Tough Love: You DO Have Enough Money to Prep

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People all over the globe are struggling right now to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.  For some, these tips will not be helpful because their situation has become so dire.  For the rest of us, though, there are many places that we can cut the budget in order to put aside money to prepare.  If you are spending money on any of these things and claiming that you can’t afford to prep, I’m calling “Baloney Sandwich” on that today.

You may not want to make changes.  You may not want to sacrifice your little luxuries.  You may feel like you “deserve” them or that you have “earned” them.

That may well be the case, but one day if your cupboards are empty, the stores are closed and your kids are shivering in an unheated house, how much luxury would skipping those pedicures while sipping a $6 Starbucks have purchased for you?  If you “can’t afford to prep” but you are still spending money frivolously, then you have willfully signed on for a very difficult future.

I’m not suggesting that every person reading this needs to implement each one of these changes, but by picking and choosing, the money you save could be invested in your future – just call it your Prepper’s Insurance Policy.

  1. Drink water.  Even if you purchase it in $5 gallon jugs, it’s still the best deal around, with the added bonus of being good for your health.  Skip the soda pop, juices and sports drinks.
  2. Join a Farm Co-op.  You can get baskets of produce for more than half the year at a fraction of the price.
  3. Stop buying coffee in the drive thru on your way to work every day.  You can save anywhere from  $300-1300, depending on whether you are a Tim Hortons/Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks person.
  4. Brown bag it.  Bring a healthy lunch from home instead of spending $5 or more each work day on your lunch.
  5. Skip the meat – consider 2 meatless meals per week, or at the very least make meat a condiment instead of a main dish.
  6. Cancel cable or satellite.  Yes, the kids will complain.  Yes, it will suck at first.  Then you’ll learn to do other things and it won’t bother you at all.
  7. Lower your thermostat.  The Consumer Energy Center says that for every degree you lower your heat under 70 degrees F, you can save up to 5% off your bill.  Look into other ways to stay warm.
  8. Don’t use credit cards. If you must, because of an expense account, be sure to pay it off in full before the interest can kick in.
  9. Shop around for car and home insurance to be sure you are getting the best price.
  10. Grow your own veggies and herbs.
  11. Find the best phone plan.  For some it may be Skype, for others it may be a cell phone instead of a landline and for still others, especially those who make a lot of long distance calls, it may be a VOIP service with unlimited national calling.
  12. Take shorter showers – this can save you up to $100 per year.
  13. Make homemade pizza instead of ordering delivery.  At the very least, go pick the pizza up to save yourself delivery charges and tip.
  14. Hanging your clothes to dry instead of using an electric dryer can save over $300 per year.
  15. Washing your clothes in cold water can save $50 per year – plus your clothes will last longer.
  16. Don’t throw away your leftovers.  You can collect small amounts of left overs and combine them into something totally new.  We often keep a container in the freezer for leftover veggies.  Later we add them to soups or pot pies.  Sometimes we have enough miscellaneous leftovers to create an entirely new meal, which is like free food!  Another option is what my kids call “leftover buffet” – all the leftovers go out on the counter and the kids can pick and choose their items – the ovenproof dish gets heated up and voila – TV dinner is served!  If you have a few servings of dinner left over, put them in single serving containers so that you can grab them for lunches throughout the week.
  17. Eat at home.  If you cut meals out to one a month, you can save up to $3000 per year for a family of four.  As well, when it is a rare occurrence, it’s much more of a treat.
  18. Shop secondhand.  Hit up thrift stores, Craigslist, Ebay, and yard sales before purchasing items new.  Seek and ye shall very often find what you need for a fraction of the price.  Also check out “Freecycle” – a website dedicated to unloading unwanted things at no charge.
  19.  Stay healthy.  Sometimes this is easier said than done, but by taking precautions like washing your hands and avoiding sick people you can reduce your risk of becoming ill.  Also, good nutrition, vitamins, exercise and sunshine all help to boost your immune system.  Being sick results in lost wages, money spent on trips to the doctor,  and expensive medications.
  20. Prep your food ahead of time.  Nothing says “drive thru” like a gnawing hunger pain in your stomach on your way home from work.  Spend time on the weekend prepping your food for the week ahead so that you are able to have dinner on the table in less time than it takes to wait in line at a fast food restaurant.
  21. Skip the gym and take your workout outside.  Walk, run, bike, or hike and save those monthly fees.
  22. Quit smoking.  Need I say more?
  23. DIY your hair color.  At the very least, touch up your roots at home.
  24. Speaking of hair – consider simplifying.  Try to stretch the time between hair cuts, learn to trim your hair yourself, forgo the fancy highlights and procedures, and cut back on the products.  I realize not everyone is as enthusiastic about the ponytail as I am but see where you can simplify.
  25. Ditch the fake nails.  I used to have a friend that insisted it was necessary to her job to have perfectly manicured fingers. No.  If you are not a professional hand model, it’s not.  Either learn to do it yourself or simplify to short neat fingernails buffed to a shine.  I sincerely doubt any person ever lost a job for not having artificial nails.
  26. Clip coupons, but be sure to compare with the price of the less expensive store brands – sometimes coupons aren’t that great of a deal.
  27. Skip the fancy cleaning supplies and use household items like white vinegar and baking soda to keep your house spotless.
  28. Repair instead of replace.  In our disposable society, most  people say “Oh, it’s only $3 – I’ll get a new one.”  Repairing items isn’t just a way to save money – it’s a great way to improve your prepper skills.  Learn skills like mending, darning, welding, simple electrical and mechanical repairs and minor carpentry.
  29. Skip the doggie beauty salon.  Learn to groom your dog at home.  For the price of one trip to the groomer, you can purchase quality nail clippers and a good brush.  Use human shampoo and brush your pet frequently to reduce matting.  If your dog requires trimming on a regular basis, consider getting clippers, or at the very least, stretching out the visits with a bit more time in between.
  30. Stay home.  When you stay home, you aren’t spending money on gas, drinks, food and shopping.  If you are the type of person that needs the social aspect of going out, take your own water bottle and picnic lunch, and focus on free activities like going to the dog park, the museum on free-admission days, and the splash pad with the kids.



