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60 Emergency Supplies You Can Buy for a Buck

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: August 2, 2022
60 Emergency Supplies You Can Buy for a Buck

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Tax day is right around the corner and after agonizing over the tax preparation process, I have filed my return and don’t have to worry about it for another year.  The bad news is that I had to make a donation to our government to cover the taxes due.  The good news is that the government did not get a tax free loan from me this year.

Whatever the case, this is the time of year that I am reminded that having blank checks and credit cards is not the same as having extra cash.  Do you know the feeling?

60 Emergency Supplies You Can Buy for a Buck - Backdoor Survival

With that in mind, today I share some preparedness supplies that can be purchased for just a dollar.   Let us start with the local Dollar Store and see where it takes us.

Are you ready to do some budget prepping?

60 Prepping Items You Can Buy for a Dollar

1.  Bottled Water
2.  Canned Meats
3.  Canned Fruits and Vegetables
4.  Canned Juice
5.  Nuts and Crackers
6.  Candies
7.  BIC Lighters
8.  Paper Cups and Plates
9.  Plastic Utensils
10. Plastic Table Covers
11. Non-Electric Can Opener
12. Paper Towels
13. Aluminum Foil
14. Plastic Storage Bags/Containers
15. Garbage Bags
16. Toilet Paper
17. Plastic Buckets
18. Sponges
19. Disinfectants
20. Chlorine Bleach
21. Bar Soap
22. Laundry Soap
23. Flashlights
24. Batteries
25. Candles
26. Butane Matches
27. Wood Matches
28. Spray Bottles
29. Scissors
30. Hand Tools
31. Duct Tape
32. Utility Knife
33. Plastic Sheeting
34. Garden Trowels
35. Personal Hygiene Items
36. Vitamins
37. Sunscreen Lotion
38. Sewing Kit
39. Latex Gloves
40. Cleansing Agent/Soap
41. Antibacterial Towelettes
42. Antibacterial Ointment
43. Antiseptic Ointment
44. Adhesive Bandages
45. Tweezers
46. Aspirin/Non-Aspirin Pain Reliever
47. Cotton Balls
48. Baby Bottles
49. Baby Wipes
50. Paper & Notepads
51. Pencils/Pens
52. Whistles
53. Jigsaw Puzzles
54. Card Games
55. Coloring Books & Crayons
56. Toys
57. Pet Food
58. Pet Bowls
59. Leash and Collar
60. Emergency Ponchos

Beyond the Dollar Store

The local dollar store is not the only place you will find bargains.  The back aisles of many drugstores and even big box home improvement stores will have deals if you take the time to seek them out.  And then there is the online kingpin, Amazon.

I often will point out “Almost Free” items in the BDS Bargain Bin and also on the Almost Free Page.  There you will find whistles, can openers, pocket tools, flashlights and more.

The Final Word

I frequently recommend that you should purchase the very best you can afford. Still, sometimes you need something and don’t have the extra cash to purchase the best.  Or perhaps you need extra, backup supplies.

When that happens, buying things from the dollar store or some other bargain outlet simply makes good sense. Besides, it is fun to shop for bargains.  And don’t forget, you can hone skills and increase your knowledge for free.

There are so many things that you can do to get prepared – all you really need is to get off your bum and start!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ and purchase my book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage from Amazon.

Almost Free:  At the time of this writing, this whistle is super cheap!.  How bad can it be?

3 in 1 Survival Whistle with Compass Thermometer

Cheap Whistle Works Good

Bargain Bin: If you want to check out some top sellers, here is a link: Amazon Top 20 in Camping & Hiking – Perfect for Preppers. And speaking of outdoors, are you thinking of heading out to the wilderness?  Although I like to hike, I usually do not stray too far from the beaten path.  I typically put on hiking boots and grab my paracord lanyard and whistle, camera, cell phone, protein bars, and water. My buddy, Tucker the Dog, is always with me.

Rothco Type III Commercial Paracord: You can get 100 feet of Paracord for very affordably. This is a real bargain but be aware that price can vary substantially depending on the color.

