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Survival prepping used to be something mainly reserved for those that lived in areas prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires.

But since the pandemic broke out, a lot more folks have begun to see the need to stash away food and other survival tools, just in case the you-know-what hits the fan.

One of the first lessons new preppers have learned is it can be expensive.

But there are ways to assemble some survival necessities without breaking the bank.

Here are some penny-pinching prepping tips I've picked up over the years:

1. Look down when shopping

Big, well-known brands fork out dollars to have their goods displayed at eye level, so they're more easily seen.

These items are typically more expensive than their generic counterparts.

But on the bottom shelves you can usually find the off-brand equivalents that are just as high-quality at a lower rate.

2. Buy in bulk

You probably know that buying in bulk can save you some dollars on a per item basis, but if you're a family of 4 or less, or have limited space to store stuff, purchasing in bulk might not be appealing.

That's when your friends can help.

Work together to get essentials in bulk and then split them.

You'll get the dollar savings without having to stash a whole lot of something.

3. Grow it yourself

I've long promoted the idea of growing some of your own fruits and vegetables.

Not only does this help reduce the strain on the food supply, it also helps to lower your own food expenses.

It's not too late to get some fall vegetables in the ground.

Root vegetables like carrots and beets, leafy greens, peas and artichokes can all be planted this time of year.

4. Clip coupons

Some folks see clipping coupons as a waste of time.

Not me.

Spending just 5 minutes going through the Sunday inserts can result in savings of tens, if not hundreds of dollars.

Now, I'm not one of those people that can bring a $100 grocery expense down to $0.50.

But I have been known to wipe several dollars off the grocery bill with my coupons.

Every dollar counts, especially in this fragile economy.

5. Shop the sales

Many folks wait until a disaster is about to hit before running to the store to stock-up.

But prepping is a year-round activity.

Look for sales on non-perishable food and medical items, like band-aids, ointments, and other first aid items throughout the year.

That way you're always well-stocked in case an emergency causes supply chains to break down, like they have during this pandemic.

6. Don't buy water

Each time a major storm is about to hit, stores are usually wiped clean of bottled water.

This never made much sense to me given that you can get it right out of your tap if you just prepared ahead of time.

Simply ask friends and neighbors if they have any empty 2-liter bottles they're going to throw out.

I'm sure they'd be happy to have you take them off your hands.

Wash them well and fill them up with water.

But remember, water that has not been commercially bottled needs to be replaced every 6 months.

So, replace your emergency water stash throughout the year to keep it fresh.

The last year has shown us that even if you don't live in a hurricane zone, you need to be prepared for a disaster.

Try some of these tips so you can be ready, without busting your budget.

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