it and not have to think about whether or not I should use that particular information in my planning. Wholeheartedly, thank you.

  5. I purchase an extra $10- 20 dollars of foodstuffs (sale items) every time I go to the grocery store. By using this technique I never stress my budget and have amassed a decent stash over the last year or so of prepping. If I have some extra money one week I’ll buy a dozen Mason jars or a water filter or extra ammo,etc. Whatever I can afford that particular week. Slow and steady wins the race, it’s been said. Hopefully we all have a bit more time to stock up on supplies.

    I’ve also been learning as much as I can about subjects that will come in handy should TSHTF. I was given a dehydrator as a Christmas gift and have been steadily drying more and more items weekly. I brew my own beer, bake bread, reload ammo and have a nice garden growing too. Next on my list is learning canning, so I can take advantage of my fresh produce and not waste anything.

    Good luck and God Bless to all.

    1. My most recent hobby has become dehydrating. I have a tip to share with you: when you dry to tomatoes to 95% or more, you can put them into your blender and grind them into powder, store it in mason jars with oxygen packs, and use that powder to make your own tomato paste, sauce, and soup. 10-15 tomatoes (depending on size) will fit into a pint-size jar after being reduced to powder. This will allow you to take full advantage of the bounty of your garden, saves valuable prep-storage space, and you do not have to worry about expiration of those acidic cans of tomato product.
      All the best

      1. My brother does this, too, and he does it will all vegetables. In fact, he also juices his vegetables and takes the pulp left over and dehydrates it and powders it. It makes a “vegetable dust” which we add to lots of different recipes. It was just a by-product that has lots of good vitamins in it and it does not need to go to waste. We dehydrate and freeze and can and store everything edible.

      2. Great ideas- sometimes we guys can become so oriented toward the ‘hardware’ side of things, firearms, ammo, survival gear, knives, boots, etc. – that we overlook such useful things as this. Thanks to you, and to Mari, below, for reminding us that we have much to learn in other areas as well. I guess it is a never ending learning process.

    2. We dehydrate veggies. Cut – dehydrate and crush/blend. The cumbs and powder are added to soup later on. Canning is good but I find dehydrating to be a real space saver.

  6. Ammo and Food
    Some folks here good to find things also on cheap. 1k rounds 7.62×39 for $200. All rifles shoot 7.62×39. All handguns 9mm. Cheaper to buy in bulk and only need two types. Have one “Special” rifle and have 1k rounds for it. Don’t plan to use it much.
    Buy bulk organic hard red wheat in 50lb plastic buckets. Have hand grinder to turn into flour. Have flour enough for first week. Double up on rice also. Can cook, trade and also grind into flour.
    Our group have 4 different bug-out spots. Have stock piled in each location. Move from one location to another. Have small off road vehicles to use. Make gas, burning wood, to use. Stock about 2 weeks regular gas in each location. Have scrap piles in each location of old equipment and such to use later. Also stocking stuff for trade like tobacco, sugar, coffee etc. Lots of coffee filters to use for coffee and filter water before boiling. Have both lake and river within 1km of here. Fish in lake and animals for food. Growing own food same time. Have plenty of tools to work on anything. Also have gas welding stuff. Have old electric welder that needs fixing. Just need time.
    Have “bug-out” bags stored everywhere: in car, in hiding places in town, out in woods.
    Had to learn how to manage my time. Very easy to get stuck doing one thing when other stuff needs attention. My biggest problem.

    1. robin i like how your prepping .souinds like you have all the bases brother and i are doing a lot of the same things except setting up stock piles in other places. we have talked about it but not got there makes perfect sense though not to put all your eggs in one basket.our latest purchace is a 2 meter radio that will let us talk to each other and some other prepper friends within 100 mile range if the grid goes down.keep it up and good luck to you!!

