Prepping for a SHTF situation is a good idea, of course, but for people living from paycheck to paycheck, finding the money to stock up on food, water and other supplies is overwhelming. Fortunately, with some financial savvy and budget shopping as well as other techniques and tips, it’s possible to create a stockpile that will help you get through any natural or man-made disaster.
Cut back on what you spend
Traditionally, when people needed extra money to pay the bills or buy something, they would look for more ways to earn cash. This might have included working extra hours at work or taking on a second job. The better strategy is to spend less of what you already make, leaving you a bigger balance in the checking account at the end of the month. This money can then be used to create your stockpile of needed supplies.
To cut back on spending, take a hard look at where your money is going and decide what you can live without. Good examples of things you can cut back on or eliminate include soda, coffee from the local coffee shop, takeout meals, gym memberships, cigarettes and booze. Other bills like cell phone and satellite TV subscriptions might be able to be pared down to a more basic rate. Adjust your thermostat to save money on the heating/cooling bill.
Tap into other sources of money
If you have a structured settlement or annuity, consider selling your future payments for a lump sum of cash that you can use to help acquire supplies. You can work with a company like J.G. Wentworth, the country’s biggest purchaser of future payments. Other ideas to raise some cash include:
- Sell any electronics, exercise equipment or collectibles you no longer use
- Start a little side business, such as pet-sitting, babysitting or house cleaning
- Sell any stocks or bonds you hold
Go for lower-price items
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all the supplies you need, focus on picking up several low-price items every week. Backdoor Survival offers a list of 60 highly useful prepping items you can pick up for about a buck apiece. Local dollar stores can be treasure troves for preppers, and you can pick up a ton of great stuff there including disposable lighters, aluminum foil, small plastic storage containers, canned juice, first aid supplies and much more.
If you are a member of a warehouse store, you can get some fantastic deals on shelf-stable food items like tuna, canned beans, granola bars, nuts and bottled water. Check out this list of emergency foods at Costco. Granted, some of these are on the pricey side, but the freeze-dried options are budget-friendly and will give you and your family a good source of ready-to-eat protein.
Hit the garage sales
Two great ways to find supplies: Visit local garage sales on a regular basis, and join an online group like the Freecycle Network. On this site, it’s possible to get even high-priced items like tents, other camping equipment, grills and sleeping bags at no cost.
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