Prepping for an emergency or large-scale disaster can become expensive, but it doesn’t need to be. While it is important to invest in high-quality gear, some prepping items are consumable or are such that quality is less important. Your local dollar store can be a gold mine for these consumable prepping items.
Zip ties are not only useful for strapping cables and hoses together, but they have a very wide range of other applications. Most dollar stores have a selection of different sizes of zip ties and often will have packages of a variety of different sizes and colors.
Dollar store batteries are cheap and they do not last as long as their name brand counterparts. There is one advantage to stocking up on dollar store batteries which is that they are ideal for barter and trade.
When the lights go out, batteries are going to be almost a form of currency and when the chips are down you don’t want to be trading away high-quality batteries when you could be bartering with dollar store batteries instead.
From garden twine to rope, you can find a fairly diverse selection of cordage at your local dollar store. You can also find things like baling wire, brass wire, or picture wire, which can be good for emergency survival trapping or for repairs.
Pens, pencils, paper, sharpies, notebooks, etc., can be found at a dollar store often for a fraction of the cost of going to a big box or stationery store. Stationary is another item that I almost exclusively get from my local dollar store.
The dollar store does not sell the high-quality brand name duct tapes, but what they do sell will more than suffice.
For the majority of applications, dollar store duct tape will do the job and as with a lot of items on this list dollar store duct tape is ideal for barter and trade.
From band-aids to gauze and even some over the counter medications, it is possible to outfit a basic first aid kit from your local dollar store.
Related: DIY Dollar Store First Aid Kit
The dollar store is my go-to for purchasing toiletry items for camping, hunting, disaster, or travel toiletry kits. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, deodorant; all in travel sizes are all available at the dollar store.
These are cheap and thin poly tarps and are not going to hold up to a lot of abuse. I like to have these on hand in case I need to cover a broken window, hole, dirt pile, etc. I consider these tarps to be one-time use and disposable.
This is another great barter item because dollar store flashlights are so inexpensive and flashlights will be in short supply after a large-scale disaster.
Often the flashlight with included batteries will be cheaper than purchasing the batteries alone.
You can get all manner of disposable lighters at the local dollar store, including windproof outdoors lighters. These are also great for barter and trade.
Dollar stores are full of cheap canned goods that are usually generic brands. They also often will have dry goods such as pasta, rice, sugar, salt, cereal, etc. While these foods are not of the same quality as their name-brand equivalents are, they are without a doubt good enough for the apocalypse.
The world ending is no excuse to stop cleaning up after yourself.
The dollar store is where I buy 90% of my cleaning supplies and I like to keep a good stockpile for disasters as well.
Usually, here you’ll also find the small travel-sized bottles of hand sanitizer at a dollar store.
These are great for adding into first aid or hygiene kits.
Toys and Games
Most toys that you can buy at a dollar store are of very low quality, however, you may be able to find some playing cards or travel-sized board games. These are great to slip into a bug out bag or camping/survival kit.
These are not professional quality sewing needles or threads, but they will do the job in a pinch. I’ve built several sewing kits from supplies that I’ve bought from my local dollar store and for every day rips, tears, or lost buttons these little DIY kits can’t be beaten.
You can never have too many candles and like a lot of items on this list, they make outstanding barter items.
You can also find them in a lot of different sizes and types.
Related: DIY Candle Lantern From A Soda Can
No good emergency kit is complete without some sweet, sweet candy. The dollar store is a fantastic place to pick up a wide variety of not only candies but chocolates as well. These will not only give you a post-apocalyptic moral boost, but also be another great barter item.
Rubbing alcohol is not only a disinfectant but can also be burned in certain alcohol stoves.
When we are assembling emergency kits there are often instances where we need small containers to store liquids.
The small travel-sized containers that you can find in the dollar store are often perfect for the task.
Bungee cords have a lot of uses in a survival situation and are often prone to wearing out, so having a lot of them is always a good idea. The dollar store variety will not have the longevity of name brand ones but they are great for light-duty applications.
You can often find bottled water in various sized containers at your local dollar store. It is less expensive to purchase bottled water in larger quantities elsewhere.
However, if you are looking to outfit a vehicle kit, Get Home Bag, Bug Out Bag, or your EDC bag then the dollar store is a great place to pick up smaller quantities of bottled water.
Trash bags have a massive amount of uses in survival situations, but what you will most likely need them for post-disaster is for their intended use. I like to have multiple boxes, in several different sizes, stockpiled in my emergency kits.
Our smartphones are almost an extension of our bodies and making sure that they stay charged is very important. The dollar store will often have either battery banks or one time use emergency chargers for sale. These are great not only to keep our smartphones at 100%, but as a barter item too.
These 23 items are by no means the end all be all of the prepping items that your local dollar store can provide. The items listed here are ones that I personally have bought and used in building various kits for myself and my family.
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