How to Create a Backup Plan for Your Family ~ guest post by Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable

Andrea and I are becoming regular blogging friends. She found me first, and I happily discovered that we had a lot in common. She blogs about frugality and sustainability of course, but that includes many topics I feel passionate about myself – gardening, homeschooling, herbal medicine, and survivalism for a few examples. Earlier this year I participated in her 23 Days to Frugal Living Challenge. So when she shared with me some of the steps she and her husband have been taking to prepare their family for the unknown, I knew I had to have her share her story with you! Please consider the things she and her husband have done to keep their family safe and let it mull over in your own mind. How can you apply her story to your own life?


How to Create a Backup Plan for Your Family

Can you think of a time when being prepared is a bad idea? Preparedness, whether we realize it or not, is a part of all of our lives. For example, every evening, after the children go to bed, I make preparations for the next day. We prepare for vacations and times when we are away from home. Meal planning is another common form of preparing for the days ahead…

Likewise, preparing for emergencies and sudden disruptions in “life as we know it” is a wise choice and should naturally be a part of every family’s budget, routine, and lifestyle.

My Family’s Backup Plan

A few years ago, my husband and I began actively preparing our family’s backup plan. The fact that we currently live in the Desert Southwest really frightened me — concerning the lack of water – tons of questions started to roll around my head. What would we do if anything happened? I can’t live to see my children suffer! Where would the water come from? It all just snow-balled from there.

Both my husband and I are medically trained; therefore, we tend to think in terms of basic human survival and work our way up from there. This way of thinking provided the basic framework for our backup plan:

I began storing a small amount of water in mylar bags, we located our nearest water source (, and have learned how to purify in any situation. For those of you living in areas where it rains and water is abundant, I encourage you to begin with a few water barrels and a small scale rainwater catchment system.

Our family lives off of one income, so a large budget is not something we are accustom to. Over the past few months, we have slowly been able to transition our monthly food allowance in the direction of bulk buys. We, by no means, are able to afford the fancy-pants dehydrated meals (although I do have several bags of homemade dehydrated veggies from last year’s garden), yet over the course of one year we have been able to store nearly 8-9 months worth of beans, grains, and spices.

Developing relationships with like-minded families, farmers, and businesses has been vital to our backup plan. I strongly oppose the term “self-sufficient.” There’s nothing “self” about it. In the case of an emergency, it is the communities that come together to help each other out that end up thriving. It is vital that our backup plans include a community – a group of people that will be there for each other.

Preparing a homestead — or at least a place outside of the masses – was another important element to our plan. But remember, we are not wealthy, in fact we live on a super tight budget. Buying a tract of land seemed near impossible. However, we began looking for land being sold on a land contract or owner financed. And by the grace of God we, along with my sister’s family, were able to purchase 20 acres of raw land. It is rich in timber, pasture, and has 2 fresh water springs. Slowly we are making attempts to develop the land and one day soon we hope to move there permanently.

There were those times when we became so focused on our backup plan that we lost sight of the one that truly provides for all of our needs. God is our provider at all times. He is the one that sustains us. Our family’s backup plan includes our meager efforts — and I believe it is God-honoring – yet I fully expect to see days in which manna falls from heaven and my jars are filled with oil.

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “ –Matthew 6

What does your family’s backup plan look like?

11 responses to “How to Create a Backup Plan for Your Family ~ guest post by Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable

  1. Pingback: Almost There! | American Family Now

  2. this is so awesome. i actually just found the frugally sustainable blog and i’m loving it, and then i found this one and i’m enjoying them both! can you talk more about the alternative way you were able to find land? this is a dream of mine too, but i just don’t know how to make it happen and i’m always excited to hear about different ways. thanks for this!

    • Welcome Megan! I wish I could give you some advice on finding land, but we were blessed to be given ours by family. Not everyone has that blessing. One alternative tip I read about, when looking for a piece to make a back-up home, is to travel into the country and find a farm that has some run-down building somewhere on the property. Some farmers, so they say, are willing to let families have the right to said building if they are willing to do the work and foot the bill for fixing it up and making it liveable. For someone unable to find land themselves this might be an option worth thinking about!

  3. Thank you for sharing your back-up plan. I’d be interested in you sharing this or something of the like with the women following Rural Women Rock. I especially loved what you said about self sufficent vs. community. Thanks.

  4. Judine Brockert

    I was just telling my sister about your website, and she told me about an experience they just had with the government.They own a farm in Iowa and was thinking along the same lines that you arw writting about, so purchased a small camper and set it out on the so. 40, Her hubby would go down and work on the campsite, It is parked by a row of trees. They got a letter and a satalitte picture of the camper and told them they had 30 days to move the campsite and clean up the pond of all the pipes and equiptment they had put there for future use. or face a hefty fine. Seems in Iowa you have to have a permit to set up a camp on farmland. He was born and raised on this farm as his father before him. He had no alternative but to take every thing away, Could park his camper by the house, but no one could live in it. ( Farmland is for farming, and they don’t want a bunch of people running the wild animals off ) I could not beleive it either. But ” Big Brother” knows where you are at at all times, Scary but true.It seems his father leased the land to the government to pay the taxes, they can and do tell you what you can or cannot do ,How depressing.Good luck with your ventures. God bless and keep us all safe and fed until He comes.

  5. Nancy in Alberta

    Hi! Thanks for passing on your experiences for the rest of us. I appreciate your heart in the whole “self-sustainable” arena, and was quite challenged by it, never having heard of your perspective. I have read about connecting with like-minded people, but not in the same way you expressed it. I wonder if you could detail the “How to purify [water] in any situation”, please. I would rather not be dependant on little pills or cases of bleach…is this what you’re getting at?


  6. Thanks for sharing your stories. We have experienced a major change in our finances over the past 2 years. It has been hard but God has always provided for us and our children. We have learned so much through al of this and now live a simpler life. Keep up the great work.

  7. I’ve enjoyed reading and learning! What do you do for itchiness, not caused by bug bites or poison ivy? Like something brought on by stress only on my upper chest?

  8. Hi,
    I enjoyed your website and learning a lot how to living clean and healthy in this kind of situation which we all are going thru. God will definitely help out because we are his children.
    I live in Ontario in small town whereby I have garden, 3 rain barrel to collect rain water for the garden. Please can you let me know how do you clean water for drinking in case of emergency.
    almas nathoo

  9. We really never know how to expand our circle without sounding like nuts… Our backup plan is non-existent right now… I’m counting on barter materials for now.

  10. Have you heard anything from Andrea? People have been searching for her for months!! We are all worried!!

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