For the preparedness minded / prepper, it sure would be easier to prep if you had lots of money wouldn’t it?
I know what you’re going to say next — “You can prep by learning practical skills, having the right mindset and attitude, learning to adapt, practice situational awareness and all that…”
Yes, that’ true. But seriously, part of prepping is acquiring some ‘stuff’. And like I said, wouldn’t it be so much easier if you had enough money to buy all that ‘stuff’ to apply towards preparedness?
Of course it would be easier. But like most Americans, the majority don’t have too much excess spending money beyond their living expenses to afford buying too much at once without going further in debt.
So what’s a broke prepper to do?
Prepping when you’re broke, or with little extra money, does make it difficult to acquire assets like extra food, a halfway decent water filter, the contents of a survival kit or 72 hour kit, security assets, and all sorts of other preparedness-oriented things.
One suggestion is that for nearly all tangible ‘things’ there’s a variety of prices. For example, you can spend a lot on a very good water filter, and you can spend a lot less on a water filter that still may be ‘good enough’. Be frugal.
First, Scrutinize Your Budget
You’re looking for money, right?
Well first let’s look where the money that you do have – is going.
It’s not always possible, but there may be a way to cut in one area in order to free up a little cash. There may be less expensive alternatives. Everyone’s expenses are unique, so I’m simply suggesting to have a look at what you spend, first.
Prioritize your tangible prepping needs
The basics. Start with the most important categories. Don’t jump ahead to “nice to have” outliers. Even within each category, start with important basics. Shore up the categories first. Then move on.
Starting out, shelter is sort of covered. You have a roof over your head right? (hopefully). You might expand the shelter category with regards to a 72 hour kit or bug out bag. Proper clothing & outerwear to maintain core body temperature under various harsh conditions, tarp/tent/shelter, sleeping.
Safe clean drinking water will require a water filter, tablets, or method of boiling. Container / containment. Extra storage at home might simply start out with cases of water bottles.
You can buy inexpensive foods such as rice & beans (a great survival combination) that will go a long way for cheap. To compliment them you might buy “Cream of ___” soups or whatever else floats your boat to jazz it up.
Security might start out with LED flashlight, headlamp, an AR (just kidding ;) – might come later…). You can pick up a decent knife for not too much money. Outdoor motion lights, maybe a driveway alarm, possibly a (Ruger 10/22) .22 rifle.
Point is that there are often less expensive alternative ways to fill a category with tangible preps.
What about beyond the basics?
You can expand beyond the basics but since there’s little money to spend you’ll need to prioritize and look for opportunities. Read on…
Sales & Deals!
How about this one… only buy ‘stuff’ (that you need) when it’s on sale.
If Mrs.J notices TP on sale somewhere, we tend to buy it. TP won’t go bad (until it’s used!).
Even though most grocery stores put quantity limits on big sale items, you can still take advantage. If the shelf is empty on that product (often the case during a really good sale), just get a raincheck on it. They will honor the sale when they restock.
Shop specifically at a grocery store known for low prices. A discount grocery store. When we do our shopping expeditions we first stop at a particular discount grocery to pick up certain items which are always cheaper than elsewhere. Shop smart. Dollar Store. Etc..
Here’s a thought: What’s wrong with buying clothes at a Good Will / Thrift store of some sort? Answer: Nothing! You may be surprised at what you can find and much of it may be in pretty good shape.
Estate & Yard Sales
These can be little treasure troves (but not always).
If you are looking for a particular tool, item, or whatever… you may find a very good price at an estate sale or yard sale.
Depending on who’s running it though, there may or may not be good prices.
Get there early.
Check online and your local paper for free stuff. Surprisingly people are constantly giving away free ‘stuff’ simply to avoid the hassle of trashing it.
One person’s trash may be another person’s treasure.
Grow A Garden
For a few dollars on a packet of seeds, you can harvest orders of magnitude the value in vegetables.
Starting your own vegetable garden, regardless how big or small, is one of my highest recommendations for getting “hands on” with prepping.
Trade For Goods & Services
You may be able to trade with others.
You could trade services for hard goods or hard goods for services, or whatever works. It simply requires that you ask.
Know Your Neighbors & Community
It’s a fact that the more you network, the more opportunities that will arise.
By simply making contact with others, keeping in touch, just saying Hi, may lead to deals and opportunity. While not everyone has an outgoing personality, it does help to be cordial, positive, and nice. That attitude opens doors.