Emergency Preparedness on a Budget

A few years ago I attended a local preparedness fair where I was given a paper with a list of ideas for putting together an inexpensive emergency survival kit. There was, unfortunately, no author credited for the list. However, I felt this short list of ideas was valuable enough to reproduce here:

Ideas for Building an Inexpensive Emergency Preparedness Kit:piggy bank

  • Recycle old gear. Put old boots, gloves, flashlights, tools, uniforms, and bedding in your kit.
  • Check for backpacks or bags you already have. No need to buy new containers if possible.
  • Look for seasonal sales. If new items are necessary, buy items at the end of the season.
  • Buy bulk. Stores often have case-lot or bulk item deals.
  • Buy with others. Join with friends for discounts.
  • Shop at used goods stores. Try Deseret Industries, thrift stores, army surplus stores, or garage sales.
  • Shop throughout the year. Buy preparedness items throughout the year in small increments.
  • Store water in safe/used containers. Reuse soda or juice bottles once disinfected, but never dairy.
  • Request preparedness supplies as gifts from your friends and family.
  • Trade a night out or family activity to fund supplies for 96-hour kit.
  • Use common plastic bags with zip closures to store clothes & important personal documents.
  • Update contact list. Have current info for family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Keep medical contact information on hand & make sure medical records are current.
  • Review insurance policies. Know your coverage in advance of a disaster.

Absolute minimum Items for a 96-hour kit:

Food and Water:

  • 4 gallons of water per person
  • 4 days supply of ready-to-eat, non-perishable food


Can Opener, Dishes/Utensils, Shovel, Radio (with batteries!), Pen and Paper, Axe, Pocket Knife, Rope, Duct Tape

Personal Supplies & Medication:

  • First Aid Supplies
  • Toiletries (roll of toilet paper–remove the center tube to easily flatten into a zip-lock bag, feminine hygiene, folding brush, etc.)
  • Cleaning Supplies (mini hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, dish soap, etc. Warning: Scented soap might “flavor food items.)
  • Immunizations Up-to-Date
  • Medication (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, children’s medication, etc.)
  • Prescription Medication (for 4 days)

Personal Documents and Money—Place these items in a waterproof container

  • Scriptures or inspirational books (miniature ones are lighter)
  • Genealogy Records
  • Legal Documents (Birth/Marriage Certificates, Wills, Passports, Contracts)
  • Vaccination Papers
  • Insurance Policies
  • Cash
  • Credit Card
  • Pre-Paid Phone Cards

Fuel & Light

Lighting (Flashlights, Lamps), Extra Batteries, Flares, Candles, Lighter, Water-Proof Matches

Bedding and Clothing

  • Change of Clothing (short and long sleeve shirts, pants, socks, jackets adjusted to the season)
  • Undergarments
  • Rain Coat/Poncho
  • Blankets and Emergency Heat Blankets
  • Cloth Sheet/Plastic Sheet

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