9

The thrifty prepper – how to stretch the prepping budget

The thrifty prepper – how to stretch the prepping budget

I think most preppers are frugal folks deep down in their prepping hearts.

We are prepared and practical in our approach to life. We pour over our prepping lists and consider what items are best suited for our needs. If those items happen to be on sale, discounted or there is a coupon we can use to further reduce the price, we just achieved prepper nirvana.

I learned to be frugal from my parents. They were generous of spirit, but they loved building their savings. My Mom was a somewhat shy person, but get that woman shopping and I used to wonder where my mother went.

She knew her prices and could execute a grocery shopping trip with all the zeal of a five-star General storming an enemy stronghold. Those groceries were hers and they were landing in her shopping cart at the price she wanted to pay. No can of tuna was left behind!

My Dad and Mom together were a tour de force. They would descend upon an appliance store and compare every detail to ensure the best possible features. Then, the final moments as they circled a washing machine and shifted from an appraising to a critical eye. Aha! There was a dent!

I swear those two invented scratch and dent sales. But you know, it wasn’t such a bad way to shop. They were careful and informed shoppers.

They taught me to pay attention to what is referred to as “sale seasons.”

We know about Black Friday sales or Boxing Day sales, but throughout the year, there are items that traditionally go on sale each month and at certain times of the month. If you follow this sale calendar, you can save some money.

For example, there are the “white sales” of January each year when bed linens, pillows and towels go on sale. 

You don’t have to be a Dad to take advantage of the Father’s Day sales that happen every June. You can get great deals on all kinds of tools at hardware stores and big-box home stores.

There are different sale season calendars that can be sourced online. I’ve included the links for a couple that might help you familiarize yourself with them.

http://www.chiff.com/home_life/shop/sales.htm

and

https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/articles/shopping-holidays-the-best-days-to-shop-this-year

Aside from sale seasons, there are ways to negotiate on the best deals for that BOV you’ve been wanting.

I worked for two car dealerships and got an understanding of how people walked away with the best deals.

October, November and December are the best time of year to buy a car. 

Car dealerships must meet sales quotas, which typically break down into yearly, quarterly and monthly sales goals. These three goals dovetail together late in the year.

Of those months, I personally would choose December and walk in on the last business day before the sales cut off for commissioned sales reps. 

They will be eager to make a deal and then push for a successful negotiation with their Sales Manager. They want that sale included in their pay cheque.

The Sales Manager will push back on the negotiations because that’s what he does, but a savvy shopper says to the sale rep “Let me talk to your Sales Manager so we can get you that nice big commission check.”

You can do it politely, in a firm and business-like tone, but ask to speak with the Sales Manager drirectly. The sales rep has no power to approve the deal. It saves time and you won’t get caught up in a negotiation that could cost you more than you want to spend or waste your time if there is not a deal to be made there and you could have made a deal elsewhere.

Once you are in the Sales Manager’s office “Look, the car lots are slow because people are paying off their Christmas spending. I have cash in my account so it’s a cash deal. Easy money for you, if I get the deal that works for me. So far, our numbers are too far apart. Just give me your best and final offer. I’m buying a vehicle today, and for the right deal, it will be off your lot.” 

You have turned the table on the Sale Manager because now he has to present a number to you, his best and final, in order to make the deal work.

January is usually a good month for used cars. Did you know that most millionaires, multi-millionaires and even billionaires drive three year old cars?

That BOV of your dreams is a depreciable asset and it will depreciate at least $1000.00 the moment you drive it off the lot.

A three year old vehicle still has warranty. Any recall issues are usually addressed. There are also one year old Sale Reps Demo vehicles that can be had for a good deal also. Same principles apply re time of month shopping, always on day before for pay day cut off day.

Read the bill of sale carefully before paying and don’t pay for baloney charges like “airport tax.” When was the last time anyone saw a plane full of cars offloaded? “A doc fee” is another one. It is short for a document fee which is short for you are expected to contribute to their Finance & Insurance Manager’s commission cheque. Have these charges removed from the bill. They can pay their own people.

There are other ways of being a thrifty prepper. 

