A reader named Rose posted a comment that is important enough to address on its own; namely, how do you prepare on a budget?
Here's her words:
"We've been trying to stock up on some basics as well. Our biggest obstacle is money. We just filled a 100 gallon diesel tank for $310. We are trying to build our supplies, but it is hard to do when you have very little left over every month to even buy 2-3 extra items. Our fuel bill will strap us this month. We could have filled the tank a little at a time to save money, but then if we needed it, we wouldn't have it. What are your secrets to building up supplies without going broke?"
Rose, the answer is the same as the answer to the question of how do you eat an elephant: one bite at a time. Believe me, I understand how difficult it is because we're low income as well.
Whatever happens, I don't recommend going into debt to make preparations. You don't need the extra stress of debt in addition to the stress of preparing for hard times.
When I posted this list, it didn't mean I'm going to go out and buy everything on it in one fell swoop. No possible way! Instead, the list is in my purse so whenever I find myself (a) in town and (b) with a few extra dollars, I can purchase one or two of the items in accordance with whatever extra money I have.
For example, we're planning on going into the city this week to run some errands. Along with the errands, I'll look for a couple items on my preparedness list. Since we're stopping at a couple of thrift stores I'll look for canning jars, glass globes, and sheets. I have to stop at Costco as well, so if we have any extra money I'll buy, say, some throat lozenges or razers. See how it works?
Remember, you have about five core areas you need to prepare for: food, water, heat, light, and sanitation. When money is tight, your preparedness efforts should focus around those.
For the vast majority of us who are on extremely limited budgets, the only thing we can do is what we can do. That sounds trite, so let me explain.
We can't do everything. That's a fact. Don't fight it. Don't whip yourself into despair because you're not ready for TEOTWAWKI. Don't compare your preparations to anyone else's. (That's because we're all in different circumstances and have different needs, not to mention different incomes.)
But here's the nifty little secret: DO SOMETHING. Anything. Anything is better than nothing. Sure, it would be nice to live in a hurricane-proof bunker with ten years' worth of food on hand, but it ain't gonna happen.
And whatever you do, don't adopt that attitude that, since you can't do everything, you aren't going to do anything. With that attitude, you become a leech when the SHTF, and we don't want that, now do we?