How to Start Prepping With No Money: (Or Next to Nothing!)

To prep with no money sounds impossible. Now, it is quite difficult than otherwise, but with the right mindset and creativity, you can do it. I was thinking recently, how someone with no money would do to prep. Obviously, the easiest way to solve this problem is to find ways to make money like a part-time job or any sort of side hustle that one can do.

Still, not everyone can actually do that, and it would also miss the point that is if it’s possible to start prepping with no money. So, I started to think about the basic requirements that you need to start prepping and all the equipment and food that you’ll need to have. With that in mind, I did my research to see if it was possible to get those things with little to no money. So, how to start prepping with no money? According to my findings there are a few options to fix the money problem and they aren’t making more money. You’re going to need the following to start prepping with no money.

  1. Coupons
  2. Buy In Bulks
  3. Canned Food
  4. Barter
  5. One-Dollar Store
  6. Free Stuff
  7. Cultivate Your Own Resources

So, below I go into detail about every one of your options. This way you can actually plan and come up with the perfect strategy for yourself. Remember, good prepper stores every resource that might be needed. A great one comes up with a system and a strategy to make sure everything will be alright when an SHTF situation occurs.

Although you might get most of your survival gear and items with little or no money, you might want to grow food. For a nominal fee, you can get a plan that guides you to grow your own food that you can stockpile. Click here to get more information.


This is the most obvious way to start stockpiling food and storing bottled water with little to no money. With the right coupon strategy, you can spend only pennies instead of a few hundreds of dollars.

What you need is to first make a list of what you’re going to need and eliminate everything else. It’s easy to get caught up into the coupon game and start getting coupons and spending money on items you don’t actually need.

So, what you’re going to need is to make that list, and then, start scavenging online and on newspapers for coupons. Most big retailers have some sort of coupon program for you to find the right kind of food for prepping. You may also find coupons for items that you’re going to need such as tools, and equipment to set up your plan.

Now, coupons are not enough if you don’t know how to use them and with what to use them for. As you know, water is one of the most important items on your prepping list, but bottled water has an expiration day. So, consider those kinds of things.

For example, don’t waste coupons on food that will expire in less than a year. You may still buy food that will last a year or so as long as you keep an eye on your inventory to make sure it doesn’t go all to waste. A good tip is to look into what sort of food lasts years without much need for conservation. These are the best kind. You can leave there in your basement, or wherever it is that stockpiled food, and forget about it.

As a good prepper, you know that you never really know when something is going to happen, so it’s better to count with resources that will last you a lifetime. So, make sure to use the coupons to make smart choices with the items you’re going to need. Develop a strategy to find the coupons, and then, how you’re going to use them.

Buy in Bulk

The best way to prep with a very limited amount of money is to buy things in bulk. This way, you always get a nice discount on whatever is the item that you’re buying. A good tip here is to look for wholesale and salvage grocery stores. In the latter, you can buy items that are close to the expiration date for a fraction of the price. It isn’t uncommon to find items costing 1/10 of the original price.

Also, when you buy in bulks the establishment is able to provide you with a bigger discount. Just think about it, most of the big retailers are able to provide a lower price compared to the local store. This happens because they buy in larger quantities from the manufacturers, thus allowing them to demand a better price.

If you buy in bulks, you can also ask the store manager to give you a discount. It may not always work, but you’ll be surprised at how many times it will. Obviously, the number that you’re buying in bulks will be relevant to the manager depending on how big the store actually is.

Anyway, the salvage grocery stores are the best option if you want to really save money. Now, since the items are close to an expiration date, you’re going to either replace them constantly or research which ones aren’t actually that bad if you eat them. An interesting fact is that most of the expiration date in the food industry is just a guideline and a way to prevent you from suing the manufacturer. A lot of times when the expiration date has passed, it’s still safe to eat.

Buy everything in bulks and buy some items offseason, in bulks, as well. For example, a lot of fruits last a long time especially if you buy them offseason. A secret to maintaining the fruit that way for longer is to freeze them. This way you prevent the fruit to eliminate the gas that accelerates the process of making it ripe, and then, rotten.

Canned Food

So far, I’ve been telling you how to get food, but we didn’t discuss what food to get. Obviously, that is totally up to you. Still, if you have ever been inside the house of a prepper, you know that there’s a lot of water stored and canned food. This is because canned food lasts a long time.

It’s possible to have food stored for decades and still be okay to consume it. For those reasons canned food is one of the best options to stockpile food. Not only that but canned food is cheap. In the example above of the salvage grocery store, it’s always good to look for canned food. They get even cheaper if you buy them in bulks.

Now, canned food is not the best, most of the time, but you’re not prepping for the holidays. You’re prepping for when SHTF. When shopping for canned food, look for the ones with a satisfactory expiration date, the ones with a lot of protein and fat, and the ones that also have liquid in the can. These things will make sure it lasts longer and that you get the necessary energy for your body to function at optimal levels when you needed.

Canned food unites the best of the worlds of coupons and buying in bulks. With the right strategy, you can have 5 aisles of canned food in your house ready for you and your family when you need them. Just make a list of all the variety of canned foods that you want and start hunting for the best prices and opportunities that you can find.

As a final reminder on canned food, remember that a few of them aren’t perfect for prepping. Canned fish tends to not be the best to stockpile, still, you can have them. Just don’t make them the main star on your list.


