Is it possible to prepare for an emergency on a budget of $10?

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: July 4, 2019
Is it possible to prepare for an emergency on a budget of $10?

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JGS_WaterBottles[1] (180x125)Not everyone is blessed with a decent job, no mortgage debt, no car payments, and plenty of food on the table.  As sad as it may seem, the grim reality is that we all have friends, neighbors, and relatives that are scraping by with meager incomes and barely enough cash to keep the utilities turned on in their homes.

I have spoken one on one to many such folks and it is amazing how resilient they are.  Many have given up the use of an automobile for all but essential trips.  Others have either given up or cut back on their cable TV and have learned to make prodigious use of the public library.

Now let me set the record straight:  I am not talking about the braggarts who pare down their 150 satellite channel lineup to 80 channels and talk/brag about their new-found, politically correct, austerity.  No, I am referring to hard working folks who, with the rising cost of food and fuel, have no extra money and are struggling to come up with the cash to cover basics such as toothpaste and TP.

So therein lies the challenge.  As I attempt to educate others on the need to be prepared and to be self-reliant, what do I say when the piggy bank is empty and there is little or no extra cash?  Can I offer a family preparedness solution to what may seem to be an expensive and impossible proposition?

I don’t have a clear answer to these questions.  What I can offer is my view that stashing away emergency food and water may simply be more easy and more practical than stashing away an emergencty cash fund.  Think about it.  You manage to set aside $5 to $10 a week.  At the end of the month, you have a skinny little envelope with some dollar bills in it and a huge temptation to grab the envelope and treat yourself to a night out on the town.

On the other hand, if you had taken the same $5 to $10 a week and purchased emergency food and water, at the end of the month you would have a nice cupboard, bin or box full of tangible goods that with some planning, could feed your family for a few days.  Just imagine what you could accumulate two months?  And how rewarding it would be to know that in the worst of situations, you would have some food to eat?

And so today, I begin to offer some suggestions for spending a modest $5 to $10 a week on emergency supplies that can be put away – meaning not touched – unless a dire situation requires their use.

What about the rest of us?  Think about taking the same $5-10 and starting a separate storage bin – call it a food bank – that you will add to weekly and provide to a needy neighbor if the SHTF.

Week 1:  Prepping at $10 or less

It should come as no surprise when I say that #1 on the list is water.  Our local supermarket has a 24 bottle case of water (16.9 oz. each) for $3.66 for the entire case.  One gallon jugs are .89 to $1.09 each.

Add a sharpie pen so you can date your purchases (you will want to rotate them a year from now) and you are set to go with emergency water for less than $10.  Now how sweet is that?

Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!


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2 Responses to “Is it possible to prepare for an emergency on a budget of $10?”

  1. My God. One can only afford to spare a dollar a day (around the median of your $5-$10/week) and the first thing you suggest to buy is water? Although I applaud your initiative in tackling the question and admire many of your past suggestions, I think you are off base in this case. Respectfully (I mean it) let me suggest this alternate approach.

    Although I agree that water is among the most critical items one needs for survival, chances are that the apocalypse isn’t going to happen in the next week so I suggest that water storage can be delayed just a tad. Spend your first week’s savings on some very low cost yet nutritious food items. Rice and dried beans for instance. Live on those for a week and I’m pretty sure you will save a few more dollars from the food budget. These saved food budget dollars can provide a healthy boost in available prepping dollars.

    Sprout some of the beans as a substitute for fresh vegetables and your diet will be complete and probably of better quality than most American diets. In 3-5 days a pound of beans turns into over 10 lbs of fresh vegetables full of vitamins, minerals, and even enzymes often lacking in mature vegetables.

    In the meantime, gather free water containers like plastic milk, juice, and soda bottles. In a few weeks when you finally do get around to storing emergency water, don’t pay $1/gal for it at the store. Just fill up your free storage bottles from the same tap you’ve been drinking from up until then. In the US, water from any municipal water tap that is safe to drink is safe to store for 6 months.

    That said, I’m anxious to see what your next installment on this topic will be. As you can probably tell, its a subject dear to my heart!

    • Jill – Thank you for your valuable and insightful input. I must admit that I am a bit of a water freak which is most likely due to the fact that the water coming out of our tap only barely meets acceptable EPA standards. As a result, we must carbon filter all of our drinking and cooking water. That said, filling up some used containers with water is a fabulous idea – and as you say, free. I would not recommend milk or juice bottles, however, since the milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and can provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them.

      It is my hope that at least one person will read your comments and heed your advice. It would be a shame if only those folks with a well-stocked larder paid attention to what you have said.

      — Gaye

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