I worked as a RN for close to 20 years. I brought home $3k a month or more. I was in an accident and got hurt and can not work again. My neck is now made of metal and I can not turn my head to look both directions to drive. My arms constantly fall asleep because of nerve damage and I walk with a cane because of left overs from a nasty head injury... With that said I had to switch really quick to a budget of less than $800 a month. Because of that accident my preps got put into high gear. It made a believer out of me in a hurry....
Here are some ways to prep on the cheap:
- Freecycle So many people would rather give away items that are still useful. You can find the group for your area by visiting www. freecycle.org
- Craigs list This site also has a free items listing. People will also sell things mighty cheap on here. I recently purchased several hundred dollars worth of canning equipment for $100 and a brand new cheese press for $20 which would have normally cost me $50.
- Spring or fall clean up in cities. This is the time when everyone puts out to the curb the junk they do not want. Drive around and pick up what you do want... Many things can be re purposed into something very useful.
- Food pantry left overs. Many food pantries get produce which will go bad if they do not give it away. Call your local pantries and ask to be a "clean up family" Then you have lots of wonderful produce to can and preserve for free.
- Icing buckets: These are food safe buckets. Many of the bakeries will give them away. All you have to do is ask. This makes a 5 gallon food grade bucket free instead of $8 to buy one.
- Pickle jars, sour cream containers etc from restaurants: These are quite handy for storing your food in and if you call your local food places you can generally get them free. You also might be able to get leftovers if they have a buffet which can then be frozen or canned.
- Dollar stores: These places are a wealth of prepping supplies for a dollar. The quality may not be great but hey a cheap band aid is better than no band aid at all!
- Make it yourself. The Internet is full of plans for DIY things. If you want a solar oven but can not afford the $100+ to buy one then make one yourself out of a cardboard box, black spray paint and aluminum foil. Cost $5 Well bucket cost to buy $60 cost to make out of PVC and an old inner tube $5 or less if you can find the scrap PVC on the curb side. Many times construction companies will throw away PVC, lumber etc and you can get it for free. You can get an old inner tube from a tire shop for free if it is too torn up to be fixed and you only need a small piece. Then the cost for the well bucket went down to $0. The list goes on and on....
- Don't throw it away, Recycle, Re purpose, Reuse... My husband has asked me many times "why don't you just throw that away" Then down the road I would salvage a part off one thing that I saved to fix another or re purpose into something else. He finally quit asking and now he won't throw anything away either unless it truly is just trash. For example. The net on our trampoline (the part you jump on) ripped. It is no longer any good for the trampoline. He wanted to throw it away. I said no and turned it into free weed barrier instead of going to Lowes and spending $20 to buy some. An old aquarium with a broken bottom became a planter.. A pallet became a very nice back porch that you can not even tell I used a pallet to build it... I think you might get the idea...
Be creative. Learning to think outside of our boxes that our disposable society has put us in sometimes can be difficult to say the least... We have been raised with the mentality of "just go buy it". We must train ourselves to think differently about it. Once you can get your brain into a "what else can that be mode" it gets easier. I look at things and can come up with many alternative uses. My hubby calls me the "queen of McGyver".
My motto "If they can then I can"