Prepping on a budget | How to start prepping with limited funds
The Corona Virus Disease of 2019, also called Covid-19, has brought the world literally to its knees.
Not to be be over dramatic but nothing as disruptive as this has happened to the world since the end of the 2nd World War in 1945. The medical calamity has overwhelmed governments that are yet to come to terms with the gravity of the situation.
It is widely considered that the worst of this crisis is yet to come, and none other than the United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, admitting in late March 2020 that “things will get worse before getting better”.
What’s the worst that could happen?
We know why you are here. You’ve had some time to visualize your house without food, gas, power, tap water and the internet, as a result of multiplier effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not surprisingly the prepper community has gained more members over the past few weeks, with people now realizing the importance of getting organized.
The economic impact of this pandemic is likely to be severe, and it is expected that massive job cuts will happen.
This too shall pass (we’ve been saying that a lot recently) and be reassured that by at least starting your journey into prepping, you’ll start to feel less anxious and better prepared for what’s to come.
Why you don’t need lots of expensive gear
Survival is a basic human instinct. To seasoned preppers, the best gear for survival is the cheapest, as you test your ability to work with rudimentary and everyday items that are within easy reach. It may sound cliche, but survival is really about thinking out of the box.
To prepping newbies, however, there may be a temptation to splash money on expensive gear as they venture into uncharted territory, with possibly a belief that cheap is expensive, and expensive is better.
So is it possible to prep on a budget? By all means, Yes, you can prep on a budget.
The best prepping starts with the mind, as the adage says “forewarned is forearmed”.
Read the book “It’s About More Than Just The Gear: Examining the Overlooked Aspects of Prepping” by Shawn Clay. In this book, Shawn goes through the aspect of Readiness, and why readiness is better than the best gear.
Knowledge and tips on how to survive is a better bet than the most expensive gear. So, stock up on books, tips, skills and knowledge about how to survive each scenario and situation. Besides, you probably already have a lot of survival gear within your reach, just that you may know it yet.
How to buy used survival gear
A survival kit need not necessarily contain new items, as many of the items you need will work just as well after many years of usage. Therefore, one of the best ways to get your survival gear ready on a budget is to shop for used or second-hand survival gear.
First, you must draw up the list of all the items that you will need in your survival gear. Next, you can classify them in different categories including;
- What you already have;
- What you can easily make or collect on my own
- What you can get for free
- What you must purchase.
If you are working on a budget, you will need to exhaust all the options for getting the items for free or at the lowest cost, before purchasing new items.
When, you have narrowed your list to what you must purchase, check your neighborhood thrift shop, or a second-hand store, before traveling to a larger city or town further away.
As you are working on a budget, it will be important to list down the prices, and the location of the stores for all the items that you can get, before settling on what to purchase, and from which shop.
Next, you need to check out some online sites that sell used survival gear, for instance, geartrade.com, Amazon, gunbroker.com/Survival-Gear/ and E-bay. Again, it is best to do price comparisons before making any purchases, to ensure you get the best deal possible.
A simple way to buy used survival gear would, therefore, be to ask for used items available for sale by the group members. You may find good deals from other preppers who have items that they wish to dispose of.
How to be financially savvy and prepare your finances
The key to budget prepping is to learn how to be financially savvy, and prepare for the worst-case scenario, while on a budget.
Below is what you need to do to be financially savvy and prepare your finances.
- Draw up a budget – In coming up with a budget list down your income sources, and your monthly income, and list down all the things you purchase, with the expected amount, and frequency of payment. Distinguish your needs from wants – separate what your absolute necessities are, from what you can do without.
- Prioritize – Remember, that you cannot spend more than you earn, as it will take you deeper into debt. If your budget is in a deficit, strike out what you can do without from the most luxurious to the ones that improve your efficiency and skills. For instance, you can remove a holiday, to increase your savings.
- Use free budgeting tools and resources – Numerous free applications and programs are available to use. You can use these apps to create your budget prepping list and track income and expenditure, with easy to use reports and templates Review the budget every month, or at least quarterly to check on your progress and compliance with your budget.
