Monday, July 9, 2012

3 Ways to Prep on a Very (Tight) Budget

Wow!  Lisa must be very busy today!  :-)  She's really cranking them out!  
Here's her latest E-Mail update that I wanted to share with you.

Our family knows what it's like to live on a shrinking budget. Trying to prepare for an uncertain future on limited funds is challenging and sometimes, even disheartening. Over the years I've picked up a few strategies that have helped us get more bang for our buck. Hope these help you, too!

1. Never leave home without your 3 lists!
If you've read my book, you know that on p. 3 (I don't waste any time with this piece of advice), I suggest making three lists: To Learn, To Do, and To Buy.
For most of us, it's that To Buy list that can be most daunting, especially as we see the enormous amounts of money some preppers spend, thanks to episodes of Doomsday Preppers. 
2.  Know the retail cost of each item on your To Buy list.
A few months ago I found what I was sure would be an awesome bargain at an estate sale, a large water bath canner. Our of curiosity I checked the price on Amazon and found that it would be cheaper to buy it new. I never would have guessed!
As you add items to your To Buy list, spend a few minutes tracking down the retail prices. This will help you identify true bargains, which can pop up anywhere, from garage sales to the discount bin at your grocery store. 
3. Refuse to pay retail for anything!
Instead, try finding what you need here:
  • Craigslist - The advantage of Craigslist is that not only will you be paying less, but you'll also avoid shipping charges and sales tax.
  • Backpage - I've received mixed reviews on this site, but in some parts of the country, it's a great alternative to Craigslist because it allows the sale of firearms.
  • Woot - I've picked up headlamps, large packages of batteries, and items for my Vehicle Emergency Kit from Woot. I love their Woot Offs, which are unannounced marathons, featuring bargain after bargain. Check out Overstock as well.
  • Steep and Cheap - This website features mostly items for the outdoors. You'll find good prices on things like tents, rugged outdoor wear, and sleeping bags. Keep an eye on the timer, though, since each item is featured for just a few minutes.
  • Freecycle - Honestly? Sometimes a garage sale is more trouble than it's worth. That's why people are very often willing to just give their stuff away to someone who needs it. Sign up for Freecycle alerts in your area and be willing to return the favor by offering items of your own.
  • Groupon and Groupon copycats - Yes, I'm a sucker for deals on frozen yogurt and Smashburger, but it's also possible to get deals on items that might be on your To Buy list. I get emails from Groupon but also Living Social, Doozy of a Deal, and Deal Chicken.
  • Oldies, but goodies: yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores (Goodwill stores are BOOMING in my area.)
The secret to budget prepping is knowing what you need, the retail price, and then being able and willing to spend time shopping around. Doing a bit of pre-planning will help you avoid buying things you don't really need.

Lisa Bedford,
The Survival Mom

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