Survival preparedness supplies can get pricey, especially when purchasing large items such as generators, rifles, and emergency medical equipment. While you’re budgeting for the immediate energy, defense, health, and long-term food storage preps, save a few dollars on the top 50 dirt cheap prep items. They may cost very little now, but they’ll likely be worth their weight in gold after the SHTF.
Many of the everyday items we take for granted will disappear from store shelves quickly during a disaster. One-time-use items should be of particular importance when planning your prepping budget. Not only can the cheap-o preps be stockpiled for use by your own family, but they can also be tucked away for barter items as well.
1. Duct Tape – The all-purpose tape truly does have hundreds of uses. The top 15 survival uses of duct tape eFoods Direct report highlights some of the many, many ways the sturdy adhesive can be used.
2. Soap – Bathing might seem like a luxury after the SHTF, but cleansing your body offers far more than merely morale booster benefits. Sickness will spread quickly when you and your loved ones are huddled inside the home or working outside in inclement weather on the homestead. Washing hands with warm soapy water frequently will prevent the spread of germs and curtail bacterial diseases such as shigella and salmonella.
3. Vitamins – Maintaining good health and a strong body will help to ward off illness and allow you to complete the many physically draining tasks that need to be completed during a long-term disaster.
4. Glow Sticks and Solar Lights – Both of the items can be found at virtually any dollar store and can be valuable home and path-lighting devices after you run out of flashlight batteries.
5. Lighters – Even newbie preppers are known to stock up on lighters for their bug-out bags, EDC, and INCH bags. While cheap disposable lighters might be commonplace in your survival bags, buy dozens more now. After the SHTF lighters will make excellent barter and can help you stay warm, cook food, and purify water for many years to come.
6. Hand Sanitizer – As already noted, cleanliness is key during a disaster. Water could become scarce during a drought, making frequent handwashing with soap a significant problem.
7. Bandages – First-aid supplies are near the top of most everyone’s prepping list, but one accident on the retreat or a single fight with a group of marauders could make a significant dent in your stockpiles. Keeping even small cuts covered can prevent infection should the slight wound come in contact with livestock feces, a bodily fluid from an ill loved one, or contaminated water. Bandages and gauze rolls should also be considered great bartering items.
8. Lotions – Skin that becomes dry and cracked from working outdoors, burned from the sun, or blistered after coming into contact with poison ivy could hamper your farming, self-defense, or cooking duties. Grab some inexpensive lotions designed to combat common skin conditions at the local discount store and stock up on multi-purpose natural remedies, such as coconut oil, tea tree oil and witch hazel as well. Jock itch spray is often successfully used to combat scabies, lice and other types of skin fungus.
9. Feminine Hygiene Products – Women will not get a break from the monthly menstrual cycles and cramps simply because a doomsday disaster has occurred. Stock up on tampons and pads (also great wound and nosebleed first-aid items) and over-the-counter medications that are designed to combat menstrual cramps and headaches.
10. Diapers – Babies born before the SHTF and after still need their little bottoms cleaned and changed. Even if there is not a little bundle of joy in your household now, there could be in the years it takes for the nation to recover from a massive disaster. Make or purchase cloth diapers and removable liner inserts. Cloth diapers can be reused and take up far less space than storing hundreds of cases of disposable diapers.
11. Morale Boosters – Mental health is just as important as physical health during a long-term disaster. Purchase candy for the family to enjoy and little trinkets as surprises for the children on their birthdays and holidays to help raise spirits during the struggle for survival.
12. Yeast – The handy little packets or glass jars filled with the ingredient necessary for making breads and booze are cheap and readily available now. Stock up and remember to keep an inventory and check “use by” dates on the yeast and all perishable so you can rotate your preps into the kitchen pantry as needed.
13. Chapstick – Lip salve is another useful cheap prep and barter item. Working outdoors all summer, or all winter, can lead to cracked lips, blisters, and torn skin around the mouth. Any time a break in the skin is exposed to the environment around you, the chance for a deadly infection exists. A cut we would likely shrug off now could cause a life-threatening situation during a disaster, especially if you forgot to keep Tetanus shots up to date.
14. Condiments – Long-term storage food is tasty — it really is. Shelf-stable food has come a long way since the military MRE days. Stocking up on some ketchup, mustard, salt, sugar, and the like will enhance the flavor of your “disaster dinners” even more and provide morale boosters, which will be much appreciated after going days, weeks, or even months without electricity and modern amenities.
15. Seeds – Packets of heirloom seeds, when stored properly, can last for many years. Stockpile the seed packets during the early fall months when lawn and garden items go on sale. Non-heirloom seeds are even less expensive and can be added to your bartering preps. Redundancy is the key to survival. Plan to meet the family’s dietary needs by amassing long-term storage food, dehydrated and canned food from your garden as well as via livestock being raised on the property. A season of bad weather or a livestock illness could wipe out a significant portion of your food, so keep plenty of backup edibles.
16. Cleaning Supplies – If the entire family or mutual assistance group is in bed sick with the flu or other illness, no one is available to protect the property, take care of crops and livestock, or chop wood for the fire. Purchase commercial cleaning products when they go on sale and add some multi-purpose natural cleansing agents such as distilled white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and Borax to your survival shopping list.