- Use coupons – Take advantage of free coupons to make your purchases. Coupons are newspaper or magazine cut-outs that enable you to redeem and get discounts on the purchase of certain items. While the coupon discounts may appear low in value, over a long time they will stack up and you will realize that you have made incredible savings on your purchases.
- Take advantage of sale seasons – Always anticipate for sale seasons, and wait for that time to purchase the things that you require that are available on sale. You need to be careful though that you still stick to your budget, even when an attractive item looks too good to pass.
- Teach yourself how to be disciplined – To be financially savvy, you will have to be disciplined and follow a routine and the budget that you have set for yourself. Not being organized will most likely get you into a debt trap that will be hard to get out of.
- Cost-share as much as possible – Cost-sharing is a great way to save money, and is a key component of what you need to do to be financially savvy. Some of the ways that you can share the cost include; getting a roommate, sharing a taxi ride, sharing a meal, joining book clubs that exchange books so you don’t have to buy your own every month. These and many other cost-sharing ideas will be sure to save you some money, for more essentials.
- Save – Saving means that you pay yourself first. When you draw up your budget, always keep savings at the top of the list. Keep your savings in an interest-earning account that you have no access to. With time you will be happy you saved, as you see the power of compounding interest at work.
What are some free preps?
If you are keen on budget prepping, you will have to take advantage of everything that comes for free.
Below are some tips on some of the free preps that are available.
- Recycle – Always check your trash before taking them out. You will find some everyday items in there that will make for great prepping items. Consider cans, old newspapers and bottles, and how they can come in handy in a worst-case scenario where utilities like gas, water, and electricity are not available.
- Stock up on freebies – You do not have to use all the items given when you buy a take-out meal, or when eating at a restaurant. Be frugal and save the extra sauce, paper or plastic utensils, serviettes, and wet wipes.
- Free survival and prepping books are available from Anybooks, Kindle or downloadable pdf ebooks. To increase your knowledge about prepping and survival tactics, you do not have to take expensive classes. Also take advantage of multiple youtube videos of preppers, to learn necessary skills for prepping, all for free.
- Check out for outdoor fruit trees that are not owned by anybody, and stock up on the fruits from those trees. While other people are ignoring those fruits, it may be the meal that will take you through one more day.
- Don’t throw away seeds after eating fruits, but instead put them into a plastic jar with some soil on it. Within a short time, you can replant them out in your backyard, to give you a supply of fresh fruits during the hardest of times. Also, check out for shoots of fruit seedlings that grow naturally on the sidewalks or at the park, and transplant them to your garden or back yard.
- From time to time, you can also forage through piles of trash, and you would be sure to get some things that can be stored away for prepping. These things include pieces of wood, timber or old discarded furniture that can be turned to firewood.
- Search Craigslist.com and freecycle.org for items that are being discarded by other people, and you may find critical prepping items for free.
Learn the difference between needs and wants
Needs refer to things that are an absolute necessity to survive. The basic needs are widely accepted as being only three, food (which here includes solid food and water), shelter and clothing.
Everything else is a want, that you can survive without. Electricity, internet, cable TV, a motor vehicle, name it, becomes a luxury when Shit Hits the Fan.
When preparing for survival, the difference between needs and wants will become strikingly clear. What you have for instance considered for decades to be a need, will suddenly become a luxurious need. For instance, toilet paper is a basic need in the modern world, but it is a want, during a survival scenario.
5 Examples of Cheap Survival Gear that Lasts
- Aluminum Cooking Pots – You can purchase this set of 4 aluminum cooking pots for less than $3. They are light-weight, and are square, with the sets fitting perfectly into each other to save on space. They can come in handy for cooking light meals and boiling water, and the aluminium can act as a fire-or sun reflector, to attract attention.The Aluminum pots will last for years in your survival kit, and you will hardly find the need to replace them ever.
- Light My Fire Mora Knife – Mora knives have for long been a favorite of hikers, backpackers, and campers. This knife is great for any survival kit, and comes with a firesteel locking mechanism design, with a plastic sheath. For just $25 it’s a must-have knife that will last and last.
