Prepper Supplies

71 Survival Items Under $5.00



Feature | Survival Items Under $5.00 | emergency survival kit

Survival items come in different forms and monetary value, and this list comes dirt-cheap! At only $5, you can complete an emergency survival kit. From food, tools, and OTC drugs, there are a lot of survival items you can get at this small amount and even less. Complete your survival kit with low-cost survival items in this list!

Must-Have Survival Items You Can Get for Only $5 and Under!

In this article:

Building a Survival Kit

I am always on the lookout for great deals for prepping my survival supplies. I was scouring through a few forums and ran across this post from way back 2008. Even though I'm sure that inflation has taken its toll on the items below, they are still an incredibly cheap and quick way to boost your preps without destroying your budget.

After reading scores of threads of people asking how to get started prepping, having to “sneak” prepping from their spouse, or “don't have the money” to prep, I thought I would put together a thread that would cover each.

The goal of this thread is to demonstrate that prepping is possible for just $ 5.00 per week. I do not think that I know anyone who could not spare five bucks per week to invest in the ability to feed yourself and your family in the event of being affected by some form of disaster.

For just $ 5.00 +/- you can buy the following storable things:

Food Items

First off in this list are the essentials tummy fillers:

1. Five packages of Idahoan instant potatoes (flavored)

2. A case of ramen noodles (20 packages)

3. Five cans of sardines

4. Five gallons of purified water

5. Nearly two cases of bottled water

6. Four cans of peaches, pears, or fruit cocktail

7. 2 jars of mandarin oranges

8. Five pounds of rice

9. Three to four pounds of spaghetti

10. Two cans of spaghetti sauce

11. Three bags of egg noodles

12. Eight packages of gravy mix

13. Four cans of whole or sliced new potatoes

14. Four cans of green beans or at least three cans of carrots, greens, peas, or mixed veggies

15. Two cans of Yams

16. Six cans of pork and beans

17. One 40 ounces can of Dinty Moore beef stew

18. Two 12 ounce cans of chicken, tuna, or roast beef

19. One 1lb canned ham

20. Three cans of refried beans

21. Three 12 oz cans of ravioli or spaghetti O's.

22. Two 12.5 ounce cans of salmon

23. Five pounds of oatmeal

24. Four packages Dinty Moore heat and eat meals

25. Five packages of cornbread mix

26. Four pounds of sugar

27. Five pounds of flour

28. 1.5 quarts of cooking oil

29. Three one-pound bags of dry beans

30. Two cans of apple juice

31. A jar of peanut butter

32. Two boxes of yeast

33. Two bags of generic breakfast cereal

34. 10 8 oz cans of tomato paste or tomato sauce

35. Four cans of soup

36. Four cans of Chunky soup

37. 8-10 pounds of iodized salt

38. Two bottles of garlic powder or other spices

39. Two boxes of kool aid

40. A can of coffee

41. 2 bottles of powdered coffee creamer

Tips When Packing Food Items for a Survival Kit:

  • Consider your family's tastes and needs (these must be food items family members are familiar with to help relieve stress in a traumatic survival situation, in short, foods to lift their spirit).
  • Take foods which do not require special preparation and refrigeration.
  •  Always check the expiry date.
  • Use tight-seal containers when storing perishable foods like biscuits.

Non-Food Items

Items in this list include tools for hunting food, self-defense, and shelter-making. There are also items to help you prepare food and drinking water. There are also items essential for safety or for first-aid. Make your life a bit easier even while on a survival situation with the following items:

43. One manual can opener

43. Two bottles of camp stove fuel

44. 100 rounds of .22lr ammo

45. 25 rounds of 12 ga birdshot or small game loads

46. 20 rounds of Monarch 7.62×39 ammo

47. A spool of 12 lb test monofilament fishing line

48. 2 packages of hooks and some sinkers or corks

49. Artificial bait

50. Two packages of soft plastic worms

51. Three Bic lighters or two big boxes of matches

52. A package of tea lights

53. 50 ft of paracord

54. A roll of duct tape

55. A box of nails or other fasteners

56. A flashlight

57. Two D-batteries, four AA or AAA batteries, or two 9v batteries

58. A toothbrush and toothpaste

59. A bag of disposable razors

60. Eight bars of ivory soap (it floats)

61. A box of tampons or bag of pads for the ladies

62. Two gallons of bleach

63. Needles and thread

64. A ball of yarn

OTC Medications (at Dollar General)

If you do not have in-depth knowledge of medicinal plants, then these OTCs are must have survival items. These are items to combat small to serious health issues or help ease your ailments as you are on your way for help. At $5 or less you can make an emergency and first-aid kit with the following items:

65. A bottles 1000 count 500 mg generic Tylenol (Acetaminophen)

66. A bottles 500 counts 200 mg generic Advil (Ibuprofen)

67. A box of 24 counts 25 mg generic Benadryl (Diphenhydramine HCI)–also available at Walgreens under “sleep aids”

68. 2 bottles 500 count 325 mg aspirin

69. A box of generic Sudafed

70. 2 bottles of alcohol

71. A box of bandages (4×4)

View the original forum thread here


Watch this video from Drop Forged Survival for tips on completing your survival items list:

A jar of peanut butter and a box of bandages can mean survival for you or someone with you in a survival situation. These survival items, individually, may seem unimportant but combined and it could be just what saves you. Complete your survival and emergency kit $5 at a time and you can have the ultimate survival essentials in time!

