Disasters Preparedness: 44 Cheap Items to Stockpile

Last Updated: July 31, 2022
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Is disasters preparedness expensive?

One of the biggest things that hold people back from starting with disasters preparedness is that prepping is too expensive…

Although some survival supplies can be pretty expensive, most of the things people will need after the SHTF are dirt cheap.

But once the store shelves are bare, most people will trade a lot for a single roll of toilet paper. And that’s just the beginning.

When you think about disasters preparedness, keep in mind that a lot of cheap stuff we take for granted in today’s world will be extremely valuable and desirable after SHTF.

This is the stuff you want to stock up on now.

Not only will you need it for yourself and your family, you may also need it for bartering.

Here are just 44 examples of cheap items you’ll want to stock up on while they’re still available. 

I’m sure there are plenty more, so if you think of any, be sure to leave a comment below.

But first....

Disasters Preparedness Survival Supplies

What Is Disasters Preparedness?

Disasters preparedness refers to measures taken to prepare for and reduce the effects of disasters.

That is, to predict and, where possible, prevent disasters, mitigate their impact on your family and community and respond to and effectively cope with their consequences.

Now on to the list...

1. Soap

Soap is so cheap today that we tend to take it for granted. But when it’s gone, people will miss it badly. It is crucial to maintaining cleanliness after the SHTF to keep diseases from spreading.

2. Glow Sticks

Glow sticks can serve as night lights, trail markers, or signals. They are very cheap, but very useful. (Bonus tip: These are really cheap right after Halloween.)

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3. Kleenex

Kleenex or some tissues. You’ll continue to get colds or have allergy problems after the SHTF, and you don’t want snot everywhere or a raw nose.

4. Fish Antibiotics

Disasters almost always lead to disease outbreaks due to the crowded, unsanitary conditions. Antibiotics will be needed to combat diseases.

Most doctors won’t write a prescription for “just in case” antibiotics. However, you can legally buy fish antibiotics and keep them as part of your disaster preps.

Here's all fish antibiotics survival uses and how to store them.

5. Lighters and Matches

With the grid down, people will need to heat their homes and cook with fire. 

And what do you need to start a fire?  I couldn’t find any stats on how many people have matches and lighters at home, but I’m guessing that most people are severely under prepared.

Lighters and matches are very cheap and take up little space, thus making them one of the best cheap prepping items to stockpile.

6. Female Hygiene Items

Most women  are going to need lots of pads and tampons.

7. Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil has dozens of usess. Buy lots so you can use it for gardening, cooking, cleaning, etc.

Here are 7 aluminium foil hacks.

8. Cigarettes

Cigarettes may not be healthy, but after SHTF they are going to be in high demand. A single pack could be worth a great deal of supplies, and they actually have some survival uses.

9. Disinfectants

Disasters cause disgusting, unhygienic conditions.  Disinfectants will be in high demand.  I’d recommend stockpiling bleach because it is cheap and can be used for disinfecting water.

10. Batteries

Batteries are a bit pricier, but worth stockpiling because they will be so valuable.  

Note that batteries will be virtually worthless if an EMP disaster strikes because all electronic devices will be fried.  Consider using a Faraday cage for your important survival electronics.

For other types of disasters, consider getting rechargeable batteries and adding a rugged solar charger to your preps.

11. Cheap Wine

Cheap wine is easy to come by and will store forever. After fighting all day, a nice glass of wine will go a long way toward calming the nerves.

12. Fishing Line

Fishing line isn’t just for fishing. Use it to hang items, make a snare trap, and set booby traps around your camp.

Here are 4 ways to make a snare traps.

13. Towels

Towels can be picked up at yard sales and thrift stores. Use them as intended, to make slings, or to seal up a drafty door.

14. Cooking Oil

As someone who goes backpacking frequently, I can tell you how much of a difference a bit of oil makes to meals.  I carry a small squeeze bottle of oil to add to my meals.  It makes them taste better, prevents food from sticking to the bottom of the pan, and also adds important dietary fats.

15. Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a cheap yet potentially life-saving item that many people overlook. It helps treat poisonings, purifies water, and relieves gas and bloating.

Here's how to make activated charcoal.

16. Toothbrushes and Toothpaste

Toothbrushes and toothpaste should be stored in bulk. Good oral hygiene is important when there are no dentists.

17. Face Masks

Remember 911? People are still dying from the terrorist attack because of asbestos and other hazardous materials they inhaled.  A simple face mask (aka respirator) would have prevented many of these deaths. N95 face masks are very cheap, take up little space, and will be very valuable when SHTF.  Put some in your bug out bag and keep extras stockpiled at home. 

