Prepping is awesome, but do you know what’s more awesome? Shopping for items at a hugely affordable price. Here are some dollar store prep ideas and so you don’t burn a hole in your pockets!
Dollar Store Prep: Prepping the Affordable Way
Prepping can easily become very expensive, very quickly. Even if you bargain shop and clip coupons, stockpiling supplies for consumption, shelter, filtration, food preservation, protection, and medical care add up.
But if you’re a savvy shopper, you can find a myriad of useful items right at your local dollar store. Canadian Prepper made an entire video on the subject, showing everything he bought for right around $100 USD, and many of the items have multiple uses.
While you may be sacrificing some quality vs more durable counterparts found at hardware stores, having something will always be better than having nothing.
We’ve categorized all of the items to cover the areas that Preppers focus on.
Humans require shelter to shield us from the harsh elements. If you ever find yourself having to make due in the wilderness, you will need to be able to create a shelter that provides both protection and heat.
If you get creative, items from the dollar store can do just that.
- Insulation film – Helps to conserve heat
- Shower curtain liners – Effective shelter materials
- Zip ties
Without electricity, you can kiss your refrigerator and freezer goodbye – leading you to rely on time-tested food preservation methods. Canning and salt preservation have both been used successfully for centuries.
- Glass jars- you can reuse condiment or jam jars if canning jars aren’t available
- Iodized Salt
Possibly the most-prepped item is food! You and your family need to eat every single day (preferably several meals each day), so you’ll need huge reserves of food. You’ll also need the right tools to be able to cook over open flames.
- Cast iron frying pan – Doubles as a weapon, will last forever if you take care of it
- Oven mitt – Look for durable silicone options
- Can Opener – nothing fancy, a good old fashioned one will do
- Canned Meats – chicken, salmon, tuna, sardines
- Disposable kitchen items – Paper plates, bowls, cups and plastic utensils
- Cooking Fuel
- Dried Food – Most dollar stores stock freeze-dried fruits, including pineapple, papaya, peaches, and apples, which will last for many years and provide you with soluble fiber in your diet; as well as dried beans for half the price as in other stores
- White Sugar
- Instant Coffee
- Cutting Board
- Knife – be sure to check the quality, if it looks cheap skip it
- Baking tin
- Aluminum foil
If our infrastructure were to crumble, there would be no more running to the store for soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, and other cleaning supplies. But hygiene would continue to be critical in maintaining your health. So, the time to stock up is now.
- Steel wool – Cleaning knives, metal tools, and cast iron pan
- Toilet paper tablettes
- Bleach or calcium hypochlorite, which has a longer shelf life than bleach
- Baking soda for hygiene – Toothpaste, soap, deodorant, cleaning, prevents odors, treats minor burns
- Body Cleansing Wipes
- Rubber gloves
Being able to start a fire is debatably the most important skill you can develop. But to simplify the process, stock up on firestarters, matches, and lighters that allow you to save valuable time before cooking your meals.
- Petroleum Jelly
- Cotton balls – Soak in petroleum jelly for instant fire
- Sharpener – Use to make tinder to light fires
- Candles – Melt the wax with jute twine to create a fire starter
- Long Match – Even easier to light fire
- Barbeque Lighter
If you don’t protect what you have, you will become a target. Even the appearance of security or simple tripwires can deter criminals from attempting to enter your space.
- Dummy Cameras
- Wire – Make snares and a perimeter alarm system
- Reflective safety tape
- Reflective safety vest
Water Filtration & Storage
Water is right up there with food for most-prepped items because you’ll need a lot of it. Ideally, you will have effective water filters that you can use to fill and refill containers. Some of these supplies can be picked up at the dollar store.
- Hot water bottle bag/water bladder – Durable and flexible water container
- Coffee filters – Use as a water filter
Your SHTF wardrobe will likely be very different from your current wardrobe: it will need to be durable and protective. You’ll need to stock items that will shield you from every type of weather, and physical labor.
- Clothespins – Hang-dry clothes
- Space-saving storage bags – Use when packing your Bug Out Bag
- Rain ponchos
- Insulated soles – Are essential for cold climates and can be paired with socks to keep your feet warm
- Backpacks – cheap kids backpacks are great for disguising your emergency supplies
- Work gloves
- Bandanas – Work as a prefilter and a mask
- Sewing equipment
There are some items that every household should have, and you may as well save a few bucks by buying them at the dollar store.
- Bungee cord & carabiners
- Duct tape
- Utility light
- Safety pins
- Rubbing alcohol – Sterilize, make hand sanitizer, and light fires
Certain Prepping supplies have so many uses that you’ll want to stock up on as much as you can afford. These also make for great barter items.
- Cheesecloth – Can be used for: water filtration, food preservation, fire/char cloth, medical gauze, straining fruit, pine resin glue, making a tea bag, cloth/toilet paper, bug net, making a pandemic mask
- Metal Strainer – Can be used for: water filtration system, cooking, dehydrating food, catching small fish for bait
- Contractor Bags/Garbage Bags – Can be used for: poncho, sleeping mat when filled with leaves, hauling water, pillow, disposing of contaminated materials
- Inspection mirror – Can be used for: tactical applications, medical applications, signalling for help
- Vinegar – Lasts forever and has 1000 uses
- Mesh netting bag – Can be used for: washing laundry, carrying food, creating a fishing net
- Magnifying Glass – Can be used to start a fire and has medical applications
Medical supplies will become like gold when society crumbles. Left on your own, you’ll want to have a very comprehensive first-aid kit to treat any ailments you might experience.
- OTC Medications – You can purchase small dosage packs that can be used for bartering or stored in your Bug Out Bag
- Band-Aids – Choose a variety of sizes
- ACE bandages
- Epsom Salts
- Nail cutters
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Lip balms
- Aloe vera gel
Being self-sufficient is critical when SHTF, and it all starts with a bountiful garden that you can harvest each season. The dollar store can provide you with the tools you need to get started.
- Seed Starter Trays
- Gardening Gloves
- Gardening Hand Tools
- Watering Cans
Odds & Ends
It’s mind-blowing to think of all the products we use on a daily basis for hygiene and comfort. While you can’t stock up on all of them, there are a few you won’t want to live without.
- Sun reflector – Can be used as a mattress
- Pregnancy test
- Feminine products
- Marker/signboard – Make a sign
- Hair elastics
- Jute twine – Use as cordage
- Glow sticks – For signaling
- Games – Playing cards and dice
- Heat Packs – To keep hands warm when chopping wood
- Shammy Towel – Always works as a beach towel
- School supplies
- Diapers & Wipes – Even if you don’t need them, they make for great barter items
You will likely find plenty of other essentials at your dollar store, but these 100 should get you started without breaking the bank.
Did that fire you up for a shopping spree at the dollar store soon? Let us know what you think of these 100 dollar store prep ideas in the comments section!