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Monday, April 20, 2009

Inexpensive Ways to Get Emergency and Food Storage Supplies

As I've looked at online emergency supply stores the thought keeps coming to me that I don't have to buy the fanciest or newest items and gadgets to be prepared for emergencies. In a talk given by President Gordon B. Hinckley in March 1990 he counseled us to remember a motto the pioneers followed: "Fix it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without."

Sure, it would be nice to have a brand new solar powered flashlight, but couldn't I get by with the battery powered one we already have? There are some great kerosene stoves on the market too, but what if we already have a working Coleman camping stove and all we need is to buy some extra fuel. The gear my son accumulated for scouting trips can easily be used for emergency supplies. My wheat grinder is pretty ancient and I've been coveting the new ones on the market, but it works great and I haven't seen any weevils, and store fresh ground wheat in the freezer.

Here are some other inexpensive ideas to get you thinking:

  • Print your county map online, and laminate it. Presto! Your own emergency map. Or stop by your Chamber of Commerce for a free one.
  • Find a small plastic Ziploc-type storage container and go through your home first aid supplies to create a miniature 72-hour first aid kit.
  • Watch the after-Halloween clearance sales to buy light sticks at 50% off. Then store them with a lanyard string. Kids love these extra assurances of light.
  • Find activities for kids to do at an emergency shelter by printing them online and creating your own activity pages for their 72-hour kit.
  • Maybe your tent has a hole in it. Well, you can repair tents! Check this link out.
  • - Search online at for used camping and food storage supplies in your city. Put in various keywords and you will pull up a host of items. I did a quick search today and found a Coleman battery powered lantern for $5.00, about $25 new; a Coleman 2-burner stove for $20, about $60 new; a new hand grain mill for $30, retails $60 - $70;
  • Classified Ads - Search in your newspaper classifieds too. Today I found a Lodge cast iron 6 qt. Dutch oven for $40, retails $90; used canning jars for .25 each, used Bosch mixer for $50 and another for $75.
  • Here is how I figure out how much to spend on a used item. I look up the retail amount, typically at or, and for used I am willing to pay about 25%, and new 40% - 50%. You will typically pay more on and in the classifieds than at a yard sale, however it's much easier to find something online where you can look at pictures than by chance. But if you are patient, yard sales are typically the better deal. Many are listed in the classifieds.
  • Yard Sales - Keep a list of needed emergency and food storage equipment supplies with you in your car to take advantage of some great deals at yard/garage sales. Yard sales are where people get rid of stuff, so they usually keep their prices low and are willing to bargain. Many home owners need you to shop these days, so it is a win, win situation. Click here for some yard sale tips.
Don't feel that because you see supply lists on my blog that you have to go running to the store to shop for brand new items. First search your own home and Fix it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without. If you still need something, then patiently shop for used items in the ads. And last if you absolutely have to, buy new.

Share any ideas you may have!



  1. There are a huge list of items that MANY companies sell in long-term-storage containers that DON'T need to be packaged that way. They don't go bad, as long as they're kept dry. Use Ball or Mason jars and self-store them. See the list at

    (Scroll down that page)

  2. You can also try making emergency food items auch as dried fruit, granola bars, etc. They do not last as long as the store bought ones because they do not have all the preservatives in them (which is probably a good thing). Just remember to store them properly (air-tight sealed bags) and recycle them on a regular basis.