Frugal Bug Out Bag List | Cheap Bug Out Bag Supplies

Frugal Bug Out Bag List | Cheap Bug Out Bag Supplies

Frugal Bug Out Bag | Cheap Bug Out Bag
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Buying preppers items can be costly. A small budget often gets in the way of being prepared. I know, because I’ve been there. I made a Frugal Bug Out Bag List, to help stay in budget while prepping.

When I began building my bug out bags, years ago, I looked around the house for items that I could include in my bag, first. I found a few items.

Like office supplies, tape, paper clips, safety pins, rubber bands, etc…

There were so many other items I needed but I was on a budget. So I decided to take a trip to The Dollar Tree.

Some items will need to be quality products, and not bought at the Dollar Tree, such as knives.

From my experience the bandages they sell there work pretty well, better than some brand name ones actually!

You Get What You Pay For…

If you buy a knife for a dollar, guess what? Yep! It is going to be a big piece of crap. Use your best judgment on what to buy cheap and what to skip altogether.

When building your bug out bags you’ll want one for your vehicle too. I also made a bug out bag list using Amazon products.

The quantity of items you buy is totally up to you. How many you will need is dependent on the size of your family, and bag/s.

Frugal Bug Out Bag List

The Dollar Tree has most of the items that you need to fill up a first aid kit. There are some items you won’t find in this Frugal Bug out Bag List, like medical scissors, blood stop, tourniquets, etc…

Some family members may need things like special medications. You will want to think of every aspect for your family and add and take away from this list as you see fit.

* Note – This is not a complete list of all the things you may need. This list gives you a good idea of the items you can buy on the cheap for a bug out bag.

First Aid Supplies

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Dressing bandage
  • Fabric medical tape
  • Elastic bandage – for sprained ankles or achy joints
  • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Face masks
  • Tampons – Women may need them, or they can also be used as bandages.
  • Pads – Again women and bandages…
  • Pain relievers/fever reducers
first aid kit for a frugal bug out bag


  • Carabiners – 2 ct.- do not use for climbing. Great for clipping items on your bag or pants
  • Razor – Could be used for many things but not necessary if you have a good knife.
  • Tampons – Women may need them, or they can also be used as bandages.
  • Pads – Again women and bandages…
  • Pencil sharpeners – multiple survival uses
  • Twine – twine can be used for a number of things. You could use it to bundle some wood.
  • Tinfoil – It is not great quality but if you feel you need it in your bag then do it! I don’t carry tin foil in my bags.
  • Travel sewing kit
  • Safety pins
  • Rubber bands
  • Totes or bags – great for foraging for food.
  • Scissors
  • Phone Charger
  • Earbuds
  • Flashlight
  • Travel size screwdriver 12 in 1 – if you don’t carry a multi-tool then you might want to think of doing so. These screwdrivers are fairly heavy and will add more weight than really necessary.
  • Poly Rope
  • Tweezers
  • Gloves
  • Foil
  • Plastic zipper bags
  • Duct Tape – Wrap duct tape around an old store or gift card you won’t ever use again!
colorful rubber bands

Hygienic Products

  • Hand sanitizer 3ct – Perfect travel size 1 oz  bottles
  • Combs
  • Travel size lotion, soap, shampoo, deodorant.
  • Chapstick
  • Hair ties – For myself I have these in my bag, but not in the boys. I will be happy to have them to tie back my hair if need be!
  • Travel brush w/mirror – could use mirror for primping or for signaling.
  • Manicure set – not a necessity because you will have a knife, but better to clip a nail than bite them. Also, tweezers may come in handy, and a nail file/emery board has many prepping uses!
  • Kleenex travel – to use as toilet paper!
  • Toothbrushes
  • Dental floss – Dental floss can be used for many things like you might use it as a fishing line.


  • Small travel size Bible
  • Deck of cards – For entertainment purposes mostly.
  • Travel games for kids – They have some really small lightweight games that would be great for a kid’s bag!
  • Small notebook – You may want to write or draw or find paper to come in handy sometimes.
  • Pencils
  • Pens
Deck of cards


  • Rain ponchos
  • Socks
  • Hats
  • Scarves

There are many items such as, zip lock bags that I would not buy from Dollar Tree, because the quantity is very low in these boxes most of the time, and not worth the dollar spent.

