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How To Stockpile Everything You Need On A Dirt-Cheap Budget

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Starting to prepare for a long-term crisis can seem daunting. It can be even moreso when you only have a couple hundred dollars to put toward survivalist preparation every couple weeks or every month. So what can you do to start preparing your family when you are on a fixed income? Let’s take a look at how and what you should stockpile.

Food and Drink

You’ve gotta eat. Your first priority should be to begin to stockpile at least a month’s worth of emergency food supplies. My advice is to forget about the expensive freeze dried food and go for the cheap economical options. Purchasing bulk rice and beans, flour, oatmeal, sugar and other dry goods is where I would begin. Storing all of these in sealed Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber is the best way to store dry goods in excess of 20 years. I place all of my sealed Mylar bags in five-gallon buckets with a lid. A buddy of mine has so many of these stored up that if his roof collapsed he would have plastic pillars of stored food holding up his ceiling!

Canned goods are an excellent and cheap method to really start putting calories in reserve. Canned goods have been scientifically proven to be able to last well over 100 years in a fresh condition, with only slight nutritional degradation. While not the healthiest option, canned food will sustain life until you can find a better method of providing food for your family. My grandfather fought through Europe in 1944 and 1945 and he and millions of GIs lived off of canned food for over a year. He lived into his 90s.

Having a reliable and safe supply of water is a priority. Having enough drinking water to last at least two weeks should be a priority. A cheap option is to fill a few 50-gallon drums with water that you replace with fresh water every couple months or so.

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Spring water is a cheap option as well. If you want to be a super miser, you can just refill every soda or coke bottle that passes through your home with water after you have emptied its original contents. Rotating this supply every six to nine months is a good idea.


If you already have firearms, buying a box of ammunition once every few weeks for every gun you own should be a goal. How much ammo should you keep on hand? At a minimum, I say at least 500 to 1,000 rounds for every .22 caliber firearm you have. For every shotgun, at least 150 small game loads, 100 rounds of 00 Buck and maybe 100 slugs. For every hunting rifle I like to have at least 200 rounds. For my handguns, at least 400 to 500 rounds.

Now, if you have an AR-15, AK, M1A or other semi-auto military style firearm, my goal would be at the very least 2,000 rounds stockpiled. I shoot AKs, both the AK-47 and the AK-74. You can really eat up a lot of lead. I have a supply of at least 3,000 rounds per semi-auto rifle I don’t touch. You don’t have to worry about ammunition going bad. If it is stored properly it will last longer than you.

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If you are starting to prep from scratch and are on a really tight budget, be careful how you spend your money. Each firearm you purchase will need ammunition. If you need a firearm right now, go purchase a Mosin-Nagant 91/30 military surplus rifle. You can still find one of these Russian war horses for under $200.

These rifles are quite accurate and throw a nice big round. Ammunition is cheap and you can buy 440 rounds for under $100. I would say buy a Mosin and 440 rounds to start. When you can, buy a case of 880 rounds for $200 dollars and stash that away for emergencies.

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A .22 long rifle should be your next investment. You can find a decent used Marlin bolt action for around $150 at your local gun or pawn shop. You will have to search online for ammunition because scares regarding gun bans have caused .22 ammo to become rather scarce. Try to get your hands on at least 500 rounds. The .22 is a great, small-game rifle and can help you kill rabbits and squirrels for your family to eat.

If you can spare some more cash for your first firearm, I highly advise you purchase an AK-47 or an AR-15. You can get either one for under $600. My personal choice is an AK-47. The 7.62x39mm is ballistically similar to a .30-30 and is capable of killing deer-sized game as well as being a great round for defense. Purchase at least 10 ammunition magazines.


Start purchasing as much bulk first-aid supplies as you can. Gauze, band aids, Neosporin, trauma kits, gunshot wound kits and surplus military aid kits are all good to have. Just about anything you can grab for cheap. Vitamins, aspirin, ibuprofen, cold medicine and allergy medication should all be stockpiled.

If you are on prescription medications, talk to your doctor to see if there are any options to stock up on extra weeks or months of pills in case you have to go into survivalist mode and can’t access a pharmacy.


These three areas are your priorities when you start prepping. Of course, you also will need to consider clothing, footwear and another items for long-term sustainability. But don’t get overwhelmed. Start with these three areas and you will be off to a good start.

What would you add to this list? Share your suggestions in the section below:

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