Everyone loves to save money… especially preppers and homesteaders. The more money we save on daily needs and the occasional want, the more funds exist in the family budget to funnel back into preparedness gear and agricultural supplies for the survival homestead.
By nature, preppers and homesteaders tend to be money conscious folks already. But, by digging a little deeper into how the family spends money even the most frugal survivalist can almost certainly save more money each month.
It is an entirely false conception that living on less means you will be doing without. Living simply while still allowing your loved ones to enjoy a high quality of life does not need to put a big dent in your wallet.
Most of the ways preppers and homesteaders can save money are quick, simple, and easy, and will not require major lifestyle changes, or intense survival skills.
10 Ways To Save On Items You Have to Buy At A Store
How much money you can save when an item does need to be purchased at a store will depend on how often you need to buy the item and how clever you have gotten with coupons and rewards points.
On average, my family saves over $100 a month following the simple and quick tips outlined below. By the end of the year, we have saved more than $1,000 that can be filtered back into projects on our survival homestead.
You do not need to search for newspapers and magazines like your parents did to score great coupon deals. Digital coupons can be scanned right from your phone via a plethora of free coupon apps or specific brand and store websites.
Sign up for email alerts from stores like Kroger that offers double or triple coupon days monthly or quarterly.
Some savvy preppers friends of mine have actually walked out with a heaping cart full of diapers, tampons, toothpaste, etc. and not paid even $5 for all of their massive amount of goods.
Shop at warehouse stores or stores that offer bulk packaging of shelf stable items like toilet paper, paper towels, batteries, soap, etc. While purchasing a 36 pack of toilet paper will cost more than just the rolls you need for a single week, the savings will add up to scores of dollars per month.
Food Storage Rotation
Create an inventory of all of your canned goods and long-term food storage buckets, as well as your home canned food items so they can be rotated into the kitchen, pantry or root cellar, and eaten before they go bad.
Skip Pre-Packaged Food
Sure, it is easier to buy a frozen dinner or box meals to throw together for a quick dinner, but those foods are not only less healthy than purchasing the ingredients, and making the same recipe yourself, but are far more costly.
We all have evenings when there is little time to whip up a hardy meal, considering dehydrating soup and casserole ingredients so they are ready to be tossed into a pot, canning hamburger, and putting together “meals in a jar” dry ingredients in Mason jars so they are already pre-measures and ready to grab, and have only wet ingredients or meat mixed in to rapidly put a nice meal on the kitchen table.
Store Food Properly
How and where you store food that can remain shelf stable for a year or more plays a significant role in its longevity. Dried white rice, for example, can keep for up to five years when stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
Removing rice from a plastic sleeve inside of a cardboard box and placing it in a plastic storage bucket with a firm fitting lid can help it remain safe to eat, and retain its nutritional content. Dried beans, another prepper staple, starts to lose their nutritional value at the two to three year mark.
Once the beans are five years old, the vitamins they contain no longer exist, but the protein and minerals in the beans still do. Beans have to be stored in a vacuum sealed bag or #10 can in a low heat environment to achieve such longevity and nutritional compounds.
When stored in an environment that is moisture free and in temperatures of less than 75 degrees F, canned meat can typically keep for two to five years.
Many competing stores offer price matching on identical products. For example, Tractor Supply will match the price on a 50 pound bag of all stock horse feed to the current price it is offered at Rural King.
Typically, Rural King offers better monthly sales on feed, sometimes as low as $3 a bag instead of the typical $8 to $10 a bag offered at Tractor Supply – a chain that has more stores in a broader range of locations.
Simply print off the sale flyer showing the item and price, or pull up the deal on your phone at the checkout counter and the cashier will adjust the price. Not all stores announce the fact that they price check, you will need to ask about such a program and any specifics or exclusions in order to score the bargains.
Tax Exempt Status
If you live on a survival homestead or in some cases, even homestead in your backyard, you likely qualify for tax exempt status on agricultural products at stores like Tractor Supply and Rural King (among others).
