What do you go without to have money to prep?

Home Forums Financial Preparedness Frugality What do you go without to have money to prep?

This topic contains 18 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Littlesister 1 year, 1 month ago.

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  • #537


    Many of us aren’t rolling in enough money that we can buy readymade bunkers and a ten-year food supply. I know that I have to cut in a lot of places to have the money to prep.

    I don’t have:

    Home phone
    Fancy gadgets
    Two cars
    A dryer

    For the longest time, I didn’t have home garbage service. I just drove things to the dump for far less money. Where I live now, it comes with my rent.

    People who aren’t frugal find it weird that we cheerfully live without these “necessities.” (In their minds, anyway)

    I’m curious what things or services you do without in order to prep.

  • #555


    Not sure if this is really an answer to the question but I find the local library to be a free and fabulous resource. You can pick up books on everything from self defense to gardening. Start there and I think you’d be surprised how much you can prep for little to nothing.

    Also, hit garage sales on the last day, many people just want to relieve themselves of their items, sometimes you can find amazing prepper supplies for pennies on the dollar!

  • #646


    I love the ideas already shared in this thread! In our house, some of the things we go without or skimp on include:

    – no cable
    – no redbox, or paying for movie streaming (I’m a fan of the library as mentioned above.)
    – We rarely go out to eat – once a month if we’re splurging, less otherwise.
    – We regularly shop at a local warehouse for our food. It’s scratch and dent/expired goods for pennies on the dollar.
    – I haven’t bought new clothing for myself in years. Even the thrift stores are too expensive, lol. I shop at the Goodwill Outlet for clothes. You pay by the pound.
    – No home phone line
    – No pro haircuts, or pedis, manis…any of that stuff.

  • #738

    Red Carnation

    Here’s what we do to save money:

    – No cable/internet at home (we use internet on our phones)
    – Very rarely go out to eat
    – Cook from scratch
    – Make our own bread in a bread machine given to us (look for bread machines in thrift stores; you can get them for under $10 sometimes).
    – We don’t drink except for water and tea.
    – I cut my husband’s hair at home.
    – We use natural remedies when we are under the weather and save tons of money on healthcare
    – We save up and pay our car insurance once a year to save money.
    – We buy flour, beans, and other non-perishables in bulk for a 10% discount.

  • #750


    Red Carnation, we’re two peas in a pod. My daughter is just finishing up cosmetology school right now and does all the family’s hair for free (which also gives her credits in school.)

    I’m going to have to look for a bread machine now!

  • #873


    Hmmmm. That is a good question and I think my answer is pretty much the same as all of yours. We cook from scratch pretty much every meal. Very rarely go out to eat. No cable bill etc. I think what people fail to realize is that ‘going without’ is a mindset. Being willing to deny yourself the ‘wants’ and sort priorities for what the real ‘needs’ are.

    If you go long enough without you realize the needs list is pretty small. You ‘make due’ with what you have, you remove the ‘habit’ of always buying (let alone buying new things), you fix or repair and/or make those new things when needed (even if it means an invention of sorts) to get you by. To run to a store is rarely the first thing on my mind when i ‘need’ something………..of course having the nearest store of any type 25 miles away really helps to teach you this when you first start out ‘paring down’.

    I now see it as more of a challenge than a choice to go without. How, what, where, when can I fix, replace, substitute something else to get done what needs done. And that really IS a mindset. 🙂

  • #1026

    John Wick

    I love seeing what everyone has to say. Unfortunately, I am one of those people that needs to learn how to more frugal. I am a single father and my daughter doesn’t have a good relationship with her mom, so I tend to splurge on wants more than I should. I don’t have a land line and my hair is pretty much gone, so I shave my head.

    I have at least started working on being more frugal coming to food. I purchased a bread maker, dehydrator, and my neighbor’s parents own the local meat locker. So, I am learning to buy meat in bulk. With that, I also bought a large freezer and canning supplies.

    I am looking forward to learning from all of you.


  • #1155

    Crow Bar

    I cut the cord nearly a decade ago, before cutting the cord was a common term.
    Everyone thought I was nutz! I am ok with that!

    Otherwise, we cook as much as we can, at home, from scratch.
    Re-purpose things as much as possible.

    Grow as much of our own food as possible. Some years are better than others.

    We read alot. I get going to a library, but I prefer to own my books.

  • #1191


    I can ditto most of what was already here.

