There are no two ways about it: Food is expensive! When staples such as flour, sugar, and corn rise in cost- absolutely everything else also goes up with it. For those who are on low and fixed incomes, it can be especially hard and seem impossible to be able to prepare for disasters on top of paying the light bill. Don’t lose hope or give up! I am telling you that even with low and fixed incomes, you can prepare and build up your supplies. It will take an eye for opportunities, thinking outside the box, and capitalizing on opportunities when they present themselves but you CAN do it!
If you are already on a fixed income, chances are you shop the sales with the dedication of a politician trying to get votes. Some people may be budgeted so tightly that the only reason they can eat is because of sales. You know how to spot a deal already! There is still hope for those in this situation. Read on…
- Amazon.com for deals. Those of us who are used to shopping the sales as a normal thing know that Amazon.com will have deals that blow your mind if you are diligent in looking. One of the easiest ways to do that is to put the items you like on a wish list and check it occasionally. It will update and show you if the price has gone up or down since you added it to the list.
- Utilizing the dollar store for prep items (links to other articles specifically for this at the bottom).
- Assess the skills you have. Can you barter your skills or efforts for some supplies? EXAMPLE: We own a smoker and a pressure canner. We have the skills to preserve fish and other meats. Some friends of ours went out fishing and caught an incredible amount in a short time period. They wanted to smoke and jar up their bounty but had neither the equipment or skills but they knew we did so we worked out a deal. Not only do we allow them the use of our equipment, we taught them how it is done. In exchange, we were given some of the fish which now sits in our cupboard and a nicely smoked fillet in the freezer. I suppose we had to pay for the electricity but other than that, all it cost us was time. They provided the supplies, we provided the equipment and skills and the result is some extra food we weren’t expecting! Seize the opportunities that come up!
- Declutter and make money! Isn’t it funny how one can accumulate items, even when on a fixed income or tight budget? I remember one year in my early twenties where I had grossed only $17,000 but had still managed to filled my rented room with stuff! Stuff I did not really need for any purpose and had a garage sale with the unsold items going to the thrift stores. Even if you are disabled or elderly, this is something you can do with some help! There is no need to rush, take your time! Go through a small stack of items a day or tackle a whole room at once. Put all of your items off to the side and then set up a garage sale. There is also Craig’s List and other sites where you can sell your unwanted items. Even if you only make $5, it is five bucks you did not have before. Taking those extra funds and using them for preps is a fantastic way to increase your supplies without harming your fixed budget or income.
- Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose. Many items you use everyday can be repurposed to serve you in a survival situation. There are literally hundreds of thousands of projects out there on how to repurpose or upcycle everyday items for use in a disaster situation. EXAMPLE: Let’s say you buy a #10 can of something because it was on sale. Don’t throw that tin away! You can reuse it and make a rocket stove that will help cook food in a grid down situation. Reuse plastic food containers to grow vegetables and spices in! A packet of seeds will last you a long time if you are growing indoors and will give additional savings on having to buy less food. Even if all you manage to do is grow 5 carrots, you are still ahead in both food and skills!
Even those with low and fixed incomes can take steps to better preparedness.
I would say that while money can certainly be a factor in prepping for disaster situations, it is not always the deciding factor. I find that people who have loads of “stuff” that make them feel prepared generally do not know how to use the gear. The more I travel along this path toward self-reliance and sustainability, the more I find that it is your skills, mentality, and will to survive and thrive that will make the most difference. Below are some links that will help you reach your goals, even if you are on a small budget or fixed income!
Additional Articles and Resources
Dollar Store Deals
Small Budget and Free Preps