When to Get Cheap Prepping Supplies (…And When to Splurge)

What cheap prepping supplies are out there? And what is not worth skimping on?

Some people will tell you never to get cheap prepping supplies and always get the best quality you can afford. But that’s not true of everything. We recommend buying certain items inexpensively so that you can put the money you saved toward a pricy purchase.

Here’s when to get cheap prepping supplies and when you should splurge on high-quality gear.

Get These Cheap Prepping Supplies

Your local dollar store can be a goldmine for cheap prepping supplies. However, keep in mind that some items sold for a dollar can be found for less at bigger retailers like Aldi’s or Walmart.

Here are some items that you can acquire inexpensively without risking your survival.

First Aid

Sanitation and Hygiene

Repair Supplies

Other items

You can also grab some cheap entertainment items for the kids like craft supplies, coloring and activity books, crayons, markers, puzzles, and toys.

You’re not staking your life on any of these inexpensive items, so it makes sense to get cheap prepping supplies where you can. Here’s a list of more than 200 prepper supplies you can find at the dollar store.

When You Should Splurge

With items that may be of life and death importance, it’s suggested that you spend a little more money and get higher quality. And while some of these things may not mean the difference between life and death, the cheap version is just not worthwhile. Many of these are among the most important things in your bug-out bag. You don’t want to rely on a cheap gas station knife that snaps the first time you try to use it.

 If you are considering expensive preps like generators or solar power for your home, be sure to do plenty of research before dropping the money on them.


What About Food?

If you plan on purchasing larger quantities, like emergency food buckets, check out these better-quality products. You can also buy high-quality grains in bulk as long as you repackage them in mylar with oxygen absorbers when needed, and keep them in food-safe buckets.

Part of whether you should look to cheap prepping supplies when stocking up on food depends on your diet right now. If you currently consume an organic paleo diet and plan to switch to Chef Boy R Dee when the apocalypse hits, you’re going to face all sorts of digestive problems. This will be particularly unpleasant if your plumbing isn’t functioning, which is a variable in many emergencies.

But if you eat a mix of food and indulge in the Standard American Diet, including some cheap prepping supplies in your food stockpile probably won’t bother you. Look for the following:

  • Cans of fruits and vegetables
  • Canned meals (like pasta or soup)
  • Canned meat (who could omit SPAM?)
  • Pasta
  • Canned pasta sauce
  • Dried beans
  • Soup mixes
  • Rice
  • Tea
  • Spices
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Basic baking supplies
  • Crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Treats

Don’t just rely on these shelf-stable items. Do your best to add some fresh produce with gardening (indoor or outdoor) or seed sprouting, which can provide fresh microgreens in just a few days. The better quality your diet is, the stronger and healthier you’ll be when you need it the most.

Also, consider stocking up on vitamins and supplements to keep yourself healthy. Your immune system will need to work extra hard in an emergency to help your body withstand a variety of threats to your health.

Some Cheap Prepping Supplies Are Worth It and Some Are Not

When making your decision about where to direct your money, look at the following factors:

  • Is it reliable?
  • How essential is it?
  • Do you have a backup if it fails?
  • Is the cheap version the same as the expensive version?
  • What does your budget allow?

The answers to those questions should help you make your decision.

What about you?

Are there certain cheap prepping supplies you buy but others you always spend more money on? What are the items? What factors into your decision? Let’s talk about prepping supplies in the comments section.


  1. JoEllen on September 21, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    Budget101.com in the mixes section has a large variety of soup mix recipes that store in wide mouth quart canning jars that are really good.

  2. Marc M on September 27, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    I have veterinary tape in both my in-house first aid supplies and in my go-bag. Small rolls (1″ wide and pretty short) can be found in the first aid supplies section of your pharmacy. Pricey. Larger (width and length) can be purchased at you farm supply or farmer’s coop store for a lot less than the pharmacy stuff. Lots of colors to choose from too. The material stretches and adheres to itself. No sticky residue when you remove it. Use it to hold compression bandages, bandages, or even improvise a sling.

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