  7. lots of people in America will not be able to relate to this advice, especially about not having a new IPod, the majority of America believe that everything is fine and they should continue as always

    all the best

  8. When I was in the 1950’s (a small child) my parents were cub scout and boy scout leaders for the rural area where we lived. Until I was 12, I (a girl child) was permitted to take part in the activities, which was great fun and a great learning experience. My parents had grown up during the great depression of the 1930’s, so with the memories and stories of that, together with the Boy Scout motto (Be Prepared), and having grown up in tornado country… it was natural for me to be prep minded.

    During Y-2k season, my husband and I began prepping for that, and when we divorced in 2000, I found myself very fortunate to have done so. I lived on our “preps” for about 6 months, till I was making enough money to support myself. VERY THANKFUL!!! after that, it became habit for me to buy in bulk and stock whatever I could afford from week to week.

    As I could see the direction the coutry was going during the following years, I got serious about the “prepping” idea, knowing that I didnt have the income to have a savings account or 401-K, and with steady inflation that seemed to outstrip interest earnings, it only made sense to me that my “savings and investments” were in my prep supplies.That, together with my love of “survival camping” developed from my boy scout days, just flowed into a prepper mindset.

    Over the years, I have been able to help many neighbors in their various times of crises (from frozen water pipes to unemployment seasons) as well as myself.

    Today, I am very nervous. Our local utility company is coming this afternoon to install a new “smart water meter” (in spite of my objections) in my basement…where my preps are stored. As of a couple years ago, the government started encouraging their “see something. say something” policy…with emphasis on utility personel, postal personel, etc. Then the govt also declared that if a person has more than 7 days of food in the house, that person may be suspected of terrorism. Then last new years eve, Congress passed the NDAA bill that gives the authority to arrest and/or whatever without due process. There have been a number of SWAT invasions of private homes for silly reasons for several years. So, if you dont hear from me after today…

    1. Jackie, tell them having a year’s worth of supplies is part of your religion. Like being a Mormon!


      PS: Put the other “goodies” under wrap.

        1. What a great idea!

          One part of US gov’t is telling us to store food, other part is saying if we do we’re terrorists. The US gov’t is starting to go insane like the old USSR one. In that situation, the best thing is to not attracts its attention. Since we may end up with a Mormon president, saying you’re a Mormon is a good idea.

  9. I am constantly buying ‘a little extra’ whenever I can. Maybe some more cans of food when I go to the supermarket, or a few spare packages of medications at the drug store. Only what I can afford, but by doing this, a few cans of beans become a few tens of cans later. A few small bags of rice become enough to maybe eat rice dishes for half a year after a month or two of such shopping. Look for clothing sales. Look online. Look at thrift shops. Even if it’s not something you might need, you can maybe trade it later on, like Selco says. You might be able to spare some bits of food or clothes for something far more important to you. The important thing to remember about bartering is this.. Everybody wants something. You want something. He wants something. She wants something else. You can all find a way of coming out of it with what you want. Think about firewood. Imagine how much stuff Selco would have had in trade if he thought ahead, and managed to keep a lot of wood somewhere for when SHTF. He could have been the lumber king.

    1. Funny you say the firewood thing. I am getting a chainsaw this spring and cutting all the deadfall I can find in my area (Which is a lot). I am putting it all on the opposite side of a bush line. Lumber is king where I live. This year has been warm but winter can hit -50 c with windchills.

