Emergency Preparedness: How to Budget for What You Need

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Emergency preparedness is defined as “the steps you take to make sure you are safe before, during, and after an emergency or natural disaster.”

In an emergency, you want to have many supplies that you can fall back on to ensure your survival, health, and safety. This requires collecting and maintaining a decent amount of those supplies even though you may never need them. Altogether, these supplies – including food and water stockpiles, first aid supplies, and even the most basic survival kits, can add up. How to budget for what you need is very important as every penny should be accounted for.

Do Your Research

If you are starting from scratch, do some research on emergency preparedness. Look to websites such as The American Red Cross and CDC Emergency Preparedness for lists and ideas of what you need to build a survival kit and items to stockpile for emergencies. You can also search your local area for survivor training and tips.

Once you have ideas of certain items you need, research those too. Some items, like food and water, are pretty foolproof. Some more items such as shelter building supplies, weather clothing and gear, and first aid supplies, are not all equal. Researching can save you a ton of money while also guaranteeing that you have the best products on hand.

Make a List

Before you go out and buy everything you need, make a detailed list of what items you need for your emergency preparedness or survival kit. Break the list up into sections based on their categories such as sustenance, shelter, first aid, and more.

Also, have an idea of how much everything on that list costs as well. For home stockpiles, most experts recommend that you have a minimum of three days’ worth of supplies, but at least two weeks’ worth is preferred.

Build Up to It

Especially if you are starting from scratch, buying all of the items you need at once might not be very budget-friendly. You might have to get one or two items at a time and build-up to the full amount of items needed.


To know what items to purchase first, prioritize the list you made based on items that are the most important and most useful. The top three items to prioritize are:

  • Water: Having enough water stockpiled is one of the most important survival tips. Keep bottled water both in your car and your home. For your home stockpile, the best rule of thumb is to have one gallon of water per person per day.
  • First aid: A good emergency first aid kit and basic first aid knowledge is another item to prioritize. The American Red Cross has a detailed list of items that should be in any first aid kit. You will need to add or make changes to that list based on your family size and specific medical needs.
  • Food: The most likely disaster situation involves a severe weather event that could have you stuck in your home for days or more without electricity or water. Having a decent stockpile of non-perishable foods to keep you and your family nourished is essential.

Keep an Eye Out

As you are building up your emergency preparedness supplies, keep an eye out for good deals, coupons, and sales.


Some basic maintenance will help save you money and keep your survival supplies up to date. Keep your food and water stores rotating as they come near their expiration dates. This way things can be used rather than thrown out. This also ensures stores are kept fresh in case of emergency. The proper maintenance of any tool or other equipment will keep them from needing having to be replaced.

Emergency preparedness is a responsible and potentially life-saving life skill, but being ready for anything isn’t always cheap. You can ensure the safety of your family and your budget with these tips.

Health is extremely important during an emergency and being cautious during this time could be life saving. Check out these 5 tips for keeping risk low in the kitchen.


Jamie Wilkinson

Hey! My name is Jamie and welcome to Surviving the Day. I'm a jack of all trades but master of none. I love learning new things and living a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully, you'll find some of the information I share useful to you and your family. Feel free to drop me a line and I'll be sure to respond!

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