Previously, A Year Without the Grocery Store had posted about provident preparedness purchases that cost less than $20. In the article First 10 Significant Purchases a New Prepper Should Make they discuss their top ten items that cost more which should be high priority preparedness items. I don’t have much argument with their selections, as we already have nearly all the items on the list ourselves.
For the first item, the Berkey water filtration system, there are other versions of this product that can be purchased or partly built. The advantage of the Berkey steel design is durability and light weight, but the cost can be high. My wife used a similar filtration system, but with a ceramic body, when she was in the Peace Corps. It was heavy, but because it was a part of every day life it never moved from its place. If she had had to move it often, there could have been a danger of dropping and breaking it.
The second item specifies a single burner butane stove, but you can get a dual fuel single burner stove for about the same price which can use both propane and butane. I obtained one of the dual fuel single burner stoves, and it quickly became my favorite camping stove and my Coleman dual burner stove is often left behind, now.
Their last item is quality outdoor tools. Low quality tools are aggravating, and the expense of a broken tool can be high — not just in purchasing a replacement, but in lost time in maintenance. I’ve had fairly good luck in getting good quality saws, axes, and pickaxe, but most garden tools like rakes, hoes, etc. are hit and miss. The garden tool market seems designed to force replacement every couple of years.
Prepping is first and foremost about situational awareness. Once situational awareness is achieved, it is about learning and filling your mind with knowledge that will help you and others. After you’ve got a GOOD start on learning, then you need to start doing. You should do things to make your house more ready to handle an interruption of any kind – electricity, water, sewage, etc. You should be working on DOING things that will make you more self-sufficient. There will come a time; however, that you will need to invest in a significant purchase to move your preparedness efforts along.
Last week, we talked about items under $20 that will help you on your preparedness journey. Today, we’re going to talk about significant investments that you may want to consider. These are things that you will need to save for. While some of them cost less than $100, many of them cost more than that, and some cost significantly more than that.
I am NOT saying that if you skip all the other steps listed in the first paragraph that these things will save you – they probably won’t. But when you put these things into the perspective of having already done the hard work of being aware, learning, and doing, these things will probably help bring significant comfort to your home if there is ever an interruption in your life – and if you’ve been paying attention, there are interruptions happening all over our country right now or in the last couple of weeks from freak winter storms dumping ice on Texas to tornados in Georgia in February to record-setting cold weather temperatures in Denver, Kansas City, and other places.
I have a friend who lives in Waco who was completely unprepared for a protracted power outage. No extra food, no way to heat the house, no way to cook food. My heart aches when people find themselves in situations like this. I want to help each of you, but jumping in here isn’t the best place to do so.
Significant Purchase #1 – Berkey Water System
In my opinion, the single most important significant purchase you can make for your family’s preparedness is a Berkey Water System. You can live for about three weeks without food, but you can only live for three days without water. You need water to drink, to cook some foods, to clean your cooking pots and utensils, to clean your body, to clean your clothes and many other things. Clean water is a necessity for life. If you purchase nothing else from this list, please purchase a Berkey Water System.
Significant Purchase #2 – Single burner butane stove
My friend, who lives in Waco would have benefitted greatly from having a butane stove. These single burner butane stoves are easy to use, cook effeciently, and work effectively. These are used indoors in many eastern countries, but if you’re to use one, I would make sure that you have a carbon monoxide detector – just in case. A single burner butane stove will allow you to heat soup, make mac and cheese, mix up and heat a tuna helper. You can also use this to heat water for hot teas – which are incredibly helpful and warming if you are without power and heat. You can also boil water so that you can use a french press to make coffee.
Significant Purchase #3 – Mr. Heater
As I write this, we’re just coming out of the coldest two weeks of the year for us here in Central Illinois which makes this another significant purchase for new preppers. The week that I write this article, two million Texan households are without power. A Buddy Heater, depending on which version you use, you can heat up to 450 ft/sq. As with the butane stove, while some of the Mr. Heater are rated for inside usage, I would keep a carbon monoxide detector going – just in case.
How many people could have been kept warm this week – even without power – if they had something like a Mr. Heater?
Significant Purchase #4 – Seed bank
One of the things that everyone needs to be able to do is to grow their own food. I’ve heard the objections. One person says, “I live in an apartment.” Another says, “I live on less than .25 acres of land.” Someone else says, “I don’t have time to garden.” And yet, someone else says, “I have a black thumb.” And those objections will work for today, but they won’t work long-term. Everyone needs to be able to grow food.
If you live in an apartment, garden on your balcony, on window sills, learn how to grow microgreens, rent land from a friend, buy an odd-shaped parcel of land for $1000 or less (yes, they were selling parcels of land in our city for as little as $500)
If you think you live on too little land, I’ve got wonderful news. Not only can you homestead on 1/4 acre. I know of someone who has homesteaded on .1 acres! So you do a lot no matter how small your yard is.
Our plan – if we hadn’t found a larger parcel of land that was right for us (which we did!) we were going to rent space from a friend who owned 7 acres. When we rented two different houses in our city in Central Illinois, we used FREE 5 gallon food grade buckets to garden in and we placed them on our driveway. We grew lettuce, tomatoes, and strawberries in them. The last two years, we’ve expanded our 100 sq/ft garden by using decorative pots on our back deck. We’ve grown blueberries, onions, strawberries, chives, potatoes, and carrots in them as well. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Have a black thumb? I did. My thumb was as black as they come, but each year, I learn a little more. Each year, we eat a little more food from our garden. Every year, we expand just a smidge. And each year I get just a bit better. The only way to change the color of a black thumb is to garden – every year – and you’ll find that you get better each year just by doing it.
