The World is a Mess: A Quick Primer for Beginner Preppers

by | May 4, 2018 | Headline News | 42 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article was originally published by Tess Pennington at

    Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Guide To Prepare For Any Disaster

    For seven years, my family and I have been preparing ourselves for a long-term economic depression to occur. I have watched events unfold that affected our food supply and our transportation. I have seen diseases and illness that were considered eradicated in this country make a come back and threaten our wellbeing. I held my breath hoping these disasters wouldn’t be the triggering event that would cause our great country to go under, and used those catastrophes to see holes in my preps and filled them the best I could. I knew the only control I had was to prepare for them; so I kept my head down and pressed on. I am writing this today because I feel that we are quickly approaching a time when action must be taken. Sadly, a vast majority of the population refuses to see the economic storm approaching in the distance and will be ill-equipped to survive such an ordeal.

    Admit to yourself that in the past five years, our country has drastically changed. Localized events are now increasing with more and more volatility. Former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright said it best, “The world is a mess.” Quite literally, the world as we know is being altered from the once easygoing lifestyles we have grown accustomed to into a unstable mercurial powder keg ready to explode. At the forefront of these issues is the economic disasters playing out in Greece and China causing many to wonder whether or not the dominoes will finally drop. In the U.S., many believe the Federal Reserve hasn’t done enough to prepare the markets for this type of instability. Food prices are inflating because many of the food staples we have grown accustomed to have reached their peak. Increased government taxation will also cause a slow degradation to our once flourishing nation. Additionally, due to the continued dissonance amongst races, we have watched our cities become battle grounds. And, perhaps the most heart-breaking of all is how quickly the once “land of the free” is showing clear signs of becoming a police state.

    How can a new prepper prepare?

    I realize that the preparations new preppers are looking at are daunting and may seem overwhelming. While many seasoned preppers were able to collect their preps over a longer period of time, new preppers are scrambling to catch up. First things first, breathe and focus on what your goal is. When I wrote The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster, I emphasized the importance of breaking down your preparedness endeavors into short-term and long-term emergency scenarios. Organizing it in this manner, takes some of the stress off and helps you stay more focused with your preparedness goals.

    Shift your perspective. To live long term in a economic depression-like event, you need to look at things differently and stop allowing consumer marketing companies to tell you what to buy. Secondly, make the realization that planned obsolescence is wasting your hard earned money. Planned obsolescence is when businesses design a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time. An example of this would be the cellular phone fads. The rationale behind the strategy is to generate short-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases until customers catch on and move to another product platform. Many companies are doing this, and recognizing you are being deceived is the first step in stopping it.

    Learn to be more sustainable. The next step is to find a more sustainable approach to living your life and investing in products. You need to focus on sustainable ways to make the most of what you have. The adage, “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without,” needs to be your motto from here on out. Here are 50 ways to make the most of items you have around the house.

    What’s your plan? Waiting for this ticking time bomb to detonate is a horrible way to spend precious time. You can start making a plan. According to this article, here are nine steps to take to prepare for an economic depression are:

    1. Hold no debt (for most people this means renting)
    2. Hold cash and cash equivalents (short term treasuries) under your own control.
    3. Don’t trust the banking system, deposit insurance or no deposit insurance
    4. Sell equities, real estate, most bonds, commodities, collectibles (or short if you can afford to gamble)
    5.  Gain some control over the necessities of your own existence if you can afford it
    6.  Be prepared to work with others through bartering networks as that will give you far greater scope for resilience and security
    7.  If you have done all that and still have spare resources, consider precious metals as an insurance policy
    8.  Be worth more to your employer than he is paying you
    9.  Look after your health!

