Equipment / Supplies

8 Smart Ways to Save Money on Preps

moneyA buddy of mine sent me a link to this article on how a family of four lives on 14K a year and said I should write a post about it because apparently I’m cheap or maybe just broke (FYI, he’s always been much more frugal than I). Likewise, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on other blogs lately that suggest ways to save money on preps, be more frugal, DIY products and so on and I thought I would throw in my 2 cents.

In my opinion, you don’t have to pay retail for everything you buy nor do you have to live life like everyday Americans (in debt up to their eyeballs from huge house payments, car payments, college loans, maxed out credit cards, etc). I won’t try to mention all of the DIY projects that are out there, tell you how to live on pennies a day, or even give personal financial advice but I will suggest a few ways–most of which should be obvious–as to how you can be smarter about your preps without breaking the bank (in no particular order)…

  1. Buy bulk foods (and use them!) – Look at your local Sam’s Club or COSTCO and if you have a nearby LDS cannery visit them and start buying bulk foods. Then, learn how to use them. Not only will you be better prepared for when times get tough but you will learn to save yourself money day-in and day-out when cooking meals. It’s a win-win.
  2. Shop garage sales, thrift stores – I know it’s the wrong time of year for garage sales but both thrift shops and garage sales are great ways to get good gear at great prices, you just have to be patient. So, with the coming spring make a concerted effort to hit a handful of garage sales this year and come back with a heap of supplies.
  3. Use Google Shopping – Although I’m a huge fan of shopping for my survival gear on Amazon (and occasionally eBay) Google Shopping searches not only these sites but hundreds of other as well… and sometimes finds better prices on specific equipment. Often it’s a long shot but if I can save a few bucks then it’s worth the effort.
  4. Buy Kindle books (instead of hard copy) – I just recently reviewed my first Kindle book and I think I’m hooked. While I know there are obvious reasons to want hard copy books I also see how electronic books will soon become the easiest way for preppers to stockpile information. And because they’re always cheaper than hard copy books (sometimes at a fraction of the cost) you can add to your survival library that much faster.
  5. Create bug out kits that double as vehicle kits – A while back I wrote a post about saving money by combining your bug out bag and vehicle kits that is a way to skip duplicating efforts. I’ve kept both bug out and vehicle kits for many years and eventually I’m going to stop fussing with both and just combine them because it makes economical sense.
  6. Go in on expensive preps with trusted family/friends – I’m sure there are plenty of reasons why this can be a BAD idea but in some cases it might make sense such as going in on a large generator, food co-ops, a desalinator, or whatever else is rather expensive but potentially useful. Of course, then there’s the question of who gets to keep it but I’m expecting that you’ll be able to talk them into your home as being the best option. 😉
  7. Coupon, coupon, coupon – I’m really beginning to be a huge fan of HealthyPrepper on YouTube. Though, I don’t post the majority of her videos, I do rather enjoy watching about her most recent couponing hauls from CVS or wherever she’s been recently. If there’s a way to directly save money on your preps, this is it.
  8. Use technology – We live in a technologically-drive society and, in my opinion, you should take full advantage. I’ve written in the past about how you can use an iPad to download and view hundreds of PDF files that can later be used as a survival library. I’ve mentioned that there are plenty of smartphone disaster apps but there are plenty that can be used to help you save money. I also recently showed how you can download YouTube videos for free using Real Player that can also be used as a part of your survival library.

The point is that there are plenty of ways to save yourself money when prepping. What about your suggestions? What did I miss?

By Damian Brindle

How To Effortlessly Get Prepared For Emergencies Of All Kinds In Only 5 Minutes A Day... Fast, Easy, And Inexpensively... In Less Than ONE Single Month... By Following An Expert In The Field: Discover My 5 Minute Survival Blueprint And Get Prepared Today.

14 replies on “8 Smart Ways to Save Money on Preps”

Another upside to Kindle books: Portability. Thousands of books only weigh a few ounces. Perfect for your BoB.

