The Five Principles of Preparedness

by | Mar 3, 2012 | Emergency Preparedness | 153 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    The following article has been generously contributed by Phil Burns of the American Preppers Network. Phil and his family were recently featured on the Animal Planet show Meet the Preppers and you can follow him at Phil801 on Facebook.

    There are basic principles that keep us and our families grounded that are key to our happiness as a family unit while we Walk the Path of the Prepper.  There is safety and peace that comes from having car insurance, home insurance, medical insurance,etc.  What many families frequently ignore is “Standard of Living Insurance”.  At its heart, this is whatPreparedness, Self-Reliance, Prepping – however you want to call it – is.  By Getting Started in Prepping, or continuing in Prepping as the case may be, and following these five Principles of Preparedness we can provide our families with the assurance that we will be able to maintain a certain standard of living.  This standard of living is dictated by the level of preparedness we are able to achieve and maintain.

    For example, if a family falls into crisis and they have no preparations then once the average two weeks of supplies they have on hand has been used up, they will drop to a poverty standard of living.  If that same family had a month’s worth of supplies stored up, they would have a buffer of a little more than a month before they suffered consequences of their situation.  Likewise, if they had a year’s supply of essentials stored, they would effectively be giving themselves a year to be able to recover and plan in the event of a paradigm changing event.

    Standard of Living Insurance, or Prepping, provides us with a hedge against calamity.  There is much talk recently of “Doomsday” events – which are inappropriately and improperly titled.  After all, Doomsday literally means the last day before the end of the earth.  What point is there in preparing for that?  Massive, widespread crisis, such as; an EMP, Nuclear War, Coronal Mass Ejection, Economic Collapse, and so on is a frequent topic as well.  While these things are important to consider in preparing, it is a mistake to hyper-focus on them.  There are many other immediate, closer and more likely scenarios that make sense to focus on such as the loss or major injury of a breadwinner, loss of a primary job, extended sickness, accidents and other personal calamities.  These happen every single day and each of us likely knows someone to whom this has happened.  These are the things that are most essential to develop a “Standard of Living Insurance” against.

    The most common effect of living an abundant life, as many of us do, is complacency.  As we progress and develop disposable income the complacent tendency is to adjust our standard of living upwards by purchasing a bigger house, a new vehicle, a boat or other recreational toys instead of investing that money to insure the standard of living that we previously grew accustomed to.  It is most prudent to instead, in times of largess, not expand your standard of living right away but to choose to ensure that if the current boon withdraws the family is not affected by it.  Complacency however, leads us down the path of seeing increased income to the home as play, expendable, or rewarding money – all of which it can be with the proper perspective.  That perspective is to view this blessing as an opportunity to ‘play’ at increasing our stores as much as possible, to purchase as many ‘expendable’ goods as possible – that can go into storage, or to ‘reward’ ourselves by adding a more expensive item to our storage that will significantly increase the amount of coverage our Standard of Living Insurance provides us.  It also gives us the opportunity to scrutinize our funds and storage to determine if the family can splurge a little and enjoy some recreational time without it impacting the bottom line of our Standard of Living – but adamantly without changing our cost of living.

    Following the Principles of Preparedness allows heads of households to reduce stress, find peace and be comfortable in an ever-changing and tumultuous world.

    Practice thrift and frugality

    Principle 1

    The depression era saying of “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without” sums up the practice of Thrift.  Living thriftily is not a popular concept in our “Staying up with the Jones’s” mentality, but the folly of that mentality is that if one thing goes wrong and your family slips into crisis, you will have to learn all about “Staying above water”.  Living thriftily is a very simple, effective and immediate method to increase your spending power.  Imagine being, instead of a consumer; a creator, a repairer, or simply abstaining.  It is phenomenally financially wasteful to eat at restaurants on a regular basis, in addition to being typically un-healthy; it also takes away from time spent together as a family creating a personal dining experience at home, together.  Thrift is a practice of not wastinganything including time and money.

    Frugality dictates that we live within our means and “Waste not, want not”.  It requires us to be prudent with how we spend our money and to cautiously and guardedly decide how to distribute it.  Why do Americans work themselves so hard and as soon as the paycheck comes in, they throw it to the wind as quickly as they can – leaving them with no reserves, no safety and no peace?  It is because we have come to accept abundance as our standard.  We foolishly assure ourselves that there will be a check next pay period – which there normally is, until there is not.  It is the high possibility that at some point something critical will happen in our lives that brings us to the conclusion that it is very likely that at some point, that check will not be there.

    One massive waste that Americans have become very comfortable with is living on credit.  We have become extremely complacent with our finances in this regard.  Instead of doing without for a short time while we save, we finance everything and as a consequence, pay financing fees and interest that we somehow justify as necessary.  It is not necessary that we ever pay financing fees or interest for anything, even a house, if we are willing to be prudent.  Instant gratification is the bane of thrift and frugality.  We Americans have deceived ourselves into believing that we ‘deserve’ to live a better lifestyle than our parents (which took them a lifetime to achieve) – when in reality – we DESERVE to be secure and at peace in our lifestyle.  It is ironic that as a society, we will dicker over $3,000 on a new vehicle and then finance it for 5 years – wherein we condemn ourselves to paying several times that in financing fees and interest.

    What good have we done ourselves by shaving $3,000 of off $30,000 when we just finance it?  If you’re willing to pay astronomical fees for the pleasure of immediate gratification, amortizing $3,000 does NOTHING to our monthly bill.  A frugal person would take 3 years and save monthly as much as they would have paid out on their car payment with a little bonus savings here and there over time.  In that short period of time they would accumulate enough cash that they could go into the car dealership and lay down a pile of $23,000 in cash and say they want to walk out with either their money or that $30,000 car.  They’re going to walk out with the car because the dealer wants the instant gratification of the cash versus selling an amortized note at a discount.

    Living a thrifty and frugal lifestyle is truly simple.  Use it up.  Wear it out.  Make it do.  Do without.  Waste not.  These things lead us to not being left wanting when a crisis strikes our family.  These two highly empowering tools not only give us the ability to build up our Standard of Living Insurance, they also bring an assured peace and allow us to live a truly abundant lifestyle where we are in control of our money instead being a slave to lenders.

    A Prepper who successfully follows this principle for a few years will find themselves in a position where they are able to spend time not working without it affecting the family in an adverse manner.

    Seek to be Independent

    Principle Two

    Debt can be crippling and crushing to a family, making them unable to move forward due to the demands of making payments on things they potentially don’t even own anymore.  Seek to become Independent from debt!  Learn to abhor the idea of being forced to labor and earn money that is not yours as a consequence of choosing to “live a little better” by going into debt.  Living independently means being free to choose what is pertinent for you and your family to do with your money.

    As you avoid going into debt and gain greater control of your money, establish savings that will grow and serve you as you become the master of your money.  Learn to budget and responsibly manage your money as it is a very powerful tool to either enslave or empower you.  You can begin to build wealth while you’re getting out of debt by putting together a wise plan like the ones Dave Ramsey teaches in his Financial Peace University.

    Independence doesn’t just mean money though.  Seek to be Independent of the influences of the world such as; caffeine, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, un-healthy yet addictive food, medications (where possible) and so on.  All of these things not only make you a personal slave to addictions, it also indentures your wallet to spending wasteful amounts of money to satiate your personal weaknesses.  Strive to become Independent of all these things and you will not only find a healthier you, you will also increase your income as you free a daily outgo to servicing your demons.

    Live Independent of the entrapping influences of society as much as possible.  Free your mind of thinking you need a better looking car, a prettier house or better clothes.  Do what works for YOU, not what you think others will think highly of.  Live independent of the fear of judgment of others and become secure in your own person.  There seems to be a farcical belief in our society that we should appear as wealthy as possible.  The idiocy of this belief is that it fails to take into account just how damaging it is to our self-esteem, our lives and our livelihood.  Break free of these childish societal ‘norms’ and live a life independent of the influence of advertisers, marketers and peer pressure!

    Prepper families who learn to live independently will find themselves prospering greatly – in ways that may not be apparent to the enslaved masses of society.

    Become Industrious

    Principle Three

    Learn, Explore, Do.  Manage your circumstance to your advantage, be enterprising and fully explore opportunities that come your way.  Seek always to discover ways to create benefit to you and your family.  When opportunity presents itself, work hard at redefining and reshaping yourself, your position and your knowledge to be worthy of the success that opportunity can provide.  Be resourceful, always looking for a new way to create what you need in order to succeed.

