My Family’s Prepping Experience

Original post by redpenguin on American Preppers Network

I cant really remember when my eyes were opened exactly; maybe it was normal mind-wandering about providing for my family, the introduction to QE 1 and then QE2, or maybe it was the skyrocketing price of guns, gold and silver. Whatever the reason, roughly 18 months ago I began “prepping”, though I didnt know that is what I was doing at the time. My wife had just gotten pregnant with our first child and we had just gotten out of debt completely so I began building a stockpile of cash. Now that I think about it being 27 years old, renting a house with all other debts paid and having quite a bit of cash with a pregnant wife was probably the eye opening experience. I suppose the final straw to “flip the switch” in my brain was the video by Porter Stansbury. If you have not seen it, watch it right away. All I had to do was forward this to my brother and my dad and we were like new people with a fire under our arses.

–And just to add, getting out of debt, ALL debt, was the greatest thing to happen to me. EVERYONE needs to get out of debt now, ASAP, run from it like the wind. Build up your cash, gold and silver reserves and break free from the creditors. The debtor is truly slave to the master–

Here is my prepping experience divided up into categories. I would like to state that I am in NO WAY an expert in any of these fields; I am simply a normal guy who made decisions with my family based on all of the available information we had. I simply am writing this post to share my experience with others. Also these decisions were made with 3 families involved.


The most important! Not as cool as guns, ammo, food, or survival tools at all. Plain old water! We looked on craigslist for empty 55 ga drums. We were sure to purchase drums that had water soluable, non organic, material in them before they were emptied. Ours in particular had industrial grade ethyl alcohol in them. This is a form of everclear. We had inspected several kinds, one with sunscreen (organic based), motor oil (obviously organic), and one just smelled funny. We were lucky to find a guy on craigslist who had a seemingly endless supply of these ethanol drums. We cleaned them out, put a cap of bleach in there, and filled them up with a garden hose. I suppose we paid 15 bucks for each drum, way better than some prices I have seen on the internet. We dont have access to a well or a large body of water so we are going to depend on two roofs and rainwater. If we had to, we can fill up all 20 barrels in one rainstorm using pvc pipe and the downspouts. If you dont have enough downspouts, you have to get wet! Once a drum is full during the storm, we will have to cap it, knock it over, and put an empty one in its place.
We also bought some shower curtains from the dollar store. These are roughly 6’x6′. We can get creative with our 20 shower curtains to make rain catches. No, we dont have the barrels set up yet or the rain catches, but we have the tools and supplies to do so.


This was the most daunting task we faced. We could not afford the 9-10 grand from a prepackaged store it would take to feed 6 adults and a baby. So we went the cheap rout. We decided on the staples of course, and for starters, we bought food based on calories. Yes, having fruits, veggies, meat, desserts, spices is very important, but we were more concerned about the calories at this point. We decided on getting at a minimum 1 years worth of food at 1000 calories/adult/day. This equates to 2.2 million calories. This required some planning, cash, and many many trips to walmart (and now we are supporting local food suppliers, but walmart was the cheapest option for us at the time). We figured we could average $.95/1K calories going the cheap mans way. This included:
-rice (roughly .50 cents/1K cal)
-pasta (.5/1K cal)
-peanut butter
-pasta sauce
-off brand spam
-canned veggies
-canned fruit
-beans, beans, beans
-baking soda
-COOKING OIL (corn, vegetable, canola- $7/30k cal)
This cooking oil can be mixed in the water used to cook the rice, beans, and pasta, any leftover water with oil will be consumed as a drink
-mac and cheese, powdered milk and potatoes, baby rice cereal, spices, tuna, the list goes on and on…

Overall we were able to accomplish 8 months of food, or 1.6 million calories, for $1200. $1200 feeds a family of six for 8 months! To be honest the three families saved enough money to get a 4-person, one year package at 2.6 million calories with a 25 yr shelf life for around $3K. All in all, for $4200 we will be well fed for a year and can extend it to almost 2 years if need be. Not too bad. Also, we ended up getting a vaccuum sealer and packaging our rice, beans and pasta to last longer. When it begins to go bad, we plan on donating it to charity and buying again. This is in line with our Christian values as we should always give, so donating the food we reason is in line with tithing, plus there are hungry people in DFW and it would be a shame to let food go bad. It is in line as we always say to be “working with a surplus”, buy extra, use the extra, and resupply your surplus as you go along.