What can you add to this list to help the rest of us get prepped for under $5.00? We're eager to have this list bumped up with your ideas in the comments section below!

Up Next: 377 Survival Hacks And Skills You Should Know

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 16, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Gregory Kay

    September 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    You can do even better than that, depending on where you shop. Dollar Tree and Aldi’s grocery stores are my favorites. Hit these two places, and I estimate you can double the amounts of some of the things on this list. Plus Dollar Tree carries a large variety of preserved packaged food like jerky, salami, nuts, trail mix, and dried fruit, as well as all sorts of canned meats, fish, and shellfish, 4 packs of batteries, and everything in the store is a dollar. At Aldi’s, I can get two cases of bottled water for $5 and still have change left over, and canned vegetables and pasta for about .60 cents a can.

    • poppajoe49

      September 16, 2013 at 8:34 PM

      Greg is right, Dollar Tree and many other dollar stores are a great place to get items from this list, and Aldi’s is the best deal in groceries imaginable! I pay $.79 less for a gallon of milk there than I do at Wal-Mart!
      Now, one thing that is missing from the list is bandanas. They are very versatile and you can get them for $1 each at dollar stores. Something else that I never see on prepper lists are small toys to help keep small kids busy. Again, $1 each at dollar stores. In fact, if you walk through a dollar store, I’ll bet you can find hundreds of items that you would want to have when TSHTF. Think about this, reading glasses. $1 each, plus they can be used to start a fire when you run out of matches or lighter fluid. Remember the old trick of starting a fire with a magnifying glass? Reading glasses work as well.

      • kelly

        October 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        while I agree that the dollar tree (and other $1.00 stores) is wonderful, I do not always find the best deals at aldi’s. oft times, I can do better with coupons and sales. it takes time and planning, but I get many items for free or just pennies on the dollar.

      • ReggieD

        November 12, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        Walmart is now carrying the items that used to be a great deal at Dollar Tree for 88 cents. Check out the pharmacy aisle especially.

        • Anonymous

          January 25, 2018 at 7:25 PM


    • Hipockets

      September 17, 2013 at 1:42 AM

      My senniments exactly’ I’ve seen a lot of these items at the Dollar Store cheaper,or even at my local (Small town Expensive Grocery store’) Cheaper then these prices when on sale’ Just watch the ad’s
      and buy accodingly’ That’s how I’ve built my survival supplies up’
      Sometimes just $2-3 at a time’

    • Judi Martin

      September 17, 2013 at 10:29 PM

      Dollar Tree now sells the best flour from a mill in Kansas. So fresh, no half barley added, just wheat. And 2 pounds for $1.

    • Erica

      September 23, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      On Dollar Tree’s website, you can sign up your small business with an account and get catalogs, special offers, and better buying options, including bulk purchases direct mailed to your home/business address and/or for pick up in the store of your choice. I use it and it’s a HUGE time saver, plus, you don’t make wasted trips to the store since you can get the number of items you’re wanting and there are rarely any “sold out” issues.

      • 'Above Average' Joe

        September 23, 2013 at 1:34 PM

        Now that i didn’t know Erica! Thanks for sharing!

      • Fizzlecat

        July 9, 2018 at 4:39 PM

        That’s just plain awesome! Thanks!

    • Betty Worth

      November 13, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      I had a friend that about 10 years ago bought teramiacin antibiotic at the feed store and then bought empty capsules and weighed them out in 500 mg each tablet. The bag was really large and it was used on cows for mastitis infection. I took this as prescribed by a Dr. 40 some years ago. Anyone could buy this for there animals no prescription needed – I do not know if it is still in the feed stores.

    • Marie

      September 13, 2018 at 10:48 PM

      I tried the AA batteries at Dollar Tree and they did not last long at all. I won’t buy them again. I like to get the batteries at Aldies. They are much better. I do love Dollar Tree though as can get lots of great stuff there.

  2. Susie

    September 16, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    First Aid stuff — Band-Aids, ointment, guaze, etc.
    Space blankets
    plastic utensils and paper plates, cups and bowls
    Trash bags

  3. Pat Wall

    September 16, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar; both plain (or white) and Apple Cider Vinegar. These also have multiple uses.

    Gauze for bandages – bandanas or cloth squares for slings – boxes of bandaids – etc..

    • Pat Wall

      September 16, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      These are also available at the Dollar Tree and Family Dollar or at Walgreens and Walmart at special sales.

      • Dar

        July 5, 2018 at 9:14 AM

        I have found that buying band aides for long term storage is a bad idea, they lose their stickiness after a few years. if I am wrong let me know and tell me how to store them correctly.

        • Fizzlecat

          July 9, 2018 at 4:43 PM

          Same results here! Even the peel-off backing falls off, and the whole lot turns brown!

          • Marie

            September 13, 2018 at 10:50 PM

            True. In a pinch i would use a bit of folded paper towel (very small) stuck in the middle of a strip of duct tape. Works real good.

    • TM

      September 18, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      they can also order things like powdered Mustard, Tumeric & pickling spices if you talk to the manager & tell them you want to buy your spices there. Mustard powder & tumeric are perfect for first aid issues.

      • Marie

        September 13, 2018 at 10:51 PM

        What is mustard pd used for? Tumeric? To drink?

  4. Ed Johnston

    September 16, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    I have added 4 packages of steel wool (works great to start a fire)and a compass

    • Richard

      September 16, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      steel wool and a 9 volt battery is a great fire starter. Just short across the 2 terminals and almost instant fire. Also for under $5.00 is magnesium fire starter blocks.