    I love my thrift store and have easily saved thousands of dollars. Besides saving tons of money on clothing. I have gotten two bread machines, two different types of pasta machines, a pasta drying rack, my first dehydrator, and lots of other kitchen stuff. Books at the thrift store rock. We are a family of book junkies. My kids read telephone books, for fun! My crafting hobby loves the thrift store too. I recently got well over $100 of yarn for under $10 and probably a few hundred dollars worth of knitting needles/crochet hooks for under $7!

    Our local library is a major money saver. We get books naturally, but they now have ebooks, emagazines, online subscriptions to different education oportunities and so many other things. I went to the library yesterday and bought 10 classical CD’s for $5. My youngest child loves classical music. If I had a bit more energy I would have bought some of the old copies of National Geographic that he reads repeatedly.

    Pawn shops are another place we go to save money, not a whole lot but it adds up.

    • #2722

      Molly Malone

      Crazy Me, you said “they now have ebooks, emagazines, online subscriptions to different education opportunities and so many other things.” I am going to go online and see what my library offers electronically. Thank you for this information. I have avoided the library for years. My neighborhood public library functions primarily as a processing station for immigrants, legal and illegal, to be signed up for social welfare benefits and voting. I used to go to the midtown Manhattan library but stopped, so dirty, smelly and unsafe (now closed for renovations, hmm) because it primarily functions as a homeless shelter and a place to distribute information about social welfare benefits. There was a stretch of time when I was visiting different libraries in Manhattan while working on a project, and I swear at each library, inevitably, some mentally ill person would raise hell and the police would be called. So I just stopped using public libraries. Barnes & Noble became my library. But I was spending on coffee and books.
      I wish someone would open a private library with steep membership dues. I’d pay for that.

  • #1193


    Another thing we have done is a backwards way of saving some money and food. We live in a rental and the stove is an electrical piece of junk. I finally bought a rice cooker. We eat a lot of rice but if the rice isn’t cooked right, it doesn’t get eaten and gets tossed. That is a waste of money and food. With the rice cooker I am actually cooking less rice and it is cooking correctly and evenly, which means more food eaten and less food wasted. In the end that saves us money.

  • #1893

    Louise Loretto

    I must admit we have cable, but it would definitely be the first luxury to go in a pinch. We recently moved from an urban setting to a “top of a mountain in between small towns” home that is not very far from the nearest “legit” town. Loving finally being able to have a large garden. Year one went rather poorly. Learned some companion planting tips and did a bit better in year two. Growing lots of items that can be used in the dehydrator. Using estate sale small mason jars and dehydrated spices and herbs as gifts that keep costs minimal, but I know people are enjoying receiving them, because they beg for more when their jars get empty. We take advantage of people with free wood on Craigslist, and buy a lot of items at yard sales and estate sales. Our meat freezer is filled with items purchased in bulk when items go on super sale. Buy one extra canned meat and vegetable each week no matter what. I have a long way to go, but I feel my preps get better every week. Love giving car BOBs as Christmas gifts, and they have been used in many different capacities by the recipients. Always eat at home and use my husbands travel points he accumulates at work if we need hotel rooms. Not the best thrifty people, but always trying to get better.

  • #1895

    Susan LOVING

    I shop Goodwill stores and yard sales, especially for clothing. Learn something new almost everyday. If you go to a dump/landfill, look for turned in propane tanks. I obtained about ten, just by asking. I would explain that I had just purchased a new grill and it would sure save me a bunch, if I had an empty container for a refilled container. I also watch for 5-gallon water container tickets outside grocery stores. Lots of people just deposit their emptys without taking the tickets. I have over 50 5-gallon spring water. At yard sales I find the greatest treasures, like: cast iron, sleeping bags, tents, etc.

  • #4471

    OldMt Woman

    Well, about like everyone else.  Have always bought clothes/stuff at thrift stores.  Saved a bundle on disability devices too.  I buy ahead of the need.  Right now I have to break down and purchase a new wheelchair tho….just flat wore out the free [barely used] one I got 30 yrs ago.  And I’m only a part-time user.

