How to Make Prepping Affordable

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Most people don’t think that prepping is affordable, because they believe it requires stocking up on supplies that are going to cost them a small fortune. It is true, being prepared for emergencies does require a good chunk of money, but if you have the right mindset, along with the right way of going about it, prepping doesn’t have to put your family in the hole financially. With a little bit of budgeting and planning, you’ll be able to gather what you need, even if your finances are stretched thin. Here are a few ways of making prepping more affordable. 

How to Make Prepping Affordable

How to Make Prepping Affordable

Make the Necessary Cuts in Your Budget  

I want you to stop and consider for a moment everything that you own by taking a quick inventory. From an outside perspective, would it look like you’re trying to keep up with the Joneses? Or what kind of story would your banking transactions reveal when it pertains to your eating, entertainment, and other spending habits? 

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if you’re guilty of getting your morning caffeine each day from a Starbucks drive-thru window. You could try to limit the number of visits by getting up a little earlier and making your own coffee. Instead of going on two family vacations each year, you may want to consider only taking one trip for a few years. You’ll be able to save thousands of dollars that you could put towards a larger prepping inventory.    

Maybe you have cable, internet, and phone bills that are robbing your bank account each and every month? It may be time to part ways with your cable provider and go with a TV streaming service that will save you hundreds of dollars. You could also call up your internet and cell phone provider(s) and ask them to get you set up on a cheaper plan or find another provider that will be more than happy to save you money.   

Make Every Dollar Count

When you’re wanting to make every dollar count, consider getting a chunk of your emergency supplies at the dollar store. Yes, you read that right. Whether you have a Dollar Tree or a Dollar General in your town, they’re sure to have several prepping items that will help you cross off “supplies needed” from your list. Some of them are even cheaper than a dollar at times.  

I can’t guarantee that your dollar store will have every last one of these, but most of them will have small emergency kits, rubbing alcohol, duct tape, batteries, flashlights, matches, lighters, Ziploc plastic bags, paper plates, plastic eating utensils, can openers, bungee cords, rain ponchos, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, along with soap and baby wipes. 

Read More of My Articles  Prepping Things You’re Not Doing That You Should Be

You can sometimes find socks that would be good to stock up on to keep your feet healthy, along with sunscreen and hats that can provide protection if you’re spending a lot of time out in the sun.  

You may also want to consider joining with your prepping friends to buy things in larger / cheaper quantities. Some places will provide significant price reductions if you ask for quantity prices. It never hurts to ask. You may want to collect the funds from others before you place the order, just in case.  

Wait For Good Deals 

Nobody likes to be told to wait, but as a prepper, that’s something you’re just going to have to get used to. I totally understand and commend you on your sense of urgency to be prepared for whatever disaster may come your way. But you don’t have to break the bank all in one day to get there. I’d encourage you to treat prepping just like you do your weekly grocery shopping experience. Shop for good deals and avoid putting things in your cart that are full retail.

If you choose to ignore this bit of advice when it comes to purchasing your prepping supplies, you’ll wind up wasting hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Prepping requires patience and numerous visits to some of the same places, sometimes, many times. The following are some of the best places that you can track down great deals on the bulk of your prepping needs: 

Here is My Series on Monthly Good Buys: 

 Garage Sales and Thrift Stores 

It may surprise you, but you can find some really great (and cheap) prepping stuff at garage sales and thrift shops. Most of the time they’re items that are gently used, and in some cases are still brand new in their original casing. When you think about it, your emergency prepping supplies may only be used once or twice in your lifetime, so why does everything have to be brand new? It’s simple, they don’t! 

You’ll come across everything from camping tents, tarps, tools, weather radios, mini cooking stoves, cooking ware, fishing rods, blankets, sleeping bags, clothing, rain gear, winter gear, boots, and more. You may not find everything that you need at these places, but I can guarantee you’ll have a great start for any emergency.  

Read More of My Articles  The Ultimate Prepping List

You may also want to consider visiting some Estate Sales that are advertised. We had some friends who made a habit of spending their Saturdays visiting these sales. I was amazed to see the great products they found at true “clearance” prices.       

Shop Craigslist 

Another budget-friendly place that you may want to look into is Craigslist. It’s easy to do a quick search on their website for prepping items that you’re still in need of. As you’re browsing, you may even come across another item that you weren’t necessarily thinking of, but would be extremely useful to have. Items on Craigslist come and go fairly quickly, so one week you may not find what you’re looking for, but the following week you may strike gold. You just have to teach yourself to be patient.   

Create a Saving Strategy

Don’t get me wrong, paying less on emergency supplies is an excellent way to go, but there are certain instances where buying cheaper is not always better. When an emergency situation leaves you without power, and that old generator that you found at a garage sale isn’t working properly, you’ll probably be wishing that you had spent a little extra to purchase a newer one. 

