This post includes affiliate links.
In this article, I’m going to give you 10 financial tips for preppers. I decided to lay out these financial tips for preppers because there is a lot of talk about how to be prepared for all kinds of things. For example:
- How to prepare for natural disasters
- How to prepare for food shortages
- What to put in a bug out bag, and more
It’s great to prepare for all those things. But no matter how much you prepare in all those areas, unless you prepare in a way that is financially smart, you can end up in a whole heap of trouble.
10 Financial Tips for Preppers
Before I get into the details of the 10 financial tips for preppers, if you want a deep dive into this topic, I recommend the book below:
So, without further ado, let’s get into the 10 financial tips for preppers.
1: Make Getting Out of Debt One of Your Highest Priorities
Pro Tip: The Total Money Makeover is the book that helped my husband and me get out of debt. You can get the book here on Amazon.
Debt is one of the biggest ways to end up in a bad place, even if there is nothing negative happening in the world. With debt, you have no security. As an example, if you have debt, and lose a job, you may have a tough time keeping a roof over your head.
Now it is true that if you have debt, lose your job, and have a pantry full of food, you will be much better off than someone who doesn’t have a stocked pantry. But if you have no debt, and have a stocked pantry and lose your job, you will be in a sweet spot compared to most people.
I do want to address a couple of things regarding home mortgages. First, of all of the debts that you can have, mortgage debt is better than most debt. Mortgage debt is low interest, and it’s a roof over your head, which we all need.
But if you can manage to have zero debt, including your mortgage, that is one of the best things you can do to prepare financially.
Better Small and Paid For
I am even going to go as far as to say that I would personally recommend a smaller space with no debt, than a large place with debt. My husband and I made this decision ourselves. We decided to sell our home that still had about $88,000 remaining on the mortgage and downsize to a place we could pay cash for.
Now I realize that most preppers want bigger homes and more land, so some may consider it unwise to, as a prepper, buy a condo. But being debt free is a much better prep than having a large home with land, but high debt.
Whenever the topic of having a paid for home comes up in the prepper community, invariably, someone will say, “You never really own a home because you still have to pay property taxes.”
That is indeed true, but you’re still better off than having a house payment and property tax. Which brings me to my next point:
2: Live in a Low Tax State
Depending on your personal situation, you may be stuck in the state where you live. Perhaps you have a good job, or want to live where you do for family reasons.
The latter actually applies to me right now. My husband and I currently live in Southern California. We’re here to care for my 90-year-old mom. Rather than move her at her old age, we moved to be with her.
In Southern California, there are high taxes on everything, from property to gas to what you buy at your local Walmart. So, while we love the weather here, the place we just purchased and plan to live in after my mom passes away is in Colorado, that has, among other things, decent property taxes.
Consider Various Tax Scenarios
Just to get the wheels turning in your mind, let’s look at a couple of different tax scenarios.
There are currently 9 states that don’t have any individual state income tax:
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
But what about property tax?
However, know that some of these have high property taxes. As an example, my husband is from Texas, and while they don’t have state income tax, they do have high property taxes.
So, when it comes to taxes, some of the things to look at will depend on your situation and season of life. As an example, a high-income earner may be better off in Texas despite the high property tax. But if your income is lower, having a lower property tax likely matters more than having no state income tax.
So, the bottom line is that before moving, research the tax implications of each of your options.
3: Diversify Your Income Streams
Recommended Reading: Multiple Streams of Income: How to Generate a Lifetime of Unlimited Wealth (Amazon)
Diversifying your income streams is one of the most important ways to prepare, because it means that you would seldom lose all your income at the same time.
For example, if all your income comes from a job, and you lose your job, you have no income. This is especially true for single-income families, where one parent works, and the other parent stays home to raise the kids. If that one source of income is gone, it can really impact the financial well-being of your family.
Just for the sake of example, I’m going to share with you the various income sources for my husband and me.
- Army retirement
- Social Security
- Book royalties
- Affiliate income from blogs and YouTube
- YouTube Adsense earnings
- Online courses on Udemy and Skillshare
- Rental income
- Stocks, including a big focus on dividend income
One thing you’ll notice that is missing from this list that is on most people’s list is income from a job. When we moved from Colorado to California, we quit our jobs, and now consider caring for my mom as our primary job, even though it doesn’t pay us anything.
4: Focus on Quality Rather than Quantity of the Items Your Purchase
As a prepper, you may be tempted to purchase a high volume of low-quality items, but I think it’s better to purchase fewer items that will last. The reason this matters is because if you focus on quality rather than quantity, you won’t need to replace things frequently. Once you have it, you have it, and won’t have to worry about whether whatever it is is available in the future.
As an example, rather than buying cheap cookware, purchase cast iron, carbon steel, and good quality stainless steel. Each of those items will last a very long time, if you take good care of them. In fact, most of them will outlive you.
