This is a guest post by Griffin (Somewhere in California) and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.
Based on all the comments from regular readers about the value of dollar stores, I had to see for myself what kinds of great deals I could find. I went to the local Dollar Tree to help me with the 3 Fs of survival (Food, Fire, and Fortification).
There’s tons of information out there on building bug out bags or stock piling for bartering. It’s easy to spend a few grand on gear at REI or specialty outdoor stores.
So what can we get for a dollar these days that can help us prepare when SHTF?
If I had just $5 to build a kit, the 5 items I’d buy would be these (with uses in parenthesis):
- 10x 30 packs of matches or 3 pack of butane lighters (start a fire)
- 4 pack of steak knives (defense, process food)
- 20 pack of 20 gallon trash bags (clothes, water storage, bag to carry supplies)
- 6 pack of 24oz Crystal Geyser Waters (water supply, holding tank)
- 2 aluminum cook pans (purify water, cook food)
That’s a pretty good start for $5. Some alternative good items are a pound of trail mix and 55 yards of dental floss.
As I walked aisle by aisle I was amazed by how many useful items there were that would be great to have and cost way less than even a “discount” store like Target or Walmart.
A small categorized list includes:
Hardware: LED flashlights, 8 pack batteries, screw drivers, paracord rope, scissors, glow sticks, super glue, duct tape, ponchos, tea lights, candles, wire brushes, silicon, gardening gloves, and zip ties.
Medical: gauze pads, pain killers, petroleum jelly, ace bandage, antibiotic ointment, multi-vitamins, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, first aid kits, sleep aids, tweezers, anti-diarrheal, q-tips, cotton balls, shaving razors, 6 pack facial tissues, 4 pack toilet paper, and travel toothbrush kits.
Food: 1 lb salt, 1 lb sugar, 1 lb beans, 6x 100 calorie granola bars, 1 lb trail mix, 1 oz beef jerky, cocoa, coffee, cereal, dried fruit, and cooking spices.
Cookware: Variety of knives, can openers, and utensils.
Cleaning: bleach, soap, ammonia, Clorox wipes, shampoo.
A lot of the goods at the dollar tree are generic brands. I’ve tried tons of generic brands for everything from cereal to shampoo. I find that about half the time the generics are chemically the same thing and a better deal at a fraction of the price. The other times I find that the generics just don’t work/taste as well as the originals. It’s really up to you if you care about brand names when the grocery stores are emptied and your dollar bills are worth toilet paper.
In TEOTWAWKI situation, generics will do just fine for barter or backup use, in my opinion.
In Summary, the dollar stores do stock a ton of useful stuff at an unbeatable price. I definitely don’t mind spending $30 bucks for an extra kit if it will help friends or neighbors.
I’ve even debated buying a plastic container and using silicon to seal it so I can bury an extra stash or two on the cheap. I’ll be able to rest a little easier at night knowing that somewhere out there are a few boxes of goods that contain the basics for 3 days of survival and only cost me $20.
What other great deals have you seen at the dollar stores?
Prizes for this round in our non fiction writing contest include…
- First place winner will receive – Two (2) Just In Case… Classic Assortment Survival Food Buckets courtesy of LPC Survival, a $150 gift certificate for Remington ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner, aWonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads and a one year subscription to the Personal VPN service courtesy of unspyable .
- Second place winner will receive – One case of Future Essentials Canned Organic Green Costa Rican Monte Crisol Coffee courtesy ofCampingsurvival.com.
- Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ courtesy ofTheSurvivalistBlog.net and a copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.
Be sure to read the rules before entering… This contest will end on January 15 2014