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I’m shocked by how much money people are willing to spend on survival gear (especially when there’re so many things they can do that don’t cost a dime). Tools, gear, guns, ammo, a stockpile, gym memberships, self-defense classes – all of these added up can cost thousands of dollars (or more) if we’re talking about a whole family. The things I’m about to share are not only free, but they will increase your chances of survival. A lot. Many of them can be done right now, so there’s no excuse not to begin after reading this article.
- 1 #1. Work Out at Home
- 2 #2. Clean Up Your Attic and Garage
- 3 #3. Stockpile Some Tap Water
- 4 #4. Dig a Cache to Hide Your Supplies
- 5 #5. Print a Map of Your Area
- 6 #6. See Your Doctor
- 7 #7. Get to Know Your Town or City Better
- 8 #8. Work on a Family Survival Plan
- 9 #9. Salvage Your Containers
- 10 #10. Download Free Content
- 11 Final Word
#1. Work Out at Home
I know your home isn’t the most productive place to work out, but the good news is that there’s no shortage of body weight exercises you can do. Look up the following exercises on YouTube (there’re plenty of videos showing how to do them):
- Jumping Jacks
- Single leg Dead Lifts
- And Dozens More
Becoming a survivalist is all about being fit. If you aren’t fit, it’s going to be harder to stay alive in a post-crisis environment.
#2. Clean Up Your Attic and Garage
The more “junk” you have, the more survival items you will find. Post-collapse, anything can be of value and, although you probably won’t find a LifeStraw in your attic, things like plastic containers, bags, old clothes, and old electronics will come in handy. As for the rest of the stuff you find, you can sell it to reinvest the profits for newer gear.
#3. Stockpile Some Tap Water
Okay, so you’ll eventually pay for it when the utilities bill comes next month, but tap water is practically free. Just store it in old bottles you have around the house. Not the ideal way to keep it for the long term but, just you make sure you rotate it (i.e. drink it) regularly so there’s no risk of algae or bacteria growing inside. Also, be sure you store it in a dark place and at a cool temperature. For the long term, you need to plan for a bigger water stockpile. Planning is also free, by the way.
#4. Dig a Cache to Hide Your Supplies
This is one of the things some preppers refrain from doing because it makes them look a little weird, but this is a great way to protect some of your valuables. It will also give you a free full-body workout.
#5. Print a Map of Your Area
Mark on it the locations and routes that are relevant for your survival. Some of the things you may want to consider:
- Alternative routes to get home from work, the gym, etc.
- Routes to get out of your town or city either by car or by foot (e.g. train tracks)
- ATM machines (you many need some cash when you’re in a hurry)
- Vending machines (some extra food and water will come in handy)
- Abandoned buildings (that you can use as shelter when bugging out or if you’re trapped in a riot)
- Dead ends
The list goes on and on. The point is, don’t be scrambling to find these things when SHTF. By that point, it will be too late.
#6. See Your Doctor
Ok, this isn’t exactly free. But, let’s say that you have some health issues that have been bothering you for months (or even years). Now’s the time to take care of them. I don’t know if you’ll be able to do it without spending money, but seeing your family doctor is peace of mind. Remember, you won’t be able to take care of these medical issues after a SHTF situation. Do it beforehand.
There is one thing that you can take advantage of if you are at your clinic, for whatever reason. Let’s say you are getting stitches. While there, ask for some sample packets of anti-bacterial ointments and other similar items that will fit nicely into a first aid cache or bug-out bag.
#7. Get to Know Your Town or City Better
Whether you take your car or go on foot, there shouldn’t be a single street you haven’t set foot or driven on. This could be a lifesaver in a get-home and bug out scenario. Having a map with routes is one thing, but actually seeing them in person is another. If you have a big car (such as a Ford F250), you’ll want to know if it’ll fit through the narrow streets in your city. The more familiar you are with your town or city, the better off you’ll be.
You can usually get local maps from your Chamber of Commerce for free.
#8. Work on a Family Survival Plan
As I said before, planning is free- all you need is pen and paper. You can also do it on your computer (because it’s easier to track your expenses that way). You can start with assessing your current situation:
- Number of household members
- Age, sex, medical conditions, disabilities
- Food allergies (so you know which foods NOT to stockpile)
- Whether or not you have a car
- Whether or not you have a bug out location
- The disasters and critical events you think are most likely to occur
Once you figure these out, you can start putting together a small checklist of things you need to get. Some of them, as I said, may be found in your attic. This will ensure you don’t just buy things at random and that you save cash by buying in bulk or hunting for discounts.
#9. Salvage Your Containers
Soda cans, water bottles, tuna cans, pill bottles, etc. We throw these away on a daily basis, but little do we know how useful they can be in an emergency. Use these containers to store tap water when it’s about to run out, to make emergency candles, to hold tiny things such as needles and even sprout seeds.
#10. Download Free Content
You can find dozens of free apps for iOS and Android. For instance, the Commander Compass Lite app for iPhone and iPad is pretty awesome, and the Planets app shows you the stars and constellations in the sky relative to your location. In addition, you can find plenty of first aid and survival apps. Amazon Kindle also has a great deal of survival eBooks that you can download. And if you want more information, you can upload the eBooks you already purchased to your device and even use an app such as Pocket to save entire blog articles, including this one!
Like I said in the beginning of this article, you can do many of the suggestions I’ve given you right now. Most people falsely believe that you have to spend thousands of dollars to prep. But this simply isn’t true. By being creative, and maintaining a positive attitude, you’ll be able to do it even on a limited budget. If you’ve already done these things, maybe you can write a comment below with other free things you’ve done to prepare.
MAY 2019 NOTE: This was a guest post originally published April 27, 2016. While this contains some solid information, it’s pretty light on actual content about freebies. We expected it to mention stuff like “when you find a penny, pick it up and hoard it…” or “stockpile dryer lint for use as fire-starter” type of content. For example, we pick up pennies all the time; people drop them and consider them worthless and leave them on the ground. We’ve filled jars like this, and – well, copper is copper! So, we’ll address this topic more in the future. In the meantime, we’re keeping it up in the archives.