Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Although some survival supplies can be pretty expensive, most of the things people will need after the SHTF are dirt cheap. For example, right now toilet paper costs less than a dollar per roll. But when the store shelves are bare, most people will trade a lot for a single roll of toilet paper. And that’s just the beginning.
When you think about disaster preparedness, keep in mind that a lot of cheap stuff we take for granted will be extremely valuable after SHTF. This is the stuff you want to stock up on now. Not only will you need it for yourself and your family, but you may also need it for bartering.
Here are just 50 examples of cheap items you’ll want to stock up on while they’re still available. I’m sure there are plenty more, so if you think of any, be sure to leave a comment below. Now on to the list…
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Activated charcoal is a cheap yet potentially life-saving item that many people overlook. It helps treat poisonings, purifies water, and relieves gas and bloating. If you can’t find any, it’s possible to make your own.
Aluminum foil has dozens of uses. Buy lots so you can use it for cooking, cleaning, gardening, fire making, and many other things.
Ammunition is fairly inexpensive, depending on which caliber you get. However, the price could skyrocket if Democrats take power in the U.S., so get it while you can.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda isn’t just for baking. You can use it for many things such as cleaning, deodorizing, brushing your teeth, and more.
Bandages are only a few bucks for dozens of them. Buy a lot so you can treat minor wounds, which will become very common in an SHTF scenario where you’re working outdoors, clearing debris, fixing broken windows, and so forth.
AA batteries are less than 50 cents each, but during a long-term power outage, they’ll be worth a lot more than that.
7. Can Openers
You can get a simple can opener for just a few dollars. Can you imagine having all that canned food and no can opener?
Candles are fairly cheap and you will be surprised at how many you will go through. Candles can be used in place of flashlights to conserve battery power. And if you know how to make them, you can sell them when they’re no longer available in stores.
Candy will be an excellent way to keep the kids happy and reward them for helping out during hard times. It’s fun for adults, too, and a great way to boost morale when times are tough.
Chapstick is more important than many people realize. When you’re outside working in cold or windy weather, your lips will become chapped and it can be very painful. Plus, there are many other uses for it, some of which may surprise you.
11. Cheap Wine
Cheap wine is easy to come by and will store forever. After fighting all day, a nice glass of wine will go a long way toward calming the nerves. It also makes for a great barter item.
Cigarettes may not be healthy, but after the SHTF, they are going to be in very high demand. A single pack could be worth a lot of supplies, and they actually have some survival uses.
Condiments like ketchup, mustard, salsa, and Tobasco sauce can sit on the shelf for years without going bad, and they can make an ordinary meal taste a lot better.
Because having lots of babies after the SHTF is not going to be ideal, and chemical birth control probably won’t be available.
15. Cotton Balls
Cotton balls can be used for cleaning, treating wounds, and protecting the ears when you have to be outside in the bitter cold.
16. Duct Tape
Duct tape has all sorts of uses, from building shelter to treating wounds to fixing just about anything. Be sure to buy several rolls because you’ll need more than you might think.
17. Feminine Products
Feminine products will be in high demand as women get used to a new way of living without the luxury of feminine hygiene products in the stores.
18. Fishing Line
Fishing line isn’t just for fishing. You can use it to hang up items, make a snare trap, and set booby traps around your camp.
19. Glow Sticks
Glow sticks can serve as night lights, trail markers, signals, and more. They are very cheap, but very useful. (Bonus tip: These are really cheap right after Halloween.)
20. Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer will be very useful when water is in short supply and you need to keep your hands clean. If you can’t find any, it’s possible to make your own.
People will continue to get colds and have allergy problems after the SHTF, and you don’t want snot everywhere or a raw nose.
Lighters will obviously be useful in a disaster scenario, and they’re excellent barter items. Buy them in bulk and keep one with you at all times.
Lotion can help prevent cracked and chafed skin which, for some people, can become a serious problem if left untreated.