Paracord Lanyard: My paracord lanyard is in yellow and black. Making my own lanyards in various colors is next on my list of paracord crafts.

Paracord Survival Adjustable Velcro Bracelet: This is the paracord bracelet I purchased for myself a number of months back. Remember, if you are going to purchase a bracelet (and this one is a lot nicer than the one I made – practice makes perfect and all), be sure to order the correct size.

Paracord Survival Bracelet Kit:  What the heck, you can make your own.  Did you see my attempt?  You can also pick up a multi-kit with enough materials to make six assorted bracelets.

Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife: This “oh so sweet” knife is solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package. It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.

Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10): You will be surprised at how warm these will keep you. Be sure to test one out in advance so that you have the confidence to trust the blanket in an emergency. You will be amazed at how small and portable these are; a packet will easily fit in a back pocket.

Emergency Shelter Tent: The Emergency Tent is a lightweight and compact emergency shelter. It is wind and waterproof and easy to set up and is roomy enough for two people.

Emergency Sleeping Bag: Another low cost item designed to keep you warm in an emergency situation.



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31 Responses to “60 Emergency Supplies You Can Buy for a Buck”

  1. This is an excellent list! Dollar general also has a $1 area for things that are getting deleted form the store or a having a price change. they put them there until they sell. now, they also have a clearance area in the back of the store. this has your puzzle books, magazines, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, socks, all kinds of goodies they no longer sell, and want to get rid of at a bargain!! i have over 200 coloring books, puzzle books, magazines, and comic books that will be used for TP if the SHTF! Check out Dollar general too after the holidays, all holiday stuff goes down to 50% to 75% off! hand towels, paper plates, cups, utensils, kiddie goodies, decorations, tablecloths. Everything for camping, but covered in holiday crap! I dont buy hand towels anymore, i wait until after the holiday, and get them for .25 to .50 each!

    • Kamiko, will funny books make your butt happy when you use them for TP? JK

  2. Good article, and a good idea to check at your local Dollar store for preps. But–Do be aware that sometimes what you are getting is near its “expiration date”, which may or may not matter. I did however buy some soup crackers on sale for a buck some time ago…which were old, stale and going rancid. Non-brand-name items from dollar stores may be of inferior quality or might not work. Just sayin…I have purchased some preps from dollar stores, and chances are having something on-hand is better than nothing !

  3. Good article but I have some issues with a couple of the items. Dollar store batteries and duct tape are poor quality and not worth even the dollar. But there are numerous other good choices- such as vasoline, baby wipes, nasal spray, gauze, bandages, mirofiber cleaning clothes and some cleaning supplies. Also hard candy, energy drinks,deck of cards, and sometimes they have plastic storage containers in a 4 and 6 quart size- sturdy and great for flour, and sugar for everyday use.

  4. a great article! as Jim mentioned, other good places are thrift stores and flea markets. i’ve even visited thrift stores that are located near military bases and have found many interesting and useful items. even if items aren’t of the highest quality, something is usually better than nothing at all.

  5. Not only Americans need to prepare! Prepping should be, and probably is, world wide.
    If you have any hints from your country we would be glad to hear tberm!

    • Hello from England! We have Poundland here. Last summer I went in and found enameled metal camping mugs, emergency blankets (mylar) , a small cooking pot, enameled plates, all kinds of cordage, duck tape, bandages, pain relief of various kinds (asprin, paracetamol, ibuprophen, muscle rub) , mylar emergency tent, 1×2 meter tarpaulins, rain proof bucket hat with zip pocket, emergency rain coat and poncho, folding cutlery set with pouch, loads of canned foods,mylar pouches of rice, stews and Indian foods like sag aloo, curried chicpeas, and so on which can be eaten cold and are delicious, loads of snack foods, dried fruits and nuts, cereal bars, fruit and nut bars, sweets, garden trowels made of nylon, so light to carry, emergency whistles, matches, lighters, and pet food. Now that it’s winter, they have less camping stuff, but there are still loads of tools, plus hats, gloves and scarves and hand warmers. Put your survival hat on and go have a look!!

