How To Prep When You’re Broke

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.

– Shelter
– Water
– Food
– Security

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.

More: Survival Food Most Common In Preppers Deep Pantry Storage

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.


Free Stuff!

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.



  1. Some churches have food banks. Now I do not know how you “qualify” but it might be a way of getting a few extra canned goods to put by. Also vinegar is pretty cheap and the jugs can hold water. They rinse out well and even tap water is WATER. Save any container that is durable for storing water or other items. The dollar type stores have good prices on cleaning products and first aid/ personal health items. Big bottles of one dollar shampoos etc.
    I have been without before and know how stretching a dollar can be hard.

    1. I hope people aren’t going to Food Banks to build up their prepper food stash. That food is for use now, and there never seems to be enough of it.

      CD in Oklahoma

      1. Actually I can tell you the food banks around here at least have a problem dispersing non heat and eat food stuffs. I was helping clean up and they were throwing out items that would not be accepted by the local “Hungry”. Beans and rice get dusty around here too much effort to cook ya know.

        1. NH Michael
          I agree if there are things that people won’t take then it would be ok to use them for storage but that seems like a slippery slope.

        2. NH Michael — I have often heard of Food Banks chucking cases and cases of things like Pumpkins…Seems sad, as not a tough thing to process in many products. As well, seems like it would be great pig food….——-Some food banks are very “picky”, and some not so much.

        3. if you are tight with money you prep like anything else. You may prep more modestly but you are making headway unlike the unprepared. You may have to only I can of food or one bag of beans. You may be only buy a 50 round box of 22 shells but it is 50 more than you had.

        4. NH Michael said “Actually I can tell you the food banks around here at least have a problem dispersing non heat and eat food stuffs.”

          I think it’s that way about everywhere NH Michael. And “Open and Serve” is probably more what people are looking for than even “Heat and Eat”. And you guys thought I was kidding when I mentioned that I keep plenty of “Junk Food” around in case someone comes to confiscate it. Your local Food Bank could be the “confiscators” if the community has a bunch of starving people. I was sort of kidding when I mentioned having “Junk Treadle Sewing Machines” around in case of confiscation. Few people would know what to do with one if they had it, but it was a way for me to get the word “treadle” mentioned in that thread. Ok looky, it’s also mentioned in this thread!

          CD in Oklahoma

      2. Thank you. That was my first thought. taking food from those that might need it to survive NOW to store so you could survive later would win you a special place in Hell in my opinion

        1. The word Ken used was Broke and Broke is Broke whether you are prepping or in need now. Coming from one who donates!

        2. Stealing from the needy is a No No period. However it is a shame that our “Poor” do not cook much. I have taught more than a few Millennial’s how to cook as part of their debt reduction plan.

        3. I had the local food bank tell me not to bring any more vegetables, said nobody wanted them, mind you i was dropping off 30-40# bags of kale, chard, and 50# boxes of zucchini, all marketable,
          I stoped donating after that,
          The other thing that tweaked me about that place was there were at least 4 administrative people all making over 100k a year,

        4. Nailbanger
          Your selection sucks. You know they want potato chips, twinkies, candy bars, soft drinks, … boy, are you heartless.

        5. If you are broke you are needy unless I somehow do not understand the definition of the word.

        6. I’m going to upset some people, because I do not believe in the “food bank” business – yup that’s what it is. I’v seen too many undeserving, greedy, lying, … people gaming the system. Some inside the industry. Believe me when I say it is not mostly the homeless and destitute that drive to the “banks” after getting off from their full time jobs or from their hair dressers when the welfare checks arrive. I believe in work for welfare of any kind.

        7. Where I live churches in different communities buy from the main foodbank in the big city at a huge discount- $2-3 for a case of cans of veggies or whatever. Sometimes even chips! The foodbank also sends huge bins on a pallet full of bread, and various veggies for free. Every month the communities feed up to 60 families. No one here goes hungry. They always have leftover bread and veggies that people take for their livestock. All you have to do is show up, but even that is to much work for some.

        8. Nailbanger 04/11/2018 4:29 PM
          sigh…that is too bad, they “refused”. I have often heard of that happening, in many cities. It is interesting to hear what their salaries are, I have often wondered (been suspicious).

          –Next time just dehydrate all your goodies….will take little room and keep well.

        9. MRSUSMCBG
          Im broke, definitely not poor and definitely would NEVER ask for assistance, one way or another id rather figure it out

        10. Anon,,
          I make a mean kale chip,
          Food processor with a blade
          2 red bell peppers
          4 cups dietary yeast
          2 cups cashews
          Lemon juice
          Hot peppers if desired
          Puree peppers, add cashews, add i cup lemon juice, add yeast, add lemon juice till creamy.
          Break up kale, about 8-10#
          Massage in mixture coating well, spread on dehydrator trays.
          Run till dry,
          Try not to eat all at once!

        11. @NHMichael
          You know, when my boys were about 10, I started showing them how to cook. They also did all of their own laundry. By the time they were 14 or so, they could do some basic cooking: baking cookies and cakes, make eggs in a variety of ways, make the basic white sauce, make a basic pot of soup from scratch, and make spaghetti sauce from scratch. And the other basics like baking a chicken and grilling a steak.

          So they’ve got a skill — a skill that appears to have died. They are now the family cooks in their homes. They both enjoy cooking (one son is a chef now.) My daughter-in-law and future daughter-in-law do not cook. How can that be?!

          In fact, I have not met a millennial female who knows how to cook an egg, much less a meal. What happened — it is ‘tired parenting,’ disengaged kids with attitudes, or the gadget-habit?

          I’m teaching one of my granddaughters to cook — she started turning her own pizza dough at 3 and had a blast. We’ve progressed through time. She loves cooking — next up for her is a basic pot of soup from scratch. She even has her own knives here — learning to dice. Maybe she’ll be the only female cook in her generation. What’s wrong with people!!!

        12. Nailbanger
          that sounds REALLY good/tasty. When I get some kale on sale, I will give it a try. Thanks.

        13. Nailbanger——–wonder if this too would work….(or have you tried anything like this?)…=== at the kale in to the mix, and puree with all. Spread in dehydrator trays in strips/circles…make a sort of strip chew/jerky?

        14. Anon,,,
          Interesting idea, i bet that would work, jerky shooter,,, that would be cool, need a lot more than 10# of kale, the chips are good though, really brittle

        15. Anon,
          Friend of mine does that with fruit, the one i like he uses bananna, pineapple and mango, makes a thick puree then uses a jerky shooter to make ribbons on the trays,

        16. Nailbanger —-sounds good. Someday, I will try this all. Big question though, is how do you keep it from sticking to the mesh tray in the dehydrator? I have a very good dehydrator, got as a gift about twenty yrs ago. Have not used it nearly enough. Found out though, that some things stick horribly, and terrible to clean the screens. Guess one can buy special dehydrator paper, but I think that is pricey. Any ideas?

        17. Anon, i think you can use parchment paper, never had trouble though and just use the screens, mine is an excalibur

        18. Nailbanger — Thanks for advice/info. Will give it a try again. It is some long while since I have, and a shame really. Wonderful machine.

        19. Anon, try dusting the dehydrator tray with confectioners sugar.. to keep it from sticking, use fruti leather tray. parchment paper works, but i have to put some holes thru part of it to assist air flow.