    Common ways to be industrious include furthering your education – your whole life – and constantly working to develop new skills.  By exploring opportunities, we are able to assess their potential, weigh risk and make a decision as to whether our conclusions merit committing to an opportunity or walking away from it.  By improving ourselves constantly, we open up even more opportunity that can potentially bring success.

    Idly standing by and waiting for success to land in your lap is a poor strategy.  Being industrious means getting up and attempting something – even if it has the potential to fail.  The Farmer who fails to put in a crop because he doesn’t think there was enough snowfall during the winter loses out when spring rains finally bring plenty of water.  When you commit to something, work hard at it; throw in everything you’ve got.  Getting up and going is truly the only way to end up somewhere else.

    Preppers who industriously seek out opportunity will soon find the one that will create a change in the direction their lives have been heading.

    Strive Towards Self-Reliance

    Principle Four

    The Principle of Self-Reliance is predicated by and builds upon the first three principles.  They are unavoidably intertwined and interdependent.  Self-Reliance is, in its simplest form, being able to create or provide all needed things  as the result of labor using a developed skill or talent and being able to provide resources as a result of a judicious practice of storing needful things.  Therefore, becoming Self-Reliant is the actual process of developing skills and talents while putting away resources.

    When combined with Thrift and Frugality, Self-Reliance is providing needed things for yourself that you would otherwise have had to pay money for such as; growing a garden, sewing or repairing clothes, building furniture, building a home, fixing your vehicle and so on.  It is being willing to enjoy the fruits of your labor versus the blandness of buying something commercially produced.  It is accepting things for their functionality, not for the logo that was stamped on them in a plant somewhere.  It is being willing to use something that may be less than perfect in its manufacture but is pure in intent and purpose, knowing that the next one you create you will be able to work out flaws and produce something better.

    Self-Reliance, when combined with Independence, drives us to be truly reliant on ourselves in all areas.  It teaches us to discover a vocation where we are able to create an expandable income using our talents and labor instead of falling into a career where our income is constricted by salaries and our progress in hindered by being boxed into a job description.  A truly independent person creates income opportunities for themselves and others while staying free and clear of debt and interest.  A Self-Reliant person builds their own storage and is not dependent on a grocery store to be stocked and operational for them to feed themselves and their family.

    Your Industriousness should be more than simply financially motivated.  Self-Reliance is the act of being free of needing others, including companies, the government, or your community to provide for or support you.  It is learning how to; make soap, grow your own food, provide your own energy, defend yourself, create the things you need and so on.  It requires research, learning, experimenting, failing, experimenting more and finally succeeding – in gaining a new skill, accomplishing something new or developing a new vocation.  An industrious and Self-Reliant person is truly a creator and experiences the joy of creation on a daily basis.

    A Prepper who begins to become Self-Reliant experiences a mental shift and begins to see things such as a grocery store as a warehouse that is utilized to stock up their own storage.

    Aspire to have a year’s supply of every needful thing

    Principle Five

    The natural outgrowth of becoming truly Self-Reliant is to feel compelled to store things up that are essential for our family’s ensured safety, comfort and existence.  Every needful thing teaches us to consider the possibility of storing up a supply of every item that we purchase which we truly need.  What is a need?  Simply put, it is something that it would be difficult or impacting to have to live without.  This includes; food, clothing, water, heat, power, home medical supplies, fire starters, light and so on.

    It is obviously not prudent to just purchase a year’s supply of every needful thing.  Instead, it is a goal that is pursued relentlessly by the Self Reliant Person and is adjusted for each item of consideration.  For example, it is quite inexpensive and easy to acquire a year’s supply of ketchup – at most a family will probably use 2 bottles a month.  Therefore, purchasing 24 bottles would give you a year’s supply.  However, a year supply of something like water, which is consumed every day, requires a very different approach.  It is not feasible to store a year supply of water unless you have your own water tower.  There are other options available though which include such things as; drilling a well, installing a rain catchment system, being situated near a body of water.  Several of these options would require filtering the water that you acquire.  For the money spent on a filtering system, such as a Berkey filter, it becomes prudent to purchase filtering capability for the system that will last several years.  Each item is adjusted in quantity and time by its own consideration.

    One year is not a magic number.  It is, however, a measure which provides us with a lengthy buffer to recover from whatever has happened.  It also allows us to be charitable towards others who have fallen on hard times without it creating a severe impact on us.  Imagine an unprepared neighbor or friend having their bread winner incapacitated for a period of time and not being able to provide for themselves.  You are not impacted by their crisis and because you have a year’s supply stored up, you have the opportunity to assist them by opening your storage to them and allowing them to take what they need without it causing you an economic impact and with very little added risk to yourself.

    Begin by striving to build up a 3 month supply, then double it and double it again.  Once you’ve accomplished the first three months, you will have an idea of the amount of time and money it will take to acquire a year’s supply.

    The Prepper who is striving to build a year’s supply of every needful thing will experience a dramatic reduction in stress and inverse increase in peace as they begin meeting goals on the path to achieving this principle.

    The impact of living The Principles of Preparedness

    When teaching these Principles, the question is inevitably asked “What if nothing ever happens that I need my supplies for?”  To which I respond, “That would be wonderful!”  Most people don’t get it right away, but let’s consider it.

    Consider if you adjusted your life and lived for years under these principles.  What impact would there be if nothing happened that required you to survive off your stores?  Might it be possible that in following these principles you will have created a new life for yourself that is infinitely better than it would be otherwise?  Would you possibly have spent that time living in peace, without stress and with a much higher level of confidence, satisfaction and self -esteem?  I can testify to you that this is indeed what will happen!  In fact, the mere application of these principles in your life will allow you to weather small crises without them even registering a bump in the continuity of your life.  When you are living a Self-Reliance lifestyle with a full year’s supply, not having an income for a month is inconsequential.  If you fully commit to living these principles, do you see how this would be the outcome?  Would that serve you to be able to live that way?

    Consider also that as you develop a year supply of every needful thing, you are to live off of that supply.  You don’t just package things up and leave them in a corner to gather dust.  You consume your supply each month and at the end of four weeks, go to the “warehouse” (aka grocery store, etc.) and replenish your supply with six weeks worth of what was consumed.  This allows you to continuously grow your storage with little to no visible impact to you.  And, if times are tough financially, you can extend to 8 or 12 weeks without it stressing your family.

    As you become these Principles, you will experience breaking free of the slavery of debt, a ‘career’, of “keeping up with the Jones’s” and most importantly, the stress of trying to live month to month.  What you will find instead is that you are able to fully experience life and truly enjoy the blessings of your family.

    All the while knowing that the secret to a happy life is wrapped up in a little concept called being a “Prepper”!

    – Inspired by a talk by James E. Faust


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      1. I hope everyone stops with this silly game of “I’m first”!
        although it is sometimes entertaining 😀

        • Thats funny but you will soon have a whole bunch of thumbs pointing down. Have a great day all

          • who cares about thumbs down? do you need others approval for your comments to have legitimacy? is this a homecoming contest?

            • Good point ferndale! But in keeping with that philosophy, I can’t give it a thumbs up!
              …oh, what the hell. Here’s one on me!

            • ferndale: Rich99 was voted Homecoming Queen earlier this year. just wanted to bring you up to date.

        • Thumbs up from me.
          It’s been a long time.
          I hope you are fine.


          • Thanx Manos!!
            I always think of you! Greece is now on the news every day. things there are appalling. How’s your family? How are you?
            are there any news on revolution maybe? I do hope that your country shows a middle finger to all those bastards in Brussels! kick that technocrat PM of yours out and do it the people’s way!
            keep safe mate! I’m with you… literally… I mean we are in the same world of shit…

          • why don’t both of you just stick your thumbs up each others butts and put a sock in your mouths so we can get back to the subject of this post….

            • and you sir, why don’t you (as admiral Adama said) EAT SHIT AND DIE!
              disgraceful rudeness

        • Yes, I totally agree with you… Oh, congradulations on being FIRST!!!

        • a first post haiku:

          my post was the first
          short-lived moment of gloating
          bring on the thumbs-down

          • Great haiku, Grrrrrrrrr 🙂

        • Giurza: I think that the; “I am first” thing here adds character on SHTFplan. 🙂

          And also entertaining and funny.., helps gives some balance to some of the seriousness that is here.

          Gave you thumbs up.

