Preparing Within Your Means

The basic philosophy of Leveled Survival is that each and every person must decide to what level they are willing and able to prepare for. If you read books, blog posts, forum threads, etc. it is very easy to get caught up in an ever escalating “pie in the sky” level of preparation. Somewhat television and movies are even worse. All of these sources tend to tell you that you are never prepared enough. A reality check is to understand that you CANNOT prepare for everything. The possible disasters ranging from a temporary loss of income to complete destruction of all electrical items by a solar storm can require an infinitely diverse set of preparations. No one has enough money, time, space, or skills to prepare for them all. It is important to take a step back and evaluate your priorities within a few parameters.

The first easily definable parameter is disposable income. Preparations generally cost money, but not necessarily directly. Stocking food, medicine, and other necessities directly costs money. You have to evaluate how much you can afford to budget for these items. Things may be tight enough that an extra $10 of groceries a week is all you can do. If so, then that is fine. Better to add to your pantry slowly than to go deep in debt to stock a basement full of freeze-dried food. You also have to determine how much money you can have invested in all your preparations. Very few of them are really liquid as assets and you do not want to be unable to get your car repaired or pay your child’s medical bills because you bought 500 pounds of beans. On the other side, some preparations do not directly cost money, but still affect your disposable income. For instance, if you decide that living in a remote location is a very good way to prepare for certain disasters, you also have to look at how that affects the jobs you have access to. Are you limited to a lower paying job at that location? Even if you can have the same job as before, has the commute greatly increased. That increases your expenditure of gas and time to receive the same income. All this needs to be considered because it affects your quality of life.

The second easily definable parameter is time. Finding, buying, stocking, and rotating supplies takes time. How much do you want to put into it? It is easy to say whatever it takes, but it is another trade off. Is it easy to turn off the television and reorganize the pantry so that you can fit another weeks’ worth of food? For most that is an easy choice. If you are a parent though you have to take into account time for your kids. Maybe your kids are passionate about being prepared too or maybe they are obsessive soccer players. If so, you may be putting a lot of time into practices and games each week. Again, it is all a tradeoff between your level of preparation and your daily life. Some people get so caught up in things that they figuratively hide in a hole with their preps awaiting impending doom. To me that is no way to live.

A last parameter to consider is space. Most of us live in a finite amount of square footage. Some are lucky enough to have a decent amount of land to go with it. There are creative ways to maximize the usage of the space, but still there are only so many places you can stack canned food. This may limit not only how many supplies you stock, but of what type. If you live in an apartment you may have constraints set by your landlord about the storage of firearms/ammo or pets/livestock. Even if you do not have these legal requirements, you may find that certain preparations are just not going to work for you. Take a very honest stock of the space you have and how you use it. This will help you determine what types of supplies and how much you can store. Maybe you can make alterations that fit your space better. I know many may not see themselves filling up their space, but it is easier to get to that level than you think. I mean how much space were the toilet paper hoarders filling up in their homes? I am guessing a lot. Again, it is about finding a workable medium.

Like everything in life, each choice is a trade-off. It is important to evaluate each to get to the spot you are most comfortable. This will reduce stress and help you live well on the days without disasters.

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