Take a long, critical look at your expenditures and decide what your priorities are.  For the $15 per person that you would spend on an outing to the movie theater today, you could buy enough beans and rice to see you through a difficult time in the future.  Quite seriously, we are running out of time to purchase things at a reasonable price.  Taxes are increasing, prices are increasing and jobs are vanishing.  The time to focus is RIGHT NOW.

You can use one of these suggestions or all of them.  Be creative and come up with your own ways to save that work well with your life.  Realize that by spending money prepping, you will save money in the long run.

For those of you with a black belt in frugality, what are some cuts that you have made in order to meet your goals?


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.

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  • For my household, it isn’t a matter of do I have enough money to prep, but can I afford NOT to? The answer is No (I can’t afford not to).

    Great article, Daisy!

    • Thank you! Same with me, VanMom. We have cut expenditures to the bone to be able to be well-prepared and it’s worth every single thing we’ve given up!

  • I use every last drop of my cosmetics, deodorant, lotions, etc. by cutting open the bottles, digging with a cotton swab, using a lip brush to get the lipstick under the rim, etc. You would be surprised how much product is thrown away. I use coupons and shop clearance whenever possible. Also multipurpose everything. I never buy garbage bags when I can re-use grocery, etc. Wipe off aluminum foil, fold neatly and reuse. So much much more.

  • Might i add to the quit smoking- i know all the countless health problems associated with tobacco products are counter productive to healthy prepping, but might i suggest growing your own? If you struggle quitting and can’t afford the dirty habit, growing and curing your own is a very rewarding experience, and it’s clean organic, not laden with fillers additive and chemicals that are truly the root cause of most tobacco related illnesses. there is a wealth of info on the web about home growing and curing. and it is legal in most states,save the big tobacco growing states where you need licenses, you just can’t sell the finished product. I have grown my own for the past two years, and having saved seed have plenty to share with others who garden and can’t seem to kick the habit. Plus it is great pesticide for organic gardening.

    other than that we have cut just about every expenditure we don’t need, and have even started learning how to make our own lotions, and brew our own sodas and beers for those luxury items. And again much healthier than anything at the grocery store. Home made root beer puts mug and barq’s to shame!
    Also, i suggest utilizing the internet while we still have it to compile and print, or write out recipes, and plans for building various grid down items…. we have the world at our fingertips with the internet, but that too may be a luxury you can’t afford, the feds may regulate it out of existence, or if the power goes out be rendered unavailable. Every week i transfer at least 2 proven recipes from various sites to my “family” cookbook. for those just getting into preparing food at home, this is a better route than buying every health food cookbook that strikes your fancy. is a recipe search engine that i find truly invaluable! think about all the time you’d have in a shtf senerio, but if you don’t know how to do or make things it will be much more difficult.