          • thanks mate, I think that some didn’t get my pun with the my post 😀 it would have worked both ways you see. if I was unsuccessful and my post would not have appeared first, then it would mock the business of this game, but if it happened to be first (which it did) then it would be in a tone of “hey guys, just stop this game of “I’m first” because you are all beaten this time”
            it feels a bit sad to explain a joke, because it defeats the whole purpose of it, but hey, we did have some fun 😀
            except from that a-hole samstone who seems to be more than happy to go about and be rude with no reason for it…

            • Yes, did have some fun. Maybe we can get Samstone to join us someday.

              Samstone, the dark side can only last so long, then it will devour you.

              Join us, before it is to late!!! 🙂

      2. Ah!! So close but no one ever remembers second

        • I was first once. Set a new record for thumbs down. God, this is a great country!!!

        • 2nd = 1st looser. : )

      3. I was first once, next thing I knew I was about twentith. What was up with that anyway?

        • Debt is particularly crushing in a deflationary environment, but can actually be a wealth builder in times of hyperinflation if it is fixed rate. I married a women a couple years ago with an underwater mortgage because she bought on a first-time home buyer program in 2007. The only way she will come out is if home prices rebound (which I doubt) or if she can pay it off in inflated dollars.

          I have been mortgage free for a decade and in the event we both become unemployed (or other trigger event), the retreat provides its own water, heating, and lighting, so we will not be raising our family in a cardboard box no matter what happens.

          I like the comments about being industries. I have worked a series of temp jobs for the past four years and although I appreciate the income, my real wealth building comes from those things I do when ‘not working’ like insulate the house, install a newer high efficiency furnace, make improvements at the retreat, etc.

          One year is a good start for food storage, but three years can easily be rotated out over seven by eating nine meals a week from food storage so I would not stop there. Set a budget for food storage and stick to it and keep it balanced with your other preps.

          Living the lifestyle they describe is what allows me to prosper despite job insecurity. Through layering wilderness survival and homesteading skills, food storage, and precious metals I can feed my family for about seven years without relying on fiat currency.

          • Pastor. thanks. You always seem to be “on target” in your comments, which is the purpose of the comments section. Others seem to either respond with absolutely ridiculous comments or talk about topics totally unrelated to the topic under discussion. It makes me wonder why these people are even reading these articles. I thought this was supposed to be about preparedness.

          • Unrelated post. I was narrowly missed by this weekend’s tornadoes, but had to take shelter. I was reminded of something I had thought about a little before, never acted on, and have not heard anyone talking about.

            If one seeks refuge from in their basement during a tornado, one could become trapped inside. I have assembled a toolbox of items to be kept in the basement that could help me hack my way free. The alternative is to helplessly wait for rescue. Don’t want to live an inverted version of N.O.

            • Thanks Louse IV – I’m in the UK so nowhere near a Tornado zone, but civil disorder means that the basement is a planned hideout.

              We are sat here feeling rather dumb and have moved a tool kit so if trapped we could get out!

              Layering your lifestyle is a good description Pastor, it’s certainly helped us a lot in a choppy economy. Not having to panic cos there is food in the cupboard to feed the kids gives you the buffer to plan and secure economic opportunities in a calm manner & makes all the difference if the worst happens and illness strikes a wage earner.

              Living lurching from panic to panic is no way to live. The industrious comment also struck me.

              I made extra money this winter from making sock monkeys for my son’s friends – not a fortune, but enough to put aside for us to celebrate Xmas and Easter well, (not extavagently, just well). Next I’ve been asked to sew some pretty pinafores for friends. A little bit of money trickling in from a variety of sources makes ALL the difference to our standard of living.

              A couple of years ago I couldn’t sew bar replacing a button. Last year I learned tiling and plastering.5 years ago I couldn’t garden. Those “hobby” skills do eventually come in real handy if you keep aquiring them. This year my target is bicycle repair, (I can already weld).

        • Why don’t you go be first to a FEMA camp, your not very funny. This shows why you will never be prepared for anything because everything is a joke. Enjoy FEMA

          • Is this perhaps “man without a name” using a different handle?

            • What do you think dumb ass

      4. All five were basic principles of life until Franklin Destroyer Roosevelt brought us the Welfare State.

        • One of his Vice-Presidents was working for the KGB, so he dumped him and brought in Truman. I think it was Henry Wallace, who went on to co-found the Progressive Movement. (communist).

          • I think you mean Harry Hopkins, whom we now know was in communication with Stalin, (read The Venona Transcripts), but Wallace was no tower of virtue, either.

            Nobody knows it anymore, but the Roosevelt administration was one of the most corrupt of the 20th century. Seems that “social reconstruction” and venality are always joined at the hip. As soon as politics directs the flow of money, the jackals gather.

            • If I ever get out to Georgia I will take a shit on his grave. People still admire Lenin and he was every bit as evil and venal as Roosevelt. Anyone who hates Social Security and the welfare state, anyone who feels their future has been stolen by generations previous, should despise the name Roosevelt, and curse his existence.

            • That is insulting to Jackals.

            • why did they carve his face on a mountain anyway?

            • I always get those 2 names confused, unless I have my reference nearby.

        • FDR was Wilson on meth!

        • Dear The Old Coach,
          I disagree with you on FDR,My parents and grandparents lived those times,and by ALL accounts he saved us from becoming either a American form of Nazism or Stalinist Communism.Most Uber-Rich people or “wanna-be’s Rich people” hated him for this ever since.THEY had him elected because they thought he was “one of our kind”(His family WAS part of the Eastern-Elite WASPs,but he became far more like Teddy R.)and would let the 98%ters just starve to maintain the lifestyles of the U.Rich at the expense of everyone else.A complex man of many facets,to be sure.
          If you(as OLD coach) get SSI,saving protected by FDIC or you and yours receive some form of Medicare assistance,then remember it was FDR and TR who started it all
          Have a NICE day

          • Rather than deferring to the opinion of your grandparents, I’ll rely on Amity Schlaes’ account in “The Forgotten Man”.

      5. Good article, good points, good advice.

      6. Great points…

        Looking at the random outbreak of tornados this week – a article on DYI – spider hole construction may be helpful in the very near future..

        No pun intended..

        I feel that type of wind event was accuately named the finger of God.

      7. went 2 wally world this am<< 200bucks all on preps,,{the new gold!!} dont 4 get the pets,, swf

      8. Ditto that, GWTW.

        Imagine if a majority of Americans lived this way! Outside of a catastrophic Black Swan event, we would be nearly immune to economic problems.

        The past 3 years has seen our family in tight cash flow situations, with one 7 week period of absolutely no work for one member due to an accident. Our preps made the difference. We have rotated through our regular supplies, not including the long-shelf-life items, 2-3 times. Not just food, but gas, heat, shoes and coats and essential meds/hygiene items

        We all need some recreation, though. Eating out at a really nice place 3x/year is a treat, as compared to filling up on fast food once a week or more. Taking lunch means a better lunch, too. Thrift and consignment shopping means looking just fine for a fraction of the expense. DIY is a huge savings, so that when the job that demands hiring it done comes along, it is affordable. You can finance most durables with a no interest for 6-12 month contract, as long as you make sure to run the numbers and pay just a bit more each month than is necessary. That way, any tacked on charges at the end of the contract are covered. So when the fridge dies, you aren’t scrambling to find $600-$1200 immediately.

        Prepping, the lifestyle, means peace of mind and more independence. Everyone I know lives this way, now.

        • Amazing how many people act like nailing on shingles is rocket science.

          • nailing them on is easy. it’s the keeping them straight that’s the problem.

          • For the rocket scientist with no DIY skills, nailing on shingles is like rocket surgery.

      9. I need to get more industrious and eat out less!!

      10. The fastest way to get out of debt is the way Dave Ramsey did. He filed for bankruptcy.

        • It may be the fastest but it lacks personal integrity. If you buy it you should pay for it.
          I understand that there are extenuating circumstances for some people but in general I believe that you need to pay your bills. If you don’t it is the same as stealing. The person who sold you the item won’t be paid.

          • I was actually making fun of Dave Ramsey not practicing what he preaches since this article recommends him. To his credit, bankruptcy is based on the Biblical principle that all debt is forgiven every seventh year. The risk of bankruptcy is priced into the interest rate. The risk of default is the only reason some credit card rates are higher than others.

            Only when one commits bankruptcy fraud is it stealing. If you don’t know that you’re probably already broke. Don’t tale my word for it. Compare the history of airline bankruptcies to the number of airline executive who did time for it.

