A shopping spree to purchase thousands of dollars in pre-packaged survival solutions may not be the best option for families that are already dealing with a tight budget. A better choice is to invest in tools and information. Granted, you could easily overspend here as well. However, getting a good back to basics education and accumulating tools can be done frugally if you are wise in your selections.
Tools are one thing that you can invest in and begin to use now. You wouldn't want to purchase a needed tool and simply store it. For a tool to be useful, it must be used skillfully. Select tools that can be used in everyday situations and become familiar with them. Borrowing and renting tools can give you some hands-on experience and help you narrow the field to those you find best suit your needs. Look for a tool that can be utilized for more than one purpose. A single-purpose tool can take up too much space or resources required for maintenance relative to its usefulness.
Whether you are deciding on a tool for heat, shelter, food or clothing, ask yourself if the tool can be used for at least 3 tasks. If not, this may not be a good investment. Take the time to look at your expenditures as investments. What will be the the return down the road? An example of this may be that learning to tend plants and animals today will feed you tomorrow and make you familiar with the ways you can enrich your environment. Taking the time to learn how to sharpen and maintain a tool today will make you familiar with skills that will make it easier to maintain and repair other tools in the future.
Regarding food preparation, look for tools that are simple and help reduce the expenditure of time and energy. An example of this may be a grain mill. This can be a hefty investment, however it pays for itself by allowing you to make an assortment of breads and pastas for a minimal expense. Knowing how to process a grain into food gives you more options when traveling or trying to make ends meet in lean times. Having whole grain on hand allows you the option of sprouting, grinding, or cultivating the seed. A bag of milled flour cannot offer you this.
Convenience foods do save time. Take that time to learn some basic chemistry and become familiar with how ingredients can be blended to create certain flavors. Using various spices, and herbal blends allows you to add nutrients and taste to otherwise bland foods. Becoming familiar with the actual foods that go into a finished dish gives you valuable experience and confidence when preparing whole foods. During food shortages, those who understand these things are better able to create filling and nourishing meals with what little is on hand.
In lean times, knowing how to use available resources and having the skills required to prepare food from basic ingredients will serve you and your family well.