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20 Cheap but useful items to stockpile before SHTF
By Zoey Sky // Jun 08, 2023

You can improve your chances of surviving when SHTF by preparing ahead of time.


If money is an issue, you can still prepare by stocking up on cheap, but useful supplies like lighters and soap.

And if you think you already have everything you need in your stockpile, you can still buy extra items for trading after SHTF. (h/t to FoodStorageMoms.com)

Here are some cheap items that will be valuable when dealing with a survival scenario.


Even if you don't drink alcohol, it's a good idea to stock up on several bottles for bartering after SHTF. In a pinch, you can use vodka with a high level of alcohol by volume to sterilize needles and tweezers for minor first-aid applications.

Additionally, alcohol can be used to clean things around your home.

Baking soda

Baking soda isn't only just good for baking. This versatile item can be used for other purposes like cleaning and deodorizing, and as a bug repellent.


After SHTF, you will need first aid items like bandages to treat cuts, scrapes and minor abrasions.

Besides adhesive bandages, make sure you also stock up on other first aid supplies such as cotton balls, antibacterial ointment and gauze to keep wounds clean.

Additionally, you should stock up on frequently used medications like digestive aids and other health-related materials you use frequently.

Bar soap

Maintaining proper hygiene is crucial when dealing with a long-term survival scenario and you will need to stock up on bar soap so you can shower even after SHTF.

Bar soap is cheap, and it's a great item for bartering. If possible, buy bar soap that is free from dyes or perfumes.

If you think you may run out of water, stock up on cleansing wipes, like the ones you use on babies when changing diapers, so you can keep yourself clean even if your water supply runs out.

Hand sanitizer is another great item to stockpile for maintaining proper hygiene and bartering.

Stock up on other items like cornstarch and Epsom salts. Cornstarch has many uses and if you live in an area with a humid climate, it can help keep feet in shoes or boots dry.

Meanwhile, Epsom salt can help with sore muscles, removing splinters and for soaking your feet.


Batteries are some of the more expensive items on this list, but they are still fairly cheap compared to what their worth will be in a post-SHTF situation.

Others will need batteries of different sizes for their flashlights, radios, other survival gear and entertainment devices.

Canned foods

Canned foods might not seem like a popular item after SHTF, but when you are dealing with something like a long-term power outage, people will be lining up to trade with you for canned food.

Canned goods usually cost a little more than a dollar and can last for years while still retaining their nutritional value, so stock up before disaster strikes.

Buy canned beans, fruits, potatoes, meats and soup. These items are considered non-perishable and should have a long shelf life.

Canned foods are also a strong item when bartering. (Related: How to stockpile foods with a long shelf life.)

If there's extra space in your stockroom, stock up on flour, pasta and rice. These items are essential for meal preparation and to share or trade with others.

Make sure you also get several manual can openers for canned food.


Smelling nice might not be a priority for others, but some people will be willing to trade for deodorant after SHTF. And aside from deodorant to help you smell fresh, you can also stock up on other hygiene essentials like various items for proper dental care.

Add items like dental floss, toothbrushes, toothpaste and bottles of mouthwash to your inventory.


Disinfectants are a must for cleaning, especially when you are in a survival situation.

Disinfectants are cheap, you should already have plenty of them stored in your stockroom and cache. If not, stock up and grab a disinfectant spray container every week or two.

Duct tape or Gorilla tape

Adhesive tape like duct tape is a survival must-have because it has many uses, especially during an emergency.

You can use duct tape or Gorilla tape to repair broken items, build makeshift shelters or make arm slings. Always keep duct tape in your first aid kit and survival kit.

If you need something stickier than duct tape, get Gorilla tape for your stockpile.

Female hygiene products

If you have women in your group, make sure to also stock up on assorted female hygiene products like napkins and tampons. And if you think you already have enough of these items in your stockpile, it's better to have more than not enough when SHTF.

If you have young babies in the family, you will also need to stock up on different baby supplies like baby food, formula, paper and cloth diapers, baby wipes and baby shampoo. Baby supplies also have a great trade value.


