How to Budget for What You Need

Budget for What You NeedEmergency Preparation – How to Budget for What You Need

In an emergency situation, you want to have a number of supplies that you can fall back on to ensure your survival, health, and safety. This requires collecting and maintaining a decent amount of those supplies even though you may never need them. On your quest for emergency preparation, these supplies – including food and water stockpiles, first aid supplies, and even the most basic survival kits – can add up. How to budget for what you need is key…

Do Your Research

If you are starting from scratch, do some research on emergency preparation. Look to websites such as The American Red Cross and CDC Emergency Preparedness for lists and ideas of what you need to build a survival “kit” and what items to stockpile for emergencies. You can also search your local area for survivor training and tips.

Once you have ideas of certain items you need, research those too. Some items, like food and water, are pretty foolproof. However, other items such as shelter building supplies, weather clothing and gear, and first aid supplies, are not created equal. Knowing what to look for can save you money while also guaranteeing that you have the best products on hand. Preparing in advance helps you budget for what you need. You could even keep a jar going where you drop X number of dollars into it every week – but don’t delay getting your supplies until the last minute. Buy as you save.

Make a List

Before you go out and buy everything you need, make a detailed list of what items you need for your emergency preparation or survival kit. Break the list up into sections based on their categories such as sustenance, shelter, first aid, and more.

Also have an idea of how much everything on that list costs. For home stockpiles, most experts recommend that you have a minimum of three days’ worth of supplies, but at least two weeks’ worth is preferred.

Build Up to It

If you are starting from scratch, buying all of the items you need at once might not be very budget friendly. You might have to get one or two items at a time, and build up to the full amount of items needed.


To know what items to purchase first, prioritize the list you made based on items that are the most important and most useful. The top three items to prioritize are:

  • Water: Having enough water stockpiled is one of the most important survival tips. Keep bottled water both in your car and your home. For your home stockpile, the best rule of thumb is to have one gallon of water per person per day.

  • First Aid: A good emergency first aid kit and basic first aid knowledge is another item to prioritize. The American Red Cross has a detailed list of items that should be in any first aid kit. You will need to add or make changes to that list based on your family size and specific medical needs.

  • Food: The most likely disaster situation involves a severe weather event where you could be stuck in your home for days or more without electricity or water. Having a decent stockpile of non-perishable foods to keep you and your family nourished is very important. A propane-powered camping stove comes in handy as well, particularly if you’re using food such as ration type that definitely taste better warmed, and you’ll have a spot to boil water. Just don’t forget to have a supply of propane on hand.

Keep an Eye Out

As you are building up your emergency preparedness supplies, keep an eye out for good deals, coupons, and sales.


Some basic maintenance will help save you money and keep your survival supplies up to date. Keep your food and water stores rotating as they come near their expiration dates. That way things can be used rather than thrown out and stores kept fresh in case of emergency.

Proper maintenance of any tools and other equipment will keep them from needing to be replaced, which will also save you money.

You should also keep a good supply of batteries on hand to use in your flashlight(s) and/or radio. Batteries also have expiry dates, so keep an eye on them as well.

Emergency preparation is a responsible and potentially life-saving life skill, but being ready for anything isn’t always cheap. You can ensure the safety of your family and your budget with these tips. Be wise, think ahead and budget for what you need. In the long run, you and your family will be very grateful that someone thought to be prepared.


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Very thorough and complete. I reorganized the contents into separate zip lock bags by topic such as Basic First Aid (Shock, Diabetic Emergency, Heart Attack, Stroke, Insect Control) Burns, Fractures, Foot & Back Care, Severe Bleeding (Hemostatic Dressings, Pressure Bandages, Chest Seal), There are training videos on YouTube for every product in the kit. North American Rescue is the best source for extras to round out the kit. They provide training videos as well. A high quality product and well worth the price.


Living in “tornado alley” I agree it’s best to be prepared. One thing I do is change my resources out each year. Not purchased bottled water, but water I’ve saved gets used and I refill the container for the next season. Store-bought bottled water is sealed and should be safe for years. Home-saved water (unless it was properly canned) can grow bacteria since it hasn’t been pasteurized or sealed. Thanks for the reminder.


Hi, Nita. I certainly do agree with you about keeping on top of things. You can even buy filters now that will make lake or pond or river water safe to drink, which I think is totally awesome! Knowing how to budget for what you need and buying things over time, AND getting reminders… lol can make life a lot easier.


Well now, Roy. If it were a little earlier – like last week – it might be better if they took a look-see. Thanks for dropping by. Cheers.


Hi, Ashley. Thanks for stopping by! Hurricane Matthew is certainly making everyone think twice and wish that they had prepared in advance.


Preparation is the name of the game. Lots of people just go willy nilly running to the stores to stock up on food, water, batteries, and other supplies. They spend a ton of money. Probably would cost them at least half if they were prepared.

During my shopping trip to the grocery store before this storm, I asked the cashier and bagger how much stuff gets returned afterwards. They said they get a ton of returns because people buy so much that they dont really need and cannot afford in the first place.


Hi, Pam. I agree that being prepared makes a huge difference. Many emergency preparation items can be costly and a person can buy too much, wasting money they don’t really have. Getting educated on what should be bought and then budgeting for it makes a big difference.

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