    When we last moved, I replaced all my kitchen stuff at thrift stores/garage sales.  Kept upgrading as I found stuff.  Very satisfied with what I have now.  Got breadmaker as gift and thru various times, DH will make all of our bread products.  Not at this current time – we’re really pressed for energy.  But BLECH!  Store bread is awful.  His cinnamon rolls are glorious….so homemade is certainly no sacrifice. He uses the breadmaker for the dough mixing/raising process, then bakes in the oven.  Very high altitude – there’s several tricks to baking successfully up here and that’s one of them.  Wore the gears out of one breadmaker and have current one from family member that didn’t use it.  Makes great pizza dough too….since they don’t deliver way out here.

    Buy in bulk and break it down into insect/water proof containers.  Have cool basement storage. Cook from scratch with some store cans, etc…. but no pre-made, freezer foods.  Yuk.

    For a time we had home made/grown nearly everything including our own eggs and goat’s milk, butter, soft cheese.  Would like to get back to that — on a different physical layout.  This steep mountain terrain makes EVERYTHING way more laborious than it needs to be.

    Always been big gardeners tho again, this location has limited that.  Canning/dehydrating.  Our dehydrator has to be nearly 40 yrs old….and only has air flow on one side now so ya have to turn the shelves.  We use things til they are only good for junk….and then we recycle parts.

    Recycle clothing …begin with good stuff from thrift store.  It’s going-into-town clothes first.  Then as it ages, it’s at-home or barn clothes.  Then it’s cleaning rags or rolled into bandage materials…especially stretchy T-shirts.  Need a lot of bandage stuff for human and the animals.

    Our rural neighborhood had a thing going for a while….a recycle bag of clothing.  You take a look at what you could use from the bag(s)…then add what you don’t need to the bag(s) and pass it on.  In a month or two, it comes back to you with different stuff in it.  🙂   [‘course in these days, one might have to worry about bedbugs, etc]  🙁

    We haven’t had TV in …40 yrs?  We have laptops and minimal Internet.  Need Doppler weather map forecasting.  No cell service in our granite mts,  but we have one simple cell phone.  DH uses it for a seasonal business and we use it for emergencies in town.  It’s an unlimited plan ..minimal payment for each day you open the phone.  It works well with our limited usage.  Have basic land line phone….with old Princess style phone on hand for frequent power outages.  Otherwise the cordless units are ALWAYS with me as a safety thing.

    Too far out to go to movies/sports events/whatever else people go to.  ??  DH loves movies….from the library.  We’re both book people and have tons of books for reference/fiction.  We read them over and over.  We used libraries til I discovered FREE ebooks.  Not tellin’ how many thousands I’ve collected.  😉  Limited mobility days – I’m reading or on Internet.  Or writing my own stories when creative energy hits me.

    Dunno….our life is pretty simple and the lifestyle takes up all our time/energy.  No expectation of grande things, I guess.  Like everyone else here, seems like.

    Major annoyance?  Things that break/wear out/don’t work before I think I’ve had my money’s worth!  Hmph.  Like the expensive ‘farm tarp’ from Tractor Supply….that has thousands of leaks along the storage fold lines…..just a couple of months after we put it on.  #1 major headache of this past year….and we couldn’t take it off to TAKE IT BACK!  Augh!

    OldMtWoman  …nice to see folks that think like we do!

  • #8978

    Amy Dixon

    Here’s what I do without in order to have money for preparedness supplies and food storage: New clothes (I haven’t bought any in over 5 years; I just wear and mend my old ones as long as possible), eating out (I eat out maybe once a month at most and that’s at an inexpensive place), a new cell phone (I’m still using my 7 year old “dinosaur” phone ’cause it’s still <mostly> working, lol), purchasing dvds, cds, and books (I borrow these from the library now or share with friends), shopping at my local supermarket (I do almost all of my grocery shopping at salvage/outlet/dent and bent grocery stores these days.  Even though some of these are far from my home, the 50-75% savings more than makes up for the mileage expense).

  • #8985


    I cook from scratch, garden, can, bake, sew, mend, swap, buy clothes at yard sales (found a new nice warm winter coat with tags still on for $5, an excaliber dehydrator for $5 and a down long coat for $2).  Amazing what good things people just don’t want.  Also buy things on Craig’s list and thrift stores rather than new.   I don’t buy newest things that come down the pike.  Appliances have to wear out and not be repairable before I buy another.

    Hate wasting my time at the beauty shop so cut my own hair about 3 times out of 4 (usually early in the morning when I suddenly realize its getting too long and can’t stand it anymore) and cut DH’s hair, do my own nails (seldom).  Shop sales for groceries.  Forage when I can or go to you pick places although not many around here.

