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Ten totally free prepping supplies:
You may find yourself with more time than money. If you're short on cash, here are
ten things you can do today that cost no money and require only a little of your time.

Get started prepping for little or no money with our list of free preps for survival,
including where to find things you really need! These methods are totally legal and
free (or next to free).  They cost only your time!

Free Prep #1: Re-use tin cans and lidded cookie tins.
Preppers recycle and reuse. Rethink your garbage because metal cans are the
perfect free prep!

  • Save tuna cans and #10 cans, such as coffee cans, (to make a hobo stove,
    grill or box oven). Preppers should have an ample supply of freeze dried
    foods and canned foods. Turn empty cans into a hobo stove for your
    emergency preparedness cooking needs. Here are the tutorials:

  • Save lidded cookie and candy tins (to make charcoal). A cookie tin is an
    ideal way to make carbon (charcoal) the way the pioneers made charcoal for
    their fire on the following day on the trail. (Read also Pioneer Lessons.)

Free Prep #2: Take advantage of freebies around you.
Freebies for preppers abound.

  • Condiments. While you're out to lunch or dinner, grab a few extra packets of
    sugar, soy sauce, Parmesan cheese, ketchup, barbecue sauce or hot sauce.
    Remember to grab the crushed red pepper packets as well. And don't forget
    the wipes given at KFC for their finger licking good wet wipes! These little
    extras will help you stretch your dollar and are nice extras for your bugout
    bags. A popular custom during the Great Depression was to make a tomato
    soup from ketchup and hot water.  Learn more about the Great Depression.

    Rope and pencils. Ikea offers free rope for use when you purchase large
    items to strap on your vehicle. It's on the honor system so grab a little extra
    while you're there. Also, grab some of those free little pencils. Think of them
    as complementary tokens in exchange for your patronage.

  • Toothbrushes and dental floss. Every time you visit the dentist, remember to
    ask for your free toothpaste, toothbrushes and dental floss. These are ideal
    to re-stock your supplies.  

  • Utensils. Plastic forks, knives, and napkins abound at fast food restaurants
    and takeouts or even at the office! They are free for the taking. Snatch up a
    few extras when you're out and never pay for these things again. Plastic
    utensils are extremely valuable to preppers because they will help you avoid
    washing dishes in an emergency when water and heating resources to clean
    them may be at a premium.  Chopsticks make excellent kindling, as well.

  • Get extra chopsticks. Next time you order Chinese, grab a few extra
    chopsticks. Use chopsticks twice -- once for food and next as kindling. Grab a
    few extras when you're out for a bite to eat and before long you will have
    enough utensils for an emergency.

Free Prep #3: Go fruit foraging and berry picking.
Take a look around the neighborhood for free fruit. Pick blackberries or kumquats
and make home made pie or jam. Perhaps you have a neighbor or friend who has
too many apples, apricots, oranges, or lemons? Ask if you can have them! The
owner of the fruit tree may well be happy not to pick up the fallen fruit and you'll
have yourself a free prep!  

  • Prepper's don't need to go for the low hanging fruit! With a fruit picker or
    harvester, pictured immediate left, you can reach those hard to reach prizes.  
    Free Prep #4: Save Toilet Paper and Dryer Lint (free tinder).   At first this
    seems odd if you're new to prepping, but start saving your toilet paper rolls
    and the lint from your dryer. Why? Lint is a fluffy tinder for fire starting! Stuff
    the lint into the toilet paper rolls and now wrap your little present for the
    future in paper from a brown paper bag. Add a little string to make it look
    pretty.  BONUS ideas for fire starters and accelerants:  Store perfume
    cards. Save those little perfumed card samples from the department stores or
    tucked in your magazines because they are loaded with alcohol making them
    an excellent accelerant. Save them and insert them with your toilet paper lint
    rolls. The card samples in magazines you get are loaded with alcohol making
    them ideal for fire starting. These perfume cards offer the convenience also of
    cardboard to work as tinder. For an added touch, dip the perfume cards in
    paraffin wax. See our other firestarter ideas.

