40 Cheap Preps to Buy in Bulk

If you are building your emergency supply stockpile, you might be overwhelmed at the cost of accumulating your stash. However, there are a lot of survival items that you can buy that are low cost, and some you can stock up on for free. Here are 40 things you can stockpile on the cheap…

Plastic Shopping Bags

Most of us probably have gobs of these stuffed in a closet somewhere. These can be used for all kinds of things, from insulating your boots to serving as a makeshift rain hat.


These are pretty cheap at the dollar store, and you can get assorted sizes for around a dollar a box at most retailers. It’s a good idea to have lots of these in several sizes in your emergency kit and your bug out bags.

Toilet Paper

This is one emergency prep item you will be glad you stocked up on when the SHTF. Sure, it’s something that is readily available now, but when there is a disaster, it is going to be scarce. Throw an extra $1 pack or two in your grocery cart every time you shop and in no time you will have a pretty good stash.


Along the same lines as toilet paper, this is another item that you’ll want to have plenty of, especially if you were to get sick or suffer from seasonal allergies. You don’t’ want to use up your toilet paper stores for blowing your nose, so stock up on those facial tissues (including the travel packs).


You can get a six pack of small match boxes for a dollar at most retailers. Buy a couple every time you go to the store, and you will be able to accumulate a lot really quickly.


Lighters are another good one to stockpile, not only for personal use, but for bartering. You can get them in bulk to put back for an emergency.

Hand Sanitizer

Consider buying up lots of this. The purse size bottles are great for bug out bags and your car emergency kit. You can also get the larger bottles to leave out around the house. Hand sanitizer is ideal when you don’t have access to running water .


While most people probably don’t think about their being a shortage on soap, it is something that should be in your survival preps. Get plenty of bar soap and the liquid variety.

Glow Sticks

This popular kid’s party favor can also be very useful in a survival situation. You can buy these in 10 packs at the dollar store, and save them to use to help you see at night, or to even use to mark  a path.

Lip Balm

This will be invaluable to have on hand. Tubes of lip balm (especially the unscented and unflavored kind) have a long shelf life, and will be a huge help to protect lips from chapping and cracking in the heat and cold. Put some in your bug out bags, too.

Zipper Storage Bags

These are not just for food storage! Keep some in all sizes to store things like toiletries (to keep them from leaking onto clothes or other items), batteries, or other small items organized and separated. They are also great for makeshift ice packs.


Keep some in your emergency kit and bug out bags for a fun treat, or to help boost blood sugar. Peppermint candies can also help clear a stuffy head.


Save those condiments you get in your take out bag, or stock up on bottles of different sauces like barbecue sauce, ketchup, and mustard. They are cheap and have a long shelf life, so they are perfect for storing.

Over The Counter Medications

Definitely consider stocking up on items like ibuprofen or acetaminophen (for adults and kids) as well as things like cough drops, cold medicine, allergy medicine, and other over the counter items that could help should you get sick.

Personal Care Tools

I don’t know about you, but we are forever losing fingernail clippers and tweezers around our house. These are inexpensive items that you can stock several of in your emergency preps to have when you need them. Also consider adding in some hair trimming scissors and nail files.

Feminine Products

These are a must have in your emergency stash. While they obviously have an intended use, you can also use them for first aid as a bandage or to help keep a wound clean and dry.


It’s always better to have plenty of ammunition on hand and not need it, than to need it and not have it. Ammo is also a great bartering tool. Store plenty for your own firearms, and some in other sizes and types that you could trade for other items.


Like lip balm, this is a fairly inexpensive product that will be very useful and stores well. You can put travel size containers in your bug out bag. If you travel a lot, save those hotel lotions to toss in your preps as well.

Spices and Seasonings

Many of these inexpensive pantry staples can be purchased for less than a dollar at most stores, and they will add flavor and variety to what could be a bland diet after the SHTF. You will be glad you stocked up on these!

Manual Can Opener

I confess, this is something I do not currently use in my own home. I rely heavily on my electric can opener. A manual can opener is going to be your best friend when you need to get into that food stockpile. Buy up several from the dollar store and throw them in the emergency kit. And while you’re at it, put one in the bug out bag or in the car kit, too.


