Prepping is not an activity but rather a lifestyle and just like any other lifestyle, it will cost you money to fulfill it. The following budgeting tips will come like a breath of fresh air for those drowning in debt or those wanting to save a buck here and there.
“I don’t have the time.”
“It is far too difficult to do.”
“Why bother, nothing is ever going to happen to me…”
These are just a handful of excuses as to why many folks don’t do any sort of preparing for emergency situations. And they are quite nonsensical. However, there is one reason for the timidity of preparing: economic reasoning. In today’s economy, for the average joe, simply keeping up can be trying, let alone building a stockpile of goods. It only makes sense that some folks would use this excuse; it is kind of like playing Russian Roulette, you never know what sort of disaster may take place near you.
I do agree that it is true prepping can be a rather expensive project. However, there is some good news; there are innumerable ways to prepare, all the while remaining on a budget. Sure, you may have to shell out some cash for certain specifics. But by following a few simple techniques, you can save yourself much bread, while still being fully prepared. It is all about making sure that every single dollar counts.
A popular technique is to buy a few things here and a few there as you can swing it. It is a slow and tedious procedure, but one that works. (That is until a disaster strikes while you are only a smidgeon prepared…).
Becoming a Prepper on a Budget:
In order to keep a somewhat level, sane head, you must continually remind yourself that you are not alone in your need to budget accordingly. There is absolutely no shame in the budgeting game. It is actually the practice of the wise and sensible.
Rather than blowing your entire savings on some intensive preparing, begin to learn the art of “penny-pinching”. Again, in this economy, there are waves upon waves of people who are recognizing the immediate need for proper budgeting in their homes.
With a willingness to think outside the box, you can be well-prepared for any emergency.
Before you start slinging any money towards this or that, carefully consider the things you will really need for survival and the scenarios you can expect to use them in. If your plan is “to get out of dodge”, you wouldn’t want to be stocked up on a ton of gear that would slow down your escape. It is of great importance to have a decent idea of your post-SHTF plan.
There are several important steps to consider before spending your first dime on prepping.
Here are a few budgeting methods that work:
Your goal is to make every single dollar count to fullest. In order to do this, you must create your prepping budget. The best way to begin this step is to notate your income, then subtract any expenses that have to come out each week and month.
It is important to be realistic while doing this; grant yourself a little bit of squeezing room before dispensing any funds towards prepping.
A big way to boost your budget will be to cut down on inessential spending. To better budget your prep, you may want to consider giving up some dainties. Even if you have come to the realization that your prepping budget equals zero dollars, you can still rest assured that you can still prep with no money to spare. We will get into those details in just a bit.
Make a Preparedness Plan
No matter the size of your budget, every prepper needs a solid plan. You will need to be ready for any sort of scenario, meaning you may have to have multiple plans. Your region will give you several clues as to what to prep for; be it that you are in the area of an active volcano or in a seaside town that gives way to hurricane activity.
A little research and you can easily find out what your area is most at risk for. Your plan should also take into account any gear or supplies you will need in comparison to the money that you’ve allotted to that each month. Having a plan and prioritizing will help to balance your efforts in order to not waste your time nor your money.
Start With a Prep List:
This step is very important. Your main goal here is to diligently get an idea for the supplies you may need, without going “overboard” on unnecessary items. It is not the best idea to dive right into buying random stuff you come across “just because”. Doing that would be the cause of buying duplicates of items and often times missing the actual crucial needs. It is here and now that knowing the difference between wants and needs becomes dire. This can become an arduous task, very difficult for some preppers.
Knowing the difference is essential when you are operating under a budget. It is important to not waste a single dollar if it can be helped. You must set your agenda for prepping. Think about what is most important for your survival. Put these most important things at the top of your list, making a point to work them into your budget first. Once you have made this list, tack it to your fridge or beside your computer.
Related article: Establishing How Much Food And Water To Store
Along with a list of needs, it would be wise to keep a journal of supplies you have stocked as well as the dates they were added to the cache. This will help you prevent duplicate buys as well as help keep expiration dates in check on things that will need to be “updated” as time rolls by.
Keep the journal of things you have collected with your stockpile, jotting down things that are added and crossing off things that are taken away or used.
Your checklist should be based on core areas. Basically, the majority of prepping supplies can be placed into these categories:
- Water supplies
- Food supplies
- First aid supplies
- Hygiene supplies
- Cooking supplies
- Heating supplies
- Protection supplies
- Evacuation (Bug-out) Supplies
There are a multitude of ways to get all of your preparedness supplies without completely breaking the bank. All it takes is finding the right stores, the best deals and maybe using a coupon or two. Continue to refer back to your preparedness plan as well as your list. This will help to keep you inside the lines of your budget.
When hitting grocery stores, find and scour the clearance sections. Most grocery stores and pharmacies and the likes have great clearance sections (though they may be slightly hidden, or far in the back). Most of the time, you can find canned and packaged foods, hygiene items, hardware, medicines and a slew of other useful items; all for a fraction of their original costs. Of course, you will have to be wary, on some items, of their expiration dates or denting of cans, etc.. However, many of the items are discounted simply because they haven’t been selling.
Keep a keen eye out for ‘case sells’. Once in a while, a store may offer products sold by the case at a reduced rate. This will grant you the benefit of buying bulk without the membership fees of Costco. Do not shy away from cutting coupons. They can actually make a great deal of difference in your budgeting.
Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity’s Restore, and the like are superb spots for purchasing preparedness items. Buying second-hand goods is not only cheaper, but it can be next to dirt cheap since nearly everyday places like these have additional discount sales, providing even more savings!
Some items to look for in these sorts of stores may be:
- Extra boots, sneakers and clothes
- Candles and flashlights
- Glass jars
- Materials for d.i.y. projects
- Garage organizational items
The best thing about thrift stores is that they change on a daily basis. If they don’t have a certain thing you need, wait about a week and go back. If you stay persistent, you will most certainly find exactly what you need. Thrift stores are the most common alternatives for budgeting for all sorts of people. You don’t have to be a prepper to find a good deal there.
Of course, these sorts of stores are going to be slightly lacking in the quality realm, and you will have to keep a watchful eye out. However, this does not mean you can’t find some screaming deals. For certain things, dollar stores can be the perfect place to shop. At these low prices, you can stock up on certain foods, health and hygiene items. Utilize upon the off-brand items and discount aisles. Don’t forget your list!
Buying in Bulk:
Another great way of budgeting is to stock up on bulk items such as beans, oats, rice and other non-perishable items is to hit up a co-op, Sam’s Club or Costco. This one is pretty much self-explanatory. If you have a family member or close friend that already has a membership at one of these, you could potentially skip out on membership fees for yourself.
On a side note: Make certain that you store your food goods properly. There are several ways of going about this including canning, vacuum sealing, and storing in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. This will help to ensure the preservation of the items quality.
Try not to stock up on items that you don’t know anything about or will never actually use (this goes against the entire grain of budgeting). Rotate the food stocks and be sure to use items that will expire and replace them. Store foods properly to make sure they do not go bad before their use.
Shop With Cash:
Rather than spending money by way of a credit/debit card, try to use cash. It has been statistically proven that it is far easier to overspend while using a card. Shopping with cash can potentially save you 18 to 20 percent compared to what you’d spend using a debit/credit card.
Suggested reading: Useful Strategies To Pay Down Debt
When you actually see the dollar bills leaving your billfold, you will be more encouraged to get a tighter grip on your money. With a bit of discipline, using a card to pay will make no difference (but keep in mind the phenomenon mentioned above!). As long as you feel confident in your ability to pay off debt and you don’t accumulate any financial charges, you’ll be just fine using that method.
D.I.Y. Prepping Gear Projects:
It is far easier and much cheaper to complete a prepping project yourself. There are a slew of preparedness projects that produce items that are just an efficient as store-bought items. With all the money this method will save you, you can reinvest in other areas of your preparation.
Here are a handful of D.I.Y. ideas to help you with your budgeting plans:
- Solar cookers
- Campfire in a can
- Hanging gardens
- Solar USB charger
- Five-gallon bucket air conditioner
Focus on Skills (Not Supplies)
No amount of supplies are going to save your family or get them prepared for a disaster. Knowing that within a few days of the striking disaster, looting and rioting will occur, which, in some cases, could leave you with absolutely nothing if you are lucky enough even to survive.
It is of extreme importance, and basically free, to learn prepping skills in addition to stockpiling. Prepping by way of learning skill sets can be extremely good for your budget.
Take it nice and slow! Remember the tale of the tortoise and the rabbit racing? If not, go back and read it. The turtle wins, and in the case for prepping on a budget, taking it easy can be a lifesaver. There is absolutely no need to get out there and get it all done in one giant sweep.
Prepping can be made simple, and anyone can do it! You may have to have a budget and a plan in order to obtain what is needed, but you will certainly get there. Remember to be diligent and learn all the skills that you can. In the end, knowledge is the paramount survival tool.
This article has been written by Jonathan Blaylock for Prepper’s Will.