If you live paycheck to paycheck, it can be difficult to commit hundreds or even thousands of dollars to hypothetical and unknown future events. If you’re a prepper at heart, though, you know that it’s important to be ready for anything.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to go about prepping while keeping your bank account in the black. Here are several financially savvy tips that any prepper on a budget should keep in mind as they hope for the best and gear up for the worst.
Take Stock of What You Have to Work With
If you have a cushy job or plenty of savings, you’re probably not too worried about coming up with the money you need, even if you are still trying to be careful with how you spend it.
However, not everyone is flush with cash — and that’s okay.
Even if you’re working with a minimum wage income, you there are still plenty of simple ways to budget and save, such as:
- Creating an air-tight, realistic budget and then sticking to it.
- Setting reasonable savings goals that take prepping into account.
- Steadily paying off existing debt such as a mortgage or student loans.
- Avoiding new debt or financial commitments like the plague.
- Doing your shopping strategically (more on that further down).
It doesn’t matter how much money you’re working with, it’s always possible to prep on a budget.
Buy Used/in Bulk When You Can
Alright, now that you’ve sized up your financial abilities and created a solid budget, it’s time to start shopping. While you can always look up lists of items that are worth stocking up on as early as possible, the focus here is to consider your approach to buying said items.
As far as that is concerned, it’s important to always consider if an item can be purchased used or in bulk. Some items, such as a good hunting knife, can and should be purchased with care.
However, toothpaste and deodorant can be bought on sale. Rice and toilet paper should be purchased in bulk. Even things like knapsacks, backpacks, and other storage containers can be purchased used. In fact, if you’re careful about your purchase, you may be able to get a high-quality item with minimal wear and tear for the price of a cheap new knock-off.
The apocalypse won’t be predictable, and neither should your bug-out bag. In other words, it’s also important to remember that not everything has to be purchased or bought pre-assembled — nor should it be.
To elaborate on the bug-out bag example, if you’re preparing a survival kit, purchasing a prefab option can be, and typically is, a serious downgrade from assembling one yourself.
If you take the time to thoughtfully assemble a kit piece by piece, you can choose quality items, such as a portable stove or a canteen, that are on sale or second hand. This can provide you with a durable, dependable solution while simultaneously keeping costs down.
Assembling a kit yourself also means you can hand-tailor the contents to your particular needs. You can even make your own items, such as a first aid kit or even a hearty trail mix you prefer over a store-bought alternative.
Prioritize Value Items
As you go about deal hunting and buying in bulk, it’s critical that you separate essential items from general prepper gear. For instance, while you can buy rice in bulk or purchase a go-bag second hand. However, when it comes to your knife, you’re going to want to choose something you can count on.
Make sure to consider each item as you go along. Buy on the cheap when you can and save for quality options when necessary.
Look for the “Free” Prepper Lessons
Finally, not all prepper activity needs to involve spending copious amounts of money or investing huge amounts of time in DIY projects. Sometimes you can benefit from small and simple prepper lessons without spending a dime.
After all, the best equipment is worthless if you don’t know how to use it, right?
A good example of this is your stove. Sure, having a portable stove in your kit can come in really handy, but that one item could cost you $50 to $100 or more. Instead, invest some time in learning how to start a fire from scratch.
You can even apply this concept to larger situations. For instance, the shelter in place orders that were enacted during the early days of the coronavirus served as an excellent “dry run” of what life could be like under martial law. While the two states of an emergency certainly aren’t identical, sheltering in place is a great way to practice your survival plan at no charge.
Prepping on a Budget
Regardless of the specific way that your own personal prepper adventure plays out, it’s important to remember that prepping isn’t a 100-meter dash, it’s a lifestyle.
While there’s no doubt that prepping does require some level of financial commitment, it doesn’t mean you need to go out and take out a $50,000 loan tomorrow. Instead, take some time today to create a financially conscious strategy. Break things down into stages, consider what items you can buy and what you can do yourself, and then start purchasing what you need.
And always remember to pace yourself. Could the world go to hell in a handbasket next week or even next month? Sure. But people have been saying that for decades. If things are relatively stable at the moment, chances are, you’ve got some time before the zombies are knocking at your door. Use it wisely.
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