        20. Just Sayin’ 04/11/2018 10:15 PM
          Thanks…Dusting with confectioner’s sugar sounds like a good suggestion if still sticks. I suppose powdered salt might be ok too (powder in blender)…—–Now I am waiting for “big sale” to try these ideas..

        21. It’s called fruit leather, if I understand what you’re talking about correctly. There are special trays for it, but I just cut a piece of plastic wrap to fit.

    2. I think the food bank is a good place to obtain food to help with your budget when you are needy. Ours has specific income guidelines that must be documented. When you get those items you need there, it saves you money to u for something else you need that month.

      We are in a rural area so we don’t have as much go to waste. I just dropped off quite a bit and they were very happy to have the cases or green beans and corn. She was ecstatic to have a case of port and beans, which surprised me. She said they don’t get much of that. We always do peanut butter and jelly. We also did cans of chicken and tuna, although I continue to worry about buying tuna for the bank when I won’t eat it.

      Because local churches also contribute to keep the food bank going, if the bank gets overloaded with something like pumpkin, it is made into bread or pie and used for community meals to feed the needy or a fund raiser for someone is need. Our definition of needy is generally the working poor because those on full benefits have food provided with their cards. All people are directed to appropriate local resources also.

      The ones that tend to fall between the cracks are the “working poor” in our area. They don’t want to ask for help.

      I also want to point out, having lived a squeak-by existence early on, your food budget is where you can save money. Eat beans and rice with some veggies thrown in, pasta and sauce or brocolli or cauliflower, lentil soups and and various stews and you can save money to use elsewhere. We did not eat out. Period. Can’t afford a phone (Internet,,cable, etc) – don’t buy it, save your money for what is truly important. We lived this life for many years, without any public assistance, so I know it can be done, especially with the help out there now.

      1. Please forgive the typos….trigger fingers are misbehaving a lot! And I get lazy about going back to check.

  2. Water is so critical. If I had little/no disposable income, I would ask friends and family for any and all of their empty soda/juice bottles. I’d rinse, then wash, then rewash in a very mild bleach-water solution…then dry. They would make really good bottles for holding water. When budgeting, why buy bottled water?!

    Beans, bouillon (chicken/vege/beef), bandaids; then add in store-brand canned veggies and some fruits; add in a boxed case of Oodles of Noodles — if you don’t use the flavor packets, you’ve still got VERY inexpensive noodles to fill your belly. After this has been accomplished, a bottle or two of multi-vitamins.

    Most grocery stores have sales — go weekly and read the flyer or just check every aisle. Buy soaps and detergent on sale and/or w/ coupons — don’t buy retail!!

    I would NOT recommend buying any freeze-dried foods when money is tight because it’s expensive food due to the cost of preparation. Buy canned or dried foods (ie beans).

    If you can hunt, do it! If you can raise your own veggies, fruits, meats, do it!

    Sometimes if you write to a manufacturer and rave over one of their products, you will get coupons.

    Some grocery stores toss their expired foods into large plastic bins, then out they go. Could you be a ‘dumpster diver’ or a ‘scrounge’?? Could you do it and not get caught???

    1. I think I just found who gave me that tip about Top Ramen spice packs! LOL

    2. When you get down to the Hillbilly level……….a couple fish traps and 3 or 4 rabbit gums will supply a lotta protein. You can make both for zero money. Even in urban areas rabbit gums can be very productive. If you are in walkin distance of ponds, creeks, rivers, etc. A couple fish traps will be a real benefit. Rice and beans are dirt cheap, throw in a mess of catfish, a rabbit and squirrel here and there a frog leg now and then…….a man could do a lot worse.

      1. Smiling good times wood56gas, good times. I was “poor” but young and had plenty of “bad” influences around. :-)

        You know that most birds cannot walk backwards? That is why old poachers would make a fish trap style bird catcher baited with say cracked corn. If you know how to weave willow twigs you can make baskets, live traps for birds and even live cages to keep that young turkey alive.

      2. wood56gas
        It is only us redneck hillbillies who know how to trap or use fish traps. I know not one person in the city who could even fathom doing that. Can you just imagine teaching some Liberal puke these skills? Little lone watching them try an eat it. I’m not kidding either.
        I know how to live of the land and wild-craft my food, I’m trained in outdoor and wilderness survival. These Liberal pukes would starve to death instead of eating a night crawler.!!! or a snake, or a beaver tail. (careful guys), or steal an egg from a goose nest.

        1. I imagine there will be people that will starve……….while there’s food right front of em…..I just walked 100 feet across the yard to close a gate, seen 3 rabbit suppers.

    3. Those soda bottles, of all sizes can be used to store a variety of food in,, so can juice jugs, just clean thoroughly, bleach allow bleach to sit where all areas of jug is covered and soaked for a minimum of 30 min. pour bleach water in next set of bottles and rinse with clear water.. drain completely, fill shake drain again… leave open , put a peice of paper towel in to absorb odor
      . . If you or a neighbor uses Kitty litter in jugs, those jugs are marked with correct logo to use for water./dry goods as well.
      Knowing the routines of when “throw aways” are routinely discarded is key to scavenging.

  3. TOP RAMEN!!!!! So dang cheap! I look for sales where they are 5 for a dollar. I pick up a case of 24 (plus 1) for $5!!! C’mon! Everyone can spare $5, right? Plus, as a rule, you can split the seasoning packet in half and use leftover spices for rice. Heard that tip in these posts a while back, but I can’t recall now who mentioned it now!

    A .22 rifle is an outstanding suggestion. Most of the readers on this site will remember I recently picked up a Ruger 10/22 take-down. It was $350 (which WILL impact a budget), but I’ve seen video’s online that have ranchers shooting feral hogs with one. One shot above the eye drops them immediately! Plus, I recently received an ad from a local ammo shop that had “10” 333 round bricks (3330 rds total) for $160. That’s a lot of plinking and varmint hunting there. :)

    1. @Rob
      I agree Top Ramen will go a long way for little money. Not much nutritional value as for vitamins but does have some carbs and protein and will fill your belly. About 380 calories per package. Back when I was in my late teens ( when dinosaurs ruled LOL ) I got my first apartment and lived for about 2 months on Ramen and mac and cheese. I don’t eat either anymore as I got really tired of the taste even to this day but both are in my long term storage. You can eat the ramen the way it says on the package,add veggies, fry the noodles after cooking them,add some flour and make gravy and noodles ect. Lots of ways to fix them

      1. Search Amazon (or your local book store) for “101 Things To Do With Ramen Noodles”

        ( now there’s “101 More Things To Do With Ramen Noodles” )

        Several years ago my Son was going through some tough times and mentioned he was eating a lot of Ramen. A few days later I was in my local B&N book store and saw this book, As a joke I got it for him and read it before I gave it to him. I went back to buy a copy for myself as it’s full of good ideas.

        We both can easily afford more expensive food but we both use the book as there are some creative ways to cook with Ramen.

    2. Yep, our 22 rifle was just used a couple weeks ago to drop our 200 lb hog. Very humane and one shot perfectly placed. Just make sure you are a good shot! Of course, if you are hunting game, you will want a nice sharp knife also. Lots of hunters here so these items go fast when someone passes (auctions or just sold by surviving family).

      And we love Raemen noodles. We drop an egg in it to add protein and scramble cook it in the juice and noodles. This was a big money saver for us way back when and we still eat it. Now we have the grands eating it and liking it too!