  • Collect pine cones. Pine cones are excellent natural acellerants and will add
    ambiance fireside.

  • Recycle: Birthday candles. Birthday candles may seem useless after the
    cake has been eaten, but they are perfect for fire starting purposes.

Free Prep #5: Make an Emergency Toilet from a Five Gallon Bucket.
Ask for five gallon pails from local restaurants and bakeries. Use these
buckets for storage of non-food items or to make an emergency toilet,
since you may not know
how the bakery or restaurant used the buckets. They
very well could have poured in harsh chemicals and mopped the floors.

  • Make a portable potty. To make a toilet, you can use a special lid, like the
    one pictured immediate left, but you don't have to buy one. You can cut your
    potty hole with a utility knife if you're resourceful.  

  • store toilet paper and personal sundries
  • keep first aid supplies handy.
  • Assemble a pandemic kit.
  • More ideas: Here's our bucket list of dozens of projects you can do
    yourself if you have a food-grade 5-gallon or 6-gallon bucket.  

#6: Get free products.
Write manufacturers if you find their products not up to your standards and get free
stuff. You will find manufacturers will reimburse you with free product. Happy
Preppers has received free coffee, free chicken, free chips, free butter, and free pies
for complaining about the products. So go ahead and give them a piece of your
mind! Write if the frozen chicken is a bit more brown than you've had before. Write
if the coffee beans had more of the dregs at the bottom, or if the chips were
crushed. You see, manufacturers want to please their consumers and are often
happy that you point out their flaws. Best of all you can e-mail manufacturers. It
won't cost you a dime! Be sure to include your name, address and telephone
number.  Also, be sure to tell the grocery store when an item is miss-marked:
Safeway honors a policy of getting the product for free if the product price at the
checkout does not match the marked price!

Free Prep #7: Prepare with free mobile apps and Kindle books.
Check and see and you'll find they have a free app for that! Get free disaster
preparedness apps from the American Red Cross.

  • Free Preparedness apps. The American Red Cross First Aid app is free and it
    just may save your life. See also free apps for flood, tornado, earthquakes,
    wildfires, hurricanes, pet first aid and more.

  • Free Kindle apps. Download free Prepping eBooks on Amazon (even if you
    don't own a Kindle). Get your free Kindle Reading App now. Anybody can read
    Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for
    smartphones, tablets and computers. Be sure to read "Survival Guide for
    Beginners," pictured left is for free. This highly rated book on Amazon to help
    you get started prepping won't cost you a dime, and you don't even need a
    Kindle to get started. Free on Kindle unlimited are the books pictured right. If
    you don't have Kindle Unlimited, then it's a mere .99 cents, which is almost

Free Prep #8: Get free food and supplies while prepping on
Really and truly you can get free food and supplies for prepping on Amazon using
this legal and proven happy prepper method.

Free Prep #9: Pick up Pennies!
Free stuff for preppers is easy when you look around! Don't be too proud
to pick up
pennies (or to save them). A family of four or five can pick up enough
pennies, nickels, dimes and even quarters in a year to collect around $100!

Kids love picking up coins for you! Tell them whenever they pick up a coin that they
are a "money magnet." You will be surprised at how often your child will find coins.
This process teaches respect about money and if you believe in the Law of
Attraction, you will bring more wealth your way!

Pennies are particularly valuable for their copper value. If you
visit coinflation.com
you will find that copper pennies are worth almost 2-1/2 times their face value! So
be sure to save them instead of spending them. For the copper value alone you'll
about double your money. Copper will be a tangible item you can trade in bad times.

Free Prep #10: Search Craigslist.com and Freecycle.org for free
Craigslist.com is an amazing resource and list of free goodies in your neighborhood.
Try also
freecycle.org. (the free cycle network). Freecycle.org is a grassroots and
entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in
their own towns. Items on both sites are free for the picking simply because of the
generous heart of the previous owner or simply because the owner does not wish
to go to the trouble of disposing. The price is only your gas to get to the location
before someone else gets it for free.

