The Beginning Preppers' Guide

     This guide is for people wanting to start taking survivalism/prepping more seriously and need some help with the basics.  It outline's the fundamentals and reaches beyond the scope of New York as it could easily be applied to any household in The U.S.:

     Glad to see you are awakening to the world of self-reliance!  The following is the basics that I believe every household should have to prepare them for a short to mid-term disaster;
  • Water – A few gallons at first will do.  You can fill up a 5-gallon Gerry Can or two and keep them in the closet.  Or you can stock five or more gallon jugs (depending on how big your family is) as well.  Water is life as you can only live about three days without it, so don’t skimp.  You can set up a rain catch if you run out.
  • Food – Set up a Q over at Shelf Reliance as soon as possible and start having food delivered in #10 cans right away.  You can set up the Q to spend any amount, but I suggest $50 to $100 a month depending on your budget.  The next step will be to go out and buy about ten to twenty cans (once again depends on your family size) of food to keep in your pantry.  Make sure the food is edible out of the can (can safely be eaten cold) and don’t worry about the food being organic or not.  Buy the cheap ‘on sale’ stuff.  Also make sure you have a manual can opener so you can open your cans.  You can start buying ‘bulk’ items like dried whole grain rice and beans as well, as these items will last many years if stored properly.
  • Emergency gear - By that I mean a portable hand-crank radio so you can stay "in the know".  Also a hand-crank flash light so you can find things in case the electric grid goes down.  You should keep a few candles in case the flashlight does not work, or if you don't feel like cranking it all the time.  Keeping a few spare lithium batteries and a good medical kit on hand couldn't hurt either. 
  • Security – The next thing you’ll need is security, because without that, all your preps can become someone else’s instantly.  It’s up to you what you decide to use for home and personal security.  I suggest acquiring your handgun license and buying a handgun so that you can practice with it and store it in your apartment.  Here is the gun license permit page for NYC.  Here is a link to a company that helps you deal with the red tape if you want to spend the extra money.  If you opt not to own a gun, then look into things like pepper spray (link to my post about legal pepper spray in NYC.)  I'm not exactly sure of the laws in other states, but they are sure to be a bit more lenient then here.
  • Cash – Make sure to have an adequate amount of cash on hand in case you can’t pull money from your bank account.  You can keep anywhere from $500 - $3000 depending on your financial situation.  While I’m on the subject of cash, do your best to get out of debt while building your prepping supplies.  It’s a tall order I know, but debt is a cancer that will grow and consume you.  Try your best to limit your expenses, spending only on things you need, and sell the things you don’t.  Also stay away from credit cards at all costs, they are a trap.
  • Trade items – I call these trade items, but they could also be considered investments.  The old adage; “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” really applies here.  Start investing small amounts of money into things you can see being trade items if the economy collapsed and paper money becomes worthless.  A few things that would be worth trade to people would be; 
  1. Precious metal jewelry 
  2. Precious metal coins and bars like gold and silver (Gold is very over priced right now and you might be better off with silver, it’s best to own a few coins and bars of each though.  Here is a link to a great site that offers both.) 
  3. Bullets (Even if you choose not to own a gun, or are in the process of getting one, getting a few boxes of common ammo like .22 and 9mm will trade easily.  Here is a bulk ammo website.)
  4. Boxes of cigarettes (People who do smoke will kill for cigarettes if they can’t get them.)
  5. Extra cheap knives
  6. Razor cartridges for common razors
  7. Multi-vitamins (What makes these nice is that they are small, and you can use them as well.) 
     There are limitless possibilities here.  Items like these can have a much better value in the long run then something like a mutual fund or bond.  Try and think through what would be very precious to people in your area if they could not get it anymore.  Keep in mind that it should be easily transported, and should not cost a ton.
     There you have it, some basic preps to help you and your family become more self-reliant.  If you want to go beyond these basic preps, you can start looking into building a proper EDC system, and a B.O.B.  You can also start looking into buying some rural land if you have reached a level of prep you are comfortable with, and are looking for a 'next step'.  If you are interested in further information, start reading over past posts in my blog and begin looking over some of the blogs I suggest in the side bar.  The information is at your finger tips with many books on the subject and the internet.  It just takes a willing mind and some dedication.  Good Luck!!