Many families find the financial costs of emergency preparedness do not fit into their budget. If all of your funds are already accounted for, it would be hard to create a little wiggle room for emergency supplies. However, if you’ve done your research, you’ll know that planning for an emergency should be on the list of priorities. Here are 15 suggestions for how to work around a tight budget to obtain critical emergency supplies.
1. If you haven’t already made a budget, do it now. Determine where you could be spending less money, such as entertainment or eating out at restaurants. It make be a sacrifice, but going without extras will pay off in the end. Make sure you and whomever you share a budget with talk about finances often.
2. Pace yourself. For beginning preppers, it can be easy to go overboard and want to buy everything at once. After all, a disaster can strike at any time, right? Keep in mind that it is never to late to start preparing, and slow but steady preparations are better than nothing. Start out by buying one item a week. Make sure you have goals and a schedule written down so that you never get distracted or buy unnecessary items.
3. Set aside a little bit of money each week or month until you’ve saved up enough for supplies. In one money saving challenge, you put aside $1 the first week, $2 the second week, $3 the third week, until you have over $1,000 by the end of the year.
4. Check out garage sales, consignment stores, and sales. Stores like Salvation Army are a great place to look for spare can openers, dehydrators, flashlights, and other sundry items. You can find cheap clothing that you don’t mind storing instead of wearing. Cut coupons for canned goods and other groceries.
5. Share with a neighbor or family member. You won’t be able to do this with all of your supplies, but for some, it would be much less expensive to go in together. This includes items like dehydrators and other supplies that might be cheaper in bulk. You can also organize a swap with your friends – trade items like books, movies, kids’ clothes and toys, etc.
6. Pick your own produce. Some areas will allow you to pick fruits and vegetables off of their property for cheaper than buying at the store. Although fresh produce isn’t something you can store long-term, you can shave some money off of your grocery bill or dehydrate your own food.
7. Make your own green cleaners. Many household items can be cleaned with various combinations of vinegar, baking soda, lemons, and other inexpensive items you probably already have around the house. Making your own cleaning products will be cheaper than buying them at the store. You can also store these cleaning products as part of your emergency supplies. There are recipes for all types of cleaners, as well as other products like laundry detergent, air fresheners, fabric softeners, shampoo, makeup removers, etc.
8. Do what you can to save on your utility bills. You can air dry clothing and dishes after they’ve been washed. Turn down your thermostat. Unplug appliances that are not in use.
9. Collect change in your house.
10. Recycle. In some areas, you can get paid for your aluminum cans or glass bottles.
11. Sell your extra books, DVDs, and other items online. Similarly, have a garage sale and get rid of any extra items you no longer need.
12. Buy discounted gift cards online. Many websites will sell you gift cards for slightly less than their worth. Saving a few dollars on various shopping trips will add up.
13. Entertain yourself for less. Invite friends over instead of going out. Have a family game night.
14. Get a part time job. You can deliver pizzas and newspapers. There are also different websites set up to help you connect with families that need babysitters or pet-sitters.
15. Donate plasma. Plasma donation companies will pay you money for your contributions. The process is perfectly safe, and you could help save lives. Although you will be limited to how many times you can donate in a week (2), you could be earning about $40 a session
Submitted by Ally G., a Food Insurance™ Guest Author