Our family is simultaneously trying to become debt-free, save as much money as we can, have at least six months of food on hand, and take care of some badly needed DIY home projects. Believe me, I need every cheap resource I can possibly find to help me toward my prepping goals! The four cheapest resources I have found are all available to you, too!
1. Garage and Estate Sales
Been there, done that? Aren’t thrilled about buying other people’s junk? When you’re prepping, your shopping will have a focus, and I think you’ll find these sales a useful resource. Keep a list of items still needed for your 72 Hour Kit or general preparedness. This list will help you visit more garage and estate sales in less time because usually, with a quick glance, you can tell if a sale has what you need.
Even better, use online garage sale locators. Google “local garage sales” or something similar. You’ll be surprised at what pops up! Often, these sites will list items at the sale, and this can help you choose which sales to visit. You can also find estate sales in your area here. I prefer estate sales since everything in the house will be sold, down to half used bottles of Windex. Here are a few things I’ve been looking for:
- tools — I don’t want to count on, “Made in China” if we’re ever truly in a bind. Tools made decades ago will be high quality with lots of years still left in them.
- backpacks, gym bags — I need two more backpacks for our personal 72 Hour Kits and miscellaneous gym-size bags are great for holding all kinds of gear to take camping.
- camping equipment — we have a tent but nothing else. My husband is hardly Grizzly Adams! I would especially like an outdoor cook stove.
Remember, once you know what you want, the search goes much more quickly!
Oh! BONUS TIP! Retirement communities often run their garage sales Thursday through Saturday.. You can get a jump on all the other bargain hunters by heading to these neighborhoods early on Thursday mornings!
Freecycle is exactly what it sounds like. Recyling things you own by giving them away for free. Once you’ve signed up with a Freecycle email group in your area, you’ll begin receiving regular notices from other members with offers of free “stuff”.
I’ve seen some great items offered on Freecycle that would help out any prepper. Watch for glass canning jars, camping equipment, water barrels, dog crates, and so much more. Usually what is offered is mentioned in the email’s subject line so you can scan through them quickly. Remember to offer things hanging around your house or garage that you no longer want or need!
3. Dollar Stores
Don’t forget to visit your local dollar store! Apparently, dollar stores are becoming quite trendy. Who would have guessed?
I took a stroll through one near my home last weekend, and here are some of the best bargains I found.
- binders starting at just $2
- a package of 8 small memo books for $2. These are great for keeping in your car, your 72 Hour Kits and your purse.
- vinyl shower curtain, $2 Multiple uses for this including a ground cover and a quickie tent.
- can opener, $1.25
- chess game, $4. Would be useful in providing entertainment during a crisis.
- triple antibiotic cream, $2.30, along with a good variety of other pharmaceuticals
- large bottles of spices for $1
- a can of Quick Flat Fix, $3
- a 6-pack of Top Ramen, $1.10
Not everything is a great bargain, but you won’t know that unless you’re paying attention to prices at regular retail stores. Would you believe, I didn’t think my town even had dollar stores until I checked out these websites. What a find!
4. Friends, Relatives, Neighbors, Casual Acquaintances…
You get the idea! Every one of us has stuff around the house, in the attic, out in the garage, in a storage unit, etc., etc. that we’ll never use again, and so do your friends, relatives, neighbors, and so on. When you get to the end of your prepping list, and you still have items you need, why not ask around?
Consider a casual barter agreement to get what you want, such as a few hours babysitting in exchange for a tent or a set of sleeping bags. Here’s a great article on the age-old practice of bartering.
We don’t know when an emergency will happen, and it just makes sense to get your preparations in order as quickly as you can. If you’re like me, your don’t have an infinite amount of money to prepare for everything, perfectly, all at once. I decided to jump in and do what I can, when I can, and I’ve been pretty impressed with how quickly my prepping has come together with these four money-savers!
Check out these four cheap resources and see if your dollar doesn’t go a whole lot farther! Soon, you’ll be ready for just about anything!