If you and a couple of friends are in the market for new deep freezers, coordinate your purchase, then approach the appliance department together, in the right sale month, at the right time of the month and say “There are three of us and we each want to buy that deep freezer, what’s the best price you can offer us?”

How about grocery shopping? Are you using coupons? How about case lots or bulk food purchasing? Have you tried sourcing directly from the producer or farmer? There is always gardening or a you pick fruit farm.

Have you ever bought a mis-matched mattress and box-spring set? It’s only the outer fabric that differs and that is covered up so no one sees the difference.

There are good deals to be had from government surplus sites. Another is the deals from boom cities that are winding down. Kelowna, BC, for example, had a huge amount of generators, tools and various building gear for sale online and in the local pawn shops. The people hired were desperate to sell and there were some very good deals available.

They are so many more ways to be a thrifty prepper. How about you? Do you practice thrifty prepping? What are some ways that you get thrifty?

24

  • Comments (24)

    • 4

      Yes, indeed, thrifty prepping practiced here.

      I manage our small group’s food acquisition and storage.  We’ve got a co-op arrangement. Our costs are very good.

      No big ticket items can be bought unless at least 2 are skilled in the maintenance of the item.  This includes knowing about best places for parts and spares. All support items must be budgeted into the big ticket item’s cost.

      Clothing is individual-oriented with close liaison telling group members of opportunity at xyz store (mail order usually).  Soon, with warm weather arriving, it is time to research winter clothing garments.

      Contingency financing is – discussed – but not budgeted for.

      Insurance and CAT bonds get our attention. 

      Storage space for stuff not discarded has a cost and this is addressed. Not easy !

      Much info on budgeting is available for nearly free.  It takes a few trips to the city or county offices offering help to start businesses. The business need not be a for profit business, It can be other types such as a co-op. The info is available.  It just takes effort to get – and – to maintain a cordial relationship with the public sector employee … sometimes a volunteer doing this type of counseling … 

      ……

      A small prepper group does wonders for thrifty purchases. They can be formed.  It’s been done before.

      • 2

        Hi Bob, 

        Yes- form your own neighborhood or prepper group co-op. I know people who have done this in BC and it worked beautifully.

        I like the idea of having a mandate of 2 skilled in the maintenance of big ticket items, acquistions of parts, and support items budgeted for; a very smart way to plan and organize group purchases.

        Re winter gear – sales are on now to make room for spring/summer stock in Canada, maybe check online out your way too?

        Also I remember you were looking for wool? Stanfield’s in Canada make super wool garments. Rig workers, construction, lineman, and anyone who works outdoors swears by their products. They are located in the Maritimes in Nova Scotia (their history is a good read and has some neat pictures:  https://stanfields.com/collections/clearance

        Their products aren’t inexpensive, but they wear like iron. There are Henley wool garments in this house over 20 years old that look like new.

        Thanks for bringing up the group/co-op purchases – it is a great way for preppers to be thrifty and stretch those prepping dollars.

      • 4

        Good morning Ubique, Wool garments, from a true perspective, can be viewed as economical.  They can last ages. I’m loaded with wool garments – includes scarves and socks – and can say they are my best buys.

        Will glance at the Stanfields link soon. The mention of the Maritimes reminds me of Argentia, It is one of the most beautiful, scenic places I’ve seen.

        My favorite brand of wool garment – believed bought out / merged out – was the Jaegar brand.  I still have some of their products here and they are 4 decades old. They were the best of any brand I ever bought and I was stocking up in Hong Kong where everything was available, from the Nordic countries to Russia (SU at time).

      • 2

        Hi Bob,

        Argentina looks like a beautiful country from the photos I’ve seen. Glaciers and mountain/lake vistas reminiscent of British Columbia. Their financial collapse is one that they just can’t seem to recover from. Such a shame.

        I remember Jaeger from my sewing/selling fabric days. Yes, they were a very good brand name. I checked for the heck of it and guess what? Marks & Spencer the British company bought Jaeger as of Jan 13, 2021.

        Here’s the website with the Jaeger announcement:

        https://www.jaeger.co.uk/welcome.html

        I also noted that their knitting yarn is available online.

