What to do with $1000 right now….

This post was originally published here – https://modernsurvivalonline.com/what-to-do-with-1000-right-now/.


A little while back I read a post over at IfItHitstheFan.com concerning a recommendation on where to spend $900 on survival & preparedness preps.

I love thinking about stuff like this. It is sorta like “What would I do if I won the lottery?”

Back to reality.

There are many people across this great country that are just now seeing the light and beginning there preps. For many of these newcomers the question of where to begin is ever present. Some people are taking things serious and are willing to sink some serious change into their preparations – so I figured I would throw my 2 cents in.

For someone relatively new to the prepping scene and having no purposely stocked supplies – a $1000 can go a long way.

Here are my recommendations:

  • Food ($350) – this has to be the priority.
    • Purchase in quantity what you normally eat. A good idea would be to sit down with a notepad and pen and meal plan for 2 weeks.
    • Remember that there may be no electricity so all food items in the meal plan have to come from the pantry.
    • Next – take that 2 week meal plan and make a list of all items and use that as your shopping list. If you are able to buy 2 of everything listed – that would be a one month supply.
    • Take into consideration any supplies such as cooking oil that you may need to complete the meal. Don’t forget about spices and other condiments.
    • Lastly – do consider shelf life (often on the package) as well as buying store brands and buying on sale to maximize your available funds.


  • Water ($50) – You have to have it.
    • Buy the basics – gallons of spring/drinking water. These can often be had for less han $1.00 per gallon.
    • Save soft drink containers, rinse them out and fill with tap water (mark with date).
    • Buy a few cases of bottled water.


  • Light ($50) – In the dark – you will wish you had it if you don’t.
    • Pick up a few quality LED flashlights. [LED will give you long bulb life & super long batttery life]
    • Buy a bunch of candles at the dollar store or local discount store, as well as some matches
    • Pick up a lantern-type flashlight of the larger variety.
    • Get extra alkaline batteries for all.
  • Medical/First Aid ($40) – ‘Stuff happens – be ready.
    • Make sure you are up to date on all prescriptions.
    • Get a decent first aid kit – usually around $10.00 .
    • Pick up extra supplies like common band-aides, burn ointment, diarrhea medicine, pain killers, triple antibiotic, cold medicine, etc.

Alright – up to  $490.00………….$510.00 to go.

  • Misc Household Supplies ($60)– This category covers a lot.
    • Here is a chance to stock up on cleaning supplies as well as some sanitation.
    • Include a large variety of solutions for washing clothes, disinfection, as well as personal items such as deodorant, shampoo, soap, hand sanitizer, shaving creme, and razors.


  • Self-Defense ($200) – If you do not have the ability to defend your family and supplies – you may up with neither.
    • $200 can work to get yourself a firearm to defend yourself – as well as possibly put some meat in the pot.
    • Check out the used gun selection at your local pawn and gun shops. You may be able to pick up a decent shotgun as well as some shells for it for the budgeted $200.
    •  Another consideration may be getting a decent rimfire like the Ruger 10/22 along with a brick of ammunition. I know, I know…..it is not the best gun for defense – but we are on a budget here.
Maverick Model 88 shotgun – $177 at Wal-Mart
  • Alternative Power ($50)– With an initial investment in supplies of $1000 – you can only do so much.
    • Stock up on batteries for all battery powered items you have and will need.
    • Try to standardize your electronics so you only need a couple of battery sizes.
    • Look for the best deal on batteries – and stock up.
    • Alkalines are much better than standard heavy-duty.
    • Rechargable can be good – if you have a method of recharging them.


  • Fuel ($50) – Stow away some extra gas for your vehicle and propane for your grill.
    • 10 gallons of gas right now is running around $35.00 .
    • Getting a 20-lb propane tank filled is costing around $15.00.
    • Do what you can.


  • Knowledge ($) – Get on the ‘net and start printing.
    • Sure – you can buy books – but if you are on a budget just start printing stuff off the Internet.
    • Place printed subject matter in categorized binders and folders.
    • Store some of the material that is most important in large Zip-loc bags.
    • Practice some of the skills that you think you might need – like firestarting.


  • Methods for Heating ($150) – Getting cold out? You’ll be glad you spent some money on this catagory.
    • Depending upon your region – being able to get warmth in the winter may be critical.
    • One possibility is to get Kerosene heaters and then stock up on fuel.
    • Blankets, blankets…….and more blankets.
    • Stock up on gloves and thermal underwear.
    • Already have a propane heater? Get more fuel.

Well – that’s $1000.00 dollars.

This list isn’t best for anyone – just to promote some thought. If someone already has a defensive firearm – that money can be spent somewhere else.  Same goes for every other category.

This kind of thinking can be fun – and get you thinking about your own preps and where YOU might spend $1000 if you you came into it.

Any thoughts?


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  1. Good list, but since I already have the Ranger 88, I would add a solar panel & some rechargeable batteries . Maybe the basic 45 watt panel ? And I guess I might have to live on oatmeal !!

  2. Over the last month we have spent some $600 on food preps. Canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats, various bread mixes, cornmeal, sugar, rice, flour and the like. Noodles, powdered milk…. lots of “just add water” stuff. We also picked up a smart charger and rechargeable batteries. Mild upgrades to our hunting and defensive weapons are ongoing and my attention has finally been drawn to getting the 13.5 kilowatt generator hooked up and propane fed. Books are an item not often mentioned. You simply can’t know everything, medical books, farming books, food processing books… ect can bolster your position. I just picked up “Country Wisdom & Know-How” , It’s another good recourse.