            • The jubilee ocurred every fifty years and in the fiftieth year debts were forgiven. It sucked if u lent money in year 49, but otherwise it worked for many hundreds of years.

        • I do like his phrase “The place to go when you need money is to work”.

      11. The best advices ever Mac.
        I’m a bit skeptical though, about this guy’s move to go public regarding their life.
        Of course it’s my personnal point of view, but i try to keep a low profile.
        It’s good to help friends and relatives, but it’s dangerous to be the “gathering spot” of a whole town.

        • manos

          agreed 100%..

          stay low

          and under the radar


        • I agree Manos.

          Your home would quickly become Hell’s version of grand central station in a collapse if you took this guy’s approach to security.

          Ducking and diving and staying well under the radar is the safest approach (cos hungry policemen will rob to feed their babies too!)

          • “Evidence”

        • Manos,

          I was thinking along the same lines. It’s one thing to want to help spread the word, and to get other folks towards prepping.

          However, it’s another thing entirely to make oneself a total target.

        • The sixth principal should be OPSEC.

      12. I really like this.I feel it will help me.The time to be ready is now and how you do it matter’s.I’ve been prepping about three year’s now.Little by little it has come together.But one thing,I would like to add is you should make it fun to do.I laugh and enjoy life every day.It really does make for a great life.I also enjoy reading all that you put on this site.Funny you all feel like family!

        • Hello Frosty: I am glad it is working for you. If I may add; everyone please work your preps.

          As others have said about the time to get a garden ‘fully’ functioning can be a few years. Work those water purifiers, solar powered equipment, cast iron cooking over a open fire, etc.

          A grid down situation can happen at any time. Consider a day…week without grid power in your home.Then a week without gasoline. The banking mess will implode of its’ own greed. Yes, there is ‘Family’ here!! Thank you. (MM)

      13. Excellent article..period.

        Being totally self sufficient requires serious money and time which the majority does not have..

        That being said,buying basic foods, medicines, toiletries paper , etc are a weekly enterprise for us and always on sale..

        Rain catchment can be done quite inexpensively (excepting the filters) …literally dozens of ideas on the web..

        Getting out of debt is another roadblock that many will never see if unemployed or underemployed…the basic costs of living skyrockets weekly and even if employed..our purchasing power is diminished.. never mind saving..


        • Speaking of costs, my wife and I found in necessary to buy health insurance some years ago.

          When signed up 14 years ago, it was $70 a month. It was $400 until the bill this month. They raised it to $500 a month.

          …yet, while everyone raises their prices, nobody will offer me any more money. I haven’t had a raise since 2009. So, where is all that money going? Places keep raising prices claiming their costs are going up. Well, they sure aren’t incurring more costs associated with labor.

          So, I got to thinking: this is the reason for the wrecking of our economy. While industry is willing or even eager to raise their product prices, they are reluctant to raise the prices of labor. Unless of course you’re part of a union. Then, they are forced raise them in accordance with the price of the product.

          The fact is, this is all a product of inflation that has been created by the federal reserve. They constantly make the dollar worth less and the subsequent inflation make industry, with little resistance, raise their prices. But, as they raise their prices, they have big resistance to raise the wages of their workers. In effect, the workers are constantly getting their wages decreased. As the dollar is worth lest, they are being paid less.

          I, therefore, morally, should not be required to work as much. But, we are fed this doctrine that we must work harder because the company is working harder for us.

          Really? No. The fact is the entire system is designed to squeeze us. Playing on our consciences and our moral obligations is just another way to milk us. The fact is, they are paying you less, you should work less.

          Have you figure out yet why companies and industry don’t pay in gold and silver? They are always worth the same. They can’t screw you if they do that. No, with fiat they can progressively rob you more and more over time.

          The ponzi scheme must end.

          • NetRanger,

            500 per month is a lot of money man.
            And your question is what the whole planete asks.
            What the f…. are they doing?
            They have to feed their system; their system with our labor.
            I don’t care if this is called socialism, capitalism, or communism. But it surely is bandalism, and sadism.
            Somehow, someday, an end must come. Every bubble has its limits.

            I hope i live to see their end, our glory.

            Take care

            • manos

              500 a month is chicken feed for any of us in the private sector.

              I pay a 40% of my health care through my employer and it costs me 680 a month(170 a week) and my employer pays the balance of 60%..pretty disgusting ..ehh?
              Don’t forget the last bailout with AIG an insurance mega-giant.

              The insurance corps insure the banks for their losses as well..a well structured system that screws everyone you are living through now in Greece.

              Preparedness for their final scheme is of the upmost importance for everyone here..and you unfortunately already know..

              take care manos


            • Sorry, guys, but although $500 a month is a lot of money, you are insured against a hospital bill of half a million. My brother just had quintuple bypass surgery. It took a team of 4 skilled specialists. The bill when everything was said and done was $400,000 plus. You expect the surgeons to work for free because they like you? They aren’t ‘feeding the system,’ bro, they are making a living like the rest of us. My brother’s head surgeon pays $300,000 a year for malpractice insurance because of the large number of Americans who think suing a doctor is better than winning the lottery. So this is what you get for your $500 a month premium. Yes it is high, but hey, if you don’t like it, fly to Costa Rica or India for some open heart surgery for $10,000. Or if you think it’s so easy, get a book on do-it-yourself medical procedures. I have Canadian friends who died because their free health care meant NO HEALTH CARE. Sorry if that sounds bitter but I am so sick of the whining of Americans who think they have it so bad. You don’t know what bad it YET.

            • possee and alex,

              Currently, my employer and i, pay to the state around 760 euros per month for social securities. This amount is being deposited for my health insurance and pention.

              There is no health insurance in Greece, and whatever one needs should pay it from his own pocket. So the loss is double; i pay money to have nothing at all, and then i pay money to buy what i was paying for, at the first place.

              As for pention, i pressume you all know what we are going to get in some years from now: testicles.

              In order for those things to change, we must first change the social structure and the rulling system.

              People who brought us here, have no legal or moral right to take us out. In fact i prefer to jump from the cliff on my own, rather than having those idiots guiding me.

              We fight their wars, and they and their sissy kids, move around from Aspen to Swiss.

              Be safe guys.

          • My Blue Cross policy is $500.00 for just myself. If you and the wife get it for the same price, I am being robbed, while you get a bargain. Go figure.

            • crybabies !!!!

              mine is now over $700 a month
              and the co pay just DOUBLED this year

              I’m needin’ me some Obamacare NOW !!!!

            • Depends on where you live. Kaiser in Northern Ca. costs double that in Southern Ca. When Obamacare kicks in full tilt in a year these rates will look cheap. Have fun even finding a doctor when his proposed pay rates to doctors kick in. They are mostly going to retire or quit. We will have the free Cuban medical care all the leftists love so much. Enjoy.

          • No way I could ever afford that….I guess thats why I dont have any….doubt I ever will,havent had any HI since the late 70s/early 80s…I forget….hope it works out better for you as time goes on!

          • Could the increase in your premiums also be an indication of the further weakening of the USD?

          • If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free!!

      14. Great article. If everyone followed this advice, we might have a chance.

        By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

        • Agreed. Excellent and well thought out article. Mac, every so often you have an article that gives another simple approach to prepping, additional perspectives.
          Thanks, actually I thought you had written it. Enjoy your weekend.

          • Agreed. Everyone who clicks into SHTF Plan may not be a longtime Prepper. Everyone has to start somewhere, sometime.

            Like Ashton Kurtcher.

        • You better hide your stuff well because the first order of business in a collapse will be martial law and the re distribution of all goodies. Hoarders will be shot. The cops and National Guard will be the ones doing the dirty work.

          • I sincerely doubt it. On a federal or even state level, none of the authorities will have time or manpower to do any such thing.

            Locally? Maybe at first, but as salaries fail and law enforcement agents realize that no one else can protect their own families, there will likely be mass defections to the point of making local law enforcement on any large scale a useless endeavor.

            • Exactly, remember katrina? After a couple of days the cops started quitting so they could take care of their families. And they WERE getting paid. Imagine what will happen when they realize they won’t get paid.

          • I don’t know if they’ll be shot up front, unless they put up resistance. I envision it like the stormtroopers barging their way into the house while a trooper keeps the resident off to the side. The stormtroopers tear the place apart looking for any stash, and simply remove what they find.

          • yes, be sure you hide your willy and don’t leave it hanging out….

