With economic times being what they are, it only means that we become more frugal when it comes to prepping. No one wants to be overdrawn in their accounts because they were trying to prepare for emergencies. Frugality is an art form, and if used properly, it can save you lots of money. The key is to know where to find these hidden gems. With a little “out of the box” thinking and some patience, you can acquire prepper items like food, tools, shelter, first aid and weaponry for pennies on the dollar.
Before you begin, keep these tips in mind:
- Find out what your budget it and set aside an allotment each month for preps.
- Take inventory of what you already have so that you don’t purchase multiples of items.
- Have a list of items you need and don’t deviate from the plan!
- When you are prepping on a budget, be patient and wait for the right opportunity to purchase.
- Don’t ever panic buy or shop impulsively. This is where you lose money and the key here is to save it.
12 Cheap Ways to Prep Like There’s No Tomorrow
- Buy in bulk. A lot of preppers use this frugal shopping strategy so they get more bang for their buck. Discount warehouses are great for this type of purchasing. As well, when you buy in bulk, you will enough of this item for a short-term emergency, so you can cross the item off your prepper list until you need to buy more. The LDS warehouse is another place to get bulk items inexpensively.
- Purchase a small item at a time. If your budget is so tight that you only have $5 extra in your account – you can make that work. Take a look at these prepper food items that are $5.
- Barter in your community. Your skills and services can carry you far if you allow them to. Consider what abilities and knowledge you possess that can be shared with others and barter them for goods or other services. Here are some great tips on how to barter better.
- Go to farmer’s markets and get in contact with local growers. If you work a deal with a vendor at a farmer’s market, you can get lots of food relatively inexpensively. Work a deal such as, get 5 lbs of strawberries to turn into jam and give 4 jars to the vendor. This is a great way to practice self-reliant skills and put food in your pantry. If you are an avid hunter, work a deal and see if someone will preserve the meat. See what I mean?
- Thrift stores. Thrift stores are a great way to collect vintage or antique items for a fraction of the cost. Ready Nutrition writer, Ruby Burks found cast iron pots, old cookbooks and kitchen utensils to use in her home. Remember, keep a list of items you are looking for and don’t deviate. This will keep your budget in check.
- Look for free stuff. I know this one is a long shot, but there are items you can get for free at garage sales, Craigslist, and even rummaging through items people have thrown out. Freecycle.com is another place to look for items. At this website, people recycle previously owned items and give them away for free.
- Go to the Dollar store. Not only can you buy food at the Dollar stores, but tools and medical supplies. This could be an untapped local source of preps for you!
- Use coupons. Finding coupons in the Sunday newspaper, magazines, local grocery stores or even online is a great way to start the search for what you need. Not only can you use coupons to use for short-term and long-term food supplies, but you can find deals for camping equipment or warm clothes, etc. You can literally save hundreds of dollars using coupons.
- Purchase gently used items. Pawn shops, Ebay, military surplus stores, and Craigslist are great places to look for used items. You can save a lot using this method, but take all necessary means to ensure the products are not damaged in any way. As well, if you are meeting someone at their home, practice safety and go with someone else.
- Look for deals – When you are shopping and you come across a deal such as 10 canned goods for $5 – get it! This is a great way to save money and stock up your pantry. This cumulative savings strategy can go for any of your prepping needs – medical supplies, dental care, garden seeds, etc. Typically, these type of deals can be found in your local newspaper. Don’t forget that coupons are your best friend in this situation.
- Do-It-Yourself – Whether it’s DIY projects or dehydrating your own food, this method can save you a lot of money. For example, instead of spending $4 on waterproof matches, dip them in wax yourself and viola! Or, if you need dehydrated food, buy a dehydrator and do it yourself.
- Grow your own food. Having food stashed away for a rainy day is one of the must-have items in your preps. Why not start a garden and grow your own. Any food that comes from our harvest can be dehydrated or canned for long-term use. This instantly saves you money at the grocery store too and is a great way to practice self-reliance.
Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.
Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals.
Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.