  5. Susie

    September 16, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Scour the dollar stores.
    -bottle of shampoo-many wash uses
    -plastic tablecloth-slide game to workable area/start a shelter,cover with leaves etc.
    -cloth diapers/or large muslin dish towels-sling, cut for bandage wraps, gather together to hold items in creek for cooling, cut pieces to clean firearm/more.
    -moist baby wipes/many uses

    FROM camping supplies-Outdoor wound care kit with celox granules to stop bleeding.(less than $3 at Wal Mart)


    September 16, 2013 at 1:28 PM


    • Kevin Davison

      December 3, 2017 at 6:16 PM

      I like to buy the 24 pack AA batteries at Harbor Freights for they last a long time and only cost $4.99.

      • Marie

        September 13, 2018 at 10:56 PM

        Wow. I didn’t know that. I’m gonna go friday and pick up some. Thanks!

  7. Survivor Jack

    September 16, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Unless it was a major brand, the generic lighters at the Dollar Stores don’t stand up in the field.

    I do shop for matches and other things at the Dollar Stores.

    • poppajoe49

      September 16, 2013 at 8:37 PM

      Strike anywhere matches from ebay.

    • Marie

      September 13, 2018 at 10:58 PM

      I sealed the matches in a plastic container and after a couple yrs they won’t work…sorta damp i guess. I do like the dollar fire lighters at Dollar Tree. They last a long time, but i never tried it outside.

  8. Muscoe

    September 16, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    That comes out to $335.00 if my count was correct. Not too bad over a twelve month period at less than $30.00 a month. It’s a plan anyway!

  9. Diego Dan

    September 16, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    You can get 5 P-38’s at Army Surplus(good barter items) Fire Starters at Harbor Freight for $2 and a free flashlight with purchase, 100ft paracord $2, 5 X 7 green tarp $3, Harbor Freight has plenty of preppers stuff, check weekly ads. And no I don’t work there, wish I

    • poppajoe49

      September 16, 2013 at 8:38 PM

      Harbor Freight, survival knife usually on sale for under $10, machete on sale for $5, and they are both pretty sturdy.

      • CTWalter

        September 17, 2013 at 1:24 AM

        Those ‘survival knives’ are only useful if you compare them to finger nails. They are junk. If it is the only thing you have, then you have something better than nothing. When looking for a good survival knife, you need something good. The Air Force survival knife is a good solid start. You can stick it into a tree and stand on it with out it breaking. You can use it to cut down a tree by stabbing it straight in, wiggling it back and forth, and then stabbing it in again as you work your way around a tree trunk until you have cut it down. Those are the two tests I use to test a knife’s value. The Harbor Freight is China made crap and only useful if you don’t have anything else. When it comes to knives, please take the time and set aside enough money to buy something good. Your life may depend on it. And once you buy something, practice and test it. Take it out and play with it simulating probable uses in a SHTF scenarios. If it fails when you are playing with it, then get something better.

        • Joel

          September 20, 2013 at 11:38 PM

          And piggy-backing on the comment above of “taking the time to buy something good,” it seems everyone here buys their groceries from discounted stores. Has it occurred to any of these people that the likelihood of getting GMOs in their products just might be increased and explain why they are getting a so-called ‘bargain’?
          Remember, nothing in this world is free, and if it sounds too good to be true…well, read the fine print.
          Non-GMO all the way.
          Remember, you either pay the farmer or the doctor.

        • Al

          September 22, 2013 at 1:19 PM

          I agree a good quality knife is something not to be skimped on. Having said that, some kitchen knives would be better than these so called survival knives and for a lot less money. Made in China seems to be on everything these days, and I avoid it on knives especially.

          All of this stuff you need to remember to not be “penny wise, and pound foolish”, or be frugal on what makes sense, but not to the point of sacrificing quality or in the case of food, nutritional value and or shelf life. Old junk or crap is still junk crap and may not work when you need it most.

          • Kevin Davison

            December 4, 2017 at 10:59 AM

            I can see buying stuff for trips under $5 like batteries and supplies. But when it comes to stuff like knifes, (which I have around around $300 worth) you want one that will work and last. So it would be best to go to a sporting good store knowing you will find one that you like and know you can trust and will do what you need it to do. Between slicing a beetle for a snack, getting the nail out of your tire and slicing up wood for a fire.

  10. Dean

    September 16, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Does anyone know how long canned foods are edible after the expiration date? Might be good to know in an emergency, or if one has to scavenge for food after the SHTF.

    • CTWalter

      September 17, 2013 at 1:18 AM

      It depends on the temp the cans are stored at. If kept in a root cellar or very cool basement you will get more food value out of them. The macro nutrients, protein, fat, carbohydrates and minerals will remain long past the typical expiration date on most foods. The vitamins start to break down, often before the expiration date and much sooner if the cans are stored in a warm place. There are three enemies of food storage; heat, oxygen, and moisture. So keep your food in a cool dark place with out a lot of moisture. You can eat food quite a bit past the ‘expiration’ date, but as it gets older it looses some of its value and taste. But if you are in need of calories, age is not as important as whether it is safe to eat or not. Use common sense and in the end, you are responsible for the choices you make. Make sure that growing foods, or at the very least, sprouting foods is a part of your storage plan. Other wise, when your stores run out you will be counted among the roaming masses looking for their next meal.

      • Anonymous

        December 3, 2017 at 5:46 PM

        In Vietnam in 1967-68, we ate c-rations that were dated 1942-43. I don’t know how they had been stored.

