When getting ready to buy supplies to prepare for an emergency, people often ask whether it is better to buy a little at a time or all at once.
The answer is… it really depends on you.
The two major factors are your financial situation and your personality. Each method has its advantages and its disadvantages. Those two factors will help you to navigate which path is better for you. With that said, here is a list of pros and cons for each approach.
Saving up and buying all at once comes with a number of advantages. The biggest advantage is that you may be able to buy in bulk and save money through the discounts that this typically entails. Doing so can lower your costs overall.
In addition, you will have the money that you are saving while you save. This allows you to earn interest on that money, and have it in reserve in case some other kind of emergency comes up and you desperately need funds.
However, this method also has its disadvantages. First and foremost is that you do not have the products you need until you buy them. For this reason, it is recommended that you still identify a monthly emergency prep budget and potentially buy a little just in case of an emergency.
In addition, saving money is a tough skill to learn. Some people are better at it than others. So ask yourself how you’ll do. Are you really capable of saving each month? We all have areas that we struggle in, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Still, you do need to know whether or not saving a little at a time will actually happen for you. If not, this might not be the best option.
Buy a Little at a Time
When you buy a little at a time, you still have to budget money for the purchases, but the money isn’t sitting in your pocket waiting to be spent. Rather, you will actually spend that same amount of money each month. This makes budgeting a little bit easier as you’ve already committed the money to be spent.
The major advantage of this approach is that you will have the items ready in case of an emergency. Emergencies are, by definition, unpredictable. And having some supplies will always be better than having no supplies. So buying a little at a time can be a huge advantage for you.
The downside to buying a little at a time is that you will probably pay more in total for the supplies you purchase. This is because the money you save won’t be in a fund earning interest. In addition, you won’t be able to take advantage of the bulk discounts that buying all at once can provide.
The key in making this decision is to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches. Then consider your financial situation and personality to make the best decision for you.
In either case, it is better to get started as soon as possible so you can be prepared when you need it.
Submitted by Tyler P. a Food Insurance® guest author.