No matter where you reside, you are not immune to tragedies. Hurricanes are common in Florida and the Gulf Coast, whereas wildfires are common in California, tornadoes are common in Oklahoma, and blizzards are common in Minnesota.
However, one thing is constant in all natural disasters: an emergency kit is required.
In case of an emergency, hopefully you have enough batteries, bottled water, and tinned food on hand. If not, now is the time to restock.
Sure, you could spend more than $200 on a one-size-fits-all emergency kit with items you’re unlikely to use. Preparing for a natural disaster, on the other hand, does not have to be costly. These eight tips will help you put together an emergency survival kit that meets your and your family’s needs without breaking the bank.
How to Make a Cheap Emergency Kit
When putting up an emergency kit on a budget, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you have everything you’ll need in an emergency.
1. Make a list of the items you’ll need in your emergency kit.
The Red Cross says that the most important things to have on hand for a natural disaster are water, food that doesn’t go bad, extra batteries, clothes, blankets, flashlights, and medicine.
It is not your responsibility to clear up fallen trees or limbs if you reside in an apartment. However, if you’re a homeowner, you may find yourself with a lot of yard work following a storm. Consider what equipment and supplies you would require—or what you might be able to borrow.
Check with your neighbors to see what equipment they have, and then organize a cleanup party. Many of the instruments you’ll need for post-disaster cleanup are likely already in your possession — chainsaws, clippers, shovels, and so on.
Determine the items that your emergency kit needs and place them in order of importance. You’ll need to include family members of all ages on your list, from infants to the elderly. Think about toys to keep the kids busy, and make sure you know what your elderly relatives’ medical needs are.
But don’t get carried away – you’ll just need food for a week or so, not a fully stocked desert island bunker.
2. Free Preparation
You’ll save money on some of your preparation. It’s all about gathering items you already have on hand, such as cell phone chargers, maps, and cash in case of an emergency. Just make sure all of these items are in a convenient location since you’ll need to grab them fast rather than struggle to find them if you need to flee unexpectedly.
Consider bottling your own water rather than purchasing it by the gallon. Bleach-purified two-liter bottles and municipal water treated with water purification pills can be used. Simply avoid using milk or juice cartons, as they can contain bacteria. Every six months, date and replace your bottles.
If you require water for hygiene reasons, clean your bathtub before filling it with cold water. Although it is not potable, it can be used to flush toilets and keep yourself clean. Filling the tub is merely a deterrent for those who will be able to remain in their houses and will not be forced to flee.
For drinking and sanitary purposes, the CDC recommends keeping at least 1 gallon of water per person every day. A two-week supply should be your minimum goal (and more, if you have the space to store it).
3. Keep a Stockpile of Non-Perishable Food
Along with water, you’ll need to ensure that your home has enough food to last several days.
Non-perishable food items such as dry cereal, canned goods, granola bars, peanut butter, dried fruit and nuts, canned juice, and non-perishable pasteurized milk are recommended by the federal government’s disaster preparedness website, Ready.gov (plus the necessary comfort foods, in case you needed more reasons to stock up on your favorite cookies). When you’re conducting your routine food shopping, keep an eye out for these things. Stock up on these things by taking advantage of BOGO or money-off offers, or hunting for them at discount grocery stores.
You’ll also want to think about any unique dietary needs in your household. If you have a newborn, stock up on puree jars and formula cans. Consider your family’s preferences as well; don’t buy ten cans of tuna if no one in your family enjoys fish.
As a storm approaches and if it’s safe to make one last trip to the grocery store, buy a bag of apples or oranges. It’s good to eat something fresh, and those fruits tend to last a long time.
4. Put together a first aid kit
Make sure you have everything you’ll need to treat any wounds or injuries that arise during the emergency. Whether you’re waiting out a blizzard at home or fleeing a wildfire, you’ll need bandages, gauze, tweezers, antiseptic cream, and pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen in your first aid kit.
While you can buy a ready-made first-aid kit, it’s generally more cost-effective to buy the various supplies separately and assemble your own. Keep an eye out for bargains on first-aid kit necessities at Walgreens or CVS, and look for cheaper bandages at the dollar store.
The best first-aid kits are suited to your specific needs, so if you frequently break out in hives when stressed, make sure you include an antihistamine in your emergency pack to treat your symptoms.
If you need to evacuate, keep a large first-aid kit at home and a smaller one in your car. The one in your car can be useful for regular activities as well as evacuation in the event of a natural disaster.
5. Collect Cost-Effective Items
When you need to buy something, make use of coupons and clever hacks: To get rebates, use cash back sites and keep an eye out for sales at CVS, Walmart, or your local dollar store.
Make sure to get generic batteries, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, and bandages if you need more. They’ll work just as well as the name brands. Look for these products at the dollar shop, and while you’re there, pick up some emergency entertainment for the kids: crayons and coloring books, and a pack or two of cards for the grownups.
