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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:
1. 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.
2. Tools – 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.
3. Kitchen Items – Things like can openers, meat grinders, and manual blenders should be added to your cart.
4. Camping Equipment – This stuff is easy to find, and it’s great in survival situations. Everything from tents to campstoves can be picked up for a fraction of the cost.
5. 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.
6. Survival Gear – No joke. You can often find things like waterproof matches, Mylar blankets and multi-tools at thrift stores.
7. Winter Clothes – Things like coats, hats, and boots can be bought for very little money, especially in the off season. Stock up on varying sizes. Even adults can change sizes overtime.
8. Candles – 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.
9. Crayons – These are also a great find, even the broken ones. You can melt those down as well to make your own candles.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Backpacks – 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.
14. Canning Equipment – Canning jars and equipment for canning are plentiful at the thrift stores. Stock up on them when they are out of season.
15. Garden Tools – Shovels, rakes, and hoes are very useful. Prepare to do a lot of gardening and growing your own food if there’s a long-term disaster.
16. Rags – Bags of these are usually sold for only a couple dollars. These rags can be used for cleaning up or as family cloths.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. Homeschooling Supplies – Text books, 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.
20. 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.
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.
22. Buckets – 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.
23. 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.
The trick to getting great deals at the 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 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.