Preparing for a survival situation doesn’t have to break the bank – in fact, there are countless survival items you should get from the dollar store.
Rather than splurging on costly items, you can get them at rock-bottom prices by heading over to your local dollar store.
There you will find food items, medical equipment, gardening supplies and many more. You’ll be surprised at the quality, too.
You probably don’t care about the name-brand of the bottled water you buy. Purchase it in bulk at the dollar store and you’ll save tons of money.
When the power goes out, you don’t want to be rummaging around in the dark for your sole flashlight. Stock up and buy dozens at the dollar store for a bargain.
If you’ve got flashlights, you need a way to power them, and all of your other gear, of course.
So make sure you stock up on batteries of all types while you’re shopping.
Related: How To Turn Used Car Batteries Into A Survival Power Bank
Candles don’t just provide a warm glow and ambiance – they can provide an important source of illumination when the lights go out.
If you want to have reliable lighting around your home regardless of what the electricity situation looks like, invest in a few solar lights. The ones that you can hang up along any entryways or pathways will be especially useful should the grid go down.
The utility knives and boxcutter you can buy at a bargain store aren’t going to be of the highest quality, so save your important purchases for the sporting goods store.
However, you’ll still find decent knives for sale at the dollar store so don’t be afraid to give them a try.
Lighters And Matches
You can buy four-packs of BIC lighters for just a buck at most dollar stores.
Stock up in case you need to light a propane stove, candle, or anything else should the grid go down.
Don’t want to use lighters? No problem – you can buy matches here, too.
Baking soda is one of the most versatile items you can keep in your pantry. You can use it for baking, cleaning, hygiene, laundry, and so much more.
As the recent COVID-19 pandemic showed us, when things go down, toilet paper starts to disappear. Stockpile a supply before there’s a shortage – and get it cheap at your local dollar store.
Disposable Cookware And Cutlery
From paper plates to cooking utensils, paper towels and drinking cups, there are all kinds of disposable cooking and dining supplies for sale at the dollar store. Although these aren’t the best quality, you’re only going to use them once anyway, so who cares?
You’ll save more money and get better quality food by preserving your own vegetables and meats.
However, to fill in any gaps, buy a bunch of canned goods at the dollar store.
Related: 7 Deadly Canning Mistakes Even Smart People Make
These are important survival items that can be used for everything from securing a gate to keeping a load tied down on the truck. They’re often sold in bulk bins at dollar stores for super low prices.
Gauze And Bandages
Get some in a variety of sizes along with other medical supplies like cotton balls at your closest dollar store.
Rubbing alcohol is necessary for medical emergencies but it can also be used as fuel for an alcohol stove and for cleaning, in many cases.
It’s smart to head to the pharmacy to stock up on all of the prescription medications you might need.
However, you should also buy basic medications like pain relievers, antidiarrheal medicine, and antacids from the dollar store, while they are still available.
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Plastic sheeting serves so many purposes in a survival situation. It can be used to create privacy around a home or campsite, as a table mat, or to warm the ground up for planting early in the season.
It can even be used to make your own cold frames so you can grow vegetables during the colder fall and winter months.
You can use latex gloves to treat medical wounds on yourself or any livestock.
Sunscreen is going to be hard to find in a survival situation – it’s not technically a necessity but if you burn easily in the sun, you’re going to think otherwise.
You can buy basic Elmer’s glue at the dollar store but super glue is what you should stock up on.
You can use it to make basic repairs around the house and much more.
Related: 18 Survival Uses For Super Glue
You can use aluminum foil for cooking on an open fire and many other tasks – such as blocking the wind, cleaning up ashes, and starting a fire.
Seeds And Seed Starting Equipment
They aren’t sold in the largest packages here – you’ll only get about five to ten seeds per bag – but you can buy a decent selection of seeds at most dollar stores. The same goes for seed starting equipment.
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Toothpaste and toothbrushes are two other items that are perfect items to put on your dollar store shopping list. If you’re married to a certain brand of toothpaste, you can often find name brand options here, too.
Buy a few packs of bars of soap. Not only will you need them in a survival situation, but they can also prove to be great products for bartering.
You can grow most of your own herbs and dehydrate them to put in your survival stockpile, but spices, for most people, are another story. Stock up on things like salt, pepper, and cinnamon by shopping at the dollar store.
The clothing that is sold at the dollar store might not be the most durable or the most fashionable – but it will get the job done. You can buy things like scarves, gloves, flip flops, shoelaces, tee shirts, baby clothes, and more here.
Get creative to save money and to be prepared at all times. Of course, there are countless other purchases you can make at the dollar store that didn’t make this list – we had to stop somewhere.
The only limitation is your imagination. Take a walk around your local dollar store to see what you can find.