      • Marie

        September 13, 2018 at 11:07 PM

        I learned the hard way not to store tomato cans past 2 yrs….some had bulged out and the tomato paste ones exploded. I read somewhere that you can make tomato paste leather by spreading the paste on the flat bottom of your food dryer – they usually come with a flat bottom with no holes. I would sprinkle some garlic pd and oregano or something. Then when real dry roll up in a sheet of food plastic. Don’t know how long it will last tho., but i think much longer than in a can. Lots of ramon noodles are good to fill the belly. It’s garbage, but will fill u up when real hungry. White rice will last at least 20-25 yrs. Brown only a few.

    • David

      September 17, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      I had the same question so I talked to a friend of mine that has a PhD in food and nutrition from Oregon State University. All canned food is good way beyond the expiration date as long as the can(s) are NOT bulged, swollen, or leaking in any way. You will lose some of the nutritional value and taste though. Every year tons of perfectly good food is thrown away because people have been led to believe that the expiration date means that the product is no good after that date. Quarterly inspection of your canned food supply would be a good idea.

      • Marie

        September 13, 2018 at 11:11 PM

        Over 30 yrs ago i starved for 3 months and had very little food in the house. So when y2k was coming i stocked up. Yrs later…..14 yrs later – i ate some of the food. The pasta stored in plastic buckets was perfect. The tuna and sardines were mushy but edible. I ate up all the pasta and gave the cats the tuna and sardines. It was just mushy, but probably lost some nutritional value

    • sharri

      March 9, 2014 at 9:46 PM

      Yes they are!!! I have never had a problem with them. I know when I was in early 20’s and pregnant, and uncle used to get going out of date and out dated food by a year sometimes 2. I worked part time at restaurant and went to food pantries when necessary . uncle used to give me boxes of canned goods, and a couple day old bread and it was never a problem. just as when I can stuff at home as long as the lid is sealed and there is no sign of mold or any thing good to go in my book … it’s really a shame how much this country wastes..and you definitely want to keep the cans at reasonable temperature, mine in basement in summer I have a dehumidifier down there Old house ya know,, take care of your stockpile like you would take care of your jewelry or money!!!! very well!

    • Ronda Caudillo

      July 13, 2018 at 12:40 AM

      I’ve kept canned good as long as 5 years past their date. The taste okay, but I usually use these types of things for stews, soups, etc. If I come across something old I try to mix it with a can of newer. Just watch the shape of the can, smell when opened, and don’t take chances if it looks weird.

  11. Regan's Bastard Son

    September 16, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    and a can of vaginal odor spray

    • Anonymous

      July 24, 2018 at 7:57 AM

      This a joke? That stuff is horrible for your body. Get some high quality baby wipes instead.

  12. Lawrence Edward Oravetz

    September 16, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    Add a led flashlite that has a hand crank on it…no batteries needed. Got mine at bed bath&beyond for 4 bucks.

    • Kevin Davison

      December 3, 2017 at 6:29 PM

      I have a radio and flashlight together that takes batteries. If the batteries are dead then I can crank it to work.

  13. Yvonne

    September 16, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Don’t forget toilet tissue & facial tissue & wet wipes!!! 🙂

    • Marie

      September 13, 2018 at 11:15 PM

      And save all your old telephone books to use for toilet paper! Take a page and crush it in your hands over and over and it will get soft enough to use to wipe. Ask your friends if they want to get rid of their old books. They are becoming hard to find now since everyone went to Cell phones.

  14. Micheal

    September 16, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Don’t forget Hamburger Helper. If you want to stretch one box out for two or three meals, add more liquid (water and milk)and more pasta. I can make up to four meals – for a single person – out of one box with this method.

  15. Brian

    September 17, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    we have a grocery store called Market Basket their brand of pastas 1 lb. boxes 5 for $5, tuna chunked diff. brands 4-5 for $5, sugar$2.99/lb flour $2.69 lb, pasta meals in a packet 3-4 for $5, spag. sauce 5for $5 16 oz cans. I also but 2 lb. bags of frozen veggies $1.69 ea. dehydrate them and vacuum pack / oxygen eaters. 60 rls toilet paper for $40.00 all my med supplies are bought at dollar tree or wal-mart ,all types of dried beans green and yellow peas $1.00- $1.50 lb. 96 oz. cooking oil $2.50 keep this in mind if you have kids or know anyone that does save the broken crayons wrap them in a small pc. of waxed paper they make good fire starters save the lint from ur lint trap in ur dryer take an old egg carton put a bunch of lint in each space where the eggs would go and fill each space with wax these make good fire starters. you can also use pcs. of charcoal in the egg crates I also have plans to make ovens out of a card board box and stoves out of a large can(like the kind they use at school cafs.)

  16. CTWalter

    September 17, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    Kipper Snacks are typically about $2 a can and are usually dated about 4 to 5 years into the future. They are an incredibly rich source of protein, vitamins A and E and if kept in a root cellar or cool basement they will keep much longer. If you don’t like them then don’t bother, but if you do, this is an inexpensive addition to food storage. Add a can of kippered herring to some ramen with some fresh or preserved veggies and you have a meal that will provide all the fuel you need to work hard. And don’t throw out the oil during a SHTF situation. All the extra calories will be needed to fuel the activities of providing a living for your loved ones.


    September 17, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    Dog biscuits are cheap, edible, and non-perishable. Arf!

