Flashlights and Lanterns

Cheap Items Valuable During Survival

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It’s definitely a wise decision to make by choosing to prep and gather tools and skills that would improve your family’s chances of surviving a major DISASTER scenario. But let’s be honest about it all for a second. No matter how much you’ve stockpiled and prepared for, there’s sure to come a point where you’re lacking something and need a way to acquire those items. Stocking up on cheap items that you can barter with is a great way to go about solving this issue. These are cheap items that will be valuable during survival.

Cheap Items Valuable During Survival

Cheap Items Valuable During Survival

Pain killers

Dealing with tooth pain without being able to go to the dentist would be torture no matter how tough you are. A horrendous headache, bug bites, or knee pain are a few others you may run into when dealing with a stressful situation. Be sure to have plenty of pain medication on-hand like ibuprofen, aspirin, Tylenol, and Aleve to help you manage the pain. When you have a collection of basic items for when survival mode kicks in, you’ll have plenty of painkillers to either trade for other items you need or use yourself.  35 OTC Medications You Should Store


Batteries may be one of the more expensive items on this list, but are still fairly inexpensive compared to what their worth will be during a survival situation. Trust me, they’ll be valuable like gold! Everyone will be wanting to get their hands on them to keep their radios, flashlights, and other survival gear and entertainment devices operating. How To Store Your Batteries


Bandaging up scrapes, cuts, and minor abrasions will be even more important for families with children following a major disaster. Besides bandaids, gathering a large supply of antibacterial ointment, gauze, and cotton balls to keep wounds clean will be another hot item to have. First Aid Kits-What You Need To Survive

Also consider some of your frequently used medications like antibiotics, digestive aids like Tums, and any other health-related materials you use on a frequent basis.


Having light at night will be an absolute necessity but you may not be able to rely on the light from your cellphone. I’d encourage you to spend a little extra to get a good quality flashlight or two for your family, but then you go to places like the dollar store where you can stock up on cheap flashlights that you’ll be able to trade with. A Prepper’s Not-To-Do List

You might consider purchasing some solar-powered flashlights and lanterns over the next few months. That way the need for battery power to achieve some lighting isn’t as much of an issue. I have some solar flashlights on my window sills at all times so they’re fully charged when needed.

In a real pinch, you may want to have some spare candles available. I’m always nervous to use them, particularly when young children are around, but they can certainly come in handy. Maglite Flashlight

Socks – Valuable During Survival

Socks are one of those items that you and I take for granted every day, but they’re sure to be a hot commodity in a survival situation. If you’re walking through the wild for an extended period, having a clean pair of socks will be an absolute must. 10 Uses for Old Socks

Bar Soap

Bar soap is another inexpensive item that everyone will search for during a long-term survival situation. Consider going with a bar like Ivory soap that doesn’t contain any dyes or perfumes. Castile Soap: 13 Reasons Why You Need It

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You’ll also want some wipes like you use when changing diapers so you can keep yourself as clean as possible. The cost of hand sanitizer has come down too, so have plenty of those containers around.

Don’t forget cornstarch and Epsom Salts, Corn starch has many uses but in our humid climate, helps keep feet in shoes/boots dry (among other body areas). Epson salts for sore muscles, removing splinters, feet soaking, and more.


Just because your situation may stink after the emergency hits, it doesn’t mean that your armpits have to. I can assure you that everyone else will be thinking the same thing, so deodorant will make for an excellent bartering item to stockpile.

Another personal hygiene issue is proper dental care. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, and possibly some mouthwash will be items you want in your inventory. Your family and friends will also be glad you have and use them!

Matches and Lighters

Being able to start a fire with matches or a lighter, whether it’s for warmth or for cooking will be one of the most essential survival tools that you have. Following a major catastrophe, most people will be left with nothing and won’t have the means to even make a fire. Not to mention, they probably won’t have the patience to rub two sticks together. Make sure that you stock up on these items big time.

Female Hygiene Products

Ladies, heaven forbid that you have to go a single minute without your female hygiene products, but can you imagine going for an extended period without them? Hopefully, you never have to! When it comes to hygiene products and a survival situation, you can never have too much. How to Manage Your Period During an Emergency

If you have young babies to care for, consider how to best stock up on baby supplies like formula, baby food, both paper and cloth diapers, baby wipes, baby shampoo, etc. They have a great trade value as you consider various barter items you can use.