      15. being new to prepping is not easy, it is scarry, every day im trying to figure out how to get the next item on the list, the next prep, watching the contitution torn apart before my eyes on a day to day basis, and wondering if i have enough time to get it all together here in the smokey mountians. I am selling all the society induced nonsence that i own , it clogs the think tank with clutter. I have sold enough junk to pay off four small credit card debts and cut em up, and still moving forward. Im also trading stuff for items on the list, seems to work so far, tradded a load of 10 year old hotwheels for several case pocket knives, also got a couple zippos in the deal, while eleminating two boxes of stuff in the way. It can be done if we try and think it through, getting ready to trade some more today, wish me luck.Also found seven disaster relief wool blankets new in the wrapper at a thrift store for three dollars each, got em all. I started back in september when I saw the light, came up with a plan and staying on track with it, but it aint easy, I love to read all that you people post and it helps keep me on track. Thanks people, you give me hope for the world, even it is a small part of the world.

        • Good for you! I couple years ago when I turned from wilderness survival to prepping for my new family, I was told I was too late. Yet imagined a typical day in the new paradigm, made me list of needs, and list of provisions, skills, and equipment I would need.

          I have probably saved $20,000 by prioritizing and doing work myself while at the same time steadily plodding along only to take advantage of buying opportunities on Craigslist, the Habitat for Humanity Restore, and the local penny saver classifieds.

          • Prepared Pastor said: “I was told I was too late”.
            Good for you for not listening to these “well wishers”.

            I really dislike it when some “seasoned” preppers discourage others by saying silly words like: “it’s too late to start now”, “you’re too late to buy BOL”, “you’re too late to start living off of the land”, “you’re too late to learn how to garden”, “you should’ve started X years ago”, etc. BS! IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START PREPPING.
            Some preps, even if it means simply canned food because that’s all a person was able to afford, is still better than no preps at all.

            • Thats the truth!

        • Very good. Glad to see another come onboard and plan ahead!

          I was a slow monetary prepper starting in 1994. I bought my house in 2000 and paid it off in 2010. Once that was done, I went into high gear and starting buying long-term storeable food, water filters, and other various supplies. Once I change shifts at work next month, I plan to take a first aid course.

          Each day we have is another day we can prepare. Let’s make the most of these days while we have them.

          Today, some Mountain House apple dices arrived via UPS.

      16. I agree that this is a great article. You do not have to do it all but do something. One thing thats helps is to buy things that are mutipurpose or what I call force mutipliers.
        My parents grew up in the Great Depression and growing up I never understood why there was so much toilet paper and tomato sauce/paste in the house.
        You Get It?

        • When you eat too much tomato paste, you will then see why you need a lot of toilet paper….

      17. some very basic points made. If you get into debt, do a stragtic default and save money that way.

        Really though if I save my entire life by the time I retire in 35 years it will be worthless due to inflation.

        I prefer to spend my money on preps, put some in 401k and IRA

      18. You can save a lot of money by buying old cars with low miles on Craigslist. I drive a 1994 Buick Century that had 55,000 on it when I bought it two years ago for $2,000. You have to check on the car ads every fifteen minutes all day long to find a deal like that. We had the cash on hand to buy it. That way on a Saturday afternoon we were the first ones to show up with cash.

        You can also save money being behind the technology curve. You can get a decent Windows XP desktop computer for $50 or a dual core Vista desktop for $150. You can get flat screen CRTs for free. No need to own a laptop. Very few people need the portability.

        • Barn Cat


          Have a 2002 emachines single core..rebuilt and new hardrive for less than a 100..still running and allows me the posts here.
          Also..we have a 96 Jeep and a 97 Dodge Ram 2500 conversion still running..gets us both to work 6 days a week..

          We were on the upper curve years ago but faced the downsizing as millions did after the 08 crash..still surviving in our late 50’s..and still pay the mortgage.albeit late more than often.

          One has to have the yankee or ruby goldberg ingenuity to survive nowadays..period!

          as Sinatra once gleaned..

          ‘That;s life..riding high in April..shot down in May”

          These mf’s are screwing everyone yet still few notice nor take the time to find out why..

 a solace for us..

          Thank you Mac..

          and thank you to Daisy and manos for their continuing friendship..


        • Great advice, Barn Cat.
          Many people are after new “toys” all the time and they are happy to get rid of the “old” ones.
          That’s where many of us come in 🙂

          Once one gets out of the rat race, one can see how really silly the chase looks from the outside.

      19. Anyone know what is going on with phils show, I honestly thought it was the best prepping related show out there which I guess ain’t saying much because all the others are garbage. I did like this one and thought it had some promise!???

      20. Very good article. Anything that encourages people to keep up their ‘quality of life’ insurance is a good thing. And to the uninitiated, it explains the philosophy of prepping in a very down-to-earth way. Thanks Mac, and Phil!
        Just one small complaint though. The shield on the logo for American Preppers Network looks suspiciously like the badge of a cop. In fact, when I first saw it, I was half way out of the truck with drivers license in hand, ready to spread-eagle against the hood, before I realized what it was. Probably just my guilty conscience…

      21. I have been reading SHTF for months, this is my first post. I read it everyday for the articles and sometimes retrieve ideas through comments. I would like to provide an anal comment, (tip) if you will. I continue to see vids and comments regarding ‘striking paper’ (toilet tissue).

        What we propose to do is stock the moist, flushable wipes vs. rolls and rolls of tissue.
        As a prepper, space is premium. I believe one could store a years supply of these wipes in a couple of paper sacks vs. the space required to store tissue. They are more hygienic if there is a short water supply. Personally, I would like to hear more shortcuts and ideas.

        • Great idea here AR! In the ‘Book of Eli’ those KFC wet hand wipes were huge for bartering….

        • Someone else here mentioned laying in a few old phone books, too. The paper is “soft” enough for emergency TP.

          • haha newspaper sux for TP, phone book pages are probably better. Phone books were treasured when I was a kid but they are no longer.

            Or, go to using water like the Indians do, and then maybe roll some rosemary in your hands for final clean-up? It’s a weed, practically, where I live. Some sort of aromatic herb, I’m thinking, is probably germicidal.

            • Rosemary, lemon and thyme (my Gran’s version)
              Rosemary, lemon and tea tree oil (the 2012 version if using shop bought oils)

              10 drops of each of the 3 essential oils in a bottle of unscented, shampoo, handwash or carrier oil = THE BEST LICE CONTROL EVER!

              Seriously headlice are a real issue in UK schools, my family has never had them. According to my grandparents the 3 oil mix worked on bodylice too really well in the 2 world wars.

              In a shtf situation basic sanitation could be a real issue. If you have wild rosemary growing produce some distilled essential oil now. I reckon people will trade a LOT not to be itching. Common Thyme is one of the easiest herbs to grow too. Lemons depend on climate.

              Rosemary roast potatoes are yum too.

        • Generic baby wipes are the least expensive wet wipes. They are also sold in bulk.

          • I get mine at Dollar Tree…can’t tell the difference.

      22. Wifeys got an old shuttle sowing machine .Foot powereed,The thing will sow canvas ,denim,.etc.I know ,cause she made me a new canopy for my boat with it;Recommend!!

      23. Medical Insurance begins at home. You are what you eat and more importantly what you drink. I’ve been eating Blue Green Algae since 1995. I got in on the Klamath Lake Algae multi level marketing scheme as an alternative to mass produced vitamins; as a way to give my body the vitamins and minerals that have been processed out of our store bought foods. What sold me was the noticeably differerance in energy from the start. To make a long story shorter; I finally found the same product for a third of the cost thru Puritan’s Pride Dist. I read up on a lot of the info put out there in the 90’s. One doctor claimed to have increased his intake of the Klamath Lake algae and decreased his intake of whole foods to a point that he was able to live exclusively on the algae for 30 days. I know you can’t believe everything you read; however, it is a fact that algae, somewhat like kelp, has all the vitamins,minerals, and nutrients a flesh body needs to survive except vitamin D, which can be absorbed thru the skin via direct sunlight. I haven’t had any negative side effects, although you have to regulate intake on an individual basis determined by tha amount of whole foods you ingest and the amount of physical labor you do on any given day. If I take more than three 500 mg capsules in one day, and after 1:00 pm., I have to stay very active until about 8:00pm or I have trouble winding down enough to bed down by 11:00 pm. I haven’t had any major flu or drawn out colds since 2005. I’m 55 and can only attribute the good health to the algae,clean water, and being careful about my eating habits. I am not a health nut, but I limit my intake of fast foods,pork, and fatty meats. I do like a plate full of eggs,sausage gravy, and biscuits occasionally. Hence the high cholesterol. Anyways, thats my medical insurance. If I should need anything major, well, then I think it may be my time to check out. I refuse to give my life savings to the insurance companies and everything I have worked my whole life for, to Doctor’s and Hospitals. I’ll go peacefully and leave my wife in a pretty good situation to survive on her own. Our kids are grown, and they are on their own. Took a lot of pursuading to get the last one(22 years old) nudgged out of the nest. I was booted out at the age of 16. Hope this helps someone!