  10. I would like to access your survival course for the info…but I am on a very tight budget..I have to prioritise every purchase. Today for example, I called in at a flooring business and picked up a load of free 2nd hand outdoor carpet to place under a 22,500L water tank which I purchased for A$500….(new tank price over $3000). This will take our water storage capacity to 40,000L…as well as 4 dams and a windmill pumping from underground…never run out of water. Water for drinking, plenty for gardening. Bug out destination is remote…free…in exchange for my free labour. If you want a good bug out location in the country but can’t afford it…find someone who has a good location..tell them what you can bring to the table..for example..old couple who live on a where they are, but can no longer do work needed..barter your labour to work on the farm, look after them…and provide security…even down to helping look after them. I have found that others in my “group”…are not as commited as me…either financially..or time/workwise…but you need certain skills in a survival group…example…our doctors don’t get their hands dirty…but they have many weapons…and those hands will come in very ‘handy’…one other member is retired army officer…another is a builder…another is armourer…another is cook…another is ‘wheeler and dealer’…another is Bad Ass Kiwi…all can grow things. For some others…prepping is a part time exercise…for me…it is like playing Texas Holdem…ALL IN. My own family are not helping me…in fact…sniggering behind my back…I don,t care…I am not conducting a public opinion poll…when TSHTF …I will have no regrets….ALL IN…100 %…if anyone tries to take from me or my group…they will earn it….

  11. i agree with Tommy slow and steady preps wins the race but any preps are tough when your have a family member who does not believe in it and thinks your crazy for even wanting to survive shtf. so prepping under the radar still works but a pain in the rear!!

    1. Many of us are in this situation, Mike, so don’t feel alone. I try to justify it to my other half by saying that when we are old and can’t have much, we can at least eat – for a while!

      1. thanks Mary .it does make you feel kind of alone and a little crazy doing the prep.i finaly got my mom dad and brother awake to what is happening and they are big time preppers now. if only i could get my wife to change her attitude about it . she says well ill just die becouse who would want to live.this coming from someone who loves to garden! lol

    2. I used the “I’m saving money by buying items on sale” line on non-believers at first. With inflation being caused by the continuing devaluation of the dollar. Items bought today will most certainly cost more next week/month/year. My wife was a bit skeptical of my preps at first, but now she sees that prices are going up all over and has become a true believer. With the gas prices rising daily, it’s inevitable that prices for EVERYTHING will be getting higher due to increases in transportation costs.

      Keep on prepping in spite of the naysayers in your family. Then when the SHTF you can have some fun messing with them at their expense.
      Example: When they’re standing at the front door looking for a handout say “Gee I don’t know if I have enough. If you had HELPED ME, maybe there’d be more.” Then laugh hysterically in their face, while they freak out…


      1. @Tommy

        I agree, but still, try to keep number of people who will come to your door asking for food from your storage at lowest level as you can.

        I mean when SHTF try to look like everybody else, scared, confused, be angry because you ” did not prepare”, cry if you need in front of the people, with your full storage hidden inside your house.

        Lot of people are not gonna ask you for food or whatever, they will came with weapon to take that from you. Just do not give them reason to think that you are interesting for them.

        1. Thanks Selco – you confirmed one of my thoughts – basically make them think not only am I like them, but that they probably have more than me! I wrote somewhere else (been reading your site hodgepodge) that I’d like to put the bug in people’s ear when things really start sliding but not too far they are in full blown panic. Like using trash cans to catch rain (hmm sounds familiar) when the water starts working funny. And we have a pool, “Maybe we can use the pool supplies on the ditchwater!?”

          Also “My grandma taught me that cattails (by the nearby river/swamps) are edible. I’m going to get some, you wanna come?” Just tiny drops of help before they go completely wacko, so that they have something (a bit of water, a bit of food, a bit of heat/light.) I feel (and may be wrong, I have been wrong before 🙂 ) that if I can keep them going a little while, maybe if I slip up and leave a light on or don’t look as gaunt as they do that there’s a reason and their minds won’t spin on it. You mentioned your family and most (not all) families here in the U.S. are split across counties if not states. I figure IF I can trust them a little (they aren’t trying to bbq the dog and are actually trying to deal with it) then I can consider them as FAR off family and focus more on helping me (really helping them) by using little tiny things from Scouts and camping and being homeless before.

          Anyways, thanks for confirming my ideas on the grey man plan: “I don’t have water either! What are we gonna do? Wait, we’re near the river. But I think my scout leader mentioned we had to boil it first.” Later “Last time I went camping I drank some lake water and got really sick. I’m definitely gonna boil mine.”