    3. Rob,

      Much has been written on survival/prepper blogs such as this one about the best gun for SHTF. The question is often posed “if you could only have one gun, what would it be?” Truthfully, there is no good answer to such a question. I will say this though, no prepper/survivor (or any homeowner for that matter) should be without a quality .22 rimfire rifle. It will cover the majority of all your needs for day in day out needs.

      1. Dennis & Rob;
        I might add the need for a companion 22-rimfire pistol is also a good idea, whether a Semi-Auto or a good old Wheel makes sense that if you only have a single Rifle and a Single Handgun, get something with matching ammo needs.
        FYI, a 22 pistol actually is just as deadly as most other handguns, ya just have to hit what your aiming at.

        1. NRP,
          I couldn’t agree more about a companion .22 handgun. As a career police officer, I spent a fortune over the years on different handguns, chasing other “expert’s” proclamation of the “best”. Every purchase of the latest offering brought with it large expenditures for ammo to become proficient in it’s use. During those times, I worked countless homicides where the weapon used was a cheap .22lr cal RG or Clerke “Saturday Night Special”. I had a close co-worker grievously wounded and his trainee partner killed by a suspect armed with a .22 semi-auto. They were both armed with top of the line Colt 1911 .45’s which malfunctioned.
          After I retired, I’ve spent much time on my range with .22lr pistols and revolvers (I don’t neglect practice with my more powerful handguns). I can accomplish feats of speed and accuracy in combat simulation with the .22’s that I can’t duplicate with my more powerful handguns. You come to a point of feeling confidence in the combination of your own ability and the ability of the lowly little .22. You’re more likely to find me going about my chores on the homeplace with a .22 on my hip than anything else.

        2. D,
          You bring up a very important point.
          You said top of the line 1911 45s that malfunctioned,
          I learned about this the hard way,
          With both a couple Glocks and a couple of my 1911s
          Figured out they had feed issues with hollow point ammo, would have been a deadly problem if i had figured it out when needing the tool for defense, in all cases it required either replacement of mags or followers, not good, i have one 1911 that i still havent worked the issue out 100%, thatll be one ill give up, seems some only function well with ball ammo and the ramps dont work with the more blunt nose on the JHP, had a friend insist his Glock worked with everything, he had never actually tried firing anything but ball ammo and was horrified when he tried to actually fire it with the JHP and it instantly jammed as soon as he fired the first round

        3. Nailbanger,
          I carried a Colt 70 Series 1911 for about ten years, with ball ammo only. The design was never intended for any other type ammo. The officers I referenced had bought the guns together the day before they were attacked. They had loaded them up with the, then new, Super-Vel hollow points.
          My friend took the first shot to his groin and went down in pain. He got off one round, and experienced a failure to feed. His rookie got off one round, and his weapon also failed to chamber a second round. He died of a single gunshot to the head, point blank, as he tried to clear the malfunction behind the cover of their squad car. My friend survived only because the killer fled as covering officers came into sight. (he died 3 minutes later in a gunfight with pursuing officers)
          This incident prompted our department to immediately require officers to qualify their ammo with the weapon, prior to carrying it on duty. Sounds like a no-brainer decision, but sometimes common sense policy springs only after tragedy.

        4. Dennis,
          Thats a real bummer, makes one truly wish for simpler times.

      2. Guys
        On the .22
        I’ve heard that the .22 actually ‘bounces’ around after entering an object. Is that true?

        1. Joe c I have seen only one 22 shooting where “Bounce around” was known a belly shot off one side of the pelvic girdle to lodge in the spine. Hours of surgery to fix the perforations of that bowel. No real spinal damage. I have had Neurosurgeons tell me about being a witness to Mossad style head shots with 22 Long Rifle at point blank supporting what old homesteader said about that bear.

          BTW Do NOT use a 22 to hunt bears, old homesteader would say he was LUCKY.

        2. NHM
          Ohh heck no.
          O.H. was VERY lucky!
          A .22 is just enuff to.pizz the bear off…even more.
          I’ve seen what a .22 can do to a woodchuck. Absolutely nothing. Taking all ten shots from 80 yrds away. It fell, spun a few times. And off it scurried. Lol

        3. I’ve seen what a .308 can do to a woodchucker at 120 yrds in the hayfield.
          Time it…..wait….up, down, up, down, up, touch one off……down…..for the count.

        4. Dude you have the toughest woodchucks where you live. What brand of Baccy do they chew? :-)

          I admit I’ve never shot one at 80 yards but the few I’ve popped with my 22 garden revolver died in the hole where I could chop and drop them to the chickens or at least never surfaced from that hole again. BTW ammo was stinger brand.

        5. NHM
          Not sure what GF fed her Chuck’s. Tuff turd he was. Not sure what she had for rds in the mag. at the time.
          .308 was over the top, but u use what you have readily available.

  4. Thrift stores are often better than yard sales. I mean fill a bag for a buck really? BTW Rob while I am thrilled you have that 10-22 please remember to get some 40 grain solids for it. Those bulk 333 boxes are 36 grain hollow point and I BET that was NOT what the rancher was using on that Hog. As some of my poacher friends might say (If I had any *wink*) a 22 hollow point to the forehead of a deer (not legal my friends) will give that deer a headache but a Solid……

    1. As a kid i popped more than a few wild hogs with my little marlin 22 bolt gun, and that was all we could get back then were winchester 22 hollow points,
      Those were the days,,, mail ordered that little rifle from Sears and used to buy bullets at the hardware store down the road from our school

      1. Sounds interesting Nailbanger but when I help my neighbor slaughter her hogs we use 22 Long Rifle Solids as she has had bad experiences with suffering animals with bulk 36 grain hollow points.

        I used to have a old tube fed bolt action 22, would eat any 22 ammo. My Dad sold it to buy beer and I still miss that rifle. I think it was a sears model.

        1. Thanks for the HP/solid referrals! I will definitely keep that in mind!

        2. 22 solid bullets will penetrate better then hollow point bullets if you ever needed to shoot a person that had a heavy winter coat.

          The hp bullet will start to expand going through a heavy coat and use up some of it’s energy before it enters a body. The solid point punches through and keeps more energy to do the job.

    2. NH Michael,
      I agree on the 40gr solids. I prefer them over HP’s for just about everything, especially in semi-auto pistols. You would be amazed how many people that I’ve met who were on the verge of giving up on a pistol because of function problems, only to find those problems going away when switching to the heavier bullet. I still prefer the HP’s in .22 short, although it makes no sense as they seldom expand, but real life experience proves them more effective on small critters, at least for me.

  5. Oh currently the Dollar Store is selling Garden Seeds at 25 Cents per packet. I have tried them and they work just fine. Scavenge some free newspapers to Lasagna Garden (look it up Google is still free) will help you turn lawn and weed infested ground into gardens. Do NOT use Dog or Cat poop for fertilizer the parasites and diseases are as bad as untreated human manure. Diluted 10 to 1 urine from a healthy human is free nitrogen fertilizer (not irrigation) and it really doesn’t smell in that usage. Look for garden tools with broken handles Normally FREE for the asking and it is easy to find some branches to turn into handles (You DO have a pocket knife, yes?) . Ask around for odd bits of rusty wire fencing to make compost piles and maybe even a Possum Living garden fence with harvested saplings?

    Ask around for broken bicycles, a few of them with same sized wheels and some hand tools (yard sale or) and assemble yourself a bicycle or if your clever a Cart!

