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The urban prepper: Personal prepping

Over the last two years the urban prepper has covered prepping on a larger scale; prepping for a state of emergency that would affect not only you, but everyone around you such as other residents and neighbors. What about emergencies that don’t affect everyone or emergencies that affect people on an individual level? You can prep for that. It’s called personal prepping.

A joyous occasion, but it doesn't come with directions.
A joyous occasion, but it doesn't come with directions.
Personal prepping is still prepping.

If you have ever put money aside for your child’s education, paid into a 401k plan or paid into a vacation or Christmas account at your bank you were engaging in a form of personal prepping.

In essence, personal prepping is prepping for an individual’s (this would be you) own type of emergency. People in the prepping community like to refer to it as personal doomsday scenarios.


Probably because it sounds a little scary and really dramatic which is something some preppers feed off of. Prepping for a personal emergency doesn’t necessarily constitute a doomsday scenario and to frighten yourself into believing that your own emergency is equivalent to one is a little silly. It should be referred to as personal prepping because that’s exactly what it is.

Personal prepping is also a state of emotion; what your own personal emergency is might determine how much you can invest into prepping not necessarily on a financial basis, but on an emotional basis as well.

So what would constitute an occasion when you would need to prep for a personal emergency? There are several types, but feel free to add some of your own.

• A death in the family. As devastating as this is on a personal level it may also mean loss of income. If you work at a job that doesn’t offer benefits like vacation or personal days, you may lose money because you have to take time off. If it was your spouse/co-prepper that died it would absolutely affect how much you can spend on prepping.

• Divorce. This can be a devastating loss as well especially if your spouse was the experienced prepper. Even if they weren’t, all the drama that is associated with a divorce could take your focus away from prepping. You may even shelf any plans to prep because there’s just too much going on.

• Your child being diagnosed. For parents who have had their child diagnosed with cancer, leukemia, Autism, mental retardation or any number of things they know all too well how emotionally, physically and financially draining this process can be.

• Giving birth. Although this may not be a personal emergency it will change how you prep and when you’ll have time to prep. Bringing a baby into your home either through natural means (giving birth), adoption or even foster care certainly will add to the equation.

• Disability. This is getting hurt on the job or being diagnosed with a physical/mental health condition that will limit your funding. It will also make you detour from your prepping efforts due to doctors’ visits, expenses for medication and pain. In addition if you go on Social Security Disability you’ll only have income coming in once a month.

• Accidents. This not only means an auto accident, but perhaps a slip-and-fall or someone gets hurt on your property. There are expenses to be incurred such as the loss of a vehicle, lawyers and hospitalizations.

• Laid-off/termination. Some people are aware that they’re going to be laid-off or terminated ahead of time, but most people don’t. In today’s economy it’s more difficult finding a job that pays well. If you have a job that doesn’t pay well to begin with and then you lose that job your ability to prep also suffers. Sure there’s unemployment, but in December of 2013 people who were unemployed and expecting to continue receiving money for another couple of months got the rug pulled out from under them suddenly courtesy of the rich (and employed) politicians in Washington, D.C.

• Foreclosure/eviction. If you lose your job or suffer any of the personal emergencies listed above it’s quite conceivable that you could lose your home as well. This would include any prepping efforts you already have such as shelter or the root cellar you spent a couple of months putting in. If you are in a car accident where another person was seriously injured and the courts decide that you were at fault you may find that all your personal property (which includes your home) may be seized in order to satisfy the judgment/lien that is placed against you.

• Crime. Being a victim of a crime in which you are either physically or emotionally hurt can be devastating. These are not experiences you can automatically shake off and go about your business. It may also force you to prep in different ways in order to feel more secure which would be an additional cost than what you had planned for.

• Natural disaster. If you live in Philly the last month or so you have had more than your fair share of rain. If you live in areas of South Philly, Kensington, Roxborough or West Philly your basement may have even flooded. If everything you had previously prepped such as supplies or food was down there they may have been destroyed. In addition to starting over again, you’ll now have the added expense of hiring a contractor to fix any structural damage that may have occurred or to hire a mold specialist.

So what should you do in order to prepare yourself for a personal emergency?

Actually it’s not much different than prepping for a larger emergency, but it’s more a shift in priorities.

You should continue to stock up on water, but you may not need to have five years or more worth of water. Three years may be sufficient. You will need to have more food. It should be five years worth or more. Plus if you have new additions to the house learn how to make your own baby food, etc. If you have a family member with health problems or a diagnosis that affects what they eat, prep with them in mind as well.

Invest in a charcoal grill as well as a kerosene heater in case your utilities end up being shut off. If you already have a generator that’s great, but still get the grill and heater to be on the safe side. To learn how to make your own charcoal, please read the urban prepper’s article on the how-to process:

If you’re financially able to pay off your mortgage please do so. If you’re a renter, but with limited means you may want to look into buying an abandoned property to rehab so you’ll have a place to live that’s relatively free (minus taxes and the water bill). For more information on purchasing an abandoned property, please visit Abandoned Philadelphia’s website at:

You will also need to be aware if you live in an area that is prone to flooding or perhaps you want to feel safer. If either of those scenarios are the case consider moving or building a root cellar upstairs in an empty room or even the attic. During massive flooding like Hurricane Katrina residents found themselves living on the second floor or the roof with no access to food or supplies. If your finances allow, have supplies in both the basement as well as the second (or third) floor of your home.

If you have all your money in the bank, pull it out and stash it in your house. If not creditors or legal entities can go after whatever you have through judgments. If you can, pay down your debt which includes credit cards, student loans and car loans. For more information on how to get yourself out of debt, please read the urban prepper’s article:

One of the best things about prepping is the ability to prep when you can and not have to worry about prepping when you either can’t or with an emergency hours away. Don’t lull yourself into a false sense of security like many people did in 2008 when the floor of the economy gave way.

There is a state of emergency happening right now. Although it’s not at a critical stage as of this date, it may be one in about a year or so and that is the economy.

Despite what the delusional mainstream media and the ne’er-do-well politicians would like you to believe there are still too many people who are either losing their jobs or can’t find substantial work. Some can’t find work at all. Washington has slashed the budgets of public assistance as more and more people are being forced to apply for benefits. Houses are still being foreclosed upon and areas like the suburbs are finding their number of homeless people dramatically rise.

In cities like Philadelphia who are experiencing the crime rate for murder and rape dip, crimes like robberies are increasing. Recently there have been a number of purse snatchings where the victim was murdered and a group of girls were just arrested for robbing people after beating them with a brick. Even stores like Wawa’s who was once immune to crime have also been the victims of armed robbers.

So, yes, prep as well as you can. Just don’t forget to prep for safety because once the economy truly bottoms out the number of robberies will dramatically increase in addition to massive civil unrest.

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