My family is pretty darn big! With 7 kiddos under my belt, I really do understand what it means to live paycheck to paycheck and sometimes, that money doesn’t even last that long. The last decade or even maybe a bit more, most of us struggle just to keep the heat on, never mind a pantry or spare room full of food, water, medical supplies and other prepping materials.
I understand, that prepping can seem like a very expensive investment that a lot of us don’t have the money for. When visiting prepping related websites, and see the overwhelming lists of things we should have stocked up and on hand in case of an emergency, it can feel so overwhelming that we don’t even bother to try to prepare for that rainy day.
Prepping is a lifestyle, and like everything else we do in life, there will be some financial commitment involved. But it doesn’t have to drain your bank account or cause you to take a second mortgage out on your home. There are very practical ways for you to be able to prep without watching your dollars slip away.
Prepping Doesn’t Have To Break The Bank
Determine What It Is You Need:
Take inventory of what you already have. Chances are, you already have items lying around your home that you either didn’t know you had or you never thought about using for preparedness items. These items could be blankets, tools, first-aid items, batteries, etc. Don’t forget to take inventory of your pantry. Knowing how much food is in your home will give you a head start on what you’ll need to be purchasing.
Just because it’s shiny, looks cool and has all the bells and whistles, doesn’t mean that is what you need. For example, those designer jeans look really nice and are pretty comfortable, but one look at the price tag, you might leave them on the rack and find a more affordable option. Prepping is very much the same way. There are many different supplies out there that you can purchase that isn’t name brand, or is more affordable for your pocket-book and that is okay. You don’t have to spend over $100 on a specialty knife to survive, when a Gerber Warrant Knife can do the same thing for you.
Naturally, there are going to be items you are going to want to do your research on before you make that purchase. Purchasing a firearm is a pretty big investment for most people. The fact that this item could mean the difference between life and death for you or a loved one, you’ll want to be sure it’s the right one. When shopping for my first handgun, I visited a small gun shop we have here locally. I found one I liked, but it was a bit heavier than I was looking for and didn’t feel comfortable in my hand. The price tag was steep too, a little over $600 and I didn’t want to spend that much money on something I didn’t feel comfortable using to defend my life or my family’s lives. I took a drive a little further into town and found another handgun that was lighter and had a more comfortable fit. It was also $200 cheaper than the first handgun I looked at. I found something I liked better and it cost less, saving me a lot of money!
Consider Used Items:
It doesn’t have to be brand new to work and be perfect for what you need it for. Shopping at yard sales, Ebay, Craigslist, The Salvation Army, online Facebook pages, and sometimes military surplus stores, you can find just what you are looking for. Shopping at these places for backpacks, sleeping bags, clothing and other camping gear offers an affordable option for those of us that have to shop on a budget and watch our pennies. I’ve also noticed that if you watch these places around the off-season, especially after Christmas, you can find a lot of stuff. Many families get new items for Christmas and turn in their used items afterwards, this is a great time for you to hit up those stores and see what they have!
Guns can also be bought used, although, I will warn you that you may not save more than $100 or so because guns don’t typically lose their value. Going to gun shows and pawn shops are great places to start to find a firearm that may fit into your budget a little better!
Buy In Bulk:
Food is one of the first things many Preppers go out and buy, which makes perfect sense considering that we need it to survive. When thinking about how money we’d have to dump into food to keep sustained for quite a while, you can almost hear your bank account crying as you squeeze out the pennies. But, buying in bulk can save you a lot of money and there are several items that can be bought this way. Rice, beans, flour, sugar, salt and #10 cans of fruits and veggies just to name a few. The rice, beans, flour, sugar, and salt can all be broken up and stored in Mylar Bags to keep them fresh for a longer period of time. You can also buy toilet paper, paper towels, napkins and other paper products and even cleaning products this way.
Although, the initial out-of-pocket expense is higher than if you went to your regular grocery store, the longer term savings is a huge benefit.
A word of caution about buying in bulk. If you don’t eat something or eat a lot of something, than don’t buy it in bulk. Doing so is going to waste your time and your money and you are going to feel as if you aren’t getting ahead. I’m a firm believer in “Eat what you store and store what you eat.”
Ammo is another thing that can be bought in bulk. You will most likely get a better purchase price if you buy 500-1000 rounds of ammo as opposed to just a 50 round box.
Don’t Buy During Or After Disaster Has Already Struck:
The worst time to go out and buy a bag of Ice Melt is right before, during or after a snow storm. Chances are, you aren’t going to find what you are looking for and if you do, it’s going to be so expensive you aren’t going to want to buy it. If you can, waiting for about 3-6 months after the disaster has occurred is a good rule of thumb. By then, the panic has died down, the need has lessened and things will be cheaper and in a much higher supply.
Creating a list of all the prepping supplies you think you need and then prioritizing that list, will put you in a better position to shop. You’ll be able to take the time you need to shop around, do your research and be more selective.
Don’t Leave Out The Dollar Stores:
Believe it or not, Dollar Stores are awesome places to gather up supplies and save money. When you can shop for medical, health, beauty and sometimes even food items for $1, you can’t go wrong with checking here first. I’ve found many items that I wouldn’t have expected at our Dollar Store. Things like pain medicine, cold medicine, band-aids, toilet paper, are all excellent items to keep on hand and in your bug out bags or when making your own First-Aid Kit.
*There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.*