    Take action. Rather than paying for luxury items like cable television, and those morning coffee runs, use your money for wisely and invest in long term items like shelf stable foods, food preservation tools. As well, if your job dictates that you live in the city, talk to country cousins and make plans to live there if times get unbearable. Sending money to set up long-term food stores, off grid tools, etc., would be very beneficial and you will have peace of mind knowing your family has a place to go if you have to leave the city. Here’s an article on how to get started with the basics of prepping. As well, check out this food calculator to see how much food your family needs. Also, consider these eight prepper items to help you through a disaster. In addition, our health system is becoming unsustainable. Recently, an article exposed the unfeasible $153,000 hospital bill to care for a rattlesnake bite. Who can afford this? Start looking at natural alternatives to care for certain ailments. Medical conditions that can be cured with natural medicine such as herbs and tinctures can save you a fortune.

    Our world is changing, and in order to survive, you must adapt to the changes or pay the price. World economic events are beginning to increase the possibility of a world-wide depression. If you haven’t begun to prepare, now is the time to make plans. I urge all of you to begin actively putting survival items away. Mark my words, you cannot hide from what is about to go down. There are two choices: 1. Ignore the signs and hope the event changes course, or, 2. Acknowledge there are economic storms in the future and prepare for them the best you can. The bottom line is, there is no safety net to fall into when an economic emergency occurs. How easily you land depends on how insulated you were from the disaster to begin with.

    (Sign up for our FREE newsletter to get the latest prepping advice, gardening secrets, homesteading tips and more delivered straight to your inbox!)

    Additional Resources:

    The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

    The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals

    Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary

    The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

    SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition: For Any Climate, in Any Situation

    The Prepper's Blueprint

    Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

    Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

    Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.


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        • I have a Baofeng UV-5R.
          It is virtually useless
          due to my terrain and
          location. I generally receive,
          but transmit is not going to happen.
          I may as well scream my guts out.

        • I plan on getting my license but if TSHTF before I do then a license will not be required. I know you HAM guys get pretty pee-oed when someone without a license talks but that would be the least of any bodies worries when the end is here.

        • Yaesu FT 101B old but in mint condition and has punch.


        • Yaesu FT 101B Old but packs a punch.

      2. Nice article Tess. For those of us who’ve, like you, been at this prep business for a while, it’s pretty much what we’ve all been doing. For the new people….. get busy, do it now, sacrifice and dedicate your efforts wisely. Time’s getting short.

        • Another info commercial selling books. Hey got to keep the newly freaked out unprepared people buying prepper supplies.

          Hey seasoned Preppers, name a few items you bought for prepping and found them to be useless or did not work.

          I will say this, one of the best items I bought was 400+ cigarette lighters online for only $80 a few years back. That’s .20 cents each. The price went up some today. Inflation eats away your prosperity. I use these lighters daily for all sorts of things. Also the Port-a potty toilet seat for a 5 gal bucket and plenty of grocery store plastic bags to hold your excrement’s. Dig a hole and bury it. If Grid Utilities go down and no water is flowing, you cannot flush your toilet, you will be elbow deep in poo.

          Tip for New Preppers. Go buy the hardest to get items first, which may disappear, like a good Battle Rifle. AR15 or AK47 and stock up on lots of Ammo. Its cheap right now, and may skyrocket. I remember when I started Prepping back in about 2010, and 2011 when the Obama Gun ban talk started, there were no AR15’s to be had, and I saw one guy in Walmart who just bought a New AR15 and could not get any ammo to feed it. As a group we just stood in the Ammo isle staring at the empty shelves. That’s when I stocked up on the last remaining ammo left like 30-06 deep and heavy and 12g hunting shot rounds. Make sure you stock up heavy on spare magazines. At least 20 mags for your battle rifle and fill half of them with ammo ready to deploy. And get your self a battle belt, to carry more ammo and items and pouched with flashlight, knife, headlamp etc. Always have that ready to deploy in a seconds notice.

      3. “Sell equities, real estate, most bonds, commodities, collectibles (or short if you can afford to gamble)”
        If you can do it without debt, Real estate is the best investment you can make. I can grow several tons of melon on a small part of my land, with little or no effort. I don’t care if the land has no monetary value, it has food value. I can trade melons for beef, pork, or what ever. I feed my cattle off the land, I can trade them for whatever. How much is a 1300# steer worth? About a years worth of meat. Real estate is “gold”.

