Preparing our families for what lies ahead is one of the most important things we can do. Having food, water, medical supplies and a means (preferably more than one) to defend you and yours can be the difference between getting through the bad times — or not. However, getting started in preparing yourself and your family can be quite overwhelming and discouraging. I’ve been there.
So where does one begin? How much do you need to stockpile in every category?
To start, you need to ignore many of the Internet warriors out there who tell you to stockpile 10 years of food, 50 long arms, and 1 million rounds of ammunition. That is one surefire way to get depressed before you even start — and it just does not help. You have to start where you are and with what you can afford. Some folks can throw $10,000 right away into preparedness, while others can barely scrape up a couple hundred dollars. At first, focus on four different areas: food, water, medicine and defense. Everything else will come after you have handled this.
1. Food. Start out by aiming for a month’s worth of emergency food. You can go from there. If you can afford it, dehydrated foods with shelf lives of 20-plus years are a great option. But not everyone can afford it. Dehydrated food is a huge expense.
I wrote an article  recently about prepping on a tight budget. In that article, I strongly suggested canned food and dried rice, beans, oats, fruits and other long shelf-life food. Canned food can last well beyond the manufacture dates, and eating canned food that is 50-plus years old if stored correctly still provides nutrition.
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Store food properly. After you have one month of food, start on another month. So on and so forth. Ignore the naysayers who say you need to have 5,000 MREs, or those who claim you can only eat what you grow in your garden. You have to do what is best for you and your family, and there is only so much you can do at a time.
2. Water. I recommend having a week’s worth of drinking water, minimally. Clean drinking water is a must. Start out with 50 gallons of spring water for bad times. Again, you can go from there. Begin developing a filtration system like a charcoal filter, a means to boil water, and a water catchment system. It may take a few weeks to get this system figured out and up to a couple months to get it set up, but just start somewhere.
The bottom line is you must have a supply of water if the faucet stops running.
3. Medical. This is one area that can be extremely overwhelming. It is easy enough to stockpile food and water. It is much more difficult to know what you need to stockpile in the way of medical supplies. Of course, you will need to stockpile bandages, gauze, Neosporin and topical antibiotics. You will also need to have any prescription medication  on hand — perhaps enough for six months to a year. How do you stockpile that? In many cases you can purchase it from online businesses in Canada or Europe and have it shipped to you through the mail. Also, purchase some antibiotics. At least three kinds. You can buy animal antibiotics (same as what is used for humans) from a pet supply shop.
Medical supplies are important. Start where you can and buy what you can afford and build up month by month.
4. Defense. This is another very important area that some folks who do not have an in-depth knowledge of firearms feel overwhelmed by. To start out, I strongly recommend you simply buy a pump-action shotgun to protect you and your family. A Mossberg 500 set up for home defense is a great option. The safety to the firearm is located right near your thumb and is quick to turn off when needed. That and the pump release being behind the trigger guard allow the firearm to be brought quickly into action. The shotgun can fire a variety of ammunition, from basic bird shot load, 00 Buck, to slugs. The price of the Mossberg 500 can range from $150 used to around $320 new.
What advice would you give the person who is getting started in “prepping”? Share your tips in the section below: