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How do you prioritize?

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by brianjronk, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. brianjronk

    brianjronk Marysville, WA Active Member

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    I have an undisclosed amount of money saved and I'm trying to figure out what's best for me to purchase next, and after that, and after that, etc...

    So without knowing what I already have, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on what's most important to purchase.
    (Examples: Guns (handgun, shotgun, long range, military, etc...), ammo (how much?), food supply (72-hour, month, year, etc...), money (gold, silver, cash), off-grid land, etc etc etc...)
  2. Bernoulli

    Bernoulli Guest

    I think in terms of basics.
    Life cannot exist without water.
    You can't make for long without shelter - which includes adequate clothing.
    Food is a necessity after a short period.

    At this point it rapidly becomes political. While it's impossible to predict the future and the most reliable indicator for the future is the past, there are a lot of people here who thing Armageddon is nearly upon us. I find this completely implausible, but preparation is a very good thing for many reasons. I always liked the Boy Scout motto, but preparation for likely scenarios makes more sense financially to me. Of course, where and how do you live? What risks do you take?

    For me, the most realistic scenario is 72 hours. I've gotten lost, injured or cut off by weather while in the bush. I figure I should be able to take care of myself for 72 hours before I'm rescued. I'll need the basic water, shelter and food for that period. EPIRBs are less than $400, and should make rescue happen before 72 hours.

    Natural disaster. If the big one hits, life will be destabilized, but probably not longer than a couple of weeks before basic needs can be obtained.

    Every country in the world that has a CDC or equivalent says not if but when - another bird flu. I've had it and it's no joke. So having sustenance for six weeks makes a lot of sense. Transportation will go down the toilet for a couple of weeks but it will be a relatively short time until the government gets basic needs taken care of.

    Firearms? Again political. What do you expect? I do not expect armed anarchy. I do not expect to have to hunt to feed myself. I do not expect to have firefights. I do have self defense weapons and hunting firearms, but I obtained them for scenarios based on reality and my own skill. In my opinion, the only time that firepower is realistic is at close range. For me that's a semi-auto 9mm. I am uninterested in arguments about ballistics, stopping power, etc. It's a lethal round ( the most lethal according to a police study comparing rounds fired to deaths cause by those rounds) and I'm accurate enough with it. In a house, a pump shotgun of any gauge is more powerful, more accurate and safer than any handgun. I look at these as insurance - something, in all likelihood, I'll never need.

    If I'm hunting, I already have a firearm. I'm not going to carry two. If I'm out fishing or hiking, a .22 semi-auto will provide noise if I need it to summon help, insurance for an unlikely event and a means to obtain small game. My uncle once killed a deer with his. That was a long time ago and I'm not as good a shot as he was.
  3. MrNiceGuy

    MrNiceGuy between springfield and shelbyville Well-Known Member

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    Without even the basic guidelines of budget, goals, or current situation, i'm going to have to assume that money is no object and you have nothing.

    Having said that, obviously your next purchase should be one of these:


    You will also need a crew and supplies. Luckily for you, the crew and supply requirements have already been figured out the government.

    You'll probably need a few billion dollars... but that's the kind of results you can expect when cast such a wide net.

    Sgt Nambu, Roxy2711, HBIII and 17 others like this.
  4. huthuthike

    huthuthike Hillsboro OR Active Member

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    You have to prioritize based on what you will need first/most in your most likely scenario. Unfortunately, that means there is no easy answer for anyone to give you because only you know what is most likely to happen in your state/city/home in the event of something bad and you have the most insight about what that something bad may be.

    In any case, you will need water/water treatment, medications, shelter and food in the first 3-7 days. It may be that you need first aid supplies and defense in that time period as well. After that, you need to decide if you will be more successful staying in place or leaving your normal residence and plan from there. Getting 1000 gallons of water or a year supply of food is not smart if you are most likely to leave it behind in 2-4 days.
  5. FortunateSon

    FortunateSon Marion County Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Posts # 2 and #3 have much more faith in the government than I do...........

    I started by trying to get the basics covered for the short term - enough food, water, self-defense supplies, medical, and hygiene for two weeks. I also put a little effort and resources into securing my home. Now I am trying to build on the basics to last longer, because I have very little faith that the government will provide. The only ones i will be able to count on are myself and my immediate family.
  6. brianjronk

    brianjronk Marysville, WA Active Member

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    Ok, I guess I'll have to be a little more specific so more people don't continue suggesting I purchase naval vessels.

    I am on 5 open acres with a well and have appx. 72-supply of food and other necessities. Guns consist of 3 handguns, a shotgun, and a rifle. Ammo is maybe 200 rounds of each caliber (.380, .40, .223, 12 guage). All "money" is in federal reserve notes or savings in the bank. No debt.

    I'll limit the amount to spend at $20k (just in case I have that much saved up someday)
    AustenW and (deleted member) like this.
  7. Irishjester

    Irishjester West of Portland Member

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    This is my two cents:
    How you prioritize is depending on you! What is your education, experience, physical abilities, ect. The more knowledgeable and capable you are, the less you will need.
  8. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    Things you might consider:

    1) Increase your .223 count to 1000 and your .40 count to 500 - I'm assuming these are your two "primary" weapons.
    2) Get some training - learn how to shoot better, get some advanced first aid/medical training, and maybe a HAM course
    3) Improve your water situation - I'd invest in a good quality drip filter of some kind and figure out how to store more water (and rotate it)
    4) Make a plan to store more food - personally, I'd invest in some Mountain House #10 cans and buckets of basics (like rice, beans, etc.). I'd set a goal - like 3mo/6mo/1yr, figure out how many calories you'll need to have on hand, and develop a plan to fulfill that goal in a way that you're not eating gruel every day.
    5) Think about heat - do you have a wood stove/fireplace? Should you have one? How about getting more wood?
    6) Think about cooking - I'd get some kind of propane-powered cook stove and some extra propane. I know you could build a fire and cook over that, but that consumes a lot of fuel/wood and may not always be practical.
    7) Check your medical supplies - do you have a good variety of bandages and other first aid supplies? How about diarrhea medicine? (which can be a killer) What about antibiotics? Pain meds? What about prescription meds - can you get your doctor to prescribe a little extra so you have some on hand?
    8) Do you have the right clothes if disaster/whatever strikes? Good boots? Gloves? Warm coat? Warm blankets?
    9) Finally, I'd keep some of that cash for day-to-day emergencies. I know that some on here think the US Dollar is about to collapse and we'll be trading chickens and gold teeth for things (maybe they're right), but much more likely (in my opinion) is that your car breaks down, you have an extended illness, your furnace dies - all the little things that can trip-up an otherwise smooth life. Personally, I think it makes sense to have anywhere from 3-6 months of mandatory expenses saved to cover these sorts of things.

    Not knowing much more about your situation, there's my advice. Free - and probably worth what you paid for it.
  9. JackThompson

    JackThompson Valley of the Demons Well-Known Member

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    To me it's not a matter of stocking up. I mean, yes, store a few months worth of food and water to get you through winter and allow time to set up for the long term.

    No matter how much food/water/fuel you store up we can all agree the supply is finite.

    Your need for these supplies however will continue on long after you open your last MRE.

    What you need to do is fill your head with knowledge.

    Gain the ability to create food, pure water, fuel, heat, clothes, weapons, hunting materials indefinitely.

    Think of it as surviving on a deserted island. What will you need to be able to make these things forever?

    Can you plant crops? Process seeds? Process animals and make food, fuel, clothes, weapons and medicine from all of this?

    That's what you need. We could all do it 100 years ago. We've just forgotten.
    xd45acp and (deleted member) like this.
  10. fyrediver

    fyrediver Seattle Active Member

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    I think Jack's on the right track. Depth of preps is important. Perhaps some form of alternate energy to run your water pump and essential home systems. A greenhouse to grow food. Aquaculture in your greenhouse to grow tilapia. Becoming more energy independent of the system. Energy costs will continue to rise and the more disassociated from them the better you'll be.