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reading glasses are a must. we have them laying around like empty casings in a machinegun nest. batteries are really good too as they get rotated alot more often compared to wal-mart because of the price. i’ve bought dead duracell batteries at wal-mart but never had problems with dollar tree batteries. i don’t like their duct tape, it just isn’t any good. by the way it isn’t the dollar tree anymore. its the dollar and a quarter tree now. i still get alot of items from them. this was a good article for food for thought.
I’m not going to buy let alone stock up on anything that is going to fail and not perform when needed the most. That’s not only a waste of both my time and money, it may put both myself and my family in jeopardy.
I wouldn’t rely on the off brand DG batteries for flashlights. I’ve had a problem with these working when I needed them. Stick with Duracell. Also, only buy name brand medicines. Some of those cheaper brands have been recalled, as well as not being as effective as the packaging states.
It’s not a terrible thing the seeds are gmo which isn’t ideal for end of the world .
The rest seem decent but I would recommend checking on bulk prices.
You do need to shop around. Canned foods from Dollar stores are often more expensive than Walmart and are often close to end of best buy dates. Some are even smaller in ounces AND more expensive so a double whammy.
Seeds from Dollar stores are seldom heirloom so seed saving is not likely to be good and I’ve never found their seeds for the money spent to be a better value than a packet from a reliable supplier. Poor germination has been my experience from Dollar Store seeds. If cost is an issue pair up with another thrifty gardener and share from larger seed packets.
mora knives can be found at around 10.00 at many sites and they are quite durable and useful. Will do any reasonable job you need one for. As 1 is none and 2 is one I try to have several.
I’ve found the thin plastic sheeting from Dollar store pretty useless as I’ve helped neighbors add plastic to their windows and Dollar Store stuff shreds pretty fast compared to even light duty sheet plastic from Walmart. Redoing my garden hoop houses takes time and effort, as much as doing it correctly with HD sheet plastic the first time AND I roll it back up in late spring for redeployment for fall garden cover and that for several years. Wind and UV from the sun eats Dollar store stuff quickly.
Most of the foods and spices on your list are less expensive at a bulk food place than at the dollar store. Just purchase more at once and then use it. I love Amish stores!
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How old is this article? – a re-hash from a few years ago? >>> the Dollar Store chain stores have always been on the bottom of the retail biz – serious decline even in that ranking since Bidenflation kicked in ….
if Dollar Stores are a prime source for your prepping – the ONLY source? >>> you need to seriously look at where you’re at and are going – they are a convenience source for non-essentials – if the quality is anywhere close >>> best chance the $$$$ cost isn’t there
as already mentioned – the chains have taken a hit – the smaller locations can barely find employees to keep the established store hours – quality of the employees are bare minimum – the quality & chain supply regularities is entirely a crap shoot anymore ….
if you found the Dollar Store “nitches” to buy over the years – and they have survived – keep buying as long as it lasts >>> but with prepping keep looking for alternatives – have back-ups – if it’s a Dollar Store item it should have storage longevity – think about buying in larger quantity while you can …..
I think this article was done not very long ago at all.
My candles are the only things out of the 25 items that came from the dollar store. I want a higher quality and reliability in the things I put away for tuff times.
Use caution at the “Dollar Store”-type outlets. Years back, I used to investigate counterfeit products. We found counterfeit electrical items like power cords and power bars that were damned dangerous and caused a lot of fires. We found food that was labeled as grown and packaged locally that actually had come in from the Middle East with unknown quality control and safety. We had alkaline batteries with no pressure relief hole that would explode violently. Lots of toys made of brittle plastic that splintered when kids played with them, and, of course, painted with lead paint. Even things like chocolate bars were counterfeit. They weren’t dangerous, Just of poor quality. I’ll buy things like paper products, or a toilet brush, but be VERY cautious shopping at these places – sometimes there’s a reason this stuff is so cheap!
Big/Lots stores are better if you want quality. The prices are higher but that’s because you’re getting “real stuff” that was overstocked somewhere. Many products sold at Dollar Tree are made specifically for Dollar Tree or similar stores and so they are made “cheap.”
This isn’t to say there aren’t some good things available at Dollar Tree. Some of the kitchen knives are surprisingly good, for example. Also, if you need only a small quantity of something (a package of 10 instead of a package of 25 or 50), Dollar Tree is a good place to look. But you have to look carefully at quality…Perhaps buy just a little to check quality then if it’s good, go back and stock up.
BTW, one thing where I’d always check quality and NEVER skimp is matches. I’ve bought matches (and not just at Dollar Tree) that turned out to be made with such thin, fragile sticks that every match I tried to strike broke instead of striking. No matter where you buy matches, buy just one box and test the matches before you buy a bunch.
Super glue has a shelf life of about 9 months. After that you won’t know if it is still good or not.
Plastic sheeting – you don’t want thin cheap plastic. Get the good stuff as it can be reused if needed.
BIC lighters barely come with 25% butane in them anymore.
No longer do you get the 1,000 lights out of one that they formerly claimed.
Find a quarts refillable lighter. And a lot of extra fuel tanks for refilling.
