Emergency Kit on a Budget

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Posted 01 Sep 2013 in Back to School

Being a student doesn’t exempt you from being prepared in case of an emergency. A time of emergency is not the time to dig out this list, it is before things happen. We’ve discussed the items you should include in an emergency kit before, but we wanted to talk today about some ways to get those items and keep them stored on a budget since back to school shopping sales are a great time to pick up some items.

What's in my (House Ditch) Bag
Creative Commons License photo credit: Webb Zahn

1) Utilize a dollar store! I can’t emphasize this enough. Many items that you need for a kit can be gotten at a dollar store including flashlights, canned foods and can openers.
2) Students always need food to eat. If you use a food pantry or a food bank to get some of your monthly food anyway, put aside a couple canned items or peanut butter from the box in your kit. Build it up as you go!
3) You need to put your kit items in something. Now that you’ve moved in for the term or the year, you might have an old backpack, duffel or 20 gallon tote you aren’t using. That is perfect. You might even have left one at home because you got something new. If you don’t have one, check out used sales on campus or find something that is sturdy enough not to fall apart as soon as you pick it up.
4) Grab cans of food from home that have been on the shelf for a while but still have a good amount of life left (a year or so).
5) Sometimes student health services will be giving out free first aid kits at events during the year. Grab one and that is a good start to what you need!
6) Buy either 50 cent gallons of water (which you have to worry about where to store) or use water bottles you have already.
7) Check out the back to school and normal grocery store sales to stock up on canned items if you weren’t able to find ones you wanted at the dollar store.
8 ) Buy non-OEM chargers as a backup for your phone, laptop and tablet chargers and put that in your kit. They usually are cheaper and still work like an OEM charger.
9) If you’ve got old clothes that you were going to leave at home stick some in your kit so you have a change of clothes. You’re not worried about what happens to them so if you do need them in an emergency, you can toss them afterwards. This includes old sneakers and those old high school sweatshirts.
10) Keep a sleeping bag in your closet to use as a blanket in winter. when it is an emergency, grab it and go. A cheapie that is for 40 degrees or so will work.
11) Order free samples from companies. They’ll take a few weeks to arrive but they are free.
12) Use a combo weather radio/flashlight with a crank. It does 2 jobs in one and doesn’t need batteries. It also takes up less space which is vital for a student.
13) Keep cups from places like subway (clean them first of course). It gives you something to drink out of.
14) If you buy sandwich meat, keep the plastic container. Those are great for holding things like your first aid kit or a sewing kit and you’ve already paid for them!

What tips do you have for getting cheap items for your emergency kit?

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