  12. Hi Selco, I would like to join your forum, but I have some “reservations”. First, and probably most important, I see that your site is hosted by A Weber, and since I have been “stung” before by phony scam type sites run by A. Weber, and was not even able to have them reply to requests for refunds, when I found the material far from what was promised, I am extremely hesitant to get into anything that he is involved with.
    Secondly, if I do decide to go ahead, can I send funds directly, say to the address given in your e-mails, as, for the reasons listed above, I no longer deal with pay-pal, or give my card info to on line purchaces. Thanks again for the info you have provided, and for your consideration of this matter. It’s probably best if you don’t print this for general distribution.

    1. I was wondering who was the “Donald Trump in miniature” type who decided to commercialize the hell out of Selco’s writings.

      Needless to say I’m not paying any money to Mr. Commercial for info that ought to be free, or ought to go directly to Selco for a written-on-paper book.

      Be careful, Selco! These types will make you work your guts out for them, and you won’t get a penny.

      1. Some partnerships work out well. Depends on expectations. Personally, I appreciate the partnership and materials that have grown forth.

        With that said, your concern is warrented. Hopefully Selco or Administrator (J) does not feel used and abused by some marketing angel to exploite.

        My sense is that this is all Kosher (good to eat, good to sleep).

  13. I don’t buy things when I first realize I want them. Instead I satisfy the urge to buy by adding them to an Amazon wishlist (you can put things from other websites on Amazon wishlists). Then I wait. I find out which merchant has the lowest price, but I still don’t buy – yet. Firstly, when I sleep on a purchase decision I often realize I don’t need the item after all. But also, I know that the merchants I frequent will offer discounts or free shipping at certain times of year (like Black Friday) or with certain types of purchase (such as a purchase over $100, or free shipping with renewal of a club buyer’s membership). I’ve already done my research, so when that holiday sale comes along, I strike and buy In Bulk, On Sale, with Free Shipping.

    I agree that saving up lots of cash is not the best prepping strategy, but being poor definitely is expensive. I always keep enough cash so I never have to take out a loan or charge more to my credit card than I can pay off if I have to pay for car repairs or some other unexpected expense. And I don’t want to waste my money on junk that has no value – like most technology items and entertainment media. But I will spend money on durable goods that don’t expire or lose value with time.

    Finally, there’s the old mantra of use it up, wear it out, make it do. We wear used clothing that we get for free or almost free (family, thrift stores, eBay). We only buy used cars and we keep them as long as it doesn’t become overly expensive to maintain them. And I’m typing on a laptop I bought in 2007 that is currently held together with duct tape and paracord!

    1. PAUL – Thanks for reminding me, the Amazon ( and other places) WISH LIST is a wonderful tool for avoiding impulse buying. You can place items in the wish list, and then go back a week, or a month, later, look at it again and decide, do i really want need this, or was it an impulse item? I have deleted many items that I just KNEW I had to have, after taking a few weeks and then going back to re-visit the item on my wish list… then finding that, maybe I didn’t really need it that badly after all.

    2. That is a great idea. I do that to my kids. My kids have cell phones. I normally would not have gotten my kids a cell phone except that I am divorced and the ex has openly admitted to not answering the phone when I was calling the kids because it was me, and then not even tell my kids. My kids will ask if they can buy an app for their phone and I will tell them not right now. I tell them to think about for a month. Then in a month I will ask them again if they still want that app and they will usually reply, “what app?”, “No, I found it for free” or “No, I looked into it and saw it was not that good.”

    3. Paul you got it dead-on. When I really want something, I wait. In a few days to a few weeks, most of the time, I find I really don’t need it or want it any more. It was a whim. If I still do, I keep my eyes out for it and when I can get it cheap, I get it. Or if it’s something that hardly ever shows up and may take years, I go on ahead and buy the darned thing.

