11 Ways to Shop Smart for Survival Supplies

Being strategic and stocking up on all of your survival supplies ahead of time is a wise thing to do. But if you are simply buying things on a whim, you may be wasting a lot of money that can be put toward even more supplies for yourself and your family.

There are eleven different ways that you can be strategic in your shopping so that you are saving yourself money and making sure that you are purchasing the correct items, rather than those that might fail you when you need them most.

Once you are aware of these cost saving and strategic methods, you will be able to get good deals on the food, gear, defense, and other supplies that you need on a regular basis.

You may discover that you have already made mistakes along the way with preparations you’ve made so far, but that’s okay as long as you change what you’re doing from this point forward and begin shopping smart.

Learn Which Stores Have the Supplies You Need

You need to make a list of the types of supplies that you want to buy. This includes things like survival meals that are shelf stable for 25+ years, defense tools, water purification and storage items, shelter materials such as a tent, bug out bags, fire starting gear, first aid items, and more.

Once you know exactly which categories you will be buying for, you need to make a list of the different stores both online and offline that you can purchase these types of items at.

Don’t just look at specialty stores, such as a sporting goods store for a tent. You can also buy a tent at Walmart or Amazon at a discount if your budget requires it. You want to consider big brand-name stores as well as smaller stores that may frequently run sales in an effort to unload inventory or boost their bottom line.

You may also be able to find some things at secondhand stores if they are in good shape, such as a thick coat for layering if the grid goes down in cold weather. You can also make a note about what kinds of supplies are sold at discount stores, such as a dollar store.

You can often find survival supplies there and on a very big discount, which would be a great time for you to stock up. For example, you might find an entire pack of lighters for starting a fire for just one dollar, but the same pack may cost eight dollars or more on Amazon or elsewhere.

Another place you may want to shop is your local military surplus store. Many bigger cities have these, and you’ll be able to find survival gear that will keep you and your loved ones safe in almost any weather condition or situation.

You can find paracords, blankets, first aid kits, gas masks, and more. They have camouflage clothing, combat boots, and other tactical gear – and it’s authentic – the same as what the military uses.

Buy in Bulk Whenever Possible

One thing many consumers forget, when they are wrapped up in the process of purchasing survival supplies, is that you can often save money if you will purchase more of the item all at once.

Instead of buying individual products, many manufacturers will bundle them up into larger packs where you will spend more, so they will give a slight discount to help you save money and entice you.

For example, you might find some MREs that are being sold individually at a higher price than if you bought a pack of one dozen. Sometimes it does take a little longer to save up the money that you need to buy in bulk, but in the long run, you’ll save more and be able to purchase more supplies for you and your family.

You also want to buy in bulk because it’s easier to take inventory and find space for it in your home. Sometimes, having a bunch of Individual packages of something means they get lost easier, or they’re harder to organize in a set space.

Stores that sell things in bulk, such as Costco and Sam’s, often have good deals on supplies that you may need in a future survival situation. They do this for things like food, toiletries, batteries, etc.

Learn How to Use Coupons Strategically

There was a point in time when couponing had its own show on television. Some stores did not like the fact that people were able to reduce their bill to almost zero dollars, if not get cash back for a large cart full of items they paid nothing for.

So they eliminated some of the loopholes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still save with coupons and discount cards. You need to keep an eye out for your weekly circulars and find out what items are expected to go on sale for the upcoming week.

Usually, these circulators will come in your mailbox, but you may have to go to the store and pick one up yourself. Another thing you can do is join or look for printable coupons or even digital coupons that you can use in store or online.

Even on Amazon, if you are shopping for something, make sure you look for the opportunity to check the area where it says something like, “Save an extra 10%.” Another thing you want to do is look for the deals where you can buy a certain number of items and get one free.

Sometimes this will be done on food, but other times it will be done on things like toiletries, and other items. The stores may have a limit as to how many can be purchased, so you’ll need to be aware of that before you have an expectation to stock up on something.

Plan for What You Can Afford

One thing you want to do when shopping smart for your survival supplies is make sure that it doesn’t dip into the monetary needs in other areas of your life. Make sure you have a good handle on your upcoming bills, needs for the children’s school supplies, gas, etc.

The last thing you want to do is make an impulse survival buy for a large stock of something that you saw go on sale, only to be left unable to pay the mortgage or whatever other item you need for your family in that moment.

It’s better to set aside a percentage of your paychecks each week so that you can shop the following week or month and buy what you need without experiencing the pressure from your finances.

Always remember that you can level up with the items that you buy at a later date. For example, you may only be able to afford a solar phone charger right now that costs under $30.

You would really like a whole home generator, but it’s not in your budget at that moment. You can go ahead and get the smaller priced item because you never know if that emergency will hit before you are able to afford the higher ticket product. It’s always good to have back up an additional supplies anyway, so it won’t go to waste in the future.

Buy According to the Space You Have

Before you start shopping, you want to make sure that you have room for all of the supplies that you will be purchasing. You don’t want to get everything home, only to discover you have nowhere to put it, so it goes to waste.

If possible, set aside one room of your house as a supply storage room. If you don’t have that type of room, then make a plan for each room of your house to see where you could store certain supplies, such as under the bed or in a closet or cabinet.

Don’t forget you may have an attic space or an outdoor shed where certain things could be stored as well. Just make sure that wherever you store things, the supplies are being kept at the correct temperature.

For example, some items may need to stay in a cool and dry place as opposed to an outdoor, hot or cold weather situation. Some people like to shop for their survival supplies with the intention of renting a storage facility.

Keep in mind that in a severe and chaotic survival situation, those places may be raided by looters who are after valuables that they can used to trade with others. Not only that, but it may be unsafe for you to leave your homestead and travel to another location to get your supplies, so it’s always better to have them on hand.

