Unexpected Thrifty Finds?

Perhaps the most common reason people give for not preparing is money.

They say that because they live paycheck to paycheck, there’s never anything left at the end of the month for stockpiling supplies.

It’s not that they don’t believe in the concept of preparing for an uncertain future. They’re fully convinced they’d be better off with survival food, water and a bunch of other items that will be essential for dealing with a crisis.

It’s just that when they finish paying for all the stuff they absolutely have to have, everything else is a luxury.

Thrift store prepping

I completely get that, and I sympathize with the plight of those who are barely scraping by.

But I also know that occasionally some unexpected money comes in. It might not be often and it might not be a lot, but it could be enough to get a survival stockpile going.

How? By purchasing items at the lowest possible price. And by doing it over time, rather than trying to gather everything at once.

So, whether you want to get started stockpiling necessary items for an emergency or you just want to economically add to your existing stash, here are some ideas for grabbing items from a Goodwill store or other low-cost venue. Let’s call it Goodwill hunting.

An economical goldmine

Winter clothes. Coats, gloves, hats and boots can usually be found at bargain prices at Goodwill or another thrift store.

First-aid kit. This is a kit you can form by purchasing bandages, gauze and adhesive tape. You might even see a pair of crutches, a brace and a sling for sale.

Backpack. Yeah, it will be used, but so what? It will be far less expensive than a new one in a retail store. Make sure it has wide shoulder straps and a reinforced bottom. 

Ponchos and other rain gear. Most of your winter clothes won’t be waterproof, so you need stuff that is. Grab an umbrella while you’re at it.

Sewing kit. Fabric, needles and thread will come in very handy when stores are not open and you have to mend clothes or a tent.

Gas can. If the grid goes down and gas stations close, a gas can filled with gasoline will be a precious commodity.

Tools. No one is going to care how shiny their tools are in a crisis. Pick up some used hammers, screwdrivers, shovels and rakes.

Blankets. Even if the inevitable disaster occurs during the warmer half of the year, nights will get cold. Wool blankets will feel like lifesavers.

Camping equipment. Look for used tents and camp stoves, which will be much cheaper at thrift stores than elsewhere.

Pots, pans and other kitchen gear. Very expensive when they’re new, these items can be found at great prices in thrift stores.

Survival items. Multi-tools, Mylar blankets and other survival gear can often be found at these types of stores.

Books/Games/Crayons. If you have to bug out and TV is a thing of the past, these items will provide boredom relief for you and the kids or grandkids.

Hunting gear. Even if you’ve never hunted before, grab some camouflage clothes, game bags and boots. You may have to hunt for your meals.


  • Velma Hayes - April 25, 2021

    I Love these recommendations! I’ve found some great stuff at the Dollar Store and the Navy Recycle stores as well. (I completely overlooked Goodwill). I go there for cloths and dishes, but never thought about the other stuff I could get there. I purchase your products when I can, and many times miss the sale items. (You always put up the good stuff at the end of the month where I don’t have the money! I’m a Disabled Senior so I can’t afford a lot and the end of the month is harsh.) Could you make more items on payment plans. I just finished paying for the Sidekick! It is awesome!

  • Stephen Farkas - April 25, 2021

    To add to your post. Garage sales are also a great place to find many survival items cheap.
    From lamp oil to heaters, camping/hunting equipment, candles, propane cans. etc. I treasure hunt for these items every weekend during the summer. I help friends and neighbors with preparedness items for pennies on the dollar.
    Happy hunting!

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