        • The price of algae is about to go sky high, because Oturda has ordered that it be used to make fuel for cars.

        • don’t tread; thanks for the algae input, great reminder. Checked the Puritan site and will be ordering mine tmw. Found the prices are really good at the Puritan site. Again thank you for sharing the info.

        • Your most important asset is your health. Most people don’t take their health seriously until something bad happens. The time to protect your health is when you are well. Eat right, start exercising(if don’t already) and getting rid of any bad habits before it’s too late.. Poor life-style choices in the past and in the future can mean life or death when TSHTF
          I am 70 years old,take no medications(the average person my age takes 7-9 med,) try to eat right, exercise and take vitamins & mineral supplements.
          With a $15+ trillion national debt and growing at the rate of $150 million a day, I look for run-a-Way inflation around the corner.
          Remember, Be careful who you are friends with and tell them your plans. When TSHTF, that friend or friends now could be your deadly enemy.

      24. I keep a few cases of bird shot handy as well as bird and squirrel feed. I’ll never starve. Think about it.

      25. Just to add. My grandparents, on both sides, never had medical insurance until they reached medicare age. All four lived into their late 70’s and 80’s. So live today like you may live that long, but be prepared to die tomorrow without any regrets. If there is something major on your bucket list, get your butt in gear to do it soon or reconfigure your list. I knew a lot of people that put all their eggs in one basket to start enjoying life after retirement. They left all that enjoyment to someone else.

      26. This whole “prepping for dummies” thing has got me feeling down a bit…

        • @TFC: …when I’m feelin’ down and blue…I clean my guns…the smell of gun oil and pilsner, happy days…

          • I’ve been cheating on my Pilsners lately with the $9.97 12-packs of Sam Adman Alpine Spring Lager and some other whores from WalMart. I hope my Pilsners will take me back. I stripped my rifles and my M590A1 and I’m feeling much better now.

            • TMFC, thats a great price on S Adams, can you pick me up one. Peace

      27. Great article! I am thankful we have prepared. The past 24 hours have put our preps to the test. I have been looking on the iPad here at the tornado damage in KY and other states. My prayers go out to the many people who have been hit by this storm.

        Power is out here still, am not sure how my hubby has the Internet working, as I know the cable and electric is out.

        The tornado hit hard many places around here in eastern KY. Please keep those in your prayers who have lost their homes and/or had major home damage, especially the elderly who may not be able to get out due to many trees down in the roads.

        KY Mom

      28. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but we all gona die it is the time and place that is still not decided…Always leave a way out to check out on your terms. When shtf many of you will experence death and destruction beyond any comperation man has ever seen…Zombies after 4 days,no stores,gas,water,toilets,food,hospitals,fire departments,amblance service,and on and on..You better be well protected like a military base because people will be after anyone that did prepare and you will be out numbered greatly. How long can you wait it out is what will decide your fate………. Good luck to all of you God Bless You All..

      29. Preparedness you say. Step 1. Never vote for Obama again and make sure you tell all their neighbors and they tell their neighbors not to vote for the idiot ever again. Step 2 Don’t try and take on all the jobs by yourself. When collapse happens the fiance or wife or daughter will go and get all the food they can, while you do your thing instead of being together wasting the last min to get what you need. Step 3. make sure you have a shotgun inside your home for protection with slugs or buckshot, they are easier to hit your target when you are scared or your adrenaline is pumping. That sec can make the difference if you live or die. Step 4. I know we all talk about guns and food but don’t forget to get bored games and activities to keep you busy when your at your place for a very long time, you could get bored and fall asleep some of you so get lots of fun stuff when power is out. Step 5 is to have faith and believe in yourself that things will stay that way forever. Things change everyday. Those are my tips of the day. Take care all

        • Eric..are you new here??

          When the collapse happens, most here don’t need a damn thing!!
          Just saying.

      30. i absolutely loved this article…have shared it, printed it and e-mailed it…why? because it describes and explains “me” to those who just shake their heads and tell me i am wearing a tinfoil hat.

      31. After reading what you guys pay for insurance I am lucky. The company I work for is self-insured. My premium is less than 80 a month but I have somewhere around a 5000 deductible. I have an HSA which is nice and my company contributes about 1300 a year. Also, what you put in there is pre-taxed and since you have a high deductible style insurance you do not loose what you do not use. It adds up every year. I still have the same amount of coverage compared to the other its just that you have to pay a little more up front. Considering that you guys are paying over 500 a month and im paying under a 100 for a family of 4, it would not take long for the savings to add up.
        As far as prepping goes, i was giving myself a pat on the back until I realized how much food a family of 4 can eat in a month. Its a lot. What I thought was over 6 months worth my be just a couple especially if power goes out and i loose the majority of my food in my freezers. The most important things I over estimated was how much food I had and other supplies. At least I have time to make up the difference. So please, look at your preps, count the calories in each serving and then figure at least 2000 calories a days for each person. You may not have as much food as you think.

        • EastTenn – I believe there are “health savings plans” or maybe that’s just for members of Congress. In any case, having a “high” deductible can help a lot, $5000 should be something you can take care of, if not then save up and keep that much in reserve and have a $5000 deductible you can save a lot.

          I’d count on 3000 calories per person, physical exertion and just plain stress mean burning a lot of calories. Also, basic foods instead of prepared foods are the way to go. I can go out and snap off collard buds (about the flower) and steam/fry those with some fat I’ve saved, or some fatty meat, and eat a delicious dish – much cheaper than some kind of prepared stuff.

          • I was hired in 2007 for the company that I work for. Everyone hired in 2007 and since has my style of insurance while those hire before has a low deductible insurance but they pay whole lot more for it. If I save the amount I would be paying in premiums then I would not take long to save the 5000. If you are curious, that is what I do. However, my son was in the hospital this week for 2 days with RSV complications so there went my savings.
            As far as the 3000 calories a day, you are probaly right compared to 2000. 2000 calories is probaly enough to keep from starving but not thriving and not doing alot of physical activities. My wife and I do alot of canning from the garden but we also by canned food whenever we find it on sale or at the salvage place becuase it has a dent in it. For a quick easy meal, can yourself some roast. It is good stuff and its tender. Makes awesome gravy. Open up a can of canned apples, cook and mash some taters and you have an awesome meal withen 40 minutes.
            My biggest question is that I have plenty of firewood to cook food with for probaly a couple of years and I can get more without much problem. The only problem is that when you use a wood fire to cook with, everybody around you knows what you have and what you are doing. Even using gas, you have to be carefull how you cook to avoid the smell. So I figure that the vast majority of people would unfortunately die withen 8weeks from starvation, perhaps sooner due to dehydration and each other but withen 8 weeks. So what kind of food preps would you want for those 8 weeks that requires very little to know preparing to eat to help you stay under the radar?

            • EastTenn

              Have approximately 150 or so cans of white tuna .sardines.canned salmon.canned chicken..
              no preservatives
              shelf life through 2015
              add that with canned potatoes and vegetables..

              another idea,,stock up on hot sauce.salsa,jalapenos.honey.etc and lots of herbs to spice up the meals..
              even jarred parmesan will last quite a while

              One wants to utilize and balance the nutrition and be tasteful as well..

              Being a chef by trade sure helps in planning the preps long term..

              always check the use by dates for rotation


            • EastTenn – you and everyone else are gonna laff, but … MREs. The reason why is, MREs are made to be eaten hot or cold, yep cold MREs taste fine. They’re made to keep fighting soldiers fighting and strong for fairly long lengths of time. They’ve got plenty of calories, etc. I’ve lived a month on C’s and came out fine, my whole company did, other than, we lost weight (we were out in the field in Korea) and the MREs were designed based on info gained from C’s (they weighed us all when we got back stateside, I was told I’d better get some weight back on lol) and the calories were increased, also the foods in MREs are a bit more “ethnic” and tasty, than C-rat stuff.

