“Concerned about Deterioration of the Economy” Interview with Tess Pennington, Author of The Prepper’s Blueprint

250x250-PreppersBluePrintI had the opportunity to read The Prepper’s Blueprint written by Tess Pennington and edited by Daisy Luther.  This is a huge book and it give you a wealth of information about preparing for any disaster.  Becoming prepared can be overwhelming but this book will walk you through what you need to know.

The Prepper’s Blueprint, offers a “no nonsense” guide to preparing for either short term or long term emergencies. The book is written in a friendly, non-judgmental tone; you feel like a friend is helping you get motivated. Tess Pennington knows of what she writes. I liked the practical advice and actionable steps that anyone can follow. This book is a keeper.

In addition, I also interviewed the author, Tess Pennington.  Tess has made the big leap that many of us can only imagine:  moving from life in the big city to a small town.   Even though we can’t move just yet, there are many things we can do to live more sustainably while living in the city.  Read on…

1.  There are multiple threats to prepare for – what are you most concerned about?

My largest concern is with the deterioration of the economy. Currently, 1 in 4 Americans have no emergency savings. Emergency savings is hard to do when the country is in such a fragile economic state. Americans are struggling and finding ways to cut corners and learn to make ends the best they can. We are dealing with an epidemic of unemployment, the amount of families on food stamps is staggering, and it is becoming clear that an economic recovery is nowhere in sight.

Many years ago, I was enslaved to debt, we had no savings, I had no preparations and my young children were depending on me to get them through. My husband and I made some abrupt changes. We consumed less and worked at paying off our bills. Rather than taking vacations, we invested in emergency supplies and began growing our own food sources. I wouldn’t say that we are 100% self-reliant, but we are close to being debt free and are closer to our goal. One aspect of preparedness that is not discussed often is the time involved in accumulating supplies, learning the pertinent skills and becoming confident in your abilities. This takes years and those who are new to prepping may become discouraged in the process. The best way to approach prepping is with open eyes and new mindset.

If we can each take steps to eliminate debt, save money, simplify our lifestyle and prepare for the unexpected disasters that life can throw at us, then when those emergencies do happen, we will be prepared and ready to face them head on. We will not be as dependent on the economic cycles.

2.  What was a driving reason to leave the city and relocate to a different location?

Our driving reason was that the life in the city/suburbs didn’t reflect what we wanted anymore. We were ready to get some land and practice a more self-reliant lifestyle. Luckily, my husband and I work from home, so we were able to be picky about where we moved to. Not many people have the opportunity to pick up and move. Where our job is usually reflects where we can and cannot live.

For us, living in Houston, TX came with certain concerns. This is a densely populated area, crime rates seemed to be increasing, and there were concerns of multiple natural disasters and man-made disasters that we didn’t want to subject our family to. When we made the decision to move, we did a lot of research on areas around the country that were not densely populated, were rich in natural resources and didn’t pose as many natural disasters compared to where we were living. One resource that was exceptionally helpful during this research period was http://www.city-data.com/.

3.  What was the most difficult adjustment you (or your family) had to make?

In all, I feel that the adjustment was easy because I had done a lot of research in homesteading and self-reliance living. I knew going into it that there were going to be some challenges and learning curves. I wanted to get my hands dirty and knew that mistakes were all part of the process.

The most difficult thing I have found about the whole process is not be complacent. We get comfortable with things, maybe a little cocky in learning new skills and then you just stop learning, stop reading about new products and perhaps, become less open to new ways of thinking. In my experience, you should always be continuing to learn and train your skills. Find people around you or online that share your interests and learn from them.

4.  What steps can be taken to ease the transition when you move away from convenient and familiar surroundings?

When you make the decision to move away from all that you know, it can be scary at first. You may doubt yourself and your abilities. But, don’t give up! As mentioned above, my husband and I did a lot of research on where we were moving and had a plan of action before we moved. I had my checklist of things to do before I left.

My biggest advice for this question is to trust in your decision and give yourself time to adjust and acclimate to your new surroundings. One of the first things I did when we moved was start getting my garden set up. I am one of those people who have to have a garden growing. It calms me and gives me time to myself. You could also join local grounds (master gardeners, go to the gun range, meet up groups, etc.) to get you meeting the locals.

5.  Many families are unable to move out of the city due to financial and family reasons – what would you recommend in their situation?