  3. I would add more long term food, shelter, and water purification as well. Hopefully you already have the rest and if you don’t good luck on $1000,

    • wywild –

      The ideas was a general purchase of a wide variety of items of $1000 – Not to get totally ready. Don’t think your going to get much for long term shelter, log term food, and water purification with only $1000.


  4. Rourke, I know they are not the best, but, like you said, we ARE on a budget. For just a few bucks you can pick up some cheap solar yard lights from Wally world. Rechargeable by design and just a few will keep you out of the dark. Plus you can recharge other batteries (of the same size) in the lights.
    Hopefully not your only light source, but a nice addition.

  5. I would add a few more long term items…

    Seed packets
    An axe or bow saw for firewood
    A few gallons of Bleach or some pool shock for water purification

  6. You do offer general well rounded suggestions, which is good – and (overall) quite helpful, but regarding prices, I don’t know what planet you live on. It certainly doesn’t include Alaska, CA, or some of the more northern extremes.

    First, forget the $50 on water. Maybe $20 on an inexpensive purifier, but the water in plastic soda bottles is good advice, and can be done without added expense. Spend the additional $30 – $50 on food – you’ll need it. Include some comfort foods, at a time like that it’ll boost your morale.

    Second, get good quality LED lights. You’ll be very disappointed with the inexpensive lanterns out there on the market. I have learned that from sad experience. The windups – very low lumens; the battery powered, only if you spend $50 or more on them are they worth bringing home. The propane are good at about $40 – $50, but require – yep, propane. The same with Coleman fuel types, but that fuel is VERY expensive.

    Third, medical supplies are about right – if you/your family is healthy. Prescriptions will not fit in this price range, however. And household supplies are pretty well on target, though you may be able to rob a few dollars there to fit other needs.

    Fourth, the shotgun is a good all around weapon for self-defense. Right on target there, but if you’re going to get any ammo (# 4 buck, etc.). That’ll cost you from $10 on up for a box of five. That doesn’t leave you enough to cover the quantity of ammo you really need. You won’t need hundreds of rounds, but I wouldn’t have less than one hundred if a 12 ga shotgun is all you have. I know, you can buy more over time, but if really needed at the start, a couple of boxes (of five) is just enough to get you/your family killed. BTW, the 10/22 or the 10/22 Mag is not a bad idea either. Ammo (if available) is usually cheaper too.

    Fifth, good advice on the lithium-ion or alkaline, and buy a charger that will charge these. Yep, they are made. Check on ebay.

    Sixth, fuel will cost MUCH more than $50. W/ gasoline going at $4.25 or more in many places it’ll cost your entire allotment for just ten gallon. Twenty pound propane tanks many places cost $30 to refill. Figure accordingly.

    Seventh, Knowledge and skills MUST BE SECOND — behind having your spiritual house in order, followed closely by having a good solid emotional and mental mindset. These are essential!!! Then follow up with ‘stuff.’

    Eighth, good advice – and very necessary. Especially, the sox, gloves, clothing, etc. Indians and Eskimos used a small fire and huddled around it. Don’t try heating the entire house if you can possibly spare it – don’t let pipes freeze and burst, however. Plan on heating one or two rooms, shut water off to more extreme bathrooms, mud rooms, etc.

    I hope this is not too lengthy, and helps further round out the (reasonably) sound advice given in the article above.


  7. Son of Liberty –

    Planet? Earth as far as I can tell.

    I think you make some great points. Several differences is gas around here(SC) runs $3.15/gallon, and a 20# propane tank can be filled for around $18 – much higher than when I originally write the post.

    Great comment on the comfort foods.Also – shotgun shells here run nowhere near $10 for a box of 5.

    Thanks for the comments and suggestions. Great stuff!


  8. This was a question on the Emergency Essentials Forum a few years ago, shortly after I got into the Prepping scene. I recommended a .12 GA pump shotgun, Ruger 10/22, military poncho with liner, rucksack and web gear, plus first aid supplies. I think I had 100 bucks left for a case of MREs at the end. I wonder if I saved my comment?

  9. Son of Liberty. Liked all your comments with a few observations…I have 6 of the LED lanterns I bought at Home Depot for $20 each – not $50 – they are the Energizer Weatheready Folding LED Lantern and I love these things. They have gone camping and during the last extended power outage – 7 days – they served as my primary light source in the house. The lantern taks 4 – ‘D’ size batteries and they last a LONG time. One note of caution for those thinking they can recharge alkaline batteries…I bought a charger that said it could do this..and it did…a few weeks later the batteries that I recharged were leaking some kind of clear fluid from the battery. I do plan on buying some good quality RE-CHARGABLE batteries for the future; I tossed all of the recharged alkaline that I had.

  10. There are newer very handy lights out now, and I’ve known of the company for a year. I have purchased 6 of their solar lights (2 initially, then 4 additional). The lights are solar, collapsible, and waterproof (I tested them in a sink and in a hot tub for 20 minutes each). The company is mpowered.com and the light is called the “luci.” I highly recommend this product and will be purchasing more to give as gifts so people have a decent product even though they may not be preparing themselves.the lamps run $14.95 each if I remember correctly.

  11. As it so happens, I did just come up with $1000. The VA in all their wisdom, finally decided the reason I cant hear is because of all the gun fire in the Vietnam war. and gave me partial disability. Any way, off to Sam’s Club to ‘top off’ my preps. Along the back walls. More TP, (cant have to much TP) paper towels, Kleenex, napkins, paper plates, plastic utensils, over the counter drugs, vitamins, aluminum foil, aluminum throw away pans, zip lock bags, most of the things I could have done without, but, remember the extra $1000. Thanks uncle Sam for providing me with some of the stuff I need to survive, from all the things you are screwing up.

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