              So the short answer is, MREs, 2 per person per day. And learn trash discipline, in the Army for instance we’d “field strip” cig butts, you kinda roll it between your fingers to disperse the tobacco, and keep the emptied butt in your pocket for disposal at a safe place. I’m glad I never took up smoking! In a real survival situation, I’d not even let those little tobacco flakes lie around because they *will* be spotted. Your MRE wrappers will have to be buried.

              MREs are expensive and people rightly call them “yuppie prepper” food, but if you have the money, they’re my top recommendation. If you don’t want to go that route, the next answer is cold foods. A lot of foods, like canned chili and spam, are OK cold. Lots of foods you can up yourself are fine cold, cold meats, beans, pickled greens, etc. For breads you might want to consider crackers, “meal bars” you can make and store, hardtack, oatcakes, cake-in-a-jar which is delicious, etc.

              Charcoal fires are less smoky and smelly than wood fires, and you can make your own charcoal (it won’t have the smell store-bought charcoal does) and store it up.

            • You need to get yourself a sun oven. It’s a neat idea and it really works! All you need is a little sunshine and you’re good to go. It even works on cloudy days. Hot enough to cook beef stew and biscuits! My wife got a great deal too at Not only do they sell the oven we also bought a lot of freeze dried stuff from them. Love the freeze dried pineapple and the cheese!!! Hmm…, we’ll have to try to make pizza in my sun oven next time.

      32. My tin foil hat has never let me down. shtf and the New American magazine are very helpful and useful… well as George Gordon and “canning a cow.” I wish that I
        could get a straight answer or any answer from any Congressperson regarding my/our’s/who’s gold in Fort Knox. Try—-see what you get! Probably will not be answered by the Corporation DC payees….just sayin….

        I have a chin strap attached to my tin foil hat, carynverell. Mac and company are good peeps!

        • Chin strap on the tinfoil hat – love it!

          5 years ago I was a responsible business owner who drove a nice car. I knew a lot of people who were the same, and I also knew a few oddballs. One guy lived in his car for the most part, and did carpentry work. He was a big conspiracy theorist, and all interested in “zero point energy” and stuff like that. Due to his paranoia, he lived very much off the grid, living in his car and in houses he was working on if it was OK with the owner, and I don’t think he used credit cards or anything like that – too paranoid. Another guy I know plays music on the street, and makes a very decent living doing so, and is all hepped up about the Illuminati and all that. Again, paranoid and very much off the grid. Lives very simply. They looked like nutballs and failures to me then …. 5 years later, they’re my heroes. They’re the sanest guys in the room. Myself, I lost everything and was homeless for a short while. Many of the other “normal” people I know and knew, went through the same thing. I have a feeling many are still homeless. One guy I knew had a huge house in a very wealthy neighborhood, and was stressing over how he could possibly keep it. At this point in time, he’s either still got the thing and near to having a heart attack, or he’s lost it and probably crashed pretty hard. I don’t envy his life!

      33. DEATH TO MY HOMETOWN lyrics by Bruce Springsteen

        Oh, no cannonballs did fly, no rifles cut us down
        No bombs fell from the sky, no blood soaked the ground
        No powder flash blinded the eye, no deathly thunder sound
        But just as sure as the hand of God, they brought death to my hometown
        They brought death to my hometown, boys

        No shells ripped the evening sky, no cities burning down
        No armies stormed the shores for which we’d die
        No dictators were crowned
        I awoke from a quiet night, I never heard a sound
        Marauders raided in the dark and brought death to my hometown, boys
        Death to my hometown

        They destroyed our families’ factories and they took our homes
        They left our bodies on the plains, the vultures picked our bones

        So listen up, my sonny boy, be ready for when they come
        For they’ll be returning sure as the rising sun
        Now get yourself a song to sing and sing it ’til you’re done
        Yeah, sing it hard and sing it well
        Send the robber barons straight to hell
        The greedy thieves who came around
        And ate the flesh of everything they found
        Whose crimes have gone unpunished now
        Who walk the streets as free men now

        Ah, they brought death to our hometown, boys
        Death to our hometown, boys
        Death to our hometown, boys
        Death to our hometown, whoa!

      34. For extreme conditions..

        I have canned over 100 far.. of different soups/stews loaded with either black beans,white beans, kidneys,or lentils..
        Added skinless chicken, ham or beef
        Organic garlic,carrots,onions,kale,spinach,tomatoes.herbs and spices..

        Complete nutritional meals..cold or cooking required.last for years..

        and no one would know should you heat it over a small propane camp stove or even canned heat..liqui fuels..such as caterers use..they are cheap..and will heat up a simple meal.

        and all under the radar..
        no fumes
        no smoke..


          add a wee coke can stove (I prefer to use the gel fuel rather than alcohol with kids) or a kelly kettle (storm kettle with stand) to your preps and you are good to go : ) even when OPSEC says you should light a house stove. Make a few jars veggie only too for these situations (meat smells travel miles).

      35. Thanks KY Mom, for showing compassion for those who have losses from the current tornadoes. I too have said a prayer for them and their families. I have to wonder how many had warning of what “may” happen. It brings a question to mind; What kind of preparedness would I have in place if I lived in a tornado prone area? First of all, I’m claustrophobic, so just hunkering down in a small closet ain’t happening, especially if I lived in a modular or mobile. Short, of investing in one of those pre-fab shelters, I’d probably pick out a spot with no big trees or buildings close by, but close enough to my primary residence to make a 30 second dash into. Four sheets of 1/4 in thick 4′ X 8′ plate steel. One sheet cut in half for the ends/doors with heavy hinges and clasps for locking from the inside. One sheet of 1/2 thick for the top with a 4′ X 4″ channel iron support beam for the center brace. All welded up tight and inside completely covered in spray on foam insulation. Set up on a slightly elevated area on a 6″ bed of 3″ stone for drainage, with a mound of dirt on top and both ends, 4′ X 4′ hinged for opening. If a lot of debris has you blocked on one end, maybe you have less blockage on the other. Just in case, keep a big steel pry bar and hatchet/saw in there,and an air horn for signaling, just in case. Might be too much of an investment for peace of mind for most folks, but if you got in before touch down of a Cat 4 or 5, at least you wouldn’t wake up dead in another State.

        • Thank you for your kind words and your prayers. Some people got a phone call warning minutes before the tornado hit. Looking at the sky, we knew bad weather was imminent.

          The tornado hit homes less than a mile from my home – so I have friends and neighbors who have been affected. I am very thankful that my family and home were spared. Yet it was also heartbreaking when we later got out and drove by some of the places that had been hit.

          Tornados rarely hit in eastern KY. If you have a basement or crawl space under your home, that is where I would go.

          Take care.
          KY Mom

      36. guys
        exercise a little caution with the tuna
        and a lot of other types of fish
        too much can actually lead to mercury poisoning
        esp dangerous for children and pregnant women

        I absolutely love tuna
        but only have it on rare occasion now

        just one more example of how we’ve screwed up the planet

        • DH and I eat tuna all the week…and take fish oil tablets every day.
          We love tuna and salmon..we’ve never had a problem.
          Never sick either.

      37. The folks around here had a wake up call on Friday evening and Saturday. We got around 18″ of heavy wet snow. No power for a lot of folks for days. I went to the local store yesterday and it was amazing to see the sheeple shopping. You’d think the world had ended. Why are people so f*cking stupid? Some sheeple friends of mine who think I’m nuts, called me at 6:00 on Saturday morning and wanted to come over and be taken care of because they are soooo stupid! I gave them a rash of crap for being so ignorant and said “sure come on over”. Four hours later my phone rang. They were stuck in town with no way to get out and they wanted me to come get them! WTF! Meanwhile, here at home my daughters making muffins and I’m making a huge pot of chili. Sunday morning and all is well. My idiot friends are still stuck in town with no power. I tried to tell them but they just won’t listen. Idiots! SHTF in a small way and everyone is in panic mode. Hilarious…. (well, sorta)

        • Hello Bill,

          Great story. Change the problem from snow storm to any other similiar level problem and people are out buying food and batteries and more.

          Your story just confirms to me (us) sheeple only have 4 – 5 days of food and no basic preps, even batteries or flashlights.

          For all of us with friends such as Bill’s, how will you react to their calls for help now, before a major SHTF crisis??


        • Imagine if there were some new NBA sneakers on sale during that snowstorm….now there’s panic mode..

          Whenever I go food shopping for weekly prep items..always make a point to view what the average sheep have in the carriage..absolutely stunning!

