> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Getting Prepared on $40 a Week: Introduction



Getting Prepared on $40 a Week: Introduction

Preparing for tough times can be a big, daunting task, especially if you're starting from scratch. This new series of posts looks at how to go from nadda to well prepared on a budget of $40 a week. We'll be going from building a capable, budget-minded every day carry to a capable bug out bag (BOB)/72 hour kit and then onto a month's worth of food storage and a small stash of barter items, all on 40 bucks a week. We're aiming for about a 4 month time frame, with new entries each Wednesday.

We've chosen $40 a week because, while not insignificant, it represents an attainable amount for the average U.S. family. $40 gives us enough to work with in order to buy some quality gear and get things accomplished in a reasonable amount of time.

Budgets are of course tight these days, and you may not be able to swing $160 a month for 4 months. You can, of course, scale the schedule to match your available budget--instead of $160 a month, maybe $80 or even just $40--it'll take you longer, but you can still get it done. You may want to look at cutting back on luxury expenses or selling off some unused items in order to meet the budget. And you're probably not starting completely from scratch, so there's likely a few weeks where you will be able to skip purchases.

We will be purchasing from readily available sources--lots of Amazon (free shipping for the win!), with maybe Wal-Mart, Costco and others--and using readily available prices. We'll be recommending high quality, durable gear that will last through years of use--not cheap junk that will fail you in a time of need. We're going to try to maximize the bang-for-your-buck here, and avoiding low quality gear that will need to be replaced.

Some weeks we'll use all of the $40, other weeks we will bank some for more expensive purchases down the line.

The BOB will be ready for a 72 hours scenario, and food storage will be mobile enough to throw in the back of your vehicle and evacuate. At the end of the series, with your BOB, food supply, and a source of water and fuel, you'll be equipped to survive at home or in the boonies for a month or more. 

We're not going to be venturing into firearms in this series, because, frankly, it would be a lot of "save $40" posts. But, outside of that, we'll be covering everything else prep-related, though.

If you've already got a solid EDC, finely tuned BOB and a pile of food storage, never fear, you'll still get some good into out of this series. You'll probably be able to extract a few ideas and gear recommendations, but we'll also be including "To Do" items if you've already got a specific area squared away. We'll also be looking for your "picks" and ideas in the comments section of each entry.

This week, we're getting geared up, so no purchases. Instead, we've got a short list of tasks to get you ready for Week #1 next week.

Your Tasks for the Week:
  • Evaluate your budget and see what you can accommodate.
  • Do an inventory of your current preparedness and camping gear. If you're perusing this blog, you've probably got some good items on hand already.


  1. This is a great idea!! I have a BOB and supplies but I know mine is lacking.

  2. Great idea!
    While I'm already deeply engaged into building the prep, I would still follow this series with a lot of interest :-)

    One more perspective that you may want to take into consideration: lots of people are aware of possible SHTF/TEOTWAWKI scenarios, but many of them (not me ;-)) nevertheless tend to procrastinate any hands-on actions.
    For those, why won't you add some sort of "preparedness tracking" mechanism into these blog entries? Something like "after you're finished with today's step, you should have X-Y-Z ready".
    Having a structured activity framework may be really helpful for such chronic procrastinators :-)

  3. AnonymousJune 20, 2012

    A great idea. I'm excited for this series of posts.

  4. Hey Alexander, Great article! I have told some of our members to come take a look at your blog, good stuff here. Thanks for being such a great resource for our prepper community!

    James Meyer, Owner - http://www.PreppersConnect.com

  5. Great idea A. Wolf!!! I'm currently rethinking my bug out bag situation so I might find some good ideas!! And hopefully I have enough crap to skip many of the weekly $40 payments!!! I agree re: buying good stuff up front. In a failed effort to save money I've often bought the cheapest and poorest quality of goods. Only to gradually replace them once or twice with better quality gear until finally I dole out the cash for what I should have bought in the first place. Should be an interesting series.

  6. I'll join the chorus of 'great idea'! It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the 'stuff', even for a BoB. I particularly like your prioritization, stating with EDC, through 72 hr, to longer term, a-la 1st line/2nd line gear.

    I'm in that category where $40 a week might be a stretch (well, not really. Maybe you need an article on prioritizing the budget? I digress..) But I'm looking forward to your ideas on low cost-high quality gear: I think that is an under served area. I see tons of words on $100 knives, $200 backpacks, and of course the $$$ on firearms. But I think alot of people are down here in your $20 to $40 a week range, so I think you are right on target. Now are you really going to make me wait a week between posts on this?!?

  7. AnonymousJune 20, 2012

    Ditto on the great idea. We're looking forward to it. If your logo said what you're doing on $40/week, it'd make a better pinterest pin (just thinking aloud there)..

    1. Good point. Thanks! Please pin if you're interested in sharing.

  8. DiabloLocoJune 20, 2012

    I prep on about $25/week, but I have been doing that for years. While I agree on your sentiment, it will only really apply to newbies whom have basically nothing, and are finally feeling the urgency of the situation. Talk about being behind the proverbial 8 ball! IMO, it's "ALMOST" too late to start.
    Just don't forget to highlight skills. You can have all the expensive preps in the world. If you don't have the skills needed to survive TEOTWAWKI, the preps are worthless.

    1. We're going to do our best to make this relevant to those who have been at the prepping game for a while.

      And we're certainly not going to venture away from skills. We've got another new, also planned to be regular series of posts - "Tip of the Week" that will be up later today, that will focus more on skills and hands-on projects.

    2. By reading your comment, I finally figured out what TEOTWAWKI means. lol I'm slow and dense.

  9. This is a great idea that will really set you apart from other blogs. This makes prepping something everyone can do. Ditto on the skills stuff. It would be cool to see some of the skills coordinated with the $40 piece from time to time.

  10. This is a great idea especially for newbies like me, as a previous commenter stated lol, but $40 of stuff anywhere else in north america is gonna cost damn near double up here in the north lol...but hey ordering online ain't so hard. This will definitely help me focus on what to do now.

    Ps. Your moving posts inspired a st on my blog about moving as a SHTF scenario is erupting, thanks for being inspirational lol.

  11. AnonymousJune 22, 2012

    Great idea. There are plenty of low / no budget steps that improve your chances. Not always the comprehensive 'zombieapocalypse kit' but certainly useful.

  12. Sometimes getting started can be a daunting, almost paralyzing, task. Once you reach your "uh-oh moment", you realize how woefully underprepared you are and many people panic, not knowing where to start.

    The best advice is to make a plan. Figure out what you need and device a plan to get you there.

    This $40 / week series should be great to help with that. I'm looking forward to it.


  13. Are you planning to do a post soon about a bag itself? I am axious for some good suggestions that won't look out of place in my office at work.

    1. Yep! We're looking at different bag options in the price range.