Food Survival

Bug-In on a Budget (Part 1: Β Water and Food)

In the survival community, a great deal of focus is spent on the notion of β€œbugging out.” The standard practice includes bug-out bags, bug-out vehicles, bug-out routes, and heading for the hills. It’s not a bad way to go at all. But for the majority of people in the United States who live in urban or suburban environments, or for people who already live well-enough out of the way, β€œbugging in” may be the smarter approach.

To properly β€œbug in,” you’re going to need a good deal of supplies. While it may be a cool idea to think about installing some solar paneling or building your own underground fall-out shelter, the financial realities of such things aren’t terribly feasible for the average working man. But that doesn’t mean that bugging-in has to be expensive. Here’s how to do it in a cost-effective way that won’t take up too much of your time.


Bugging in requires lots of water. This should be the highest priority on your list in terms of urgency and expenditure. The cheapest ways to plan ahead in this regard are as follows:

  1. Buy a gallon-sized jug of water every time you make a grocery trip. If you don’t do the grocery shopping in your household, ask your wife to do this. Just one extra gallon, each trip. Then stash them away. You’ll be surprised how many gallons of water you will effectively stockpile over the period of six months. The key (as with anything worthwhile) is remaining consistent.

  1. Purchase a water filter, a handheld one, not the type that screws on to faucets. Remember, during a bug-in situation, running water and plumbing is not something you can necessarily count on. While the hand-pump type of water filter is a good idea, a survival straw is also something to consider.

  1. Build a rain water collection system. While that might sound like an expensive thing, it’s not, at all. A 50-gallon, food-grade barrel, a spigot and a downspout will run you no more than 80 bucks. If you live in an area where rain is abundant, this is probably the way to go.



For a standard β€œbug-in” scenario, you should be prepared to have food stockpiled away for a 10-month period of time. While growing your own veggie garden and hunting your own food should always be priorities for the truly self-reliant, bear in mind that the outside world may not be the safest place to be during a bug-in scenario. So, hunting or even walking outside to your garden can be a bad idea. Here are two affordable ways you can handle your food rations ahead of time:

1. Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) aren’t the tastiest cuisine around but they last for up to 5 years and do not require heat to cook. Though slightly expensive if you were to finance your entire 10-month bug-in like this, MREs are a solid supplement to other food rations and you can pick up a case of 72 for about $200.

2. Similar to the above method of discreetly stockpiling water, the next time you are at the grocery store, spend an extra moment or so cruising through the canned goods aisle. Grab a can of chili or two, grab a tin of sardines or three, pick up a few cans of tuna. Piecing together a small survival pantry out of canned goods from the local store is a great way to ensure your long-term safety during a β€œbug in,” SHTF situation.

3. For those particularly committed to self-reliance, canning your own food is a great way to ensure that your survival pantry is properly stocked. A 23-quart pressure canner will run you about $80, a pack of 12 Regular Mouth Pint Jars goes for about $8.50, and the jars are reusable. Here’s the thing, you can pressure can everything from fruit and veggies to stews and marinated meats. Canned food stays good for approximately 4 years, and is a great way to preserve for the future.

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  • […] Bugging in for the long haul is not something to be taken lightly. In fact, it is more likely than not that when the SHTF, bugging in is the best-case scenario for you and your family. This is why we’ve taken the liberty of creating a 3-part series dedicated to helping you bug-in, on a budget. Β If you missed the first installment on food and water, click here. […]

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