    Got things to do will check in later.

  6. Ken and everyone here have already given great suggestions to folks struggling to find extra $$ for prep items.
    This won’t help long-time peppers, but for anyone reading this who may be new to prepping or having a hard time getting off the ground with building some supplies, just start small.
    We always talk about storing what you use most. Start with the basics.

    Once you get a little bit ahead of regular household consumption it makes it easier to buy items on sale in quantity instead of at full-price when you are completely out of something. So, canned tomatoes or pears, or baked beans or pasta or whatever your family eats – when they are on a deal if you buy 4 or 5 – make that your prep item of the week. Then, do the same with another item(s) each week.

    If that is still too much cost, just pick up one extra of something you are already buying that week anyway (preferably on sale and/or with coupon) – an extra can of baked beans or extra bag of rice or container of sugar or salt or other item you use most often.

    Local dollar stores are often a good source for things like $1 eye-glass repair kits, or cheapie reader glasses, or end-runs of name brand canned goods, or off-brand basics like vinegar, household cleaners, candles, etc…

    If you are tight for space and cannot grow a full garden (I can relate) try some container gardening. Tomatoes, peppers, herbs, strawberries – there’s lots of stuff you can grow in a small yard or on a patio or deck or in other limited space. Everything you grow is one less thing to buy and it’s great practice.

    And don’t discount learning! The Internet and your local library are full of useful books/articles on home canning, sewing, mechanics, veggie gardening, 1st aid, self-defense, home repairs and much, much more. All of this is part of being prepared.

  7. Think outside the box when your looking at old “junk” my friend needed a Dutch Oven for camping but low on cash. Found a pressure cooker with a broken gauge at a yard sale bought it for a buck. He replaced the plastic handle with steel, removed the gauge filling that hole with a screw and uses it as a Dutch Oven on the coals. It’s been a few years but he still uses it.

    Remember the 3 R’s. Reuse, Repair (Modify), Recycle

  8. The clearance aisle at Walmart has been a rich hunting ground for cheap items. Found three boxes of Coleman water proof matches for $1, three yards of Flannel for homemade toilet paper for $2 (Check the fabric remnants) and a large fleece blanket for the car that was $3. I also trade homemade sourdough bread for a friend’s fresh milk. I once needed two extra large pet kennels for the chickens in case we need to relocate in a hurry. I posted that need on facebook (the devil, I know) and I got one for free and one for $10. People are willing to give away items if they know they will be useful to someone else.

  9. You know I really like the Broke Prepper meme makes me think of fun times :-)

    OK back to work, Start out by helping older folks garden. They might appreciate the help and if you search the internet for “Propagating by Cuttings” you can ask for some cuttings of their old school Rose Bushes (Vit C rose hips and Natural Barbed Wire) they tend to be survivor plants! Maybe they can spare some seeds? Don’t have 12 bucks for a grape plant from Wal Mart? Grapes and many more food bushes are easy to propagate by cuttings and more than a few older folks have them in the back yard.

    Helping other people is good for the soul and maybe they could refer you to someone else who is not using there old stuff. Be kind to everybody who is not dangerous I once had a homeless man show me where to get Muscadaine Grapes for cuttings.

    1. A side note-I saw grape plants at Aldi this week for $6, I picked up a blackberry bush plant for the same price :)

  10. There is an organization called Just put the 3 ‘W’s in front of it. It’s an organization that has over 9000 groups worldwide. You can go to that site and put in your zip code and it will list the groups in your area. It was a grassroots effort to get people to recycle their old stuff that may not be good enough to sell but perfectly good to use. Items that people don’t want anymore they can offer up to anyone that wants the item. Everything has to be free, no selling allowed. In the past I picked up tomato cages, a bread machine still in the box, a garden weasel and a vacuum sealer. It’s a great way to de-clutter as well.

    1. WOW!!!! just went to freecycle the latest listing in my area
      OFFER: 2001 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail stock pipes free
      Date : Mon Apr 9 17:01:16 2018
      pretty cool thanks Peanut Gallery

  11. Great post and great suggestions everyone! We have a nice working budget and could make room for more prepping items, but my hubby is only halfway on board so I have to keep my prepping costs low (for now at least). I’ve been slowly accumulating extra food staples and am now the proud owner of 130lbs of rice lol. I also have enough food odds and ends accumulated at this point to feed our little village for around 3 months, factoring in our freezers (keeping things cold would be a challenge, been thinking about how to do waterproof buckets anchored in the river, which would keep things cold spring/fall). I have a few gallons of water and then our local ‘scratch and dent’ store currently has 24 packs of bottled water for $2, which is a really good deal around here, so I picked up 2 cases this week and plan on stopping in next week and getting a few more. I’ve also slowly been stocking up on things like Tylenol, tp, laundry detergent (loving Costco’s buckets of detergent-cheap and can also be used for general cleaning, oil spills etc). Every week I try and add at least one thing to our stash.

    Dollar Tree is also great-been stocking up on candles and caffeine pills there. And then Aldi is just plain cheap for everything, and every grocery trip I get something extra (this week it was 10 boxes of instant potatoes, for $1.29 each).

    My current focus is on medical preps, which we have very little of. I’m going to start an herb garden this summer (to use in teas mostly), and it will be my first time gardening-wish me luck lol.

    1. svzee. it is great to read about your progress :)
      I work at a discount store and the 1 lb. boxes of brand name pasta is $1.00
      among other good finds….
      Also recently opened in our county is a Sharp Shopper…
      Years back they were only in the eastern part of our state
      so glad to have one in a drivable distance
      I am gluten free and they have brown rice spiral pasta (other kinds too)
      for $1.99/lb. It is really good too!
      They even had heavy mylar packs of cat food (one meal) for 25 cents per…
      It is was a really good brand BBD 2019 sometime, I let my cats try it, yum yum they said ;)
      That is great for back up kitty food
      Sharp Shopper gets some stuff regularly but the rest is variable so that is why the huge discount
      was pleased the store was immaculately clean too, nice job Sharp Shopper!

    2. Dollar tree , My main buys are… 1) the papaya and pineapple in the snack section. it takes 6-7 bags… bags to pack in a pint jar, with an oxygen absorber… good fruit,size is reduced again.. but can’t buy 28 ounces of dehydrated fruit anywhere else for 7$, and 50 cents and a pint jar and lid secures… can re use jelly jars, in odd sizes as well…

      2) tooth brushes soft for cleaning veggies, teeth, give to others/barter, they come in multipacks of several for the 1$. tooth paste and anti steench are there also, good prices but I am not buying those now… (making own)..

      4) LA awesome powdered bleach alternative./citrus scented.. I use it in every load of laundry and it can be mixed in POWDERED home made detergent for laundry boost..

      5) rubberized palm and fingered gardening gloves lots of colors and only 1$ each… I keep one by door for outside chores, one in the truck , for when i aw away from home.and I also keep one in the kitchen to give me a good grip when opening things that are difficult.

      6) they sometimes have canned meats we will eat, one is small can of fake spam, bacon flavored. prepared,sliced thin, coated and fried then served..with eggs makes filling breakfast. I like the smoked sausage in a can, but not always available. We also bought a canned gumbo there, was spicy.. I added a little instant rice to it when we heated it, and a 5 oz of meat…to extend to 2 full servings out of one 15 oz can
      Like the others I buy rice and pastas there, occassonal kitchen tool, candles, and various kinds of workbooks, notebooks and sticky notes. I avoid buying meds there not cost effective..packaged with amounts for one day.. I tend to buy for a month@ a time…. 48 ct packages are easier for me to rotate.