While the rules vary by state, the process to garner the exemption on feed and products commonly used on farms both large and small is free, and as simple as downloading a form and then sending it back in to the noted state agency.
Join a store’s rewards club or frequent shopper style to garner exclusive access to deals, coupons not open to the public, and to earn points to use for percentages off of future purchases.
Some brand names are worthy of a higher price tag because they put out a quality product, but others are no better or no worse than cheaper brands.
Do a bit of online research to compare prices, customer reviews, and components of the products before shelling out extra cash unnecessarily.
Some popular food brands also make their own in-house generic products at the same factory using the same ingredients – and sell them at discount retailers like Aldi, Dollar General, etc. For example, the Millville cereal bars may be made by General Meals or Post, but cost a whole lot less.
Brand name manufacturers are not typically very open about the generic label products they also create, so a bit of online sleuthing will be necessary to find out if you can save money without skimping on a taste you love – or battery quality you have come to expect from a specific brand.
Buy Out Of Season
Use seasonal sales to your best advantage by planning ahead.
At the end of a season you can find clothes, footwear, outerwear, gardening items, and a plethora of other commonly needed goods at 50 to even 90 percent off. If you have children, buying clothes and footwear are a constant need.
Instead of waiting until next spring to buy clothing, but a size or even multiple up to get yard sale style prices on new items.
10 Ways To Save Putting You Homestead To Work For You
The size of your prepper homestead and local laws will also impact how much money you can save by putting your land to work for you.
It costs roughly $20 per week to provide commercially manufactured grain feed for a herd of six miniature goats for a single week – during times of the year when they do not eat hay.
So, finding alternative ways to provide a natural and free source of feed for the animals will save the prepping family $80 per month – or $960 per year, alone!
Goat Milk to DIY Soap
Use the milk from your goats to make and stockpile your own soap to not only save money, but also to learn a valuable post-SHTF skill and to eliminate potentially harmful synthetics.
Cut feed costs substantially if you keep goats by renting them out to clear brush on homes and commercial sites – as well as on vacant land or gardening that needs debris cleared off before winter.
Purchasing a portable electric fence and a solar energizer to make it work will cost less than $500 for a large set up – funds you will make up in no time during the first season of brush clearing herd rental.
Provide the hay and straw your survival livestock will need during the winter months by growing and baling it yourself.
Even if you cannot immediately afford to purchase the raking and baling equipment, you will need to harvest the hay and straw, it is far cheaper to barter or pay for someone to bale your field for you or rent the equipment and do it yourself than it is to purchase hay, over time.
Miniature round balers that can quickly hook up to an ATV now exist, and cost a fraction of the cost of a full size square or round baler.
Being able to keep your survival livestock alive during a long-term disaster and during the societal rebuilding phases that follow should be an essential part of your food security plan.
Horse-pulled agricultural equipment still exist and are offered for sale both new and used in Amish communities throughout the country and online.
Purchasing “no fuel needed” baling equipment is the best bet when seeking to both save money on hay and straw over the long term and bolstering the sustainability of your herds and flocks.
Grow Your Own Feed
There is no need to purchase commercially manufactured feed for your chickens. Not only can you free range the poultry bird flocks of all types to help decrease the cost of keeping meat and egg birds, you can grow and preserve the food they need to help sustain them during the cold hard months of winter.
Some examples of poultry bird“feed” that you can grow or forage and dehydrate for long-term preservation include: sorghum, field corn (also perfect for horses and cattle) Jerusalem artichokes, sunflowers, ironweed, acorns, lettuce, broccoli, and duckweed.
Even if you cannot live entirely off grid right now, you can still save a vast amount of money heating your home and water to reduce your reliance on modern utilities – and the expense of monthly bills. Fireplaces are beautifully rustic, but they do not heat a home half as well as a wood burning stove.
We have lived on our 56-acre survival homestead for more than four years, and have never needed to turn on the furnace a single time.
