Preparing on a budget is a challenge for some people. Not having enough money and resources is the number one excuse people give for why they don’t prepare for emergencies. Although this excuse may hold some truth to it and it’s understandable that someone struggling financially may see it useless, prepping doesn’t have to be costly.
Disasters will happen, regardless if you spend money on prepping or not. Personally, I think that preparing on a budget is not that difficult if you know how to start and how to keep going at it, without affecting your daily lifestyle. There are many ways to prepare while staying in a budget and most people just need the right guidance. The techniques described in this article are designed for those who are on a tight budget and some of them are even free of charge.
When people ask me about preparedness, about what they need to have first, I always say: You need to have the willingness to start. When it comes to preparing on a budget, you have to think outside the box. You should find ways to get what you need without burning a hole in your wallet.
Using a coupon or two and targeting the right stores is the way to go when you need to get some preparedness supplies. All it takes is a bit of practice and general knowledge to find what you need.
Preparing on a budget – Grocery stores
When I go to the grocery stores, I’ve developed the habit of going to the back of the stores and looking for the clearance sections. These sections are often hidden somewhere in the back of most grocery stores and pharmacies. By the time they get there, most shoppers already got what they need and they have no clue what treasures these sections may hold.
You can find all sorts of canned and packaged foods, hygiene products, alcohol, and even hardware, for a small fraction of the shelf price. If you want to pillage these sections, you still need to pay attention to some of the products. Make sure to check expiration dates or denting if you buy canned goods. Personally, I go for the products that are reduced because they weren’t selling, the products they want to get rid of.
Another good shopping technique for those who are preparing on a budget is to look for case sales. Each store has periods of time during which you can buy products sold by the case for discounted rates. You will be able to buy in bulk at a mere fraction of the cost.
Cutting coupons is an art and it can really add up if you shop smart. You should pair your coupons with the items you need when they go on sale. Stores usually have a weekly circular and this will help you save on your emergency preparedness list.
Take advantage of the big chains that offer gas rewards. If they give discount rates based on how much you are spending, try to coincide some of your fill-ups with the rewards you get from a shopping trip.
Preparing on a budget – Thrift Stores
I always take advantage of Goodwill stores and they are excellent for buying items for emergency preparedness. As you can imagine, buying secondhand is much cheaper, but the advantage here is that these stores have sales.
These sales will help you keep a strict budget and get what you need. This is what I usually get from these stores:
- Glass jars and containers that I use for homemade projects
- Footwear (boots and sneakers to keep in my vehicle or to “stress” on the field)
- Candles and flashlights
- Extra clothing items for my BOL
Thrift stores are great because every time you visit them, you find new stuff that wasn’t there a week before. Need something in particular? Keep visiting thrift stores and you will eventually find it. When buying from thrift stores, persistence is the key to success.
Preparing on a budget – Dollar stores
Some people avoid dollar stores because these stores may not provide the highest quality of items. That might be true, but for certain items, a dollar store is a perfect place to shop. Here is what I usually buy from these stores:
- Batteries (it’s becoming an obsession since I’ve found out you can recondition them)
- Cleaning supplies
- Small tools
- First aid products (aspirin, band-aids, etc.)
Preparing on a budget – Garage sales
Another technique that I use to get some of my supplies without breaking the bank involves taking advantage of garage sales. I track these down in my neighborhood and I always haggle to get some extra items for free. “I’ll get these if you throw that one in as a present for doing business here” always goes for the win and helps me to get some free stuff. Garage sales are ideal to get what you need.
Here is a quick example: my wife scored a few hundred bucks worth of medical supplies for just $45. The owner passed away and the kids were selling everything cheap without knowing what they had and how much it was worth.
Mix them up, save a buck!
If you are preparing on a budget, the key to success is to buy items that are interchangeable. For example, your recipes should use items that can have multiple uses and can be adapted if you lack something in particular. The same goes for home-made items such as soap detergent and hygiene products. Make something that can be used for multiple chores.
Every survival pantry needs cheap staples items such as baking soda, vinegar, borax, ivory soap, and coconut oil. If you know how to mix these ingredients you can make various products such as toothpaste, cleaners and even ailment cures.
Related reading: How to set-up a survival pantry
My budget is low, how about home protection?
Your home could become your fortress if you are forced to bug in and you need to protect it. It should keep you safe from natural disasters and home invasions. Prevention plays an important role in home protection and you need to take action before a crisis hits you.
There are tons of projects you can implement for your home protection. You don’t need professional help to do it. Add additional locks, get some door jammers, learn to make perimeter alarms, plant some bushes that will delay attackers (those with thorns will work great), etc.
Alarm systems can be quite expensive and instead of spending a lot of money on such a system, many people decide to just buy a shotgun and take some security measures. You can keep your house secure, free of charge.
Here are just some tips to deter “unfriendly people” from your property:
- All your entryways should be light up properly and any vegetation blocking the doors and windows should be trimmed
- Make sure have someone to pick your mail and newspapers when you’re on vacation. You can even put a hold on the delivery if you are gone for an extended period of time.
- Your garage door should be kept open only when you need to get something from there. It’s surprising how many families show off what they have in their garage, it’s like parading the things they bought.
- Discard boxes of any costly equipment you bought without overflowing the trash can. Even better, you should save the cardboard because it is a good insulator and you never know when you may use it.
- Stay away from social media when being on vacation; take a break from “checking in”. This bad habit of telling people where we are all the time is a “blessing” for thieves. Robberies have increased considerably due to social media and posting on Facebook leaves homeowners exposed to burglars.
- A warning sign can go a long way. Even if you don’t have a dog, posting a “beware of dog” sign will make home invaders think twice before they act.
There are many other methods to secure your home and it’s just a matter of acquiring the right knowledge on how to do it and investing some time into it.
Suggested reading: Home defense at it’s finest
The organization, keeping your supplies in the right place
It amazes me when I hear some of my friends say that they bought something because they couldn’t find the original items they had. They end up having more than one item serving the same purpose, just because they are forgetting where stuff was left, last time it was used. If you are serious about prepping and if preparing on a budget is something you have to put in practice, “losing” stuff is not sustainable.
You need to be organized and have everything labeled. If you can’t find the tools or supplies you need during an emergency, it’s pointless having them in the first place. You might as well throw them in the trash right now. Keep all your preparedness supplies organized and accessible. If you have to abandon your home in a hurry, you might not have the time to look for the items that will save your life.
Preparing on the budget requires a lot of DIY projects
Before you buy something you need, why not try and make it yourself? It is much cheaper to complete a project with all the information available online. There are many preparedness projects that you can produce just by looking at YouTube videos.
They will work just as efficiently as the ones that are store brought and they have an extra feature you can’t get at the store. They provide you with self-confidence and feeling that can’t be described in words, that feeling you get when you make something with your own hands. DIY projects will help you save money and everything that you put aside can be used in other areas of prepping.
Money is an important factor when it comes to emergency preparedness. No matter how we approach this lifestyle, we will still need it in our journey to self-sufficiency. Preparing on a budget becomes easier if you manage to follow the techniques listed in this article.
Stay safe and God Bless!
Preparedness and Survival solutions used by our readers:
US Water Revolution (A DIY Project to Generate Clean Water Anywhere)
Bullet Proof Home (Learn how to Safeguard your Home)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Blackout USA (Video about EMP survival and preparedness guide)
The LOST WAYS (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)