The Poor Man Prepper

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from PCPrepperGuild. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

I am so sick and tired of a large majority of these stories always talking about all these real nice things people have for Bugging out. Oh look at our All terrain 4X4 Super Duty Extended Cab 8ft bed Jacked up fully loaded Ford Diesel Pickup. With our totally decked out bug out trailer that’s going to keep me and my family safe so I can return to my $ 180,000.00 a yr. job.

I mean am I the only one that feels this way? I make $ 50,000.00 a year as a Professional Firefighter.  And just to state, at the end of the day, I really don’t have a lot of money left. I also work a part-time job. Still can’t seem to come up with money to buy that kind of truck. Plus have all the extras, we all know they’re going to say this man has.

So let’s get down and dirty here and talk about what a common working man would have. Poor Man Prepping… Now I may be all wrong here, and just a complete dumb-ass. But most of the people I know are just like me. Just trying to make, a better life for their kids. We are the ones that don’t have that bug out location, and are going to have to bug in at first just to see how things go.

One day at the station we were sitting around the table, and the talk was about The Walking Dead, love the show, but I asked ‘so what would you guys all do if SHTF happened right now?’ Boom the world fell apart. We went around the table and each guy that was in the conversation said what they would do. Every single one of them gave pretty much the same answer. Get their guns, grab their stuff, load up the family and leave. So when it came around to me well, they didn’t like my answer. I was going to go to each one of their houses, and grab their stuff, I can use to help me and my family survive in our home. Something to think about.

Yea we do have some Bug out Bags and Boxes ready to go, our own small stockpile of prepping supplies. Maybe even a Chevy pickup to throw all that into. But in the end, we will be the ones banding together to make it. Yea I might be the one with the stove and cooking supplies, possibly a shotgun to try to protect my family with. But my neighbor could be the guy with all the guns and nothing else. It just cracks me up that as I read article after article on here it always seems as though there trying to brag or show off in some way.

So now that I’m way off point.


Good! I am going to start writing my own articles and see where this takes me, I can say one thing for sure we are going to talk about what a common working man can afford and can get. Should they have 3 to 6 months worth of food stocked up in his basement with his AR15 and Shotgun and all his other guns, plus Gallons and gallons of water? Well it would be nice. But then again were talking about what we can do to prep.

Let’s start small, and build from there.

1 Sharpe Permanent marker, no this may never stop a mob from stealing your stuff but it will make sense in a sec. Cases of water is really what got me going, Buy one or two cases and store them in a cool dry place. Write on the case year and date you bought them. (Sharpie Marker) This will at least let you know how old it’s getting and what gets drank first or rotated out. Same thing with some canned foods vegetables, Dinty Moore beef stew, spam canned meats –  write on the can when you bought them and exp. date so it’s easy to see. Oatmeal, pancakes just add water mix, syrup. Sure, sure if you can get more go for it. But just start saving what you can.

Then try to set up every family member with a bug out bag so it is ready to go. Have them plan for a weekend away from home, 2 nights three days. This will give them something in their bags –  try to add in a few other important items. Plate, Cup, Bowl, fork, knife, spoon. This can all be cheap plastic ones bought at a dollar store. Don’t forget to have each person pack an old blanket and pillow if possible.

Now I know most of us have food at home, well when it’s time to go nothing says you can’t take that with you it’s always a good idea to save those old grocery bags to load your food up. Take it. Just make sure what you take you can cook and eat. Pots and pans from the house may just be all you have. Draw up a check list and keep it close by. I am not saying don’t read the other articles or even take ideas from them, they are all good and may help in one way or another.

As far as your Bug out vehicle that’s going to take you away to the middle of nowhere, or a Budget Inn. Will the family car will most defiantly do? Yes! Should we all strive for a nice place in the middle of nowhere, and that 4X4 ATV I mention? You can if you want.

But my grandmother once said to me when I asked, why we don’t have a bomb shelter?

She said, ‘If we did have one would you really want to be the last ones left on earth, when everyone else is gone?’ If were truly going to make it to the next century and the SHTF we need to band together as the human race, cause without each other we die divided. Just my thoughts.

Look for more from me in the Future.