The wood burning stove can also be connected to the hot water tank so the water cycles through copper coils affixed to the stove to provide hot water for bathing, cleaning, and cooking. You could also buy or build an outdoor wood stove to heat the home, and to provide hot water:
If your homestead is not partially wooded and you cannot chop your own firewood from trees, purchasing truckloads in bulk, or buying slab wood from a sawmill should still be a money saver.
Convert your vehicles and/or homesteading and prepping equipment to run on biodiesel, and use the waste generated at your prepping homestead to fuel your truck, tractor, ATVs, and more via a DIY homemade biofuel.
Grow What You Eat
Expand your gardening efforts to produce more of your own food.
Even if you live on a smaller homestead or in a suburban area you can grow food vertically indoors and out year, in portable containers, and in landscaping flower beds.
Spend some of the money you saved utilizing these cost savings tips to put up at least a small greenhouse so you can expand your growing season substantially, and perhaps even grow miniature fruit trees to further your food security and nutrition survival plan.
Putting in a fall garden as well as cultivating “cold weather crops” in the early spring, like potatoes and kale, will also significantly increase your annual garden yield.
Raise What You Grow
Invest some of the money saved by using coupons and other recommendations on this list to buy more survival livestock for meat and eggs. Setting up your own home butcher shop could pay for itself in a single year from the savings acquired by no longer shopping at a grocery store for meat.
If you don’t have enough space to raise and butcher your own meat, purchase a hog that is ready to butcher and buy a “whole cow” from a local farmer, and contract the butchering services. The more protein you can put up for a SHTF event, the better.
Grow Your Own Herbs
Add more healing herbs to your gardening plan and learn how two make salves, tinctures, poultices, and other immune system boosting and illness prevention concoctions to help keep your family healthy now for a fraction of the cost of conventional over the counter aids – and to stockpile for use during a doomsday event when you can’t call a doctor.
10 Ways To Save Money Gardening
Allow a few of your heirloom non-GMO garden plants to go to seed each season so you can grow your own plants instead of buying them once it is time to garden again.
You can also harvest seeds from fruit that grows wild or is cultivated on your prepper homestead to provide a long-term source of fruit trees and bushes for the prepping family.
Make your own nutrient rich dirt by composting the livestock waste, food, and garden scraps on your survival homestead.
A robust needs quality soil in which to grow, buying enough of this type of dirt to put in a big garden or to grow a small one year round can run several hundred dollars each year.
You do not need an expensive composting drum that has to be turned every day to make your own dirt.
Just make a pile with a tractor bucket or shovel and allow your chickens to “turn the dirt” when they are free ranging and plucking fat worms and bugs out of the pile to fill their own bellies.
Make your own seed starting planters out of rolled newspaper, toilet paper rolls, and small single use plastic containers and bottle bottoms (instead of buying plastic ones):
Grow Potatoes Smarter
Regardless of whether or not you have a lot of space to grow potatoes, use burlap sacks, old feed sacks, plastic tubs, buckets, or plastic trash cans to grow even more. Because potatoes are not a sun loving plant, you can make use of otherwise neglected shady spots on your prepper homestead to enhance your potato yield.
Preserve the potatoes by blanching and dehydrating them, either as chunks or after powedering them, to save space when adding them to your long-term food stockpiles.
When preserved and contained properly, the potato chunks or potato flakes should remain good to eat for at least five years – in my personal experience.
Mulch around and in between you ground plot plants with straw to avoid spending time weeding, spending money purchasing landscaping fabric to curtail weed growth, and also to help trap moisture in to keep the plants growing without you hauling water during times of low or no rain.
Cardboard boxes laid flat on the ground with some dirt or bricks placed over them to keep them from flying away can achieve the same purpose.
Increase Nitrogen Levels On The Cheap
There is no need to spend money on expensive nitrogen boosting gardening supplements to keep the soil healthy and a robust harvest on the horizon.
Simply purchase some generic tea bags at a Dollar Tree store, dig a two inch deep hole near each plant, to infuse the nitrogen in the tea into the soil so both it and the plant absorb it regularly.