Matches can be purchased for just a few dollars. Store hundreds or thousands if you can. Without stoves and heaters, you will have a lot of fires to start after the SHTF.
25. Nail Polish
You might be surprised how many survival uses there are for nail polish.
26. OTC Medications
OTC medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen do expire eventually, but the first few years of a post-apocalyptic world will be a lot easier if you have them.
27. Paper Clips
Paper clips aren’t just for clipping papers together. You can use them to fix things, make a compass, make fishing hooks, and more.
28. Paper Plates
In a disaster scenario, you might not have running water. If that happens, you won’t want to waste a single drop of your stored water. By using paper plates, you won’t have to waste water on washing dishes.
29. Paper Towels
You probably use these every day, and I guarantee you’ll still be using them every day after the SHTF.
30. Pens, Pencils, and Paper
Pens, pencils, and paper can provide entertainment as well as a way to send information and document your new way of life. In fact, if it’s the end of the world as we know it, you should definitely keep a journal. Not only will it be valuable to future generations, but it will also be therapeutic.
31. Plastic Sheeting
Ponchos can be picked up at any dollar store. You can’t afford to get wet when it’s cold out. If you have a heavy-duty poncho, there are several other things you can do with it.
33. Rubber Bands
These cost next to nothing, but there are at least a couple dozen uses for them, especially when it comes to organization.
34. Rubbing Alcohol
This is one of the things that disappeared from the shelves right after the pandemic began. Why? Because you can use it to make hand sanitizer. It’s also important for disinfecting in first aid situations.
Salt makes food edible and can be used for cleaning, de-icing in the winter, repelling pests that are invading your camp, and many other things.
Seeds to grow a garden will be crucial to creating a sustainable life. Store a large variety of heirloom seeds so you’ll also have seeds for next season and so on.
37. Sewing Supplies
Sewing supplies will be needed to mend your clothing when you can no longer stop by Walmart any time you need new clothes.
Shoestrings aren’t just for keeping your shoes on. They can be used as cordage for all sorts of things, from setting traps to building shelter.
Soap is so cheap today that we tend to take it for granted. But when it’s gone, people will miss it badly. It is crucial to maintaining cleanliness after the SHTF to keep diseases from spreading. If you run out, you can make your own.
Another simple item that people use every day and tend to take for granted. You don’t want to be stuck wearing wet socks all day. Or worse, no socks.
Spices like basil, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and the like will turn that bland soup or stew into a delicious meal.
Sugar makes life better all the way around. You want to enjoy the food you eat; not just eat for survival. I know some people will scoff at this, but morale is very important during a disaster.
Sunscreen is very important and needs to be used to prevent serious sunburns that can leave you dehydrated or suffering from heat exhaustion. This will be crucial if you’re bugging out on foot.
44. Super Glue
I can’t overstate how useful this stuff can be for fixing gear or repairing everyday items. Here are some other uses for it.
45. Toilet Paper
46. Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
Toothbrushes and toothpaste should be stored in bulk. Good oral hygiene will be incredibly important when there are no dentists around. You don’t want a bad toothache when that happens. In fact, you may want to put together an emergency dental kit.
Towels can be picked up at yard sales and thrift stores. Use them as intended, to make slings, to blackout your windows, to seal up a drafty door, and more.
Vitamins will help keep your immune system strong, which will be crucial when you’re living through the stress of a disaster scenario. Remember, most survival food isn’t very high in vitamins, and your body desperately needs vitamins to stay healthy. Especially Vitamin C.
49. Zip Ties
Zip ties are versatile and extremely useful for putting up a quick shelter, holding a door closed, fixing small things around the house, and much more.
50. Ziploc Bags
Ziploc bags will be helpful to store leftover bread and other treats you make, or for keeping socks, tinder, small electronics, and other things dry.
Next time you visit the dollar store, take a walk down each aisle and start stocking up on all the little things that will make life easier after the SHTF.
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