Let’s face it. Prepping isn’t cheap.
It takes willpower, discipline, brains, and money. Even though you’ll have to spend some money, there are ways to save money and prep without much money.
If you’re already strapped for cash or just want to save a little more, here are 18 ways to save money for prepping.
Stop Drinking Soda
Soda isn’t just bad for your body, it’s also expensive. It might not seem like a big expense individually, but you’d be surprised how much you spend on soda in a year. Drink tap or filtered water instead.
Stop Buying Bottled Water
The price of bottled water these days is outrageous, but many people continue buying it either for convenience, because they think it’s in the purest form, or because they don’t like the taste of tap water.
A lot of people don’t like the taste of tap water. After all, the pipes used in our water system are decades old, not to mention all the chemicals that get dumped in the water.
Get a BPA-free water bottle and buy a Big Berkey. It’s a bit of an investment, but it’ll pay for itself in less than a year if you’re someone who buys a lot of bottled water. And it makes filtered water just as pure as the bottled stuff.
Don’t Buy Pre-Cut Food
When you visit the store, you have the choice of buying pre-cut food or whole food. The pre-cut food is marked up for the convenience of having it done for you.
For example, packs of fruits and vegetables that come pre-cut are more expensive than buying those fruits and veggies whole and cutting them yourself.
This also applies to meat. Instead of buying parts of a chicken, you could save money by buying the whole chicken and cutting it yourself.
Reload Your Own Ammunition
Ammo is expensive these days, and it’s only going to get more expensive as more and more gun laws are enacted by the government.
The good news is you don’t have to pay full price for your ammo. If you hunt or target practice, you can save money by reloading your own ammo.
Reloading ammo is when you assemble the individual components of shells or bullets yourself instead of buying them pre-made.
Since the manufacturer doesn’t have to assemble them, the savings are passed on to you. Plus, you can re-use the casings after you fire them which will save you even more money.
Save Money on Washing Clothes
Doing laundry isn’t just time consuming, it can be expensive too. Especially if you go to a laundromat or live in an apartment with machines that take quarters. Even if you own your own washer and dryer, they still consume a lot of electricity.
For the washer, try using a lower temperature setting. Hot water breaks up gunk on your clothes better, but depending on the quality of detergent you use and how dirty your clothes are, it shouldn’t make too much of a difference.
As for the dryer…well, why use a dryer at all? Use a good old-fashioned clothes line. You can get a clothes drying rack really cheap or just tie some twine between two trees.
Your clothes will get wrinkly using a clothes line, so you can still use a dryer for your formal wear.
Check Expiration Dates
A lot of food goes to waste in the U.S. You pay good money for your food, so why let it go to waste? Eliminating food waste will help lower your grocery bill.
Part of being a prepper is knowing how to rotate food before it goes bad. Put the fresh food in storage or the freezer and eat the old food before it goes bad.
Buy Generic Goods
Brand name products are usually placed at eye level in the stores. You’ll find cheaper alternatives by looking above or below them.
These generic brand products are much cheaper and are usually pretty comparable in quality.
Buy in Bulk
Stores reward shoppers who buy products in bulk. When you buy in bulk, the total price tag is higher, but the price per unit is lower. The result is you save more money overall.
Of course, the catch is that you have to actually use it all to get the full value. So make sure to buy the right item in bulk that you know you’ll use. If you buy food in bulk but let it go bad, then you’re obviously just wasting money.
Negotiate All Your Bills
Your bills aren’t necessarily set in stone. Sometimes it’s possible to negotiate lower rates. This works best when the company sending the bill fears that you’ll either cancel your subscription or simply won’t pay at all in the case of credit cards.
Call the company sending the bill and tell (don’t ask) them you want your bill lowered and that you’re thinking about switching to another company. If you’re firm and luck is on your side, you could walk away with a reduced bill.
This can also work with property taxes. If your house is appraised at a higher value than what you paid, you could get your property tax lowered.
Ask your neighbors and anyone else in your area what they pay. Then contact your local government office and tell them you want your house re-appraised.
Hunt or Fish for Food
Food in the grocery store is expensive, but food you catch in the wild only costs a permit from the DNR.
Just one deer can provide meat for a few months. Skin and cut it yourself and you won’t have to pay processing fees.
Barter for Things You Need
There’s no need to pay inflated prices for everything. Trading goods with other people is free and can land you some great gear.
It’s said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so you never know what you’ll be able to find.
Cook Your Meals Instead of Going Out
Your bill at a restaurant isn’t really for the food; it’s for the service. Throw a 15% or more tip into the mix and you just blew $20 on a $5 meal.
Going out to eat is a nice treat, and I’m not telling you to stop doing it altogether. But if you find yourself going out multiple times a week, that can really add up and you’ll benefit from learning a few new recipes and cooking at home.
Get a Better Credit Card
If you’re in debt with a credit card company, your #1 priority is to get out as soon as possible. Money spent on paying off interest is wasted money.
Some credit cards offer grace periods where they don’t charge interest if you switch your balance to them. This could save you a lot of money and help you get out of debt faster.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Read the fine print for each credit card offer before committing.
Visit Nearby Yard Sales
You can find a lot of useful stuff at local yard sales. There’s usually a lot of baby and kid’s clothes, so if you have a young family, it’s definitely worth checking out yard sales.
You can also find used hand tools and power tools for much cheaper than you’ll find in stores.
Find Free Stuff on Craigslist
Craigslist has an entire section devoted to free stuff. It’s amazing what you can find on there that people are giving away for free.
Repair Instead of Replace
Instead of buying something new, why not try to fix the old? Fixing things rather than replacing them will save you the cost of buying something new or paying a repairman.
It’s getting tougher to fix your own car because of all the advanced electronic components in them these days, but if you’ve got an older car, you can save a lot of money by fixing it yourself.
You don’t need to know everything. Just look up your specific problem online and chances are you can do it yourself.
Cut Your Own Hair
The average cost of a men’s haircut is $28 and for women it’s $43. You can get a complete hair cutting kit for around $50, and it’ll pay for itself within two uses.
Start Your Own Garden
People pay premium prices for organic fruits and veggies at the grocery store, but you can have all you can eat for pennies on the dollar!
It takes work in the beginning, but once you get your garden going, it gets easier to maintain.
First, determine where you want your garden. Then remove the sod and break up the soil with a metal rake, removing any large rocks.
Then dig little holes in a line about one inch deep, gently bury your seeds, cover with soil, and water.