Kill Bugs On The Cheap
Combine three parts flour to one part table salt and sprinkle the mixture on and around plants as a natural and super inexpensive bug killer.
Always apply the mixture during the cooler morning hours to avoid scorching of the plants during the intense heat parts of the day. Re-apply as needed, especially after a rain.
Fertilize The Garden With Waste
After boiling eggs or steaming vegetables, save the nutrient-rich water to pour around the base of garden plants after it cools to fertilize them naturally, making use of water that has already been used and would otherwise merely have been poured down the drain.
Set up rainwater collection barrels to use for providing water to the garden and to livestock during times of drought instead of relying on water from a faucet that will cost your money for every ounce that flows out of the hose.
Upcycled Plant Containers
Do not purchase plastic plastic planters to use for gardening containers (unless you can pick them up for a .$10 at an end of season sale).
Instead, repurpose 2-liter bottles, 5-gallon buckets with a crack, old boots, feed sacks, broken wheel barrows, and similar “trash to treasure” junk you have lying around the survival homestead.
10 Ways To Save Money On Self-Defense And Hunting Preps
Protecting the survival homestead and our loved ones is at the core of why we all prep. Money saved from the cost-cutting measures noted above should leave money on the table to purchase weapons, ammo, and other self-defense related tools.
But, learning how to make and upcycle as many items as possible as part of the hunting and personal protection survival plan is still a good idea.
Learn how to reload your own ammo and visit gun ranges to scoop up spent casings (where permitted) to add to your supply cache.
Stop buying expensive paper or other types of targets for practice and paint your own using scrap particle board, plywood, tin, aluminum cans, etc.
Make your own archery targets by spray painting a design onto a bale of hay to practice your bow skills.
Make your own primitive wild game traps to increase the amount of meat you can harvest from your own land without spending either extra money or time purchasing commercially manufactured ones.
Plant Osage Orange bushes and other prickly and quick growing foliage to deter entry to your prepper homestead – and to help keep livestock safely where they belong.
Osage Orange is also edible for most types of common livestock, so the bushes will provide more free and natural feed – but the animals will not eat enough to destroy your fencing once it has reached maturity.
Learn flintknapping to make your own arrowheads both now and to stockpile for use during a long-term disaster. You can also make arrowheads out of the bottom of a glass bottle.
Compound Or Long Bow Making
Make a simple but sturdy and functional bow out of PVC pipe for about $15 – no power tools required.
Even if you have a few high quality bows stashed away, making ample more will give you the supplies needed to train other members or your family or prepping tribe archery skills, and have extra already on hand to use for barter during a SHTF event – or to replace your quality bows if they break or get stolen after disaster strikes.
Make your own crossbow out of scrap wood to further increase the weapons arsenal you possess to protect the family and survival homestead during a disaster, and to use now for hunting and target practice.
DIY Crossbow Bolts
Make bolts for your commercially-manufactured crossbow or to use with the DIY bow making project below to save money on needed archery supplies and to stockpile hunting as well as self-defense tools as part of your survival preps:
55 Things to Stop Buying And Start Making
There are probably a few hundred things all survival homesteaders should stop buying and start making themselves, but the items on this list are the most commonly used, require relatively inexpensive tools that can be used over and over again, as well as require only beginner to easy to learn moderate skills.
|Salad Dressing||Peanut Butter|
|Maple Syrup after tapping your own trees||Chicken, Beef, Vegetable or Bone Broth|
|Rubbing Alcohol||DIY Natural Bleach Alternative|
|Candle Wicks||DIY Natural Carpet Cleaner|
|Live Bait For Fishing||DIY Natural Liquid Soap|
|Hair Conditioner||Beef Jerky|
|DIY Natural Laundry Soap||Herb Spices|
|DIY Natural Leather Cleaner||Shampoo|
|Baby Wipes||Tan Leather|
|Dog Treats||Dryer Sheets|
|Lamp Oil||Off Grid Heating Pad|
|Shower Cleaner||Toilet Paper – grow your own|
|Gifts For Children: dolls, wood toys, needle felted animals etc.||Learning Games – Homeschool Supplies|
10 Places To Score Cheap Preps
Survival and homesteading supplies can be found in a myriad of places, and not just at brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers. You can find new, gently, used, or “still some life in them” gear year round if you are willing to venture off the beaten path to search for the deals.