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I personally dont have any issues with other people having bug out bunkers or big trucks or fancy gear. more power to them I say! i think you should know how to use your gear and get a good quality as you can though. I prep a little at a time. now after 4 years, I do have enough to feel comfortable supplies-wise. My skills make me more comfortable than my stuff. Each person is different, and timing of when they start prepping is different. as far as food, I try to have multiple different types; freezer food ,store bought… Read more »


Wow – coherent thoughtful advice. How refreshing, how realistic, how most likely to survive. This is the essence of SIT TIGHT


Hi Friends, I was watching some Youtube videos about moral prepping. Poor Man Prepper is not too far wrong. What are You going to do when, as You leave, You look in the rear view mirror and see Your neighbor standing there holding his 6 year old’s hand beside his bride, who is holding a 1 year old? Yeh, Yeh, I know, he laughed at You when You talked to him about doing something to be prepared. Still, he is a nice guy and a super neighbor, would lend You the shirt off his back. But, but, He voted for… Read more »


There is an old fable(story) about the Grasshopper and the ant. It is well worth reading again. My conscience is clear, MY moral prepping duty is t MY family and loved ones first, and foremost. I am not here, to be THE fall-back position for those who willingly chose NOT to prepare to the best of their ability. They alone are accountable and responsible for their own decisions. I have no moral, legal nor ethical obligation to put my family at risk, to “save” those who chose long ago to NOT be :”saved”, by their own behavior and decisions. Let… Read more »


When’s the last time the government legislated morality? Most governmental law/reg/policy is generally amoral. I do agree that the neighbors are not my problem. In my previous location, I spoke lightly with the ones I actually knew about having some extra food laid on in case of power outages and what not. I got more “bah” and mmmhmmms that a reasonable person would expect. Flash forward to the new place. Most have farm animals of some kind, and you generally don’t knock on a door after dark unless you were invited before hand. Most have more farm/garden type stuff than… Read more »


So tell us more about moral prepping. Is it ones moral duty to help those who refused to help themselves? Or was it your moral duty to try and encourage him to set some stuff back, start a little garden, raise a pet rabbit, learn to shoot? If a guy has a $50k truck to pull his golf cart to the private course he’s a member of, but only enough pampers to keep his baby’s behind covered for a week, he’s chosen his priorities. This sounds like the ideology of the elitist high-brow community. Not saying you are. Just sounds… Read more »


some of our friends are always going out to eat, to concerts, long weekends at a resort, Island cruises, designer shoes and clothes, manicures, pedicures, facials…the list goes on and on. …but..they have not a bottle of water or a canned good in their homes. They are in debt up to their eyeballs and complain about bills all of the time. My husband and I just laugh and thank the heavens…we are not them. I do not think I would look in the rear view mirror as we drove away in our used vehicle. Just sayin.


Not sure why this would bother you. Dude made his choices and if you give you and yours die as well. I’d consider taking his kids with me but frankly I’m not going to risk talking to the unprepared and I’d have left before he realized he should as well


That’s why i never use the word prepping talking to my neighbours….I talk about how healthy and fun it is to grow your own vegetables, I talk about earthquakes and other disasters that happened (just watch the news and then have a talk about it) and point to the fact it took three days or sometimes weeks before the gouvernment was there to help (wouldn’t it be a good idea to have enough food and water in your house….you never know what might happen),I point out at the fact that last year our tapwater in town was infected and everyone… Read more »

Steve Smith

Did you talk to your neighbors about prepping? Did they listen? Drive away with a clear conscience. Learn this from Noah and his ark.

paul crosley

Very down to earth! Being prepared is more like how our grandparents and great grandparents lived. Have a garden and learn how to can or dehydrate. If you are lucky enough to live more rural, and don’t have an aversion to hunting, you can freeze, can, smoke some game. Although an AR10 or 15 is nice if you can afford it (excluding all of the mall ninja stuff) a good used .22 , shotgun or lever action 30-30 is the most you need. Don’t discount a good .22, they were used effectively in the Chechen war sniping Russian soldiers. Comparatively… Read more »


Nicely stated, Paul. For a long time, I thought the perfect gun combo was a Ruger Blackhawk and Winchester 94 chambered in the same round. Say .357Mag for the .38 Special cross compatibility. I still think its a great combo, just lacks distance capability. Other than rich folk, it seems like a lot of folks have forgotten how to do it. Dropping the coin on top shelf stuff is out of most folks’ payrange. Those sweet ARs or Arc’teryx backpacks can be on the dream sheet, but starting out small, and working your way up to that stuff (if you… Read more »

Mike Lashewitz

We are in the same boat brother. It takes time and scrimping but we can do it.

Who makes the best fire fighters in the US Navy? – The non-swimmers. . . .


Very good article, I learned a bunch. Keep writing!