        • Rellik : I usually like Tess’ articles but this one seems to be a big sales pitch. I am a poor country boy and have been prepping my hole life, in one way or another. I started laying in supplies in 98′. I base everything on 2 years. 2 meals a day of beans and rice is cheap. Now before everybody starts bitching and going crazy, we grow a lot of our food and butcher some more of it on our own. You only eat the beans and rice on the days that you do not have anything else. A squirrel or 2 in the rice would be awesome to. People have this imaginary dream of sitting around the camp fire or in their underground bunker eating all of their gourmet canned foods with the occasional wild west shoot out, which they win every time. You are not or better not be cooking your cakes, pies, breads, and other long range smelling food for the first 3 – 6 months. By then, half of the population will be dead or in FEMA camp.

          To stock your beans and rice to last a lifetime, get some thick plastic jugs and some hot hands. Drop a hot hand in the bottom of your clean jug, fill half full of product, drop in another for good measure and top it off. Fill and shake it down a few times and then cap it. Store in a cool dry place. It will last forever.

          The next item is up for great debate. Ammo or antibiotics. Depending on your situation, they would be equally important. Vacuum seal both with a hot hand included. Store ammo in a cool dry place. If you have room in the fridge or freezer, store antibiotics in there. Most antibiotics store without any potency loss for 20 years this way and will start losing potency only after 20 years. See a study on the internet that the US military conducted for this information. The only antibiotic that you CANNOT STORE this way is the cyclines ( doxycycline is 1 example ). They become toxic after 3 months past their expire dates.

          The next item are seeds. DON’T just go buy a bunch and think you are set. YOU HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT DOES AND DOES NOT GROW IN YOUR AREA. THAT ALSO MEANS VARIETIES. This is VERY important. I have been gardening all of my life and what grows at my house will not necessarily grow 10 miles away in the sand hills. You also have micro climates and different seasons. You need to be growing heirlooms so you can harvest your own seeds. Anyways, after you have determined what does and does not grow in your area you can go out and buy seeds or use the internet. Vacuum seal with a hot hand and store in your fridge or freezer. I am still planting viable seeds out of my freezer that have been in there 7+ years. Stock up on the stuff you eat. Stock up on the stuff that will grow in your area. I can’t stress that enough. Another thing. You do not stick your seeds in the ground today and go eat tomorrow. The fastest thing you can grow would be sprouts. Next would be radishes and they are not ready in 28 days at my house. I only use the fertilizers and poisons that I will have when TSHTF. That is NONE. NO BIG BOX STORES will be open. That means you will have lush beautiful crops in about 1 & 1/2 to twice as much time as the package states. Example, My 28 day radishes take 35 – 45 days, but they taste GREAT. Learn your growing seasons where you live. VERY IMPORTANT. You should already be doing this.

          I will leave the rest of the stuff to the other experts on this site. Examples would be clothes for all seasons, shelter, water, books, etc, etc, etc. Good luck

      4. Sell real estate? I just don’t get it. If an economic collapse comes so will a full-systemic collapse. You will need a place to bug-out to. A place to wait things out. It will be a long recovery.

        A place to live that you own outright is essential. You will need a place to gather your family to. A place to store all the things you will need to survive. You need a place to live, to grow food, to have live stock (chickens, cows, pigs, horses), fields to grow food for the livestock. A place stock medical supplies, emergency rations for the tight times, protection, soap, toothpaste, and hygienic supplies.

        Ideally your place should have rich farmland, a stream or creek running through it, with enough flow to attach a mini-hydro electric generator to it. Enough land ideally situated for a wind turbine and solar panels. Three (3) wells for water and a manual pump. All sources of power will be needed because when things collapse so will the power companies.