    • Marie

      September 13, 2018 at 11:19 PM

      Yes, we can eat dog biscuits. I don’t see why not. I always taste the dog food before feeding it to the dogs – the dry food not the wet. lol. It’s pretty tasty, but i don’t think it’s non perishable as it’s a wheat product. Just keep dry and sealed. Should last a few yrs.

  18. gene

    September 17, 2013 at 4:18 AM

    I don’t see dental floss mentioned. Small package and you can’t beat it for strength. Beats any paracord hands down. Uses are endless.

  19. Linda Hunter

    September 17, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    Absolutely wonderful list. Good to look for little by little. Thanks.

  20. R L Diehl

    September 17, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    How about a nice big bandanna? Spare socks, underwear, box of .22 ammo. Those cheap knives mentioned above would be good for barter.

    • Marie

      September 13, 2018 at 11:21 PM

      Yes, we can eat dog biscuits. I don’t see why not. I always taste the dog food before feeding it to the dogs – the dry food not the wet. lol. It’s pretty tasty, but i don’t think it’s non perishable as it’s a wheat product. Just keep dry and sealed. Should last a few yrs.

  21. don hayton

    September 17, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    i have an extra water heater that i have filled with water and sealed for me

  22. Jan Lambert

    September 17, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Thank you, everyone, for your additional contributions! I have added all of them to MY list, which started out as “Average Joe’s” list 🙂 You know us “Type a’s”, we keep lists.

    When Joe mentioned a ball of yarn, I added “Knitting needles and crochet hook”. NOBODY mentioned paper, pen, pencil, or any way to physically “post” a notice, so I added paper, pens, pencils (mechanical – not the kind that have to be sharpened all the time), Sharpie Markers in Black and colors, and thumb tacks. Also, since someone mentioned small toys for children, how about a REAM of printer paper, some crayons, a simple coloring book, and perhaps a Kindle or Nook reader full of appropriate reading material? You can load one with children’s books, Classics, fiction, non-fiction, even Scriptures for those who want spiritual comfort and guidance under stressful circumstances. If you are a Mentor in any Discipline, add your Mentoring materials. All will be needed! I know the batteries will last only a few days, but hopefully, so will the time we will be isolated without electricity.

    • Janet

      September 24, 2013 at 2:39 PM

      You mentioned a tablet, personally i have invested in both of my young teens one each and have stored a great deal of books, entertaining and educational on each of theirs. Power has always been a concern, but now they have these great little solar chargers that will charge a cell phone, a tablet even a laptop given enough sunlight. And the chargers are not expensive at all. Another option to consider while not quite $5 is to store reading material, music, movies etc on different microsd cards. They can be swapped in and out and that way lots of options for those that are not busy working to survive. We currently havent invested in the microsd cards, instead have an external hard drive that holds a terabit….a whole lot of stuff. This however is not a very good option for the tablets or for a power down situation.

  23. Dan Kidder

    September 17, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    $10 bottles of Hydrogen Peroxide
    3 spools of dental floss
    Package of upholstery needles and nylon thread
    Box of 500 bandaids
    jar of vaseline
    Package of cotton balls
    Various sizes of ziploc bags
    Duct Tape (Duh!)
    Box of 100 razor blades
    4 boxes of macaroni and cheese
    bottle of vinegar
    Jar of peanut butter
    pair of wool socks

    The reality is walking around the dollar store or Big Lots, I find tons of preparedness items. They had gallons of water, 4 to a case for $5. I bought about 10 cases.
    It is easy to go broke a buck at a time, but good deals can be found if you look for them and know enough to figure out uses for many common everyday items.

    • Paula P

      November 13, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Dan, your’s is the best short list I have seen. I have every item.

      Baking Soda can be used for cooking, indigestion and itching, brushing teeth, deodorant and to scrub most anything.
      Hydrogen Peroxide is good but heavy and cannot be used in deep wounds, I prefer
      Bleach- may be diluted with water and used both for cleaning and treating wounds (Dakins Solution)
      small pan-may be used for cooking, eating and boiling water
      Salt-cooking, preserving meat, cleaning, and first aid.

  24. Stephan Matlack

    September 17, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    a deck of playing cards,,, plastic zip ties, carabiners,, even the cheap ones come in handy for lots of things, manual or car battery powered air pump if you happen to have an air matters in your bug out gear, pillow cases,,, very useful for more than sleeping on, mesh bags with drawstring closures,,, any sizes, a multiple piece tool kit, even if it’s a cheap one, usually has many sockets and a ratchet/crescent wrench/needle nose pliers/wire stripper/screwdriver with different bits/wire brush etc. forget the plastic utensils and pick up a few of each fork/spoon/dinner type knife at Dollar store, metal skewers for cooking meat/veggies over a flame without using pots/pans, of course, I have two IRON Skillets, a dutch oven, and a boiling pot in my bug out supplies… I can go on and on. Depends on how much room you have, and what you want to spend.

  25. Stephan Matlack

    September 17, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Oh yea, powdered milk, powdered eggs, I’m a HUGE fan of Ramen noodles. I have a few coolers with much of this stored in them, the coolers have handles, and even work as actual coolers when needed. Also, they USUALLY float if they have a latch, which I have added to the ones that I own that didn’t.

  26. Stephan Matlack

    September 17, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Feminine Hygene pads, such as panty liners, or thin Maxi-pads make EXCELLENT bandages.