        Good thinking to stock up when you could. I do the same thing for certain items. One never knows if a company will close or change hands or revamp their current quality under new management.

      • 2

        Had thought the original Jaeger … believe origin was Liverpool … was merged with a company prior to M&S and keeping original name.  M&S is somewhat expensive. Their merchandise is available in Washington, D.C. area.

        Just glanced at the Stenfields website.  Had not heard/read the term “shawl collar” in ages. Their site’s history section is high quality.  The photos made my day.

      • 2

        Bob, 

        From info I could find on wiki Edinburgh Woollen Mills purchased the name but not the company in 2017. Legal is pending. I included link info

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaeger_(clothing)

        Agree re M&S pricing. They have some sales, but for myself, I would probably run with Stanfield, although Jaeger did some beautiful wool garments and tailoring. Nobody did twin sets like Jaeger did. 

        There might be vintage Jaeger online? That could be a possibility.

        Glad you enjoyed photos and history.

      • 3

        Had a good time reading the Wiki Jaeger link.  Didn’t know that the camel hair coat originated with Jaegar.

      • 2

        Bob – Yeah, good camel hair fabric is just beautiful. 

        I haven’t sold fabrics for many years, but I can still spot quality fabric a mile away.

        You would be surprised how many beautiful garments made out of top notch fabrics end up in thrift stores. I have come out of stores with hi end names like Ports in wools for example. Dry cleaned them and they served me well as suits and skirts or slacks for work.

        I found a mens navy cashmere dress coat for $15.00. It had a loose seam on the back lining near the bottom hem. I repaired the seam and it is beautiful. That same coat in that quality of cashmere would probably run around $5000.00.

        Those aren’t the only deals on high end garments that I have encountered over the years. My emergency ski pants in my preps is like brand new and there is no way I could have afforded them new at retail.

        It takes patience, but the “hand” or feel of the garment is a big indicator of it’s quality. You can practice in retail stores with several wools and feel the difference. Cheap wool also pills easily or can stretch out of shape and get baggy spots that make the wearer look ill-fitted.

      • 3

        Ubique, I started out growing up with the original type of “Army-Navy store”. It was stocked with WWII clothes, tents, small and medium size equipment. Of course most everything was olide drab or matt finish “battleship” gray.  Sometimes there were leather flight jackets with the fleece collars. They soon became a rarity due to their high quality and very low cost.

        Speaking of dry-cleaning; At an onshore work site overseas, someone “dry cleaned” our field clothes using the “traditional” pre-dry cleaning store method. I vaguely remember some of the ingredients in their process: white vinegar, a couple of spoons of gasoline – not like purer US gasoline – baking soda.  Watched the process; reminded me of not being too different to cleaning car battery terminals with baking soda and water with brush and then a rag rinse.

      • 4

        Hi Bob,

        We had such an Army-Navy store in Winnipeg. I was huge and full of all kinds of gear. I bought enamelware there plates, cups, etc. 

        The olive drab and grey make for easy wardrobe mix and match choices. I bought some of my leathers from Value Village – check their “craft section” for leathers and suedes. I’ve noticed that they often put really nice leathers in that section as “cut up for craft” leather, when the garment is actually in beautiful condition.

        I found my long rider leather there. Nice heavy leather, with a torn pocket that was easily repairable for $1.00. Once I repaired it, you couldn’t see that there had ever been a tear as it was under where the pocket was positioned. Someone had put it in there without realizing it’s value or ease of repair.

        Also found a beautiful men’s sheepskin – mint condition – not a mark. Paid around $10.00.

        Something else you can do if you’re crafty is use leather garments to make a nice pair of gloves or mitts. Repurposing or remaking garments into something else is an interesting hobby, especially for long winters.

        Quilters can have a field day finding garments that can be used to quilts/blankets for beds. I’ve seen some really nice ones done with blue jeans that have been cut up and patched together.

        A thrifty prepper should know how to do basic repairs with hand sewing. A sewing machine is a bonus and helpful in the long run.

