How to Save Money While Prepping for an Emergency

We keep seeing it. Over and over again.

Hurricanes striking Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the East Coast. Tornadoes ravaging the Midwest and the Plains. Wildfires destroying homes in the West.

Everyone knows they should be prepared for a crisis. Both FEMA and the Red Cross recommend that every American have at least 72 hours’ worth of non-perishable food on hand.

When disaster strikes, stores are stripped bare. But the unfortunate truth is, most Americans are not prepared for an emergency.

Not a lot of cash to spare

In most cases, it’s not because they don’t want to be prepared. And it’s not that they think it will never happen to them.

The real reason most Americans do not have a survival plan including supplies they’ll need in an emergency is money. They live paycheck to paycheck.

Let’s face it. Paying bills and keeping a roof over our heads is expensive. Then there are all the other things we need to live. Including food, electricity, heat, air conditioning, phone bills and so much more.

I’m guessing many of you are like me. You’re budget conscious when it comes to all of your spending. And that includes money spent on prepping.

Spread it out over time

Budget concerns can keep families from buying all the items necessary for an emergency kit.

But there’s some good news here. First of all, it’s not essential to make all your prepping purchases at once. Slow but steady progress will get the job done.

These purchases can be spread out over time. And you can make use of coupons, discounts and sales to get the best deals on the items you need.

There are many other things you can do to save money while prepping. And a number of prepping items you can secure for low prices. Proper budgeting would enable many people to have a small amount of income available for preparedness.

Today’s to-do’s

Let’s start with the things you can do now to prep while saving money. Then we’ll get to the things you can purchase at reasonable prices.

  • Use coupons. These are often available for items such as hygiene products, Ziploc bags, batteries, pet food and insect repellants.
  • Shop at Goodwill, flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales. It’s amazing how much you can save this way.
  • Watch for good deals on websites such as and eBay. They might have just what you’re looking for.
  • Grow some of your own food and preserve it. The mark-up on food in supermarkets is excessive. Eat the fresh vegetables and fruits you grow in the warmer months, and freeze what remains for colder months.
  • Buy in bulk. This is a big money-saver on non-perishable items.
  • Rotate your stockpile so you never have to throw anything away that you paid for.
  • If you have time to cook for yourself and/or your family, buy raw ingredients rather than pre-cooked foods. You’ll save money, and it’s healthier. They also have a longer shelf life.

Organize your documents

Something that shouldn’t cost any money – but is important in prepping – is organizing your important documents. And making sure they are up to date.

These would include birth certificates, passports and medical records. Plus insurance documents, wills and prescriptions.

As well as emergency contact lists, bank statements and mortgage documentation.

Make digital copies of your documents and store them on a thumb drive and/or the cloud. Protect hard copies from damage in sealed plastic bags.

Low-cost musts for your stash

Here are some items you might even be able to find at your local dollar store. They could all come in handy, regardless of whether you stay hunkered down during an emergency situation or have to bug out.

  • Advil and antacids
  • Bandanas and batteries
  • Canned food and can openers
  • Duct tape, dental floss and disinfecting wipes
  • Extra eyeglasses and elastic bandages
  • First-aid kit and fire starters
  • Gloves and garbage bags
  • Hand sanitizer, hydrogen peroxide and hygiene items
  • Lip balm and lotions
  • Matches, multi-tool and a mesh bag
  • Poncho and paracord (cordage)
  • Power bank and playing cards
  • Super Glue and sewing kit
  • Survival knife and extra socks
  • Toothbrush and toilet paper
  • Thermos and tote bag
  • Water and a whistle

More deets on 5 items

I’m going to pick out five of the items I listed above and give you specifics on how to use them for survival.

Cordage – You should have spools of nylon string in your bug-out bag. For thin cordage that’s stronger than nylon string, carry a 20-foot coil of raw steel wire. The most important usage for rope in the wilderness is dragging heavy items back to your campsite. Paracord is a lightweight yet very strong cord that will pull heavier objects than rope will.

Duct tape – Among the myriad of ways to use this versatile item are holding a cotton ball or sterile cloth over an infected area and fixing leaks in boats or buckets. Plus binding an enemy, making a clothesline and marking your trail. As well as taping an ankle or wrist sprain and protecting skin from frostbite. And insulating boots and gloves, and patching a sleeping bag.

First-aid kit – Include everything you can fit that you might end up needing. That could include acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), Benadryl, Imodium and Neosporin. Plus aspirin, hydrocortisone cream, thermometer and cough drops. And nail clippers, scissors, cotton balls, adhesive tape and gauze pads. As well as regular and Ace bandages, hand sanitizer and iodine. 

Hygiene items – Pack toothpaste and brushes, soap and shampoo, and hand lotion. As well as razors, tissues, sunscreen, combs and brushes. In addition to their best-known use, tampons could stop someone from bleeding to death. And could be used as tinder to start a fire.

Super Glue – With this substance, you can fix a broken knife grip, seal cracks in a water bottle or canteen, and seal a tear in a tent. Also, repair skin after suffering a wound, protect finger blisters from infection and repair a broken strap on your backpack. And tighten loose mirrors, strengthen cordage, fortify your shelter and repair eyeglasses.

Knowledge is power

Another way to prep on a budget is to gain as much knowledge as you can about survival. This requires time, but very little money.

Knowing what to do and when to do it during a crisis could save the lives of you and your family members. So, take time now to store up as much knowledge as possible regarding survival techniques.

You can gain considerable knowledge without a monetary investment. If you’re willing to put the time into it.

Among the things you can learn about are water purification techniques and which wild plants are edible and which are dangerous. As well as which bugs can safely be consumed and which are poisonous.

Peace of mind is just down the road

Prepping for a disaster doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. And it doesn’t need to be done overnight.

Prepping economically over time will put you in a position to deal with an emergency. But you need to start now because you never know how soon disaster will strike.

This preparation will help you become self-reliant and gain the peace of mind you always wanted.

And when you achieve it, you’ll realize it’s the only way to live.


  • James Barker - May 11, 2020

    I’m thinking of getting a blatter for water storage. Any suggestions on whom I can checkout. I want this blatter for under my mobile home. This way I don’t have to pay for water from the city.
    P.S. I want it hide from prying eyes.

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