These are the top ten steps we think everyone should take right now to prepare for what could be a rocky year. How many of these “prepper” fundamentals and homestead skills do you have under your belt?
Many things are happening worldwide right now that we will be seeing the fallout from in 2024. Though you may hear “good news” like inflation is going down, that doesn’t actually mean prices are getting lower. It just means they’re rising more slowly. Don’t be fooled, prices are still going up.
In this post, we’re sharing the top ten things you can do now to be ready for a rocky 2024.
Top 10 Action Items to Get Prepared
We’ve discussed in the past how to be prepared for an emergency, how to prepare for the unknown, and even how to keep positivity and a proactive attitude in uncertain times. And though you’ll find we don’t generally discuss homesteading topics from a “prepper” point of view, today, you may find a little bit more urgency in our tone and our recommendations.
These are unsettling times, but that doesn’t mean we must live in fear. There’s much preparation we can do now to be ready. Here are our top ten recommendations:
Though these aren’t listed in order of importance, if they were, water would be number one. You have to have water and water storage systems in place. We’re so used to being able to turn a knob and have water at our fingertips. But in an emergency, this may not be possible.
At a bare minimum, every household should have at least one gallon of water per person per day. Our recommendation is to get at least a week’s worth of water stored. Then, start working toward a month to six months.
One gallon of water per person will be about half a gallon for drinking and half a gallon for cooking and cleaning. Ideally, you’d want 2-3 gallons per day to allow a gallon for drinking, but this all takes up space for storage, so work with what you can.
We like to have at least six months of water stored up, which we now have, but we started out slowly. You can learn more about our backup watering system here.
If you’re not sure how to store water, consider buying a food-grade IBC tote. They can hold anywhere from 250-300 gallons of water. This is an inexpensive way to get a family of four through an emergency for at least a month.
The best way to build up your food supply is to start with the basics. Those food items you and your family consume every week. Begin stocking up and getting one week ahead on your supply. Then, work toward getting two weeks ahead, three weeks ahead, etc.
Don’t stop at food. Stock up on any items and supplies your family needs regularly (we like to think in terms of items we’ll use in the next six to twelve months). Toilet paper, cleaning supplies, toothpaste, light bulbs, etc. The next time you purchase any of these items, toss two in the cart instead of one.
The one caveat is that you want to be sure what you’re stocking up on are things you actually use! Don’t spend your money on something just because it’s a good deal. It’s a waste of money if it sits on the shelf and never gets used.
By purchasing items you know you’ll use, the worst-case scenario is that you’ve purchased items ahead of time that you’ll use later (and saved money on inflation in the process), but the best-case scenario is that you’ll have the items you need in an emergency.
There are so many systems that you can implement when it comes to backup power. We’ve talked about how to prepare for a short-term power outage before, so be sure to read that post for more information.
Backup systems can be expensive and elaborate or as basic as a small portable generator. One thing is for sure: you must get your essentials down and have power backup for them.
If you’re storing food in freezers, do you have backup power for the freezers in case the power goes out? If you have a well, do you have backup power to get the water to your house? How about your heating system? Your lighting? Your cooking? All these systems will likely need a backup generator.
If you live in the city, know your noise ordinances and choose your generator carefully (some can be extremely noisy).
Get Out Of Debt
The economy isn’t getting any better. If times are hard now, they’ll continue to get harder for the average family. The worst thing you can do is go into further debt to finance your current lifestyle. Buckle down, get serious about paying off debt and save money so you’re in a good financial situation.
We recommend checking out Dave Ramsey for tips on getting (and staying) out of debt. He’s known for saying, “If you live like no one else now, then you can live and give like no one else later.”
You need to have firewood for backup heat. However, some of you may not have a fireplace or a wood-burning stove (in which case my recommendation would be to get one!). If you already have wood heat, get at least one to two years of firewood in place.