Recommended Cookware for Preppers:
Lodge 10.25″ Baker’s Skillet from Lehman’s – if you want to support a small, US-based business. If you prefer to shop on Amazon, use this link. I love this one for baking cornbread, biscuits, and cinnamon rolls!
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Set from Lehman’s (not currently available on Amazon). I absolutely love this cast iron skillet set because it has all the basics that will cover most of your cooking needs – an 8″ skillet, a 10 1/4″ skillet and a 10 1/2″ griddle. It also includes silicone handle holder, silicone pot holder and two scrapers. If you’re looking to buy cast iron as a gift, or if you’re just getting started with cast iron, this is the set I recommend.
Lodge Logic Combo Cooker from Lehman’s. If you prefer to shop on Amazon, use this link. This is another great option to add to your cast iron cookware arsenal It includes both a deep, 3-quart skillet/Dutch oven, and a shallow skillet that doubles as a lid or griddle.
If you have the budget for it and want to go with higher-end cast iron, I recommend Stargazer cast iron. Stargazer has a smoother finish (with better seasoning than Lodge) and is also lighter weight, so it’s easier to handle. Go here to buy directly from Stargazer.
Focus on Durable Goods
Another example is to buy items made from solid wood rather than particle board. If you put in new kitchen counters, consider durability even over style. The same is true of shoes, clothing and many other things.
The main thing to consider here is that not only will you save money in the long run by buying things that last, you also don’t have to worry as much about being able to buy those items in the future. And knowing that you’ll have what you need when you need it is a big part of what prepping is all about. So buy quality rather than quantity whenever possible.
5: Spend as Much or More Time Building Skills as You Do on Money Buying Stuff
As preppers, it’s easy to focus on the accumulation of stuff, but it’s just as important to focus on building skills. You do need to buy things, but any type of material possession can be lost. In contrast, skills are something you take with you wherever you go.
Whenever you’re tempted to buy something, before buying it, make a commitment to learn how to use whatever it is that you’re purchasing. As an example, don’t buy a gun without booking some time at the shooting range.
Don’t buy wheat to grind without immediately learning how to use that wheat to make bread. Don’t buy vegetable seeds without making a commitment to learn how to garden before there’s a true emergency.
Skill Building Doesn’t Have to be Expensive
The good news is that you don’t always have to spend a lot of money to build skills. YouTube is a great place to learn everything from canning and dehydrating to gardening and more. You can also learn a lot from books, which are also low-cost items.
So, here’s what I want to encourage you to do. Look at your preps and make note of anything you don’t normally use. As an example, you may have dry beans in your preps, and if you don’t already cook dry beans, maybe it’s time to start incorporating them into your menu plan. Apply that same approach to each of your preps so that you’ll know how to use whatever you have.
The bottom line is that buying things that you don’t know how to use is a waste of money.
6: Build Your Knowledge Base
In many respects, knowledge and skills are similar, but there are some differences.
For example, gardening is a skill, and if you add knowledge to the skill, you’ll know things that will really help you prepare. For example, you’ll know how long it takes from the time you plant a seed until the time you harvest. Just as important, you’ll know how much space you need for each plant, and how much each plant yields. You’ll know which plants yield the most food in the smallest amount of space, in any given amount of time.
Let me give you a couple of examples. When it comes to gardening, I focus almost exclusively on indoor gardening. Over time I’ve gained knowledge such as:
- What size AeroGarden I need to use for various plants. For instance, I know that I can grow most herbs and many greens in a Sprout, which is the smallest AeroGarden, but if I’m going to grow a ground cherry plant, I need to use a much larger AeroGarden, such as a Bounty. I’ve also learned that the best overall AeroGarden is the Harvest XL, since it’s large enough to grow a wide variety of plants, and yet is less expensive and easier to handle than the larger AeroGardens.
- I know that I can harvest baby bok choy that I grow in an AeroGarden in 3 – 4 weeks.
- I know that one to two tablespoons of sprouting seeds yields about a half a pound of greens, that grow in 5-7 days.
- I know that 5 pounds of broccoli sprouting seeds fills up 7 pint jars, and based on my knowledge about yield, I know that a 5 pound can of sprouts yields about 75 pounds of sprouts.
If I want to feed my family a half a pound of broccoli sprouts per day, for a year’s supply, I’ll need about 12 or 13 pounds of broccoli sprouting seeds in my pantry. To be on the safe side, I’d probably keep 3 5-pound cans of broccoli sprouting seeds in my prepper pantry.
Recommended Article: Why Every Prepper Should Add Sprouts and Microgreens to their Prepper Pantry
Let’s look at another example:
I know that there are 3 2/3 cups of flour in each pound of all-purpose flour. My bread recipe takes about 3 cups of flour for a loaf of bread. I also know that I like to make one loaf of bread per week.
To keep things simple, I’m going to say that I need a pound of flour for a loaf of bread, and that coupled with my knowledge of needing to make a loaf of bread each week means that I need about 50 pounds of flour for a year supply of bread.
