Building a First Aid kit does not have to be cost prohibitive. You can assemble it as inexpensively as possible with the following tips:
- Reuse or recycle. Use a recycled or re-purposed item as your main container Check Goodwill or discount stores for a handy bag or box that has lots of room such as a backpack, video camera case, tackle box, etc.
- Stock it with freebies. The last time we went to the doctor’s office, they were giving out pocket sized hand sanitizer gel and body wash for free. You can also get a lot of freebies at health fairs, conventions or even at company sponsored charity events such as 5k runs, walk-a-thons etc. At the last 4th of July community celebration, emergency clinics were giving out free toothbrushes and ice packs with their logo. I am not advocating free-loading or taking stuff that is not meant to be given away. If you are a participant in an event, the sponsors are happy to give out free merchandise to promote their products.
- Try customer service. Another way to get freebies is by calling the customer service line of your favorite brands and commenting about the product. A lot of times, the companies give out free samples. Also check websites of products you want to try; I’ve received free samples by signing up for their newsletters or filling out a quick survey. Before you give out your email address, set up a separate email account just for this purpose.
- Use coupons when buying First Aid supplies; or take advantage of sales combined with coupons at pharmacy discount stores such as Walgreens or CVS.
- Buy in bulk If you have friends or family who are similarly interested, you can buy the supplies in bulk and split the cost with them. For example, Costco and Sam’s both carry boxes of Band-Aids and single use packets of medicines that usually have too many in a pack for one family. But if you get together with others, you can spread out the cost and still have a lot to split among yourselves.
- Take advantage of grocery store pharmacy offers. Last Sunday, I saw a coupon in our grocery store’s weekly flyer offering a $25 store gift card for a new or transferred prescription. Make sure you bring the coupon with you when you pick up your prescription or you will not get the offer. Use the gift card you receive for buying First Aid and emergency supplies.
- Buy generic brands. I used to worry that generic allergy medicine may not be as good as name brands, until my own primary care doctor admitted he buys Kirkland pain relievers and allergy medicine from Costco for his own family. I tried them and found them to work just as well.
- Pack some extras. Instead of tossing away your old pair of glasses, include it as a backup pair in your kit. It may not have the newest prescription or frame, but it is better than nothing if your current pair breaks or gets lost. You should also include a month’s supply of your prescriptions in case you are unable to pick up refills in an emergency.
You’ll find lots more money saving tips in my new book, The Penny-Pinching Prepper, available now.