      Right now I’m wearing shoes I don’t like very much. Buying them was a mistake. But, gotta wear ’em out before I get new ones.

  14. As prepping becomes more popular here in the states, the more businesses jack up their prices. The greed factor sets in and they start charging more and more for their products and all start advertising and scaring people with “prep now before it’s too late the end of the world is coming!” Most people can’t afford to prep because the prices are so high. The area where I live, people are just living week to week and are just barely making it. These are the ones you’ll have to worry about if shtf.
    Lots of people say they will grow a garden to survive but what will they do if shtf in the dead of winter? If they do manage to plant one in the spring they had better guard it 24-7 or it will be stolen. It’s already happening in the bigger cities. A friend’s family has a small farm in the country and their garden get’s robbed every year.
    Some say they will hunt and fish to survive but everyone will be hunting and fishing to survive. If you do manage to kill game the threat of having it taken away from you can become real. You had better shoot just once or they can locate you and take your game. Last year another friend of mine shot and killed a nice deer while hunting on his family’s farm but he left his deer drag in his truck. He left to get it and when he got back the deer was gone.
    My grandfather said that during the great depression everyone was in the woods hunting game and he was actually shot at because he had killed a rabbit and had to run to get away. Eventually all the game had been hunted out and the ponds were fished out. If tshtf those without guns and food will become either prey or looters you can count on it. I’ve tried to talk to family but to no avail. They just don’t believe anything like shtf can ever happen here. My sister in law said “after all, the grocery stores will be open”. I don’t talk anymore but if they come to my house they’ll get no help. I have my own to look after.

    1. Conrad that’s a chilling, realistic, breath of fresh air. I saw as a kid in the Starving Seventies, any prime food source got hunted, fished, gathered out. Gardens were raided so much, it was hardly worth it. I learned to get by on things “not generally recognized as food” like sweet potato leaves etc.

  15. A sugestion for “people who don`t know people”- go to the flea market and be sure what you came for or you might end up coming home with a lot of junk.
    Also for West-European people- you must negotiate the price; any price on the flea market is exagerated, you can always get lower price, open your mind. I say this because folks from i.e. Germany or Switzerland,Scandinavians tend to be too honest and don`t want to insult the seller by lowering his price. Do it the Middle-Eastern style; fight it out if need be. That is also a way of getting to know “people who know people”.

    Good job my neighbor, as I see it my country is next to reach the state of your country,it is a matter of weeks. Thanks mate!

  16. I do my shopping at the grocery store. After I have all items on my list, I go back through and pick up things that are on a really cheap sale. These are things I put away. I also by bulk and put into my pantry what I would have, if I was buying from the grocery store. The rest goes into long term storage. I haven’t spent more than I would if I bought it in the store, but since I get bulk, I get more and can save the extra. I would rather have supplies and food, than money in the bank. If nothing happens and our economy gets stable again, then we can eat cheaply and it will still be good.

    I have to have special shoes, so I need to go buy several pair so I will have shoes if SHTF. I can’t wear just any, so I really need to do this. It is next on my list.

    If I go to garage sales and they have things for free or really cheap, I get it even if I don’t need it because it would be trading material if I needed it. I have learned to look at things differently, Selco, after taking your lessons. Now I am aware that nothing is throw-away. Thank you for opening my eyes and ears.

  17. On the way to work, I pass the house of someone who works for a natural food manufacturer. He makes all their food grade buckets and lids, as well as food grade 55 gallon steel drums “go away” as opposed to pile up when emptied out. We are good friends. For a couple hour drive, I can buy Michigan edible beans in any quantity I want. Up to boxcar loads. Very good pricing. I keep his business card. As a mechanic, I know people with small grain handling businesses. Corn, soybeans, wheat after the combine, before the bin. Good pricing. The gunny sacks are nice to keep around when empty. His number is in my cell phone.