18. Condiments

Condiments like ketchup and mustard can sit on the shelves for a while and make an ordinary meal taste a lot better.

19. Spices

Spices like oregano, garlic powder, and the like will turn that bland soup or stew into a delicious meal.

20. Pain Killers

Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and aspirin will all be necessary for reducing pain that comes with disaster-related injuries.

21. GI Medicines

All first aid items are going to be in high demand after a disaster.  

However, GI problems are the most common ailment after disasters (from the unhygienic conditions and drinking untreated water).  If you are going to focus on one first aid item to stockpile for bartering, make it GI meds.

22. Candy

Candy will be an excellent way to keep the kids happy and reward them for helping out during hard times. It’s fun for adults, too.

23. Lotion

Lotion can help prevent cracked and chafed skin, which can become a serious problem if left untreated.

24. Plastic Tarps

Plastic tarps are one of the most diverse and useful survival items.  There are many uses for tarps, like making shelters, boarding up broken windows, and collecting rainwater.

25. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is very important and needs to be used to prevent serious sunburns that can leave you dehydrated or suffering from heat exhaustion.

26. Vinyl Gloves

You’ll need heavy-duty gloves for sorting through rubble and debris.  But those super cheap nylon gloves will also be important for treating wounds, changing bucket toilets, and much more.  You can buy entire boxes of gloves for just a few dollars.

27. Chap Stick

Chapstick is more important than many people realize. When you are outside working in cold or windy weather, your lips will become chapped and it can be very painful. Plus, there are many other uses for chap stick.

28. Ziploc Bags

Ziploc bags will be helpful to store leftover breads and other treats you make, or for keeping socks, tinder, small electronics, etc. dry.

29. Candles

For bonus points, stockpile string for candle wicks and make your own candles out of used wax.

30. Sewing Kits

You can get mini sewing kits at the Dollar Store. 

These will be important for fixing clothes, backpacks, tarps, and sleeping bags. The needles in the kits can be used for all sorts of things from removing splinters to sewing up a wound (in extreme cases).

31. Flour

Flour will make life a little easier. Making flat breads, thickening stews, and baking in general is much better if you have plenty of flour.

Here's how to make Hardtack.

32. Sugar

Sugar makes life better all the way around. You want to enjoy the food you eat; not just eat for survival. I know some people will scoff at this, but morale is very important during a disaster.

33. Toilet paper

This one should be obvious. 

34. Water Purification Tablets

Water Purification Tablets are great SHTF barter items because they are so small.  You can carry them in your Bug Out Bag and use them as currency.

35. Seeds

Seeds to grow a garden will be crucial to creating a sustainable life. Store a large variety of heirloom seeds so you’ll also have seeds for next season and so on.

36. Bullets

In addition to stockpiling bullets, you might want to learn to make your own ammo.  

Recommended Read: Ammo Storage Guide And Mistakes To Avoid.

37. Pens, Pencils, and Paper

Pens, pencils, and paper can provide entertainment as well as a way to send information and document your new way of life. In fact, if it’s the end of the world as we know it, you should definitely keep a journal. Not only will it be valuable to future generations, it will be therapeutic.

38. Baking Soda

Baking soda isn’t just for baking. You can use it for many things such as cleaning, deodorizing, and more.

39. Sterile Bandages

You can make your own bandages. But most people won’t think to do that.  So stockpile lots of sizes and types of sterile bandages.

40. Condoms

Condoms, because having lots of babies after SHTF is not going to be ideal and chemical birth control is not going to be available.

41. Shoe Strings

Shoestrings aren’t just for keeping your shoes on. They can be used as cordage for all sorts of things.

42. Socks

This is a commonly overlooked survival item.  Stockpiling shoes is a bit more difficult, but you can buy cheap socks and barter them when SHTF.

43. Cotton Balls

Cotton balls can be used for cleaning, treating wounds, and protecting the ears when you have to be outside in the bitter cold.

Next time you visit the dollar store, take a walk down each aisle and start stocking up on all the little things that will make life much easier after SHTF.

44. Food

Knowing you have a year’s worth of prepper food on the premises, what’s that investment worth to you? One can’t underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep.

Here's how to get started with food storage!


If the American, and closely-related economies, encounter significant difficulties, do you know what you’ll do if the value of the Dollar drops to nothing and societal norms begin to break down?

You can be the one who is fully prepared by building an underground shelter.

Here's how to build an underground bunker on budget.

So next time you visit the dollar store, you'll think about disasters preparedness, and take a walk down each aisle and start stocking up on all the little things that will make life much easier after SHTF.

Are you stockpiling any of these items? 

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