This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I'll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you.*
For most people, purchasing enough food, water and supplies to get through a major disaster can be very difficult financially. The average person doesn’t have a lot of extra cash to put toward such a big investment. If you’re like most people, paying the bills and keeping a roof over your head is hard enough as it is.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help save a little money to put toward your prepping needs. Every dollar you can save on household utilities, the grocery bill and so on can be put into your prepping. Here are 21 ways to save a little money and lighten the financial burden of prepping.
1. Shop Flea Markets and Thrift Stores – If you need some clothes for work or even play, visit secondhand stores. You will be amazed at the items you find. Oftentimes they’re in like-new condition, but cost a fraction of what they would cast brand new. You can also find housewares, tools and all sorts of other things.
2. Buy in Bulk – This is a good option when you can find great deals at your discount warehouse. Costco isn’t always going to be cheaper. Think more along the lines of grocery outlet stores and online at Amazon or eBay. This can be for things you use everyday and for your prepping supplies.
3. Cut Your Electric Bill – There are a lot of things you can do to reduce your electric bill. Turning off lights, unplugging appliances, reducing the length of hot showers, drying clothes outside and so on. Here are 30 tips you should check out.
4. Quit Eating Out – If you’re a busy family on the go and prone to hit the drive thru after a long day, stop. Going out to eat once a month can be a special treat, but you don’t need to do it all the time. Invest in a crock-pot and a crock-pot cookbook. Make meals ahead of time and they will be hot and ready when you get home in the evening. It’s not has much trouble as you might think.
5. Repair Rather Than Buying New – Instead of tossing out appliances, clothing and other items when they are damaged or worn, fix them. Often times you only need to spend a few bucks to repair tools. Learn how to stitch torn seams, glue broken dishes, and even glue soles onto shoes. If you don’t know how to fix things, check out this book.
6. Shop The Yellow Sticker Meat – Shopping on Mondays and Tuesdays is your best chance to take advantage of yellow sticker items. These are items that are reduced for sale because they are close to their expiration date. You can place meat items in the freezer and they will be just fine.
7. Watch The Sales – Gather the ads from your local stores and compare prices. Go where the stuff is cheapest, even if it isn’t your regular store. In some cases, one store will price match another and even beat the price by 10 percent.
8. Become a Yard Sale Guru – Yard sales are a great place to get clothes, shoes, housewares, tools and so on. Yard sales tend to be cheaper than thrift stores simply because people want to get rid of the stuff and don’t have any overhead. They are also willing to haggle a bit on their prices. Here are some things to look for at yard sales.
9. Look for Craigslist Freebies – People will often give away stuff they simply don’t want anymore. These items go fast so you’ll want to check Craigslist often. Even if you can’t use the item, you could fix it up and sell it.
10. Pack Your Own Lunch – Avoid grabbing a sandwich from the local vendor, using the vending machines or going out for a quick bite. Pack a lunch and save money.
11. Do Your Own Vehicle Maintenance – Learn how to take care of the little things like changing your own oil and replacing brake pads. This can save you a small fortune. If you are not mechanically inclined, consider asking someone who is and paying them a small fee or offer to trade services. Better yet, learn how cars work so you can make your own repairs.
12. Find a Friend to Give Haircuts – Buy a set of clippers and take care of any haircuts at home. If you don’t want to learn or are apprehensive, there are plenty of young men and women who have completed a stint in the industry who would be willing to give you or members of the family a quick trim for half the price.
13. Skip The Fancy Coffee – This is a big one and can save you a lot. If you are a Starbucks junkie or something similar, check out the coffee section at your local grocery store and make your own at home for half the cost.
14. Drink Less Soda – Stop buying expensive soda and drink more water. Both regular and diet soda are both unhealthy, anyway. Doing this will save you money on a daily basis and save your teeth!
15. Don’t Buy Anything Unless You Pay Cash – Quit using your credit cards to buy those things you really want, but technically cannot afford. You end up wasting a lot of money on high interest that could be going toward your preps.
16. Clip Coupons – You don’t have to become an extreme couponer, but clipping coupons and saving a couple of dollars here and there will add up. Be careful you don’t get sucked into buying a namebrand with a coupon when a generic brand is ultimately less expensive.
17. Walk or Ride a Bike – Quit wasting money on gas by driving all over the place. Carpool when you can. Plan errands for one day so you are not driving every single day of the week. And consider using public transportation as well.
18. Reduce Your Water Bill – If you pay a monthly water bill, you need to conserve water. Consider harvesting rainwater if it’s legal in your area. Put timers on your sprinkler systems to prevent over-watering. Don’t leave the water running when you are brushing your teeth or wiping down counters.
19. Grow a Garden – This will give you access to fresh veggies. In most cases, your garden will produce more than you can eat, which means you can preserve it and eat it later. If space is an issue, consider something like the Topsy Turvy or container gardening.
20. Take Care of Your Own Lawn Maintenance – If you currently have a lawn service, stop using them. Pay the neighbor kid to mow your lawn if you can’t do it.
21. Have a Meal Prep Day – Buy the ingredients you need from places like Amazon and spend the day putting together freezer meals. This saves you time and money and you won’t have to worry about trying to put something together in a hurry on busy days.
Each of the items on this list serves a dual purpose. It saves you money today, while teaching you some valuable skills about how to get by post-disaster. Learning to do more with less, how to grow your own food, and getting used to walking or riding a bike is going to serve you well when modern conveniences are gone.