You will need a light source at night if you are dealing with a power outage so stock up on high-quality flashlights.

You may need to spend a little extra to get quality flashlights for your family, but you can save money by purchasing cheaper flashlights at the dollar store as you stock up on cheap flashlights for trading.

It's wise to invest in other items like some solar-powered flashlights and lanterns over the next few months. This ensures that you won't have to rely too much on extra batteries and lighting won't be that much of an issue after SHTF.

Keep a couple of solar flashlights on your window sills at all times so they're fully charged when you finally need them. As a backup, stock up on spare candles and matches or lighters.


As a prepper, you can never have too many knives. Knives are crucial for different basic tasks like cutting rope or preparing food.

A sharp knife is also an excellent bartering item.

To save money, make sure you buy them at an affordable price. You should also keep a survival knife in your emergency supply kit.

Lip balm

Lip balm helps keep your lips moisturized, and it can be used to trade for other crucial items that you may not have after SHTF.

Rotate your supply if you have natural or organic lip balms that don't contain any chemicals or dyes since these products usually have a shorter shelf life.

Matches and lighters

Matches and lighters are essential for any firestarting kit since you need fire to cook and stay warm after SHTF. After a large-scale natural disaster, many people will be left with nothing and won't have the means to start a fire.

Non-preppers also probably won't have the patience to rub two sticks together to start a fire so they will be eager to trade with you for matches and lighters.


When facing a long-term disaster, others will start looking for a sustainable way of providing food for their families. One way to do this is by starting a home garden and you can help them get started by stocking up on different seeds for bartering.

Before SHTF, stock up on cheap seed packages of vegetables and fruit. These items will be in demand when a trip to the grocery store is no longer an option.

You can also benefit from stocking up on seeds if you have a home garden, especially if you use different herbs and spices as you develop your garden.

If you have excess crops, you can also use fresh fruits and vegetables for bartering after SHTF.


Socks are one of those items that you often take for granted every day, but they will be in demand in a survival situation. If you're walking through the wild for an extended period, you will need a pair of comfortable socks so you don't hurt your feet.

Sunscreen and insect repellant

No one wants a sunburn when things are normal, and especially during a survival situation. Before SHTF, make sure you have plenty of sunscreen in your stockpile.

If possible, get natural or organic brands since they don't contain any harsh chemicals that can be harmful to your skin or eyes. Additionally, more people will be willing to trade for an all-natural product.

You will also need insect repellant to keep pesky mosquitoes away.

Toilet paper

Toilet paper is another cheap item that you should stock up on before SHTF because it will be in demand when grocery stores run out of items.

Save money and buy cheap toilet paper at places like Dollar General. Another option is to buy toilet paper in bulk quantities on online stores like Amazon.

Trash bags

You will need plenty of trash bags for sanitation purposes, and so will others in your neighborhood after SHTF.

You can also use trash bags for other survival purposes, such as material for a makeshift shelter or to collect rainwater for drinking.

Vinyl gloves

After disaster strikes, maintaining proper hygiene will be of utmost importance.

This means keeping your hands clean and germ-free, especially when you have to dig through the rubble and debris. Vinyl gloves are a cheap and easy way to do that without breaking the bank.

You will also need vinyl gloves to keep things sanitary while treating cuts and small wounds.

Other cheap items for your stockpile

If there's extra space in your stockroom, here are other things you might want to get before SHTF:

  • 5-Gallon buckets
  • Aluminum foil
  • Dental floss
  • Epsom salt
  • Face masks
  • Garbage bags
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic tarps
  • Safety pins
  • Sewing kit

Before disaster strikes, stock up on affordable but useful items that you can barter with, such as lighters and bar soap.

Watch the video below to know more about the importance of bartering and trading after SHTF.

This video is from The Gliding Alligator channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Prepping 101: How long will bottled water last in your stockpile?

Save and stockpile: Preparing for an economic collapse.

Prepping tips: How to build a stockpile if you are lactose intolerant.

Sources include:




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