I would instead buy it at a grocery store with coupons! Here are some items from amazon that you can’t buy at the Dollar Tree or I wouldn’t. They are not $1 kind of cheap but they are fairly priced.

Clothes for a frugal bug out bag

Amazon Items | Frugal Bug Out Bag

Build a bug out bag only using Amazon. Check out my suggestions at Amazon Bug Out Bag List.

assorted supplies for a frugal bug out bag

Save Money by Using Stuff Around the House

A good frugal bug out bag has items that you pay absolutely nothing for! So find some items around your home.

  • Dryer Lint
  • Thread & needle
  • Wire for snare traps
  • Rubber bands
  • Safety pins
  • Bobby pins
  • Paper clips
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Tape

You Can’t Always Go The Cheap Route…

 Some items you just can’t go cheap on. You need good quality tools like knives, guns, ammo, machete/ax, multi-tool etc… Also you want to have good materials to work with for starting a fire. I choose to have multiple Bic lighters in my bags, and also a magnesium fire starter. Just to be safe.

These items are so very important to get you to where you’re going.

Whether you have a destination planned to bug out to, or if you are fleeing the area because of some disaster like a tornado, your bag could possibly help you to survive until you find shelter.

Don’t forget to pack a snack. It’s also very important to have something to eat until you do find somewhere to stop and snag some food. Whether trapping, hunting, fishing, foraging etc..You will need food to sustain the energy for your body. Also, please remember to have a stainless steel bottle or container for boiling water. Stay hydrated!

See my Vehicle Bug Out Bag List…

Don’t forget to pack some clothes! You can look at my vehicle bug out bag if you would like to see what I pack as far as clothes go. It will depend on the weather.

Notice: Some individuals will need different items, such as medication. Remember to add those specific items that your family will need.

Check out these tips on how to pack a bug out bag!

Preps for Pets

In a disaster, many family pets end up getting left behind. If you’re prepared Preps for Pets before a disaster hits, it will be much easier to bring them with you, or place them somewhere they might be able to stand a chance. Bring A Favorite Item… We want to make sure to include our…

Continue Reading Preps for Pets

I’d love To Know what you think!… Leave me a comment!

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paracord bracelets are frugal bug out bag supplies

36 thoughts on “Frugal Bug Out Bag List | Cheap Bug Out Bag Supplies”

  1. Hi ,I have pencil sharpeners,and pencils in my bug out bag as extra fire starter along with cottonballs and a bit of vaselene,firestarter, , there is also melted wax on cotton rounds , once dried tucked inna baggy as another fire starter. I also buy emergency candles from dollorama , in certain cases if stuck without power at home; using a E.candle inside a large tin of shortening makes for some light safely as well a little heat. Ty for this post .so many great ideas.

  2. Need everything togive your family a decent burial! Lots of graves to be dug partner,keepthat bible handy book mark on services for the dead! And toilet paper ! Nobady wants the redass after shtf!!!

  3. Condems, not sure whether they have them or not, but look up all the uses…and I’m not talking about hanky panky.

    1. Does Dollar Tree carry those? That just seems weird. I’ve heard of people saying they could be useful for survival situations. I saw on a show someone was collecting water in one. You got to think about the fact that many of them have spermicide on them, and you don’t really want to drink that I’m guessing. So I would be picky about what kind I put in my BOB or survival prep. Plus, if you DO use it for hanky panky you might want to make sure it’s a respective brand… Just sayin…

      1. This is true, you don’t want spermicide. But they are clearly labeled, and any store that does sell them will offer non lubricated along with those spermicidally lubricated.
        Never seen any in a dollar store, though.

  4. Take dollar store candels freeze them then vaccu pak them individually and no matter how hot it gets they will keep their shape and be ready for emergency use no matter what temp they are exposed to. Freezing them keeps them from losing their shape when vacuum packing.

