Low-cost prepping isn’t just for newbies. These days we can all benefit from creative ways to save money. I’m going to share a few tricks I’ve learned over the years to help you find some of the essentials to get the newbies started and some of the higher value items that all preppers want and need!
Now many people talk about buying items slowly. I don’t promote hoarding, as in buying all the rice or toilet paper, etc… in one trip.
However, times are tough right now and more and more people are hopping on board the prepper train. And now more than ever people feel the need to be prepared for the next crazy event.
Low-Cost Prepping Techniques
I get that, so I’m not going to school you on buying food here and there, not that you shouldn’t do that. However, in this post, we will focus on buying some essentials. Let’s make sure you can buy a small food supply as quickly as possible (without emptying the shelves) and buying other prepper items all while saving money.
When you’re on a budget, this is what I recommend…Make a list of priorities. Then calculate how much it will cost. If you’re over budget remove items until you are within budget.
With tax returns and possibly other relief checks coming this year, you really should put some of that money into your prepper efforts!
Buying In Bulk
Instead of buying all of the rice off of the shelf at Walmart or other grocery stores, you can buy bulk bags at your local Costco. I bought a 50lbs. bag of rice for just a little over $17! You can also buy a large bag of beans, quinoa, sugar, and flour from Costco.
There are many other stores that sell in bulk. However, Costco has really good prices. You might also buy at natural food stores or Sam’s club, but I don’t really shop there and don’t know the availability or prices.
Buying in bulk can help you get a quick and hefty food supply without emptying the shelves and leaving nothing for other people.
Here’s a list of things to buy in bulk – at least at Costco:
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Paper plates
- Saran wrap
- Cleaning supplies
- Canned Food (They have a limited supply, but buy what you can if the price is right).
- Bottled water
- Coffee Creamer
How To Find Low-Cost Prepping Deals
Before we get into what items you should buy let’s talk about how to get the best deals, the easiest way!
Tracking Price Changes & Buying Low
One of the ways I stay up to date on the current prices of prepper items I’m looking to buy is using Honey to track price changes!
This is a huge game-changer. Especially if you’re anything like me, and buy from Amazon a lot. Did you know sellers can change their pricing often? Sometimes they even change the price only for a few hours before changing it back or increasing the price!
Honey has this thing called a droplist, and it will email me when the price changes. I can also check out the price changes within the last few months for items on Amazon and other supported websites.
The best way to buy is when items are on the low end of pricing. You can check the price changes on some products going back a total of 120 days. This way you can see the lowest selling point and try to buy when it’s low.
Coupons & Promo Codes!
Yes, why not use coupons? Besides using Amazon many companies online have promo codes that can be used to grab a discount. Sometimes they are really good and sometimes it’s just free shipping.
Honey actually keeps a database of promo codes. When you install the browser extension you’ll have the ability to run honey’s promo codes against your cart before you check out on supported websites.
You can also use Retail Me Not, although their system doesn’t support the Amazon website yet. That’s weird!
Shop The Dollar Stores For Low Cost Prepping Supplies
It’s hard to believe, but there are tons of prepper supplies you can get at dollar stores for only a dollar. The quality won’t be great, however, when you’re on a budget something is better than nothing.
I wrote a blog post on bug out bag supplies you can buy at the Dollar Tree. Check out 42 frugal bug out bag supplies.
Low-Cost Prepping (Food Items)
So if you’re on a budget but you want to build up your supply of food for survival, you might look into buying cheap food items that keep long term.
Most of these items are under $10, however, the rice, flour, and egg replacers are usually about $20 or so, but you get a good amount! There are a few items that are around $2-3 though. These items are peanut butter and crackers. The beans I linked to were for 4lbs and they were a good deal at the time both under $10. Prices may vary, they change quite often.
- Peanut Butter
- Instant Mashed Potatoes
- Crackers – Saltines are typically pretty cheap.