In order to plant a good garden, having a seed bank is another important significant purchase for new preppers.
Significant Purchase #5 – All American Pressure Canner, canning jars, and Tattler Lids
When you grow all that food, you’re going to need a way to preserve it. While a water-bath canner is definitely cheaper, you can’t use it to can vegetables or low acid foods. For that, you’ll need a pressure canner – another significant purchase for new preppers – and in my opinion, the best one out there is an All-American pressure canner.
But in order do to your home canning, you’ll also need canning jars. At the moment the price on these is over twice what they were two years ago. You can buy these used from different people. The problem that I have found with that is that canning jars of questionable quality – or those that have been stored in the garage and have experienced immense temperature swings break VERY easily. If you decide to go the way of buying your jars used, at least make sure that you do so with your eyes wide open.
And why Tattler lids? Oh, I’m SO glad that you asked. Yes, they are more expensive than regular lids. The difference is that regular lids can only be used ONCE whereas Tattler lids, can be reused OVER and OVER. When you don’t know what next year looks like – and whether or not you’re even going to be able to purchase ANY lids next year, having Tattler lids is another way to provide your family with immense peace of mind!
Significant Purchase #6 –
Firearm, ammo, and cleaning kit
I had an interesting conversation recently with the guy who came out to our new farm to inspect our well. We are currently on “city water” (yes, that’s what they call it – even in the country). So in the course of the conversation, we found out that we wouldn’t be able to use any of our wells for the house. He then proceded to tell me that wells are like gold. If people understand that we have them, if things went bad, we would have to protect them. (Wink, wink, nudge nudge) He was telling us that we needed to have firearms (yes, more than one).
But a firearm is useless without ammo. We discovered a subscription ammo service called Ammo Squared. You decide what ammo you want each month, how much of your different kinds of ammo you want set aside each month, how often you want it shipped to you. I really appreciated the service.
Significant Purchase #7 –
If you ever need to leave home, carrying a Berkey water system with you is just NOT feasible. Having a portable way to filter quantities of water is a must. This is our personal portable filter of choice. We’ve purchased three different ones of this model.
But you need two other things to make your portable water filter worthwhile. You need a canteen. This is your short-term water resource. We’ve purchased this canteen three times. We keep two in our vehicle and we gave one to our son (for his bug-out-bag) when we took him to college.
The other thing we keep in our vehicle and in a couple of our bug-out bags is a water bladder. A water bladder holds twice the water of the canteen in less space.
Significant Purchase #8 –
Just like having a portable way to filter water is important so is having a portable way to cook. We’ve purchased this particular stove three times – so we know it, love it, and have gifted it. This particular stove allows you to cook using twigs, leaves, pinecones, wood, paper, and so many other things. We love that we don’t have to carry fuel with us in our van in order to use this stove!
But the stove itself isn’t enough, so we found a compact, lightweight, durable cooking kit. This kit includes a nonstick pot and pot Cover, a nonstick pan, 2 bowls, a folding stainless steel spork, a soup spoon, a wooden spoon spatula, and a cleaning Sponge all contained in a nylon travel bag with a drawstring pouch.
Significant Purchase #9 – Solar oven
This item took us a long time to invest in. Is it an important part of our preparedness, but I want to talk you through some of the pros and cons to this particular oven. What I like about it is that I can cook in almost any temperature – even if I do have to wait for the sun. I don’t need any fuel. It’s dependable.
This oven does have a downside. It is heavy. I mean – my husband needs to move it – heavy. Yeah. Big downside, but in my opinion, it’s so important that it’s worth the investment even if I do need to get my very busy husband to move it for me.
It is important to note that this isn’t the only solar oven that we’ve ever purchased. About five years ago, we also purchased this solar oven. This solar oven works when it’s in the 60’s or warmer (despite what the information on Amazon says). It is much lighter than the Sun Oven All American – so that’s a big plus.
Significant Purchase #10 – Quality outdoor tools
World’s Best Shovel – We purchased this shovel two years ago, and it has been the single best outdoor tool investment that we’ve made. I love it. It cuts through the ground easily, doesn’t hurt your feet when you step on it, and easily lefts the dirt. I wouldn’t be without it.
Axe – If you ever need to split wood, you’ll need an axe to do that. This is the one that we own. It cuts wood well and is easily sharpened.
PickAxe – So the person that we bought the property that we’re getting ready to list to sell did something really stupid. This property used to have a gravel circle driveway. Instead of leaving it there or removing the gravel, he covered it up with dirt! When we wanted to plant some things in that area, we discovered exactly what happened. To remove just a few square feet of the gravel, we needed to use a pickaxe.
Saw – Whether you’re building or cutting down a tree, you will need a saw. Having the right tool to do the job, makes it so much easier. And if you’re living through difficult times, having a sharp and well build saw is something that you need to have in your arsenal.
Hand tiller – If you are wanting to grow a garden, and there is a chance that you will need to do it without using gasoline, a hand tiller – while taking much more effort – will get the job done.
Cross-cut saw – If you ever need to fell a tree, it goes so much faster if two people are working together. A crosscut saw will let you cut down a tree so much faster.