> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Preparing on $40 a Week: Last Week & Index!



Preparing on $40 a Week: Last Week & Index!

It's over (for now!)
This has been a fun series to write, and it's actually helped pull me buckle down and fill in a couple gaps in my preps, too. This is our last week of the series - if you've been following along, you've made it to the end!

This final week is pretty simple. Take $40 in cash and add it to your bug out bag (or, if you're disciplined, a back corner of your wallet). $40 isn't much, but it'll fill up a tank of gas, pay for a cab, buy a week worth of cheap food, and so on. It's also the start of an emergency savings - add more funds to it as you can, and don't spend it unless there's a real emergency.

If you've been following week-to-week, you should have some money in the "bank" - around $15. I'd recommend spending that money on a quality knife sharpener...I'm partial to this model - the Eze-Lap brass sharpener. Good for getting a basic edge going and then strop to get a finer edge as needed. Works pretty well and the all-metal construction will last you through years of hard use.

If you've missed a week here or there, here's the whole list of posts. You can also see them by clicking on the "$40 a week" label at the bottom of the post.
  1. Everyday Carry Knife
  2. Everyday Carry Light
  3. Bugout Backpack - they've jacked the price up a bit on these, but still a good deal!
  4. Survival Knife
  5. Fire Gear & Container
  6. Sleeping Bag
  7. Shelter
  8. Water Filter
  9. Budget Individual First Aid Kit
  10. Protective Gear
  11. Chopper/large cutting tool
  12. Bug Out Food
  13. Toiletry Kit & Odds n' Ends
  14. Headlamp
  15. Food Storage Week 1
  16. Food Storage Week 2
  17. Food Storage Week 3 & Barter Goods
  18. Start emergency savings
Yep, your total spend will be around $720 when you total it all up - the price of an entry level AR-15 or a decent long-weekend vacation. Nothing to sneeze at. But, it's gear that will last you a long while, and it's stuff that you can put to use every day, not just leave sitting in a closet/trunk/garage.

The preps we put together are by no means exhaustive, but they're a dang good foundation. And, if you want, continuing regular $40 investments in preps quickly adds up - food, water, fuel, savings, etc. Just keep at it!

Thanks again for following along with this series - this was the first time I've done something this extensive & weekly on T-Blog, and it was, I think, a big success. This certainly is not the last you'll hear of the $40 a week concept or budget minded prepping in general. Stay tuned!


  1. Mr. Wolf I would like to thank you for your great work on this series and your blog in general. I found your blog about 3 months ago while I was out of work and have read it every day except for about 2 weeks when I got sucked into the Union Creek Journal thanks to you. I did however manage to make it all the way to the beginning of your blog. I have been interested in survival since cub scouts and try to learn as much to be prepared as possible. Your blog helped to keep me sane during my job search. Thank you for all of your hard work.
    C. Scout

  2. Sad to see this segment end, it's a great resource. Do you have any plans for series like this in the future?

    1. Yes, we're going to keep with this general theme in the future. Budget-friendly preps aren't going anywhere.

  3. Loved this series! I came across it quite late, but that's okay, I can get started now! Thanks for putting this together!

  4. Thank for writing up this series - it is indeed a great way to bone up on the basics and gain new perspective / ideas to improve your preps. I learned a lot from them.

    A suggestion - maybe you could bind up a version of the entire series and make an short e-book - manuscript ? Well worth a coupla bucks to me.

  5. I am kicking around the e book idea - it would be a bit expanded, too. Stay tuned!

  6. I made the purchases, added the tent I already had. The only thing I could add was that the total weight of everything incl. a teton 4000 bag was 34 lbs. That is without any firearms but winter clothing was included.

    1. Nice! Yes, even with water & clothes this is a totally manageable load out.

  7. Great series! I had a lot of the stuff already but always good to review and fill in any gaps in my survival gear. I know there were at least a few things I got squared up because of this series. I'm looking forward to similar series to come! Maybe a basic survival skill per week series where each week we look at a new skill (starting a fire, navigation, sharpening a knife, using an axe etc.).

  8. Great idea, keeping cash in your bug out bag, word of advise to some of you guys out there though, don't tell your wife.

  9. This is a great series - thank you for providing the example. Too many people get frustrated thinking they need tons of financial investment - it would also be interesting to see the physical items in a sort of layout to give people a perspective on how little space all this stuff takes up, relatively speaking - especially good for people with small homes and apartments who may think they need a warehouse of space to have a little peace of mind.

    Job well done, my friend.

    1. Thanks!

      Yes, I need to get up some photos. But yes, if you don't need much space to start.

  10. Mr. Wolf,
    Please let me know if you want to go ahead with e-book publishing - there are free/open source alternatives to more expensive methods. :)

    I have a couple EZ-laps in kits, and they are hard to beat.

    For REALLY small /cheap kits, like your keychain, consider these:


    not as good, but cheap, you can keep a bunch, everywhere you might be.

    I recently helped out some friends processing about 500 chickens - about 3 minutes total with my keychain tuned up a commercial boning knife a lot better than waiting in line for an electric "sharpener" - just sayin' :)

  11. Nice work, really enjoyed this series. Thanks for taking the time to put together such a comprehensive list. Very well conceived and delivered.

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  13. Can you recommend a quality backpack EDC bag on a $40 budget?

    1. I'm fairly inexperienced, but from what I've heard A.L.I.C.E. bags are pretty decent for a B.O.B. I just bought a medium one off eBay for $30. Will see how it works. Depending on how much weight you're planning on, a decent backpack or messanger bag will blend better in an urban enviro. Hope this helps.

    2. Yes, I'd look at a surplus ALICE pack. Not great, but good, and around $30-$40. The external frame can be used for hauling other stuff, too.

  14. External frame backpacks are a bit "out of style" at the moment, but still very useful. Even the old "1970's" ladder frames (with a good hip-belt) and be used to transport anything you can lash to it, and still lift.

    An old acquaintance back in the 70's had what he referred-to as "the bad weather backpack" - A big rectangular plastic kitchen trashcan strapped to an aluminum packframe, with plastic sheeting and parachute cord as a top closure. His gear didn't get wet until he unpacked it. Inconvenient as all git-out, but it did keep his stuff dry in some pretty rotten conditions.

  15. Thanks for all the good info. As I'm LDS, too, I have heard the adage of saving for a rainy day all my life. Food storage is just a way of life! Here in TN our old ward had a monthly FS class during Sunday School hour for any one interested. You betcha my husband and I were in there! On a side note..we had a flood here in 2010. We were literally stuck in our house for about three days..72 hour kit anyone? I have been putting these kits together off and on for a while, and thought mine were good to go. Not so much. We found out really quick what we were lacking. You have to keep in mind the ages of your family members, what foods they are used to eating. For example, I wouldn't recommend storing 100 pounds of whole wheat, unless you use it regularly. Start out with a little, work your family up to it so it's not such a shock in an emergency. Not a good time to introduce new foods. Water. I cannot stress this enough. After the flood, we were singled out and asked what we needed the most. Ironically it was water. Clean drinking water. Also store water for hand washing, toilet flushing etc. Keep some hand sanitizer in your supplies. Works great in a pinch. I reuse my bleach bottles to store water for emergencies. But, one small bottle wasn't enough to flush the toilet. We are purchasing some rain barrels this year for every downspout on our house, and our son's house next door. This will be our non potable water source, and with proper purification methods, our drinking water. I recommend for everyone interested, to find a food storage calculator and figure out their personal needs, then break it down. Another way to do it is to figure out their most used menu items, multiply that by 12 and break it down. It's scary at first. But you have to start somewhere. Just do it! It could mean your survival!