We use wood heat as our primary source of heat. We also love having our wood-burning cookstove. This gives us that extra backup of being able to cook our food when we lose power.
If wood simply isn’t an option, the next best thing would be to get propane. It’s portable and easy to move around. It comes in five and ten-gallon tanks and can be used for various purposes. You can cook with it, heat water with it, and even heat your home with safe indoor propane heating units.
A Hobby That Produces Something
Start learning a hobby that produces something of value, whether this is gardening, making a craft, cooking or baking. These skills may come in handy for the “Start a Small Business” tip below. Find a hobby that produces something that can be used to barter or trade, if needed.
This not only produces something of use for your family but also fills your time.
If you have power generators to keep your house going but don’t have the fuel to keep them running for an extended amount of time, then you’ll need to work on getting your fuel built up.
You can start small with five-gallon containers. Then, work your way up to a 50-gallon drum. We’ve worked our way up to having a year’s worth of fuel stored with regular and diesel to power all our machines and vehicles on the homestead.
Once you have a nice storage supply, top them off when gas prices are good. Then, if gas prices skyrocket, you’ll have enough to get you through until (hopefully) they come back down again.
Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make Do or Do Without
We could all practice a little more with the old adage of “use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” Try to force yourself to reduce the amount of items you purchase ready-made. Learn how to mend your clothes or sew on some patches to extend their life (learning basic sewing skills can help).
Instead of buying new, try to make it homemade. It’s become so easy to order what we need online with a click of a button and get it shipped directly to our home. Practicing self-control, and patience, and even dipping into our creativity to make something ourselves can be very rewarding, especially on our pocketbook.
Cash & Gold or Silver
We’re used to the bank handing out money, just like we’re used to the light switches or water spigots in our homes. However, when things go south, if you’re not one of the first people to the bank then you’re not going to get your cash out.
It’s important to have cash on hand. Beyond cash, we want to consider gold or silver, items that won’t depreciate in value.
Start small with having a week’s worth of expenses in cash on hand. Then, build up to having a month’s worth of expenses. Long-term planning would be to save up to six months’ worth of expenses.
Remember that if an economic disaster happens, the value of your cash will inflate and be worth less. So, having a month’s worth of cash may not get you through a month. That’s why we also recommend investing in gold and silver.
Start a Small Business
Consider starting a small side business with something you’re doing on your homestead. Perhaps selling homemade soaps, extra farm-fresh eggs, raising a few extra meat animals or produce out of your garden.
This involves you in the local economy (such as the Farmer’s Market or local shops). It gives you an idea of what you can do with a diversified income. And you may be surprised to find out what people are looking for out there in the world.
Though this may not be a new career path or earn you enough money to live off of, I do know several people who didn’t intend to change their careers. Once they started a small side business from their homestead products, it wasn’t long before they could support themselves by working completely from home. Don’t ever limit the possibilities! Worst case scenario? You earn some extra money by doing a little more of something you were already doing.
Our Final Thoughts
Preparing (or “prepping”) is important. Though we don’t focus on “prepping” much, it is an important foundation to lay. However, you don’t just want to leave it there. Rather, you want to continue building upon your skills and expanding your knowledge for the future.
Once you learn a new skill, you have it forever. So get ready for this coming year, no matter what may come, and see just how prepared you can become and how many new skills you can get under your belt by 2025.
More Posts You May Enjoy
- Preparing for Inflation and Food Shortages
- Overcoming Hardships
- How to Buy a Homestead (What to Know BEFORE You Buy)
- Best Homesteading Books (for the Novice or Pro)
- Tips for a Zero Waste Home
- Freeze-Dried Water (Can It Be Done?)
- How to Take a Vacation From the Homestead
- How to Get Started Homesteading
- Yearly Planning on the Homestead
- When Homesteading Feels Urgent
- Building Resilience with Justin Rhodes
- Things to Consider BEFORE Going Off-Grid
- Direct Primary Care – Going “Off-Grid” With Your Health