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7 Tips You Can Apply If You’re a Clever Prepper (2023 Update)

Last Updated: February 24, 2023

There are a lot of prepping checklists available online. However, we appreciate new insights and fresh perspectives on normal topics. In this article, we’ll be looking at a 2023 update on how a modern prepper can adapt new & old information for personal success. We believe that prepping in 2023 is a combination of wise gear choices, experiences in development, and analyzing what’s worked very well over the past 30 years…

for the next 30 years.

#1 Durable, Time-Tested Items

The 1997 Toyota Landcruiser is widely hailed as the best SUV ever designed. Over 23 years old, this vehicle drives for over 300,000 miles with easily replaceable, fixable components. As the official vehicle for the United Nations for over 20 years, this time-tested vehicle is but one example of some of the greatest products humans have designed.

Samsung E330 Flip Phone (gray)

The 2004 Samsung E330 gray flip phone is quite possibly the most durable phone ever made. Rolled under a Honda Civic, dropped more times than any person alive can count, this could potentially be a $5 find that is the emergency-emergency phone in your “Last Stand” kit.

Just like vintage items, older products tend to have owners who don’t understand the true value of what they have. Improve your bartering skills by strategically shopping for, and selecting your gear, cars, and equipment. Between your budget and savviness, and learning how to restore authentic items, you will increase the value of your overall setup and have dependable gear.

#2 Go to or Scavenge From Places at Perfect Times

It’s the end of the school year at your local community college. Students are leaving the dorms in droves.

They’re ready to embark on their summer vacations…with bank accounts full of funds for a new adventure. As they clean out their dorms and fill out the lost and found areas, you’ll find food, clothes, storage units, furniture, and numerous bits of random scrap that can be repurposed.

At Farmer’s Markets, stall employees are hurriedly breaking down stations and food storage areas in hopes of going home for the day. Instead of carefully packing food, labeling it, and carefully storing it in appropriate areas, it goes in the trash can in a non-descript heavy-duty trash bag.

At the end of catering events, uneaten food that’s sat out for a bit goes straight to waste.

These are your carefully timed opportunities to make use of really amazing products that have only touched clean plastic.

#3 5-Gallon Buckets

The 5-gallon bucket is one the most useful items for a prepper for the long haul. Hundreds of uses in storage, around the house, and in transit, the 5-gallon bucket is always a great find.

Sources of Buckets

Auto Repair ShopsDelicatessens (Delis)
Sam’s ClubChick-Fil-A
SafewayDunkin’ Donuts
Walmart’s bakery departmentWendy’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Mcdonald’s
Kroger’s bakery departmentTim Hortons
Meijer’s bakery departmentPaint Stores
RiteaidHome Depot
Whole FoodsCleaning Supplies Stores
Ice Cream ShopsPool Supply Stores
Hospitals & Nursing HomesAnimal Shelters — cat litter comes in buckets
Donut ShopsSchools and Universities

#4 Dumpster Diving Behind Corporate Grocery Stores and Restaurants

Using your plastic bucket, target key locations where perfectly good food is thrown away at the end of the day. It isn’t uncommon for fast-food, bakery, or grocery store employees to log slightly imperfect food as waste. Large corporate budgets tend to account for wastage, and logically, it just isn’t right for a store to sell a dented can, an incomplete bag of oranges, or products that have gone past the “best-before” date. Literally tons of food is thrown away each year.

Whatever you find is something you didn’t have to pay for, thus adding savings to your overall budget. When times are hard and money is tight, there’s no shame in staking out a few waste areas discreetly, waiting for employees finishing up their day with loads of waste from a working day at the market. Reports from real people frequently demonstrate perfectly good products from areas outside of Costco.

In 2023, there is no shortage of ways to find free nutritious food if you’re running low on funds, paying for healthcare, or taking care of a loved one.

#5 Stockpile Items & Find What Most People Don’t Know How to Value

When it comes to prepping, there are your staples and checklists. But on the other hand, there are the items you know well, treasure, and know how to deftly use. Sometimes, they don’t take up much space, or in the event of a SHTF situation, the demand for your stock becomes incredibly high.

