How to Save Money With DIY Survival Items

Spread the love

Written by Martin Banks

Everyone, regardless of where you live, should have the supplies on hand to weather a natural disaster, crisis, zombie apocalypse or any other SHTF scenario you can imagine. 

You never know when a tornado might knock out your power grid, or a police action might trigger civil unrest, looting and destruction of property, to name a couple of scenarios. If the store you use for your grocery shopping is broken into and burned to the ground, where will you get food, water and other supplies? 

One thing that stops a lot of people from prepping is the sheer cost of the activity. We won’t beat around the bush here — prepping for disaster can be expensive if you try to do it all at once, or insist on buying the newest and neatest survival toys. Here are some tips and tricks to help you save money by switching to DIY survival items. 

 Start With What You Have

Don’t rush out to the store — or Amazon — before you take a quick inventory of what you already have. You might be surprised how many survival tools you have in your garage that you’ve forgotten about because you don’t use them. What sort of gadgets do you already have?

Do you have a roll of duct tape? Then you’re already a step ahead of a lot of people. Duct tape was originally designed to keep moisture out of ammo boxes in World War II. Now you can use it for everything from repairs to creating a cup to drink to bandaging a wound in a pinch. 

What about a can of WD-40? Then you’ve got something you can use to loosen bolts, ward off rodents and winterize boots. Aluminum foil? You can wrap food, insulate your home, sharpen your survival knife or remove rust. You can also clean off the grates on your grill by balling up a sheet or two of foil and using it to scrub baked-on food residue and rust. 

Take a closer look at what you already have before you start spending money if you want to save on your survival kits.

Skip the Pre-Made Survival Kits

There are plenty of sites that offer pre-made survival kits so that you can just grab and go. We recommend avoiding these for a couple of reasons. For one, they’re expensive. You can spend thousands of dollars on supplies for a family of four, and that’s the exact opposite of what you want to do in one of these situations. 

Secondly, they’re not customizable. You might have most of the things you need to survive, but you don’t have the option to tweak so that you’ve got everything you could possibly want in an SHTF scenario. 

Skip the pre-made kits. You’ll save a lot of money in the long run and be able to build the emergency supply kit you’ll actually use rather than one that sits in a corner and gathers dust. 

How To DIY Rope

A rope is one of the most versatile tools in your survival kit. You can use it to climb a tree, drag a fallen log, tow a car, trap food or bind a bandit in a pinch to keep him from putting you at risk. Of course, buying high-quality rope can get expensive, so why not learn to make your own? It’s easier than you might think. All you need is a sturdy base material and something to help you twist it. 

You can build a rope making machine with a few simple tools and a couple of 2x4s, and it’s all powered by a hand-crank or a power drill. You don’t need hemp or anything fancy to make a pretty solid rope, either. If you can twist it, you can make rope from it. Expert survivalists have made rope from everything from paper towels and aluminum foil to pyrotechnic cannon fuse and plastic soda bottles. Just remember the golden rule: measure twice, cut once.

How To DIY a Survival Knife

A survival knife is going to be your best friend in an SHTF situation, but what can you do if you can’t order your favorite knife online? If you’ve got an old hacksaw or circular saw blade lying around, you can make your own. 

Start by drawing the intended profile of the knife you’re trying to make on the blade. Then cut it out and clean up the edges with files or a grinder. Sharpen the cutting edge and wrap the hilt in leather or paracord, and you’re good to go.

If you’ve got a bit of blacksmithing skill, you can smith a blade out of nearly any steel tool in your garage. This task does require some skill, practice and preparation. However, if you need a knife and you can’t go out and buy one, what’s more important — having a knife, or having an old crescent wrench that you might never use again?

How to DIY a Water Filter

If your water supply runs out, you’ll need a way to purify natural sources to clean them and make them safe to drink. You can spend a lot of money on water purification supplies and filters, or you can make your own out of an old soda bottle and some stuff that you’ll probably find on the ground. All you need is a plastic bottle, some gravel, sand and charcoal. 

Turn the bottle upside down and cut off the bottom. Then, layer your filtering ingredients — first the charcoal near the neck of the bottle, then a layer of sand or grass and then one of small stones or pebbles. Then add your water. This filter will remove most impurities, but we still suggest boiling the water for a few minutes once it’s filtered to kill off any bacteria or viruses that might still be living in the water supply. 

Don’t Break the Bank to Prep for Disaster

Being prepared for a natural disaster or other SHTF scenario is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family. However, you don’t need to break the bank to do it. DIY survival tools can help you save money that you can put toward other supplies you can’t make on your own.

About the Author

Martin Banks is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Modded where he covers survival, the outdoors, gear, cars, and more.


We are an affiliate of, which means we received a small commission if you click through one of our Amazon links when you shop, at totally no cost to you. This helps keep the lights on at the blog. Thanks!

Image by LUM3N from Pixabay

Spread the love


  1. you sent me that flashlight that is a stun gun included thank you so much I wanted more bucks to buy more stuff but leave here and go up North when is Paranormal hits with so many people unemployed and it’s going to be crazy but I don’t want to kill anybody so that’s why I got the stun gun probably I’m a fool for not wanting to get get a 357 be done with that’s that’s not my style I cleaned a bunch of guns for my father he still alive 2 God bless him and God bless America but this paranormal is going to come back with a vengeance I can feel it in my bones God bless and God save America

  2. You can buy bulk dried beans,peas, white rice,etc. Have some mylar bags with the zipper that also can be heat sealed using a curling iron.After placing our beans,rice or what ever in the freezer for 3 or 4 days.To kill any and all insects/eggs. We place them in the mylar bag. Then add an oxygen absorber. Then we use our little vacuum nozzle covered with a piece of cheesecloth so the peas/beans do not get sucked up. Then vacuum as much air out as possible. The bag will collapse some and the sides will pull in if done properly.Squeeze the strip together to seal it. Then heat the mylar with the curling iron. Label and place in 5 gallon bucket and label bucket. Now all you have to do is get some spices and vacuum seal those for your beans/peas.

    1. Hi Jack, I like your vacuum nozzle covered with cloth idea. That would certainly help with taking out as much air as possible. Thanks!

    2. Hi, I appreciate your article, thank you. Regarding the beans and grains, the freezer might kill whatever critters are hiding in your beans and grain. I suggest you spread out on a cookie sheet and bake for maybe 20 minutes at 200 degrees. Moths and weevil are pretty tough against cold. Thanks again, Judy

      1. Hi Judy K, that is a good tip on how to kill moths and weevils. Would not want to find those ruining our food storage. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *