Cheap Places to Get Quality Preps

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and the online course Build a Better Pantry on a Budget

If you’re like most folks, getting a good deal on your preps is of the utmost importance right now. With the economy collapsing around our ears, many of us are working to make ends meet and don’t have a lot left over for prepping.

So where can you get preps without spending a fortune? Keep in mind that shopping for preps specifically or in kits is probably the most expensive way to buy. But if you can assemble your prepping kits and essential tools from individual purchases, you can probably spend far less.

This list contains some ideas that may work for you. Some of them are ideas taken straight from the comments section, so shout-out to our awesome readers! Do your due diligence with any of these sources and make sure not to buy something there that might be less expensive elsewhere. Just because it says it’s a sale doesn’t mean it’s a bargain.

Surplus and liquidation stores

There are many different kinds of surplus and liquidation stores, and if you are lucky enough to live or work near one, make it a regular stop when you’re out and about. The thing about surplus stores is that they get new inventory all the time, and you just never know what you’ll find.

Military surplus stores can be a great place to get sturdy gear that will hold up to the workout you put it through. Don’t stop with just army surplus stores, though.

There are some chain stores that often have incredible deals.

  • Big Lots
  • Ollies
  • Ocean State Job Lots
  • Mardens
  • Liquidation World
  • Discount groceries
  • Harbor Freight

You may find some other liquidation or surplus stores local to your specific area. I’ve bought everything from food to hardware to camping gear at these kinds of stores.

Last-Day-of-Sale groceries

Right now, the last-day-of-sale meat markdowns are saving my bacon. (No pun intended.) I hit the store that is just down the road from me regularly to purchase meat that is marked down dramatically. I’ve gotten stuff like grass-fed beef and meatloaf mix for as low as $2 a pound recently, which is a steal given the current outlook at the store.

I also sometimes get marked-down fruits and veggies if I have time to process them immediately. The thing with the last-day-of-sale merchandise is that it has to be dealt with immediately. You need to either freeze it, cook it, or preserve it, but if you can do that, you can save an absolute fortune. Of course, when shopping in the last-day area, you have to be willing to be flexible with your menu and make what you can from what you get.

(Want cheap food? Then learn how to can what you grow! Read our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning to get the how-to information you need.)

Dollar stores

You don’t want to buy junk for your preps, but there are deals to be had at the dollar store. Check out these articles for products we recommend.

Yard sales

I could write rapturous poetry about the many finds I’ve gotten from yard sales and estate sales. I find that going on the first day and then returning on the last day can be a good way to get the best stuff and the best price.

Some of the things I’ve gotten this way:

  • Tools
  • Books
  • Mason jars
  • Ammo
  • Cookware
  • Kitchen tools
  • A canning pot
  • Garden supplies
  • Sewing supplies
  • Yarn

A lot of folks pick up a hobby and then get bored with it, leaving them to unload it to you at a bargain price.


Craigslist does indeed have some sketchy characters, so it’s important to be smart about buying or selling this way. Here are some tips for staying safe when doing business with someone with whom you connected online.

You can find anything from cheap goods (like Mason jars) to larger items online (like treadle sewing machines). Depending on your situation, you can browse Craigslist for things you could use for prepping, or you can do searches to find specific items you need.

Facebook Marketplace

See the safety tips involved with Craigslist – these also apply to Facebook Marketplace.

If you’re on Facebook, check out Marketplace. I’ve gotten some fantastic deals there. I’ve purchased storage furniture, shelving, jars, and bulk lots of cleaning supplies on Marketplace. This is also where I located my 65-gallon food-safe water barrel.

Like Craigslist, you can browse or search for specific things.

Freecycle is a really cool website. People list on it things that they no longer have a use for, and you can make arrangements to pick the item up. You can also use it to get rid of your own unwanted things.

I’ve gotten everything from jars to cardboard for my garden to empty planters. When my girls were younger, I got a free swing set from a person who listed it on there – I just had to go and get it.

Freecycle can be a great resource if your finances are limited.

What are your favorite places to get cheap preps?

Do you have any particular places that you like to use to get cheap preps that I didn’t list here? Have you had some major prepping scores from any of these less expensive sources? Or have you been disappointed in some things you’ve gotten inexpensively? Let’s talk about cheap places to get preps in the comments.

(Want uninterrupted access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)


Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Harbor Freight bungee cords are great and even better with a coupon. The flip lights are good also. I have found supplies at thrift stores; One was selling 10 sealed sterile bandage rolls for 1.00. Pots and pans also, but as you said do your homework, cause Walmart junk creeps in.