    Library is quite a distance and I like having my own books anyway.  I go to a movie about once in 10 years (to far away) and never to sports events.  Go to free concerts in the summer or when available.

  • #8989

    Crow Bar

    I get my old style USMC High-and-Tight hair cut, then let it grow out till it is borderline “wild, crazy hair man!” stage.  So, once every 3 or 4 months.

    I entertain friends with a homecooked meal, and we play dice, or card games.

    Layer up, rather than turn up the thermostat.  For that matter, I generally turn it down.


  • #8991


    Biggest savings long term cost money now, best return on investment if you own is solar energy if suitable for your area, banks will finance green incentive look for local and federal grants. Usually pays off in7-10 years life expectancy 20+. So if I told you for same amount you currently pay for electricity at today’s rate for next ten years that’s a deal if after 10th year its free for 10 plus more? What’s holding you back?

    If you have land enough try for farm status it drops your expenses by saving on taxes (property, fuel) insurance on home vehicles. Cost is time and able to produce min required to mantain status.


    The other side of frugal is more income, find what you love and either do it for others, teach it to other or write about it.


    I know you all have skills, the biggest thing is time, but think.of it this way, would you rather work at your job for hours required to pay or do.something you love to do to pay. Either way you are spending time, but you can choose how.

    Learn to barter those things for other goods and services. You can have to learn how to sell yourself and ideas. I needed lawyer for some land title changes and zoning applications with city hall petitioning.  Traded with them for meat and some equipment  time at a property they own. Most people once they try quality meat they become life long customers, the equipment is only fuel and time cost at standard charges deducted against their billable hours, both get what they want without much cost to either, a good deal for all.


    Go super bulk and repackage to sell. Go to bulk  place find out how much for biggest bagged item you need best stuff is food bit other non perashibles work.Then  go to locals find out who else needs and will buy from you.  Go to online and find producers of product buy in tons and sell in lbs usually atleast 25% margin or more.

    Cane sugar at the store $15 per 10 lb $1.50 per lb. Buy from brasil cost including shipping taxes and packaging ,50 cents a lb.  Where to find bulk? for starts alibaba, india mart, look on Internet just takes some time. If you can’t order minimums ask the big supplier who distributes for them here, you will know how much they get the stuff for so you can really bargain.


    If you have good credit you can get 30 to 90 day terms but cash or now payment always the cheapest.


    Buy bulk fuel if you are allowed to store it.  I bought a lare tank Double walled put a roof over it to slow evaporation so I can buy at cheap times of they year and use for months or up to a year. Saves 100s of dollars if you have enough space. Don’t buy new look at auctions or at bulk plants, card locks, they rent for industrial uses but after certain year they need to upgrade by law, nothing wrong with tanks. Instead of $22,000 for new 1000 gallon the cost is 1500 to 2000, some touch up paint and a pickup truck and it is home. At a 1000 gallons bulk suppliers will.sell to you delivered so just keep eye on pump prices it goes cheap you buy, or make a friend there and they call.you up when cheap. Usual cheap time is September to early October.


    Look for what your neighbors run out of and stock up, this is easier in farm country, I buy extra hay and grains and sell at this time of year, 1800 lb round bales I bought for 55 each sold for 80 now, I am cheapest in our area all I did was build a massive pole barn from scrap and logged trees off property. Hold 1000 rounds, pallets on gravel floor.

    The trick is multiple income.streams makes you more hardy in tough times, have stuff people need, not just want unless it is the last thing they will give up.
















  • #8997


    We try to save by scratch cooking as well. Have been doing that for years as hubby is on low salt diet with his heart problems. He won’t give up cable and netflex though. But he doesn’t have the energy to do a lot of things anymore, so he watches a lot of movies. We were keeping the heat down but this year he put it on 70 for both day and night. We used to have it on 68 during day and 64 at night. But with blood thinners and it is looking like he may be anemic as well but will find out after blood work is done. But the heat bill has still been below 200 so not complaining. We haven’t bought any clothes in well over a year. But do need to go through them as soon as I finish with the other things I am doing. Lots to down size on. We don’t eat out nor go to movies. We don’t take vacations now in over 10 years as hubby just can’t travel much now. So we are saving in several ways but could do better.  I never get my nails done and as for my hair, I get it cut about every 6 to 8 months. With my bad hand I can’t cut my hair to easy these days. Hubby gets his cut about once every 4 months. So not to bad.

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