  5. I have purchased zip lock bags from Dollar stores for years. Their ability to be leak proof has been as good as I would like, however I use them for lots of things. When I travel I used them to put small books in to protect the pages from damage in the luggage; carry. At one point I purchased some felt pads to go under furniture, but the packaging did not make good storage, so I put them in one of the zip lock bags and instructions and product stayed together and protected. I have used them to sort buttons, keep safety pins together, etc. When I buy sticky note pads, I keep one pad out of package and put the rest in a zip bag to keep them fresh. I could go on and on, but I am sure you can find great uses for theses bags.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with this one too. Zip locks and such are significantly cheaper, probably the second greatest discount they offer, and probably the sole exception to the rule of avoiding items made of plastic, though I would tend to buy brand name freezer bags to actually freeze meat, the cheap ones are good enough to keep things separated and dry.

  6. I guess I am an opposing voice. I have saw people have so much stuff in a BOB, that the only thing they left out was the kitchen sink. And some probably had that in there somewhere. And then some things were repetitive 3-4 times. Who needs 4 flashlights, 4 fire starters, 5 knives, 3 changes of clothes etc…?
    My point is, a BOB is meant to get from point A to point B.You are not going to live out of a BOB for very long. People who think they will grab one and go live in the woods for months are sorely mistaken.
    If you have a place to go, items you need should already be there. All one needs in a BOB is food, water, blanket, small first aid kit, small fixed blade knife, small flashlight and such needed items. If the trip is going to be a few days and if you may end up walking, sunscreen, bug spray, compass and cheap rainsuit. And if you may have to walk, extra food and water is even more of a must. Half of the items people cram in a bag they will never use. Leave it out, have a lighter bag, or add the things you will use. And if you don’t have a place to go, again, the extra food and water will be even more important. And if you do have a place to go as mentioned, you don’t need the extra stuff as it should be there already. Take a couple boxes of stuff on your next visit to where ever, and leave them there. If you are on good enough terms for the people to invite you in to their home, they should not mind storing a couple boxes.
    If your planning on packing your car with boxes of stuff for the quick trip outta town, again, you don’t need it all in your BOB. And if you need to make a quick exit from your vehicle along the way, you won’t want a heavy pack filled with unless stuff for the long walk ahead.
    Your mileage may vary.

    1. Not sure how this view is opposing for this certain post… I barely even mention clothes. This is a list of items you “could” use for a bug out bag for people who are on an extreme budget. Not a suggestion for a pack-all situation.It’s not a bug out bag list, it’s a list of items you could pick up at the dollar tree… I definitely have lists for bug out bags, but wrong post different day, I suppose.

      I do certainly agree a lighter bag is better! I try to keep mine as light as possible.

      Thanks, Buddy.

        1. Thanks Sam, for pointing that out. Next time I’m at the DOLLAR TREE I’ll be sure to pick up some guns and ammo…

          All kidding aside. This is a list of supplies you can get at the Dollar Tree and/or for cheap. I wouldn’t want cheap guns or ammo, and I’m sure you would agree. Just for you I did add into one of the last paragraphs explaining that I wouldn’t buy guns and ammo cheap. Just so it’s on the page somewhere!

          Thanks for stopping by Sam and suggesting this edit!

    1. I buy candles there too! they carry some emergency candles that are great and last a long time. I don’t put them in my bug out bag though. I imagine them melting in a bag when living in Florida! They do come in handy for when the power is out though. Thanks for visiting Doug!

    2. I agree, candles are perhaps the single greatest value to be had at a dollar store. They also represent very very significant savings, many dollar store items are only a little cheaper than big box stores.
      Candles are about 75% cheaper, a huge discount.

      1. Birthday candles to start fires. They wicks are waxed and catch fire fast (saves fuel), take up little space, easier to handle than a match…………..just sayin’.

        1. Hey Mary,

          You did point out some good points that matches may have over birthday candles, but…

          In hotter climates birthday candles melt and make messes. Usually, cheaper waxes are used to make birthday candles and these waxes have a low melt point. I wouldn’t want to deal with a giant wax mess while bugging out.

          Most people make their own fire starters using a higher quality wax, that has a higher melt point than birthday candles. It’s actually as easy as dipping waterproof matches in wax, or some people use toilet paper rolls with lint, and wax somewhere in the mix. Everyone does it differently.

          Hope this info helps you think about some ideas for making your own fire starters!

          Thanks for stopping by Mary! Have a great week!

  7. This is a really great post. You pointed out many items at the dollar store that I had not thought to buy there. Thanks. I shared your post on my Facebook page.