I have looked at pictures and videos of real crisis events and see tradic just about stoped. unless you have something that can roll over the cars or fly you wont be any better off with a rig like this or the rusted out pickup truck People will be heading out of town and wont even know where they are going. Better to sit tight and let the crowds do their panic and fight it out and form their groups for then they will be back to pick clean what was left. While they are moving You are picking up… Read more »


I too have been trying to prep. Sometimes reading these articles tells me there is really a problem in sharing and caring. I am 76, a woman, widow, mother, Grandmother and great grandmother. LIvining on a fixed income, it is kinda hard to get this prepping done..but I have managed to do some. So I plug along. I thank all of you who have prepped and given us information to help us be ready. But I still think because of the fear that we feel, it had taken over our minds and we tend to get selfish. I have always… Read more »


Its a very tough balance, Pas. In a true survival situation, finding the balance between charity and self (group)-preservation will be difficult to find. Feeding worthless mouths, will strain any group. Few of those with nothing are/will be willing to ‘do their part’ to earn what is given. Society has changed a lot over the past 50 years, and little of it for the better. Most can add some value. The problem is that too few of them are willing to do it. Someone is going to save them. I don’t have enough to get my family through a hard… Read more »


this is a interesting topic you bring up that each person needs to think about.. how far are you willing to go to help others and at what point will others take you down with them. Even Law enforcement and first responders know there is only so much they can do for people that dont want to help themselves. having worked with Red Cross in shelters, people will ask you for your cellphones, food, money, batteries until your out. it never stopped. i had to hide all my gear and asked to be staged out of the view of the… Read more »

Linda S

Good article! I’m 70, raising 2 grandkids on my Social Security so your $50,000 a year looks good to me. But I’ve managed to accrue some preps & I possess a lot of skills. And yes, if I had a fallout shelter & no neighbors had one I would still want to survive.

Charles Hyde

My wife, an angel for putting up with my quirky ideas, started to put together a good deal of camping gear. She and I would pick up one or two items each payday. She made sure that all the bills were paid before she gave me my allowance. If I spent it all at once, I would be broke for the rest of the month. We are just like the rest of our friends. There is usually more month than money, so we do what all of our friends do. Just a little at a time. If it becomes necessary… Read more »


Awesome article !!!! I, too, am a working stiff with a good job that doesn’t have much left over for preps. We all have different priorities, but this article brings home the essence of survival; making do with what you have at hand. Yeah, I use the Sharpie, a lot. We buy the stuff we normally eat, but get an extra every now and then. Is it going to last me 25 years? No, but it will keep us alive while we figure out what to do next (every SHTF scenario is different). The four basics (shelter, fire, food, and… Read more »


Chuck, you have the right of it. Prepping has been commercialized to a degree. Recommendations for the $80 water filtration system are great in outlining goals. The reality is the $20 filter that sits in an unused bug-out bag is nearly as good, and left $60 over to focus on another need. I too got scooped up in the best ‘gee whiz’ items, but came to realize that having one ‘B’ grade filter and five other needed items was better than having one Platypus filter. I do have a platypus filter now, but not before I had a couple of… Read more »


Thank you.


I’m one of those guys who has that great big crew cab diesel 4×4. I spent 20 years getting to the point that I could afford such luxury. My kids says its going to be his when he drives. My response is that I’ll be buried in it. Not because I love it so much, but because it has to last forever. But honestly, now that I’ve had it for a few years, I think more and more about a crummy old ’85 F-150 4×4. That big beautiful diesel is nice, but if you’ve ever looked under the seats, you’ll… Read more »

The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

Funny you mention the old 4×4. I’ve a nice fairly new little commuter car that gets me 35+mpg as my daily driver. I also have a decent GHB stuffed in for the hatch for an OH S*** event should it come. Back at home however I put away a saab 900 from ’84 , and a ’85 Silvarado 4×4. In a SHTF or EMF situation, points, plugs, condenser, and rotor are the way to go. The remainder of the bits are plentiful and cheap, especially for the Chevy. Fire them both up and drive them periodically to keep things healthy.… Read more »


When you look at pictures or videos of crisis events you mostly see people being jammed in traffic. So why bother having a car? Even if you are that lucky being the first one to go, fuel might be impossible to get, roads might be closed…or there might be an EMP and all those new flashy cars won’t start up. Keep fit enough to cary your bug out bag and walk long distances. If you really have to leave your house and face the dangers outside, you will be happy with a fit body, enough knowlegde to survive and some… Read more »


Sara, that all falls under the 5Ps. If you don’t plan for it, it may not happen. Whether your bug out destination is 5 miles of 500 miles away, you need to have a plan to get there. Routes, alternate routes, alternate-alternate routes. Fuel, spares, tire repair, engine oil, coolant. It seems to me that the question of ‘should i stay or should i go’ is being brought up a lot on this one. One must have walked through scenarios for each decision, evaluated the risks and rewards, before making that decision BEFORE something happens. This shapes what you prepare… Read more »


Spot on Bob. Bug in until you need to bug out but it is always going to be situational. Bug out plans need to account for all possible issues and why drive or carry stuff? Have it pre positioned


Well, pre-positioning is good, but there will always be stuff you are going to want to bring that isn’t pre-po’d.