If you really have zero dollars, barter may be for you. This is the oldest financial transaction although it doesn’t involve money. This is how most people did business before gold and then paper money. It’s an old concept but thanks to the internet it’s changing recently. Not only that, it’s a great idea for everyone even people with money for prepping.

Basically, you trade something for something. This usually means that you trade an object for another object, but it may also be a service. The sense of community that barter brings is infectious. You can barter with whoever is interested in it, or you can look for other preppers and start your own network.

If you have access to any resource that you can trade for food, water, and tools you’re already good to get started. The secret to barter is to establish the value that you give to every item that you have to trade and the items that you need to trade for. This way, you make a fair trade for both sides. If you search online, there’s always someone in need of something you might have and not even want.

So, if you’re interested in getting serious about barter, make a list of the available resources that you have that you can trade for something that you need and the skills that you possess that may be valuable to other people. The secret here is to be creative. Actually, being creative is what you’re going to have to be if you want to succeed at prepping with no money.

Once you have your list, you should start looking for people to barter in online forums and communities of preppers. Facebook is also another great place to get started. Obviously, the best people to start bartering with are other preppers or people who actively barter. Here, you won’t find resistance to the idea at all.

One Dollar Store

The One Dollar store might be a goldmine for you. You just have to know what to look for when in one. You may have watched YouTube videos or even TV shows with people going to the one-dollar store nearby and having to accomplish the challenge of buying stuff with only $10. This sounds ridiculous at first, but in the end you realize how many interesting things you can get with that little.

Now, to succeed at one-dollar stores you must know what you want. This is because you’re going to profit more if you’re looking for utility tools and things of that nature instead of food. Some one-dollar stores do have food but they’re either expired or close to it.

The best strategy is to look for lighters, flashlights, knives, can openers, stuff like this that you know you’re going to need and that you’ll have to use at some point. It’s even possible to get some of this stuff and post on eBay to get more money to buy the food and the tools you’re going to need.

One-dollar stores do require that you have some money but it’s so cheap that anyone would have it. This is by far the best method to get some of the tools you’re going to need to survive when shtf. It’s even better than coupons. So, do your research and prepare your list of what you need and go shopping.

As a prepper the best thing you can do is an inventory of what you need that you don’t currently have. This way you can get the necessary items and be prepared for everything. This is how you survive while the rest of the world is in chaos. Just remember to get only the items that you actually need. It’s easy to feel the urge to buy everything in a one-dollar store since everything is so cheap.

Free Stuff

There are a few ways to go about this and some are very unpleasant. You’re going to need a lot of stomach to do it, but it may be really worth it. The other ones are just inconvenient but still a great way to get free stuff that you might need. Whatever way you choose, you’ll get one step closer to prepping the right way.

First, you can dumpster dive. Before you get engrossed by the idea, relax. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Dumpster dive would require you to go to grocery stores, commercial buildings, construction sites, and maybe the unpleasant residential locations.

Grocery stores throw away perfect food all the time. Sometimes it’s because it’s not pretty enough so someone will buy it, and sometimes it passed the expiration day but it’s not rotten. They’re legally required to not sell anything that expired, which doesn’t mean that you can get it for yourself. They also can’t give it to you, but you can get it after they throw it away. You can find all sorts of food in perfect conditions such as bread, milk, cookies, beans, rice, and everything in between. This is the best way to get started. Drive around one and see for yourself.

Another interesting option is a commercial building. There you’re going to find mostly cardboards and stationery. Some of these things may be useful to you for prepping. The good thing is that since it doesn’t involve organic garbage, the chances of you encountering anything unpleasant is very low.

Then, you can go to construction sites. There, you’re going to find copper, aluminum, wood, concrete, and all sorts of things that might be of service to build something in your house to store food or protect yourself. You can even use something to increase security.

At last, you can go to residential areas, especially apartment buildings. You can find a lot of interesting stuff in there. Take your chances at the end of every month and see it for yourself.

Cultivate Your Own Resources

This is not only great for the sake of it, but you can also cultivate your own food to barter for other things. If you plant your own vegetables and fruits, for example, you not only will have enough to feed your family but if there’s something left, you can use to trade for tools.

Just do some research on how to plant and make the seed thrive. Then, create a plan to have food the whole year since some vegetables and fruits are seasonable.

Another great idea is that if you have space and the resources, you may even get small animals such as chickens and pigs. This is a little more complicated but can be done even if you live in a big city.

So, cultivate your own food to later consume and barter. This way, you also won’t be dependent on supermarket and other stores when shtf. Some foods are also great to store water, which can be a plus.

The whole idea is that you become more self-sufficient. Also, if you can, cultivate your food in a closed space, at least some of it, since natural disasters may ruin everything. Still, it’s important to store what you harvest properly to make sure it’ll last for years.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, if you use your creativity, there are a lot of options to start prepping with no money. Now, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to be thoughtful about it and work harder than other folks, but you can do it. That’s what matters.

The secret here is to use that creativity and create your own strategy that works for you to get all the resources you need. Be smart about it and you won’t have to worry.

So, go to the store with the right strategies and look for the right places. Cultivate your own food, barter, and network with the right-minded people. This is how you prep with no or little money.

For those deciding to grow their own food, click here for a plan that helps you do this effectively and successfully.

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