Frugal Prepping: 30 Survival Items You Can Get at the Dollar Store

Preparing for disasters can be costly if you have to purchase everything at once. Many preparedness enthusiasts prefer the less stressful route in prepping a little at a time. That said, our monthly budgets sometimes do not allow for expensive, top of the line purchases. That’s when you have to get creative.

When my family rode out the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in 2008, we were off the grid for two weeks and used many emergency items purchased from the Dollar Store. At the time, we were paying off lofty debts and didn’t have the money to buy brand name items. Many of the items I purchased, I outlined in the first week of 52-Weeks to Preparedness, but there are many more Dollar Store finds that I wanted to list today.

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Check out this checklist for suggested items to store for short-term emergencies

Below, are thirty prepper-related items you could easily find at your local Dollar Store or Dollar Tree. The listed items are supplies for one person, so if you have other family members to consider, multiply some of the supplies by the amount of family members. This calculator could serve as a starting point for items you may want to keep an eye out for.

      1. Paper plates and plastic utensils
      2. Zip-loc storage bags
      3. Water (1 gallon per day)
      4. Salt and pepper
      5. Spices and condiments
      6. Cereal
      7. 2 jars of peanut butter
      8. 3 cans of juice per family member
      9. 7 cans per family member of canned vegetables and fruit
      10. 7 boxed dinners (macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, etc.)
      11. 7 cans of meat per family member (tuna, salmon, chicken, Spam, etc.)
      12. 7 cans of soup or stew for each family member
      13. 3 non-perishable items such as saltine crackers, graham crackers, oatmeal, granola bars, pasta, etc.
      14. Hand operated can opener
      15. Multi-vitamins
      16. Flash lights
      17. Batteries
      18. Weather proof tape
      19. Trash bags
      20. Soap
      21. Cleaning sponges
      22. Bleach
      23. Toothpaste/toothbrush
      24. Crisco (can use as makeshift emergency candles, fire starters, etc.)
      25. First aid items such as antibiotic ointment, band-aids, gauze, elastic bandages, tylenol
      26. Toilet paper and paper towels
      27. Feminine needs
      28. Cigarette lighters and/or matches
      29. Candles
      30. Canning jars

In addition to prepper supplies, discount stores also have storage bins and canvas totes you could purchase for additional organizing needs. As well, if you are a bargain hunter, check out weekly ads in newspapers. Sometimes there are some great deals at the Dollar Store that you could utilize. Here are some other tips to consider when shopping at discount stores:

  • Expiration dates – It’s best to find items that have expiration dates that are 1-2 years away from expiring, unless that item is used frequently in the home, and can be rotated frequently
  • Items on sale – Go for the deals.  Larger sized canned goods generally have better deals.
  • The serving amount in the food
  • Vitamin content in the food

As well, don’t forget to include these items in your supplies:

  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Copies of important documents such as insurance cards, immunization records, etc.
  • Extra cash
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys

The purpose of this article is to show you that you don’t have to break the bank to prepare for disasters. These frugal shopping tips, checklists and food calculators can help you pay less than $50 for a week’s worth of prepper supplies.


by Tess Pennington

Best Survival Books:

THE LOST BOOK OF REMEDIES-All Medicinal Plants and Lost Cures of North America

THE CARNIVORE'S BIBLE-A complete solution to meat curing, food preservation, storage and cooking and it will change your life for the better

THE LOST WAYS-Learn the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive famines,wars,economic crisis and anything else life threw at them


THE LOST WAYS 2-This lost super-food will bulletproof you against any food shortage or famine

LESSONS OF YESTERDAY-American Recipes from the Old-American Frontier

BLACKOUT USA-EMP survival and preparedness guide

MEGA DROUGHT USA-Discover The Amazing Device That Turns Air Into Water

BACKYARD REVOLUTION-Backyard Revolution offers reduced electricity bills and power for your home

BACKYARD LIBERTY-Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank

BULLET PROOF HOME-A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home

BUG OUT FOREVER-Preparing to bug out for days, weeks, months, or forever is essential if you want to cover every possible scenario.

SURVIVAL MD-Learn how to survive without medication in any crisis

ALIVE AFTER THE FALL-Advice on handling crisis situations

STOCKPILE CHALLENGE-The secret to a 1-year food stockpile

DIY HOME ENERGY-Follow the step-by-step guide from A to Z and you will have a working system to reduce your electricity bills and save energy

MY SURVIVAL FARM-This hidden survival garden will keep you well fed when shtf


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