    Also, Sun's got a good idea. Medical training beyond first aid. I'd suggest a Wilderness First Aid course over something like becoming an EMT. More independence and improvisation covered than being a cog in the EMS system which, in a large disaster, would be overwhelmed.

    Finally, as the others said, skills. Learn to maintain and improvise critical elements in your life. That will give you greater depth than just having stuff that can be destroyed or taken away.

    Something I consider is the Prepper motto, "Two is One and One is None" when looking at my preps. Do I have sufficient coverage to have duplicates and triplicates of critical items?

    I think 60 days of food and supplies is the goal. However to get to 60 days just start with a 72 hour target and then start building. Look at what you ACTUALLY eat as a guide to what you store and then rotate that stock. I think a couple cases of MREs and dehydrated foods are good, but the backbone of your food stores should be what you already consume.
  11. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    I think this is good advice - can you take some of the money and turn your 5 acres into a mini-homestead? Plant some fruit trees and bushes, do some intensive gardening, get some chickens, get some bees, maybe a pig. WSU extension offers some good classes (I took their beekeeping class), or you could get some books like 5 Acres and Independence or Mini Farming. My grandparents had maybe 1.5 acres and utilized it extensively for food needs - not everything, but probably a lot more than most people do today. Also, learn how to can (and cook) what you produce - there are classes to teach you that. A subscription to Backwoods Home might be another good investment.

    I'd still look at expanding your stores of food/medicine/ammo/etc., but you could do that for a modest amount of money and still have plenty left-over to improve your property for food production/etc.
  12. MissJ

    MissJ Clackamas County Active Member

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    It depends on your goals. If your goals are to hunker down and protect what is yours, or if your goals are to go out and "take" what others may have. Personally, I despise the latter....but some people on this board seem to choose that (either passively or actively) by holding a disproportionate amount of guns and ammo compared with food and supplies.

    Are your goals to make your money stretch the farthest possible while doing the most good? Or are your goals to build an airtight defense? Are your goals investment related to turn a profit?

    Because hands down you can buy A LOT more food than ammo. A LOT.

    You can't eat bullets.....(not suggesting that you don't need them, just stating the obvious. If you had to run out of one or the other first, would you rather run out of every last speck of food, or every last round of ammo? it's a tough choice for sure.)

    Here is how my priority list goes:

    1. Water- and a renewable way to get it (well water, rainwater collection system etc. you could never store enough, so you'll need a renewable resource)
    2. 2 weeks of food
    3. 1 firearm. whatever you are comfortable with. shotgun, pistol, whatever.
    4. at least 200 rounds for that firearm, and some basic training with that firearm for every adult in your household.
    5. redundant or "back-up" method of water
    6. Basic medical supplies. First Aid kit, OTC meds like ibuprofen, aspirin, antibacterial ointments.
    7. A second firearm, and a basic amount of ammo (200+ rounds) basic training with that firearm.
    8. More food. Keep going. 30 days, 90 days....and so on and so forth
    9. Precious Metals and emergency cash. Don't go crazy. just enough to get your family through a rough patch. maybe a paycheck's worth at most.
    10. More food. Yep. stack it deep
    11. more ammo for those 2 firearms.
    12. general supplies like medical, hygiene, outdoor clothing, socks, lighters etc.
    13. consider another firearm that either serves a different purpose, or as backup.
    14. more ammo
    15. more food
    16. force multipliers (night vision, body armor etc.)
    17. more precious metals (maybe starting to become an investment, or "hedge")
  13. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    food/water, clothing/shelter, medical supplies, source of energy, means to protect and defend same. Until you have the basics, safety means very little. After you secure the basics, then health and safety become important. How long do you need to be prepared for ? Your guess is as good as mine I reckon. I got 6 months food and water and clothes and shelter until the zombies come and take it away. I have guns and ammo to fight them off for a little bit in a worst case scenario.

