It’s important to feel secure knowing you can survive a natural disaster or governmental failure. And that security comes from practicing emergency preparedness and stocking up survival supplies. However, if you take a list of survival supplies and add everything up, you will likely suffer from sticker shock.
Emergency preparedness can get expensive. But it’s necessary. A survey by Finder found, “In the last 12 months, roughly 45% of Americans — or about 115.6 million people — say they spent money preparing or spent money on survival materials. This is way up when compared to the previous year, which saw 20% of Americans (52 million people) spending money on survival materials.”
The survey found, in addition to saving money for emergencies, Americans also spent money on these other survival materials:
- 41.6% of Americans spent an average of $258 on stockpiling their essential food and water supplies
- 18.0% of Americans spent an average of $530 renovating or making additions to their home.
- 11.6% of Americans spent an average of $317 preparing ways to escape, such as buying a car or boat.
- The silent gen spent the most on food and water ($326.50), insurance ($649.04), and self-defense classes or weapons ($301.35).
- 27.4% of Americans spent an average of $119 toward insurance premiums, doctor visits, prescriptions, assistive devices and more.
- Millennials spent the most on survival kits ($107.63), survival courses ($144.80), and toilet paper ($66.34).
As you can see, it costs to stock up. However, there are ways you can stock up on survival supplies without breaking the bank.
Take Inventory of Your Current Stock
Before you rush out and buy your survival stockpile, take inventory of your current supplies. Many survival essentials are items we already have in our homes, such as duct tape or flashlights. Rather than going out and buying brand new items, make use of the supplies you already own. At the same time, take note of survival supplies you own that require additional supplies to function (such as an emergency radio that requires batteries). Instead of buying a new more expensive radio, spend less money and purchase batteries for the radio you already own.
Create a Stock Up Budget
Next, create a budget for survival supplies. I get it. There is a lot of cool survival gear out there, and you want it all. But you don’t need it all right away. If you aren’t careful, you will quickly go over budget on supplies that aren’t essential at the moment. Instead, look over your total household budget and see how much you can allocate each month to put towards your emergency stockpile. Use the numbers from Finder’s study to give you a general idea for budgeting purposes.
Look for Deals
Knowing you have to stick to your budget will encourage you to always be on the lookout for deals. Make a point to always do price comparisons when shopping to avoid overpaying. Sign up for email lists so you can get sale alerts and coupons. Your favorite survivalist companies run deals from time to time, including My Patriot Supply’s Deal of the Day.
Ask Friends and Family
When your birthday or Christmas rolls around, ask friends and family to help you stock up on survival supplies or contribute money to your emergency budget. You may even want to share a list of items you are looking for to see if they have any duplicates that they are willing to part with (such as an extra can opener).
Start with the Essentials
When it comes to stocking up on supplies, start with the essentials. This is true regardless of cost. We depend on air, water, and food for survival. Therefore, you must prioritize food and water when it comes to stocking up. When a disaster strikes, you may not be able to get to food due to supply and demand issues or the high costs of inflation. You may also be physically unable to get to a grocery store. Likewise, disasters can affect the water supply, so it is critical to have safe water stored.
When you budget for supplies, prioritize the following five categories.
- Food: You want to stock enough food for your family to last you 3 months. Keep in mind you may be unable to stock this amount in the beginning. Start with having at least 3 days’ worth of food. Look for bulk food items, such as bulk bags of dried beans, pasta, and peanut butter. You can also stock up on cheap canned nonperishables.
- Water: Yes, you can stock up on cases of bottled water. However, these take up a lot of space and eventually run out. It is wiser and more cost-effective to purchase water filters or germicidal tablets. This will allow you to have drinking water in any disaster. In this regard, if there is any item to splurge on, it is the Alexapure Pro Water Filtration System.
- Hygiene: We’ve seen firsthand how quickly toilet paper disappears in an emergency. Stock up on toilet paper when it is on sale, as well as other hygiene supplies, such as soap, feminine products, and bleach.
- First Aid: It is critical to stock up on first aid supplies. In addition to keeping a stocked first aid kit, you also need to stock pain medications, antibiotic ointment, and rubbing alcohol.
- Emergency: During an emergency, some supplies are must-haves, such as flashlights, trash bags, tarps, duct tape, batteries, emergency radios, can openers, emergency blankets, and matches. Fortunately, you can find most of these items at low prices.
You can also save money on essentials by looking for multi-use products. For example, duct tape can be used as a survival tool in a variety of situations, and baking soda can replace toothpaste and cleaning products. See 18 Essential Items to Keep Your Household Running During a Disaster to help create your master list of essentials.
Save Up for Pricier Survival Gear
Once you have stocked up on the essentials, it is time to start investing in higher-end survival gear that will help you survive far beyond 72 hours. Most of the essentials you already have in your stockpile will continue to work. However, if you have saved the money and want to upgrade from your standard emergency radio to a solar-powered emergency, go ahead. You can add your previous emergency radio to your pile of items to barter.
As you build up your savings for survival gear, search for solar-powered gear that you can use even when the power grid goes down. There are a variety of solar-powered tools available, including solar-powered flashlights, chargers, room lights, and stoves.
Many people find peace of mind once they are able to purchase a long-term emergency food supply kit. These food kits contain enough food for several months up to a year, and they can be stored for up to 25 years. Plus, they include quality ingredients with meals averaging 2,000 calories a day (a must for energy during times of crisis).
Think Like a Homesteader
Another way to avoid breaking the bank while you build up your stockpile is to start thinking like a homesteader. For example, consider hobby farming or growing your own food. Purchase sprouting seeds so you can grow a garden. Invest in hunting and fishing gear. Learn how to can and dehydrate food.
Prioritize Skills and Knowledge
It is costly to stock up on gear, but knowledge is free. Ultimately, the best way to survive is to know basic survival skills, such as how to start a fire, build a shelter, or perform first aid. Add a few survival books to your stockpile, such as The Ultimate Survival Medicine Guide.
Start saving and stocking up, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply