PrioritizeThe first step to preparing for any disaster is to prioritize your needs. What items, tools and foods are essential for survival when you are in the most need? Food storage is something that every person that prepares has plenty of, it’s an essential. Create a short list of the items that you believe are 100% necessary, and then add optional items afterwards. Make sure all of the essentials are marked off your list before you begin on anything else. A great deal on ice cream won't help you if you run out of flashlight batteries in a storm that takes out your electricity.
Compare PricesIf you have the luxury of preparing for a disaster before it is upon you, you certainly have the option to shop around and price match the essentials. Take control of the situation ahead of time and give yourself options to choose from instead of having to pay a higher price at the last second. See which stores offer a price match guarantee or price match and discount deal. Look in the paper for case lot sales, and search online for more readily available discounts.
CouponsWhile you're busy comparing prices and brands, make sure to stop by sites that offer discounts and coupons for specific items. For instance, you can find a Brownells coupon and many others on sites like Discountrue.com. Using coupons effectively can greatly reduce your preparation costs. Put your accumulated coupons together in a binder for easy access when you need them.
StockpileOne of the biggest challenges of being frugal in the case of an emergency is that you often don't have time to do much research or planning. However if you make a habit of taking advantage of good deals all year long, then you should have a healthy stockpile built up before trouble arises. As a result, you won't be forced to pay higher prices when supplies are running low.
BarterThere are now many communities of people who love to barter and trade. Usually the people in these groups have access to a specific product or skill that may be in short supply. They may be willing to trade and barter for your supplies and services as well, which can allow you to broaden the scope of your preparations without spending any additional money up front.
There are many ways to prepare for a disaster in a budget friendly way. Take the time to decide what you need and then do the research to ensure you are getting a good deal on those items first. Shopping and trading effectively is the only way to save yourself money when the pressure is on.
Written by Rachelle Wilber