Don’t Waste Money on These Emergency Supplies

We talk a lot about emergency supplies you should have on hand for when a crisis situation develops. We even provide extensive lists of these items from time to time. 

I think it’s about time we tell you which supplies you should NOT waste your money on. 

Because every supply you purchase that won’t do you much good represents money you could have spent on something that could do you plenty of good.

Not to mention the fact that those unnecessary items take up valuable space in your storage area or bug-out bag.

Limit your single-use items 

The first things I’d look at when seeking to avoid unnecessary emergency supplies are single-use items. The more different uses you can get out of a single item, the better. (Later I’ll mention 10 great multi-purpose items.) 

On the contrary, single-use items such as regular, disposable batteries are a waste of money and space.

Other types of items I keep out of my emergency supplies are those that are not weatherproof. A bug-out situation will require spending more time outdoors than normal. You don’t want too many items that will require staying dry to work. 

Additional things to stay away from when it comes to stockpiling supplies for a crisis are those that require more supplies to function. A great example is a gas-powered generator. Gas is not only heavy to transport, but also can be dangerous.

Avoid these money and space wasters

What are some other supply items you shouldn’t waste money on, for one reason or another? Here are a few:

Mass quantities of paper products. Yes, it’s good to have a decent supply of toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, etc. But stockpiling tons of those items in anticipation of stores running out is probably a waste of money. And it’s unlikely you’ll be able to use them for bartering.

Food with high sodium levels. Some food producers load up their food with lots of sodium. They do it for taste and preservation purposes. But in addition to not being good for you, that sodium is going to make you thirsty. Which means you’ll need even more water than you planned on.

Non-solar electronic devices. The electric grid is often the first casualty when it comes to an emergency caused by extreme weather or other problems. You want to have electronics with solar panels so you can recharge them with the free power of the sun instead of watching them die a slow death.

Water in large containers. You’ve seen those five and 10-gallon containers, right? They’re nice to look at but virtually impossible for most people to transport. If you suddenly have to bug out, you’ll have to leave all that life-giving water behind. Stick to containers the average person can carry. Even a gallon of water is heavy. 

Too many canned goods. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have some canned food and beverages in your emergency supplies. The shelf life is not nearly as long as survival food, but canned items can sustain you for a while. However, they usually contain a lot of sodium and again, if you have to bug out, they can be very heavy to transport in larger quantities.   

10 multi-use items

I mentioned that multi-use items are important to include in your emergency supplies. Here are a few you might consider adding to your stockpile, as well as some of their surprising uses:

Aluminum foil. Blade sharpener, meat wrapper, trail marker, grill cleaner, keep tinder dry. 

Baby powder. Grease stain remover, ant repellent, deodorant, dry skin soother, shoe freshener.

Baking soda. Brush your teeth, eliminate smells, bug repellent, gain traction, pain reliever.

Bandanas. Handkerchief, washcloth, forehead protector, tourniquet, cordage, blindfold, dog collar.

Honey. Digestion aid, energy booster, inflammation reducer, splinter remover, wound treatment. 

Lip balm. Blister soother, sunscreen, knife rust preventer, glass cleaner, zipper lubricator.

Plastic grocery bags. Insulation, trail marking, food storage, trash holder, wet item separator.

Rechargeable batteries. The function of the batteries doesn’t change but the list of items you can power is endless. 

Steel wool. Fire starter, garden tool cleaner, scissors sharpener, screw tightener, rust remover.

Super Glue. Fix broken knife grip, water bottle sealer, skin repair, backpack strap repair, cordage strengthener.


  • Mindy Wise - May 24, 2022

    You talk about power outages but what about power grid being taken out? then all sources including solar is of no good. then what?

  • Carol - May 24, 2022

    Thank you for all the suggestions.
    Very much appreciated

  • Bonnie - May 24, 2022

    Regarding baby powder: Please try to buy NON-talc powder. My choice happens to be “Gold Bond ultimate comfort” and it’s 100% talc-free. There may be others available but once I started using this, I looked no further.
    About honey: If you can afford to have a jar of true Australian/New Zealand Manuka honey in your stash, you might want to look into it, look it up and see if you might want to have it on hand for medicinal purposes. It’s pricey but the articles I’ve read about it are impressive. We also keep our local raw, unfiltered honey on hand. (ANY honey is NOT for children under a year old.)

  • Kathleen - May 18, 2022

    One more use for baby powder is this – it make a great dry shampoo. Shake it on, brush it out. Hair is less oily, looks better, and is more manageable. I use it regularly for this purpose on vacations to remote areas. And I have long, thick hair.

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