Unless your BOL route is 100% off-track, close-by, and out in the wilds, moving quickly can out-weigh all other factors. You can always bail out and walk, but having the wheels dramatically expands a person’s range for hunting, scavenging, and whathaveyou.

Getting the wheels to your BOL can be a game changer.


Thanks for the breath of fresh air & reality! I love cool prep toys & gadgets that cost a fortune, but HELLO – not able to trick out my daily working-mans GMC Terrain for ‘total off road bug out destination’ just yet! Personally, I think first about just getting my family through 2-weeks if the power is out & no water is available – as veteran & gun owner I think I can figure out the rest if it’s longer or more drastic than that. Do I prep? Sure….but I space out my purchases and stock it away JUST in… Read more »


I wish I had money to spend like so many, but Im like you. I have no real “extra” cash to buy all the nice and cool things. I try and buy what I can when I can. Thats not very often. A little here a little there. I have no money for all that extra stuff, or a bug out “cabin” or special vehicle. Im one that hopes my neighbors are just as good hearted and kind as I am. But I know I shouldnt count on it when the SHTF. 🙁


Get a decent second hand tent, some wood tools, a second hand cycle. Go and find a spot. Bury the tools and tent carefully. In shtf live in the tent while you build a wood cabin. Buy some white rice and beans, freeze them for three days, Mylar is nice but a clean chips packet will do, just leave the food in its original packet. Cycle up there frequently and bury the food in the ground using the cheapest buckets you can get, sealed well with duct tape. Ask fast food stores if they have any. You have Internet. The… Read more »


I agree with other posters, 1 option is to hit yards sales and you find all kinds of 2nd hand gear. clean it up and use it. As Americans, we throw out so much good stuff( we are probably through out good stuff like cast iron pans and buying cheap china stuff). I got to thinking on how the longterm homeless will probably do just fine when things hit the fan, since they already know how to scrounge for food & shelter. btw – my bugout vehicle is my 19 yr old 4 wheel dr jeep which I drive every… Read more »


My 2 cents: w

Mike Youknowwho

One of the best insights on prepping on a budget available is a book called ‘Locusts on the Horizon’.

Steve LaFontaine

the idea is not to survive. it’s to not suffer.

Usul Auric

I have found that when people think about prepping they have a rather calm, woodsy, even friendly atmosphere in mind with their scenario of living off the land – usually from movies. But if you look at what is happening in the world right now it seems that it might be much different. It will be war. Shoot outs in the streets. Door to door confiscations and neighbor betraying neighbor. Our own government turned Global Fascist will be our enemy. Drones, billions of bullets, thousands of guns, 2700+ light armored tanks for the DHS, military urban combat training in American… Read more »

Roddy Pfeiffer

All these preppers who share their real names (brag) about how much food, supplies and guns they have will get an unpleasant surprise when TSHTF. There are millions of people who will not prepare and who have no qualms about taking it all to prevent their own families from starving. The biggest surprise of all will be when a group of well armed men from the government come to their houses/shelter and take everything for redistribution. Some of these big-mouthed people even have websites so that 4 billion people know about their supplies. The first rule of being a prepper… Read more »


I gave you 5 stars just because I am so impressed with your attitude. You are the first humble person I have encountered in prepping. I know the other articles are good and informative, but many of them read like infomercials. I’m glad to know I’m not the only person struggling to prep. To listen to them talk, most people starting prepping at birth, they used their allowance to buy freeze dried meat from Legacy. Sometimes things just happen in life, and you have to start over. I was living in a log cabin, on a lake, a preppers dream,… Read more »


Thank you. I wish you the best.


Good article and I do think bugging out is an issue. Still I am reading excuses in the article. You cannot get a tent and sleeping bags, find a forest, build a cabin in shtf? Use cheap tools and priceless skills? You cannot get wood and bricks to fortify your home? Reuse and scavenge now before shtf to get ready. Staying put when the rest flee the suburbs or wherever you are and looting them early seems very smart to me rather than dashing to a forest in a monster truck. You cannot budget $10 a week for supplies and… Read more »

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