  • And yes, do do do join a local farm co-op or CSA….it will save you hundreds in grocery store mark ups and keep small farms in business, while providing your family with the freshest food possible short of growing your own! a win win for everyone involved!

  • Daisy,

    Great article! Lots of useful and practical ideas!

    Coupons can be a useful item to save on groceries. I usually buy the Sunday paper for the sale papers and the coupons.

    First, I clip the coupons – for myself and ones my Mom and grown daughters use. (Those $2 coupons on diapers have helped my daughter save some money.)

    Next, I look over the sale papers for the grocery and department stores (Kmart, Target, etc.) and circle items with a black marker that we use and are on sale. Often, the sale items can be paired with a coupon. Note: Walmart will match the advertised price of a local store.

    Whenever we travel out of town, I always pack the cooler with a couple gallon size ziplock bags of ice cubes and a few containers of water. I also keep some snacks, cups, napkins, paper plates, plastic ware, etc. in a small container in the car. If we are delayed when traveling, it is nice to know there are some snacks handy. (granola bars, crackers, pretzels, hard candy, etc.)

    Summer weather can extend into late October here. The cooler in the car has been helpful when we happen to see a good sale on meat or other frozen food.

    Great article! Thank you!

    • Hi, KY Mom – we take a cooler “to-go” when traveling also! I know that we have saved a fortune doing this! 🙂

  • We do most of these and also these ones.

    Brew our own beer and spirits

    Use a Soda Stream machine for making soft drinks and soda water (but only use 1/2 or less strength of the flavouring)

    Make own cleaning products

    Vege garden with easy care veges

    Keep all envelopes for recycling as shopping lists and making notes

    Reuse butter wrapping as baking paper (cut for in the bottom of cake tins etc)

    Take a cup of a meal out whatever you have cooked and wrap it in puff pastry to use as an easy meal later (put in freezer)

    Not only have a couple of meatless meals a week but have meals with only a little meat in it (eg the other day had about a cup of leftover roast chicken and made it into a chicken curry with veges bulking it out)

    Though not everyone has these but a pressure cooker and a thermal pot are wonderful and save on power when cooking ( and heating up the house when you live in a hot climate) These two things went on my list of prepping things and I eventually got them and we use both.

    Watch movies at home with homemade popcorn.

    Have a date with your partner. We have date day when our son goes and volunteers at one of the local charity shops. We will get a two cuppa’s (hot chocolate for us) for the price of one and read the paper together (if we get it) or just chat without the pressure of home stuff coming up or any other interuptions. My partner loves to go out and have coffee (hot chocolate) so this is the cheap way of doing it and not feeling like we are missing out.

    Use the library. Borrow books and DVD’s and CD’s and spend time there in a quiet and air conditioned place, for free.

    We don’t have coupons here but I always check the supermarket catalogues before shopping to see if anything we normally buy is on special and then put that onto the list to stock up on. Nearly everything we buy is on special, never buying for full price, that way we can stock up and then menu plan from the cupboard rather than menu plan and then shop.