  • We have a family-owned discount grocery near me, and I like to pop in there now and then, almost always walk out with some deals. Last week I got some frozen chicken & apple sausage for $2/pound and brand name bacon for $3/pound! I know that they are at or just past their expiration date, but since they are frozen, I like using them for immediate meals and this lets me stretch my grocery budget dollars further for longer term preps at the regular stores. And they have super-cheap snacks for the kiddos (which don’t last long enough to go on the shelves anyway :D).

  • I have found cleaning products at the places Daisy lists.

    Tools, not so much.

    I have notice A LOT of yard/garage sales this year.

    • 1stMarineJarHead – tools from Harbor Freight and Ollie’s are very cheap for a reason, they aren’t very good.For the pair of screwdrivers and pliers for the kitchen drawer they are adequate. Facing a job like a carburetor rebuild, or some serious work on a significant piece of equipment, spend the money on quality tools. Since Sears is gone, my new go-to is Kobalt (Lowes), or if you can find one of their trucks, Snap-On or Matco are very high quality professional grade tools.

  • Where I live people that are haveing garage sales have just left everything out after they are over as free. I think because our donation centers have gotten so picky about what they will accept since Covid. I have got a lot of useful FREE stuff. Also our city has a free only site which is awesome because when people are cleaning there are is a huge amount of things offered.

  • First, it’s easy to search for deals on craigslist, Facebook, and more either locally to you or inside whatever radius from you is comfortable — including nationwide. That search website is

    Second, years ago when I was looking for a deal on a hybrid solar box oven (meaning one that had a built-in electrical backup system for when sunlight was unavailable) from India brand named Tulsi, I found one listed on eBay in an east coast estate sale clean-out sale. The problem was that the seller specified “local pickup only”. So I had to get creative. I found that the uship people could have multiple shippers compete for my single transaction business, and could easily ship that solar oven from the East Coast to my midwest location. So I made that proposal to the seller and despite her “local pickup” spec in that eBay listing, she agreed to the switch. That way I got a wonderful cut-rate deal on that hybrid solar oven I had been hunting for a couple of years. Here is the website today for uship:


  • A good place to find older, well made tools for cheap is at auctions. Our small town used to have an auction house. The first couple of hours they were selling off antique furniture (at some very good prices), but at the end of the night, boxes of older, mixed tools were going for $10.

  • Ocean State Job Lots: I don’t know how it is now, but back around 2003, the one in Lakeville, Massachusetts was a great store; far better than any Big Lots I’ve ever been in. I went with my husband on a business trip and we accidentally left a packed suitcase at home in our driveway. I went to the Sears there to buy replacement clothing, but I wanted a cheap suitcase. A local person directed me to Ocean State Job Lots and wow! Not only did I get the suitcase, I got specialty foods, white china dishes and a lot more. The variety was incredible and the prices were low.

  • Auction sales.

    Go to

    Follow the directions for listings in your area.

    Amazing amount of preps I’ve bought. Cows, ponies, milk pump, tools, 55 gallon drums of oil, saddles, rope, snaps, Hobart meat bandsaw, 15kw pto generator, plows… you get the idea. All bought, in some instances, for pennies on the dollar.

  • Last day sale produce at my local supermarket is amazing. Their sale week begins on Thursdays, so I go after work on Thursday and make a bee line to the reduced produce rack. I’ve gotten 10 quarts of strawberries from .50 to $1.50 ea! I’ve made jam with some and washed, dried and vacuum sealed rest for freezer. Bunches of bananas (I vacuum seal and freeze peeled bananas and also make bread/muffins for freezing), peppers (wash, peel, dry and vacuum seal), apples, pears, peaches, apricots (jams, jellies, sauces and just whole canning), tomatoes for canning, cauliflower (reg price here is $4.99/head – I got it for .99!) to roast, eggplant to slice, fry up and make parmesan for freezer meal – the list goes on and on.

    And Dollar Tree is where I’ve gotten all my flashlights, glass tapered candles, matches, clicker lighters, bungee cords, WD 40, duct tape, zip ties, cleaning products, first aid/medicine (bandaids, antibacterial cream, alcohol, peroxide, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, ibuprofen, antiacids, etc)gallon water, module storage containers and cheaper batteries to either use up first or to lend/barter (the good Duracell ones remain in their package)

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive

    In the event of a long-term disaster, there are non-food essentials that can be vital to your survival and well-being. Make certain you have these 50 non-food stockpile essentials. Sign up for your FREE report and get prepared.

    We respect your privacy.
    Malcare WordPress Security