It could be something as simple as toilet paper or baby formula or as practical as a crate full of your favorite camp knives for future bartering, or even current online sales. All depending on what you’re good at and knowledgeable about, your stockpile can be customized based on your growing expertise.

In the 21st century, there’s a lack of woodworkers, metal workers, and fine craftsmen. The number of people who can utilize materials and turn them into something useful is decreasing. However, there’s a growing number of people who know the inherent value of a good product or recyclable material. See what’s around in your community and what’s undervalued, you never know what you’ll find.

For example, at a building site nearby my home, there’s another area designated as waste. After having received permission from the construction site owners, I helped organize their trash area. During the whole process, I ended up with a 55-gallon drum as a new waste bin, numerous bricks for my garden, and a perfectly good $20 tarp.

#6 A Prepper Understands Cause and Effect in Real-Time

  • When to go where and why
  • When to stock and how to hide stock
  • When to blend in
  • When to act

The response to a natural disaster or human-borne SHTF scenario is all about timing. When the majority looks one way, and you find yourself thinking the same, it’s time to think again. The attention of the masses tends to be easily directed and focused on the most eye-catching factors of the time. That’s when you look to deserted areas and how to solidify your chances of survival and long-term success.

The power grid’s just gone down and there’s a rush to pick up all the portable solar products at Home Depot, and you had already set up your off-the-grid system three years prior.

Lastly, a prepper understands the stages with which events evolve. Survival isn’t just about a few seconds, it’s about phases of how people react to times of distress.

The Stages of Desperation

Throughout any crisis, stages come with indicators over a lifecycle of events until resolution or stability. Typically growing in intensity over time and impact, here are some telltale signs of the timeline of stages in a catastrophe.

The Early Stage

  • Uncertainty abounds and guidelines about the situation in question are unclear.
  • Certain items systemically become short in supply. Patterns emerge.
  • Frequently used supplies such as water, food, toilet paper, and tampons start to become harder to find.
  • Prices increase and fluctuate on a regular basis from gas to groceries. Commodities start to be affected.
  • “Currently Unavailable” and “Out-of-Stock” banners are displayed throughout online merchant websites and well-known eCommerce websites.
  • Increasing conflict over social media, between countries, and news media sources

The Middle Stage

  • Some businesses and stores are closed for extended periods of time.
  • Functioning businesses and stores are on essential needs and core functions basis. Limited inventory, limitations on purchasing, and bare shelves everywhere.
  • Prices continue to increase, and growing unemployment and economic disruption make purchases a much more thoughtful process than in previous stages.
  • People begin depending on family, friends, and local resources to supply their daily and weekly needs.
  • Increasing reports of instances of civil unrest, military engagements, and disaster impact.
  • Upticks in lawless crime, looting, and robberies occur with greater frequency, especially in areas where the authorities are spread thin

Late Stage

  • People begin to improvise because certain items are simply not available.
  • Food shortages become a regular occurrence and rationing programs begin.
  • Civil unrest continues to grow, and martial law is instituted in some areas and cities.
  • Looting and robberies continue to increase and overwhelm local police and the National Guard is called in to assist with law enforcement.
  • Medical supplies and even prescription medicines are in short supply and also rationed.

The End of the World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) Stage

  • The grid is down and there is no municipal power.
  • As a result, no communications networks or Internet.
  • There is no running tap water.
  • Food stores and clerks are a thing of the past.
  • You and your group are pretty much disconnected from the rest of the world. The same for everyone else.

#7 The IIAB (Internet-in-a-Box)

In the event major portions of the Internet collapse, the Internet-in-a-Box replaces the internet if you have no internet. The device includes software that creates a Wi-Fi hotspot that offers closed platform access.

Rest assured, a single attack on one installation or location would not entail the complete destruction of everything in cyberspace (The Internet).

A Final Word

While there are so many options to the different ways a responsible person can prepare for success in the midst of chaos, every reader has the opportunity to assess the situation themselves and make their own best judgment, which is exactly what we’re supposed to do in a survival scenario.

Best of luck fellow preppers, survivalists, and practical people alike.

“Always Be Ready” Max

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