Firstly and most important, DON’T PANIC!! Pay more attention to preps vs. threats to not get stressed and overwhelmed.
Start small, and grow bigger as you go. Start with prepping for the most common and likely things that could go wrong, and worry about the bigger possibilities once the basics are mastered.
Common scenarios to prep for first:
Being stranded in your car. This has happened to myself, my family, and many others from floods, snowstorms, traffic or impassible roads, etc. One thing I do that’s different is to have toilet paper, a small plastic urinal, and multiple plastic bags with a bit of cat litter in them in my car. I added these supplies after two events: #1 – Seeing people stuck on the freeway in hurricane evacuation traffic simply standing outside their cars peeing for all to see. #2 – Being stuck in my car with no access to a bathroom. Ask yourself if you commute, do you have heat, blankets, food, radio, CB, TP and a pot to piss in, something to pass time, something to leave a note or collect your thoughts with, etc., if you get stuck in your car for many hours or overnight?
Getting home on foot.
This would overlap with items in your car supplies, but would be in the form of a backpack or bags you can carry, and include a portable shelter, clothing, cash, etc. depending on how far you travel.
** Power Outages for days, then weeks, then months, then years, etc.
I stress this one because of the commonality of the problems it creates and the preparations needed that are the same across all sorts of other scenarios.
Loss of income and / or access to money, stores, etc.
Like power out scenarios, prep for days and grow from there.
Home Evacuation / Bugging Out
Ask yourself this, if your home was about to get hit by a tornado and you had five minutes, what possessions would you save? Make a list. Scan in irreplaceable photos and documents for a portable digital backup. (Encrypted disc, for example) If you have family, establish a meeting point and contact in case of separation. Create backup shelters. Start with camping gear, then maybe a trailer or RV, then bugout property, etc. Prepare a home bugout bag. Prepare a bag of necessities, information (Print outs of phone numbers, addresses, maps, routes, etc.) and supplies for every family member (including pets!)
If your primary concern is only larger threats like pandemic, economic collapse, and zombie apocalypse you should be focusing on homesteading.
Priorities! Start with small portable preps first, and go renewable before consumable. For example, get power inverters, a couple deep cycle 12volt batteries, and a few portable solar trickle 12v battery chargers before investing in a home generator that relies on gasoline. Get extra food in the pantry before buying buckets of 20 year storable food. Get a hand crank or solar flashlight before you get ones that take batteries or lamps that take oil. Buy an outdoor wood stove before the propane grill. Etc, etc.
About firearms: I went with a knife and sword collection first. I just love them! I figure, swords don’t run out of ammo, are cheaper, and you can’t wrestle a sword away from someone as easily as a gun. Besides that I have mace, slingshots, and other weapons. I plan to go with a crossbow next, then when I have the time and money for training I will focus on guns.
Try to focus your long-term beans and rice type of storage on only heirloom, organic, non-GMO, non-hybridized beans and grains that will serve double duty as sprouting seed and seed stock for food production. DO NOT store anything you can’t cook and enjoy.
NOTE: Even if organic, the wheat commonly consumed and stored here in the US is a variety of wheat that was hybridized and genetically altered back in the 1960’s. I avoid this wheat as much as possible in my daily diet, and I only store ancient wheat varieties like Emmer, Farro, and Einkorn. Instead, I store many different varieties of beans and grains. Food like Amaranth and black-eyed peas grow especially well in my area, so I have lots of those as my food storage.
Propagate and save seeds from grocery store and farmer’s market produce. There does not need to be a difference between seeds for eating, sprouting, or growing. The trick is just testing to see what grows! I have even grown bean plants from a non-organic $1 bag of grocery store brand beans!
Play the “What would we do if..” game and start gathering and making lists. Run drills and go camping.
If TV inspires you, I would recommend watching a TV series called “Frontier House” instead of the Doomsday shows and Mad Max. 🙂