Shelter - Water - Food - First-Aid/Meds

I organize my thoughts on this subject around those four things.

Best Use of Money

Water -- is the cheapest and it is essential to life. - just need some containers and a little bleach to have a supply for a few weeks. Having water at home and in the car covers that base for me 99% of the time as I'm usually in or near one or the other.

Matches -- which are cheap or even free -- will ignite a fire to purify water or provide life-saving warmth. Must-have at home, in car, backpack, wherever. I also am a fan of fire steels (not as cheap but should ignite fires for years).

Shelter: Home, work or car are options for most of us, most of the time. Tent or tarp will suffice short-term, such as if the house is unsafe following an earthquake or storm.

Food -- add some extra canned foods -- on sale -- during every grocery trip. Wouldn't take long to stock up meals for a couple weeks or more. Not the cheapest but I recently purchased a few Mountain House buckets of freeze-dried meals (just add water). I figure that the combination of those buckets plus what I have in my pantry will keep me comfortable for at least a month.

Tools -- Knife, axe, pry bar, hammer, screwdrivers being among the must-haves. These things don't have to be expensive, even new (see "Morakniv" for knives) and bargain hunters might get lucky at garage sales or Craigslist.

Camping gear -- a category that is synonymous with survival gear and available at all price points and often found cheap at garage sales and on Craigslist. I've given old camping gear away to friends and family -- could pay to ask around and see if someone would like to clear space in their garage or basement.

Best Use of Time

I think a good use of time would be to go camping. Car camping. Actually experience what it is like to sleep in a tent, on the ground. Practice food prep, storage and cooking on a camping trip. Gain first-hand practical knowledge of the challenges of refrigeration and sanitation. Practice campfire cooking and a variety of camp stoves and grills.

Camping -- which I've enjoyed nearly all my life -- has been the best "survival prep" for me. And since for me camp trips are my favorite vacations -- it is a very good use of my time.

I don't post much these days on ETS but this conversation is the kind I enjoy. Great topic.