          Cases of soda.
          boxes of sugar-laden cereals,
          pounds of lunch meats @ 8.99 a pound
          frozen and boxed entrees galore..
          99% supermarket junk

          Besides not being prepared..they are nutritionally defunct as well..

          I pick up a case or 2 of the Ball QT Jars and get the strangest looks from them as well..have been asked “what are those jars for?”

          Usual response..’grandma’s putting up some pickles this summer’..

          Gotta keep the “see something say something” dhs spooks at bay..

          end of story


          • And they pay for it with food stamps…… Sad.

      38. This is a bit off topic.
        I just read that Israel may wait until after the shoe-in election of Osamabama to take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Is this kick the can or will Israel surprise the world and make a move against Iran? We are all pawns and our fate on this earth, is in the hands of monsters. I guess it is time to get ready for whatever may be. It seems that everyting is on hold until after the election.

        How can one administration have so much control over the world? Things are happening now, that we are not privy to but the consequences will probably be devastating.
        We are all sitting ducks and now they’re just trying to get us all in a row.

        There are so many people out there that buy this crap about the economy turning around. They are more afraid of the Mayan (supposed prophecy), then the devastation of their freedom, rights and future of their children, by what is happening right now.

        I pray for this country and as hard as it may be, I have hope, because I do believe in miracles. One of these days, God is going to say (enough of this disrespect and vile selfishness, it’s time to clean house).

        No man should have the audacity to believe that he supercedes the all mighty, he shall be put in his place in the end.

      39. I must find a good, cheap source of long-life cheese. Powdered is probably best, and I don’t a blue helmet what form it comes in, just as long as it tastes like cheese and has those yummy, opiate-like substances they recently discovered in cheese. Life isn’t worth living without cheese, coffee, and chocolate.

        • Is Cheez Whiz cheese or something else? Aerosol or in a jar, available at most fine retailers.

          Another consideration is Hickory Farms or Kraft Cracker Barrel cheeses.

          Also google “canning cheese” for several blogs about home canning of cheese.

          • mirbach, you gotta be careful with that stuff. It’s more ‘whiz’ than cheese.

        • Single malt Scotch or Irish whiskey. Is actually liquid cheese. Before you eat your boiled Mac try about 3 0z, Tell me it’s not so

      40. I am troubled by the sheer stupidity and child like behavior of an over large percentage of the replies that this site receives. For Gods sake America GROW UP. Crafty.

      41. That was a great article and it perfectly describes a major element of Opting Out:

        “Live Independent of the entrapping influences of society as much as possible. Free your mind of thinking you need a better looking car, a prettier house or better clothes. Do what works for YOU, not what you think others will think highly of. Live independent of the fear of judgment of others and become secure in your own person. There seems to be a farcical belief in our society that we should appear as wealthy as possible. The idiocy of this belief is that it fails to take into account just how damaging it is to our self-esteem, our lives and our livelihood. Break free of these childish societal ‘norms’ and live a life independent of the influence of advertisers, marketers and peer pressure! …

        Self-Reliance is the act of being free of needing others, including companies, the government, or your community to provide for or support you.” …


        Also, that ketchup you’re storing, I’d suggest the HFC free stuff. Not that sugar is good or anything, it’s probably toxic, but it seems to better than HFC imho.

      42. Clark: Haven’t you heard? “Greed is good!” 🙂 (Sorry Clark, the devil made me do it.) After all, “wealth is glorious”.

        Seriously, if anyone has self esteem problems because they do not have as much “wealth” as the next guy, then what they are truly lacking is … self confidence, self knowledge, and self worth.

        These positive character attributes do not come by “dropping out”.

        They come by ENGAGING oneself with others in both competition and co-operation in every field of endeavor to which anyone may be inclined, called, or desire. Life is about participation.

        Participation is the name of the game. It celebrates OUR life on the earth.

      43. How bout this, who’d a thunk it?:

        “The largest number of job losses has been mainly in the middle-range of salaries. The early recovery phase saw increased employment for low-wage workers.

        … of all resources, labor is the least likely to remain unemployed in a free market.” …

        Also, at the risk of getting in the mud again, the former mortgage banker who was part of creating the problems many individuals in the country face today wrote, “Seriously, if anyone has self esteem problems because they do not have as much “wealth” as the next guy, then what they are truly lacking is … self confidence, self knowledge, and self worth.”

        This, from a Person who boasts often about owning a gold mine,… and “I got mine, get yours”? Yeesh. Do you ever get tired of telling People how YOU think they should live?
        I get it, you don’t like the article, you don’t like the main thrust of SHTFPLAN, and most importantly you don’t like People doing their own thing their own way. Anybody not just like you is the enemy, eh?

        Opting out is a very nice plan:

        • Clark: No I don’t think I should tell anyone how to live. Nor do I. Life is about choice. Let everyone make their own choices and live with the consequences. That is what personal lioberty is all about. I encourage people to make their own choices and be self reliant.

          But I also encourage people to be all they can be … without joining the army. But I think you could have benefitted tremendously from military service.

          Dropping out will not “kill the beast”. That is reality. It is the cold hard truth. In fact it just makes it easier for the Dickheads in DC to dominate US. It is what the NWO Globalists want you to do. They want everyone who they can sway, to believe that their participation doesn’t count and then do … nothing.

          That is the Big Lie.

          They FEAR OUR participation; OUR activism. They FEAR an engaged citizen. They FEAR losing their political power: The political power that they use to erode OUR liberties and subjegate US.

          You spread the PROPAGANDA of the NWO globalists when you advocate dropping out. You spread discouragement and defeatism when you suggest that WE cannot make a difference or change the direction of America. That it is too late. Bullshit. (However, it is probably too late for you. 🙂 )

          That is the BIG Lie that the NWO GB’s on the right want US to believe so that they can continue to pillage the American economy. That is the BIG LIE that the NWO Globalists on the left want US to accept so that they can impose economic and political slavery upon US under the UN and One World Government.

          You preach and practice the NWO Party line.

          Current history suggests otherwise. Freedom and self determination is manifesting itself everywhere. WE can manifest that reality from OUR collective conciousness here in America as well or better than those others elsewhere.

          Like your fuckbuddy LOU ROCKWALL, you claim that you believe in individual liberty, yet you spew the NWO line of FREE TRADE, Illegal Immigration, and dropping out. These actions would be the death of America.

          Like your fuckbuddy LOU, you have tried to sell US FREE TRADE as if it were a freedom, when it is the system that is sytematically destroying the American Middle Class.

          This PROPAGANDA and these policies in practice, are anathema to American freedom and personal liberty.

          • Did your mother teach you to talk like that in public?
            Most mothers deserve better, I guess yours didn’t?

            Also, it’s been so interesting reading about how you have engaged government and all the positive results you’ve achieved. Especially your local successes, we could all learn from that. … Oh, wait. There aren’t any.

      44. One addendum to the five principles would be: make sure your preparedness recognises the unique physical environment in which you exist.
        Watching ever growing number of inland Australians fleeing flood waters it is obvious that a prepared person living in that environment would have made sure their house was two story, and built on solid foundations out of materials that did not absorb or hold moisture. No point in prepping three years worth of food, only to have to leave it behind because it would bnot fit in a flood rescue boat.

      45. That article “Quietly the revolution arrives” sums up our position perfectly. It’s day to day living slowly, slowly catch a monkey ; )

        Thanks for the link.

        • Thanks, lonelonmum, my pleasure.

      46. The government is your boss. After all, what is a boss, but a double S.O.B. backwards.

      47. I made sure to lay-in a huge stack of Korans to start fires, pick up doggie-doo and cause muslim fanatics to kill each other when I burn one….

      48. Lol…you American folks provide amusement for me. These words are coming from the “Home of the free, land of the brave”?

        From what I can tell, you guys are trying to turn America into the “Home of the quitters, land of the meek”.

        I can’t believe you have a website dedicated to essentially quitting. I can’t believe how many people brag about quitting society. Because this is exactly what you are doing.

        It’s the culmination of cooperation, resource and innovation that will save us all.

        Hunkering down in a shelter, with some dried figs and crap is just waiting for the end.

        It will be those of us, out there participating in the recovery, participating in good works, developing solutions WITHIN THE CURRENT SYSTEM that will save the world.

        Running and hiding in a (well stocked) hole in the ground is blatant cowardice.

        What a pile of COWARDS.

        You all disgust me.

        • These preppers who disgust you so much are simply people who do not put the burden of their existance on some one else.

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