The Least Expensive Way Out – Part 2, by L.J.

5. Tools

Tools are a great help in a lot of situations, like building or bartering, they can even be used as weapons! If you do end up buying tools, make sure you know how to use them so you don’t injure yourself. First, get basic hand tools, like a hammer, nails, screwdriver, screws, scissors, saw and a hacksaw, different sizes of wrenches, and files. Keep these in a safe place but not out of reach. Then there are the bigger tools, which are hard to forget because they are really useful, like shovels, spades, rakes, and hoes. Be sure to check brands for good quality tools. Tool maintenance keeps your tools from rusting or wearing out. For this job, you’ll need sandpaper, rust cleaner, and old rags, so don’t throw any away. Axes and hatchets are amazingly useful tools when used correctly. They are helpful in clearing brush and getting firewood. They can also be effective weapons. When selecting an axe or a knife, check the reviews to find information on the tool. There isn’t much more to say about tools, other than keep them in good condition and keep them in a safe place so they won’t get stolen.

6. Weapons

Weapons are probably the most expensive topic, so it makes it a little harder to say. Firearms are the most effective (and expensive) weapon to buy; they can spit lead from a distance with little risk of you being injured. So you should at least have one firearm in your home at all times. The type you get is entirely up to your taste and ability. Keep in mind that you’ll probably be hunting with it as well as defending your property with it. Rifles are the best option for hunting, but pistols are easier to use in defending yourself. Since we can only pick one firearm due to budget constraints, then I think the best all-around is the .243 Winchester, because it can be used on small game but also is strong enough to take out a deer. I think firearms are one of the things that you just must be willing to pay the price for, but you’ll be thankful later. However, if you don’t want a rifle or can’t afford one and you’d rather just go with a pistol, then you should probably get a revolver, because they don’t jam and they’re easier to learn how to use, but they don’t have very many shots. Make sure to take a safety course on proper gun use and go to the gun range and shoot the gun a couple times to get the feel of how to use it properly. Ammunition is a problem, because it’s so expensive. What you need to do is find a proper budget set aside specifically for ammo. Store it in a very dry place with no humidity. Guns aren’t the only things on the weapons list; knives and axes are pretty important, too. Before you get a bunch of machetes and hatchets, get a multi-tool. I have a Leatherman OHT, which is really a tactical knife, but it’s really nice to have on hand. Go online and look at multi-tools until you find one that you like. Now, we can move on to the bigger blades, like a machete. A really nice one that I have is a Gerber Gator Jr. The only problem with it is it gets dull really quick, so you have to sharpen it every once in a while. Then there’s the Kershaw Camp 10. It’s more like a kukri than a machete, but it is wicked sharp, and it holds its edge for a long time. Make sure to pick up a sharpening stone to keep your weapons in good shape. You can use the sharpening stone on the tools, too.

7. Homesteading

This can be a problem if you live in the city, but it’s not impossible. There are a lot of ways you can do most of the homesteading stuff in the city. Unless you have an unusually large back yard, you probably won’t be able to keep livestock in the city, but there are some alternatives, like chickens or rabbits. Now, depending on the type and the quantity, you could probably feed these animals with just scraps from your dinner table. Make sure not to get more than you can handle, and keep a close eye on them to see if one of them is sick or wounded. Take careful thought when getting rabbits; otherwise, your next problem will be getting rid of them. For chickens, you’ll need a little more than a cage. You’re going to need sunshine, water, grass, roosts, laying crates, and chicken wire. (You can use five-gallon buckets cut in half filled with straw for laying crates.) With chickens you have to check for eggs often or else they might end up eating their own eggs. Gardening is a much simpler process. All you need is sunshine, water, dirt, and seeds. All are very inexpensive items, and all are easy to use. Just get some old milk jugs, cut them in half, fill them with dirt, water them when needed, and watch your plants grow! The easiest types of plants to grow varies in what type of climate you live in. Just check online to see the easiest types of plants to grow for your climate. Don’t forget a compost pile. You can put that in your makeshift garden.

Budgeting from the Shopping List

I’ve come up with a list of items, most of which I’ve mentioned, with their prices listed next to them. The list is solely for the purpose of starting your list of tools and equipment wanted for preparation. Some of the prices show typical prices of USED weapons and tools. Keep in mind that these are all rough estimates and prices change. The first price listed will probably be the lowest you can get for that item with good quality. The prices of course will vary depending on the state/area you’re in, but the prices should be pretty close to the realistic price, but may not be exactly the correct price. Remember, that I have put these items in what I believe is priority with water, food, and fire at the top of the list for short-term emergencies, followed by medical, tools, weapons, and then long-term homesteading supplies. You will have to decide what your budget and priorities are. Here’s the list and pricing I’ve put together as a reference to help you in planning:

  • Water:
    • Water Jugs (empty milk jugs) $2-$4
  • Water Filters:
    • Life Straws $20
    • Bottle Filters $25
    • Water Purification Tablets $7-$15
  • Food:
    • MREs $4$-$50
    • Freeze-dried Foods $10-$50
    • Canned Goods $3-$10
    • Plastic Totes $7 (Walmart pricing)
  • Fire Starters:
    • Lighters $5
    • Matches $4-$40
    • Fire Pistons $15-$20
    • Flint and Steel $7-$13
    • Lighter Fluid $8-$15
  • Medical Equipment:
    • Band-Aids $6-$10
    • Neosporin $5-$8
    • Rubbing Alcohol $3-$6
    • Prescriptive Meds (varies)
    • Non-Prescriptive Meds (varies)
    • Toothpaste $4-$20
    • Toothbrushes $2-$10
    • Floss $5-$10
    • Bandages $4-$8
  • Tools:
    • Rakes $12-$20
    • Shovels $10-$20
    • Hammers $5-$20
    • Wrenches (Set) $7-$120
    • Screws (Pack) $6-$20
    • Nails (Pack) $6-$20
    • Hoes $9-$30
    • Axes $12-$80
    • Hatchets $10-$60
    • Wedges $13-$20
  • Weapons:
    • Rifles $100-$400
    • Pistols $100-$500
    • Knives (Everyone has different tastes and there’s a large variety, but you could probably get a good one for between $30 and $60.)
    • Machetes $20-$60
  • Homesteading:
    • Seeds (Heirloom) $40-$50
    • Gardening Pots $7-$20
    • Gardening Soil (in bags)$5-$15

I hope you learned something from this, because it is hard to deal with the lack of funds for preparing for a major collapse. The key to inexpensive prepping is to spread out your buys, not just buying the cheapest stuff, but by getting the correct tools that will not fail you when you need them. There are many more categories that I could have written about, but I just wrote down the ones that I felt were most important. One last thing, getting prepared in your mind is almost as, if not more, important than getting ready with buying things. Your mind is probably what’s going to keep you alive in a major disaster, even without the tools. You should have most of the information in your head. The ultimate goal is to be able to live in a self-sufficient way without having to rely on electricity and unstable energy. The whole point of this essay is to help the people who don’t have a ton of money and still want to prepare for the inevitable major disaster. Thanks for the opportunity to express my thoughts concerning this topic.