Although it is possible to find food, medicine, and other household items using these methods, this article will be concentrating more on the types of items that do not fit into these specific categories. The kinds of items you either will always need in stock in your house, or that would at least be very valuable in specific survival situations. Items like clothing, blankets, can openers, knives, scissors, matches, tape, pots and pans, and sleeping bags.
Of course most of the time you’ll already have one or two of these lying around the house, but backups are always helpful, especially when they cost you next to nothing to acquire. What will you do if the shit hits the fan and you just broke or lost your only can opener? It’s better not to think about it. Just get an extra one or two while you still can.
Although you might not think of these types of items as part of a stockpile, they, like all the other items in your stockpile, will prove very valuable to you in the case of emergency or disaster. So without further ado, a list of things you can do to ease the financial blow of acquiring more useful items as a prepper.
Start Extreme Couponing
I’ll start with the obvious here. Chances are, if you’re even remotely interested in stockpiling, you’ve seen at least a few episodes of TLC’s Extreme Couponing television show. If you haven’t and you’d like to, you can find a few clips up on TLC’s website. Buying items for free or near free at retail stores can be done, but only in specific countries, and only with a considerable amount of patience and time invested into finding and clipping coupons, and keeping track of item sales in different stores.
Extreme couponing can be done for food, medicine, and other household goods, unlike most of the other methods mentioned here, which is why it can be very beneficial to look into.
Try Dumpster Diving
This method is a little hit and miss, especially since in most cases, I would guess, you have to look through quite a bit of garbage before finding something truly valuable and worth keeping. That being said, I’ve seen some come out with really amazing finds using this method. If you’d rather not open garbage bags themselves, you can always drive around looking for larger items, such as furniture and electronics, left on the side of the road.
If you’re curious about seeing some evidence that this method of stockpiling can really take off, you can find tonnes of inspiration on this blog here. The owner of the blog, a Montreal-located dumpster diver, also has a small shop where he sells some of the jewellery and vintage items he’s managed to dig up in the trash.
Check the Free Ads Sections on Online Classified Sites for Free Items
When my husband and I had just purchased our first house, I used to do this a lot. I’d keep both Kijiji and Craigslist’s “free” pages for my city bookmarked at the top of my browser. I would check these pages regularly throughout the day, and as soon as I saw something I might like, I’d email immediately. As a tip to those who are just starting to do this, I found that if you don’t respond within the first hour of a post being up, chances are the items are already being saved for someone who responded prior to you, so be sure to respond as soon as possible to make sure you have a fighting chance at the items. Of course you can still try asking later, but time is a very important factor in getting the best items on the free pages of an online classified site.
As awesome as it is to get free items, there is a definite downside to this way of gathering items for your stockpile. If your city is very spread out, driving from one end to the other is both time consuming and costly – we all know how expensive gas is these days. That being said, this shouldn’t deter you from keeping an eye on the free sections: it’s not like you have to pick up everything that looks good. Just remember to take into consideration the length of a trip and the cost of transportation when deciding if you want to pick up an item. You may also want to ask the owner of the objects if they have anything else they are trying to get rid of that you can take off their hands. You never know what they’ll say.
Visit Garage Sales and Bargain for Deals
As with driving long distances for free items, it can at times be costly to go garage sale hopping considering gas and transportation prices are what they are today. That being said, it can also be extremely worthwhile if you know which neighbourhoods to look in and if you’ve got a knack for bargaining. If you do want to drive around aimlessly looking for a garage sale, you might want to check the garage sale notices on online classified sites. It can help reduce the amount of time you spend driving, and help you to find garage sales sooner in the day, when the good items are still available and haven’t yet been sold.
Locate People Who Are Moving
Is anyone you know going to be moving in the next month? How about the next year? Can you ask them to keep you in mind as a person they can dump their stuff on when they do end up moving? Even if they have a garage sale or try to sell things on Craigslist or Kijiji, chances are they’re not going to be able to get rid of it all, and you can volunteer to take the rest off their hands. You can also ask them to show you items that they want to sell before they sell them. Typically, if there are many items you would like to buy, they’ll be more likely to give you a good price for taking all of them.
If you don’t know anyone who is going to be moving, try searching online classified sites again, this time specifically for people who are moving. If you find one or two whose items you like, you can usually get a good deal, especially since if they don’t sell soon, they’ll risk having to throw the items out anyway.