        Every prepper should have a supply of basic colors of thread (black, white, tan, navy, olive and grey) in regular weight. I keep heavy cotton thread in black and white for heavier repairs. I also store heavy zippers the size of every heavy jacket/parka in the house, plus replacement zippers for jeans/shorts and a button box full of buttons including sets of buttons for shirts.

        Additionally, I keep various closures, snaps, hook & eye, latch type closures usually seen on slacks/shorts and velcro, plus fabric glue. Also, a very large selection of sewing needles including specialty needles like bookbinder and sailmaker needles.

        In a long term situation repairs of one’s clothing is a major skill. Prepper’s need to know how to patch something or darn socks or sweaters. I keep yarn on hand for that purpose.

        Back to drycleaning, I had never looked at it’s history before, or how to do it if needed as a prepper resource. I found a couple of articles on it’s history plus the chemicals used. The first link has a great chart, but I found it really hard to read.

        https://www.enviroforensics.com/blog/the-history-of-dry-cleaning-solvents-and-the-evolution-of-the-dry-cleaning-machine/

        Then there is this info:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_cleaning

        An aside, flu jab tomorrow around supper time, Pfizer. I have to drive 1.5 hrs away, but at least the weather is good.

      • 4

        Have you ever replaced a zipper?

        How would you go about doing that? It looks pretty complicated to me.

      • 3

        Hi Conrad, 

        A zipper replacement requires a sewing machine to make a good job of it. A skilled hand sewer, as I am, can do it, but zippers on pants for example, handle a fair amount of stress on them. I would only hand sew something like that if there was no other recourse.

        If you look at a pair of jeans, there is an inside piece to which one side of the zipper is sewn. There is also the other outside piece where it looks like the zipper sits inside two pieces.

        Replacing a zipper involved removing it with a seam ripper (carefully so as not put holes in the fabric) and then sewing in the new zipper the way it came out.

        There are videos and written instructons. The thrift stores have a good selection of beginner sewing books as well as amazon’s book selection.

        You could barter with a tailor or seamstress to learn from them.

        There are also beginner classes offered in many fabric stores. My first sewing machine was given to me by one of my Aunts. The one I use now was from Costco and it works great. Nothing fancy and no need to spend a huge amount of money on one.

        I have sewn in many zippers since I was 13 and learned to sew in home economics class, both as replacements and new installs for garments I made.

        Did you know that some of the best tailors are men?

        It is a skill that I firmly believe every prepper should learn. And you can as well Conrad! If you know how to sew, not only can you repair your own garments, but you have just acquired a major bartering skill.

        Sewing is no different than constructing something out of wood or building a model car. There are parts and you put them together.

        The following is a quick run down of some of the things you learn to do. It can sound like a lot, but once you learn, it is very straightforward, like riding a bike.

        In sewing you learn about fabrics and patterns in a general way. You learn the best material that will suit a particular pattern for a garment. You learn how to straighten fabric so that you place you pattern pieces on it correctly and the garment will hang properly later. You learn what a selvage edge means on fabric.

        You learn how to measure yourself and ensure you choose the right size of pattern.

        Then you learn how to make little changes to the pattern, like lengthening the sleeve on a shirt for example or taking in the waist of a pair of pants, before you cut out the pattern pieces. 

        You learn the correct way to mark fitting areas where the pieces line up and other areas where there are special ways of shaping a garment called “darts”. You also learn how to pin correctly so you don’t break a needle when sewing your garment later.

        Once you have selected a pattern in the correct size range for you, look at the notions required (like zippers, buttons, thread, etc) and if it needs a stiffener called “interfacing” like they put in certain parts of garments like collars.

        Then you buy a pattern, cut out the paper pieces for the item you intend to make. Then you follow the layout for the width of fabric you have chosen and pin all your pattern pieces according to the layout provided in the pattern.

        Transfer your special pattern marks and then cut out your pieces close to the pattern pieces but not through the paper. Keep your pattern pieces attached to the fabric until you are ready to use them. With experience, you can remove them, but at the beginning, it’s good to keep everything together.

        Then all you have to do is follow the instructions and sew the garment together.

        The best way to learn to sew is from hands on experience with a person who has been trained to sew.

        I hope this helps, Conrad.