Some downsides:
* Amazon can (and has) take away your books without warning. Solution: Remove the DRM. (Google it. It’s complicated! Try it once on a free book before you buy a big library.)
* New Kindle books usually cost more than good used dead tree versions.
* If the power goes out, you have no access to your eBooks. Solution: Solar.
* If an EMP ever strikes, your eBooks are toast. Solution: Keep a backup device and copy of your data in an EMP-proof box.
* The hardware Kindle itself only has 2-8GB of non-expandable capacity; The rest is stored on their servers. If those servers are ever unreachable for some reason, the rest of your books are gone. I have many, many more GB of eBooks, so this was a problem for me. Solution: Use the free Kindle reader app for your computer, Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc. I don’t have a Kindle but I read Kindle books on my computer, BlackBerry, Android, Barnes Nook, etc.

Another problem: Portable eBook readers are fragile and wetable. Solution: Get a padded case and keep it in a double ziplock.

Just food for thought…. I download the books I like on my Kindle For PC app, then use Calibre Ebook Manager to convert them into PDF files and burn them onto DVDs. That way I can load them onto any PC or laptop to view them whenever I want. I can also store tons of books in a small space on the DVDs without taking up room on my hard drives. I place a small PDF Reader program on each DVD so I know I always have a way to read them. Right now I have over 600 books on three DVDs. And I don’t have to worry about anyone’s cloud storage getting rid of them.

That’s what I hinted at, using Calibre to remove DRM. But for me, for some reason, it’s an incredible pain. I have to convert to another format, and then I used a Python and Bash script in Cygwin, and then I re-import it to Calibre where I can convert to PDF. I don’t know why I’ve had such difficulty.

Please test the process yourself on a free book before building a big Kindle library.

“Did you install the DRM removal tool in Calibre?” That was the first thing I did :-/ I dunno why I had such trouble. So my advice to everyone: Try before you buy.

Wow… too many big words! Calibre sounded like something to look into but if there are too many steps involves maybe not. I don’t see why it’s so much of a hassle to simply buy Kindle books and download them to your PC as offline content. You won’t need internet to access them which means they should be available indefinitely… am I missing something?

Wow… too many big words! Calibre sounded like something to look into but if there are too many steps involves maybe not.

Sorry to have unintentionally intimidated you; I was just sharing my experience, but yours may not be so bad. You might simply try what Ron said: Install Calibre and the DRM removal tool. That works for many. Dunno why not me.

I don’t see why it’s so much of a hassle to simply buy Kindle books and download them to your PC as offline content. You won’t need internet to access them which means they should be available indefinitely

In theory that will work. As long as you never re-connect to the Internet, your current decryption key should be safe from Amazon’s control. That said, as soon as you connect to get your latest purchases, or for any other reason, Amazon can lock you out arbitrarily. This is not hypothetical. It actually happened: Kindle user claims Amazon deleted whole library without explanation

As an alternative, you can do a complete backup of your computer, registry and all, and do a restore if Amazon gets funky. In my experience, this kind of backup is difficult to restore. Test it before you depend upon it.

So my suggestion: Don’t let my bad experience scare you. Apparently I am atypical. But at the same time, please don’t invest in a large library until you either test removing DRM or are prepared to face the consequences of not removing it.

For most of the last 18 years, I have run a household of 6-10 people on under 18K a year. You are very right on the items you listed, but I have found that a lot of your food preps can be started and added to by knowing your local stores and their sales. I get a lot of things and have fed a lot of people over the years that way. Tax time is a great time for me, almost all of my taxes over the years have gone into building my own house and adding supplies to it. My kids have been dressed, for the most part, on garage sales, hand-downs and thrift stores…It works! Also, one thing that has been lost today, cooking from scratch, it’s a lot cheaper! Today it is only my husband and I and things are a lot easier, but my 4 kids learned a lot over the years on how to get by on less.

My wife and I love camping. We combine our prepping with our camping and end up with a lot of supplies that are useful in both areas. Even foods. We buy freeze dried foods when we find them on sale and then use them on our camping trips to keep things rotated. All of our camping cooking supplies also double as preps. And, we get to vacation in some really beautiful settings and practice our skills.

That’s making the best of both worlds. We sure do use a lot of our emergency gear as camping gear but not everyone likes to camp. Regardless, it is probably the best route for most people to go to bolster their preps if they’re also interested in getting outdoors. Thanks for the thoughts.

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