How to Prepare for SHTF on a Budget

It doesn’t require a fortune to prepare for the moment that it all collapses. In fact, it can take a lot less than you’d think as long as you’re smart about what types of things you’re stockpiling and willing to get a little creative when it comes to sourcing. We’ll show you how to get started on making sure you have the stocks you’ll need when it comes down to it, no matter what your budget might look like now.

The Boring Stuff-Making a Solid Budget

You should probably be doing this anyways, but you need to sit down and seriously break down your monthly expenses. There’s usually plenty of fat which can be trimmed away, but it’s up to each individual to decide what they need as compared to what they want.

Once you’ve done tallying this you’ll also need to break down your daily expenses on top of bills and figure out where you can trim and save there.

Depending on how long you’ve been at this, you might have some of what you need already or you might just be starting out. Once you have things laid out in a solid manner, you’ll also want to start making sure that you have some money to put into things each month.

Whether you’ve got your eye on a big capacity hunting backpack or just making sure that you have enough food and water to last at your bug out location you’ll have to make priorities.

Food and water should be top priority, including things like materials for traps and water purification devices. After that it’s up to you and your own plan to decide just how to proceed.

Know Where to Go Cheap

It’s a sad truth that in most arenas you’ll get what you pay for. This can range from mildly irritating to highly problematic and what you end up with is extremely personal.

There’s a few places where it’s never going to be a good idea to cheap out, however.

Don’t go cheap on the following:


Water Purification– This is a top priority and you want to make sure that you have multiple ways to do things. It’s especially important if you end up having to flee your location. Purchase something high-quality, and preferably with multiple methods of doing so.

Ammunition– A lot of people make the mistake of going cheap here. A lot more people can tell you horror stories about their AR jamming with cheap, aluminum rounds. Your weapons are your lifeline, a jam on the shooting rest is one thing but when your life is on the line it’s a truly terrifying prospect. This doesn’t mean you’ll want to buy gimmicky, expensive ammunition either, but surplus rounds with a price too good to be true are generally a bad idea.

Your Bug Out Bag-Hopefully you’ll never have to use it, but as traveler’s, hunters, and outdoorsmen of all types will tell you: having a bag break while you’re on the move sucks. It’ll also be a serious impediment to your survival and isn’t likely to be something you can quickly and easily replace while on the move.

Instead, you should look for cost cutting measures on more generic items. Spending excessive amounts of money on fancy cording or name-brand medical supplies is generally a waste for the amount of value you get.

Knives are particularly guilty of this. While that high-end ESEE might be a bit better, is it really worth twice the price of a USMC Ka-Bar? Cheap Kershaw folding knives might not hold up as well as a high-end Benchmade, but is the five-fold or more difference in cost worth it?

It’s all about value for the dollar. When you get past the initial cheap trash in many areas you’re looking at a decreasing return per dollar spent. What your budget is and how well you do your research will determine where your cut-off point is.

Food is another area where people tend to spend too much cash. Generic survival rations will keep just as well as name brands. As prepping has become a more common activity the usual suspects get involved, and it’s worth taking a second look at products specifically sold to preppers to make sure there’s actual value added beyond the marketing.

Learn to Love DIY

A lot of things can be made fairly simply at home, and in fact once your initial supplies begin to dwindle in a long-term situation you’ll end up doing it yourself.

Regardless of the amount of space you have, for instance, you can definitely can and bottle goods much more cheaply than you can buy them. You’ll also have valuable experience with preservation if the worst happens, as well as experience with growing your own crops. Kind of hard to beat being both cost-effective and learning a new skill in one blow.

Doing your own repairs around the house, especially while you still have internet access, is another example of something that will both cut costs and provide you with valuable skills that you may need in the future. There’s no better teacher than experience after all.

Knowing how to handle the basics of just about everything isn’t going to be beyond most people. Skills like flint knapping and bushcraft can be overlooked by preppers, but they come in handy on occasion even for casual hunters and outdoorsmen.

The more you do yourself, the better off you’ll be.

Wise Shopping

There are a lot of items which can be used for your stores which can be purchased at a fraction of the cost without spending the money on name brands. Things like rubbing alcohol and bandages, for instance, can often be purchased at dollar stores at a good price without breaking the bank.

Buying food items in bulk can also be a huge help. For nonperishables, you can even start to fit your normal eating and prepping budgets together, plus you’ll have experience using these kinds of foods to make something that’ll taste good as well as keep you alive.

This step largely boils down that that most exciting of hobbies: consumer research. This means that you’ll have to keep on top of things and keep an eye out for deals. Quit throwing away those coupons that come in the mail and give them a careful look over, you can find some pretty impressive deals.

This might also mean occasionally spending some extra money, if a good pair of boots is on sale, for instance, you might be better off buying a couple pairs. Rotate them to break them in and then stash the extra pair, this way you’ll know that you have something vital with extras.


As you can see, it doesn’t take a rich man to be prepared for a SHTF situation. If you’re on a limited budget, however, it may require a bit of research and a bit of sacrifice in order to make sure that you and your family are safe in the event the worst comes however. By making sure you’re on top of things now, however, you can also make sure that you avoid a whole lot of trouble in the future and that’s the important part.


Author Bio:
Kevin Steffey is an avid hunter and freelance writer. He loves spending time in the field with his rifle more than almost anything else, and occupies his off-time discussing deer and their habits online. He is a founder at


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