Like lip balm and lotion, this is another personal care item that will be worth it’s weight in gold if you are having to spend a lot of time outdoors after a disaster, whether that be cutting wood, clearing debris, or even walking places. Store some for both kids and adults, and keep sunscreen sticks and a small tube in each of your bug out bags.


This baking staple will make your post SHTF life a little sweeter, and could allow you to make the occasional treat to help boost everyone’s mood. Store it in airtight containers to keep bugs out.


Another baking item you will want to stock up on is flour. You can’t bake anything without it! Like sugar, keep it in airtight storage to keep it fresh, and keep critters out.

Pencils and a Sharpener

These are an item you might not have thought about, but will be handy. You’ll need something to write with to make lists, keep a journal, and   Kids can also use them for drawing, too. Keep a few manual sharpeners in your kit, too, and possibly some packages of colored pencils alongside the regular ones.

Baking Soda

Not just for baking, you can use baking soda as a toothpaste, and for cleaning and deodorizing. It is cheap to buy, even in large containers.

Garbage Bags

These can come in really handy as makeshift ponchos, makeshift rain shelters, or for their intended purpose… to haul out garbage and keep it from smelling up your home.

Sewing Supplies

You can get complete mini sewing kits for $1.00 at WalMart and other retailers. You should also stock a larger sewing kit with supplies too. Keep a couple of good pairs of scissors in there to only be used for fabric or cutting thread.

Shoe Strings

Not just for your shoes, extra pairs of shoelaces can be used for tying things together, holding up staked plants, all sorts of things.

Dryer Lint

This is FREE. Just save it and store in a Ziploc bag. It can be used as fire starter or kindling.

Dryer Sheets

These can be used to freshen stored clothes – just stuff a couple into your extra clothes tote. They can also be rubbed over the hair to reduce static in winter, and I have read they will repel mosquitoes.

Extra Batteries

This is a must have – in several different sizes. You should have at least 3 sets of extra batteries for every device.

Extra Toothbrushes and Toothpaste

Save those travel size toothpastes from the dentist, and pick up several extra toothbrushes for each family member at the dollar store. If you coupon, you can often find good deals on larger tubes of toothpaste as well.

Dental Floss

Dental floss is cheap, and helps with oral hygiene. Also, it could be used for other medical purposes or as fishing line in a pinch.


Use it for flavoring food, or to de-ice your front steps in the winter. It is cheap and can be bought in bulk. Save those little salt packets from take out as well and toss them in with your condiments.

Wire Hangers

We all know how easy these are to accumulate. These can be used for roasting meat over an open fire, or to hang up clothes out on a line to dry.

Cotton Balls

These can be used for cleaning and dressing cuts and scrapes, or as earplugs when shooting at the firing range, or if it is cold and windy.

Extra Gloves

I just saw two packs of gloves for $1 at the Dollar Tree this week. Gloves aren’t just for the cold. They can protect hands when working in the garden, moving brush and other debris, and when doing other tasks. Plus, we are always losing gloves at our house. Buying up several extra pairs of gloves will be a huge help. Get regular winter gloves, work gloves, and rubber gloves and you’ll have all your bases covered. It’s also not a bad idea to buy several boxes of latex gloves for when you have to perform medical tasks like cleaning a wound.

Activated Charcoal

You can use this cheap item to help with stomach upset, poisoning, and even things like gas.


No TV? No WiFi? You’re going to need to look for alternative activities, and you need a way to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Stock up and keep them in a cool dry place. If you store them somewhere that gets really hot or cold, it can cause the latex to break down.


You may need to start growing your own food when the SHTF. Having some heirloom seeds (either ones that you have saved or ones that your purchase) will be a huge help in getting that garden started.

These are just a handful of the cheap, inexpensive, or free items you can stock up on to build your emergency supply kit. Buying just one or two extra things a week can give you a good start. Can you think of other things you can add to this list?

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About Ms. Prepper

I’m Laura P, aka, Passion Prepper, aka, Storage Prepper! I’ve been homesteading nearly all my life and prepping for the last 6 years. I strongly believe our great country of America was built on self-sufficient families like mine and yours. Politics bores me, learning new stuff, getting outside and living life thrills me.

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