Money Mondays: Preps You Can Afford Even if You’re Low in Cash

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

A lot of people feel prepping is expensive and that stops them from getting started with even basic supplies.

Emergency Supplies

Here are 10 emergency items you can easily acquire even if you feel you don’t have much cash to spare:


People living in the U.S. are fortunate to have running tap water.  We take it for granted that anytime we turn on the faucet, clean water comes out.  But an emergency can easily interrupt the water supply so we all need to have some water stored away.   You do not need bottled water for storage.  Everyone has empty bottles of soda, juice, wine and other drinks.  Just wash those containers thoroughly and fill with tap water.   Store as much as space allows – you’ll need water for drinking, cooking and hygiene.

Rinse and fill up 2-liter soda bottles (3/4 of the way) and freeze.  Keeping your freezer full will allow it to stay colder during a power outage.  Plus, you can use the melting ice water for drinking.

Canned Food

Set aside a couple of dollars on every shopping trip and buy two or three items that are ready to eat or easy to prepare.  Buy items with a coupon and when they go on sale.  Just make sure to buy only what your family eats.

Manual Can Opener

If you store canned foods, make sure you have a manual can opener handy.   Find a good quality one under $10, such as this one.

Toilet paper

Unless you’re willing to consider alternatives to toilet paper, you should stock up on TP little by little.  Pick up a 4-pack at the dollar store – likely not the softest, but it’ll only set you back a dollar.  Or, wait for a sale at your grocery store and buy extra.  If you have a good supply, and constantly replenish your storage, you’ll never have to run to the store at odd times when you run out.


You can find many inexpensive LED flashlights.  Dollar Tree carries them.  Buy enough for the family and keep one on your nightstand.  You won’t be scrambling around for light the next time you have a power outage.


If you have flashlights, you need batteries.

Plain Bleach

Bleach is a good emergency item to stock.  You can use a very small amount to purify water and disinfect surfaces.

First aid supplies

Visit the dollar store and stock up on adhesive bandages, disposable gloves, face masks, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, etc.  Or, split costs with friends and buy bulk items at a warehouse store.  At my last checkup, my own primary care doctor recommended Costco’s Kirkland brand pain relievers and allergy medicines – he uses them for his own family.

Black Trash Bags

Besides using them for waste, black trash bags have so many emergency uses.  

They are also inexpensive.  I just bought a box of heavy duty ones on sale for under $7.

5-Gallon Buckets

Food grade 5- gallon buckets are great for storing bulk items and other foods.  They will protect your storage from pests as long as you have a good seal on the lids.  You can even use 5-gallon buckets (lined with the black trash bags above) as an emergency toilet.


You don’t need a lot of money to learn some new skills:


Sure, there are some expenses involved, but getting prepared does not need to cost a lot of money.  You just need to be willing to invest some time and effort.


© Apartment Prepper 2018


Money-saving deals for you!

Here are some low cost items that are easy on the budget:

Lifestraw Personal Water Filter – removes bacteria, parasites, microplastics, and will filter 4,000 liters of water. Small and portable too.

2-pack Mini LED Flashlights – 3 light modes, water resistant

Stainless steel folding knife – I keep a knife with me at all times and it comes in handy a lot. This one is reasonably priced, small, durable and has good reviews.

Help support Apartment Prepper! Your purchases via my Amazon link help me earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).  Thank you!

For more tips on prepping on small budget, read my book:

Bernie's Latest Book

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  1. I have found good manual can openers at Good Will stores and have several. I have also found very good flashlights at Good Will too. just be sure to check that they did not have batteries leak in them. The problem with choline bleach is a short shelf life. DO NOT use milk jugs to store drinking water it is almost imposable to get the jugs clean and they break down fast. I do use 1 & 2 litter pop jugs to store water.

    1. Hi Old guy, Yes, chlorine bleach does have a short shelf life, about a year or so. Pool shock has a longer shelf life, but since this article was about inexpensive supplies I covered bleach instead. I will cover this in a future article. Thanks for the comment!

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