Cheap and FREE Bug Out Items You’ll Need and Be Glad You Have in an Emergency
Living in Kansas, you get used to tornado sirens going off every Monday at noon for testing and sticking close to the tv and weather radios during storm season. We are prepared for a weather emergency, should the grid go down or we need to get out of “Dodge”. Having vital, lifesaving items will serve you well and you don’t have to spend a small fortune. Many things you may already have. Here’s a short list of cheap and free but important items to have on hand in any scenario that some people might not think of.
Sanitary Napkins and tampons: If you are bugging out or are in an emergency situation with women or not, sanitary napkins and tampons make for absorbent, clean and cheap wound care. Wet with clean cold water for a cold compress or warm water and herbs for a poultice. You can also use tampons to help start a fire. When my local store has them clearance for $.50 a box, I grab a couple.
Activated charcoal pills are great to have on hand for any bouts of stomach flu or food issues. It can also be used to treat poisonous snake and spider bites, bee stings and poison ivy reactions. If you have an infection on your gums, rub some charcoal on the area and keep it there for 5 minutes. It will draw any infection or bacteria out. I learned this when I tried teeth whitening with charcoal. Your gums may sting a little after but it’s worth it to not let any infection in your gums travel in your body. If your gums are sick, you will be too.
Baking soda is another awesome item to have to such things as cooking, as toothpaste, bicarbonate for heartburn or upset stomach (antacid), under-arm deodorant, skin cleanser, clothes detergent, pot, pan and dish scrub, shoe deodorizer, and pain relief for strains and sprains. Too many things to list!
Coconut oil is terrific for many things as well. It’s also natural and gluten-free! It can also be used as a lip balm. It’s also good for a diaper rash substitute, to condition cuticles, cracked heels and for any skin dryness really. Use as a message oil on achy muscles, nipple cream for breast feeding mothers, a shaving cream, season cast iron pans, deodorant and rash soother. It can mean life or death to not protect the skin for diabetics or folks with other health issues where the skin is easily broken and does not heal at a normal rate.
Hand sanitizer will be important to keep your hands clean without wasting that precious water we just discussed. I wouldn’t want to cook anything or handle any food for my family if I couldn’t wash my hands. Passing on “bathroom” germs is a sure-fire way to give someone diarrhea and nobody wants that!
Fast food condiments can bring a feeling of normalcy during a very trying time. Ketchup or even salt can seem like a treat if there isn’t access to any. Every time you grab something from the Sonic or McDonald’s; be sure to keep the salt, mustard, and ketchup packs and put them in your bug out bag or in a safe place. The great thing about these little packages of yummy goodness is that they’re light, don’t take up much space and they’re FREE! I’ve known people to make tomato soup and spaghetti sauce from ketchup so don’t sell short it’s usefulness.
Sample sizes of shampoo, deodorant, body wash, soap, toothpaste and lotion are great to have on hand if you’re worried about lightening the load. They’re small and can easily fit onto pockets in a pinch. I recommend saving all you can and keep them in a special container or in a bug-out bag. Many companies give free samples away and the best part – they don’t cost you anything!
Plastic bags don’t weigh anything and are great for gathering food or herbs you may find, separating dirty from clean clothes and even as a make-shift potty. If you have pets, it’s important to keep your surroundings clean from feces. Animal waste can transmit several diseases to humans ans other animals by ingesting contaminated water, and it can be carried directly into water ways, so don’t forget to clean up after them too! So those grocery store bags you’ve been recycling can be put towards your survival. The best part is - they are FREE!
A cast iron skillet will come in handy should you need to cook over an open flame. Keep your eyes peeled for these at garage sales or thrift stores. There’s no need to spend a lot or try to scramble for the one you use all the time. Have one put aside for an emergency. If you don’t own one, I also recommend a Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron skillet.
A decent can opener will be a life saver should you need to feed your family canned food. What’s the point of stockpiling canned food and have no way to open it? It’s not worth purchasing one from the dollar store that probably won’t last. Invest in a good one, you’ll be glad you did. Have this item stashed with all of your other provisions. You can find a good three-in-one can opener on Amazon.
Cornstarch can be useful for a variety of things and is another inexpensive item to have on hand. Children need normal in emergency situations. Keeping hair tidy is part of that. Cornstarch can help take out tangles if you sprinkle some on a tangle that’s hard to get out. Use on greasy hair if water is low. Cornstarch will absorb oil from the hair. Soothe sunburn or insect bites with a paste made from Cornstarch and a little water. Another use for cornstarch paste is for cleaning bloodstains out of clothing. Make a paste, scrub the stain and let it dry in the sun. Repeat until stain is gone.
Coffee Filters are very cheap, especially if they’re on clearance. You can use them in place of paper towels, to filter water, use as a bowl for dry food, as a funnel, as a compress, to clean your eye glasses and as emergency toilet paper…just don’t flush them.
Flint: I recommend this Magnesium Fire Starter – 3-pack. It’s an essential for any survivalist, hiker or for bugging out. I like this three pack because it allows more than one member to have one on hand should one get lost. Fire is everything and having an easy way to make it will make you’re life easier.
Having a plan: Most of the things I’ve mentioned here and everything you think you’ll need should be placed in a box or bag that you can easily access AND not part of your everyday living. Nothing is worse than having to scramble through your belongings while trying to remember what you should grab really quick. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Get together what you will need in advance and make a plan! Plan for both bad weather emergency or bugging out. What you may need to do in one circumstance may be different for another.
I hope this list helps gets you started! Next time we’ll discuss the importance of being prepared and other necessities you’ll need.
I know I probably left some things off this list. What cheap of free items would you add for your family?
Be sure to check out our other post n this series: Bug-Out/Disaster Essentials and Why You Need Them.