17 Dirt-Cheap Items Every Prepper Should Hoard

by Tommy Grant

In many cases, survival preparedness can be a very expensive goal. With that said, there are plenty of highly useful prepper items that cost practically nothing.

If you would like to add to your survival stockpile without having to spend a fortune, consider stocking up on these thirteen cheap prepper items that you can get for under a dollar each. (Note: I included links to articles where you can learn survival hacks that make use of the item.)

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Often overlooked, aluminum foil is a versatile survival item. Not only is it crucial for cooking and storing food, but it can also be fashioned into makeshift containers, signaling devices, and even fishing lures. Its ability to reflect light and heat makes it invaluable for emergency warmth or to signal for help. Lightweight and compact, foil takes up minimal space in your stockpile but offers a wide range of uses.

Related: 33 Prepper Uses for Aluminum Foil

Without running water , staying clean can be a real challenge. Baby wipes are perfect for washing your hands, face, and body when taking a shower or using the kitchen faucet isn’t an option.

In addition to cleaning yourself, baby wipes can also be used to clean dishes and clean up around your home.

A true jack-of-all-trades, baking soda is an unassuming yet powerful item to include in any prepper’s arsenal. Beyond its well-known use in baking, it serves a myriad of other functions that can be vital in survival situations. Baking soda can be used for personal hygiene as a toothpaste or deodorant, for medicinal purposes such as soothing insect bites or heartburn, and as a cleaning agent for cookware and surfaces.

Furthermore, it’s invaluable in gardening, acting as a non-toxic fungicide or even to sweeten tomatoes. Its ability to neutralize odors can also improve the livability of confined spaces during long-term sheltering. Given its low cost and the fact that it’s compact and has a long shelf life, there’s no reason not to stockpile baking soda.

Related: 50 Survival Uses for Baking Soda

Bobby pins may have been invented for a very specific purpose, but the truth is that these little items are incredibly versatile.

A bobby pin can be used as a screwdriver, a lockpick, a nail holder, a zipper pull, a sewing needle, and much more. As cheap as they are, there’s no reason not to add a box of bobby pins to your survival stockpile.

Related: 25 Bobby Pin Hacks That Will Blow Your Mind

5. Cigarettes

Regardless of whether you have a nicotine addiction, cigarettes are still a great thing to have on hand in an emergency. They can be used as kindling for a fire, they can treat insect bites, and the ash from cigarettes can be used to stop small cuts and wounds from bleeding.

Cigarettes can also be used as a valuable bartering item given that there are plenty of people in the world who would pay dearly for a pack of smokes at a time when they are no longer available in stores.

In the event that you are no longer able to use your dryer to dry your clothes, clothes pins will be a necessity. In addition to the obvious function of hanging clothes on a clothesline, clothespins can be used for a wide range of other purposes.

They can be broken down into tinder to start a fire, used to organize papers, used to label cords, sharpened into small stakes to use in the garden, and more.

Related: 25 Survival Uses for Clothes Pins

If you are one of the many people who can’t face the morning without a hot cup of brew, coffee filters are probably already a part of your survival stockpile. Even if you aren’t a fan of coffee, coffee filters are still well worth stocking.

They can be used to prefilter water, used as a disposable bowl, used to make a bandage, used to store and sprout seeds, used to start a fire, and more. Of course, coffee filters are also great for helping you brew a nice cup of liquid energy to get you through the demanding days of disaster survival.

Related: 17 Survival Uses for Coffee Filters

Condoms may not be the first item that comes to mind when you think of disaster preparedness, but they have plenty of uses beyond the function they were designed for.

A condom is a great place to store tinder or anything else that needs to be kept dry. They can also be turned into a medical glove in an emergency situation and can even be placed over the muzzle of a rifle or shotgun to keep out water and debris.

Related: 20 Survival Uses for Condoms

Flossing is the best thing you can do for your teeth, but there are plenty of other reasons to stockpile dental floss.

For example, you could use it as a fishing line, as a clothesline, as lashings when building a shelter, as tinder when starting a fire, as a thread for fixing clothes, and much more.

Related: 27 Survival Uses for Floss You Never Thought Of

For preppers who have small children, diapers are an obvious necessity. Even if you don’t have children that are still in diapers, they are still a useful and inexpensive item to have on hand.

Diapers can be used to make bandages and ice packs, they can be placed inside of a shoe for extra padding, and they can even be used to prefilter water.

Paperclips are very small and weigh next to nothing, yet they can be incredibly useful in a survival scenario.

You can use paperclips to create a compass, a fish hook, a meat skewer, a sewing needle, a lock pick, a belt holder, and much more.

Related: 20 Survival Uses for Paperclips

From cleaning the small spaces in guns and electronics to applying glue to packing bandaging into a wound, Q-tips can be used for an incredibly wide range of purposes.

Like duct tape or paracord, Q-tips are renowned for their versatility, and the sky is the limit as to how you can use them in a disaster scenario. Best of all, Q-tips cost practically nothing, so stock up on as many as you can.

Related: 25 Survival Uses for Q-Tips & Cotton Swabs

Safety pins might seem insignificant, but their utility in a survival kit is undeniable. From repairing clothing and gear to serving as makeshift fish hooks, their uses are limited only by your imagination. Safety pins can also be used to secure bandages, make a sling, or even to childproof cabinets in an emergency. Lightweight and cheap, they’re an easy addition to your stockpile that could prove invaluable.

Related: 8 Survival Hacks Using Safety Pins

An essential in any kitchen, salt is far more than just a seasoning. Its preservation qualities can be a game-changer in a survival situation, allowing you to cure and preserve meats and other perishables. Additionally, salt can be used for cleaning, de-icing pathways, and even as a gargle for sore throats. Given its low cost and multifunctionality, stocking up on salt is a no-brainer for any serious prepper.

Aside from the obvious use for trash bags in a disaster scenario, they can also be used as waterproof storage, can be torn apart and used as plastic sheeting, can be used to cover up broken windows, can be used to create a makeshift shelter, and much more.

Of course, you’re still going to need a place to store garbage after a disaster, and trash bags are obviously perfect for this role.

Related: 37 Survival Uses for Trash Bags

Zip ties – also known as cable ties – are incredibly versatile and can be used to complete a wide range of DIY repairs. In an emergency situation, zip ties can also fulfill the role of handcuffs and make it easy to quickly restrains someone’s arms and legs.

For the most part, though, cable ties are used in disaster scenarios for fastening items together and making repairs, and it’s certainly worth having a few boxes of them in storage.

Related: 16 Survival Uses for Zip Ties

Ziploc bags are ideal for storing small items and cost less than a dollar apiece – much less when they are purchased in bulk. Best of all, Ziploc bags are waterproof, enabling you to carry items that need to be kept dry such as matches and electronics.

In the event of a disaster, Ziploc bags will continue to be as useful as they already are in day-to-day life, so be sure to add at least a few boxes of them to your stockpile.

Related: 15 Survival Uses for Ziploc Bags

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