      1. I would add a couple of items I carry in my BOB from Dollar Tree that you don’t. Trim able shoe inserts in case of a lot of walking. Bandanas to use for slings, bandages, tourniquets, and keeping my hair back. Also useful as a washcloth. Snack kits consisting of canned tuna or chicken salad with crackers, single serving drink mixes. Just because you boiled the water doesn’t mean it will taste good.

        1. Hey Tina,

          I do like the drink mix idea. Those snack kits are pretty heavy though. I would choose something a lot lighter. Freeze dried meals are super light and pretty tasty.

          Thanks for stopping by and sharing your ideas!

      1. Toilet paper is a good prep item, however it’s a little bulky to go into a bug out bag. That’s why it’s not on the list. I believe tissues are on the list, and hopefully a couple small packages can get you to your destination if/when bugging out!

        Thanks for stopping by Mike.

        1. a substitute for toilet paper can be the really cheap paper napkins, like you carry maybe on a picnic? They pack easier than tp and work just as well. Also I wouldn’t be without baby wipes.

          1. Hey Jan,

            We are all a little different! I don’t have toilet paper on this list. However, I do have facial tissue on the list. I think I would much rather wipe with a facial tissue, which is much softer than cheap napkins, and they pack pretty well too. I don’t use baby wipes. I don’t see myself cleaning myself or anything else with them for that matter. They are full of chemicals my sensitive skin won’t agree with.

            Thanks for stopping by and giving your thoughts!

  8. I use toothbrush holders (Dollar Tree) to pack small items. They also come in a variety of colors, making them easier to see in a deep bag.

    1. I would be very hesitant to be include anything at all from any sort of Dollar Store or from Wal*Mart. Two examples of things you might expect to be okay for cheap are combs and reading glasses. Both last a week at best, before breaking and becoming useless junk. Very few items are worth the gamble, and none are reliable enough to count on in a survival situation.
      I shop at dollar stores a lot, but experience has shown the only reliable purchases are consumables, like salt, Epsom salts, cleaning supplies and the like.
      Even there, you have to be careful. The toothpaste is awful and scarcely better than nothing.
      Harbor Freight has cheap prices, and careful shopping can turn up some things sturdy enough to depend on, though they too sell a lot of junk.
      Anything important should be used and thoroughly checked out first. I have been surprised at how things that look “good enough” turn out to be failure prone when you least expect it.
      As a blanket staement, nothing made of plastic from any sort of dollar store is worth wasting your money on. And the same for any item that needs to work precisely, like the pencil sharpener suggestion. My experience has been that the pencil sharpeners eat up a pencil, without producing a usable point.
      All in all, I feel strongly that stocking a bug out bag from a dollar store is a very bad plan.

      1. Hey John,

        I don’t think there’s anything wrong with toothbrush holders. I have a couple of items like that I use around the home (that I’ve had for years!) I wouldn’t use them in a BOB, because it would just add unnecessary weight. They wouldn’t add much, but I think a plastic zip bag would weigh less.

        I don’t really agree about the plastic stuff, in general. The stuff from there is cheap and not quality goods that’s for sure. Big but here… BUT it might last you for a few uses. Enough for you to get to your destination. After all, we aren’t asking for this stuff to last us FOREVER.

        This whole post is about getting stuff for a BOB on the cheap at the Dollar Store. It’s not suppose to be an article about the best quality items. These are what you might buy if you can’t afford anything else. Sure MANY of the items are not going to last long, but hopefully you will only be out a few day to a week anyway right? Because let’s get real if we bug out, we won’t be living out of our BOB’s for long periods of time. We will have to find a destination, or stock up on supplies along the way SOMEHOW? Right? So worst case scenario you couldn’t afford quality stuff before SHTF, and you went to the Dollar Store and bought what you could instead. Is it better than having nothing at all? Sure! Is it the best and going to last you a long time? Nope. Hopefully, it will get you to your destination though… If not you will have to do without or fabricate something… Hopefully, by the time SHTF we all have quality good in our BOB’s and we won’t have to worry so much…

        Thanks for stopping by John!

        1. well put K. sometimes it’s better to be practical. Spending 4-10×’s as much for best is useless if you never have to use it. John, BOB is JIC

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