      1. Just Sayin-great list, going to get some extra tooth brushes and gloves next time I’m there :)

        1. Thanks. We’ve had some good suggestions in comments about how to acquire tangible physical assets (things, food, etc..) while ‘budget challenged’.

  12. Some yard sales, estate sales, …. still have canning jars available for cheap. Then go to farmer’s markets in season when they have to move out the produce before it spoils – some is picked over but judicious trimming will provide many vegis and fruit for cheap. Canning these is easy and will provide much of the food for a winter even if you have no garden. Vinegar is still cheap for pickling as well.

    1. Hermit
      I get berries from a neighbor who grows dozens of acres of berries, get the ones that he is going to toss, are fine generally, i use them for makkng preserves, im not picky, the jams are great, and the berries are free

      1. Many orchards will let you have the culls as well – even much fruit on the ground is still good. As a kid I was paid 10 cents a bin for picking up good apples from the ground.

  13. I do have to ask, is the problem sometimes a lack of initiative and poor spending habits. That specialty coffee and that fast food meal could go much further by utilizing some of the good ideas posted here today.

    1. hermit us
      Without a doubt, poor spending habits. NOBODY, can tell me they can not afford to prep. Prepping is a mind set, learned, from having your head out of the sand. Most of it is just LAZINESS, or STUPIDITY,

      “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house [including spiritual and physical protection], he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Timothy 5:8)

    2. Hey now, my gourmet coffee is off limits LOL :)

      I freely admit I’m a coffee snob, but even then there’s ways to do it on the cheap. Grinding your own beans is a great way to save money and it tastes better! I also only buy coffee when it’s on sale and then buy extra to get me through till it’s a good price again. I actually just picked up 5 bags of whole bean this morning, (it’s produced exclusively for a local store chain and it’s one of my favorite blends). Regularly $7 a bag, marked 50% off this week. That’s cheaper than the crappy coffee! The 5 bags I bought, along with the other bags I already have on hand, will get me through around 8 months of regular coffee drinking, (and that’s not including my vacuumed sealed bricks of deep pantry coffee, which is another couple months worth).
      If we have a long term power outage (EMP hit etc), grinding up all those beans will be a priority for when we have the generator running initially. It’s the, second thing on the list, under ‘fill bathtubs with water’ :)

  14. No money may be no problem. If I had no money to start prepping I think what i would do is search out other preppers and try to barter my work skills in return for things I need. At the same time let the other preppers get to know that I am a person of like mind and valuable to have as a team member. Motivation and a good mind set are assets that cost nothing and are invaluable. These are the first things I look for in a potential new member of my group, money or not I will always find a place for this type of person. We will always work things out.

  15. Pick up a couple bags of plain yellow field corn from a local farmer. He might even let you go pick a couple bags of ear corn too. That way you can shell it by hand and separate the kernel size better (Shell the popcorn ends for grinding into corn meal and keep the middle kernels for making hominy. It’s cheap and there are a lot of wonderful things that can be made from yellow field corn. Then get some oat groats.

    Ok… I know it sounds so country bumkin and stupid, and some people would even say it’s racist to expect them to eat corn and oats… I actually had a lady at work call me racist one day years ago when I suggested she get some corn and oats and add that to her diet if she wanted to eat cheap and clean. I mean, farm animals eat corn and oats and cows eat clover. Who would ever think that humans can too?

    Prepping is serious business and I would never suggest someone do something I had not already tried. A 50-60 pound sack of corn will go a long way to feed you during hard times. Just saying.
    A little bit of corn goes a long way, especially if you don’t have much money.

  16. Pawn shops have been a good place for finding decent deals on firearms if you don’t mind haggling a bit. They are also a pretty good place to find tools if you know what you are looking for.

    1. Nihilist how can you check the functionality of an firearm or complex tool in a Pawn Shop?

        1. 😎👍🏻
          Most gun folks or tool folks, can also fix said guns or tools, so yep, if you KNOW what you are looking for,,,,

  17. Plain and simple
    Get a second income.
    No seriously.
    Turn your hobbies, knowledge, and help into a barter item. A tit for tat.
    I know how to process wild game. I can help you say for a couple quarts of canned venison.
    I can split/stack that wood for that old bike in the corner, etc.
    Or i made a.neat bird house out wooden pallets. You like birds. $5 and it’s yours. And off to the dollar store.u go.
    Bought alot of essentials at the.dollar store.

        1. NBANGER
          I know, but what you said, could be and is true for alota folk.

        2. Nailbanger
          Careful, this guy, Joe c, he’s not a rookie at bustin chops, but he comes straight at ya, no sneaky stuff. LMAO

    1. Joe, I actually got a job this January, after being a sahm for the last 10ish years. Just working part time at our church now, but it’s amazing what a few extra hours of income has done to our budget! Prepping was actually one of the reasons why I took the job, but have since been dealing with a lot of unexpected dental bills (we’ll be at over $2,500 out of pocket since the beginning of the year by the end of April sigh…). After the dental stuff calms down though I’m hoping to designate $200 a month of my paychecks towards prepping items/gardening/goats/rabbits. Hoping to get it started in June!

      1. Svzee
        That’s great! June will be a busy month for you! Yeah I lost my 2nd job a few months ago. I should start it backup again now the car is more dependable. I know it sure paid for alot of essentials. And those dang dental bills.
        BTW been trying to get a hold of you. See Saturdays (4-7) postings between Grannyo and myself. Tell us what you think!

      1. Yes sir, yes you do.
        And we greatly appreciate you for ALL you do….
        …..all of ya’s for that matter

  18. okay, this is “tongue in cheek” (or maybe not), but I strongly suspect that most on this blog would be easily accomplishing this task for the Canadian Government…
    Seriously? Whackers…———In the Vancouver Sun….========================================
    Ottawa spends $5.7 million on deer eradication in Haida Gwaii featuring ——-New Zealand sharpshooters
    =====================Every province of Canada has large numbers of actual hunters. =========Canada also has “sharpshooters” which happen to hold world records.
    WTF?===================Five Kiwis who specialize in deer eradication were hired to fire mostly .223 Remington rifles============They didn’t even have to do the “hunting”
    ========================================The program started by attracting the deer with a combination of dry corn, cedar boughs, and fresh apples at bait stations, where some could be quickly picked off, then moved into a more aggressive and wide-ranging seek-and-destroy mission throughout the islands.”——————-Seems like quite the “job”…Could do lots of “prepping”…

  19. Lots of great suggestions. The nearest store here is 70 miles away. All of us women get together once a month just to TALK! We bring whatever-clothes, extra food, all kinds of stuff we don’t want anymore and put it in a room. Everyone can go through and take whatever they want. It is great. Whatever is left goes with the next person to go to town to donate to the women’s shelter.
    Also when someone moves or passes, if they have been a prepper, they usually ask me to sell their extra food. I once sold 3 cases (19 boxes each) of Sam Andy. Half it’s shelf life was gone so I sold a 6 pack of #10 cans of wheat, dry milk etc for $10-$15. Believe it or not, that was not easy and it was stored in temperature controlled bunkers. No one was interested in basics. But I bought some and the whole wheat flour was excellent- before they started fooling with the composition. And the Brown sugar is fantastic, lots of molasses. Several of us really stocked up. I think if you really are serious and don’t have a lot of money there are plenty of opportunities out there.