If you use the kind of lighter that uses lighter fluid, you will need both a lot of fuel, FLINTS, and some wicks.
Solar lights – the cheap ones, even walmarts’ ones have a battery that lasts one season.
If you can, find any that has an off switch and possible a way to replace the battery. And buy extra batteries.
Some take 2/3AA batteries that generally require you to special order them.
You will need some kind of battery charger and a power source for those as well, just in case.
Disposable batteries – use one, toss. Then what happens if you have no batteries?
One thing not mentioned in the article was salt.
Especially the non iodized salt.
If you look for anything stainless steel, bring a good magnet with you.
Many claim they are stainless steel but are either a very cheap version or just coated.
Magnets do not stick to real stainless steel.
Bear that in mind when choosing something you want.
Watch out for any glass jars. Some are not manufactured quite right.
Dollar stores are there for people with little money and need a little something right now.
And you usually pay higher per unit.
Gone are the days of ‘strike anywhere’ matches due to US Federal laws – those are considered a hazardous material.
For regular wooden matches, quickly dip them in hot wax (and I mean quickly) to barely coat them. Both ends of the match.
Makes them float and waterproof.
Vaseline and generic – compare unit price per ounce.
If a decent deal, get it.
Cotton balls and cosmetic rounds _ a drop of Vaseline will help create a fire more easily.
Metal pots/stock pots.
You can take a large pot, fill with sand, and heat it on a fire.
After a few hours, take it inside, place on the cook stove, and it will release heat into the house safely.
No CO or low oxygen issues.
Use construction sand not silica sand.
Wait are you telling me magnets don’t stick to non magnetic metal……no way
magnets do indeed stick to stainless steel .hard versions like 440.
and nickel .
pan manuf. will not make cookware out of 303 ss which will not be attracted by a magnet.
for the most part,
Just be sure the metal pot isn’t aluminum: it is very toxic. And most likely all you will find at a dollar store.
Just be aware that the quality of these items is going to be pretty poor. matches might not light, spices may be pretty old and tasteless, seeds may not germinate, plastic sheeting may tear easily, etc. Just don’t plan to only use the items you can buy as your only source for them. Diversify and get some really good, quality items as well…
I would NEVER rely on dollar store items for survival. Normal times, ok, but NOT if my life depended on it!!!
Sometimes the prices at the Dollar General stores are cheaper now for some items, like the soups and spices are still only $1 instead of the $1.25 store.
This is a good, time-tested list. I wouldn’t limit it to the Dollar stores. Also, one note is that sunscreen has pretty hard expiration dates. Protection falls off sharply after about 3 years storage.
But again, nice list. If you can I’d go up at least one step on the quality. Walmart can beat the price and quality on a lot of these.
Cans of chafing fuel and a set up to cook using 3-4 of them. Works well and they burn for 6 hrs. Plus they give off heat and light during a power outage. Wouldn’t recommend in an air tght room but in a drafty house, yes.
Cans of butane and a portable Coleman single burner might be a good idea too.
And avoid bargain batteries.
I don’t think much of those cans of “Sterno” – keeping food warm that has already been cooked and is hot >>>
but the jellied alcohol is absolutely dynamite for getting a fire started – poke a stick into it and lite – you’ve got a flaming match until it burns to a cinder ….
if you can’t find cans dirt cheap at garage sales – think about the DIY process – alcohol is coming back down in price since Covid sent it soaring – you can bulk mix for a fraction of the retail price ….
Just a thought. Instead of the “thin” plastic sheets, try shower curtains. Just my thoughts.
No UV protection in dollar store plastics, so sunshine will eat them up.
Not sure I want to use neon colored shower curtains for broken windows and gardening?
i use shower curtains to cover my wood supply to keep it dry–neighbors love the colors! LOL
or get pool liner scraps from local pool installers–they love to get rid of them
I have a bunch of bundles of 50′ poly rope that I picked up from Dollar Tree that’s a lot cheaper in price than any other place I’ve seen. $1.25 for 1/4″ diameter strong rope that’s rot resistant. The Family Dollar is charging over $5.00 for the same rope. The bundles come in yellow and in black. They’re cheap enough for picking up a few dozen worth and stashing them anyplace that rope would become handy (vehicles, bug out bags, camp gear, drawers, hidden caches, any place you can think of, and it’ll never rot on you like cotton rope will if left indefinitely in damp areas).
Shower curtain liners come in clear, white, cream-colored and pastels. Dollar Tree has light weight, Walmart sells light, medium and heavy weight liners. I bought some clear medium weight liners to cover the garden bed of carrots for the winter. Seem to be working okay, joined pairs of them using garden wire through the grommets at the top since that bed has a trellis in the center of it so I have the curtains set up like a A-frame. They are cheap enough that I will be happy if they last until spring. And they were less awkward to work with than trying to cut what I needed from a huge roll of plastic.