  27. james hatfield

    September 17, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    everyone says get bic lighters only thing in very cold weather they are hard to light also are easy to break. look around at yard sales for zippo lighters, you can put extra flints an wick in the bottom of the lighter an a small can flueid will last than longer than a pacage
    bics also Zippos will burn most any kind of fluied,

  28. Ted

    September 18, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Has anyone mentioned the packages of seeds at the dollar stores? They might not be the generic the preppers prefer, but they will grow food for the initial survival growing season. It would be better to have the non-modified seed bank put aside if you can afford it, but if you are looking for the inexpensive food producers for your initial survival garden, the dollar stores have them on sale for .50 to 1.00 for 1-3 packs.

    • Marie

      September 13, 2018 at 11:28 PM

      I’m sorry to say this, but due to the nano aluminum particles in the soil now from the chemtrails it may be harder to grow food in the future. Aluminum will kill the plants. I’ve read that people are having a hard time growing gardens now. In NY state a lot of the fir trees are dying either from the heat or dryness or aluminum i don’t know. Stock up anyway, but be aware and watchful.

  29. Len

    September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    CTWalter is right. ‘Survival’ equipment From Harbor Freight is made in China and is of poor quality or no quality. I purchased their Magnesium Fire Starter before reading the many posts that reported that the magnesium is extremely difficult to get shavings from, and that the shavings or granules will not light even when exposed to flame. I tried it myself and sure enough, I couldn’t get the granules to light no matter what I did. The ‘Survival Knife’ has its blade secured to the handle with a set screw! Maybe if the screw went through the blade? And the ‘paracord’ is absolutely not the real deal. I searched all over the net to find actual Paracord, Mil Spec C-5040 Type III PIA. Here’s the site where I found it on Amazon. You’ll see a HUGE difference in the way the real deal is made, and only in the USA using USA-sourced materials:

    • Marie

      September 13, 2018 at 11:35 PM

      I don’t think Harbor Freight is doing too good in Western NY. They have a big Sale sign that says in Oct they will have a large sidewalk sale. They just had one 2 months ago. Nobody wants their junk i guess.

  30. Mags

    September 18, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Baking soda (has many uses)
    Marker and/or small stickers make rotation and use of stored food items easier.

    Tampons can be used for first-aid also. If you have a puncture wound it would work well to control the bleeding.

    • Paula P

      November 13, 2013 at 5:55 PM

      Feminine pads make good dressings too

  31. Greg

    September 18, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    You Americans get things so CHEAP. We couldn’t get 95% of that list for under $5. You should take advantage while you have this opportunity.

  32. James

    September 19, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    I know this about getting prepping supplies for under $5.00, but I want to add a couple of tips to help save money while still laying in your store.

    1. Store what you eat and eat what you store.
    2. Buy an extra can, bag, carton of whatever you eat, each time you shop.
    3. By doing number 1 above you will be rotating your store.
    4. Don’t forget the spices. You can make a can of black beans into many different tastes with spices.
    5. Buy or build rotator racks for your canned goods and keep an inventory of what you have.
    6. Read the labels — servings per and calorie count are important.
    7. Do not discard the juice from vegetables. Instead use it in soups, stews or just to drink.
    8. Buy tape and gauze in rolls. Make your own gauze pads — much cheaper that pre-made.
    9. Learn to make and use bandages. Making butterfly bandages from tape.

  33. Dick Boone

    September 19, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    I always drink the water from canned vegetables, unless I use it in the bag of mashed potatoes with extra water stir and your ready to go. Throw in some Bacon Bits for a different flavor. Skip the bacon bits and add diced spam. If you can’t eat healthy, enjoy what you eat.

    • Robert Polans

      December 4, 2017 at 12:44 PM

      Sorry I piggybacked. I bought 5 light sticks from the dollar store and know Aldis is cheap, but all this Five packages of Idahoan instant potatoes (flavored)
      A case of ramen noodles (20 pkgs)
      five cans of sardines
      five gallons of purified water
      nearly two cases of bottled water
      four cans of peaches, pears or fruit cockatail
      2 jars of mandarin oranges
      five pounds of rice
      three to four pounds of spaghetti
      Two cans of spaghetti sauce
      three bags of egg noodles
      eight packages of gravy mix
      four cans of whole or sliced new potatoes
      four cans of green beans or at least three cans of carrots, greens, peas or mixed veggies
      Two cans of Yams
      six cans of pork and beans
      one 40 ounce can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew
      Two 12 ounce cans of chicken, tuna or roast beef
      One 1lb canned ham
      three cans of refried beans
      three 12 oz cans of raviolis or spaghetti O’s.
      Two 12.5 ounce cans of Salmon
      Five pounds of Oatmeal
      Four packages Dinty Moore heat and eat meals
      five packages of corn bread mix
      Four pounds of Sugar
      Five pound of Flour
      1.5 quarts of cooking oil
      three one pound bags of dry beans
      two cans of apple juice
      a jar of peanut butter
      two boxes of yeast
      two bags of generic breakfast cereal
      10 8 oz cans of tomato paste/tomato sauce
      four cans of soup
      four cans of Chunky soup
      8-10 pounds of Iodized salt
      two bottles of garlic powder or other spices
      Two boxes of kool aid
      A can of coffee
      2 bottles of powdered coffee creamer
      for $5.?

  34. Joel

    September 20, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Remember that at some point you may run out of supplies or have had them seized or stolen.
    Therefore, one of the best things to do is to have some specialized skills (i.e. dental, medical, sewing, shoe repair, engine repair, tool repair, etc.)
    Make sure that you’re also investing ‘value’ in yourself. One can always hire out their specialized skills in a bartering situation for food, tools, fuel or other supplies in times of desperation.