Every penny you save buying outside of the typical box store or prepper expo environment is money that can be spent to satisfy other preparedness needs.
Yard Sales – You can often find tools, bushel baskets, gardening supplies, clothing, blankets, camping gear, hunting, fishing, and trapping gear, fabric, footwear, and farming supplies.
Flea Markets – You can find not only many of the same items available at yard sale, you can also find booths selling large arrays of manual tools, vintage farming and kitchen tools, knives, as well.
Rummage Sales – While yard sales and rummage sales offer basically identical items, it is not unusual for such sales to offer a “by the bag” price of only $1 to $5 to fill with any items of your choosing.
If you pack items wisely and tightly you can walk away with as much as $20 worth of yard sale type items – in my personal experience.
Estate Auctions – A home or farm that was owned by older folks or in a family for generation is likely to have many old-fashioned and manual cooking, heating, farming, and camping supplies on the for sale list – as well as weaponry.
Online Auctions – Many counties, towns, or neighborhoods have Facebook online flea market or auction sites where folks sell no longer wanted gear for a yard sale type price, and to avoid all the bother of setting up tables for several days to get rid of things they no longer want.
There are also websites like BidFTA.Com in many states that sell open box to brand new items and pallets of a huge variety of home, garden, outdoor, and farming goods. In the five months I have bid on items at the local pickup spot I have won $350 worth of preps for only $105.00.
Storage Unit Auctions – You never know what you might find at a storage unit auction. Perhaps you might find outerwear that is new or gently used, bedding, a rototiller, the options are nearly limitless if you are willing to drive to such an auction, and peek into the unit as best you can and spend the day bidding.
College Moving Day – If you live in or near a county with a college, check out the free goods left along the sidewalk during the week the students pack up to go home and the college is clearing out no longer wanted furniture and office supplies.
Bunk Beds, loft beds, sleeper sofas, and desks in still really good condition are common finds and can help provide the sleeping and work space your own survival tribe will need during a long-term disaster.
These items are ideal for use in setting up a medical “clinic” for your group to use during a SHTF event, as well.
Livestock Auctions – Attending a livestock auction or browsing the local livestock – farmer pages on Facebook can alert you to both some great deals on livestock, supplies, and farming equipment – and also give you a free space to post livestock and animals you want to sell to turn a little bit of profit, yourself.
Craigslist – Although you should always use extreme caution when meeting someone you do not know to complete a sale – doing so only during daylight hours in a public space with a companion, Craigslist is a superb source for free, cheap, and hard to find supplies for the survival homestead.
I highly recommend checking out the Farm and Garden section and bartering sections on the website to find the best deals that suit your preparedness needs.
Farmers Markets – This type of local market not only typically offers garden plants for sale, but seeds, gardening supplies, and sometimes even the occasional small livestock like chickens and rabbits. If you are looking for a difficult to find seed or plant – even herb plants, a booth operator at a farmers market may be able to find it for you.
Spending time together with children while making your own candles or herbal salve is an excellent way to teach and pass on traditional self-reliance skills… with the saving money part being a great bonus.
In fact, nearly all of the activities on the stop buying and start making section list could be turned into a homeschool lesson if the children use their reading, comprehension, math, and science skills during the preparedness projects.
Saving money will start to feel as good as making money once you get used to your wallet remaining fuller, and the prepping family remains well fed and well stocked for any type of disaster.
Once you get into the habit of thinking outside the box to fulfill the daily and future needs of your family, scoring deals and finding coupons can become pleasantly addictive.