You can save even more money by purchasing in bulk, as long as you do so wisely. Emergency rations of paper towels, toilet paper, canned goods, personal hygiene supplies, batteries, and bottled water are an excellent way to save money. If you’re buying things in bulk that might expire or that you know you’ll never utilize all of them, try splitting the cost with a neighbor or friend.
Finally, consider adding emergency items that don’t require batteries, such as wind-up flashlights and weather radios. If you’re going to be without power, you’ll need a portable cell phone charger, which you may charge and prepare ahead of time.
6. Prepare ahead of time
Playing the long game is one of the best strategies to save money on disaster preparedness: Look for sales in your everyday life and stock up before a storm develops. Tuna cans on BOGO? Place your “get-ones” in a safe place. Are there any canned vegetables on sale? Purchase a large quantity to keep on hand in case of an emergency.
Also, don’t forget the Fix-a-Flat tire repair spray, which can be used to fix a flat tire temporarily. If you have to flee via a difficult route and run over something that punctures a tire, this will come in handy. This product is available at your local grocery store, Walmart, or Target.
The more you can prevent having to prepare for a calamity at the last minute, the better: Even though some governments have laws prohibiting price gouging right before and after a disaster, vendors can be prone to price gouging. Planning ahead ensures you have what you need to get through an emergency without having to spend a lot of money on water or fight someone for the last roll of toilet paper.
Include “disaster prep” in your savings budget in case you need something last minute. Set aside $20 to $50 per month and think of it as an emergency fund, because that’s precisely what it is.
7. Gather Important Documents
Personal documents are a vital aspect of any emergency kit that many people overlook. If you keep important documents like your birth certificate, social security card, and car title in a heavy safe in your basement, chances are you won’t remember to take them out with you if your house is on fire or you’re being hammered by a hurricane.
You never know when you’ll need these supplies in an emergency, especially if you’re displaced.
Instead, keep original copies of key personal documents out of your residence (such as in a bank’s safe deposit box) and make backups that you may carry with you in a folder, on a flash drive, or on the cloud.
Which Documents to Copy
If you’re evacuated from your house during an emergency, make sure you have copies of anything you could need. Here’s a rundown of everything you might need:
- Birth, marriage, adoption and death certificates.
- Medical records such as your health insurance card, prescription information and contact info for your health providers.
- Passport, social security card and driver’s license.
- Home and car title, mortgage papers, etc.
- Any personal mementos like photos and letters.
Where to Keep the Copies
Scanning each of these documents and storing them safely is a smart idea. You can save your records digitally (and safely) in a variety of places, including the ones listed below.
- Google Drive
- Amazon Cloud Drive
- Microsoft OneDrive
Many of these services provide a certain amount of storage for free, but you may upgrade if you require more. Make sure you have a safe password for any essential documents you save on your computer. Although cloud technology has advanced much since its conception, it is still vulnerable to hackers, so you should make it as difficult as possible for anybody other than you to gain access to your account.
Box for making announcements
Don’t put off scanning old photographs any longer. Do it gradually and you’ll be prepared if calamity hits. Check out our advice on how to digitize images on a budget.
8. Important Phone Numbers
Would you remember your significant other’s phone number if your phone died and you couldn’t charge it? What if you need to contact a government agency for assistance with emergency management?
Keep a tiny notepad in your emergency bag with emergency contact information and the official website address for FEMA or your local municipality in case you need to look up disaster-relief information.
Even if you reside in an area that is generally spared from natural disasters, you never know when something unexpected will occur. That’s why, even if you don’t believe you’ll need it, it’s critical to have a well-stocked emergency kit on hand to assist you in the event of a disaster or unforeseen difficulty.
After all, it’s better to be over-prepared and not use your gear than to lose power in a freak snowstorm and have no way of surviving it.
Reference : Penny Hoarder | Wikipedia
Bottom Line :
Hurricanes are common in Florida and the Gulf Coast, wildfires in California and tornadoes in Oklahoma. Preparing an emergency kit on a budget is a good way to ensure you have everything you’ll need in an emergency. These eight tips will help you put together an affordable emergency kit that meets your needs without breaking the bank. 1. Free Preparation is all about gathering items you already have on hand, such as phone chargers, maps, and cash.
Determine the items that your emergency kit needs and place them in order of importance. 4. Put together a first-aid kit If you need to evacuate, keep a first-aid kit at home and a smaller one in your car. You can save even more money by purchasing in bulk, as long as you do so wisely. Personal documents are a vital aspect of any emergency kit that many people overlook. That’s why, even if you don’t believe you’ll need it, it’s critical to have a well-stocked emergency kit on hand to assist you in the event of a disaster or unforeseen difficulty.