    1. old lady, that is really good, thanks for sharing how your community shares/distributes :)

    2. I know, when I walk into this old barn, how very lucky I am.
      Some time ago I was bringing home $12 a week after bills and child support. I didn’t prep much then, but I made due with what I had and what my folks left for us. (Which I know some don’t have that luxury)
      I spent alot of time for thinking. Hunted, fished etc
      Alot of hand me down junk that got me by. And that ‘junk’ is still here, today and always will be. I may b ! Tch about it from.time to time, but I survived and am forever grateful.
      I had the junk to establish a garden, an old water bath canner, and some of ma’s old canning jars. Those broken garden tools. Yep still have ’em.
      And the.occational tit for tat type of thing.
      And alotta good friends,.neighbors and the dollar store.

      1. Joe c
        That called survival of the smartest and toughest. You PASSED

  20. Ken beat me to it. I took it in a different direction and probably would have started a war…

  21. Ramen Noodles. They actually have more caloric value than Wise Food Co. I’ve seen everything from apple pie, peach cobbler, tacos and pizzas made from Ramen Noodles. There are a lot of online website for Ramen recipes. And you could probably trade 50¢ worth of ramen for 5 gallons of gas 3 weeks after the

  22. So who is building potato boxes out of scrap lumber/pallets and putting sprouting store potatoes to work? Some of you are in planting season and potatoes are one of the best survival foods going.

    Ken I find if I size it for a large black plastic bag initially I can start warming up the soil today and in about 3-4 days plant and get a head start in NH. I put it on each evening when sub 40 degrees at night is expected and remove for the day. Please remember the hardware cloth on the bottom or feed voles. :-(

    Pretty cheap eats hope that good enough for Broke Prepping :-)

    1. NH Michael,
      Today I made 4 wood squares out of scrap 2″x6″ lumber, 30″x30″ . The bottom box has a vole/mole/gopher screen. Sorry PETA, the b*****”s are too fat already.. Store bought potatoes are sprayed so they have a reluctance to sprout. We use organic spuds and can replant each year . We used tires once , they were a pain in the butt to deal with . We won’t plant for 3-4 weeks till the weather warms up a bit . Spuds are cheap eats , nutritious and pretty easy to grow .
      Prepping when you are broke or on a tight budget and trying to set stuff aside is very challenging . Write your budget and your prepping plan on paper , do not just talk about it, talk is gone and soon forgotten, If it is written you can see it in front of you and it adds reality to what you are trying to do .Set some realistic goals and monitor your progress.Every step forward , no matter how small , keeps you on the journey ahead.
      Blessings to all

      1. Thus Ken the comment about using black plastic as a solar assist to get the process going. Did you not have a article talking about Spring Starvation? When the root cellar is almost empty and the critters have little food value because THEY are also empty from the winter?

        One of the items my tribe has in the Plan B olive barrel is both clear and black plastic as the 1800’s had to wait and pray about frozen ground and early/late frosts. We have the ability to modify the soil microclimate.

        After SHTF salvage wall to wall carpet sun it out for some sort of cleaning and you can use it to clear grasses and weeds so you can grow crops. It also will help thaw the soil with solar energy.

  23. have seen quite a number of posts on “Free” posting sites, saying they got a large box of “such and such” from the food bank, and could not/would not eat it all, and offering it for free to whomever would pick it up. Sometimes these extra large items like cheese wheel which they would not use up before spoilage/sometimes items which did not agree/which made them sick/etc.. I have thought it was good they were passing them on to someone else who would use them. I am thinking now, maybe if your lucky enough to get a food bank box with such in it, maybe you could TRADE it for preps (even seeds)/items you could long term store (rice etc), and so forth….

  24. Making your limited shopping dollar go farther is a basic thing to do when you have no money. I had a motorcycle accident (broke bones in every limb I had and then some) I could not work for over a year.

    I lost a good paying job working at the local Nuke Plant (paid very good) as I could not work. My wife walked out as I did not have any money to keep her in the lifestyle she felt she needed. I lost 2 BMW’s (one a motorcycle and the other a car) I lost my house. I sold lots of expensive guns and amateur radios and other things I had to get by.

    It took years to recover from the hard hit of a very well paying job going away, The wife walking out, the loss of a nice home and not being able to find anything other then a low-paying job.

    After this personal SHTF I did everything mentioned above (and more) to get buy. I did survive but it was at a very low level as far as income. All the ideas above are good to do, but personal experience has taught me that living like this is not enough. You can live doing it, but you will likely never move back up in life if all you do is the things mentioned above.

    The killer thing to anyone’s economic livelihood is debt, get rid of all debt and you make a big improvement in your money situation.

    I was forced in a most unpleasant way to go all cash as the above situation forced it upon me. It was very hard to live through, but I did live through it and promised myself that I would never again barrow a single dollar from anyone. 25-years later and I have kept that promise to myself.

    I also promised myself I would never live beyond my means. If I could not buy it with cash I did not buy it. I always make sure I spend less each week then I make. These 2 things (No debt and spending less then I make) has allowed me to save money, buy lots of silver and have cash for the larger purchases I want to make.

    I’m not attacking the idea of being thrifty as I still live this way now even when my income has gone back to a level that is higher then when I worked at The Nuke Plant. But being thrifty is not going to dig you out of your economic hole you may find yourself in. It did not do it for me or anyone else I know. Being thrifty is a big help, but it’s not enough, you need to do more.

    As far as economic level the thing that turned my life around was to become self employed. I had 2 jobs and still found that even working all the hours I could I still had little money. I was getting by, but had no silver, savings, no money to repair the junk cars I always had. Any unexpected expense was devastating as there was no money cushion to deal with them.

    I started my own carpet cleaning business, I made up flyers for my carpet cleaning and hand delivered them to high-end homes. I stuffed them in the front door of homes.

    Within a few days of doing this I made an extra $800.00 the first week. I gave up the low-end jobs a week later as they were interfering with my making much more money doing my own business.

    That was over 20-years ago and I have not had to punch a time clock since. I had a heart attack several years ago and got out of the carpet cleaning work as its hard work moving all the furniture in a home.

    I moved on to handyman work as I have always been able to fix just about anything and handyman / construction is much easier then carpet cleaning. I work for several people that have rental property and I do maintenance work for 3 condo associations. These are a large part of my income. I also work for people that call me to do repairs on their home. Most of my new work comes from word-of-mouth from happy customers. I have zero unhappy customers so referrals come in all the time.

    To really dig yourself out of an economic hole you need to generate money as much as you do to be thrifty. Do both and the money will flow quite easily.

    But (there is always a But) building a business and a happy customer base can take years. I read every so often about preppers saying they will do X to make money when it hits the economic-SHTF. But I really see this I will do it when it hits the fan mentality as very likely to fail.

    The “ I will wait till SHTF to start a business” is not going to work. You need to develop skills, good skills not just OK skills, you should try to be the best at what you want to do as post-SHTF there are going to be a lot of people giving self-employment a try. You need to stand out, You need to already have happy customers that trust you and your work. Most jobs / self employment things you are likely to do are going to be service jobs. Service jobs are heavy in work but light in infrastructure. Meaning it’s mostly going to be your labor and a bit of tools to support the work you intend to do. Mostly you are selling your reputation and ability to do a given job. SHTF will probably not be sales jobs as much as labor jobs.