        Only a placed of your own (real estate) can do this. Why the devil would the author recommend getting rid of it. Where are you supposed to live?

        • I agree, that’s nuts. Rent? So in an economic crisis you have 30 days to pay or the landlord throws you and your stockpile of beans in the street? This is seriously flawed. No way would I sell real estate. If you own more that one house, you can barter someone a place to live in exchange for working the land. I hope newbs aren’t reading this and taking it to heart. A better way would be, sell the McMansion in the overcrowded subdivision and buy an older fixer in an inexpensive area with a good amount of land.


            SECURITY- Check!! Plenty of Guns Ammo, been out at the REMOTE FL BOL for 3 Years, and its tight perimeter barbed wire fence and gate, motion detectors, and 3 sides of the property is water and backed up to miles of swamp, and a moat filled with Gators to cross to get to my peninsula Compound on an inland Island. My neighbors are great, and we go shooting on our properties and they have dogs with alerts me if someone is coming down the dead end private road in a private community. Google street maps views, do not come in here in this entire private area. Can anybody look up your property on street view? Shame on you. You can actually click the Icon as concerns on your street view of your house or property and tell Google to blur the Street views of your property and vehicles, due to security. They will do it.
            MONEY – Check!! Silver 1 Oz Rounds and can trade it anytime for money. Consider barter or a skill you can trade for a service or product. And never keep any money in the bank, and keep all your debts at one bank and your income at another complete Credit Union. And drain your bank account but to pay bills, and trade your money in for Silver rounds. .999 pure. Also get all out of Debt.
            UTILITIES – Check!! I’m all 100% OFF Grid using Solar. I do not pay for any Utilities either. Cans, bottles and paper goes to recycling and the rest get burned. No trash bill. My solar also runs my fridge and freezer, power tools, lights, fans, and Internet satellite dish. Its remote out here, cell phones barely work, so no tracking me on my No-contract burner phone.
            FOOD – I DO NEED TO GET MY FOOD STOCKS UP SOME. Stock up with 3 years of food as a Goal, and keep stacking and rotating your food. Pick up some MRE’s also and have at least 5 ways of cooking food including a camp fire using cast iron Dutch over or pan. Get the tools now or go hungry. Also plenty of game from rabbits, turkeys and deer run on my property.
            TRANSPORTATION – SUV, Bicycle, Hiking Boots, Kayak where I can slip in my canal and paddle out into the wilderness miles deep into swamp and wilderness and set up a new remote camp if needed. I am considering a 2nd kayak just to pull supplies in, and slip in just before dark and again just before light back into the deep swamp and miles of waterways. But hey no need to go anywhere, as my property provided everything for me except Propane Gas and Regular Gas. And I have plenty stocked up on that also.
            Leaving was their only option. Huh? OK So plan B was go be a fricken Refugee on the lamb with no where to go? I say BS!! Move ASAP like now and go live at your hidy-hole homestead BOL, Off the Grid and debt free, out into the country. Feel your freedom and fresh air daily with nature and peace and quiet, far away from the polluted masses and chaos and BS..


            • Damn I’m impressed.

            • You weren’t talking so tuff when that hurricane was whaling on you

            • Battle rifles are useless against a 100mph wind

            • Thar,
              Just a note. Stockpiles of MRE’s isn’t going to get it done. You need a renewable food supply. I recommend a aquaponics system in a greenhouse (like mine). Continuous food supply! Check it out. BTW:
              Security: Check (cameras, motion sensors, bullets and mastiffs)
              Utilities: Check (propane Generac, solar, wind, hydro, bio-diesel)
              Food: Check (aquaponics greenhouse, 2-acre garden, orchard, viniard, quail, pheasant, chickens, rabbits – plus wild game of mostly venison and squirrel)
              Comms: Check (Hamm, and CB)
              Water: Check (6 springs and a spring-fed creek)
              Trade/Barter: Check (“real” money, food, water, ammo, medicines, and most importantly, APPLICABLE SKILLS)

              Only been prepping for about 5 years folks. If I can do this, anyone can.

