27 Cheap Items that Will Be Valuable When a Disaster Strikes

Must Have Cheap Items for Survival

Find out what essential items you need to prepare for a disaster without breaking the bank!

Preparing for a disaster can be a challenge, especially for those of us on a fixed budget. On top of all the food that you need for a month or more of potentially being shut-in, there are a whole lot of pretty costly auxiliary items that are viewed by many as indispensable.

But, there are alternatives to those costly items. In this article, we identify 27 low-cost items that will prove their worth many times over if and when a disaster strikes. 

1. Lighters & Matches

When a disaster strikes, it’s quite likely that the power grid will fail. When that happens we’re gonna have to rely on fires for warmth and to cook our food. And that means that you will need something to light that fire. For a few bucks, you can buy a couple of lighters and boxes of matches to see you through. 

2. Feminine Hygiene Items

Along with death taxes, another certainty is the regularity of the female menstrual cycle. So, you’d better be prepared if you’re in a forced shut-in situation. Pads and tampons don’t take up much room but will be hugely appreciated when needed. 

3. Batteries

Few things are as frustrating as having portable devices ready to go like radios and torches but not having any batteries to power them. Don’t let that happen! Have a ready stock of batteries of various sizes, along with a battery recharger. 

4. Face Masks

A face mask may be questionable in a pandemic, but they are absolutely necessary in the event of an asbestos event. You can pick up a low-cost N95 mask at your local hardware store. 

5. Gastro-Intestinal Tract Medication

Most people don’t realize that the most common sickness after a disaster is GI infection. That is why GI medication should be a priority. Once the disaster breaks out, there is going to be a run on GI medication, so if you haven’t made them part of your prep, you’re going to be out of luck. 

6. Pain Killers

Pain and disasters go hand in hand. Apart from the physical injuries that may occur, there’s also the stress-caused pain that results in headaches and tension. Stocking up on painkillers will help everyone to get through. 

7. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a great cooking oil that adds flavor and healthy fats to your meals. It also stores very well. If you have to resort to cooking over a fire, coconut oil will make sure that nothing sticks to the frying pan!

Here’s a list of other must-have survival foods to stock up on.

8. Disinfectants

In a time of disaster, there is going to be an increase in unhygienic conditions. Apart from the chaos of a disaster, there is also the fact that your family members are going to be confined in a small space for a prolonged period of time. Having a quality all-purpose disinfectant will be invaluable. 

9. Fish Antibiotics

Getting antibiotics in a time of disaster is going to be a real challenge. So, why not get ahead of the pack by investing in fish antibiotics before the disaster strikes. That’s right, fish antibiotics! It turns out they work effectively for humans, too – and they are relatively low priced. 

10. Candles

You’ll be kicking yourself when the power goes out if you haven’t stocked up on candles ahead of time. Save yourself that pain by investing in a box of candles before the disaster strikes. 

11. Sewing Kit

A sewing kit can prove to be a life-saver in a time of disaster. As well as allowing you to fix up rips in clothing, p[acks or tents, it can be used to stitch up a wound if you feel like going full-on Rambo!

12. Tarpaulin

A tarpaulin is a multi-purpose item that can serve a variety of uses in a disaster situation. You can use it for shelter, to tie down items that you’re transporting or to cover up a smashed window. Go for a durable plastic tarp. 

13. Plastic Gloves

There are all sorts of things that you may have to get your hands into in the wake of a disaster. A hardy pair of gloves will allow you to do it without having to contaminate your body. Make sure that you’ve got enough for the entire family. The best ones to get are the cheap disposable type that comes in boxes of fifty or a hundred. 

14. Toilet Paper

I can’t quite figure out why, but in an emergency situation the first thing to be depleted is the toilet paper supply. Make sure that you get in early. 

15. Water Purification Tablets

The purity of the water supply in a time of disaster is of absolute paramount importance. Water purification tablets can be a game-changer for you and your family. 

16. Bottled Water

It is quite likely that the local water supply may be so contaminated that water purification tablets won’t be enough to make it drinkable. In that case, you’d better make sure that you’ve got plenty of bottled water on hand. 

17. Socks

Socks are an essential item that most people don’t think about. But if you have to spend a lot of time walking, you’ll appreciate having spare socks to help prevent blisters. 

18. Bandages

A disaster could bring with it cuts to family members or others in your vicinity. Having a stockpile of sterile bandages on hand will help allow you to tend to those wounds safely and effectively. 

19. Ammunition

In a time of disaster, you may find yourself having to hunt in order to feed your family. Having ammunition on hand will allow you to do that. 

20. Your Photo Album

You don’t know what you’ll lose in a disaster. One thing you can preserve is your memories. Put all of your favorite photos in a special album and put them in your disaster storage container. As an alternative to that, you can digitize your photos and keep them on a memory stick. 

21. Portable Phone Charger

Your phone may end being your life-line in a disaster situation. Imagine how frustrated you’ll be if you can’t find your phone charger. Get a back-up and put it in your storage container. 

22. A Go Bag

There may be a time when you need to simply grab a bag and go. You’d better make sure that the bag you grab is durable, has a number of compartments and contains ripcords, carabiners, and a water bottle holder. 

23. A Water Maker

Being able to turn rain, river or puddle water in drinking water can become extremely important in a disaster situation. These devices don’t take up much more space than a water bottle and are easy to operate. 

24. Pet Food

Don’t forget about your pets in a time of emergency. Have plenty of canned wet or bagged dry food on hand to meet his or her nutrition needs as you ride out the disaster. 

25. Baby Wipes

Imagine if there was no electricity and no water for bathing. In that case, you’ll be grateful that you decided to pack a couple of boxes of baby wipes, especially if it’s the height of summer. Use them to wipe your face or even to have a sponge bath!

26. Hand Sanitizer

In a time of disaster, there are more dangers in terms of bacteria. That’s why a hand sanitizer for every member of the family is a smart move. In an emergency situation, you probably won’t find any hand sanitizer on the supermarket shelf, so it pays to stock up early. 

27. A Flashlight

A flashlight is an essential item to have during an emergency. You never know when the power’s going to go out and a flashlight is fundamental to being able to function in the dark. 


Don’t be daunted by the list of essential items that we’ve just covered. Set the goal of collecting several of these low-cost items every week. In a month, you’ll have all of the essential items you need to prepare yourself for that coming disaster. 

Misato Alexandre


After making healthy living a priority, Misato lost over 20 lbs in less than 90 days. Instead of weight loss being a dreading experience, living the lifestyle of health and fitness granted her more happiness and joy than ever before. She co-founded Fitwirr to make health and fitness simple for everyone and share her tips through writing evidence-based articles on nutrition, weight loss, and exercise.

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