  • i do almost all of the things that are posted. i agree-i would rather spend $$ on making sure my needs will be met when shtf which it is going to do in one way or another. it has already started. one thing i do that saves money is-i buy a bag of every kind of dry bean there is and put a cup or more into a large bowl to soak overnight…then i drain and rinse well and put them in serving size freezer bags…if i want beans or bean soup i just get a bad out and soak in hot water to thaw them and rinse again…then i add whatever veggies i have and put in crock pot….that way if i want them i dont have to wait for the soaking time…plus it is 100 times cheaper than buying the bean soup i put in my own seasonings so im not getting all the sodium from the season packet. and it really doesnt take a lot of water to cook them if you are in an emergency situation where water is scarce. i make large quantities of pasta, rice whatever and freeze it. you can freeze almost anything. i cook meats and onions etc…bag them into freezer portions and when i get home from work i just take out 3-5 freezer things and have a meal super fast. cooking and buying in bulk is the best way to save money. food prices are getting off the chart imo. scary. i am stocking up on anything non perishable as often as i can. if someting is 10 for 10 at the store i get 10…even if its like canned beans wich i prefer not canned…when shtf those cans are gonna come in handy!i could go on and on…there are so many ways to save money. i raised 5 kids and a lot of their friends and learned the hard way how to make ends meet with little money. use reusable stuff…cloth rags instead of paper towels when you can. i try to use reusable stuff when i freeze instead of baggies….i reuse foil if its not messed up. i go to the chirpractor as soon as my back feels like its gonna ‘go out’ because that can keep me from losing time at work. i use a lot of herbal meds to try to ward off getting sick and a lot of those herbal meds i grow and make myself. there are unending things you can do in so many ways to save money and prepare.

  • Hi Daisy, Have you ever been to the They have a huge number of movies available for download for free. These movies are in the public domain, so many are quite old but still retain their charm. They have a huge variety of music for free as well. If you like a country blues feel I suggest Dave Alvin. If you like a Bluesy rock thing I would consider The Band of Heathens (not as heathenish as the name 😉 They also have Hank Williams the Third. Between movies, free PDF’s for you kindle, iPad and PC you can not go wrong. I have not paid for a movie or music in years thanks to this site.

  • Dinner tonight was oven-fried chicken, which we raised ourselves, fried green tomatoes I canned this summer, and mashed potatoes I also canned from our new potatoes. We are eating our first dinner in our “new” “old” house we purchased for a song. This feeling of freedom and satisfaction is amazing! We may not have all the trappings of rich people, but we are free. This is what prepping is all about, at least for us.

    • Congratulations, Karen!!! The meal sounds delicious and that is so wonderful about your new home! Best wishes and many blessings to you there!