        • Banks and Wallstreet have been conspiring for years to keep jacking up Real Estate Prices. As it provides instant wealth, so you can buy more crap from their fascist consumerism corporations. Ford Motor Co is about to go Bankrupt, and needs to shed $22.5 Billion in cutbacks by 2022 to survive.

          But in a crash, the houses and properties won’t be worth a fraction, when it all collapses making everyone upside down on their mortgages. The $10 Million Pent House Apartment up on the 75th floor won’t be worth sh!t, when the power grid crashes and then those people instead of elevators, will have to hump up 75 stories of stairways just to carry their drinking water to their home. Try doing that for 3 years while the grid is repaired. Then the highrise buildings will begin to burn down as people start fires in their apartments to keep warm in the winter, and the entire buildings will collapse into a heap of flaming debris, people and all. Lots of death will be in the Cities and then followed by lots of diseases and more death wave #2.

          You got a plan yet to handle this situation? No need to stock up on food if you live in the city, as you will flee with what you can carry on your backs to escape your death. 99% of the rest of your preps you bought, you will have to abandon, if you try to prep while still living in the cities. You stay in the city because of your stuff? out of greed for stuff, you will then die at the hands of roaming gangs raping and pillaging house to house, and yours is next.

          Do you have a plan for this?

      5. #4: …sell..real estate (for most people that means renting)…


        If I own a home, unless it is at the height of a bubble, I would NOT sell. I would NOT sell even if I was at the height of a bubble.

        I would work extra to pay down the principle, hold on to my investment. Improve the property. Make sure everything is maintained for the long haul. Put in a water catchment system. Plant fruit and nut trees. Put in new water pipes of copper and put in a water purification system for the house.

        Establish roots in your community.


        • “unless it is at the height of a bubble”?…..where in THE hoe-lee f ck do you think we ARE in this housing market? the market we have now is the DEFINITION of a bubble. inflation adjusted, we make LESS money than we did in 2000……yet we are paying 2 to 3 times what we paid in 2000 for a house. NOT sustainable. when interest rates go back to normal(you know…..when we begin PAYING savers to rent their money to the bank again)….home prices will go back to pre-2000 prices, and probably below that. it’s math……and math IS LAW, afterall.



      6. Very good. It is never too late to get started.

      7. Maybe the author can clarify her statement about real estate. I have been prepping for ten years, and I am thinking carefully about the future. I own my home. I think real estate will always have some value, and after I own enough precious metals, I will consider real estate.

      8. Very good,BCA. I will get into debt buying a home,but…if renting and your landlord goes under,so does the renter. Banks may work with you on the mortgage because they don’t want all the property on their books. Start a homestead like I want to. Never go hungry,barter with neighbors

      9. There is some basic info that is, well basic, in the article. There is also absurd advice in the article. Most of the articles on this site lean more towards the absurd. No, I will not be selling my house and rent somewhere. That has got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve read on the web all week. Precious metals, in a collapse, won’t be precious at all. Especially if it’s an economic collapse. You can’t eat them, you can’t defend you or your family with them, they can’t keep you warm or sheltered or filter water. So the way I see it precious metals are useless. People will be more interested in trading for toilet paper than a gold coin.

        Regarding ham radios. Get a decent radio and learn how to use it. That may mean having to get a license. If things go bad in the country, don’t worry about a license.

      10. Real Estate: Get yourself a decent plot of good, agriculture land, with it own water supply.
        You can raise small to medium sized livestock, gardens, even small plots of grains.

        • OldTin,
          That’s the best advice I’ve seen here so far.
          BTW: already done – tillable land and timber.

      11. The best long term preparation any prepper can make is this:
        Vote out ALL incumbent politicians and try to only vote in constitutional adherents. That is best prep anyone can make. Everything else is reactionary for failing to do the above….

