Prepping on a Budget

September 8, 2014 by | Be the first to comment »

One of the biggest reasons people put off prepping is the cost; a supply of food, water and supplies to sustain your family through an emergency and redundancy in your essential equipment adds up quickly. Prepping doesn’t have to break the bank, though. Here are six ways to prep on a budget.

Food storage

It’s easy to buy prepackaged food likeĀ freeze-dried meals or MREs and there are more than enough choices to satisfy any taste, but it gets expensive quickly. Prepackaged food also tends to be very high in sodium, which can be a problem when water is limited or for people with medical conditions like high blood pressure.

I do recommend starting off with prepackaged food because you can buy complete meals, but once you have at least a one week supply per person, you should begin storing bulk foods like rice, beans, and wheat. This is significantly cheaper (I can fill a 5-gallon bucket with white rice or pinto beans for about $20 each) and will last over twenty years if stored properly. That means sealed inside a Mylar bag with O2 absorbers , then sealed in a 5-gallon food-grade bucket and stored in a cool, dark place.

Don’t forget the extra supplies you’ll need to store along with your food.


You’ll need lot of supplies, like batteries, lighters, disposable utensils and dishes, etc., so save yourself some money by purchasing them from the dollar store. I’ve compiled a list of some of the items that should be purchased at the dollar store to get the most out of your investment.


It’s almost always better to buy higher-quality used equipment than to buy lower-quality new equipment.

Garage sales, flea markets, and are great places to buy all sorts of equipment. You can find camping gear, generators, cookware, hand tools, canning equipment and more in almost brand-new condition at a fraction of the cost. Just be sure you know what you’re looking for because it’s easy to get ripped off. Equipment like hand tools and camping gear are easy to evaluate because their condition is usually obvious, but equipment like generators or other power tools can be tougher to evaluate unless you know a lot about them.


A firearm is a critical for protecting yourself and your family during an emergency, but you don’t need to rush out and drop $3,000+ on a LaRue AR-15 but you also shouldn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel, either.

Like with any other piece of equipment, invest in the best that you can afford. If you can’t buy what you want new, see if you can find it used at your local gun stores, pawn shops, or on Just be sure to follow any applicable laws and regulations. Compare prices and don’t be afraid to negotiate.

You can also save money by investing in reloaded ammunition but be careful who you buy it from. You should check it for quality and consistency before buying it in bulk or betting your life on it.


Everyone can and should grow at least some of their own food, and to get the most out of your gardening efforts, you should make your own compost using old coffee grinds, egg shells, fruit and vegetable scraps, yard clippings, and stale bread. This will create valuable organic fertilizer at no extra cost, helping you to save money while producing a larger yield from your garden.

Growing your own food is a great way to enjoy healthy, organic food that will continue producing during an emergency when everyone else spends hours in the Red Cross food lines, and any surplus can be canned for later use. (You bought canning equipment, right?)

Water Storage

You may not be able to afford a large cistern, however, you can reuse other containers, such as milk jugs or soda bottles. Just be sure not to store them near gasoline or other chemicals because the vapor can permeate the plastic and contaminate your water supply.

Melanie Swick (a.k.a. Survival Chick) grew up wanting to be a rocket scientist, but when she realized she that required way too much math, she took to her second dreamā€”spending time in the wilderness. Today, when she's not hiking, camping, or hunting, she's blogging about it. You can connect with Melanie on Facebook.

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