- Dry Beans – Some beans are more expensive than others. Choose some that are on the cheaper side. (Black beans, pinto beans)
- Cornmeal – for making cornbread and such
- Flour – There are all kinds of flour you might want to buy eventually, but start out with some good ole’ all-purpose flour.
- Active Dry Yeast – for making bread or other baked goods. You may also want to buy some egg replacer if you plan to cook more baked goods.
If you purchased everything on this list, it would come out to just a little over a hundred dollars. You would have several pounds of food to add to your long term food supply.
Freeze-Dried Food That Won’t Break The Budget
I’m going to list some items that tend to have better prices than the rest. However, I will warn you these prices go up and down all the time, that’s why it’s important to use a third party like Honey that can help you track those price changes!
Why would you want freeze-dried food? Because they have a 25-year shelf life! I would buy these when they are $15 or less.
- Vegetable Stew Blend – I add this to my Chicken Quinoa Soup, I made a stovetop and camping recipe!
- Peanut Butter Powder
- Cheese Blend Powder – Make a cheesy soup, or add to popcorn.
- Dehydrated Bell Peppers – Great to add to soups or stir fry
- Dehydrated Chopped Onions – Great for soups, eggs, etc…
- Creamy Wheat Cereal
- Pancake Mix
- 10 lbs. Rolled Oats!
- Tomato Powder – Made from dehydrated tomatoes. This is used to make pizza sauce, pasta sauce, or tomato paste.
- Spinach Powder – Great to add to baked goods, soup, pasta, etc…
- Dried Celery
- Dried Broccoli
- Dried Carrots
- Dried Corn
- Dried Peas
- Dried Potato Dices
Obviously, canned food is inexpensive and considered non-perishable which is great for stockpiling. However, cans won’t last as long as freeze-dried foods.
If buying canned goods get a little bit of everything. Canned meat, veggies, & fruit.
Low-Cost Prepping Supplies
Water – Supplies & Storage
Water is one of the most important things to stock and prepare. Storing a backup water supply is easy but storing it can be expensive. Water barrels are usually somewhat expensive.
Cleaning and Personal Hygiene Supplies
Keeping clean is so important to health, so don’t forget about these important items. There are many items you can learn about making yourself too. I’ll link to a few products you can buy and a few that you can make.
Tools, Blades, Weapons
Good blades are really important. If you can’t afford good blades, buy cheap for now and get better blades when you can afford them. I’m not going to include weapons or ammo on the list, since they have become harder and harder to find.
However, you should definitely be stocked and prepared to use them. Alternative weapons such as throwing knives, bow and arrow, etc…are a good thing to have since they are silent.
First Aid Supplies
Having a good supply of first aid and medicine is really important. It’s up to you if you want to purchase a first aid kit or purchase your supplies separately. Kits often don’t contain all the items I would suggest having on hand, however they can be a good start. Here’s a list of items I suggest having on hand and a few first aid kits to choose from.
I also suggest taking a first aid class. If you can’t afford to pay for a class you can take this free class by First Aid For Free. It’s a pretty good class considering it’s totally free.
- Bandages of all shapes and sizes – Non-stick pads, finger bandages, extra-large
- Medical Scissors
- Antibiotic Ointment, betadine, poviodine, peroxide, rubbing alcohol, bactine
- Pain Reliever – Acetaminophen, Aspirin, Ibuprofen
- Burn Cream, sting relief pads, Benedryl, hydrocortisone
- Emergency Mylar Blankets
- Emergency Whistle
- Signal Mirror
- Plastic Tape, Cloth Tape
- Brown Elastic Wrap – finger splints, ankle splints, arm & leg splints
- Suture Kit – You can actually buy “practice” suture kits and learn how to suture. Yes, I have one, and yes it’s great. I’ve practiced, by watching videos on YouTube!
Overall, prepping isn’t cheap. I want to remind you to make a supply list of priorities. Buy what you can right now out of the top priorities. Even if you have to buy cheaper items, it’s better to have something than nothing at all.
Don’t forget to sign up for Honey and save money while you shop!
Tell me, what’s #1 on your prepper supply priority list (in the comments).
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