Roughly, 80% of the population is urban, so you aren’t alone. There are many things you can do to promote a more sustainable lifestyle while living in the city. Make the best of where you are and refine skills you can use in an urban setting. Some great skills you can easily learn are:

Raise micro-livestock
Garden and produce your own food supply
Forage for local plants and herbs
Learn about Hydroponic/Aquaponic food production
Train your physical body in the event of evacuations
Take an emergency first-aid class or self-defense class
Start a prepper’s pantry and store shelf stable foods
Learn how to preserve your food supply
Go to farmer’s markets and get in contact with local growers and practice bartering
Visit self-reliant or prepper expos and take some prepper classes

Many families have to stay in urban areas but do not let that stop you from your prepping endeavors. There are lots of things you can do and many people who are in the same place as you with the same interests. Hopefully, the above suggestions can help you get started.

Now for the giveaway…

Tess is giving away a copy of The Prepper’s Blueprint to one lucky winner.

To enter, just comment on the question below:

Describe what skills are you trying to acquire to live more sustainably and why?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, August 9th at 8 pm Central.  *Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or other winners will be drawn.


© Apartment Prepper 2014

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!


How to Choose a Survival Kit that’s Best for You

Living readyThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Hurricane season starts next month (June 1 – November 30), and one of the recommended steps to prepare is to have a survival kit.

You have a couple of options:  make your own OR buy a pre-assembled survival kit.  You also need to decide how much money and how much time you want to spend.

Here are a couple of factors to consider:

  • Number of people in your household
  • Number of days you are covering
  • Type of emergency
  • Purpose of the kit – home emergency, car emergency etc.

Whatever kit you choose, there will be some crossover – some of the same items would be useful regardless what type of disaster- power outage, hurricane, earthquake, flood etc.

For a 72 hour kit, you should have the following items:

Food – Include food that does not need a lot of effort to prepare:  energy bars, canned food, “just add water” meals (dehydrated or freeze dried foods), crackers,  etc.  Include some comfort food such as chocolate, candy and chips.  Don’t forget the manual can opener

Water – One gallon per person per day is the guideline

First aid – in addition to the basic first aid contents, include personal prescriptions, eyeglasses, contact lenses etc.  It is also a good idea to include a pocket first aid manual.

Communications – battery operated or crank weather radio, charged cell phone

Personal hygiene – toilet paper, trash bags, moist towelettes

Lighting, Fire and warmth – flashlights, propane or other alternate fuel stove, candles

Basic tools such as knife, multi-tool, wrench and pliers

Entertainment – books, board games, cards

You’ll also need to include other miscellaneous items such as stuffed animals for children, special needs, pet food and medicines etc.  While you’re in the planning mode, device a plan on what you will do if you need to evacuate the area.

If you decide to buy a prepackaged survival kit, go through the contents as soon as you receive it, so you know what you have stored up.  If you are planning to do it yourself, now is the time to get started with building your kit.


© Apartment Prepper 2014


Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

Living Ready Pocket Manual: Book Review and Giveaway

LR First Aid CoverSurvival Doctor James Hubbard, MD has written a new book, Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival.

This book will give you knowledge and skills to potentially save a life during an emergency or disaster.   Dr. Hubbard gives easy to follow step by step directions on what to do in such situations as:

  • choking
  • severe wounds
  • bites
  • burns
  • dehydration
  • hyperthermia and hypothermia
  • poisoning
  • broken bones and joints

In high stress situations, you don’t need a lot of complex explanations and jargon that will only confuse you.  This books gives an average person exactly what’s needed to take action and follow through.

There is also a section on what to include in a first aid kit some of which I found lacking in my own kit.  Dr. Hubbard also reminds us to keep additional water for first aid purposes such as cleaning wounds.  There is also a section detailing what types of antibiotics target certain illnesses.

You never know when you’ll find yourself as a first responder in a disaster.  The book is well-organized which makes it easy for someone to use in an emergency.  It is small enough to keep in a bug out bag, or a hiking backpack.  I think this book would also make a great gift for non-prepper recipients.  I am sure by now you’ve concluded I highly recommend Living Ready Pocket Manual.

For additional reviews of Living Ready Pocket Manual, click here.

Now for the giveaway:

One winner will be chosen to win a copy of Living Ready Pocket Manual.


Just add your comment below:

 Describe a first aid emergency that you’ve experienced.

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, January 18th at 8 pm Central.

*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.




For easy ways to become more prepared, read my book:

For low-cost ways to prep:

Build your Grab and Go Binder

Grab and Go BinderIf you haven’t done is already, now is a good time to build your “grab and go binder.” This is your handy document keeper that you keep in a safe but accessible place that you can easily grab in the event of a dire emergency and you need to run out of the house.

