These days, there are so many ways to better prepare yourself and your family, though you often hear about the ones that cost money. If you’re like me and on a tight budget, here are a few ways you can get better prepared for free:
1. Learn your way around your home in the dark.
Do you carry a flashlight on you at all times? Chances are, the answer is no. You also don’t always know when the power will go out. Learning how to make your way around your house in the dark without injuring yourself could make a huge difference in an emergency situation and is an easy way to get better prepared for free.
It’s even something you can get the kids involved with. Challenge them to get from one place to another in the house without turning on a light. You could also make it a scavenger hunt. Give them a list of things to collect from different rooms (a pillow from the living room, toothpaste from the bathroom, a tea towel from the kitchen. You get the idea.)
2. Go over your emergency plans with your family.
I recommend sitting down with your family (or, if you’re single, doing it by yourself) and going over your emergency plans about once a month. Not only is it great to get a refresher, keeping everything fresh in your mind, but things change. Maybe someone in your house needs a new medication, and you haven’t added it to your bug-out bag. Maybe your sister is staying with you for a few months, or you have got a new pet. Heck, maybe a fence was put up blocking the main route to your meet-up location, and you need to find a new one.
Things are constantly changing and happening in our everyday life, so it’s important to make sure everything is always up to date. Better to prepare for the changes before they become an issue.
3. Working on projects with free items will help you get better prepared for free.
Projects and DIYs are not only fun, but they’re actually helpful too. When you take time to make homemade pillows or refinish a piece of old furniture, or heck, just making something new and useful out of something old, you’re getting in a lot of good practice. You’re working on things like sewing skills, carpentry, and also just working those muscles in your brain that like to teach you how to think of things in a new light.
Now, you might be wondering, how is it free? Well, sites like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Kijiji (if you’re in Canada), VarageSale, and so many more, are constantly listing things for free. Those free things are also often the things that need the most work. In many cases, you can just pick the item up, and then you have a new vessel to practice your DIY skills on. Plus, you may even be able to resell it when you’re done for a little extra pocket money.
4. Organize your food storage.
This one often goes underrated. Taking the time to organize your food storage, though, is priceless. You first want to make sure that the items closest to their expiry dates are at the front. This way, they get eaten first and have less chance of going bad.
I also strongly recommend taking a full inventory of your preps and keeping track, both as a digital copy and a hard copy. Google Sheets is my favorite resource for this – it’s essentially a free version of Microsoft Excel. The best part is you can access it from nearly any device. That means you can type it all up on the computer and print it out. But, if you’re saying, at the grocery store, and see there’s a sale on beans. You know you have black beans or pinto beans, but you can’t remember which. Just open the phone, look on the app, and you’ll know exactly how much you have of which.
This will help you keep a more balanced stockpile, and I recommend updating every 1 to 2 weeks.
(For more information on how to build up your food storage, check out our free QUICKSTART Guide on building a 3-layer food storage plan.)
5. Work on skills to become more adaptable to changing situations.
Practicing skills like scenario run-throughs with loved ones, keeping up with current events, and considering your current preps with a critical eye can all help to increase your adaptability and help you to get better prepared for free. That, and putting yourself in low risk but uncomfortable situations. You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable sometimes.
6. Read more.
Reading is honestly one of the best things you can do to prep, in my opinion. I personally read almost everything and anything I can get my hands on. I’m not just talking non-fiction manuals like Prepping for Dummies. Reading fictional books about survival situations like A. American’s series or autobiographies of people who have lived through things similar to 127 Hours.
And, to do it for free, check out your local library. A lot of libraries even have ways to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from the comfort of your own home too.
7. FEMA training.
Did you know that FEMA actually offers a selection of completely free in-person and virtual classes? Talk about a score for reliable, good-quality training and lessons to help you in emergency situations. You do have to register, but I think it’s totally worth it. Go HERE to see a list of courses being offered right now.
Are there other ways you get prepared for free?
It just goes to show you don’t need thousands of dollars to better prepare yourself and your loved ones for emergencies. Sometimes it just takes a little time and effort.
What’s your favorite way to prep for free? Do you have any creative ways not mentioned here? Share them in the comments.
About Chloe Morgan
Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea.