I know that you're eager and enthusiastic about starting your survival prepping.
You can't wait to get your emergency supplies for hunkering down, or to gather what you need for your bug out backpack and vehicle kit.
You are ready to take those first steps.
But there's a problem:
You have no money for it.
Nothing can be more frustrating than wanting to start prepping, but having no money.
Prepping on a budget is difficult, especially when you have no budget to start with.
So in today's post, I'm going to give you three BIG IDEAS for finding the "seed money" you need to start prepping, even when you are absolutely broke.
Prepping on a Budget: It's Not Just About Saving Money
When I talk about "seed money" for prepping, I'm not talking about buying seeds for gardening.
"Seed money" is a term used in finance for a small amount of funds to get a project off the ground.
And that's what we need here ...
Money to get your prepping off the ground.
To start prepping on a tight budget, we're going to find and generate seed money to get you started. It will allow you to buy some of the initial supplies you'll need to start properly.
But here's something important ...
Notice that I said we're going to "find" and "generate" the money to get started.
A lot of "prep on a budget" blogs start with the idea of setting up a budget to "save money." Usually these authors suggest saving anywhere from 1% to 10% of your income to prep.
Now that's a great idea.
But here's the catch:
What if your budget is so tight - that your income just barely meets your expenses - so that you have no money to save at the moment?
You can't save money if you don't have it in the first place. So instead of trying to "save" for your prepping, I'm going to help you "find" and "generate" money for it.
Now I actually do have one ridiculously simple way to "stash some cash" to prep with. But it has nothing to do with setting up a budget.
We'll get to that method in a moment.
But first, let's start with some ideas for generating some money for your prepping.
Big Idea #1: "Generating" Money for Prepping
You can easily raise all the seed money you need to start prepping on a shoestring budget.
That's because you are most likely sitting on a gold mine, right in your own house or apartment, that you can convert to cash.
Selling Your Unwanted Stuff
One of the easiest and fastest way to generate money when prepping on a limited budget is by selling the unwanted junk you have laying around your house.
Here's one example:
These days, I buy almost all of the books I read on my Kindle. I rarely buy print books, except for reference books - like the prepping books I'll need if the power goes out.
But I did still have about 45 print books in my house, left over from the 1990's and early 2000's. I haven't read them in a long time, and they were quite literally collecting dust on my shelves.
So a few months ago, I went around and collected up all the books I had in my house, and I put them up for sale on Amazon.
Here's what happened ...
As of today, I've sold 17 of these old, dusty books, and they've brought in $163.95 in cash. That averages just about $10 per book.
If I were a beginning prepper, $160 would be a good amount of seed money. I could head to the dollar store and buy about 160 items for my prepping larder.
Now that's just one example - selling old books. But how about something like old DVDs?
Yes, I know, you're thinking:
"Who buys DVDs? Everyone watches Netflix these days."
But guess what? Lots of people still buy DVDs, especially used ones.
One prepper I know had a shelf full of old DVDs. She gathered them up and put them up for sale on eBay. And wow, did they sell. In just two months, she sold 31 of her old DVDs for $453.12. That's just under $15 for each DVD.
With over $450, you could fully stock a bug out bag, and still have money left over for your vehicle kit.
But what if you don't have DVDs or books to sell?
What about old audio CDs? How about old computer games, or even old game consoles? What about any electronic equipment that you haven't used in 6 months? Or think about all those kitchen gadgets you got as gifts and threw in the closet without even opening them.
Here's what you can do:
Go get a big box or a big tote, go around your house, and start looking for stuff that you haven't used in at least six months. Go through every room in your house. Look in the garage, attic, in the cabinets, even your pantry.
Keep looking until your box or tote is overflowing with items you could sell to get your seed money.
For old books, I definitely recommend putting them up on Amazon to sell. After all, that's the first place many people online go for books. But for CDs, DVDs, and old video games, eBay works well.
By the way, you may not want to go through the process of "selling" on eBay or Amazon, or having to deal with packing and shipping your old stuff to buyers.
In that case, here are two alternatives:
Amazon has a "trade in" program. They'll take old books, games and consoles, even old electronic equipment, and give you credit to spend on the Amazon site. You can then spend that credit for prepping items. Generally, you can get more for your items if you sell them outright on Amazon or eBay, but an Amazon trade-in is easier to do.
- If you'd rather have people pick up your old stuff (instead of your having to mail it to Amazon or eBay buyers), you can sell it locally. Craigslist and Letgo.com are perfect for listing these items and finding local buyers.
Finally, do you have any unused gift cards? If you have gift cards you've never used, you can sell them on eBay for close to face value. Especially cards for national chain restaurants like Chili's, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Applebee's and many others.
Get Paid for Your Opinions
Don't have any old stuff to sell? Here's another idea for generating some prepping money.
There are companies out there who want to pay you for your opinion.
Yes, many companies are in the business of running surveys or putting together consumer focus groups. They even hire people to spy on local retail stores and restaurants as mystery shoppers.
They will pay you to take part in these research projects.
Here's how to get started:
To find research companies in your area, consult the Blue Book Directory located at www.BlueBook.org.
Just put in your country, state, and city. You'll get back a list of research companies in your area.
Click on each company in the list, get their web address, and then visit their website. Most of these websites will show you exactly how you can sign up to get paid for research. Sign up for as many as you qualify for, and then wait for the company to contact you with projects that match your demographics.
Generating Cash through One-Off, Odd Jobs
Finally, if you are really stuck, you can generate cash by doing a few easy odd jobs. Craigslist is great for this.
Check this out:
Craigslist has two special sections where companies (and sometimes individuals) will post one-off jobs that pay cash.
First is the Gigs section, which has sub-listings for computer, creative, crew, domestic, event, labor, talent, and writing.
The other section on Craigslist is called ETC ("et cetera") and it's almost hidden within the Jobs section. In the ETC section, you are liable to find almost anything: medical research, drug testing, product research, mystery shoppers, etc. Some of these can pay very well.
Big Idea #2: "Finding" Money for Prepping
Looking for something a little easier than "generating" money?
Well how about just "finding" some money to prep with.
Consider this ...
Good Morning America (GMA) reports that about 1 out of every 10 people have "unclaimed money" out there just waiting for them. Yes, many people have money hidden away in some account they have forgotten about.
To show how often this happens, GMA took their own staff list and went searching for unclaimed funds. They found that 10% of their workers had a total of more than $43,000 in unclaimed money.
That happened to me:
The first time I did a search for unclaimed funds, I found out that there was money left in a bank account I had closed. I had transferred the money to another bank when I closed the account. But because of the timing, I had earned interest before the transfer that didn't show up in the account until after the transfer. And that interest sat there collecting more interest for a number of years.
Eventually, after a lack of activity, the bank closed the account and turned in the funds as unclaimed. Once I filled out the claim forms, I got a check within a few weeks.
So it's very possible you could have unclaimed money.
It could be from:
- forgotten bank accounts
- unclaimed benefit checks
- deposits you made for utilities or rent that were never returned
- gift cards you gave out but the recipient never used
- retirement account money left at a previous job
- undelivered IRS refund checks
- dormant postal money orders
- unclaimed deposits from failed banks
- unpaid benefits
- mortgage insurance premium refunds
... and many other sources.
Here's what you need to do:
To begin your search for unclaimed money, go to www.MissingMoney.com.
MissingMoney.com is a national, state-sponsored database to help owners of missing or abandoned money find these assets at no cost.
You can search for your name by state.
Besides the state you reside in now, also check every state where you lived, where you worked, and where you conducted business. In addition, check all the following states:
- New York
- New Jersey
The reason for doing this is that if a holder does not have your address on file, your property will then go to the holder's home state which many times will be the state in which the parent company is headquartered.
But don't stop there.
Also submit a search request to your state's unclaimed funds division. This can best be done in writing. To find the address for your state's unclaimed funds division, search the web for "unclaimed money" and your state (e.g., "unclaimed money Oregon").
When you do write to your state agency, provide them with :
- All possible variations of your name
- Name changes due to marriage or divorce
- Your middle initial
- Your nickname(s)
- Common misspellings of your name
- Your current address
- Former addresses
- Social Security Number
Big Idea #3: The Amazing "Dollar Bill" Prepping Plan
This is one of my favorite ways to create "extra cash" for prepping.
It's so simple, and surprisingly easy to do.
To give credit where it's due, I read about this method many years ago in a book by Neal Boortz. He called it the "Dollar Bill Savings Plan."
Some people use this plan to generate extra cash for vacations or luxury items, but you can certainly use it to start funding your survival prepping.
So today, I'm calling it the "Amazing Dollar Bill Prepping Plan."
This plan works best if you (1) pay cash for things using real life paper and coin, and (2) make regular daily purchases, such as buying lunch at work, or stopping at a coffee shop every day, or picking up something at the grocery store.
Here's how this works:
Always make your daily purchases with cash. Stop using credit cards, your phone, or apps for making purchases. Use only cash and coins at restaurants, coffee shops, and stores.
After you pay, if you receive any $1 paper bills as change, you may NOT spend them.
You can spend any other bills or coins you have in your wallet or purse.
But you may NOT spend the $1 paper bills you get in change.
Any $1 bills you get have to stay in your wallet or purse for the rest of the day.
Then ... at the end of the day ...
When you get home, remove the $1 bills from your wallet or purse, and save them somewhere. (I use an old shoe box.)
Do that so when you leave the house the next day, you have no $1 bills with you.
The next day, do the same thing.
Pay for daily purchases with any $5, $10, $20, or $100 bills you have on you, or any coins you have. But you must never spend the $1 bills you get back as change.
Always put them in your shoe box at the end of each day.
So what happens to the shoe box full of $1 bills?
Well, after a few months of this plan, those $1 bills become your prepping budget.
And there you have the Amazing Dollar Bill Prepping Plan.
You will be SURPRISED how quickly this adds up ...
I had first mentioned this Dollar Bill Plan in an email a few years ago. It wasn't to my prepper friends, but to the members of another course I was teaching.
About a year later, Tony, one of the course members who lives in Australia, sent me this email:
"Do you remember a while back you wrote that you never spent a dollar note? The smallest note we have here [in Australia] is $5. Since your suggestion I have never spent a $5 note. I have stashed them away in a pot and have saved enough to buy Rita and myself top of the range iPads!! And I'm still saving ..." - Tony C.
If Tony can buy iPads with his money, you'll certainly be able to buy a lot of prepping supplies with yours.
By the way, when it comes time for me to spend my gains from the Amazing Dollar Bill Prepping Plan, I take my shoe box to my local bank and have them deposit the amount into my account. The bank tellers know me as "the $1 bill guy." They say lots of people save coins or pennies, but I'm the only $1 bill guy.
Now, don't do this with coins under a dollar. I've tried it with coins, and it doesn't seem to work as well.
But if you do it with $1 bills, it adds up fast.
Now It's Your Turn
You are now ready to start finding and/or generating money for your prepping.
So what's your first step?
Send me a tweet and tell me which of these prepping money ideas you want to try first.
Do you have unused stuff to sell on Amazon or eBay? Or will you post your stuff on Craigslist or Letgo.com?
Are you going to check for unclaimed money you might have?
Or are you going to start a Dollar Bill Savings Plan for yourself?
Or have you come up with a prepping budget idea of your own we haven't discussed here?
Whatever you'll be doing, let me know. Send me a tweet, and let me know what you'll be doing for your prepping budget.
Also, please take a moment to sign up for my Quick Start Prepper Guide.
The five "big picture" strategies in this short guide will cover the most important prepping situations, plus give you a roadmap on how to get started.
And it's absolutely free to you.
So click this image to get access:
Thank you for reading, and I wish you and your family a safe, secure, prepared life.
Jason Ryder Adams