Knowledges Helps You But the Right Amount of Preps
This type of knowledge will help you buy the right amount of preps to meet your prepping goals. If you don’t have this knowledge, you may buy a certain amount of something simply because it’s what was on some prepping list you came across. If you do that, you may have too much or too little of what you need.
I recommend starting a journal to keep track of this type of information. For instance, I have a garden journal, where I’ve made note of things such as how many pints and thus how many tablespoons of broccoli sprouting sees are in a 5-pound can. When I opened the can, I poured the seeds into the pint jars, and then immediately made a note of that in my journal.
It’s important to write things down because while you may think you’ll remember everything, for most people any way, over time, you’ll forget these details.
If you combine knowledge with skills, you’ll have the right amount of preps stored up, and you’ll know what to do with them. This greatly reduces the chance of you wasting money on your preps.
7: Use What You Have to the Fullest
We all have different amounts of money and other resources. Some may have a lot of space, others not so much.
In the first point of this article, I mentioned that to get out of debt, we downsized and bought a condo. In a condo, I have less room than many people, and I don’t have any land. Because of the lack of space, I must really think through the best way to use the space that I have.
I look at the space and dream about where I can grow food. I look for creative storage solutions that look nice and fit my space. As I think of how to maximize the space I have, the plans for my prepper pantry fall into place, and my food storage stash grows.
Regardless if you’re like me and have a small amount of space or have a lot of room or are somewhere in between, it’s important to maximize whatever you have.
8: Prepare for the Most Likely Scenarios
If you’ve watched the show, Doomsday Preppers, you know the types of things people prepare for. At the end of each episode, their preps are evaluated. The likelihood of what they are prepping for is also evaluated. In most cases, they are prepping for things that are highly unlikely to happen.
Most of us don’t have multiple thousands of dollars to spend on things that probably won’t happen. But we can prepare for situations most likely to impact us.
As an example, we know that inflation is normal, so it makes sense to buy what you can at today’s prices.
Prepare for Power Outages and Natural Disasters
Power outages can occur regardless of where you live, so having emergency lighting options to use in case of power outages make sense. If you live in a cold climate, you’ll also want alternative heating sources. If you depend on electricity to cook, buy a camp stove and a barbecue grill.
If you live in an area prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, it’s wise to store up water and non-perishable food. It also makes sense to pack a bug out bag or two, so you can grab the most important things when ordered to evacuate.
Recommended Article: Best Emergency Lighting for Power Outage
Build a Beginner Prepper Pantry
Have at least a two-to-three-month supply of food so that if there are food shortages, or if you have a financial short fall, your family will not do without. Replace food as you use it, so that you naturally rotate food, and you never run too low on anything.
These are all examples of preparing for things that are likely to happen. Notice that all of them are practical. None of them are based on irrational fear.
Now I can hear you saying, “But what if _____________________ happens?” (Fill in the blank with an unlikely but possible calamity.) What I recommend is preparing for what is likely to happen, and then trusting God to take care of you in case something unlikely occurs.
An important aspect of handling your money wisely as a prepper is to only spend it on things that are likely to occur.
9: Focus on Multiple Use Products
The next way to prep financially is to focus on multiple use products. This matters because if you can use an item multiple ways, you can purchase fewer items. This helps from both a financial perspecive and a storage perspective.
For example, I love mason jars. I originally purchased them to use for canning. Then I discovered that I can use them in the following ways:
Store Dehydrated Food
There are a lot of containers that you can use to ferment food. When I decided to start fermenting food, instead of buying a crock, I picked up this fermenting kit that works with mason jars. (If you also need jars, use this link instead.)
Make Oil Lamps
If you have oil in your prepper pantry (and you should!), you can easily make oil lamps using oil, mason jars, and this kit from Lehman’s.
Use as Drinking Glasses
I prefer pint-sized mason jars for drinking glasses. If want to add lids that have a hole for a straw, check out these lids on Amazon.
You can grow sprouts in a mason jar by covering the jar with some window screen. This is cheap and easy, but isn’t food grade and may not last long. If you prefer a higher quality mason jar sprouting option, food grade sprouting lids are available in plastic and stainless steel.
Make Cold Brew Coffee
Let’s face it. We may not need coffee to survive, but it sure makes life better! The great thing is, you can make coffee even if you don’t have electricity with this mason jar cold brew coffee system.
You get the idea! The bottom line is that I’m able to do more with less money and less spacewhen I discover opportunities to use the same items multiple ways.
10: Practice the Fine Art of Contentment
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is, 1 Timothy 6:6
Now godliness with contentment is great gain.1 Timothy 6:6
Contentment is one of the best ways to be at peace and live a happy life. While it’s important to be well prepared, it’s important not to obsess over possessions. Focus on needs more than wants, and you’ll be less likely to make unwise financial decisions as a prepper.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these related articles: