The $5 Prepper

Todd’s Note – This is an article provided by Leda Hagel, a prepper and reader of Prepper Website.  In this article, Hagel provides ideas on how preppers can bulid up their preparedness supplies on a budget.  Please read the article and feel free to add some of your own pieces of advice and thoughts in the comments section.  You can read Leda’s other post here and here.

Thanks to the powers that be, we all find ourselves living from paycheck to paycheck, struggling to pay our bills, put food on the table and just keep our heads above water. Finding extra dollars to put toward our preps can be a daunting task. Fear not fellow preppers. I’m going to show you how you can build your stores for as little as $5 a week. Still too much money for your budget? Maybe you would consider a trade in your lifestyle to come up with the $5. Would you trade that latte for the cash? How about not buying those lotto tickets or passing up that Big Mac? If you are serious about prepping and I can show you how to do it on $5 a week, I have faith in your ability to come up with the cash.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, I am a big fan of dollar stores and thrift stores. Nearly every community has at least one of each. If you live as remotely as I do, you probably only go to town once or twice each month. In that case, save your $5 each week to be used on those trips. If you live in or near town it’s less of a problem.

My favorite stores are forty-five miles away. Consequently, I do EVERYTHING that needs to be done in the same trip. Gas prices are a real consideration in this plan. It won’t do much good to prep for $5 a week when you’re spending additional dollars on fuel for four extra trips to town each month. Do your prep shopping when you already have to be in town for something else.

Let’s start with my favorite store, the dollar store. These stores carry a wide variety of items from food to candles, cleaning products to bath products, kitchen items to medicines and more. Best of all, every item is only one dollar. You may determine the types of items you purchase according to your needs. Let’s say you use your $5 for the week and purchase five tubes of toothpaste. Next week you buy five bottles of salad dressing. The third and fourth weeks you buy five sticks of deodorant and five jars of jam. In one month’s time for a cost of only $20 you’ve created a back stock of four items you use every day. In two months and only $40 you will have eight items you won’t need to buy again for a while. You can see how quickly your preps can grow.

Okay, as much as I love the dollar store, it doesn’t carry everything I’m looking for. Let’s pop in to your local grocery store and have a look around. You’re looking for items that store well and you will use in your everyday cooking. With your $5 you can pick up ten pounds of sugar or flour and have enough left over to buy one or two packages of egg noodles. These are staples that will store well and can be rotated as you use them. Don’t forget things like rice, lentils, dry beans, rolled oats and other such items. Each of these items are typically low cost and if stored in an airtight container can last up to twenty-five years unopened, one to two years after they are open. You may also want to select canned items such as fruits and vegetables. These items can run anywhere from 79 cents to $1.25 per can. Adding three to five cans to your food storage each week can add up quickly.

Personally, I love rice-a-roni. I can buy five boxes each week and still have change left over if I get it on sale.

Here is a tip for you. Grocery stores typically stock the fad foods and more expensive items at eye level. It you’re looking for a deal, check out the lower shelves. Avoid spending your $5 on items that will perish quickly such as chips, crackers, cereals, pre-made puddings, etc. Even the smallest grocery stores usually have at least one shelf devoted to food items in #10 cans. Not all, but some of these can be purchased for $5 or less.

Let’s say that one month you want to purchase something other than food. You’re looking for affordable clothing, bedding, or housewares. Follow me. I know just the place. Your friendly neighborhood thrift store. My grandchildren go through clothing faster than a twister through Kansas and are almost as destructive. Keeping up with their clothing needs is a challenge not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking to keep your family supplied with their clothing needs you can’t beat a thrift store. Occasionally I’ve even found brand new items with the tags still on them for bargain basement prices. $5 is enough for a steal of a deal.

You’ll also find a healthy supply of kitchen items, shoes, and even some tools from time to time. If you’re looking for additional bedding there are usually an assortment of blankets, comforters, occasionally some good sheets and towels. Look for quality as well as price. Unfortunately, not all items in a thrift store are worth your $5. Be selective.

Aside from thrift stores, grocery stores and dollar stores, there are garage sales and barter fairs. Check out the ones in your area. Of course some items can’t be second hand. One example is garden seed. For $5 you can buy a few packs of seed. For $10 you can start a pretty good garden, and, aside from the labor, the food you produce is free. Canning and preserving your own food is both the most affordable and the most satisfying way to build your food stores. You don’t need lots of land to grow a garden. If you live in town, a small patch of your back yard will do nicely for a few of your favorite foods. If you’re in an apartment but have a balcony or small patio that gets good sun, a couple of pots each of bush beans, peas and tomatoes can add to your food stores.

I know things are tough out there. I see it with my own children and their families every day. But don’t give up. Have a family meeting. Decide what you are all willing to give up, to have those few extra dollars each month. As I said in a previous article, it takes a family for a family to survive. Make sure you’re all on the same train and then slowly start moving forward with your plans.

Try this plan for six months. I promise you you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve on only $5 a week. Then, just imagine what you could do with $10 a week.

Happy Prepping!


This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.

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Todd Sepulveda

I'm the owner/editor of Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. I'm also a public school administrator and a pastor. My personal blog is Ed That Matters, where I write about preparedness and from time to time, education. Connect with me on one of my social media outlets below.

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