    You get to pick your own personal priorities. One size does not fit all. Unless you have a good size tribe well established you will not last long in a fixed position no matter how many supplies you have. To survive as a loner, you will need to travel. That means light load ... how much can you carry ?
  14. jonn5335

    jonn5335 Longview Active Member

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    What do you NEED in your every day life to survive and can't seriously live without? Find out what you can't live without and stock up with a supply that you see fit for your needs. I am by no means a prepper or SHTF type of guy but I am an avid outdoorsmen hunter/fisher and generally have at least 2 years worth of fish/deer/elk in my freezer and canning jars. I enjoy shooting as a hobby which leads to several firearms and to cut on cost on feeding my firearms I reload and cast bullets for some of my firearms I generally have 10,000-15,000+ rounds on hand and enough to load that 2-3 times over. If anything was to ever happen I believe I would try to gain more food via hunting/fishing before I cleaned out my supply. I have a natural spring out back a river within half a mile (full of fish) and big game animals crossing through my yard. I think asprin,proxide,toothbrushes/paste and bandages ( usually a napkin and electrical tape in my case because I never have bandaids) would be my main concern. I would forget about money/silver/gold in a situation where keeping warm finding food/water and medical supplies are the top goals.
  15. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    MissJ - not a bad list - I have an answer for you on running out of food vs ammo - I can always shoot something to eat - then again I'm not in town and regularly have 3-4 deer wandering across the property every day and dozens of rabbits so bullets does equal food in this situation. Don't get me wrong I don't want to run out of either and feel stocking up on food is a priority on the same level of importance - even more so for goods that store well long term and unlikely to be grown in my yard like rice, black/kidney/pinto beans, etc.
    For the OP -

    Many good ideas above - especially education of medical and gardening/canning. Might try to find a book or class on edible plants native to your area. Maybe get a water filtration system to have on hand in case your water supplies get polluted somehow. Not knowing where your property is located, etc. can you extract water from your well without electricity? if not you might look into a solar panel system to power your well and a few other things. More food and ammo on hand to be sure. For the food I would shoot on having at least enough dry goods on hand to last you a month to start with and as said above just build your stockpiles in layers. Might look into getting a good ole .22 LR to have on hand for smaller game. ammo is much cheaper to stockpile and if you take a rabbit with 22 instead of 12ga you won't have to pick around the pellets or risk breaking a tooth. I would consider keeping a chunk of emergency cash on hand if for no other reason than in case you find a deal on a gun and the bank is closed with the ATM not working lol. I know I have at least a few months worth of essentials and a years worth of sugar/salt/seasonings. Its easier to eat something like skunk, coyote, or rat if you have seasonings to make it more edible. (granted this would be for a true societal collapse situation). as above, medical supplies are good to have - add super glue and duct/electrical tape too. Super glue is used often by hokey docs to seal cuts and stop bleeding in place of stitches. You may want some good hand tools too as fuel shortages could keep you from being able to fire up a generator, chainsaw, rototiller, etc. Seeds for veggies that aren't genetically modified to keep the plants from producing usable seeds. I believe all of the heirloom seeds produce plants that produce seeds. I'm sure I left things out...
  16. AustenW

    AustenW Yamhill County Member

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    This is always a hard one, but one of my favorites.

    I would say at least 1000 rounds for your primary, and at least 500 for secondaries (defense/hunting).
    A bugout bag packed with at least 72 hours of food/fire supplies/medical etc.
    Paper money will be worthless in the event this refers too, gold and silver will be in demand for trades/purchases.
    Shelter is also a big one, tent for mobile, or a nice piece of land in the woods.
    Extra fuel, to get you from a to b, or emergencies.
    hand tools, showel,axe,hatchet, light and space friendly.
    water should have been my first, 10 gallons would be reasonable for start, water purifications tablets/ pump etc.
    In my opinion that is a good basic list.
  17. Misterbill

    Misterbill Yakima County, Washington New Member

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    OK, first, relax the EOTW scenarios. they REALLY aren't going to happen.

    How much ammo you have should be one of the LAST considerations concerning any realistic scenarios. I keep 1000 rounds of 5.56 on hand. That's mostly for my shooting preferences and basic self-defense, not for TEOTWAWKI.