    • Oops, I left out the small sized saws, hammer, rubber mallet, sewing kit, strong Stanley knife with spare blades , tea lights, all kinds of small plastic storage containers with good seals, and things like mirrors, magnifying glass (fire lighting) metal tins like altoids come in (EDC) and all the cosmetic stuff-cotton balls, generic Vaseline, etc. I love Pound land…can you tell? Lol

  6. Good read for beginners but I have a few issues with the Dollar Store. The majority of items on your list are fine to purchase at a dollar store. The only items I would never purchase at a dollar store are flashlights(junk), batteries(Sunbeam rated very low), any medications and vitamins from China that is not regulated), food from China and third world countries that have no regulations.
    I was in Harbor Freight yesterday and they have a TON of stuff for preppers.
    Thank you for your article.

    • I agree completely. The vitamin section in dollar stores in my area now come with those lovely cancer warnings from the fed, I would not list those for long term health. Dubious quality at best. Possibly the canned meats may contain unregulated levels of heavy metals as well, at least in the fish products. I wouldn’t actually recommend anything edible from a dollar store personally. Tools and supplies are probably fine, but with Chinas level of environmental pollution even that may come in to question soon.

    • Actually a lot of dollar tree are name brand items just in smaller sizes….perfect for making a small bug out bag that’s light enough to carry …

    • Thanks to Obama and Monsanto, America has GMO in all their foods. Even Mexico knows that stuff will eventually kill you. but unless you can afford to pay double for groceries and prepping supplies, the cheaper food will have to make their way onto our shelves for now. if it werent for cheaper foods to stretch my budget, we would have starved by now. many of the things found in SaveALot are also at Dollar Tree. Im not dead and i dont have cancer, been eating their stuff since since 1990.

  7. a great place for bargin supplies is harbor freight tools you can use coupons and get FREE flashlights,tarps,work gloves, simple tools all FREE then you can use their 20-25% off coupons on any item in the store ,solar panels,converters inverters shovels knives machetes the list is endless.No i dont work there but i love shopping there

    • Harbor Freighter is too far for me to drive to. However, my sis who lives near one, got me the 45 watt solar array system and a small greenhouse, both on sale there. Plus, when she comes to visit she usually brings me gloves, tools, lights, and such that she gets for free when she goes there.

    • Just added! I somehow had garbage bags listed twice. Rowing with one oar last night after the big move to a new hosting company.

  8. Other cheap prepping places.
    EBay – but you have to be careful as you sometimes do not get what you thought you were getting, and shipping charges are often outrageous
    Yard sales – as long as you know the true value of what you are getting – I’ve seen things at a price that was higher than the local stores, for exactly the same thing.
    Flea markets – same warnings as for yard sales.
    Thrift stores – usually a safe bet.
    Friends and family – sometimes they buy or receive things as a gift that they really don’t want and may either give it to you or let you have it for a small fee.

    And, as always, keep your eyes peeled for items on sale. I recently got a lot of Mountain House FD foods when the local Walmart had a 50% off sale for red tagged items.

    • Actually, I stopped buying from Amazon–shipping charges are horrendous.
      An $8 item and $8 shipping is not practical.
      I usually email the company or person and tell why I can’t buy there.

    • JayJay – I always try to spotlight Amazon products with free shipping so I am surprised by your comment. Also, with Amazon Prime, you get free 2 day shipping plus unlimited video streaming. We use that instead of cable TV.

    • Joining Amazon Prime is very cheap, and shipping on Prime items is free for 2nd day or $3.99 for overnight. You also get access to their video streaming service. Well worth the money.

      I just went to Dollar Tree yesterday. Great buys were alcohol, antibacterial wipes (i don’t use antibacterial stuff normally, but in a sthf scenario it would be necessary!), toiletry stuff esp for men, and buckets. I also got some more coat hangers (we got rid of too many when we moved!), and the super-sized zip top bags that are great for storage. And Peeps for Easter. 🙂

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