Real preparedness to be self-sufficient in a crisis, especially for a family, is really expensive, depending of course on the degree. It's certainly true that not every reader of this forum believes that a SHTF scenario is likely enough to warrant serious preparedness, and spending serious money on stuff that might never get used. However, there is a very rational way to increase preparedness for crisis, no matter what your sense about the probability. That way is, simply, to buy ahead those things that your family uses anyway. With population increasing, currency devaluations, inflation trends, peak oil trends, rising labor costs in China and Wal-Mart, rising cost of environmental regulation, and degree that our current depressed economy is keeping prices in check, most STUFF is never likely to get less expensive than it is now. Couple all of that with current interests rates on passbook savings and CD's being silly low, and dollars in the bank are not well invested. Instead of making that $50 a week contribution to your savings account, or IRA, consider using it to buy ahead stuff that your family is, for sure, going to need to buy later anyway. Consider taking half of the $2000 of savings that you have in the bank, earning 1-1/2% interest, and spending it now to buy ahead things that you are going to be buying later anyway. Most of it will be only be more expensive later. Consider stocking up on a two-year supply of the basics that you will use even if no crisis does come: toiletries (bars of soap, razor blades, TP, toothpaste, aspirin), socks, shoes, boots, gloves, Campbell's soup, canned tuna, fruits, and vegetables; rice, beans, flour, and sugar in 50# bags that you transfers to lidded plastic pails; just-add-water casserole dishes; Jello. Buy it all as it comes on sale, then stock up to the limit of your finances, and the limit of your storage space. If you have more to spend, consider buying a five-year supply of the small items that keep forever (razor blades). There is NO downside to this kind of preparedness that isn't preparedness. In these times, this is just prudent planning for the family. If everyone did this, it would also be a short-term boost to our economy. Think how satisfying it will be to already have some supply of it when the masses are driving up prices through panic buying in response to even rumors of shortage. IMHO, this should be the first level of preparedness-that-isn't-preparedness for every family; well before the rifle and cases of ammo. Of course, if you really believe in the SHTF scenario, make your own decisions about priorities. There is plenty of room for individual judgement.