February 21, 2024

While convenience is important, making smart purchases that aren’t wasteful is important for those of us who want to future-proof our finances and be as self-sufficient as possible. Grocery stores use lots of sneaky tricks to make us buy things that aren’t worth the cost, and we frequently fall for it.

1. Opting for Whole Produce Over Pre-Cut

Image Credit: Canva.

Pre-cut fruits and vegetables may offer convenience, but their higher cost and excess packaging contradict our goal of efficient and sustainable living. Embrace the practice of preparing whole produce to maximize savings and minimize waste.

2. Investing in Water Purification Instead of Bottled Water

Image Credit: Canva.

Relying on bottled water is financially draining and contradicts our environmental stewardship ethos. Invest in a robust water filtration system or a durable, reusable bottle to ensure access to clean water without recurring costs or plastic waste.

3. Choosing Value Over Brand Names in Spices

Image Credit: Canva.

Brand-name spices may seem like the better choice, but in a prepper’s pantry, it’s the value that counts. Opt for generic or bulk spices for the same flavor at a fraction of the cost, aligning with our principles of economical stocking.

4. Creating Homemade Salad Dressings

Image Credit: Canva.

Store-bought salad dressings, laden with preservatives and sugars, don’t fit our plan for a healthy, self-reliant lifestyle. Making dressings from scratch with basic pantry items is cost-effective, healthier, and more customizable.

5. Bulk Purchasing vs. Single-Serve Snacks

Image Credit: Canva.

Single-serve snacks are a trap in cost and packaging. Buying in bulk and repackaging into reusable containers aligns with our preparedness goals, reducing waste and ensuring we have ample supplies for any situation.

6. The Real Scoop on Ice Cream Choices

Image Credit: Canva.

While gourmet ice cream is tempting, its cost doesn’t justify the indulgence for a prepper focused on wise financial decisions. Choose affordable brands and enhance them at home with creative, cost-effective toppings.

7. Navigating Gluten-Free Products

Image Credit: Canva.

Unless medically necessary, gluten-free products are an unnecessary expense. They often come at a premium, which doesn’t align with our goal of economical and efficient provisioning.

8. Cheese: Block vs. Pre-Sliced

Image Credit: Canva.

Buying pre-sliced cheese may save time but not money. Purchasing cheese in block form and slicing it ourselves is more cost-effective and aligns with our skills of self-sufficiency.

9. Selective Organic Purchasing

Image Credit: Canva.

While organic is ideal, not all produce needs the organic treatment. Refer to trusted guides like the EWG’s “Clean Fifteen” to make informed choices that balance health, cost, and environmental impact.

10. Seasonal Shopping Savvy

Image Credit: Canva.

Sticking to seasonal produce is a cornerstone of smart prepping. It ensures better prices and quality, avoiding the premium paid for out-of-season, imported items.

11. Home-Blended Smoothies Over Store-Bought

Image Credit: Canva.

Avoid the high cost and hidden sugars of pre-made smoothies. Blending our own at home is more economical, healthier, and lets us tailor ingredients to our nutritional needs and taste preferences.

12. Mixing Your Own Spices

Image Credit: Canva.

Pre-packaged spice mixes often come with a high price and unnecessary additives. Mixing our own blends from bulk-purchased spices is a small but significant step towards self-reliance and cost-saving.

13. Choosing Bulk Oats Over Instant Packets

Image Credit: Canva.

Instant oatmeal packets are a convenience that costs. Bulk-buying plain oats and customizing with healthy toppings saves money and gives you control over the ingredients. .

14. Plain Yogurt: A Canvas for Creativity

Image Credit: Canva.

Fancy, flavored yogurts are expensive and can contain added sugars. Opting for plain yogurt and customizing with fresh fruit, nuts, or honey is healthier, more cost-effective, and versatile.

15. Homemade Frozen Meals for Future-Proofing

Image Credit: Canva.

Pre-made frozen meals are costly and contain preservatives and high sodium levels. Cooking and freezing our own meals in bulk is a proactive step towards both financial savings and readiness for any situation.


Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.

She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what’s coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.

Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).

Her preparedness skills go beyond just being “ready”, she’s ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she’s feeding her family, she’s a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.

Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.

Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.

She’s been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.