Being a prepper can be a challenge if you have a limited budget. Because of this, many people wonder how they can make extra money for prepping.
Common ways to make money for prepping include garage sales, using your car to provide services, and taking on extra duties at work. You can also set up a booth at a flea market, start an online business, or sell a skill that you already have.
Below I’ll go over the different ways that you can make money to help you purchase gear and supplies for prepping. I’ll also give you some tips to help you be successful at each. These are real-life ways to make a little extra money to pay for preps. Everything on here is something that I have done, considered doing, or know people who have done it.
Have a Garage Sale
Garage sales are one of the most common ways that people make extra money, and preppers are no exception. Garage sales help you raise money while cleaning unneeded items out of your home. Here are some tips if you want to do one yourself.
When doing a garage sale, try to have it during good weather. Aside from the obvious of not having a garage sale when it is raining, people are more likely to come out and browse when it nice and sunny outside. Spring, summer, and fall are probably the best times. However, summer may get too hot in some areas.
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If you plan to have a garage sale during the summer, start as early as you can. You would be surprised how many early birds come out looking for deals.
Also, be aware that some people frequent garage sales to resell items that they find. Common items include tools, toys, and clothes, especially for children. They may do this online through Facebook sales groups or could even own their own resale shop.
Before you have your garage sale, check on Craigslist, eBay, and other online sales groups to make sure that you don’t have a hidden treasure. I had some old toys that we found posted on a local Facebook sales group the same day that we sold them. The guy who bought them got several times more for them than what he paid.
Give Rides or Deliver Food
If you have a car in good condition and some free time, companies like Uber and GrubHub give you the opportunity to make money for prepping. Giving rides and delivering food have become common ways for people to earn extra money on the side.
Just be aware that many of these companies require your vehicle to be inspected before you are allowed to work. They don’t want customers or food to be delayed because of a breakdown. It also looks bad for the company when a driver comes rolling up in a 1970’s dust bucket.
One good thing about providing this type of service is that you are able to choose the hours that you work. However, be ready to jump on jobs as soon as possible. Picking up jobs may be difficult if you live in an area with a ton of drivers.
Set Up at Flea Markets
Many people consider a flea market to be similar to a garage sale, however, there are some differences. The main difference is that flea markets are meant to be recurring. We live in an area that has a monthly flea market with thousands of vendors. Some of them are able to earn their monthly income in a matter of days, which also makes it a good way to make money for prepping.
If setting up at a flea market, it is best to find a niche market to work with. For example, I always visit two specific booths at our flea market since they always sell military surplus. Having a niche will allow you to have repeat visitors and increased sales.
Doing this will likely require you to make a habit of visiting garage sales and other similar events to find things to sell. You can also go the boutique route and create your own merchandise. Selling things like furniture or children’s clothing can be very lucrative.
If you operate at a flea market you will likely need to apply for a state sales tax number (if applicable) and report the income on your taxes. Failure to do so could result in criminal charges and penalties.
Start an Online Business
Another way that you can make extra money for prepping gear and supplies is to start an online business. There are tons of different ways to do this. Pretty much everyone should have at least one way that they can make money online.
Take me, for example. I worked for several years as a middle and high school band director. (Not the most common career for a prepper, I know.) Most of my time was spent at schools that had very small budgets, meaning that I had to develop my own teaching materials.
I started selling the worksheets and reference materials on a website called Teachers Pay Teachers. While it isn’t enough for me to quit my day job, I do generally make at least $1000 dollars from it each year. I haven’t even posted any new products in at least 2 years, which makes it a nice (but small) passive income stream.
You could also start a blog or Youtube channel. If you go this route, I strongly suggest taking a course and/or becoming part of a community. This will reduce the learning curve, even if you are already tech-savvy. I have a membership with a company called Income School.
Income School has a variety of courses that show you how to make money online through blogging, Youtube, info products, and many other ways. They also have an online community where members can ask questions and support one another. You can check them out by clicking here.
Online businesses are an attractive way to make more money if you are a stay-at-home parent or have to travel a lot. You can do most aspects of an online business as long as you have access to your computer and an internet connection. One thing to be aware of is that online businesses can take a long time to build, especially blogs. Gaining authority and traction can only be done through consistent hard work and can still take time.
Related: How to Charge Your Cell Phone During a Power Outage
Start a Side Business
You can also make money for prepping by starting a side business. The idea here is to sell your services by doing something that you enjoy. For example, my wife has a photography business. Side businesses are good because you can control how much of your time that you spend doing them. You are free to add clients as you wish or limit your availability.
Common side business ideas include:
- Web design
- Yard service
- Handyman work, including furniture assembly
- Rent spare rooms via Airbnb, VRBO, and others
- Teaching skills (CPR/First Aid, survival, music lessons, etc)
- Real estate investing (rental properties, flipping houses)
- Walking dogs
An added benefit of having a side business is that you may be able to count some expenses on your taxes. Things such as mileage and cell phones can be used, provided that they are necessary for your business. However, you do need to be operating your business with the intent of earning income to do this. Simply writing off your hobby expenses that you may make a little cash on isn’t a good idea.
*Always consult a qualified CPA when doing your taxes. Tax law is extremely complicated and constantly changing. Everyone’s financial situation is different and having individualized advice from a qualified professional (which I am not) is a good way to stay out of trouble.
Become a Bus Driver
Although the past year has been rough for the transportation industry, becoming a bus driver is a good way to make extra money for prepping. People most commonly think about driving a school bus, however, there are many other passenger transport jobs available. It is a popular job for many retirees and people who have consistent time off.
Schools are almost always looking for new bus drivers and may even be willing to help you pay for getting a commercial driver’s license. They will likely expect you to drive a daily route. However, drivers who already have the appropriate license may be able to just drive for field trips. This would allow you to have some flexibility in your schedule.
You could also drive charter buses and/or large passenger vans for airport shuttles. Charter bus drivers can make a very good income, and many work part time. I know of charter bus drivers who have other jobs, such as teachers and police officers, and drive on the weekends.
Take On Additional Duties at Work
Another way that you can make money for prepping is to take on additional duties at work. This could be something as simple as volunteering for overtime or taking part in a special project. It may not be the most fun way to make extra money, but it may be the most feasible option for some people.