In order to afford some of those other prepping items that are going to cost you more money, you’ll need to come up with a savings strategy on top of what you are currently doing. Again, this will require a little extra patience instead of impulse buying on your part. Maybe you’re already saving a portion of your weekly paycheck? You could consider taking a small fraction of your weekly savings and put it into another account that’s specifically for prepping. 

Earlier, I also mentioned cutting back in certain areas of your spending. Over time, those cuts that you made will add up and you’ll be able to afford those more expensive prepping supplies, while using cash to do it.

Related: Best Prepper Gear Big Items to Save For

Final Word

These are just a few examples of how to make prepping affordable when you’re on a tight budget. What are some other ways that you’ve discovered where you can save money while gathering your emergency supplies? I’d love to hear what you’ve learned! Let me know tips on how to make prepping affordable in your life. May God Bless this world, Linda. 

Copyright Images: Glass Jar of money and coins Deposit photos_114712124_s-2019

19 thoughts on “How to Make Prepping Affordable

  • January 1, 2021 at 7:19 am
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    It’s like any other rabbit hole. You go as deep as you want. Use your brain and a little restraint and you’ll be better prepared and not in the hole over your head. You eat your steak one bite at a time and that’s how you prepare too.
    Skills are more important in many cases than “stuff”. We’ve got 8” of snow on the ground today. Can you go out and get a fire going in it? That only costs time, a few strikes on a firesteel and a piece of humble pie.

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      • January 1, 2021 at 8:07 am
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        Yeah our snow almost always comes with ice first. Theirs was no exception. It’s only bout 1/4” this time though.

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        • January 1, 2021 at 8:32 am
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          Hi Matt. WOW! We rarely get snow here in East Texas. I love snow, but don’t know how to drive on it, so I stay home. I tell everyone I’m too old to learn to drive on ice. LOL But, I’m not to old to learn other things. We do have a propane fireplace. Well, we actually have two. One in the living room and one in the master bedroom. Our ac/heat has a heating bay that died, so we’re using the fan to cycle the fan and using the fireplace to heat the house. It’s working really good so far. But then we haven’t had any really cold days. Yet.

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        • January 1, 2021 at 9:06 am
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          Hi Matt, ice is worse than snow. Then it’s compounded when it snows on top of the ice. Slick roads, stay safe! Linda

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  • January 1, 2021 at 6:44 pm
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    All of your suggestions sound to me like wisdom for everyday life. Living beneath your means shold be taught in basic math classes in every school. The rules should include if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

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    • January 2, 2021 at 7:11 am
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      Hi Chris, you nailed it on the “if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it”. Great advice that everyone should follow. I wish they taught more “skills” in school nowadays. If everyone would live beneath their means we would have a better world. Love it! Linda

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  • January 1, 2021 at 7:30 pm
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    What has really worked for me is to frequently visit places that tend to offer good sales, put items on clearance and of course thrift stores (Specifically now Goodwill is all I have) and Dollar Tree.

    When ever I see mundane, but useful items that I know people would want to have in dire situations or post nuclear war or an apocalypse, I try to buy that item if not several of them. And as we all here are aware, there are so many little things we need that don’t cost that much usually, but we can often get really cheap if we keep our eyes open. Dollar Tree is terrific for brand name hygiene and first aid items. Unless you buy bulk packages or find a good sale somewhere else, most of the time, the dollar price for lip balm, toothpaste, batteries, etc., is a good buy.

    I purchased all my knives, flashlights and survival or camping supplies either on sale or on clearance. I have several of those white emergency radios you see everywhere. All of them I purchased from Goodwill as well as three Grundig radios. I also found three metal water bottles in their boxes. And I have a box saw and another one of those white radios from a thrift a store that went out of business. First thing I purchased from same store was a set of stackable containers to carry hot food. I also have a metal one my parents had. And I have a ton of other stuff from other sources.

    Maybe I have a knack for finding deals, but I just look around, I frequent places and I try to buy on the spot to take advantage of low prices. And often times, the finds are a surprise, but I check the shelves regularly so I don’t miss out.

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    • January 2, 2021 at 7:14 am
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      Hi Frank, I totally agree with you, the more you check out a discount or thrift stores the more you can find at drastically reduced prices. I love Grundig radios, I finally found one!! Linda

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  • January 1, 2021 at 8:01 pm
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    I love finding things at thrift stores and garage sales! Last year I found a rare DVD set that was priced at $10 at Goodwill. Turned out the color of the sticker on the set was the color of the day so I go the DVD set for $5. I was ecstatic! It was a DVD set of Marty Stouffer’s Wild America. Something I used to watch on regular television with my father every Saturday morning growing up. I almost cried in the store. This brings back beautiful memories for me and that to me is worth the money I spent on it that day.

