28 October 2011

11+ no-cost tips on increasing your preparedness (while reducing your debt)

In previous posts (here and here) and a recent book recommendation, I've mentioned that eliminating debt is a very important part of preparedness planning, and of course, becoming more self-reliant. Some people that I've talked with have wondered how they can improve their preparedness and reduce debt at the same time.

As far as I can tell, such thinking is typically caused by equating "preparedness" with "buying more stuff." Instead, preparedness is largely a state of mind, which is why I relate it to self-reliance.

Being able to solve the problems you encounter (or those you think you may encounter) on your own is relying on yourself, a.k.a. "being prepared." In those terms, you are being prepared when you don't let your gas tank get below half full, for example.

As I thought about it, I realized that many of our posts here don't actually require money, or at least not more money than you're currently spending. This is especially true for many posts from our Prep30 series that ran during National Preparedness Month this past September. Using no extra money, you can:
  1. Learn new skills through nonfiction book and all kinds of online resources.
  2. Consciously choose to live a simpler lifestyle (plus, spending less of your income means you can pay off your debt faster).
  3. Start a food storage program and buy canned/dried staples instead of processed/prepackaged foods or eating out.
  4. Develop an evacuation plan and determine a couple of safe locations where you can go in an emergency.
  5. Read fiction with self-reliance themes, or stories with disasters to see potential threats and think how you'll respond.
  6. Store water, even if it's just in reused plastic milk or juice containers.
  7. Establish a family emergency communications plan.
  8. Know how to escape your home or shelter within it (and when to do either one).
  9. Organize and maintain the preparedness supplies you already have on hand.
  10. Make your own can rack for canned goods storage (not my link, but was mentioned in the post linked for item 9 above).
  11. Maintain a low profile for your preparations; don't advertise them.
This list is not nearly all-inclusive, of couse. If you look around and consider your personal situation, you'll find many more places where you can be better prepared for life's emergencies — big or small — without spending more money.

The main point is that, since these activities are free, you can become more prepared at the same time you're paying off any debt you have. That's definitely a win-win proposition!

So, what preparedness tips do you have that don't cost anything? Please share below!

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