If you want to be prepared for any scenario but don’t have tons of disposal income, don’t despair! There are ways to prep on a budget by being careful of what you buy, focusing on necessities, and learning from other’s experiences about which pieces of your prepping puzzle need to be a larger investment, and which can come from discount or dollar stores, like the fire starter ideas below!
Dollar Store Fire Starters
It’s always good to have multiple options for starting fires. Matches can be found in large and small packs. I would recommend trying to find strike anywhere matches – you won’t have to worry about the striking surface because the phosphorous is in the match head. If you get matches, you can wrap the stick with a couple of layers of toilet paper, and dip them (one end at a time) in melted paraffin wax. When you’re ready to light, you pop the wax off the match head and fray the toilet paper a little so when you light it, you’ve in essence got yourself a long-burning fire starter that will hold its flame for a long time.
You can also pick up a pack of lighters. The thing to remember about these cheap-o lighters is that if you push down the little button, the fuel inside will come out whether you’re trying to light it or not. It could be dangerous if you’re already near flame, but just as important, if you’re in a SHTF scenario, you won’t have any fluid in your lighter. If you’re putting a lighter in your bug-out bag, tie a little cordage around the top of the lighter so the button can’t be pressed down.
Note: If you carry a lighter and it runs out of fluid, keep it! You can still get a spark from the flint. If you’re in a survival situation, pop the metal shield off of the lighter and you get direct access to the spark. This can come in handy if you have a fire starter straw that can catch a spark and ignite.
Be sure to keep matches and lighters in water-tight containers.
You might even get lucky at the dollar store and find a magnifying glass or a cheap pair of bifocal glasses for reading that can be used to start fires in sunny situations. Use them as a convex lens to direct the sun’s rays to a focal point and ignite your tender bundle.
– via Survival at Home
One thing that’s important to remember is that prepping on a budget means knowing what you can get cheaply and where your money should be spent. It’s easy to get things like matches, lighters, and toilet paper cheaply at a dollar or discount store, but for items like medical supplies or generators, investing money can be worth it to make sure that what you rely on in an emergency situation is reliable. Here are some things this prepper wishes she had known when she started.
Know Where To Spend Your Money
Bought less crap and more high-quality products
Preparedness is best done in this order: awareness, education, and then action. I steered clear of education and jumped right into the action phase. That’s my style, I guess! Early on I bought a lot of cheap “survival” products that I ended up sending to a thrift store as a donation. Because I had a stack of “awesome” coupons, I bought bottles and bottles of salad dressing we’ve never used and has since turned all sorts of weird colors. I don’t think the thrift store will be interested in those, and I can’t blame them.
TIP: I now stock up on ingredients to make my own salad dressings, laundry soap, and a lot more. The ingredients are inexpensive and have multiple uses.
I’ve since learned that buying the best quality we can afford is smart, even if we have to wait until we have the money. A high-quality pair of walking shoes could make the difference between life and death someday. We want tools, supplies, and even food that is meant to last for the long haul, not bargain basement specials that are cheaply produced and quickly fall apart.
Spent less money early on
I imagine that most preppers start off in a panic mode and begin amassing enormous quantities of stuff, just for the sake of stuff. However, I have learned that doing a fair amount of research first is the smartest way to go.
I didn’t know much about food storage conditions, for example, when I first began buying extra food and soon found myself with packets and boxes of potato flakes infested with tiny black bugs.
Focused on financial survival first instead of third or fourth
In the beginning I felt a mad rush of urgency to buy, stock up, preserve, and research. I wish I had felt that same urgency when it came to money. I should have doubled down on paying off debt, saving money, learning about and buying precious metals. We did these things eventually, but it would have made life easier if we had taken financial survival a little more seriously from the get-go.
– via The Survival Mom
What are some of your best tips for prepping on a budget?