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Stockpiling food, water, and supplies to sustain you and your family for a long time can get very expensive. For some, it just isn’t feasible to spend hundreds of dollars or more every week buying supplies that won’t be used right away.
Don’t be embarrassed. Most people can’t afford to do that. The trick is to buy used supplies so you can put the money you save toward your food purchases.
Shopping at thrift stores like the Goodwill store is a great way to save money. It’s extremely satisfying to score a good deal on something you really need. You’ll find yourself bragging about how cheap something was rather than how expensive it was.
The following list includes things you will want to keep your eye out for the next time you go thrifting. Most thrift stores will have sales on either certain color stickers or a certain area of the store on a given day. Grab a flier, get a punch card, and start looking for the following items.
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Another item that is way cheaper used. Have several that you can use for keeping gear in your car or at work. You will want a nice, sturdy pack for your main bug out bag, but you may be able to score one of those at the thrift store, too.
2. Books and Games
Books and board games for less than a dollar are a real steal. They may not seem very valuable in today’s world with tablets and e-readers, but after a collapse, they will be a very big deal.
These are often pushed to the back, but if you can find them, get them. Buckets can be used to carry water, store supplies, and of course, as a toilet. Buckets with lids are even better.
4. Camping Equipment
This stuff is easy to find, and it’s great in survival situations. Everything from tents to camp stoves can be picked up for a fraction of the cost.
Candles of all kinds, even the little stubs, should be picked up. You can always melt them down to make one large emergency candle. You can typically buy bags of them for just a couple of dollars.
6. Canning Equipment
Canning jars and equipment for canning are plentiful at the thrift stores. Stock up on them when they are out of season.
7. Cast Iron Pots and Pans
You know you need these to cook over an open fire, but they are ridiculously expensive brand new. Buy them used.
These are also a great find, even the broken ones. You can melt those down as well to make your own candles.
9. Fencing Items
Rolls of barbed wire, rolls of chicken wire, and even posts could also come in handy. Check the backrooms and outside of the store as well. Oftentimes these things are not put out on the floor.
10. Fire Starters
Matches and lighters are common, but you might also find magnesium fire starters or other non-traditional fire-starting tools. These can be invaluable for starting a fire when conditions are less than ideal.
11. First Aid Supplies
This may sound crazy, but you can score unopened packages of gauze, bandages, and elastic bandages. Don’t forget to grab a set of crutches, a sling or two, and any braces you can find as well.
12. Flashlights and Lanterns
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good source of light. Flashlights and lanterns are often found in thrift stores, sometimes even with batteries included. They can be crucial during power outages or when navigating in the dark.
13. Garden Tools
14. Gas Cans
These are really good to have. Storing gas is a prepper dream and if you can save a few bucks on the cans, you will be able to afford more gas.
15. Homeschooling Supplies
Textbooks, workbooks, and other things you can use to homeschool the kids. You are going to be their teachers and having these things will make your life a little easier.
16. Hunting Gear
Camouflage clothing, hunting boots, and a variety of other gear like game bags and whatnot can typically be found in thrift stores, especially after hunting season is over.
17. Insulated Thermos
An insulated thermos can keep your drinks hot or cold for hours. They’re great for storing hot soup or cold water when you’re on the go. Look for ones with a tight seal to prevent leaks.
18. Kitchen Items
Things like can openers, meat grinders, and manual blenders should be added to your cart.
19. Maps and Compasses
In a world where we’re so reliant on GPS, having physical maps and a compass can be a real lifesaver if digital tools fail. They’re often overlooked, but can be found in the book or travel sections of thrift stores.
20. Non-Electric Heaters
Portable, non-electric heaters can be a lifesaver during cold winter months, especially if the power goes out. Kerosene heaters are often found in thrift stores and can heat up a room quickly.
21. Precious Metals
Odd pieces of silver and gold jewelry can be used to barter with. Stock up on the singles and broken pieces for very little money, but make sure it is the real deal.
Bags of these are usually sold for only a couple of dollars. These rags can be used for cleaning up or as family cloths.
23. Rain Gear
Boots, ponchos, slickers, and umbrellas will come in handy when you have to work outside. You can’t always stay inside when it is raining. You need to be able to stay dry while you are getting your chores done.
24. Reusable Water Bottles
Staying hydrated is essential, and reusable water bottles are a must for any prepper. Look for durable, BPA-free bottles. Some even come with built-in filters.
25. Sewing Supplies
Needles, thread, and fabric will be very valuable when you can’t go clothes shopping. You will need to repair your own clothing or even make your own.
26. Solar Chargers
Solar chargers can be a great find. These devices use sunlight to charge your electronic devices, which can be invaluable in a situation where electricity is unavailable.
27. Survival Gear
No joke. You can often find things like waterproof matches, Mylar blankets, and multi-tools at thrift stores.
You will always find a variety of tools at thrift stores. Have backups for your backups. Things like hammers, wrenches, and screwdrivers are all worth adding to your stockpile.
29. Winter Clothes
Things like coats, hats, and boots can be bought for very little money, especially in the offseason. Stock up on varying sizes. Even adults can change sizes over time.
30. Wool blankets
Wool blankets are the best for cold or wet weather. They can be expensive, though. Fortunately, some people don’t really like the feel of wool blankets and will give them away. This is your chance to get a great deal on one.
The trick to getting great deals at Goodwill is to check often. Know the store and when they put things out so you can be the first to find the best deals.
You’ll have to be willing to dig through a lot of junk before you find what you want. Things are often scattered about as well. For example, you may find a rain poncho, brand new in a package sitting in the kitchenware section, so search everywhere.
Goodwill isn’t the kind of place where you can run in, do a quick check, and leave. You have to browse. With any luck, you’ll save hundreds of dollars on life-saving supplies.
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