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Budget prepping: How to prep your bug-out bag without breaking the bank
By zoeysky // 2022-10-28
If you're preparing bug-out bags (BOBs) for the whole family, you might end up spending a lot of money on supplies for everyone. When prepping on a budget, you can cut your expenses by planning ahead and personalizing the bug-out bags to suit your specific prepping needs. (h/t to

Start with a threat assessment

When deciding which items to include in your bug-out bag, think of the most common disasters that you may end up facing in your area. You can do this by conducting a threat assessment. After evaluating all emergency scenario possibilities, you may realize that there are only a handful of disaster scenarios that will end up forcing you to leave your home, like a house fire or tornado. If this is the case, you can prepare a bug-out bag with enough supplies for at least two to three days. But even packing three days' worth of food, clothing and supplies for your whole family isn't that cheap. To save money, wait for backpack sales in October after school starts. You can also buy bags during holiday sales to make the most of every dollar. If you end up getting cheaper backpacks that are not camping quality, reinforce the seams yourself before packing the bags. (Related: Prepping tips: 16 Alternative containers for your bug-out gear.)

Tips for buying BOB supplies

A basic bug-out bag should include supplies like toiletries, a first aid kit, food and comfort items. If you're not sure what to get or where to shop, you can buy cheap supplies at the local dollar store and big box store. First aid kit You can save time by getting a pre-made first aid kit for your bug-out bags. You can also prepare one yourself and include the following essential supplies:
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Band-aids
  • A case
  • Burn salve
  • Gauze
  • Medical gloves
  • Medical tape
  • Prescription medications
  • Scissors
  • Tourniquet
  • Tweezers
Food Food is crucial for all bug-out bags, but it is also often the most expensive part. Your best options include:
  • Beef jerky
  • Calorie-dense trail mix
  • Cereal
  • Comfort food (Hard candy or chocolate)
  • Dehydrated or freeze-dried food
  • Instant hot cereals
  • Instant rice
  • MREs (meals-ready-to-eat)
  • Seeds
  • Tuna/chicken cans or pouches
If there are a lot of people in your family, you can save money on expensive items like big bags of trail mix and beef jerky by buying in bulk. You can also buy items that are on sale to save money. Buy candy after the holidays if you want to include comfort items. Choose hard candies that won’t melt. You will need at least three freeze-dried meals in each BOB, along with two bags of beef jerky, three granola bars and some candy. If you also have trail mix, divide them between the bags. Add more items from your stockpile so you don't have to buy everything. Include silverware for each bag. Toiletries For toiletries, you can get a travel kit at the big box store. Kits for women will include basic supplies like:
  • A bag to organize all the items
  • A comb
  • Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Flosser
  • Lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
Include feminine hygiene products from your own supplies to supplement the items that come in the bag. A toiletry kit for a man will include the following items:
  • 2-in-1 Shampoo and conditioner
  • A bag to organize all the items
  • A comb
  • Deodorant
  • Razor
  • Shaving cream
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
Alternatively, you can buy several three-ounce bottles that you can fill with items like shampoo and other products from home. Then add a washcloth comb, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste to each kit in the BOBs. Clothing Keep costs down by packing clothes that you already own, along with an extra pair of socks, gloves and a hat. If you are prepping for cold weather, make sure you pack weather-appropriate clothing. Comfort items Don't spend too much on comfort items if you want to save money. Look for items that will be useful. The items themselves will vary depending on the age of your children so look for useful supplies like:
  • Books
  • Games
  • Notebooks
  • Pencils
  • Puzzle books
  • Stickers
  • Stuffed animals
Pack two or more items for your kids so they can keep themselves occupied while you are bugging out. Include various items per bag if you want the kids to share items. You can also include supplies from home or your stockpile such as notebooks and some sharpened pencils to keep costs down. Other useful and cheap items for your BOBs If there is space in your bug-out bags, you can include other miscellaneous survival items from the dollar store that aren’t very expensive, like:
  • Batteries
  • Bungee cords
  • Flashlights
  • Gloves
  • Glow sticks
  • Hair ties
  • Hats
  • Matches
  • Pocket knives
  • Rain ponchos
  • Sunglasses
  • Tool sets (This may include a screwdriver, attachments for the screwdriver and a knife. You can also include a multitool to keep the bag light.)
Spread these items across the bags. If you already have some of these items around your house, pack them in the BOBs. Use the money you saved to buy other items that you still need for your bug-out bags.

Prepare a bug-out bag that suits your specific needs

If you're not sure what to include in your family's bug-out bags, you can check guides online for suggestions. But if these suggestions don't work for you, you can just go ahead and prep a bag with items that are useful for your specific needs. When choosing items for your bags, make your choices based on your analysis of your most likely survival situations and each family member’s unique circumstance. What works for one family won't always work for you. You should also regularly replace and rotate perishable supplies and seasonal clothing items so you have the right kind of clothing for summer and winter. Packing a bug-out bag is a basic component of emergency preparedness, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Start with the basics and if money is tight, gradually add more supplies each month. Save money by buying supplies during store sales, using coupons, or shopping after the holidays. Even if you are prepping for a large family, you can save on bug-out bag supplies if you plan ahead. Visit for more tips on how to pack a bug-out bag on a budget. Watch the video below to know more about five items you may have forgotten to pack in your bug-out bag. This video is from the Prepping101 channel on

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