    Remember, knowledge and skills are also ‘currencies’ and priceless mediums for exchange…both now and in any future crisis scenario/eventuality.

  35. Bill McDougall

    September 22, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    A good supply of antibiotic ointment is a good idea. I used to use Neosporin but my doctor told me about Walmart’s “Triple Antibiotic Ointment. It out does Neosporin three times over, you get twice the amount for half the price. I keep several tubes around all the time. I had a battle with “MRSA” last year and now i’ m very suceptible to infection, this stuff works great.

    • Marie

      September 13, 2018 at 11:44 PM

      I buy the small tubes of antibiotic ointment from the Dollar Tree. Don’t think it’s triple tho. I will have to check out Walmart.

  36. TD in VA

    October 12, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    I personally find a lot of items at the dollar store and Big Lots. Both are a hit and miss, but if you check back in every week or so, you can find some great bargains on a lot of the items you mentioned.

    On the other hand, spending time looking to save a few bucks isn’t always worth it. Sometimes it’s better to just get what you need and pack it up. You can always have a second or third kit that you can fill over time with the bargain items.

  37. Rick Wells

    October 23, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Did not see a sharping stone anywhere. Get several of different grades and learn how to use them along with a good file to put a new tip on a broken blade you would need a couple of different grades “bastard ” grade is best for many reasons.

  38. mike

    October 23, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    just a thing to think about in dollar stores in general. medications made in china are unregulated so expiration dates may not be accurate, especially on generics. stay away from the batteries. they are junk. all you need to do is look on the label for made in U.S.A. lets keep our money here. the Chinese don’t need anymore of it. no offense to anyone.

  39. mike

    October 23, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    and beware of bleach. it does expire and will not last forever like we all think.

    • Paula P

      November 13, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      Once bleach has been diluted it should be used withing 24 hours. In the bottle, it lasts as long as most solutions.

      • Marie

        September 13, 2018 at 11:48 PM

        I read that bleach lasts 6 to 12 months. Just get the swimming pool powdered bleach. It is dry and will last for many yrs IF kept real dry. Seal in a can or plastic can. Look up on net how much to use for a gallon of water. I forget.

  40. Teresea

    October 25, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    In our bug out kits, I have a bag for the grand kids, Dice, cards, markers, crayons, small non battery pocket games,I went to good will and found 500 Popsicle sticks for a 2bucks, glue that I got for a nickle a piece and so on. I buy bandages and so fourth from the dollar store,along with many other items that are needed for day to day survival.

  41. Lorena Smalley

    November 4, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    You can also buy spirulina (500 mg tablets) for 5 dls or less (Trader Joe’s organic spirulina and other brands/not organic). This supplement is a super food and has a long shelf life (around 3-5 years). You don’t need to take additional vitamins or minerals if you take spirulina. This is one of the main supplements we have for our family.

    • Marie

      September 13, 2018 at 11:50 PM

      Is that the blue/green algea? Cuz i got a big bag of it…it’s real dark blue green. Gave me too much energy tho, but would be good in a survival situation.

  42. Darcy Jaime

    November 11, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Don’t forget Super Glue. I prefer the Gorilla Brand. Super glue works great if you have a cut and may need stitches. After cleaning the cut you just put super glue on it. It will stay on the cut and hold it together until it heals. Also at the dollar stores you can get material glue. It is great for people who can’t sew or don’t have a sewing kit. This glue works great for hemming or tears. I made curtain valances with it. Another good glue is Shoe Goo. Great for repairing the soles of shoes. Cost $4.00 at my Walmart.

    • Marie

      September 13, 2018 at 11:52 PM

      If u have a cut that needs stitches i read to just super glue 3/4 of it and leave a tiny opening at the end otherwise can get a very bad infection. Never seal the whole cut up. I love super glue as it’s great for stitches.

  43. Mrs.Treasure

    November 13, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Bulk nuts, beans, and grains from the bulk foods department. They also carry quinao (sp?). These are sometimes pennies on the dollar, and can be stored in plastic ware. Also, powdered gravy and a plethora of other dried foods.

    • Paula P

      November 13, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      I’m “vac-packing” my staples.

      I too prefer buying bulk and packing some seasoning rather than wasting space on little packets that are mostly pasta (no nutrition).

      Quinoa (We love it, it is packed with nutrition and it will last for centuries!)

      • Marie

        September 13, 2018 at 11:55 PM

        I am older and can’t have too much salt, so i never use the salt/flavor packets that come with the ramon noodles. I just save them and in the future they can flavor water for some hot soup for a person. After a yr of two the powder turns gummy, but i think it’s still good.

    • Robert Polans

      December 4, 2017 at 12:51 PM

      How long can you store things in plastic before it goes bad?

  44. Nathan

    November 13, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Dollar Tree is a G-d send when prepping on a budget. So is living in an area where 95% of the population goes hunting, fishing and camping along with a large portion of the population goes caving. I do have one recommendation (which I do this myself)…invest in some Rubbermade totes. After you fill them, seal them with Ducttape so that they’re air/water tight. I also vacuum seal everything that I can to help preserve it.

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  46. Maenwyn Rati

    March 9, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    4bottles hydrogen peroxide (Family Dollar)

    4 cans ham, turkey, chicken, tuna. (FD)

    Ace bandage.

