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If you’ve decided to stock up on emergency supplies but don’t have a lot of money, you’ll be glad to hear that you can buy several of your necessities on the cheap at any ordinary dollar store.
In my town we have a Dollar General and a Dollar Tree, so last weekend I went walking around both of them to see how many emergency supplies I could find. I jotted down what I saw and ended up with a list of several dozen items that would be useful during a disaster.
Here are the top 50 survival items you can find in dollar stores.
1. Aluminum Foil – Aluminum foil will be great for cooking (wrap food in it and then set it by a fire) and many other things, and you can buy it on the cheap at any ordinary dollar store.
2. Antibacterial Ointment – Another hugely important first aid/medical item, and yet another that is available at dollar stores.
3. Baking Soda – Baking soda is perhaps the most versatile personal hygiene item there is. You can use it to make soap, shampoo, deodorant, laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, and so on.
5. Batteries – What good is having a flashlight if you don’t have the batteries required to power it? (The same could be said for any survival item that requires power.)
6. Bungee Cords – Bungee cords are another important survival item you will not want to overlook.
7. Can Openers – As long as you have canned goods, you’ll need something to open them with.
8. Candles – These are good if you only need a little bit of light, such as for reading.
9. Canned Food – Basic canned meat and vegetables at most grocery stores can usually be found in dollar stores as well. Oftentimes they’re cheaper.
10. Cooking Utensils – As with paper place, plastic forks, knives, spoons, and so on will be invaluable when water is scarce.
11. Cotton Balls – You can use cotton balls and Vaseline to make a portable, waterproof fire starter.
12. Disposable Gloves – Besides latex gloves, getting a pack of disposable gloves can be useful for handling potentially hazardous materials or for medical purposes.
14. Emergency Blankets – Those thin, metallic emergency blankets are often available at dollar stores. They’re compact but can be crucial for retaining body heat in cold conditions, and they have several other uses.
15. Flashlights – Flashlights are a must have survival item when the power is out. You don’t want to spend every night in complete darkness.
16. Gauze Pads – Gauze pads in assorted sizes are a core item to have in any first aid kit.
17. Glow Sticks – These aren’t just for parties! In a pinch, glow sticks can provide light without batteries and can be used to signal for help or mark a location, and many other things.
19. Hard Candies – Not an essential food item, but candy will help keep your morale up during tough times.
20. Hat – Hats are excellent to provide your face with shade and can also be used to keep yourself disguised among a crowd as well.
21. Latex Gloves – Latex gloves will be great for treating medical wounds where sanitation is key.
22. Lighters – You can easily buy packs of BIC lighters at dollar stores for a buck; are there any easier ways to start a fire?
23. Matches – Matches are a great alternative to lighters, and you can buy packs of them at dollar stores as well.
24. Mylar Balloons – Odd as it may sound, Mylar balloons can be used for signaling due to their reflective surface. They can also be repurposed into insulating materials in a pinch.
25. Paper – You will need paper in a survival or disaster situation for a number of reasons (record keeping, taking notes, sending messages, creating maps, etc.), and you can buy it in the form of bulk packs of notebooks at any dollar store.
26. Paper Clips – Paper clips serve a wide variety of different survival uses. You can use them to hang clothes, to make fishing hooks, to make a makeshift compass, and so on.
27. Paper Plates – These are great to have when you don’t have running water for washing dishes.
28. Paper Towels – You can use paper towels for a variety of purposes in a survival situation, and there’s no cheaper place to buy them at than the dollar store.
29. Plastic Bucket – Plastic buckets have a number of survival uses, including storing items or as makeshift toilets if necessary.
30. Plastic Containers – Plastic containers can be used for storing virtually anything you can think of.
31. Plastic Sheeting – Plastic sheeting can be used for privacy in a campsite, setting up a quarantine area, using as a table mat, and so on.
32. Playing Cards – You’ll need something to pass the time, and cards are a simple, power-free way for a group of people to enjoy themselves without television or Internet.
33. Rain Poncho – The ponchos you buy at dollar stores won’t be the nicest ones on the market, but they will still serve their purpose well and have many uses.
35. Safety Pins – These tiny tools can be lifesavers for quick fabric repairs, makeshift fish hooks, as part of a splint in a first-aid situation, and many other things.
36. Sewing Kit – These will be tiny sewing kits with small scissors and needles, but it’s better than nothing and will work great for repairing tents and clothing.
37. Soap – Basic soap bars or packs of bars can be yours for a buck each; they will also be great barter items.
38. Socks – Make sure you have extra dry pairs of socks to change into to prevent gangrene on your feet.
40. Sunscreen – Investing in sunscreen is wise to prevent sunburns (especially important if bugging out on foot), and there’s no cheaper place to buy it at than from the dollar store.
41. Super Glue – Most people know that basic Elmer’s glue is available at dollar stores, but far fewer know that super glue is available as well, and it’s very useful.
42. Tea Light Candles – Smaller and more compact than regular candles, tea lights can provide light, a bit of warmth, or even a method to heat small amounts of water or food.
43. Toilet Paper – This is not something that you want to overlook when it comes to stockpiling.
44. Toothpaste and Toothbrushes – Personal hygiene is critically important in a survival situation, and that absolutely includes oral hygiene.
45. Tweezers – No first aid kit is truly complete without a pair of tweezers, and you can easily buy them for a buck at dollar stores.
46. Utility Knives – They may not be the sharpest or highest quality knives on the market, but a basic utility knife from the dollar store will be better than nothing.
47. Water – It’s one of the most important survival items of all, and you can purchase bulk bottles at most dollar stores.
48. Whistles – A simple whistle can be a lifesaver in an emergency, especially if you’re lost or trapped. Dollar stores often carry them, and they’re small enough to fit in any emergency kit.
49. Writing Utensils – Pens and pencils of all types are available at dollar stores. They might not seem important, but I recommend keeping a journal if you’re living through a major disaster.
Conclusion – As you can see, a dollar store can actually be a great (and inexpensive) place to shop for a sizable percentage of all the items you will need to survive a disaster. There are many other survival items you can buy from the dollar store as well, so don’t think that you’re limited to just these items.