  • A tip I read years ago has saved me tons of money, when planning meals with meat choose lots that contain ground meat (taco, pasta or rice dishes etc) buy a mix of ground turkey, pork and beef. When you get home dump it all in a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup of bread crumbs, dried bean powder or other “filler” per pound of meat. If you often use the same seasonings for ground meat meals add that too. Mix well by kneading the meat and filler together. Separate into approximately 1lb size sections and freeze individually. I use quart freezer bags and squish it flat to save space in my freezer. I can make 10 lbs of ground meat into 15+ bags ready for use in a meal this way and stretch our meat dollars far. I make at least 2 meals a week with it. Often I get the pork and turkey cheaper than the beef especially if its a ” eat or freeze” mark down since these get bought less they sit in the meat cooler longer.
    We nixed the cable years ago and are currently re-evaluating or cell plan. We buy older cars with cash from our tax return.which is only possible because hubs Tax form for his employer is filled out so they take money for taxes as if he were a single man with no dependent plus $5 a pay. We are used to not getting that extra money every pay but it sure helps when we do our taxes to have a return large enough we can really put it to use.
    The vehicle is usually some 10+ year old grocery getter that will need minimal repairs for the next 2 years beyond regular oil changes, brakes and tune ups. One that gets decent gas milage and gets us from point a to point b safely and reliably for as low cost as possible. Usually around $1,500 to $2,000 yes that’s under 3 thousand dollars for a vehicle. Since we pay cash we have no interest to worry about and our insurance is lower without a lien. We drive it as long as we can then either resell it outright, scrap it if need be or trade it in on the next one.
    I used cloth diapers on my kids and cloth genome products for me (way better IMO) and we are considering cloth for the potty too. I never buy paper towels or napkins or disposable plates and cups (I keep a few disposable utensils mainly because hubs looses my good ones in lunches).
    I do my dishes once a day after dinner I take the worst pot etc and soak it with hot soapy water and all the utensils while I wash everything else to save one scrubbing cooked or dried on gunk.
    I switched all of our light bulbs to CFL ones and I use solar garden lights in their windows as night lights for the kids. I don’t turn on any house lights until dinner or after, we use the sun through our windows instead.
    I do coupon and shop sale cycles and stock pile.
    I make my own birthday cakes (I’m not even very good lol). We dot do big parties with hundreds in decorations and treat bags. Each child can have 1 person sleep over 1 night, pick their birthday dinner and a family activity. My younger boy’s bday is in October so he always picks the pumpkin patch, the other 3 are in April so its anything from a movie, play area at the mall to crafts or baking at home.
    Tv is 2 nights a week period. Both times its a movie or a cartoon we can stream on you tube (they love the old Disney shorts) we hook up the PC to the tv so everyone can watch easy, eat sandwiches for dinner with veggie tray for a side and popcorn desert.
    Rewards do not have to be monetary, getting to run errands with Mom alone, cooking helper, Daddy’s tool wrangler lol are all excellent rewards for kids. I made cards that they can redeem that say things like 2 books at bedtime, free chore day, pick your chore or trade a sibling, date with dad or mom, sleepover in living room, play outside after dinner, manicure by mom, choose your hair cut, anything that does NOT require extra spending!!! The favs are extra time with mom & dad and swapping chores with a sibling (I have no idea why scrubbing the toilet is interesting but hey it gets done lol).
    I shop all year for birthdays and Christmas and Easter baskets!!! I keep a list in my planner for each kid I have to shop for I buy the little misc holiday stuff to stuff stockings and baskets I get them 70-90% off and keep a collection. These make great occasional treats or bribes too! My kids are only allowed to ask Santa aka Dad for 1 thing (Dad always buys these ones closer to Christmas) and we decided this year to do the 4 gift rule, 1 thing each that you want, need, can wear and can read. That way we have less clutter and the kids appreciate what they get more. (In past years the mountain of stuff was usually half broken or lost before valentines day). When I shop I buy only clearance items that are at least 70% off or I buy it second hand (excellent shape though). My girls dollhouse was $5 and its the favorite in the playroom for all 4 kids! Who knew the army guys would use it as a hideout hehehe :).
    Because we don’t throw parties and invite classmates I don’t feel obligated to send my kids to class mates parties unless it is a close friend. And for those I have a $5 gift limit and a bin full of items for my kid to “shop” through that again I bough on clearance. This saves running last minute for party gifts and spending $20 or more on a kid they barely know.
    We finally were able to have a garden this year and with ate, froze or canned everything we grew. We also take advantage of any offer to go pick fruit! A friends has fruit trees they don’t pick and usually drear and other animals are the only ones who eat it. This year try offered to let us pick all we wanted for free! Now I have all the apples I needed for apple butter and more than enough plums for many different things! The kids ate the berries while we worked lol so none of them made it past the farm. The plums were so ripe I froze more than half so they would be ready when I had time to make a second batch of plum butter.
    I make all my cleaner except dish soap. That I stand by blue dawn. Its the most cost effective efficient one for us. (You have to use 2-4x as much with other brands) I make my laundry soap for about $40 a year for a family of 6 compared to the $50+ I spent a month buying tide, downy and bounce. My son has skin allergies so now I buy borax, washing soda and fels naptha my clothes come just as clean and if I worry about static I air dry it. No more skin issues and we save about $600 a year in laundry stuff alone.
    Swap clothes with friends and family. Do not pass up any handme down. If its not you style trade it to someone else , too big for the kids hold onto it for later, too small again trade to some else or find a way to repurpose it! A group of my friends and I did this for years I was the only common thread none of them knew each other but between the 6 of us there were 15 kids (a few niece and nephews too) all the handme down came to my place and I sorted them and sent them back out. Noones kids wore the same size so that was never an issue for us you just sent in what you could and got what was sent back. Completely free with the agreement that rather then sell or donate leftovers they went back into the pot for another swap. This saved us all thousands in clothes over 3 years that we kept it up ( I moved far away).
    We would do it twice a year for school clothes and for warm weather clothes. I just made up the difference in what I still needed for my kids by shopping the sales at the thrift stores (yes I am so cheap I won’t even pay full price at a thrift shop!) I only buy socks and under garments new. If shoes are in barely used shape I’ll buy them used especially dress shoes and boots. Each kid gets one new pair of sneakers for school. And if possible I buy coats at the thrift store or clearances the previous year.
    Wow okay I could go on forever but I have a feeling I need to stop lol

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