    I have also found other useful things such as battery operated lanterns and other things like that. Also love looking through the clothes if I am in need of something particular. There is no shame in my game. I was raised to save money and be thankful for what you had. If you had a roof over your head, food in your belly, clothes on your back and you were warm, then you were blessed. I still believe that to this very day! I have been counting my blessing this past year that I never let go off the knowledge that my parents gave to me.

    I need to work on a few of my skills that are getting rusty. That is one of my goals for this year. Right now I am working on cooking from scratch again. I have noticed that I was happier in life when things were more “Simple”. So I am going back to basics.

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    • January 2, 2021 at 7:28 am
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      Hi Audrey, I love “Simple”, I totally agree with you! We are blessed we had parents who taught us skills by example. You scored on the “items” you found at the thrift store! I bet you’ll watch those DVD’s for years and love every minute! It’s all about the memories! The lanterns, wow, you found some great deals!! Linda

      Reply
  • January 2, 2021 at 11:22 am
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    Storing “stuff” isn’t as important as storing food and water, as mentioned. When we can’t get to the store for whatever reason, we must have the basics. Most of us if we are smart, are preppers and survivalists, plus homesteaders , if possible.

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    • January 2, 2021 at 2:24 pm
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      Hi Cheryl, you took the words right out of my mouth, I LOVE it! We are all three, preppers, survivalists, and homesteaders! Amen! We do it all! Love it! Linda

      Reply
  • January 2, 2021 at 1:26 pm
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    I always carry a list of prepping things I want/need when I am out and about. Not just hard items but also food/hygiene/first aid things and water is always on my list! I try to purchase a few things within my budget from that list.

    It is also very important to know what things cost in general. For example, if you are in a thrift store or at a garage sale and see cast iron, it is important to know how much those go for both new and used. And also important is to know how to spot imperfections that might just be a waste of money. I know what Lodge cast iron runs new so I can determine if it is better to purchase new rather than used. I found a large Lodge skillet at a thrift store a couple of years ago for $15 and I knew that this would have run $50+ new. I also know to look for cracks (cannot be repaired), pitting (not repairable if very deep) and to ignore things like rust which can be cleaned and re-seasoned. The same goes for things like tents – unfortunately, you may not be able to “see” if there are rips, broken zippers, broken poles and the like so buyer beware! That said, I did purchase a new tent a few years ago, took it out camping and it had a broken pole new out of the box. I was able to return it for full refund, though so no loss there. Some rips can be fixed and I suppose a broken zipper can be replaced if you have the skills.

    Every time I go to the dentist, I get a new toothbrush, travel sized toothpaste and floss. All of those go into a box in my preps. I use an electric toothbrush so I am able to save the regular brushes. I also purchase floss and toothpaste in full size so the travel sizes are perfect for bug out bags, travel and to give away/barter with.

    I also agree with Cheryl that “stuff” is not as important as food and water if we cannot get to the store due to weather events but we do also need to think about being “stuck” at home and needing blankets, heating/cooking “stuff” if the power is out.

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    • January 2, 2021 at 2:32 pm
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      Hi Leanne, that’s so funny you mentioned the dentist toothbrush, floss, and small tube of toothpaste! I use an electric toothbrush, but those items are so valuable, I immediately add them to my personal hygiene stash. Great minds think alike. The cast-iron pans are great finds like you said if you exam them and know the cost. The Dutch Ovens are really hard to find now even new ones. I guess people are starting to understand preparedness. Linda

      Reply
  • January 3, 2021 at 2:45 pm
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    Make sure if you are looking at cast iron that the pans aren’t warped due to high heat. If the bottom is rounded or there are cracks any where, don’t buy it. Mine is old and was used by my Dad and Uncle in camp fires when they went hunting in the ‘ 30’s. Now I use them and they are wonderful!!! Taking care of them well and they last many years.

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    • January 3, 2021 at 3:27 pm
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      Hi Cheryl, I totally agree with you on the cast iron, if you buy used we must thoroughly inspect it. They last for years if taken care for. Linda

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  • January 27, 2021 at 6:41 pm
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    On making Prepping affordable, my niece for my birthday or Christmas ( sometimes both) I get a
    basket. She buys me a new laundry basket and fills it with needed items, like dish soap, paper towels,
    pizza sauce, CHOCOLATE, just items like that. That is a wonderful gift to receive and to give. It will
    help people to have a few items ahead or you get a few items ahead. it is so much fun to see what
    all she can think of to put in my baskets. This past Christmas I got a premade pizza crust, how fun is that.

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    • January 27, 2021 at 7:21 pm
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      Hi June, wow, I love this idea! The basket idea is a great gift idea! The pizza crust, the sauce, chocolate, cleaning supplies! You know what it reminds me of, is wedding showers or baby showers (basket with baby supplies). I LOVE LOVE LOVE this gift idea! It’s stuff we can all use. Linda

      Reply

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