Okay. This is a serious topic and should be well thought out! Prepping depends a lot on your budget and your living circumstances. There are two survival philosophies: Bug In or Bug Out. Now even though I am a bug out practitioner I do believe it is more practical for most of the crowd to bug in! But let me clarify that I think people should have a good amount of food put away in case their is a food crisis or you are not financially fit enough to get food when hard times hits. So first is first, get yourself around 6 months worth of cheap staples like beans, flour and rice. This should not cost you much at all if you buy in bulk. For a few hundred dollars you can ensure that your family will have food and you can supplement that stockpile with foods you can gather in your area. Even in the city wild edibles are to be had everywhere, but they are bountiful in the wilderness.
Next investment I would make is to buy a good amount of conibear traps. At least 10- #110, 6- #220, 4- #330. Conibears are extremely effective traps and they last almost forever if you take care of them. They are lightweight and can be carried in a bug out bag and are more useful than almost anything you can have for putting food on the table. If properly deployed you could feed an entire family of four with just these traps. For instance, at our Primitive Hunting Techniques and modern trapping course we set out 4 #330 conibear traps and overnight we had two beavers in excess of 30 lbs. That is a lot of meat for only 4 traps and one 12 hour period. If you had all those traps out you could have more meat than you could eat if you knew where and when to trap, guaranteed! You will also want to buy some heirloom vegetable seeds and stockpile several kinds of different fruits and vegetables. Store them in your freezer to make them last longer and after each years harvest you can dry and keep the seeds!
After I got a stockpile of food together and a box of conibear traps then I would move on to building a bug out bag. And I am not talking about a 72 hour bag either. Put together a rucksack full of all the essentials one would need to survive on the move in the woods or an urban environment! This ruck should be complete and have everything you need! I know most people are most likely to bug in but the problem with bug in philosophy is that you are hiding all your eggs in one spot and if something happens that causes you to evacuate your area then all your stockpiles will do you no good. It is better to have a system for self sustainment than to depend solely on your household or caches for your needs! So first prepare to have to leave your home if necessary, but after your entire family is equipped and trained to use their kit then start focusing on storing things in your home.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that prepping is crazy or that bad things will never happen in America. Be a student of history and look what has happened generation after generation! Just about the only thing you can depend on in history is that bad times always return. They come in waves and sweep the unaware out into the deep. So don’t be shark bait! As Maynard from Tool would say, “Learn to Swim” (from the song Aenema, check it out)!
Summary: Put back six months worth of food, buy conibear traps and heirloom seeds, put together a bug out bag for family and train them in the basics, learn techniques to live off land, and then begin bug in prepping for longer terms when finances allow. Don’t ever solely depend on your home for everything, you must have a system of self sustainment wherever you find yourself!