    My grand daughter is recognized in the local sporting goods shop. We bought her Davey Crickett rifle there. Ammunition, too. (She turns eight this month.)

    It isn’t that hard to do. Ten for ten at the local Meijer. Half the county away someone sells Big Berkey parts. C’mon, you can do it too. You get to meet interesting folks too.

    Thank you Selco for keeping me going!!

  18. If you have children, don’t forget to buy clothes in larger sizes . . . at yard sales, thrift stores . . . especially shoes. Also, hard candy, coloring books, crayons, cards, school books, etc. (Yes, these are luxury items, but in times of great stress, children especially need pleasant diversions.)

    Selco, you rock!

  19. You reminded me of World War II and the Black Market. The US government tried to make things “fair” by setting price ceilings, then to prevent the inevitable shortages gave everyone a limited number of “ration stamps.” No matter how much money you had, you could buy only what you had ration stamps for: meat, gasoline, sugar, etc.

    Beside the legitimate, price-controlled, rationed market grew up a Black Market where you could buy things without ration stamps, but at price higher than the controlled price. This was a matter of “knowing where to go.” Farmers, in particular, would sell things for cash, but it was possible to get other things as well, if you knew the right person.

    We grew rabbits and chickens to supplement our meat supply, but we lived in a farming district. That wouldn’t be possible in a city. However, there may be a Farmers Market nearby where things can be obtained outside normal retail channels.

  20. I have started to think about the kind of prepping items that may be most susceptible to overseas transportation issues, or tied to the environment:
    1) Like those that may be dependent on a healthy sea (like sea salt).
    2) Products inherient to a particular geographical region (like Himaylain pink salt, titanium, cinnamom).
    3) Items that are tied to foreign exports (tires for car, good shoes, certain electronic).
    4) Items at risk for politics – mags, hi capacity mags, fire arms, ammo.

    My gut feeling is that food will be rationed.
    Scarcity for spices, and certain kinds of seeds are related concerns.

  21. About the grey people. I sort of naturally like them. Many of my friendly acquantances, and “friends” could fall in this area. Not sure why. When I lived in California, same was true as now in Kansas.

    I see a person’s soul. Sometimes “grey” people are more ethical than the white colars, friends filling the pews around me. Just an opinion. I do avoid active addictive people (like Meth uses), those old friends are kept at distance.

    I was raised in rough area. See a lot , talk little. Never snitch or else die, or have house burnt down. When you live in Rome you do as they do in Rome. Maybe not right. Eventually, I get old enough and move away. Friends from childhood still friends. Childhood friends that went to prison and then back home still friends. Frankly, the friends that have had most trouble (prison, etc) have many resources and usually information – like gossip old ladies.

    Nice subject that is not brought up very often.

  22. I have been “prepping” for the past several years, basically food storage, I am Mormon so it is almost expected. My husband thinks I am crazy and won’t even let me stock toilet paper – I have to start buying it and storing it when he doesn’t know. I feel like I am being deceitful, but hey, someone has to think of these things. I am blessed to be in a business where I can get my food at discount prices in bulk and I help my friends and family as well and share my discount with them. Anything I earn goes directly into savings as we are planning a big move next year and we want to get a piece of land and homestead. Give me chickens, and ducks and goats and I can be happy, ok, maybe a pig is a good idea too. I want to get off government assistance (disability) and become self reliant. Thanks to everyone for the reminder for extra shoes. I too wear special shoes and will now start buying them two pair at a time when they are on sale.

    I am new to this site, just joined today so I have a lot to learn here, I hope I don’t offend anyone with my comments.

    1. Hismrs, I know there are two sides to every story, and as a disclaimer, I was a Mormon at one time and no longer affiliate with any organized religion — as I view them to be dangerous to the human spirit, and to the defense of our natural rights. However, my comments go beyond your specific religious affiliation; to the core of who you are, and why you are doing what you are doing.

