One difficult fact of prepping is that it requires money. You don’t have to be rich and there are hundreds of frugal ways to prep, but sooner or later, you’ll have to fork out some of your hard-earned cash.
What if your cache of cash is low? Well, here’s a list of quick ways to save money starting today. Then, once you have a bit of cash on hand, set your priorities for your prepping/survival shopping.
How to save money for prepping
- Change the oil and oil filter in your vehicles yourself. If you’re good at this, then offer to do it for family and friends in exchange for $15-20 plus the cost of supplies.
- Or, find a friend to change the oil and filter, rotate tires, change out windshield wiper blades, etc. Then, learn how to do all that yourself!
- Stop eating out, and that includes fast food joints!
- If you do eat out, use coupons, order from the dollar menu, eat out at lunch and not dinner, share an entree, drink water, no appetizers, no desserts. (Sorry!)
- Hang your clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer. You can even try them inside on a rack like this if the weather isn’t sunny and dry.
- Pack everyone’s lunch.
- Make double batches of frugal recipes so you’ll have leftovers for another dinner, to freeze, or for lunches. Here are a few simple recipes to get you started.
- Get a part-time second job and set aside that money for preps — food storage, a Berkey water filter, land, etc.
- Start extreme couponing, but only if the products are what you would buy anyway. Ask everyone you know to save their newspaper coupon flyers for you.
- Trade services with someone — piano lessons for auto repairs, yard work for babysitting, for example.
- Water down fruit juices or stop buying them altogether. Train everyone in the family to drink only water.
- Buy powdered drink mixes, such as Gatorade, mix it up yourself. and use twice the water.
- Track down at least 30 frugal recipes for dinners that use meal stretchers. Get complete info about meal stretchers here.
- Take good care of your vehicles and drive them forever. Our GMC truck has 241,000 miles and it’s still going strong.
- Watch YouTube videos to learn how to do your own auto and appliance repairs.
- Stop using paper towels. Use only cloth towels and washcloths.
- Get a soap dispenser and water down liquid soap — about 60% soap, 40% water. I use an olive oil dispenser like this one for my liquid kitchen soap. It holds a lot of the water/soap combination and looks pretty.
- Use an Instant Pot instead of the oven or stove top. Much quicker meals, less drain on electricity.
- If you don’t have health insurance or it’s too expensive, look for a doctor who has a concierge, or retainer, practice. Our favorite doctor now does this and only charges $39/month for children 5-19 and $59/month for adults 20-50.
- Require a “cooling off period” of 24 hours for purchases over $50 for every member of the family.
- Cancel cable TV. Do that today and then order an HD TV antenna. They work great for picking up dozens of channels. Ours is up in the attic and works great.
- Cancel home phone landline and use only cell phones.
- Instead of getting an expensive smartphone, go retro and get a cheap flip phone. It will have texting, a camera, and very basic features that are probably all you’ll need.
- Plan a week’s worth of meals in advance so you aren’t tempted to eat out or run to the grocery store for a missing ingredient where you’ll probably spend 10 times the price of that ingredient! If you’ve never done meal planning before, read these instructions.
- Have one beans meal each week and one egg meal (omelet, frittata, etc.)
- Learn how to cut your kid’s hair. A baby or toddler does not have to go to a barber or hairstylist, so practice on them first!
- Visit second-hand clothing stores in the nicest part of town and do your clothes shopping there.
- If you live in a big city with good public transportation, sell your car.
- Do all your yard work yourself. No hiring landscapers. If you’re unable to do your own yard work, then see #10 above.
- Shop at Aldi.
- Network with family and friends with kids and have quarterly clothing exchanges. Do the same for sports equipment.
- Walk everywhere that is one mile or less, or ride your bike.
- Use cloth diapers.
- Do a stint as an Uber or Lyft driver. You may enjoy it and find it profitable.
- If you need or want a side job, get one with benefits, such as a deep employee discount on things you normally purchase, such as clothing.
- Use dryer balls in place of dryer sheets. Learn more about organic wool dryer balls here.
- Learn how to color your own hair.
- If you use dryer sheets, cut them in half.
- Keep an eye on seasonal and post-holiday sales and shop for gifts at that time. Try to have your Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving to avoid last-minute over-spending.
- Sign up for ibotta.com and fetchrewards.com to earn points and gift cards.
For even more ideas to save money
- 16 Super-Frugal Tips to Save Loads of Money on Entertainment & Holidays
- 18 Tips for Enjoying a Frugal Lifestyle
- 31 Super-Frugal Tips for Saving Money on Food
- 43 Super-Frugal Tips for Cutting Down on Household Expenses
- Top Frugal & Practical Tips For Your Next Family Vacation
Now, how will you spend your saved money on preps? What are your priorities?