- Grow and preserve your own food: I can not stress the importance of this first step. Growing your own food is the final answer to the self sufficiency question. A hundred years ago everyone knew this. There was no grocery store. You could maybe find a market on the weekends where you could go trade for or buy goods. But there weren't any stores where you could go buy bags of food that somebody else prepared and packaged up for you. There was just your garden where in early spring the ground would be prepared for the transplants you started from the seeds you saved from your garden last year. It's the ultimate circle of life. If you can grow, harvest and preserve what you grow you know you won't go hungry.
- Store extra food and water: One can not always depend on the grocery store to be open or that some government helper will bring you water and food so it's best to have your own . You never know what the future will bring. What ever reason you are prepping whether it's an act of nature that knocks power and services out for a few days or an act of man that breaks down society you need food. It seems daunting when you see pictures of stores of food some people have. It's best to remember that they have been doing this a lot longer. I started by picking up extra when I went grocery shopping. If pasta and spaghetti sauce were on sale I bought what I needed for the week and then bought for 1 extra meal. I do the same thing with bottled water as it is always on sale somewhere. Every time I go shopping I pick up an extra gallon. Don't go buy something you or your family don't usually eat. No reason to be having to live off your stockpile for some reason and then having to eat something you don't like. I use the 'store what you eat and eat what you store' philosophy. Which means I only buy things I know my family and I will eat and incorporate it into my day to day life. Meaning that before the food in my stockpile expires we will use it up and purchase more of it. There are also places online that you can purchase buckets of food supplies. I don't because I am fussy about my food, I like to know where it started out from.
- Get fit: Yep, you heard me. You know those 5lbs that you've been meaning to get rid of? Do it now! The last thing you want to worry about in any survival situation is your health. If you can't walk a mile without gasping for breath then what are you going to do if you have to run with a heavy backpack on? Getting fit is probably the least expensive thing you can do as a prepper. You don't have to go all Sara Conner or anything, this is not Terminator but you don't want to worry about a heart failure in the middle of hiking up a mountain either. Eating fresh and in season food, a daily dose of honey (stayed tuned for an article on honey), quitting the cigarettes (hey I did it, so can you!) and getting plenty of exercise will help tremendously.
- Get out of debt: But, you say, it's the end of the world as we know it who cares if I owe back taxes on my property? Well, what if it's just an economic depression and in a year or two life gets better do you want to chance the government taking away your house because you didn't pay the property taxes on it? If you can and when you can pay at least up to 3 months ahead on your mortgage and at least a year on your property taxes. If for some reason you lose your job well at least you know you have food and water stocked up and you don't have to worry about getting behind on your bills. This is the hardest part of prepping I think. Money is such an issue for everyone right now and it's scary to let it out of your sight if you don't have to but let me tell you that money is nothing compared to knowing you won't lose your house and property in an economic depression.
There is so much more to do but if you start here you will be fine. While you are getting your stockpile started and rearranging your budget while you go for a walk you can be thinking about a few other things to add to your list.
Purchasing pre 1964 silver dimes and quarters- during a depression this will be worth more than paper money. Prior to 1964 dimes and quarters were made mostly of silver. In 1964 a gallon of gas cost 1 quarter today that same silver quarter is worth around 4 or 5 dollars. Silver keeps it's value so start stocking up on that now.
Purchasing a gun and ammo- you want to be able to protect yourself and your family. Learn how to use it. It doesn't do any good to have it sitting around and you don't even know how to load it.
Learning to hunt, trap or fish-veggies are fine but without a significant source of protein you won't have the strength to take care of yourself or your family.
Start putting together an emergency back pack for everyone in your family. It should have at least 3 days worth of food in it, water, water purification tables, 1st aid kit, flashlight, batteries and an emergency radio. You should also keep a tent and some emergency blankets. I also recommend keeping emergency kits in each of your vehicles.
While you are building your stockpile be sure to store things that you could use for barter if you need to. Coffee, alcohol, ladies products, shampoos, toothbrushes etc are luxuries that you can bet will become barter items.
Like I said there is a lot out there that you can do to prepare yourself for whatever comes but these are the few basics everyone should have.