      If your religious belief system includes a certain view of preparedness, and he thinks you’re crazy for adhering to those beliefs, then you have serious issues to resolve. If you feel deceptive for stockpiling things behind his back, then consider what lies he is telling you about his willing participation in a belief system that includes such aspects of preparedness.

      A relationship built upon lies is no relationship to have, especially in a real crisis. As Patton purportedly put it, “I’d rather have a division of Germans in front of me, than a French one behind me.”

  23. For food preps I only buy items on sale at the grocery store and I use coupons to save more. I repackage nonperishables with my foodsaver (eliminates air exposure) and pack them away into 5 gal buckets (eliminates light and moisture). I also do alot of canning and dehydrating because I do not want to rely on only one thing, especially if we have a big earthquake here.

    Also, if anyone is planning to store antibiotics and has figured out that doctors don’t just readiy prescribe them, go online and find a pet supply that sells FISH antibiotics. The bottles will be labled pharmacy grade and the antibiotic is the same as what we are prescribed without anything additional added. Most important make sure you go online to find out which antibiotics go with what illness and print that info out to stash away with the bottles when they arrive. For example one type may be called FISH-CILLIN, but the description online and the back lable on the bottle will say same as ampicillin. The dosage is in mg. and is the same for human consumption (ie. 250mg, 500mg.) Also most are good past the expiration dates, but there are a couple that are not; like tetracycline. Get this info online and print so that you have hard copies of this information on hand should the grid go down. IMPORTANT!!! Keep all this info with the bottles. YOu don’t want to be in a hurried situation and not know which antibiotic is used for what, which would be dangerous.

    Also, get some books on medicinal herbs and what they are used for (with pictures in case you must forage later on). There are some really great bulk herb websites for ordering herbs cheaply by the lb. Get to know their uses and keep the books with the herbs. I put my herbs in foodsaver bags and keep them in boxes so that they stay good for a long time. Many herbs work great for cold and flu. Find out which ones and test them when you get sick. Just make a tea out of them and your symptoms should disappear within the hour. Whasts great about herbs is that they are still legal to buy (at least for now).

    I am not a doctor or nurse but I try to learn as much as I can about alternatives for medical ailments because without good health the rest won’t work. Ever try to get anything done when you have delirium from a fever, or worse yet tooth pain???

    Thank you Selco for such wonderful information. You have helped many of us see the seriousness of the situations we will face in the future.

  24. I buy in case’s so that I have something to show for my money. I have a rather small amount to buy food with but these are some of things I do:

    I buy canned goods to place in storage at a local discount store. Nothing wrong with the food inside the can and it’s cheaper to purchase. It’s also a good value as the product is quite delicious and doesn’t have a lot of water inside. I hate it when the companies cheat by using more water than product.

    I shop all garage sales that I can walk to and back home with my cart. I have purchased many things including kitchen appliances and firearms. Most of these things were dirt cheap. Be careful though when shopping at garage sales and the like to make sure everything that’s supposed to be included is there AND it works the way it’s supposed to.

    Go dumpster diving is it’s legal in your city. You would be amazed at what we Americans throw away and why.

    Take a walk around your community. Chances are someone has either thrown out something or has “lost it”..
    I always take my cart with me which is actually a hand truck that can be broken down into a cart.

    Be prepared to trade. People where I live are usually hungry at the end of the month because this area is so poor. I trade some food items in return for auto rides down town to get my own food and animal feed.

    We also try to grow our own vegetables, raise our own eggs, and chickens. We also have rabbits. While the cost in a store is cheaper, the meat and eggs are so much better for your body. You actually get more nutrition that way.

    Hope these ideas help.

  25. ‘I was interested in Selco’s comment about wanting “things” not $. I get accused of being a “hoarder” ie unable to throw anything away. But I prefer to be a preparer.. and keep anything which might be useful in a future which might be uncertain. As Selco found.. there could be a time when you cannot buy anything at a store, and the value of things rather than cash will change greatly.

