Prepper Book Festival 10: The Penny-Pinching Prepper

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Prepper Book Festival 10: The Penny-Pinching Prepper

Years ago, when Backdoor Survival was just a few months old, I ran across a small website that was also just getting off the ground.  At the time, many prepping sites were quite militaristic and doomsday-oriented so it was refreshing to see a site that was grounded in a set of core values similar to mine.  The site was and from the get go, the site owner, Bernie Carr, and I became online friends.

A lot has changed in our world since then, and the scary events we prepare for these days seem a whole lot more intense.  Still, Bernie and I both continue to write articles that focus on common-sense and preparedness tactics that are easy to do and will not break the bank.

Prepper Book Festival Penny Pinching Prepper | Backdoor Survival

With that introduction, I am thrilled to roll out Bernie’s newest book as the first entry in Prepper Book Festival 10: The Best New Books to Help You Prepare.

The Penny-Pinching Prepper: Save More, Spend Less and Get Prepared for Any Disaster is a book for all of us.  After all, who hasn’t found it necessary to cut back on living expenses in order to build up their emergency supply of food, water, and gear?  Wouldn’t it be nice to also save money on prepping items as well?

Whether you are interested in saving money or simply have an interest in becoming self-reliant by making your things yourself, this is the book you want.  In it you will learn everything from how to make your own emergency lamps to making your own personal products and cleaning supplies.  But that is just the tip of the ice berg.  Every single page has tips for saving money and prepping on a budget.  This is a book you will refer to over and over again.

Okay, I think you get it.  The Penny-Pinching Prepper is a fantastic find!  I would love to see everyone get a copy so, in true penny-pinching fashion, I have three copies up for grabs in a Prepper Book Festival giveaway.

But first, enjoy the interview with my friend and author, Bernie Carr.

An Interview with Bernie Carr, Author of The Penny-Pinching Prepper

One question on everyone’s mind is what they would do if a disaster or even a collapse occurred in their own back yard. If that happened to you, would you bug-in or bug-out and why.

I would first assess what type of disaster or collapse is going on.

If it was a natural disaster such as a hurricane, and my area is not under water, I would likely bug in. Utilities such as electricity and water may be temporarily interrupted but with enough water and supplies stored away, we would be able to ride out temporary inconveniences.

However, my response would be different if there is a total collapse.

If the collapse seems to be widespread, and infrastructure is compromised, such as a pandemic, I would seriously consider bugging out. I live in an apartment community in the city. In close quarters, lack of water and sanitation would become a big problems rather quickly. Crime would become rampant. Without electricity, water, trash collection, and police and fire personnel to keep communities safe, living conditions would deteriorate very quickly. It would be best to leave before it’s too late.

If you did decide to hunker down and bug-in, what items would you include for comfort? Or would you?

If I did decide to hunker down, and I already had the necessities covered such as water, food, lighting, first aid, sanitation, safety, personal care etc., I would definitely include some comfort items. Coffee would be high on my list, as I am one of those people who gets a headache all day without at least a cup of coffee. This also means I’d need powdered milk as a substitute for cream, and sugar to add to my coffee.

I’d also have a stash of shelf stable cheese such as dehydrated cheese, cheese spread or Velveeta, and some crackers. I can recall the days after Hurricane Ike, I had a strong craving for cheese and because there was no dairy available without truck deliveries to the grocery stores, I had to wait a week.

Another item I would include is chocolate, sometimes that Hershey Bar would just hit the spot. M&Ms last a long time; they are even included in MREs, so I would store a few bags of M&Ms but I would have to get a vacuum sealer.

Home defense and protection from the bad guys is a big deal. That said, not everyone is prepared or even qualified to use firearms. What do you recommend in that case?

I would recommend a Taser as well as some pepper spray. However, before getting either of these items, everyone should check the laws in their state, as each state varies.

Once you acquire them, you would need to make sure you learn how to use them. Even though these are considered non-lethal weapons, you would still need to learn how to use them properly to avoid hurting yourself or others.

These days, it seems as though a new book about survival or preparedness is released daily. How is your book different from the others and why should we read it?

I wrote The Penny-Pinching Prepper specifically to help people who are concerned about the costs associated with acquiring emergency supplies.

Prepping can get expensive but it does not have to be that way-there are ways to save money while preparing for emergencies. The book shows how living a prepared lifestyle will help anyone prepare for multiple emergencies, whether they are small day to day emergencies or major disasters.

The book will also give you lots of tips to improve for financial situation. Improving your finances while in the process of getting prepared is a benefit that will stay with you whether an emergency happens or not.