      • 3

        Hey, thank you so much for the nice long description of how to do it, and the value behind doing it. 

        I would like to learn how to sew, especially with a sewing machine. I don’t think I’d be interested in making my own clothes, but doing repairs or modifications to strengthen gear would be neat. And you are right, if you have a sewing machine, especially one of those old fashion ones that don’t need electricity and are foot powered, then you would be a valuable resource to barter with.

        I didn’t know that the craft stores offered classes, that’s one of my main hurdles of buying a machine is that I don’t know how to run it. But with a class I could learn easily.

      • 3

        Hi Conrad,

        You are welcome. I put the detail in so it wouldn’t seem so intimidating to try sewing. A lot of people think it is beyond their reach and it really isn’t.

        Hey, doing repairs or gear modification is a great way to learn how to work a sewing machine and get comfortable using one. The old ones are around, you just have to hunt for them or talk to some friends with older neighbors and see if any know of one. 

        The sewing classes are offered in different places. The type of sewing you want to do will be straight sewing, and very easy to learn. The sewing machine all have a threading pattern to thread the thread from the top down through the components and through the needle.

        The bobbin is below the feeder plate where the needle rests above, and so on….You’ll learn all that once you get a machine. Many still have manuals.

        I’ll check around here also if anyone has a machine that they want to get rid of. Sometimes they are free. The old pedestal machines also come up in auction from time to time. I’ll let you know on this thread.

      • 4

        Well wishes re Pfizer shot/jab.

        Galnced at the link’s dry cleaning solvent history.  The pattern is clear: from a tree product to the petrol products until perc arrived. There’s another reason for it’s phase out not for posting here.

        My sewing kit – actually 2; one here and one for rapid evac – also loaded with nomax thread for fire retardent clothes (“Retardent” word varies with user.) and:

        Bow wax and Dritz brand bee wax for thread and zipper lube … Not in sewing kit but with hand tools, WD-40 w/ paint sponge used for long zippers eg sleeping bag, suitcases, duffles.

        Neoprene glue – neoprene repair tape and patch (it’s a patch cut to size needed).  Several companies make this stuff. Prices vary. For evac kit, only new unopened stuff carried. Also acquired the iron-on neoprene patch. In actually, working with neoprene repair is easier than a bicycle tire.

        Elastic cord, elastic ribbon.

        Some small paper clamps, the black triangle ones and the silver plate type.  This is for holding stuff in place instead of “basting” repair sections. Admittedly, my sewing is like my painting.  No awards received but requirements met.

        Small icepick for punching holes in sturdy, thick canvas that has some need to sew something on to it. Once used the ice pick to punch a couple of holes in Army cotton web belts so as to sew 2 together for a lashing strap. Needed to save my couple of small metal stove bolts, nuts, washers during an evac.

        A couple of scraps of needed repair material and a couple of large iron-on cloth patches in kit.

        Sewing is an important prepper requirement and not expensive – especially when saving stuff that is expensive.  The skill level is minimal. My sewing attests to this.

        FNs;

        Do hold off on the tree chopping and other fatiguing stuff until vaccine completed from immunization jab.

        Got the bow wax for about 10 -15% cost of the branded bee wax – and it was about 4 times the Dritz size. 

      • 3

        Hi Bob, 

        Thanks for the well wishes on the jab, Bob.

        My arm and I are back. It went really well with textbook social distancing and super organized. It was great. 

        So far no after effects. I was told I may only reach 75% efficacy due to auto immune condition, but I’ll take that. It’s going to be better than if I hadn’t gotten a vaccine at all.

        I glanced again and see what you mean about perc. I never liked the chemical smells in dry cleaners.

        Oh, good point on stocking nomax thread for fire retardant clothing. I’m getting some for my sewing tote. 

        Bees wax is another standby. Also I use graphite to act as zipper lube, it works really well. WD-40 is like ketchup around my house. I’d feel lost without it.

        I had no idea that they had Neoprene glue, neoprene repair tape or the patch! I am looking for it also.

        Yes, elastic cord and elastic ribbon! And also, those little barrel stoppers that are used as adjustment features on parkas/jackets. The elastic cord is threaded through it and you squeeze the barrel to slide the adjustment smaller or larger. It works to control wind under jackets.

