Money Mondays: Prepare for Emergencies on a Small Budget

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

Getting started with preparedness can seem expensive and daunting.   You see those ads for a year’s worth of food costing hundreds or more dollars and it seems out of most people’s reach.  That could not be further from the truth.  It is easy to get started, even on a small budget.

Prioritize First

Water and food are usually first on the list.  Next comes gear such as water filter, power outage supplies, first aid, defense etc.

Water is easy to stock up.  Pick up a gallon or two each week until you have one gallon per person per day for at least a week or two.  They are only $.99 to $1.00 if you buy them from the dollar store.  Or, you can start accumulating water in cleaned 2-liter soda bottles that you collect for free.  Soda bottles are sturdy and are food grade containers.

As for food, figure out what you can afford to set aside for emergency foods per week:  $5?  $10?  Find foods your family already eats and buy extra quantities consistently each week.

There is a variety of inexpensive ways to become prepared.  The key is to get items as inexpensively as possible, or even for free.

Try these tips

  • Take advantage of store sales such as “buy one get one free” offers
  • Use coupons and go to a store that doubles or triples coupons.
  • Rice and beans are very inexpensive, buy 5 lbs. of each and set aside.  Learn how to cook these basic foods and how to package them for long term storage
  • You can rotate these foods after a few years and use them up.
  • If you have products that you like, go to their websites or call the customer 800 line and comment on the product.  Many companies send coupons or free samples for commenting.
  • Shop at the dollar stores and buy multi-purpose supplies such as bleach, baking soda, salt and vinegar.  You can also buy items for the first aid kit such as band-aids, generic acetaminophen, aspirin etc. (Not affiliated with any dollar stores; I just know some bargains can be had from shopping at these stores.)
  • Scope out garage sales or moving sales.
  • Craigslist is also a good source of emergency supplies.  Just be careful when setting up your transactions and always meet up in a well known public area and not in your or their home.
  • At your doctor or dentist visit, don’t be afraid to ask nicely for samples of your prescription or over the counter medicines.  Most offices receive free samples from drug companies and give them out to patients.
  • If you participate in charity runs or attend health fairs, many booths give out free samples for attending.  You’ll do good, get some exercise and have fun at the same time.
  • Acquiring skills can be free.  If you know someone in the neighborhood or at work who knows how to can, knits, quilts or has some other skill you would like to learn, ask if they can show you how.  Most people are happy to share knowledge.  Or you can learn these skills from YouTube.

If you save money by shopping wisely on the basics, you can then save for more expensive gear such as a good water filter, bug out bag etc.

There are many ways to prepare for an emergency on a small budget if you get creative.  Now is not the time to spend frivolously.

Here is a video outlining these tips: Prepping on a Small Budget

For more tips on how to get prepared on a small budget, read my book, The Penny-Pinching Prepper.


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