  47. Amie

    March 9, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    Might seems kind if frivolous, but I bought some extra Chapsticks to keep in our kit.

    • Marie

      September 13, 2018 at 11:57 PM

      Not frivolous, , but vasoline will work just as well and cheaper.

  48. martha

    March 11, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    The tall candles that have religious pictures on them….they are in a plain glass jar for a buck apiece. Crayons and craft items, games and puzzles (I have a lot of grandkids). Aluminum foil and disposable pans. ‘Sterno’ type fuel in metal cans. Charcoal bricks that burn for about an hour. Duct & electrical tape. Unglazed flower pots. The list goes on and on…..
    Do not get scented candles…you don’t want to give up your position by burning candle that smells like cookies or pie.

  49. Bill

    March 31, 2014 at 5:11 PM


  50. Pingback: Staying Prepared » 71 Survival Items Under $5.00


    December 9, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    i go to a home improvement store named “MENARDS” each week they have a flier that comes out on sunday that is their sale adds. well there are lots of items that have rebates that come as store credit. if you pay with the store credit from rebate items, you do not pay any TAXES at all. they have limits on the rebate items most of the time and you have to buy $10 of non rebate items to get the rebates on your entire purchase of rebate items. how does 2 free 30 foot retractible tape measures with free lifetime replacement for FREE AFTER REBATE sound. or 2 7 1/4 inch circle saw blades FREE AFTER REBATE.

  52. Trish

    December 10, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Boxes of band aids is mentioned. However, I noticed most of the space inside box is empty. To save space around house and in BOB, I transfer band aids to zipper bags labelled with Sharpie pen. Most bandages are separated by size and/or usage but I also have a bag containing assortment that’s great to throw into suitcase for travel.

    Some extra zipper bags are also handy to have for travel and BOB bag.

    I also purchased some really cheap wash cloths and take a few on travel or camping.

    Missing from list — foot care. A little pair of clippers will prevent ingrown toenails. A bit of powder at end of day will dry feet and prevent fungus growth.

    One more item we’ve found to be useful and always take camping is nasal spray. Squirt a bit on itchy bite, rub in a little bit and let dry. The antihistamine in the spray takes the itch right out. We learned this trick from doctor in Australia where there there’s lots of little bugs that want to taste you.

  53. SmokeHillFarm

    December 10, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    The needle & thread (and some other basic sewing & repair materials) are a good addition to any Prepper supplies, but be sure to include enough tough thread, usually sold as “Rug & Carpet Thread. It’s thicker than most, but usually will ensure your repair is stronger than the fabric, even if your sewing skills are minimal.

    Since we may not know how long any disaster will last, don’t skimp on sewing stuff — different kinds of needles, like those curved ones, have different uses. Don’t just buy a spool of thread or two. Get PLENTY. In an extended emergency, the clothes you have won’t get replaced so you’d better pick up some basic skills & sewing supplies.

    Get some metal thimbles that fit your thumb or large fingers — you’ll need some serious push to get thick needles & thread through heavy material. Also pick up a seam ripper, scissors and any of several cheap devices for threading your needle, since you’re likely to be doing repairs at night by candle or firelight.

    Extra repair fabric is always desirable, but most of my material comes from old clothes I’ve scrapped. Those old jeans may have holes in the knees & buttocks, but there’s still a lot of patching material still there. Start saving your scraps. A good-sized plastic sewing box is cheap. Buy one & start stocking it with your sewing tools and useful fabric scraps, especially tough stuff like leather & denim. You’ll also want a good supply of buttons (bought from the sewing counter and/or scrounged from your discarded clothing. Spare zippers and Velcro are also highly recommended.

    And don’t forget to stock your sewing box with LOTS of shoelaces, both cloth and leather.

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  56. james

    January 10, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    Need aluminum foil and plastic trash bags. ..

  57. KateGladstone

    August 13, 2017 at 10:12 AM

    Besides the specific use “for the ladies,” tampons effectively plug bullet holes (in people — if unwrapped — or in things — if left wrapped), and pads are great for dressing very large wounds.

    • Anonymous

      July 9, 2018 at 6:26 PM

      Tampons have an anti-coagulant in them, it’s a myth that they’re good for plugging wounds and could be very dangerous.

  58. Kevin Venters

    December 30, 2017 at 3:20 PM

    Dollar General has 100 count boxes of diphenhydramine for $1.00

  59. IbelieveinQANON

    July 9, 2018 at 8:04 AM

    I checked To see if anyone mentioned gluten free kits and didn’t see any or at least the,” find on page”, function didn’t …

    Can you help me put together a mostly gluten free emergency kit?

    I’m limited on what I can eat. I have Celiac Disease.
    In the month of May my local HEB grocery has a 20% off sale on gluten free goods so I did buy 2 packages of Schar saltine crackers. I have canned tuna, salmon, other seafood items, canned Progresso soups, etc so I do have a good stockpile as well. I probably need to increase the water though.

    Twitter u/n @IbelieveinQANON

  60. 4734

    July 9, 2018 at 12:42 PM


  61. Diane

    July 9, 2018 at 4:20 PM

    Under $5? Not where I live for some of those things.

  62. Mike

    July 10, 2018 at 8:40 PM

    One MAJORLY useful item that I never see included on budget SHTF supply lists is aluminum foil. If you get the heavy duty stuff you can reuse it over and over again and it has a multitude of uses. I have a 25ft roll that I flattened out and folded up to fit on the back side of the hydration pouch pocket of my backpack.

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