If you’ve already got one, it’s time to review and update it.  Lots of new documents may have been generated this past year:  insurance policies get renewed, cars get paid off etc., and it is a worthwhile activity to weed and toss out the old and replace with the new.

Normally we keep all our important documents in a fire-proof safe.  Our previous plan was to take the entire safe and run out the door in the event of an emergency.  Based upon what I’ve learned reading various survival sites regarding lightening your load when bugging out, I have revisited that idea and feel we need to keep the items in a binder in case we run out on foot.  The safe would be too heavy to carry!

I found a sturdy binder among our used school supplies and added plastic sleeves to protect the documents.   I am adding the following documents into the binder:

  • birth certificates
  • passports
  • marriage certificate
  • personal records such as baptism, confirmation records
  • social security cards
  • school records-diplomas, report cards
  • vaccination records
  • vehicle ownership record/ “pink slip”
  • credit card statements and other bills
  • printout of address book
  • insurance policies
  • checking and saving account statement
  • retirement account statements
  • apartment lease

You will need to personalize this list according to your own situation.    For example, homeowners would need copies of deeds and home loan documents etc.  Needless to say, guard this binder in a secure place:  loss of this binder will lead to identity theft, since it contains all your personal and financial information.

It only takes an hour or so to put these documents together.  But having a grab and go binder will save you a lot of time and effort in the event of an emergency.


Are We Headed for Economic Hard Times?

Food Line Great Depression

Lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of dire predictions about the economy.  Whether they happen as predicted or not, it’s a good idea to pay attention to these signs.

This article for Modern Survival Blog caught my eye:

Major Stock Market Crash In January

If you look at the chart, the patterns between today’s stock market and the time period leading up to the Great Depression (1928-29) look uncomfortably similar.

Then I saw this one from SHTFPlan.com:

15 Signs That We Are Near The Peak Of An Absolutely Massive Stock Market Bubble

You can even find concerns from mainstream sources  Take a look at

Be Prepared For Stocks To Crash 40%-55%

Even Clark Howard who offers practical financial advice weighed in:

Is a stock market crash coming?

It’s Too Close for Comfort

Last week, right before Thanksgiving, it was announced at work that management had done some “restructuring”  and a few employees were laid off.  Those of us who were fortunate to have a job were asked to increase our workload to “add value” to the team.   I felt relieved to have a job, but felt bad for the people who lost theirs.

What is your Economic Crash Plan?

Think about your own worse case economic scenario:  for many it’s the loss of income.  Hopefully, unemployment benefits would cover in the event of a job lay-off.  However, expenses would have to be cut back drastically.

  • How long would your emergency savings last- how many months or rent or mortgage can you cover?
  • Start using emergency supplies to avoid having to buy food.  Find out about food banks and other services that can offer help.
  • Can you borrow from retirement plans?  In a crash, you need to take care of the present and keeping a roof over your head.
  • Consider which relatives can you move in with, if you had to.  As undesirable as the possibility might be, remember it’s only temporary and it would still be better than being homeless.
  • If you don’t have relatives you can move with, can you live in a truck or RV if you had access to one? 

It is hard to even consider these ideas, but this mental exercise will help you plan and cope better should your financial fortune take a turn for the worse.

What you can do now

I am hoping everything continues along as normal, and nothing happens.  But just in case, it is a good idea to implement a few good habits now, while there is time.

  • Build your emergency cash fund by using your skills to earn extra income
  • Go through your unwanted items.  Donate or sell them to make room for supplies that you do need.
  • Don’t go overboard with Christmas spending.  Set a limit for gifts, decorations and entertainment and stick to it.  Pay cash for everything.  Using a card makes it easy to overspend.
  • Look at each non-essential bill and decide if you can do without it:  gym memberships, premium movie channels, etc.  If you are not using it, consider getting rid of the service (but be mindful of contract terms and penalties.)
  • Learn to cook more meals at home, you will feel healthier by avoiding fast food, and you’ll save money.
  • Cut down on discretionary spending now, and send the extra money to savings.
  • Build good relationships at work and in your industry.
  • Stop incurring new debt, pay down debt if you can.
  • Stock up on food and supplies while you can
  • Get your checkups, prescriptions, eyeglasses and any elective medical procedures while you have health insurance
  • Learn survival and self-sufficiency skills now.

These measures can only help your finances in the long run.  Prepare while you can.




What if Your Preps Outlive You?

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Two unrelated stories caught my attention this week, which prompted me to write this article.  One story was about a California couple who found an underground 1960s fallout shelter in their backyard and the other story was about a woman who had a baby and soon found her husband mistakenly sold a box where she had stashed her wedding ring.

These stories have nothing to do with each other, but they both got me thinking about something that is often left out of emergency planning:  having instructions should something happen to you.

As you can see from the story about the bunker, the man planned well, for what many feared in the 60s, that of nuclear war, but fortunately for him, a nuclear disaster never did come to pass in his lifetime.  Yet his emergency preps lived on, now a quaint reminder, even a time capsule of sorts, representing a bygone era.  In the same vein, we prepare for emergencies or disasters, and continue to hope for the best.

The second story about the wedding ring being hidden in an unused box that got sold inadvertently reminded me of the  importance of telling a trusted someone where you hide things.  I’ve seen articles giving tips on where to hide stuff such as cash and other valuables.  But what if you hide your items in these secret places and something happens to you?  You may have hidden them so well that no one will benefit from your foresight – your loved ones may find your stash accidentally, or maybe they will never get found.

I admit, I don’t even feel comfortable with this subject either, but I know it is something I  need to deal with.  At the very least, have a conversation with your partner about where and what you are hiding, so someone else knows where to find things should something happen to you.  If you were incapacitated or unconscious in the hospital, will your loved ones know where to look for emergency cash or even health insurance forms so they can pay the hospital bill?   Here are a few issues to consider:

  • Do you have a last will and testament?  If you have a lot of assets, then best consult an attorney, if not, and your estate is simple, websites such as Legalzoom (no affiliation with us) may help you.
  • If you are parents, who would take care of the kids?
  • To whom would you grant power-of-attorney should you become incapacitated?
  • Hidden caches and such:  would your family know where you hid your valuables such as safe deposit boxes and storage units?  Watching that show Storage Wars and seeing the characters uncover hidden gems for profit just makes me wonder about the hapless owners who lost these items for whatever reason.
  • Not all families are “on-board” with prepping – you’d have to consider who may appreciate and benefit from your efforts the most, instead of just dumping everything in the trash or selling them off for pennies at a garage sale.

No one really likes to think about this, but loss of life is certainly a disaster situation for the family.  It is something that many of us avoid thinking about, yet is necessary to consider as part of a well-rounded plan.

© Apartment Prepper 2013

For beginning preppers



How to Build a Survival Cache in Case of an Emergency

The following article is a guest post by Sam Peters

A survival cache is a container of items that will be useful for survival in the midst of an emergency situation. It is a good idea to build one ahead of time in case of a natural disaster or other emergency that would force you to evacuate your home or apartment. Including enough supplies for you and your family is important to ensure that everyone will be able to survive in case of an emergency. Even more important is making sure everyone in your family knows how to use these tools.

What should you include in a survival cache?

There are many different items that people choose to set aside in case of an emergency, and you can never be too prepared. Some common items include: food, medical supplies, water, weapons, spare clothes and a small fire-starting kit. A well-constructed cache should be able to get you through several weeks – even months – of survival before you are able to stock up on additional supplies. If you have infants or small children in your family, you may also want to pack a baby-carrier or sling, cloth diapers and medicine, since young children are more susceptible to disease or illness.

What container should you use to store your emergency supplies?

You can use any container to build a cache, as long as the supplies are able to fit. Most people use PVC pipe to make enclosed tubes. You can buy the supplies from any local home improvement store, and you’ll want to make sure the container is completely sealed and waterproof. These containers are relatively inexpensive and easy to make. Proper food storage is essential to ensuring that your supply of food lasts until you are able to find more.

Canned goods are perishable, but they do last a long time and their lifespan doubles when stored in a cool place. Pickling food also allows normally perishable items to be preserved. Dehydrated foods are probably the best way to go, as dried foods can safely be eaten for up to a year after they are dried, and this method of food preservation allows for a lot of food to be stored in a smaller space.

Where should you store your emergency supplies?

It is best to store your survival cache away from your home, because if your home is destroyed, and you must evacuate quickly, you won’t lose everything. Most people choose to bury their container in the ground somewhere along a route that may be easily accessed when traveling. Doing this provides you with an opportunity to enact a mock disaster event, during which you and your family members can spend some time learning how to use all of the tools in your survival kit.

Everyone in your party should know how to start a fire and how to disperse food and water evenly so that it lasts as long as possible while still allowing everyone to be adequately nourished. Knowing how to use weapons, hunt and fish for meat is also essential. Both adults and children should be schooled in basic first aid procedures in case someone gets hurt. If only one person knows what to do in an emergency situation and something happens to that person, the rest of the group will be left scrambling. Remember, there is solidarity in numbers.

Guest Post is written by Sam Peters – blogger, freelance writer, and manager of theeducationupdate.com.




 For beginning preppers