Everyone’s favorite, including mine! Let me start by saying what guns I personally recommend every party/family should have: a 9mm glock, an AK 47, a 12 ga shotgun, a .22 lr, .30-06 scoped rifle.
The AK-
I personally am not ex-military, and neither is anyone in my group. We can shoot straight, but we do not have any preconceived notion of the AR platform. So immediately I am aware of my lack of shooting skills compared to the military guys, but I have trained and can shoot very straight. The AK has a bigger round for urban environments where the little .223 round can be knocked off course by a blade of grass (yes, ask the Vietnam vets, that round can be knocked off course by any little obstruction or a birds fart). I am not likely to need or want to engage any targets at further than 150 yards anyways. For me to survive, it is better to run and hide to survive than get in a shootout at distance that probably isnt necessary anyways. Plus you hear of the legenday reliability of the AK platform and again, being non military, we are not skilled in the rigorous cleaning of our battle rifles. Yes, I can learn and have been trained, but why not have the backup of the reliability as well? Plus the AK was made for uneducated conscripts from the eastern bloc countries, and to be honest most of my group members would fall into this category. Sorry AR guys, but for my group, we will stick with our hard hitting, deep penetrating, durable AK 47s (and a single SKS).

-the Glock
Yes, specifically we have standardized with the Glock 19 and 26 9mm’s. Why? Just google “torture test glock” and you will see why. Yes, it can have FTE’s, FTF’s, but deep into a crisis, it has the best chance to be brought back up to working order with minimal gunsmithing skills and minimal parts. Soak a $2k 1911 in baby powder and drop it from a plane and it could be ruined forever. With a glock, a field strip and a new mag and you are good to go (plus for the money you could have 2-3 extra glocks). Why 9mm? Yes, I prefer the .40 and .45 calibers hands down. No question there at all, but we are trying to prep on a budget. 9mm is simply cheaper. You can also fit more rounds into a 9mm magazine and its the most widely used round by far. You can fit twice the number of rounds in a 9mm magazine than a .45, and in a bad situation, I would rather have a .22 pistol than an empty .45. Plus again, in my group, more rounds is a good thing due to the inexperience of some of the members. I would love to have them all trained, but we are more worried about getting supplies first and then train. If you dont have a gun when it hits the fan, all the gun training in the world will not do you any good if you are unarmed. This reminds me of a saying I heard on the internet- “the one gun you own is more valuable than the 10 you plan to own”. If you already know what you want and have your mind made up, fine, get it done. But if you are a normal guy with normal group members and dont have the money or time to train just yet, get a Glock 19 and be done with it. I am not discrediting training in any of my thoughts, but you just dont know who you will run into who could eventually be a part of your group. It would be nice to have a SEAL sniper but I want something that goes bang and shoots straight no matter who is holding it.

-the rest
I should have probably put the shotgun first, as I think it is the most important. 12 ga is by FAR, a million miles far, the most used caliber. It can be used for self defense and hunting, it can use slugs all the way to bird shot, and will not jam if you get a pump. Many of you will disagree, but if I am in a situation where I need to find food and defend myself, my long gun of choice is a 12ga pump.

The .22lr is also a fine addition to the arsenal. I wont go into all of the pros here, but for $250 you can get a rifle and 3k rounds of ammo. Enough said for the budget prepper. Why NOT have a .22?

The .30-06 is the most used hunting round. The .270 and the 7.62 Nato (.308) round are a close second as far as ammo availability in this category. Any one of these three guns scoped is a great addition.

There are of course several more aspects of my prepping experience, but food, water, and security are the main items. Getting our medical supplies, antibiotics, gold, silver, tools, and much much more will be discussed in another topic. Please feel free to respond and let me know your thoughts. That was the main reason I joined this forum was the community of people with a wide array of skill sets. We should all be thankful we even have the internet and forums to discuss and plan our own survival when it hits the fan.


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