How to Start Prepping on a Budget: Become a Prepper With No Money

You can’t put a price on the security of your family… but you can put a price on all of the prepping supplies you need to get secure!

Getting started with prepping can seem expensive. And I’m not going to lie; you will have to shell out some cash to prepare for disasters.

But there is no reason that prepping has to be expensive.

Here’s how to prep on a budget so every dollar counts.

Start with a Prepping List

Don’t buy any prepping supplies or gear until you’ve made a complete list of everything you need. Otherwise, you will buy duplicates of some items (like that prepper I know with 10 lbs of dried tomatoes but no grains) and missing important items.

All of the prepping supplies can be broken down into categories:

Break Your List Down by Priority

Now that you’ve got your prepping supplies list, you must identify the core items you need. Identify the things you need for your Bug Out Bag (see a list here).

These are the items you should get ASAP. Then work your way up to a 30 day supply. You can then focus on long-term prepper supplies, like food buckets.

Set Your Prepping Budget

If you want to make every single dollar count to the maximum, you’ve got to set a prepping budget.

You might think, “But I don’t have a prepping budget!” EVERYONE has a prepping budget.

If you have no money to spend, your prepping budget is zero. Zero is still a budget (yes, you can still prep with zero dollars to spare).

  • If you have a sizeable prepping budget: Resist the urge to rush out and buy a lot of fancy gear and pricy security systems. Identify the core items you need and get these first. Do your research and invest in quality.
  • If you have a small prepping budget: Divide your list into expensive and cheap items. Buy some cheap items every week. Set aside a certain amount of money each week to buy pricier items.
  • If you have zero in your prepping budget: Learn how to make your own supplies from cheap and recycled items. Read more about DIY survival projects.

Tips for Stretching Your Prepping Budget

Again, I need to emphasize that the most important thing you can do when prepping on a budget is prep with a plan. 

If you don’t have a plan of what items to buy, you will spend too much money on certain items or waste money when you throw things away.

Here are some tips for how to prep on a budget.

Rotate Your Stockpile

Let’s say you’ve built up a year’s supply of non-perishable foods like canned soups and pasta. Well, even “non-perishable” foods go bad!

Throwing away food is the same as throwing away money!

Once you surpass the 30 day food stockpile, you will need to develop a food rotation system. There are many ways to rotate your food preps – such as can organizers.

Rotating Tip: Only buy prep foods you normally eat (if you don’t usually eat rice and beans, don’t buy them as your prep foods!). Otherwise, it will be harder for you to rotate them.

Don’t Buy Bottled Water

Bottled water is one of the biggest scams in our country. There is no reason that you should be buying water for prepping. Instead, save old plastic bottles and jugs. Wash them out very thoroughly and fill them with tap water.

Note that YOU MUST ROTATE WATER STOCKPILES TOO. You’ll need to rotate your water supply about every 6 months.

Read more about storing water in milk jugs.

Do It Right the First Time

When I first started with long-term food storage for prepping, I made a bunch of mistakes. I ended up with moths in my food preps and had to throw them away.

This could have been avoided if I’d just taken more time to learn food storage methods.

Before you start a project, do your research. It will take longer, but you’ll save money on your prepping budget when you do it right the first time!

More about stockpiling food.

Make Prepping Gear Yourself

Some prepping gear can be costly to buy, but you may be able to make it yourself.

If you get creative, you’ll find no limit to what you can do even with a small prepping budget.

Focus on Skills, Not Supplies

We hate to admit it, but no amount of supplies is going to make you fully prepared for a disaster. History shows us that, after large-scale disasters, looting occurs by the second or third day.

Even if you secure your home, you could still have all your prepping supplies stolen!

For this reason, it is essential that you learn prepping skills in addition to stockpiling supplies. I’d go as far as saying that people with survival skills are more prepared for disaster than those with years of stores stockpiled.

The great thing is that prepping skills are usually free to learn, so preparing on a budget doesn’t have to be a problem.

Focus On Sustainable Prepping Solutions

Even though prepping and homesteading are entirely different, there is a strong link between them. Homesteading is all about self-sufficiency and sustainable solutions. Well, preppers live on those principles too!

Start thinking like a homesteader.

  • Instead of just having a year’s worth of food stockpiled, why not grow your own food?
  • Instead of relying on your flashlights and batteries, why not get a solar system started?
  • Instead of stockpiling medicines, why not plant a medicinal survival garden….?

Yes, some of these projects require an initial investment of time and money. However, the investment will quickly pay off. Your energy costs will go down. You will spend less on groceries and medicines. And you will probably improve your health in the process, thus reducing all those medical costs (and improving your preparedness level!).

Take It Slow!

Finally, remember to take things slow.

It is great that you are taking the first steps in getting prepared for disasters. But there is no need to rush out and do it all at once. You’ll end up making mistakes and wasting money. So make your plan and do what you can.

You’d be surprised how far an extra few cans and jugs of water per week can make!

Are you prepping on a budget? How do you make every dollar count?

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