What is your favorite survival, disaster, or post-apocalyptic film or TV show?

One Second After by William R. Forstchen is high on my list – it is one of the first books I read in the survival genre and I can remember being scared while reading it at the time. It reinforced the need to be prepared. The sequel,One Year After is on my reading list.

As far as TV, I like the Survivorman shows. There are many shows I have followed, but I prefer Les Stroud over all the others.

I also like The Walking Dead. It’s a great conversation starter and has been a good way to approach friends and family on how they feel about being prepared.

It is said that everyone has a book inside them. What advice do you have for the budding author?

I would advise a budding author to write as much as you can, as often as you can. Start a blog about your favorite subject, or jump right into writing that book.

The main thing is just to get started. That first step is the hardest, but once you start, you just keep going.

Don’t do it for the money; if you love to write so much you would do it for free. Getting paid for your writing becomes a side benefit. There is nothing like getting readers who follow you and share their comments. I still feel grateful every day that people read my work.


The Giveaway

Bernie has reserved three copies of The Penny-Pinching Prepper for this Book Festival Giveaway.  How cool is that?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.  Select one or more of the options after signing in using your email account or Facebook, the choice is yours.  The best way to start is by clicking on “Free Entry for Everyone”.  After that, each option you select represents an additional entry.  There are a number of different options so pick and choose or select them all.

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

The Final Word

I would be remiss in not mentioning that Bernie has another book that you might be interested in.  The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster has been popular with Backdoor Survival readers since it was released a few years back.  It a book I always recommend to someone that is just getting started because true to its title, all 101 things listed in this book are truly easy peasy and not the least bit daunting or overwhelming.

In closing, please know that when it comes to budget prepping, I totally get it.  In my own household, if it were not for penny-pinching on the little things, I would not have been able to afford the more expensive preps such as a Berkey water filter and freeze-dried food.  It all gets down to a matter of choices, right?

Luckily, the The Penny-Pinching Prepper will get you to where you want to go a manner that is not painful to the pocketbook.  I encourage you to enter the giveaway so that you can win a copy of your own for free!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.


Spotlight:  The Penny-Pinching Prepper: Save More, Spend Less and Get Prepared for Any Disaster

Cost-saving strategies for stockpiling emergency supplies and becoming fully prepared—without breaking the bank!

Prepper Book Festival Penny Pinching Prepper | Backdoor SurvivalYou need to get prepared before disaster strikes. But supplies can be expensive. This book solves the problem. Packed with inexpensive DIY projects for keeping your family safe in any worst-case scenario, this helpful handbook’s smart and frugal approach shows how to stay on a stable financial footing while fully preparing for any life-threatening situation.

The Penny-Pinching Prepper offers dozens of affordable and easy-to-implement solutions, including how to:

•Stock a prepper pantry on $10 a week
•Build a stove from used tin cans
•Create a water filter with two free 5-gallon buckets
•Craft a lamp that burns inexpensive vegetable oil
•Devise a storm shelter using 10-cent trash bags

For your convenience, here is a list of all of the books in the current Prepper Book Festival.

One Second After: Like Bernie, this is one of the first post-apocalyptic books I read and it scared the you-know-what out of me.  Every time I begin to question whether all this prepping is worth it, I go back this book.  A must read for all of us.

One Year After:  In this sequel to One Second After, we return to the small town of Black Mountain, and the man who struggled so hard to rebuild it in the wake of devastation following an EMP, John Matherson.

The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster:  This is the perfect book for someone who is feeling overwhelmed by the task of prepping.  Author Bernie Carr breaks things down into management steps that are practical, easy, and kind to the budget.

Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.  The eBook print version is available.

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!


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59 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival 10: The Penny-Pinching Prepper”

  1. Any good ideas for Chrisrmas gifts would be most helpful. My wife is a “professional frugaler.” Our grandsons are getting into prepping and the info in the book will be helpful. Very good site!

    • I am still working on my 2015 Holiday Gift Guide but most of these from last year are still good. Watch for the 2015 version next month!

  2. We now own a dehydrater, and I have dehydrated almost ALL of my excess garden veggies instead of freezing them. Should last longer, and they need NO power to store!

  3. My mother has passed on her bargain hunting/frugal gene. I seek the best buy on all products. This doesn’t always mean the least expensive item, but in the end, as with most less expensive items, is the better buy.

    I have been using ads and in-store specials to stock up my food supplies, and am also trying to follow the sales cycles. These methods have gone a long way in the stocking up process.