Toilet Paper

This next one is a no-brainer, especially after the pandemic when everyone was scrambling to stock up on toilet paper for their family. You can find cheap toilet paper at places like Dollar General, but your best value is to order it in bulk quantities on sites like Amazon. When Toilet Paper Is In Short Supply

Trash Bags

Overlooked by preppers more times than not, trash bags will be in huge demand, especially for sanitation purposes. But trash bags can serve other purposes as well, like being used as a makeshift shelter, rain poncho, or to collect rainwater for drinking.

Vinyl Gloves

I’m sure you’ve heard this already, but if not, here it is. When emergencies happen, hygiene will be of utmost importance. That means keeping your hands clean and germ-free as much as possible as you have to dig through the rubble and debris. Vinyl gloves are a cheap and easy way to do that without costing an arm and a leg.

You’ll also. want them if you’re treating cuts and small wounds that often happen in a disaster.


You can never have enough disinfectants, especially in a survival situation. These items are super cheap to buy and you should already have plenty of them stored away. If not, I suggest you stock up by grabbing a spray container every week or two.

Lip Balm

Besides the most obvious reason to keep lip balm around, you’ll also be able to trade it in for other crucial items that you may not have. This is especially true if you’ve gone out and purchased some natural or organic lip balms that don’t contain any chemicals or dyes.

Sunscreen/Insect Repellant

No one wants a sunburn during a survival situation, or any time for that matter, so make sure you have plenty of sunscreen on hand. Again, try to go for natural or organic brands since they don’t contain any harsh chemicals that can be harmful to your skin or eyes. Besides, most people will be willing to trade more for an all-natural product. Don’t forget about those pesky mosquitoes, stock some insect repellant!

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Duct Tape/Gorilla Tape

I could write a whole article about the uses of duct tape (in fact, I already have), but let’s just say it will come in handy during an emergency event. It can be used for repairing broken items, making makeshift shelters, arm slings, or to even making a raincoat. I always keep duct tape in my first aid kit and survival kit. Duct Tape: Why You Need to Store It

Gorilla Tape is stickier and will hold things together much longer. Gorilla Tape


Even if you don’t drink alcohol, it doesn’t mean that you can’t stock up on it to barter in the future with those that do. Alcohol can also be used to treat wounds and for sterilization, so you’ll want to make sure that this is something you are definitely stocking up on. Keep in mind that alcohol has a wide variety of uses, not just for consumption. 

It also comes in very handy to clean things around your home.

Canned Foods

You may not think of canned foods as being a hot item in a long-term survival situation, but trust me, it will be. Canned goods usually cost you a little more than a dollar and can last for years while still retaining their nutritional value, so be sure to have as big a supply as you can. This is one cheap item that will become valuable during survival. How Long Does Canned Food Last?

Consider beans, soups, fruits, potatoes, and meats in canned form. These items are considered non-perishable and should have a decent shelf life. They also can be a strong item when negotiating those bartering situations.

Also look into storing pasta, rice, and flour. They come in handy for meal preparation and to share or trade with others. Of course, there are proper storage issues that we’ve discussed many times before. You’ll also need a sturdy manual can opener or two to get them open!


People will be in search of other means in order to provide meals for their families, and if you’ve planned ahead, you will have that answer. Seed packages of vegetables and fruit are super cheap but will become almost priceless the moment a trip to the grocery store is no longer an option. From personal experience, having access to seeds is a good idea, plus they can become more valuable in the future. 6 Eye-opening Reasons To Stock Up On Garden Seeds NOW!

Seeds can also provide some herbs and spices as you develop your garden. You’ll be glad you have some items to add flavor to your meal preparation plans.