- Tactical Axe Tomahawk Army Axe – This outdoor hunting and camping axe is made from high-quality stainless steel and weighs less than a pound. You can get this axe for $22.48 on Ali Express, and even better will get free coupons of up to $3 when you buy this. This great axe is also sure to last for ages and is a great buy for a great price.
- 35pcs Survival Kit – This 35-piece survival kit is an emergency survival kit that comes with a waterproof and shockproof case that has a durable and compact design. Among the 35 items in the kit are a knife, bracelet, torch, whistle, emergency thermal blanket, and medical aids. This survival kit will last for years to come, and is a good buy for a price of $22.20 on Ali Express.
- 3 in 1 Outdoor Survival Gear (Whistle Compass Thermometer) – This small instrument weights only 20g, and consists of a whistle, compass, and thermometer all rolled into one. For a fully functional instrument that will last ages due to its hardiness, it costs 80 cents apiece, making it an essential tool for anyone who is prepping with little funds, and a limited budget.
Declutter and sell your stuff – how to sell current unwanted possessions to raise money for prepping
Organize your stuff
Once you have identified everything that you need to declutter, make a list of the items and give a price to each item. Next, get a good camera and take some nice shots of the items, edit the pictures and use filters for maximum effect.
Remember you are on a budget, so use free online resources or get a friend who has some photography skills to help you develop the best photos.
Selling unwanted Stuff
Armed with the photos, you can use the following options to ensure they sell as quickly as possible;
- List the items on Craigslist.com and quote the prices, making sure that you are not asking for too much, as it may turn away prospects and leave you holding the stuff that you wanted out in the first place.
- Another great marketplace for second-hand stuff is eBay. eBay still is open to anyone to sell their unwanted items and is an excellent place to sell budget prepping items.
- Also be sure to post the pictures of what you have for sale on your social media platforms including, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp Groups that you are in. As you do that request friends to like, share and retweet for maximum effect, as the buyer may be on someone else’s timeline.
- Visit second hand stores and share the images that you have. They may want to purchase them from you for cash or credit, or may agree to stock them, and pay you when they are sold. Either way will work just fine, as you now relax and wait for the money.
- You can set-up a garage sale on your front yard, and display the items for your neighbors to see, and purchase if they like them.
- For a small fee, you can also pin them on the notice board of your local mall or shopping center. Depending on the rules and regulations of your neighborhood or town, you may also pin them up on trees, bus-stops and lamp posts, for whoever may like them to call you.
- Finally, you can donate whatever is left to registered charities, and claim the donations as deductions on your taxes. Another great way of saving money.
How to use AMAZON to get big discounts on prepper gear and supplies
Amazon is one of the world’s biggest companies, with a huge online store, where you can find everything in the world. If you are on a budget and looking to get some nice amazing deals from Amazon, then you should make sure to use some of the tips below;
Look out for Amazon Prime Day
Amazon introduced a day with the biggest sale event of the year, called Prime Day. Check for the items that you are looking for on this day, as they may be available for great budget prepping items on this day only, and be ready to make that purchase.
Join Amazon Prime
This is an Amazon annual subscription, where you can get access to hundreds of products with discounts only exclusive to members of Amazon Prime. At $99 per year, this subscription may save you much more than the investment. If you are a student, then you should join Amazon Student, which is a lower-cost version of Amazon Prime, where you will enjoy unbelievable discounts for an annual fee of $49.
Check out the Amazon Deals Page, and Amazon Outlets
Constantly check Amazon’s Deals Page, where you may be lucky to get limited discounts available for a short time. Amazon Outlets is another great feature where you can get sales on clearance items, giving incredibly low prices on some items.
Use Amazon Coupons
Amazon also offers digital coupons that you can redeem to make some savings on hundreds of products. You can clip these digital coupons that will be applied automatically at check-out or saved in your cart for future usage.
Take advantage of Amazon Warehouse Deals
Amazon Warehouse Deals will give you some nice deals on returned goods, or lower grade goods, and you may get what you want at a friendly price.
Subscribe & Save
Subscribe and Save feature enables shoppers who purchase the same items often, to subscribe and choose delivery times on fixed schedules. Members get to enjoy free shipping and discounts of up to 15%.
What are the best Budget Prepping bargains have you found?
Let us know in the comments.