  4. Am developing a print library. Some that are published others, articles from various web sights. This book would be a tremendous asset and addition to my library. Backdoor Survival has become my main “go to” for info that I trust. Thanks for the opportunity to “pick your brain”.

  5. I think I’m turning into a hoarder! I save just about anything – lint and cardboard to make fire starters, food containers to start seeds, shredded paper to make fuel rounds (can’t remember the “real” name), and so on. My daughter has made flannel cloth wipes (if/when the toilet paper runs out). I’ve also been dehydrating a lot of food from the garden. I read The Prepper’s Pocket Guide – lots of great tips!

  6. Like Dee, I love my dehydrator. I don’t have room for a big freezer so excess veggies get vacuum sealed in jars and put on the shelf. And they’re so easy to use when cooking as they’re already washed and chopped 🙂

  7. I think I inherited my father’s penny-pinching gene so I’ll pass along one of his tips that I’ve adopted too. He has mailed me letters with recycled paper which of course I don’t mind and I find myself turning envelopes inside out and using them. I’m all for paperless but at times you need a scrap or two! Would love a copy of this book.

  8. I concentrate on “old” skills on months that money is really tight. I’ve learned a lot and feel I can really contribute to the survival of my family even as an older woman. Scratch cooking, gardening, seed saving, sprouting, canning and sewing skills (just got a treadle machine) all help but I am practicing improvising in some way every month. This practice gets the creative juice going and helps me feel more confident and ready for hard times that may come.

  9. Find out if any Big Box stores like K Mart, Walmart or any you have in your area have layaway. I have beefed up camping gear when utilizing layaway for toys for children. Everyone can use some exercise, walk up and down aisles in home goods stores, grocery, pharmacy, etc and just pay attention to what is on the shelves. Check out the clearance sections as well. My husband and I try to do this a couple of times a month and we have found some good sales and stuff that we need for preparing or we figured out a few uses for another item. It is our time together but it keeps us on track for preparing.

  10. I just purchased a manual carpet sweeper. I like the idea of cleaning the floor without power, and my grandsons ‘play’ with it and clean the floor at the same time. From at $24.00 on sale. Combined with a few other items, it was free shipping.

  11. Clothes from thrift shops like Goodwill and Salvation Army. I don’t always find stuff, but when I do, the savings are great!

  12. Buy fruit and vegetables while they are in season and dehydrate. We use these items year round to make soup or dinner in the crock pot, even cobbler. Also, stock up in baking supplies near Thanksgiving and soup an canned items in winter.

  13. Look around and see what you have first, because often you just might already have something that you can use for your purpose.

  14. Libraries are your friend, they have a ton of how to books free to borrow. My library even loans hand and power tools.

  15. My Food Saver has enabled me to store lots of things. I especially like buying grains in bulk, putting them in the freezer for a few says to eliminate pests, them vacuum sealing in wide mouth quart jars. I’ve also made a few dozen “cans of fuel” which I learned about years ago in Girl Scouts. Just wash some empty small round cans like cat food or tuna come in. Then cut strips of corrugated cardboard, the width being a little less than the height of the cans. Wrap the cardboard in a tight spiral to fill the can, the open ends facing up. Finally, slowly pour melted paraffin in the cans to come just below the top of the cardboard & let cool. These can be used to heat food or water using a chafing dish or small camp stove. Like Sterno but much less expensive!

  16. My penny pinching tip is to get as many free samples as I can. They’re usually a perfect size and perfect packaging for storage and the BOB.

  17. Whenever something is on sale at my local market, and especially if I also have coupons, I’ll buy as much as I possibly can, and put it in my stockpile. I’ve been known to buy 50 cans of tuna, if they are down below a dollar. That way we have food to eat, and also to stockpile, at the lowest price I can find.
    I also save everything!

  18. Finally! All this info in one place. Been trying to prep on a shoestring for years and have collected tips and plans from many places. Bet there are some new ideas here!

  19. Another GREAT Giveaway ….
    I’d love to win this book as we are always strapped for cash & would benefit from the iseas in this book.

  20. One of my big savers is to buy in bulk and then use the food saver with a jar attachment to seal up smaller portions in un-used canning jars. That saves me the cost of the bags, plus the item is cheaper in bulk. Another way is I bought a ziploc hand vacuum pump and the re-usable bags. They work like a regular ziploc bag but have a one way vacuum valve on them that you can use the hand pump to draw out excess air with. Depending on what I put in the bags they can be easily hand washed and re-use and no electricity needed.