Baking Soda – Valuable During Survival

Baking soda isn’t only a kitchen staple that you use when baking. It can serve several other purposes like deodorizing, cleaning, and even bug repellent. Baking soda works great in an emergency situation and could become more valuable as time passes.  Baking Soda: Everything You Need to Know


Finally, you can never have too many knives. Whether it’s a pocket knife or a multi-tool, they will be essential for the most basic of tasks like cutting rope or preparing food. Plus, they make excellent bartering items. Just make sure you buy them at an affordable price. Whether it’s a survival knife or multiple survival knives, both are great to have in an emergency supply kit. Prepping Items You Can Find at Thrift Stores

Other Items That May Become Valuable

More Survival Tips

Final Word 

These are just a few of the many cheap items that will be valuable during a long-term survival situation. Planning ahead while supplies are still plentiful is key to being able to make it through any disaster with ease. Can you think of any other cheap items that will be essential during a long-term emergency? What else do you think will be valuable during survival? May God Bless this world, Linda.

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  1. Good list. Each and everyone should evaluate their specific needs and potential situations. Trash bags are a keeper for everyone around here and many times we’ve used a good supply after tornado cleanup gathering belongings. Rains often follow again afterwards and keeping things dry becomes extremely important to someone who’s lost most everything. Clothes and bedding will be full of insulation and need washing so bagging them is a good way to accomplish it.
    All out situations are similar and yet different based on geography and other factors so do a little thinking on it

    1. HI Matt, thank you for your kind words. You are so right every situation is based on geography. When Mark and I took a CERT course they told us to store as many garbage bags as feasible. They can be used in so many ways. Wow, it would be hard to get the insulation out of clothes, what a job, but it has to be done. Linda

  2. Great list! May I add 2? Corn starch has many uses but in our humid climate, helps keep feet in shoes/boots dry (among other body areas). Epson salts for sore muscles, removing splinters, feet soaks and more. I’m sure there’s many other uses for these 2, but these are our favs.

  3. I just worry about people buying things to barter with who do not have basic needs covered first. Bartering can be dangerous! Staying put would be a better option, if possible, as any time somebody knows you have something, you risk them taking it!!!

    Baking soda also is goid for bites and stingsmixed to a thick paste with some clean water. Some other good bite and sting things are whitchhazel( thayers and trader joes have some without alcohol), it takes the itch away from most itchy things! Vinegar or amonia can also(or if you have no other options, your own urine can also. It is sterile unless you are sick. I try to know my options!!) Oh, pasty( not gel) toothpaste stops itches also. Tea tree oil does too if it is good quality and it can prevent infections, but watch out, it eats through the caps of most bottles in a couple years… stay safe!

    1. Hi Jan, you are so right about bartering. If you don’t have the basics to feed and hydrate your family as well as protect them, bartering should be at the bottom of your list. Thank you, Linda

  4. I recently learned hand sanitizer does double duty! It also works terrific as a fire started. I guess you just need to find what works well for this and for that. To cut your BOB weight and space. Thank you Linda for your continued work on this wonderful newsletter!!!

    1. Hi Hazel, thank you my friend for your kind words. I never thought about hand sanitizer as a fire starter. I think many of us have plenty of that on hand! Linda

  5. Great list. I’d suggest a Maglite flashlight–the 5 D cell type that can also be used as a club. Just get the optional shatterproof lens first. And 30 gallon trash bags or contractor bags are a great idea. Useful for som many things.

  6. Fantastic list. I finally got to read it late tonight. Will be rereading it several times to fill in a few gaps that we have. You listed Duct tape which is very useful. I would also recommend a product called Gorilla Tape. It is like Duct tape but is so sticky that it is extremely difficult to remove even when you want to. It makes virtually permanent repairs to many things that where you would use Duck tape. I used it to reattach the corner of a tarp to a portable canopy a couple months ago. It is still holding strong even though it has been bombarded with some 35-40MPH wind gusts during several periods of thunderstorms we have had recently.

  7. in regard to deodorants, soaps, shampoos, personal care products, and even laundry detergents >>> keep it non-scented as much as possible >>>> leave the perfume in the bottle

    First you want to keep your preps not even guessable – 10X worse during a SHTF than in normal times – just having water and any kind of personal care might be enough to set off the starving & downtrodden masses you might encounter …

    Secondly – telltale scents can eazily be detected in a hunt – smelling like a rose in the middle of a chaotic world of garbage & rubble isn’t what a prey wants …..

    1. Hi Illini, great tip on non-scented items, most of the time people are allergic to to the scents. I love your comment a “the smell of a rose in the middle of the world of garbage and rubble”! LOL! Linda

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