    What do you think of keeping stuff Selco ? ( providing of course you have space) Things like old tools, spare knives, boots, extra clothes??

    1. I hoard nails and screws like they are extinct. Our society is consumer driven. So if you throw it out and need it in 5 years then you need to buy (consume) another. Some things are crap, but a lot of things are useful. I have vapor barrier ends that I can use as a mini green house. Old milk cartons cut in half to be used as planters. This “crap” is a money saver and it is fun to use your mind outside of the box.

  26. Also think about your clothing choices and features. Moccasin toed boots / shoes tend to catch shrubs and other plants you are walking through. The result – more noise. Soft materialed gaiters (exterior lower leggings) also help in this regard. Many synthetic materials are LOUD when contacting surfaces (you can test in store by scratching fingernails over material) – water proof rain wear is a major culprit, you hear a WISS WISS sound when walking . Wool is much more quiet and a favorite choice of hunters.

    Many of these items can be found for little money at used clothing stores. Specialized equipment purchased during off season times will also save money.

  27. i am prep’n to be mobile. I am not gonna stay where I am & I have family 1000 miles in one direction & 800 in the other direction. So,a family stronghold is not an option for me. I have about 1-2 month food stash that is “easily” transportable. Currently, it can all fit in a sedan or small suv or if need be, I can pull it all with a red wagon. Where am I trying to get to?? No place in particular, just trying to stay away from the folks that make a city a bad place to live & survive.

  28. Many bulk items, like hard red winter wheat, can be bought directly from the farmer. You can pack them in large 5-gallon buckets yourself. Here is what I do to nitrogen pack it. Get a thick plastic food-grade bag from a food supply store. Line the bucket with the plastic and fill it with wheat. Get a 2-quart paint can that is new, clean and empty. Put a hose fitting into the lid that will seal the can and let you attach a hose to it. On the other end of the hose attach a metal tube strong enough to push to the bottom of the bucket of wheat. Put dry ice into the paint can, hammer the lid on the can (only dry ice in the can, nothing else) and immerse that can into warm water. The can is sealed except for the hose coming out of the top. Dry ice is just frozen nitrogen, as the ice melts by contacting the bottom and sides of the paint can immersed in the warm water it will turn from solid nitrogen [dry ice] into nitrogen gas). Put a food-grade dessicant into the wheat. Push the tube with the nitrogen gas coming out of it into the bag of wheat ( don’t poke a hole in the bottom of your plastic bag) and gather the top of the bag around the tube so no air gets in except through the tube. Slowly let the bag fill up and allow the extra pressure to leak out around the plastic gathered around the tube. In about 3 to 5 minutes only nitrogen will remain in the bag. Pull out the metal tube without letting any air back into the bag, seal the bag, hammer the lid on and it will keep for over 5 years. You can pack corn, white rice (not brown), and many other things like this for long-term storrage where oxygen is a problem.

    1. Dry Ice is CO2 – Carbon Dioxide, not nitrogen – but it does purge the “free oxygen” just as well as nitrogen would. CO2 is excellent for keeping the wheat preserved though. Without going into boring detail I’ll just say that for wheat especially – maybe other grains, too – it may actually be better than nitrogen.

      Chuck B.

  29. I knew a man a number of years ago, whom I would call a friend, who was the ultimate wheeler dealer. I mean while in Nam he would find something somebody wanted to trade for something somebody else wanted to ultimately trade for something he wanted.

    I can’t say how he came by it but a case of Scotch whiskey traded for dual mount Navy M60 machineguns for his Huey meant he and his crew had an additional advantage. Where’d the whiskey come from? How about those twin M60”s? I don’t know but in a SHTF situation knowing somebody like that would be convenient indeed.

    I wouldn’t ever call him a thief, IMO he was not that at all but knew how to tap into the flow of things. He rode out the good and the bad and came home from the war.

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