    Service work is much easier to start and do out of your home. You need to buy tools to do a given job and it’s a good idea to buy them today rather then to ttry to find them post-SHTF.

    You also need to start doing 12 or more things as it’s unlikely any single job or business will make enough to provide an income.

    It sounds hard or even impossible (or crazy to think about) for most people to think about doing 12 businesses. But it’s not as crazy or scary as you think.

    I do lots of things, I do electrical work, plumbing work, drain cleaning, wood working / building custom wood things for peoples homes, installing windows and doors in homes, remodeling bathrooms & kitchens, build decks, basically anything home repair or building new things in homes. Minor welding, auto repair, I repair old tube radios and sell them. I buy a lot of electronic things at garage sales and thrift stores and sell them at Hamfest (the hamfest thing is very profitable and fun) And I do several other things I can’t think of off hand.

    While none of these provide me an income all year long, all of them do so quite well when combined.

    I see the self employment thing is a big hole in most peoples prepper thinking. On blogs there is little to no mention of how someone is going to make money if it hits the fan. People just don’t give this any thought or if they do it scares them so much they chose to not address it.

    Having lived through a personal-SHTF I can tell you it’s something that needs to be addresses and done so now, not after there is an economic-SHTF. By then it will be too late and it will be extremely hard to do after SHTF.

    A new business needs money, tools, skills and most important customers. You need to have good people skills to read them as many times they will say one thing and mean a different thing. All this takes time.

    When a person takes charge of their own income they are better able to handle bad times. Just as it’s a good idea to prep and build a supply of preps it’s just as important to take charge of producing your own income.

    1. Chuck, Exactly,! I had an event several years back… no work, no employable skills- for work that was available. I made career change on short notice…and in an economic time when couldn’t buy a job. When everyone else is also looking for a service job is not ime to be doing a start up. Established one will serve better…. It was not easy…frugal does not give possibility to run lights and gas to house , repair the clunker or go to do or search/apply for jobs.

      Oh for those that say stock ramen noodles, make sure you put them in your rotation and actually use occassioally .. they WILL ruin in the heat and humidity of the Souf. Rancid noodles are not good anytime, but the chickens do not care.. they are already pre fried… so crumbled small can be added to chicken feed, along with many other delicacies. like the tough stems and bug infestated leaves of wild greens and soaked grains, sprouted grains… they will give rich rewards as Thanks.

  25. Thanks to C. Findlay and SoCalGal:

    This is what happened to me when I made a career change several decades ago. To SoCalGal: I have always lived somewhat frugally and I bought two of everything to eat one now and store the other for later. My first career was a seasonal job at low wages so I always had a pantry full of cheap staples like rice, beans and ramen noodles.

    Like Dennis and many others on this site, I also had a 22 rifle, 2 boxes of shells and spinning tackle on hand to shoot or catch small game. My seasonal job was living in the woods so I was in a good position to harvest and use small game for my protein requirements. Since ammo is expensive and hard to come by in the woods, learn and practice to make the head shot within reasonable distance. Critters do not crawl away afterwards and it saves more edible meat.

    As for fish, I would rather have a platter of crappie or bluegill fillets than a big mess of catfish but I can make do with either one. I got tired of catching and eating trout when I worked in the alpine zone of the Sierras. .

    Once I got my professional license, I work the jobs that many people refuse to take on in good times or bad. I work as a health care worker within an insane asylum. These jobs are somewhat recession proof. Turn over rate among staff is high and retention rate is low. It has been my niche for over 20 years.

    My personal SHTF moment came when my state was going to pay me in IOU’s so I left California before that happened again back in 2008. I relocated to another state and picked up doing what I do for a paycheck instead of an IOU and I did it during the depths of a recession. I am a skilled worker with a professional license and 20+ years of job experience and I have worked through some of the worst economic downturns in recent memory.

    The single gun that has put the most meat on my table in years past has been: the 22 target pistol. In the larger cities, Indoor ranges will hold turkey shoots in the fall and ham shoots in the spring. I would travel the San Francisco Bay Area and go from range to range in my pickup truck with camper shell with ice chests in the back. If I went to 10 ranges and shot in 10 turkey shoots, I usually would drive away with 7-8 turkeys. This took several days and the turkeys and hams fed a lot of us undergraduates in college.

    Aim small, miss small and I use CCI minimag hollow points in my bolt rifle and 22 target pistol with good results. Home defense? 12 gauge pump shotgun in the closet.

  26. The Human Animal is an interesting creature, for when we decide to do something we 99.99% of the time find a way to do such.

    Preparing or Lifestyle is not an issue once the mind has decided to do so. The decision for some is simple, others not so much because they don’t see a need, nor do they want to admit the reality of the likelihood of the need.

    The title “How To Prep When You’re Broke” is not a question of money; to me, it is a question of mindset and willingness to forgo other “things” aka “stuff”. Sure we all have prior commitments, bills, needs, that fancy car, whatever……the list is endless; but again if you don’t see a need to prepare, then more than likely everything else comes before that need.

    So again I reiterate; what are your priorities? The how to is well defined with all the comments above, hundreds/thousands of articles on the net and in books, the whereas/mindset to do so is not, only you can make that happen.

    1. NRP
      You will certainly see how life changing retirement will be in eight months. That discretionary money each month will be greatly reduced. I think you have planned well and will have fun with all the projects you haven’t had the time to do. BUT, you know life can bite even the best laid plans – like if you poor old truck coughed up a piston, your water source dried up, or that chain saw bit you. That is why I keep my hand in part time consulting – extra insurance.

      1. hermit uss;
        Agreed 1000%.
        The best laid plans are only “guidelines” to be 100% honest.
        Hence Plan “B”, “C” “D”, and so on. Also that “discretionary money” now, 50% goes into the safe as cash/PMs, NOT to be used. Basically living the “retirement” income now.
        Who was it that said “the only constant in life is change”?

        1. NRP
          Ya, do don’t want to see you on the roadside with your begging bowl asking for some of that spare change. :) :) :)

  27. Just was reminded of something …
    When I did a project in Las Vegas I noticed people out early on trash day driving around in pickups picking up discards on the curb .
    Furniture,bikes mowers,appliances.
    Their trucks would be full!
    I’m guessing they were reselling /using all this free stuff.
    Saw people do this in Texas as well.
    Be a good way to make a couple extra bucks to buy/trade for preps.

  28. How do you continue to keep your garden alive when water is scarce and you must use it to drink??

    1. Shaun Google Ollas and dry land farming for techniques that allowed native Americans to grow enough (most of the time) to survive before deep wells existed.

    2. Shaun,
      You can make use of mulch, like straw, shredded paper etc, wood chips not real good but better than open soil. By covering the soil you lower temperatures and reduce evaporation, that helps a lot. Using drip irrigation, this helps target water to where its needed, even better if its just slightly burried, t tape works but drip that has emitters that you can shut off if need be are better, not as easy as T tape but more conservation minded.
      Re use grey water,

      1. Shaun (How do you continue to keep your garden alive when water is scarce and you must use it to drink??)

        The mulch or straw idea sounds good to hold water in the soil.

        I would look into a rain catchment system. There are lots of U-Tube videos on installing one.