    But even if you DID figure on TEOTWAWKI, SEED and DRUGS would be of far more importance than guns.

    The ability to treat blood-borne diseases like tet****, bacterial infections, (Penicillin) and ability to grow wheat, barley and veggies would be of far more importance to me than my ability to kill "Zombies."

    I can kill you with my bare hands given an advantage. And I'm old, weak and not in great shape in any way. Weapons are an advantage, not a necessity.

    The focus of you guys on Gold (can you eat it or plant it?) and ammo gives me a very clear picture of you. You don't want to live, you want to take shot that isn't yours.

    I have enough to deter you or to kill you if you're stupid enough to try. That doesn't take a lot of materiel. It takes will.

    Meanwhile, the "doomsday stock" I have are wheat and barley seed, hand tools, the beginnings of a forge and a whole lot of other skills. Amoo stocks are totally unimportant in the longhaul compared to any off the former.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  18. Misterbill

    Misterbill Yakima County, Washington New Member

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    Mods, A-N*uS-- Is so horrid to hear that it's censored even from the wor TET **An00*us? As in the Freaking disease? Could you please change this before I have to slit my wrists in frustration?
  19. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Since it has been brought up a bit in this thread... I don't know if you've read "The Alpha Strategy" by John Pugsley, it's a book Rawles frequently recommends. But the point the book makes is that the first thing you should invest in is yourself... that is skills.

    The EMT course, at most community colleges is a full time boot camp, and is well worth the money. When I took it, it was 6 weeks, 6 days a week, and usually 8-12 hours a day plus study and homework. Even if you don't go on to get the EMT certification (which I don't recommend) it is a very valuable experience.

    On the subject of Community Colleges, many CC's have classes on water treatment, electrical concepts which may serve you well if you are looking for a new job/career and may help you if you are building a house or other activities.

    If you are so inclined, preparing for and taking the amateur radio license test requires mostly an investment in time. There are plenty of online tests you can take, that while they may not explain all the reasoning behind the questions, you will at least get familiar with the questions and the answers. I highly recommend this, as it's only $15 to take the test and get the license, which is good for 10 years.

    If you havn't already, you may consider getting some kind of shooting training, depending on your skill level with firearms, this can be quite expensive, but if you're a novice, this may be a good investment. Also, some ranges have clubs, and have volunteers who will help instruct you. Spending a few hours every saturday shooting smallbore is cheap and can lead to a lifetime of good marksmanship, it's also much cheaper than spending a few hundred bucks at frontsite, or any place like this.

    You can start building a stock of supplies while gaining skills, and I think many of the most important materials have been outlined already, but Water, food, and something to defend it should top out that list. Water no matter what the climate is the most important, however it is also one of the cheapest things to add to your larder. There's a thread on here about water barrels... if you have a property buy some, and put them in the shed, or even bury them (full of water of course). Water barrels are cheap ($5-25) are full of water that you can drink, and when finished can be packed full of sand and make a good bullet resistant obstacle.

    Food is right next to water in terms of comfort and importance. There are tons of shelf stable foods which are cheap and available, rice, beans, wheat, canned meats, bullion cubes, freeze dried vegetables. You choose, or search the forum, this topic has been discussed many times.

    Weapons and ammo. Compared to food and medical supplies these are probably the highest value and most expensive things you will buy. If you can't afford much, there are always a wide variety of used deer rifles at most gun shops. The difference between a deer rifle and a sniper rifle... not much, maybe the caliber, the stock, and the sniper rifle will probably have a heavier barrel. Some people will say "get an AR" or "get an AK" if you can't afford all the crap that comes with those, get a good old fashioned bolt action hunting rifle. Also, as far as what kind of ammo to get. Lots of people follow the military ammunition thinking it's the best, however it is the best ammo available for the limited circumstances the military finds themselves under. Unlike the military, you can use hollowpoints, soft-points, and the wide variety of hunting ammo available. Use it, because the ammo industry has over 100 years of experience making bullets that kill things better, the military is stuck complying with the law of war.