        This is what I mean:

        https://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Spring-Toggle-Stoppers-Multi-colour/dp/B01FH9DYU6/ref=zg_bs_17545028011_4/140-0118182-0443642?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=SVRX89FEX0T2FXA2PT98

        I have bulldog clamps in various sizes. They really come in handy.

        Icepick is a great idea and certainly came in handy for you.

        I would also suggest Gromments. I have an assortment of sizes plus grommet installer. And safety pins in an assortment of sizes. I use old pill containers to put sewing needles and safety pins.

        I keep iron-on patches myself plus repair material. Plus I keep a couple of pairs of good quality sewing shears.

        You are so right about sewing being an important prepper requirement. What we can save on one hand becomes the means to save more for emergencies or larger much need items.

        If you can repair something and it doesn’t fall apart, then that is the main thing. Skill levels can always be developed if desired.

        Wow, thank you so much Bob – I had no idea to take it easy after jabs. Your point gratefully taken and I will rein it in.

        Will get the bow wax also – way better deal. Thank you.

        So much good info as always, Bob. You help so many people here.

        A quote for you, Bob:

        “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

      • 3

        Good to hear drive back from clinic event successful. Real good Albert Schweitzer quote. 

        So that’s what barrel stoppers are ! Just glanced at link.  Many of my pre cut lengths of para cord are outfitted w/ 2 each of these barrel-stoppers. They replace the taut – line hitch. 

        A variety of gromments here but not in sewing kit. Have a plastic compartmented tool/fishing tackle box I call “hardware accessories”. Gromments w/ small hardware like # 10-32 bolts. Have actually “bolted” – literally ! – together fabrics during emergencies. 

        If I had a button sub-section compartment or container, might learn of a supply of safety pins. Haven’t seen them in years so can guess below buttons … maybe. (Of course “maybes” do not count in emergencies.)

        Before teaching any new preppers how to make a fire after a bolt of lightning strike on to kindling, would take them on tour of a sewing store like Joanns or even a Walmart sewing section. 

      • 3

        Hi Bob,

        Grommets are really handy for lacing items together. I have used them on garments, but keep a supply of larger heavy duty ones for emergency preps.

        Safety pins are usually kept in fastener section at fabric stores, around zippers, snaps. I keep a wide variety of sizes from very small to large. I have a couple of diaper pins that I somehow found which have also proven handy because of their larger size.

        Small pieces of certain items can be threaded onto safety pins for safekeeping and then placed into a container to prevent them being lost. It is also easier to slide one small piece off the safety pin, than to dig around in a container of loose pieces. Arthritic hands can be a bit clumsy so I learned to do this where possible.

        Your idea to take new preppers on a tour of a sewing store is brilliant!

        New prepper tours could be for other places like bulk foods stores, army-navy, thrift stores, etc

        Field trips like that are an excellent way to teach thrifty shopping skills to a class of new preppers, or family members.

    • 5

      I consider myself a thrifty prepper. But I was to the extreme end and am now realizing that it wasn’t the best way to prepare. I would Google “free samples” and other variations of it and would see these compiled lists of various companies trying to give out free samples. Free toothbrush, shampoo, trash bag, or granola bar I would get a free sample and then that’s how I made up a portion of my bug out bag. Got some pretty cool stuff, but now regret doing this because of the advertising email and mailings to my address. Wasn’t worth the $5 I saved. But there are lots of free things you can get online, like a free map of your state from the state tourist website. 

      I’m going through and replacing many of those freebies in my but out bag and other preps with better choices that are still not overkill expensive, but may be a better quality than free. But hey, the free things got me started and were better than nothing.

      When I get some free time, I’m going to hit up my local thrift store and see if I can score some nice bug out bag clothes. Not some cheap cotton, but things like wool, fleece, or polyester. I love going to the thrift store and getting 4 shirts and 2 pairs of pants for under $20. 

      Be frugal and creative. Scour your classifieds (I like to use craigslist or facebook marketplace) and look for anything that could be used to improve your preps. You can always find free moving boxes or old piles of wood or dirt. You just need to be willing to go get it. And every buck saved in some areas of your preps can be used to buy a nicer something else in another area like a water filter or food storage. 

