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Prepping doesn’t have to cost a lot of money if you know how to look for bargains. Garage sales and yard sales are great places to scoop up cheap survival items you might need for an emergency. The old saying that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure certainly applies here.
Many people holding garage sales don’t know the true value of what they’re selling, or they simply don’t see items for how useful they are and end up selling them for next to nothing. Yard sale season is here, so now is the time to get out there and start hunting down the things you need.
Make a list and take it with you. Don’t assume you will remember because there are quite a few prepper items to look for. Here are just 14 of them:
1. Cast Iron Cookware
This stuff tends to be pretty pricey when buying brand new, but you can get it for about half the price at a garage sale. Cast iron pans are exactly what you need for cooking over an open fire, which is going to take the place of your kitchen stove when the power is out.
2. Camping Gear
Anything that has to do with camping, i.e. cookstoves, tents, lanterns, sleeping bags and so on can all be major assets to your emergency stash. When the power is out or you are forced to bug out, camping will be the way of life and any gear you can bring along will make life easier.
3. Winter Clothing
Old flannel shirts, coats, gloves, and hats are very inexpensive at garage sales. Stock up on these things when you can. Buy several in varying sizes, especially if you have children that are going to be growing like weeds.
Having plenty of coats ensures you will always have something dry to put on if you have to go out and chop wood, hunt, or look for water.
4. Gardening Tools
Buy extra hoes, rakes, shovels and other gardening equipment. Your prepper garden will need tending and you will likely not have gasoline to run your equipment. These tools tend to break after time so you want to have backups. You also want to have plenty of tools so more than one person can tackle a big job at the same time.
5. Board Games and Puzzles
You need something to do during the long hours without electricity and all of those gadgets we’ve come to depend on. Good old-fashioned board games and puzzles will be an ideal way to pass the time. You can find these for under a dollar in most cases. The more you have on hand, the less you will be dealing with bored family members.
6. Emergency Supplies
Look for things like candles, lighters, flashlights, radios, first aid kits, and so on. Even the half-used candles can be bought for cheap and melted down to make larger candles.
After a major storm, you will need to take care of any repairs around your house. You may even need to build a shelter. Pick up extra screws, nails, hammers, wrenches, axes, screwdrivers and so on.
Keep in mind that you can never have too many tools. If you have six hammers, you could always use one to barter with to get something else you need.
8. Manual Kitchen Tools
Visit garage sales where older people have lived. You are sure to find old hand grinders and a variety of other hand kitchen tools that will come in handy when you don’t have electricity. Look for can openers, meat grinders, graters, manual hand mixers, and so forth.
9. Medical Supplies
Garage sales that are held following someone passing away who had a long illness are great places to find unused medical supplies. You can often find crutches, splints, slings, and bandages that are all unopened.
Look for boxes of gloves, face masks, and unopened packages of alcohol wipes and syringes. People will typically sell these items for very cheap just to get rid of the evidence of a loved one’s illness and passing.
10. Canning Supplies
There are plenty of people who don’t want grandma’s old canning jars, canner, and all the tools that go with it. Home preservation is something preppers need to do in order to store up enough food to last them for several months. Jars can also be used to store water.
11. Hunting Gear
When there are no grocery stores, you may have to hunt for your food. Buying new hunting gear at a big box store can be very expensive.
Fortunately, there are plenty of hunters who grow tired of the sport and prefer to rely on the market for their meat. Look for bows, ammunition, trapping supplies, and camouflage gear.
12. Silver and Gold Jewelry
If the dollar fails, silver and gold will be the only currency that has any value. You wouldn’t want to exchange a silver dollar for something like a pack of toilet paper, which is why you want those bits and pieces of old jewelry.
Handing over an earring or a broken silver necklace makes much more sense. You could also melt down the broken silver and gold jewelry and make your own bars.
13. Bug Out Bag Gear
You are sure to find things like lighters, matches, rain ponchos, knives, and other things you can put into your bug out bag. Look for small tarps and even backpacks that can be used to make a bug out bag.
14. Firearms and Ammunition
These are extremely difficult to find at garage sales for real steals, but you can always look. Consider saving up some cash and setting it aside so you can make a purchase when you do happen to come across a really good deal. Look for reloading equipment as well.