        Shaun I live in Toledo Ohio, water is plentiful, for a good part of the year the problem here is excess water. Lots of rain, the Great Lakes are close by. Lake Erie is a few miles away, Lots of ponds and creeks all over the place. The water table is pretty close to the surface.

        One of the condo associations I work for has 3 wells installed to water the grass in the center of the boulevard strips on their roads. They had wells put in and had to only go down 9-feet to get water for watering the grass.

        I guess I’m lucky in that I live where water is so plentiful…

        1. Chuck Findlay said “I guess I’m lucky in that I live where water is so plentiful…”

          Yes you are Chuck, and I envy you. We’re not so lucky here. We went through a 4-year drought in 2011-2015, and the two large lakes that provide water for the area came dangerously close to going empty. And that was with all sorts of water restrictions put in place as time went on. It looks like we could repeat that situation.

          Right now we’ve been under Extreme Drought Conditions (only one more condition worse, and that’s “Exceptional Drought”) along with much of the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, Arizona, southern Utah, southern Colorado, and southern Kansas for several months. The Oklahoma Panhandle and much of the Texas Panhandle are already in the Extreme category, and have been for a while. Our county has had a burn ban put on it and then relaxed, but all of the counties west of us are still under a burn ban, and have been for months. Yesterday, here at my house, we set the highest ever temperature record for April 12 at 100 degrees (the old record had been 99) and we’re forecast to be in the 70s, 80s, and 90s for most of the next 10 days with 20-30 mph winds for six of those days. Those winds will dry us out even more, and quickly. A check online says that our lake levels are only a foot below full, so that’s good, but I expect to see them start dropping.

          We grow a medium-sized tub garden (14-20gal tubs) each year and kept it alive during the last drought by using rainwater catchment when the municipal water-use restrictions were severe. That system catches 320 gallons of home roof rain by using cascading open containers under gutters and is standing by if we need it again for the next few years. We also have a small free-standing rainwater catchment system to deploy if needed, but the wind here makes it difficult to use or be very effective. The only problem with rainwater catchment is that it has to rain for it to work, and then, here at least, you have to keep the mosquitoes from thriving in it as you use it. Gotta have water, wherever you are.

          CD in Oklahoma

    3. Usually a combination. Start building up a layer of mulch now (straw, leaves, whatever you have) so it’s there when it’s needed. Look for drought tolerant varieties of your food crops. They’re out there, but hard to find. I’m not talking about “drought tolerant” plants bred in Washington state, either. That’s where a lot of our seeds come from, and it’s totally counterproductive. I had to shake my head when I looked up “drought tolerant” watermelons and got “bred in Arkansas.” With an average of 4 inches of rain per month! Yeah, I could do drought tolerant with 48 inches of rain per year, sure… (Sorry, pet peeve of mine)

      I’m working on figuring out dry farming this year. I’ve set aside a piece of the yard where I’ll plant a bunch and just leave it. I plan to water maybe once a month starting in late June/early July depending on how it works. Whatever survives, I’ll keep. The idea is that the mulch holds in the moisture and the plants dig their roots deep, following the remains of the water as long as it lasts. I’ve been reading about dry farming but never tried it before.

    4. Gray water (water from sinks and showers, laundry etc) is another option mentioned up above. A huge chunk of your water goes right down the drain.

      Aside from that, think perennials, shrubs, trees. Plants that come back every year. Train them to dig their roots deep so they handle drought better, and if it gets to that point they’re on their own. Drought proof your yard now rather than waiting until the flow stops.

  29. Define broke.
    Broke as in you simply do not have money?
    Broke as in you spend your money on crap you don’t need so you don’t have money to prep?
    Priorities folks. It is that simple!
    Take lunch to work, instead of eating out.
    Skip the Starbucks $$$coffee and brew at home, or get it at the circle K for a dollar.
    Shop wisely. Stores have BOGO sales, markdowns, etc.

    1. I would define broke as not easily having enough money to buy basic things like food, TP soaps to clean your clothes and body ect. And having trouble paying for your home expenses like rent / house payment and utilities.

      I would also throw the phone on that list (I have a flip phone, not a smart phone) as my phone is important for keeping in contact with customers and booking jobs. Not to mention it’s use in an emergency to get help fast.

      Ken maybe a good article idea would be emergency communications if the cell network went down. Cell phones are great but before them people used CB’s (no licence needed for CB) and today a lot of preppers are working on getting a ham licence and buying a $30.00 radio.

      It doesn’t take a Mad Max grid-down World to have the cell network go down. Any terror attack and it gets overwhelmed. I think I read that when the Boston Marathon bombing happened they shut down the cell network just in case there may have been cell phone bomb triggering devices. No one wants their cell phone shut off but in this case I can understand (and agree) with doing so. CB and Ham radio can fill the gap. And they are fun to use when there is no problem. I often (in the Summer) sit in the back yard with one of my hand held ham radios talking to friends within a 25-mile range of my house. You can easily do the same thing with a $30.00 hand held ham radio and a ham licence.

      PS: Remember all those B-Grade movies in the 1970’s about CB radio?? As bad as they were they got a lot of people to buy a radio and install it in their auto.

  30. Another thing you can do if you are not already doing it is cooking from scratch. Occasionally I will add up the cost of ingredients in a food that I am making to see how much it really cost. These are some of the items. Pizza can be made from scratch for about $1.50 for a large cheese pizza. A loaf of bread for 50 cents. Even a simple cup of coffee made at home is about .30 compared to $4 for a cup in a coffee shop. We almost never eat out anymore. I think eating out or on the run is the biggest expense that most people deal with today next to their smart phones.

  31. The Verizon network was down in the Tampa Bay area for awhile on 3-12.
    Big deal!
    People couldn’t facebook and stuff.– SHTF!

  32. I learned to stay away from convenience stores and fast food. A cup of coffee and donut will cost $5 in the morning and a burger and fries will cost $10 for lunch. That’s $15 per day, $75 per week and $3900 per year. It doesn’t sound like much when you buy that coffee and burger but it adds up when you do it every day. I take the left-overs from supper and put them in single serve bowls in the freezer. I make coffee at home in the mourning and take the left-overs for lunch. I taught a class when I worked at the jail called Life on Life’s terms. We covered many topics like this. Many people don’t even think about making coffee or cooking at home.

    I do a lot of horse trading deals for things I need. I fixed a friends truck and he built my shed from scrap lumber he had. I fixed my neighbors car and they gave me a tiller they don’t use any more. I raise a garden and can or freeze the veggies. I am working on getting fruit trees but I live on a city lot and space is limited. I am looking at the fruit cocktail tree from Burgess. They grow nectarines, peaches, plums, and apricots all on the same tree. Does any one have any experience with these? Are they worth the space?

    DW works at a grocery store. She doesn’t get a discount but does get first pick of sale items. When meat is close to the expiration date it goes to half price, that’s when we buy it and put it in the freezer. I also love yard sales and flea markets. Often times you can haggle and get a better price.

    Thanks Ken this is a topic I know a LOT about. I have done so much for so long with so little that I am now qualified to do absolutely anything with nothing.

    1. – car guy –

      My aunt and uncle in Midland had one of these in their suburban-sized back yard. One of the varieties had frozen out and died, (I think it was the peaches) The rest of the tree was pretty productive and they were even able to make some jelly/preserves with some of what they got. I have never owned one myself, but sometimes you take what responses you can get.

      – Papa S,

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