  • Get free firewood (and start chopping). Chopping firewood is not only
    necessary, but nearly free (it costs only your labor). Of course, first you'll
    need to search Craigslist and Freecycle and know where else to get free

  • Here are other fun and valuable free finds on Craigslist and Greecycle:
  • an old truck bed! (This could become a garden bed.)
  • an empty propane tank (It only needs refilling).
  • wooden pallets for making chicken coops, furniture and more.
  • used garden tools, which may need cleaning or are good to go!
  • old washer / dryer to save you on quarters at the laundry mat.
  • barely used tent that maybe doesn't have the instructions.

Who knows? You may find a free bed (and use the money you saved to buy preps).
Or perhaps you can get something free and sell it for profit. Happy free finding!

More "almost free" ideas for Preppers
If you have a few bucks to spend here are some more ideas:

  • Make paper logs (fire bricks) for free. Here's how to make free paper logs
    for your wood stove or fire pit. It saves you from buying a fire brick maker.

  • Saving on the suds. To get at the last of the soap bits, put your final bar
    pieces into a mesh bag. This is how people of the Great Depression stretched
    the last bit of soap.

  • Splitting matches. A trick employed during World War II to stretch resources
    was splittling matches. People would split their match ensuring two lights,
    and not just one!

  • N-Ice Savings. Fill a few baggies with water and put them in your freezer in
    preparation for the next blackout to keep your frozen goods chilled through
    the outage, which could last a couple of days. This will save you from buying
    bags of ice like everyone else. Best of all, when they thaw, you’ll have some
    drinking water on your hands.

  • Recharge.  It doesn’t take much money to recharge batteries. Check all your
    flashlights to see that you are ready.

The above list is all legal! Do not steal from neighbors or your employer.  Take
advantage of free preps with a clean conscience. Like these ideas? Go to Pinterest
now and get free ideas for your survival manual.
Follow happypreppers on Pinterest.

We want to hear your ideas on free preps!
Here are some ideas we've gathered from around the web:

  • Free stuff for your workshop (scissors and more). The author of this
    Instructables article on how to get free useful stuff for your workshop shows
    an example of how to get free scissors from Harbor Freight and equivalent
    useful gear. It's just another way to get more free stuff.

  • Free poop bags. Many parks, schools and churches will have poop bags on
    their property to help keep their parks clean. Ideal for when the "poop" hits
    the fan, why not grab a couple of extra when you are out and about with
    your pooch? The more you save on free bags, the less you'll have to buy for
    an emergency. Stock up on poop bags and use the free ones!

  • Free toilet paper. One of our followers told us, "...My sister, who's now a
    lawyer, used take the toilet paper from hotels she visited on business travel,
    so she'd never have to buy another roll of toilet paper (she was single at the
    time). She felt her company had paid for it, so why not?"

  • Free toilet use. Every time you're out, you may as well hit the public
    restrooms and save on toilet paper at home. It's certainly one way to save
    money! When the poop hits the fan, you may have to question your ethics to
    survive economically. As mentioned previously in the bullet on condiments
    during the Great Depression, desperate people would quickly eat the sugar
    and ketchup on the tables of restaurants and then leave before ordering any
    food. History repeats itself and in new ways. During the next great
    depression we'll likely see people taking the toilet paper from public
    restrooms (and not simply visiting them to save money).

New to prepping? In the beginning, prepping is an overwhelming feeling for newbie
preppers of how to spend resources wisely.  Prepping is the art of building skills,
knowledge and supplies for survival. While it's true that prepping requires both time
and money, this list proves you can start only with your time. We hope the list will
help you get started prepping without spending a dime.

Save money prepping.

Have more ideas? Write us at Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or give us your Pinterest link!
Common-sense emergency preparedness is as easy as using your brain and doing what
you think is right to prepare. We're happy to hear your prepping ideas and link to your
prepping Web site.

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homesteading, and self-reliance.
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