The Collegiate Cheap-Skate -- $5-$15 monthly budget
I like the idea of preparedness being a part of your daily life. Incorporating small things into my daily routine seems much more manageable than trying and doing it all at once. I particularly like investing in things that I can actually use, rather than just set them on the shelves and forget about them.
As an avid camper and hiker, I am always looking for gear and equipment that I can take out on the trail, but also have around in case of an emergency. And since I am in college and trying to make it on my own, doing so on a shoestring budget is even better.
This month I've got my eye on two very useful, very affordable items:
Katadyn Micropur Tablets
These things are pretty amazing: 1 tablet will kill all protozoa, bacteria and viruses in a liter of water. Each tablet is only slightly larger than an Aspirin, so weight and size are not even an issue. Time is a bit of an issue: if the water is clear, contact time is 30 minutes, but if it has a lot of dirt and sediment in it, you need to let it set for up to 4 hours. To help me overcome the time problem, I plan on getting...
EEI Water Bottle
I love these water bottles. They are BPA-free, have an extra-wide mouth, and fit in my backpack water bottle holder perfectly. And they have graduated measurements on the side so I know how much water I've got in there when I go to use my Micropur Tablets. By getting two of them, I can have water purifying in one while I drink out of the other, and then alternate between them, making the 4 hour contact time irrelevant. At $3.95 each, two of these will put me about a dollar or so over budget, but I will totally play by the rules next month, I almost promise.
The Urban Girl Who Knows Nothing – $30-$45 monthly budget
Since this is my first month prepping, I have been thinking about what I would need most in a crisis situation, and also what would give me the biggest bang for my buck. The two things that came to mind were water and an emergency kit. So this month I’m doing both… on a budget.
Water and Sanitation
Water is one of the most crucial needs in an emergency situation. This month I want to get an easy, basic supply of water put together to get me through a few days. In the next few months I’ll be upgrading to a more substantial supply in a more permanent storage container, but for now I’m buying a Deluxe Sanitation & Water Kit. I was originally just going to buy the bag and box, but for less than a dollar more, I get the extra sanitation items included by buying a full kit.
This kit includes a metalized bag I can fill with water myself and store in a box to protect the bag from punctures, as well as the necessary items to take care of sanitation needs if sewage service is interrupted in my area in a disaster. This kit is less than $8 dollars—well within my budget—and won’t take up a lot of space in my house.
Now that I’ve got my water storage situation under some semblance of control, I want to be sure I’ve got a basic emergency kit that I can grab and take with me if I have to leave home—or that I can use at home in an emergency. There are a lot of options available, but to stick with my budget I’ve decided to buy the 3-Day Lite Emergency Kit. It’s got the basic items I’ll need in a crisis, and because it has extra room in the pack, I can easily add items to it in the future to meet more specific needs. This kit costs just under $33 dollars, so with the two kits, I’ve spent about $41 dollars.
The Family Prepper -- $100-$150 monthly budget
This month my wife and I decided to add some extra water storage to our emergency supplies. We have just enough water now to meet the minimum requirement of a gallon per person per day for two weeks. But we have quite a few dehydrated ingredients and freeze-dried meals in our food storage, so we decided to store extra water for cooking.
Another reason to store extra water is for sanitation needs and bathing. A gallon a day is enough for each person to drink, eat, and lightly bathe (think something along the lines of a sponge bath).
We also have an elderly neighbor we like to check in on every couple of days, and we thought it might be beneficial to store some extra water for her, in case she needs some help from us in an emergency.
With these two factors in mind, I’ve decided to purchase two 55-gallon barrels with my monthly prepping budget. At $75.95 each, that puts me just barely over my $150 budget at about $152. Getting those filled and stored away for future use will give me more peace of mind, knowing that my family’s water, food, and sanitation needs are taken care of—and that I can offer some help to a family friend in a time of need.
That’s what we’re spending our prepping budgets on this month. What about you, readers? Do you have a monthly prepping budget? What are you focusing on right now?