  21. Agree with the above about saving and repurposing as much stuff as practical. I pass through the dollar store on a regular basis to see what useful items I can pick up. Our walmart has a clearance aisle also that I peruse when I’m in the store. Last year I managed to outfit a small survival fishing tackle box with items from that aisle. Got a small four compartment box, lures, sinkers, bobbers, hooks for less than what they were even selling for across the store in the fishing section.

  22. I want this book!!! I forage on my property- found all the edible and medicinal plants just growing for free. Amazes me that so many people call them weeds!

  23. Da Hubs and I check out garage, estate sales to pick up what he calls “oddball” stuff. I’ve gotten towels, cloth diapers, etc for cents on the dollar to add to my non-food storage. I would dearly love to win a copy as I search other sites to glean information. Having it in one book is geat

  24. I love yard sales. When old folks die (like me), their children or grandchildren sale things when they dont know what they are. I just bought 20 number 10 cans of hard red winter wheat for $2. The young lady ask me, “what do you do with that”? To make her feel better, I said “I feed my chickens”.

  25. My brother has the awful habit of wearing his clothes till they are nothing but rags. In fact they are past the rag stage. He says there is more good use in them yet! I think that take penny pinching a little too far. LOL

  26. Bernie Carr’s Home defense and Protection segment is great advise and I want to expand on his suggestion concerning pepper sprays and Tasers. “mace” has come out with a mace gun that looks like and breaks down like a short flare gun. It uses a pressurized canister that will shoot 10 sprays about 15 to 20 feet long. The mace gun comes with a canister of water so you can judge the length of spray to practice with. Mr. Carr’s suggestion to check local laws on using sprays is very correct because in Florida I believe you need a “carry permit” to carry a spray that is larger than the little itty bitty spray sold in your local 7-11. Remember “carry permits” allow a person to carry many different self defense non-lethal items (non-lethal is becoming more sophisticated). As far as Tasers are concerned there are many Tasers that look like cell phones or other electronic items. There is one taser that is used in a flashlight so there is double use particularly at night. Knowing how to use these non-lethal self-defense items for protection is the key to keeping safe. Many years ago I was selling a self defense spray through multi level marketing sales and the Ft. Lauderdale police researched sprays at that time. Their results were not good. One has to be very careful when buying cheap pepper sprays because it is easy to develop a false sense of security. If a pepper spray is going to be carried I suggest you go on line to research the different formula’s used in different sprays because BIG MEAN CRIMINALS ARE NOT AFRAID OF PEPPER SPRAYS.

  27. My family officially thinks I’ve gone bonkers now… After buying everyone new underware I’ve repurposed the old as rags for cutting up as TP.

  28. Try to network, this year I gained enough apricots to can apricot jam, apricot syrup and spicy apricot ginger glaze. I also scored 40lb of tomatoes. Also networking reinforces the fact that we are not alone.

  29. I bought a vacuum sealer and have used it numerous times to prepare bulk foods for long term storage. Buying in bulk saves bucks!

  30. I watch the sale ads, and coupons, and try to take advantage when something I have a coupon for is also on sale. Target is great because you can stack coupons, plus their Cartwheel app, plus use your Target RedCard for an additional discount.

  31. I don’t throw away our old socks. I cut them into three pieces. I discard he heel section, which is usually why we aren’t wearing them anymore. Both the top “crew” part and the “foot” parts make a good scrub cloth for use at the kitchen sink. I also use them to put around full glass canning jars to keep them from being “glass on glass” when I have them stored on the shelf.

  32. I’ve been wondering if the re-usable Mason jar lids are worth purchasing. Quite an up front expense. But, buying the ‘one time’ lid is getting expensive too. Would love to see an article from Gaye comparing the two and cost effectiveness of the re-usable ones. If the re-usable ones are worth the money; which brand would you suggest?

    My tip for saving money at the grocery store is to plan 2 dinners at the same time. For instance, cook a roast with potatoes and carrots for day one. Use half of the roast on day one. Day two use the other half of the roast and fix beef and noodles, or beef barbq or another meal to fit what is left. Any leftover potatoes and carrots can be used as a side dish or frozen for the next pot of soup.

  33. My tips would be to use the $1 store as much as possible for DECENT products. Always test. Another is save a little money (say $20) and when you see a good sale on canned foods, stock up! I recently bought canned veggies, beans, and tomatoes for 50 cents a can! They were on sale for 10/$5. Nowadays, that is CHEAP! At least where I live. Cans are over $1 now at the stores. You can’t get much cheaper than that!

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