      • 4

        Hi Robert,

        We all have to start somewhere and you did what worked for you in the beginning. Nothing wrong with using free items or samlples to start with. Now you are in a position to evolve your preps and replace items in our bug out bag. It was better than not having a BOB at all.

        The free maps from your local state or state tourism is a great point and one that is often overlooked.

        Thrifts stores can be a source of great clothes items. I have bought brand new with tags on Columbia or Tilley pants/shirts/shorts for my husband. Sometimes it’s seasonal stock donated by stores, gift items donated by receipient who didn’t want them or people who over buy or lose or gain weight.

        Woolen hats, scarves, mitts and gloves are other good thrift store items.

        My mess kit/camping cookware came from a thrift store – it was like new.

        Regardless of why the clothes end up there, it is a bonus for a thrifty prepper. So good on you for getting in there and hunting for the good stuff at bargain prices.

        Your suggestion to be frugal and creative is spot on. It’s amazing what people give away especially before moving day. I just missed out on a router table that was a major deal. 

        I got sod to do the re-sodding in my back yard one year but talking to a neighbor. He was doing work on his lawn and I told all of it for free. It was beautiful sod and fit my back yard needs perfectly.

        I got free plant pots from the local nursery one year. People throw them into her yard over the fence. So, I asked and she was happy to give me some. I got the large pots I needed to expand my plants that year, for free.

        Firewood can be had if one watches for people cutting down their trees (as long as trees aren’t diseased like Dutch Elm). 

        The money saved can be used toward saving for a really good quality larger ticket item or prepper savings. Either way it is a win-win situation.

        My ninja shopping Mom used to say “the money is better in your pocket than their pocket.”

      • 3

        They have free chickens on my local classifieds. Wish I could have those.

      • 3

        Conrad, 

        Sometimes, you can make a deal with local farmers to help in exchange for produce. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

        Plus you get to learn from them (bonus!)

    • 5

      I would think the most thrifty prepping I’ve done would be in my long term food stores.  When I first got into prepping, I bought several cases of MREs.  They were expensive & with a relatively short shelf life, they ended up getting thrown away.  I then switched to buying some superpails (food inside a sealed 5 or 6 gallon plastic pail), of staples, which had a much longer shelf life, however some brands didn’t use Mylar bags.  Per calorie this was considerably cheaper than MREs or freeze dried prepared foods and stored much longer.  But to get even cheaper (more thrifty) I started doing my own pails, using 6 gallon food grade plastic pails, Mylar bags & oxygen absorbers and/or desiccants.  I would buy bulk staples, such as long grain rice, dried pasta, several types of dried beans, sugar & salt, at my local Sam’s Club.  This saved a lot more money and allowed me to greatly increase my food stores.

      About the only items I continued buying commercially were the Emergency Essentials (they use Mylar) superpails of wheat berries & rolled oats.  Now I keep more wheat berries in storage than all my other goods combined but I was still rather frugal in purchasing them.  I got them several years ago when the demand and price was very low.  By ordering from Walmart online, when they were on special with also free freight, I got them for cheaper than I could do myself, as shipping in the bulk wheat berries/oats was rather expensive.  However, today when demand is astronomical, as well as the price, I would say purchasing commercial superpails of food is not a good choice… for now.  But hopefully one day things will go back to normal.  It is still a great time to make your own pails, using bulk foods available locally.

      • 4

        Redneck,

        Really great post on thrifty long term storage food acquisition and storage. This aspect of prepping can feel very overwhelming to new preppers, or a bit hopeless to urban preppers without a lot of room to store food

        But there is room (use vertical space or space under bed) for urban preppers and for anyone trying to achieve the kind of food storage you have attained, it is a matter of organizational and time. Start small and keep expanding as able.

        Bulk foods are a great way to build up long term storage of prep.

        Your point about supply and demand impacting prices is also important to note. Buy low when demand is down if possible.

        Thank you very much, your reply will really help new preppers understand how to make the plunge into long term food stores.