Be Ready to Buy at the First Sign of Impending Disaster

Stocking up on survival supplies is a long-term process. For most people, there’s no way you can go out today and purchase everything you and your family will need for the next year.

Therefore, you have to stay aware and know when it’s crucial for you to head to the store immediately and purchase certain supplies that you will need. When the pandemic hit, other areas of the world as well as the coastal cities were posting videos on social media about store shelves being empty, in particular food and toilet paper as well as Lysol.

If you were paying attention to social media and news sites, you will have seen the chaos unfolding and then be able to head to the store immediately before the masses knew that it was hitting in your area.

You want to shop for supplies you may need – whether it is a pandemic situation, war, or even a weather event. You usually have ample notice about a hurricane or tornado, and you can go to the store and make sure that you have your immediate supplies to survive the coming days and weeks.

Make sure that you only allow yourself to buy these last-minute supplies that can be purchased locally. You don’t want to have to order something that may take a week or longer to arrive if you may need it the next day or several hours later. For things you’ll need to send away for, make sure you shop for those early.

Bring a List of Current Inventory and Needs

If you are prepping seriously, and not just randomly hoarding things whenever you think about it, you will have an inventory of all of your survival supplies, down to the date it was purchased and the date it expires.

This can be done digitally, but it’s also a good idea to have a paper account of your supplies so that you can take it on the go with you when you go shopping. That way, if you see an advertised sale in front of you, you can quickly glance at your spreadsheet or list and see if the item is something you have plenty of, if the product is about to expire, and if you need more.

It’s also a good idea to prioritize the things you want to buy. For example, if winter is coming up, you may want to prioritize certain supplies that have to do with heating food or staying warm over things like remedies for mosquito bites, or anything that might happen in the spring or summer months.

You can do the same when you are shopping online. Make sure you have your spreadsheet open so that you can adequately track what you are purchasing, the date, and any other pertinent information – such as the count of items if it is in bulk, as well as the size in ounces or pounds for example.

This way, you won’t be guessing about what stock is back home or in another room on the shelves while you’re shopping. You’ll have all of that information at your fingertips and you can shop smart.

Know When Seasonal Supplies Go on Sale

After the Christmas season ends, or Halloween – or any holiday where there are decorations and candy for that matter, you have probably seen stores discount the items that remain on their shelves significantly, such as 75 to 90% off.

This is a great time for you to stock up on certain supplies, whether it’s food or weather related seasonal items. For example, right before the strong winter weather, you may find that generators are more expensive due to the likelihood of the grid shutting down during a blizzard than they are during the spring and summer, when the threat has subsided.

Clothing is another area where you can find steep discounts on the supplies that you need. For example if you want to stock up on sizes for the future as your children are growing, or clothes that you can layer in the event of cold weather where there is no electricity, the best time to buy this is when the new spring line has arrived at stores, and they are trying to sell everything and make space for new product.

Buy Off Brand to Get More

In today’s world, brand names mean a lot to many different people. Whether it’s the clothes on their back or the food items on their shelves or in the refrigerator. However, when it comes to a survival situation, you won’t care whether or not the brand has any significant prestige, except when it comes to its quality and safety.

For example, if you know that there is a certain brand of designer jeans that you prefer to wear in current times, but they are far more expensive than a durable, cheaper brand, you’ll want to go with the cheaper brand if you’re on a budget and need to stock up for a survival situation.

The store brands are often every bit as good as top labels – and in fact some are made in the same factory, only to have a different label put on them. So when you are stocking up on things like canned vegetables and fruits, Q-tips, etc., don’t be afraid to go with the off label brand so that you get more for your money and have the peace of mind knowing that you have the stock on hand.

Read Consumer Reviews Before You Spend Money

When you’re buying a can of mixed fruit, you’re probably not going to see any consumer reviews about that particular item. But when you are buying some things such as a bug out bag on Amazon, you will see a number of ratings and reviews that you can use to gauge whether or not this is a smart buying decision.

It’s true that you can’t always trust every single review. But you can see whether or not a review is made from a verified purchase, and then make a decision based on the thoroughness of the comment they leave about the product so that you can determine whether or not it is a real or fake review.

You can also turn to things like Consumer Reports if you are making a larger purchase on something such as a technical item, like a generator or storm shelter. They will frequently test and thoroughly review products, pointing out all of the benefits, features, and faults of an item so that you can see whether or not it would be a good purchase for you and your family.

You can also simply Google the name of the product and see who has been blogging about and reviewing certain products. You can even search by specific criteria, such as a camping tent for four or two people, or a sleeping bag for a certain degree of weather, like those below freezing.

Add Supplies with Incremental Purchases

If your budget is severely limited, and you know you need to stock up on things as you go, then you’ll want to just buy one or two extra items every time you go to the store. For example, if you know you need two cans of green beans that are $.50 each, go ahead and buy an additional one or two in that moment.

If you are shopping on Amazon and you have a total of $16 in your cart, knowing you could get free shipping with $25 purchase, go ahead and find something for your survival supplies worth nine dollars so that you can bump it up to the free shipping level.

This way you’re saving the shipping money, but you’re also getting something in return for it. Another thing you may end up doing when you are making smaller build up purchases of supplies like this is taking into consideration what kind of trade-offs you can make.

For example, you may want to forgo an extra bag of chips so that you can get a canned good that will last longer. When you’re making incremental purchases, it may not seem like a lot in that moment, but over the coming weeks and months, you’ll be amazed to see how fast your supplies have grown.

Shopping for survival supplies can either be a daunting or empowering process. It takes awhile to build up a formidable stash of goods, but you should be able to quickly and easily prepare for a 72 hour ordeal without much of a problem.