Think of it this way: The difference between having 3% of the electricity you desire and having 0% is literally like day and night. This also goes for heat, communications, and every other system you rely on in your day-to-day life. So even if you can only move your total preparation from 0% to 3%, you will still have significantly improved your situation.
The above quote and link got me thinking of approaching preps like a ladder, taking one step at a time. Imagine the whole ladder as your total prep goals, with each step representing 5% of each individual goal. You have a twenty rung ladder in front of you to climb, each one a well defined step. A simple example:
I decide that my overall prepping goals are to have six months worth of food stored, one month of stored water, six months of emergency cash, a high capacity water filter, a solar voltaic system to run the basic household items, and emergency heat for one month.
You need to have a overall goal you want to reach for each item, so to put some numbers to the above with nice, even numbers let's say:
six months of food/20 = 9 days of food = 18000 calories
one month stored water/20 = 1.5 days worth of stored water = 3 gallons
six months of emergency cash/20 = $6000/20 = $300
emergency heat for one month = 100 lbs of propane/20 = 5 lbs of propane
solar voltaic system desired = 1000 watt system/20 = 50 watt system
The water filter is an example where this can get tricky, which is why I included it. Let's say your goal is to have a Big Berkey. So maybe the first three steps on the ladder are one Frontier filter straw per step, each other step is to save money for the Berkey. Or maybe step one is coffee filters and Katadyn tablets, and then you start buying individual filter elements.
Now you have easy to achieve steps laid out in front of you, the faster you get them done the better. Real world examples will be more complex, obviously, but for the above you'd get 18000 cals of food, 3 gal of water, $300 cash, 5 lbs propane, and a small 50 watt solar system. When that's completed, do it again, and again, until your goals are reached. Rinse and repeat.
The two major advantages I see to approaching it this way are that 1) You never know when a bad situation will come up or what it will be, this way you have a well rounded cushion, and 2) It makes big goals like a larger solar system seem more attainable.
Imagine Joe starts out the above plan with nothing in preps, and makes it to step 8 when he experiences the dreaded week long power outage. In the middle of winter. With the roads so impassable that grocery trucks can't deliver, and he can't get to work. Pretty bad situation to be in, but luckily he didn't spend all his money on a one year supply of freeze dried food. Instead he has 70+ days of food, 12 days worth of water with a way to filter more, $2400 cash, 40 lbs of propane, and 400 watts worth of solar power.
You can apply to same mindset to lots of different things as well. Let's say part of your overall goal is to have 5 pairs of heavy duty wool socks, but that's $100 worth, a lot to spend on just socks. Just include $5 at each step to buy them, and every 4 steps buy a pair. Point is to maintain an overall well prepared stockpile as opposed to blowing all of your money on a prep that might not even be the one you wind up needing.