      12. A lot depends on just how severe the collapse becomes and if its a sudden thing or a slow decline. Its possible that if you have real estate and grow crops ,garden or raise livestock that makes you a target. The local government might decide you have more than your fair share and take it and redistribute it. And then the unprepared will certainly want your preps. I hoping if it gotta happen to have it occur in the extreme cold. No crops are growing. the cold will kill off the unfit quicker. And for a time it will become a stone age existence.The best prep you can have is Know How and Self Reliance. Without those two things no amount of stored preps will save you.

        • old guy,
          You knocked it out of the PARK!
          “The best prep you can have is Know How and Self Reliance. Without those two things no amount of stored preps will save you.”
          I have a volcano going off, 6.9 Earthquakes, and people moving out.
          I’m just fine.

          • Rellik,you do know that thermal blanket is not lava proof?!

            Enjoy the fireworks!

            • Actually,
              I’m considering opening up my second house
              to people that have been displaced.

      13. I agree, i will not sell my land. The challenge is, if you have to pay property tax, you in essence are leasing your land from the govt. They can raise your taxes a 100 or 1000% and just take your land. They do not play by the rules. Once tax revenue starts to dry up. Ceaser wants his pound of flesh. This is why I have always been against payroll and property tax. If They can tax it, they can take it.
        I truly wish you all the best. No
        One will make it thru this unscathed.
        God’s bless…

        • Maybe the Author meant do NOT own land or property in the City, as you may need to abandon it fleeing for your lives in SHTF.

          There’s nothing like owning land out in the rural country. Productive farmland is also good. I own woods with lots of critters on it including deer, and with over 1000 Feet of fresh waterfront. Fishing and fresh water is a plus here also. Annual Property taxes are only about $110 an acre. Taxes in the city are about 20 times higher than country. Even auto insurance is 1/3rd less in the country. Get out of the cities= No Brainer.

      14. Too badTess’ food calculator lists most of the types of food that is bad for your health. I suppose it’s better than nothing. However, going slightly paleo one needs less food and adjusting it to heal your gut is optimum imo. Gundry’s book The Plant Paradox s awesome and does not advocate constant ketosis, mainly focuses on getting the correct gut bacteria and stopping leaky gut syndrome and inflammation. I highly recommend.

      15. Owning real estate is owning title to a property. The title is a legal right backed up by the government. If the government totally collapses, the title is worthless. At that point, you own what you can hold onto by force. You need a BIG gun;actually you need lots of big guns, the ability & willingness to use them, and everything that you need to go with them!!! That is the new title to your property;that is what puts the YOU in YOUr property! Problem is that anyone with more force has a better title and it becomes HIS property! Anyone know where I can buy a working tank?

        • Brian,

          re: working tanks…you in Wyoming? Then ask the Stark’s in Dubois. They are building a tank museum.

      16. Wow, my post blocked?

      17. 1. Get or keep out of debt
        2. Cry poor mouth. People are jealous.

        • Yes indeed people are jealous. the local government is always trying to find new ways to raise the taxes. The So called poor have the mindset that anyone who has more than they do got it by being crooked and thus don’t deserve it. Andthen there is the Fair Share bullshit?

      18. Its not just government but much closer. Irresponsible family that think playing slot machines is a way to get rich will get into trouble and attempt to use you as an ATM because they’re behind on their mortgage. As things get worse the number of people wanting something increases. As they say, “The best defense is a good offense”. In that light ask them for money. Tell them all you lost all of your savings in “the damn market”.

      19. I am a poor swamp dweller who knows how to exploit food sources. Look at the area where you plan on surviving in. How many people there will be competing for food resources there? What are you willing to eat? Will you have shelter and something to heat with? Remember if its made of meat you can eat it no matter how stinky or ugly it is. Have the tools and knowledge you need to collect food and water in bad times such as steel traps, nets, seeds, hand tools and a well thought out practical plan. You might have to live like a early pioneer for a while but it can be done with much work and discomfort.

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