Survival List: Budget Emergency Kit Essentials

The month after I was born, there was a major category 5 hurricane. I’ve spent the majority of my life in hurricane-prone areas, so you could say I know a little something about what goes on an emergency survival list. 

It doesn’t cost a lot to build your own “bug-out bag” and most of the things can be bought at a dollar store. I’ve created a budget-friendly list of items you can buy for only $1 each and another of supplies that cost more but are worth it.

Essentials vary by family needs, but these are recommended items that should be in an emergency kit:

Image of Budget Emergency Survival List

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Dollar Tree Emergency Kit List

A lot of people don’t realize how much money you can save by shopping at the dollar store. Sure, some of the items are cheap and break easily, but there are a lot of great quality items and brand name products as well.

I prefer the Dollar Tree over others because their products actually cost $1. What’s also great is that you can order online and get Free Shipping to your Local Store, but you usually have to order in bulk (some items are less).

Water and Food

The Red Cross recommends having one gallon of water per person, per day. You should have a 3 day supply of food and water for an evacuation and 2 weeks for the home.

  • Bottled Water
  • Canned Meat: Tuna, Chicken
  • Peanut Butter
  • Granola Bars
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Beef Jerky
  • Bread
  • Fruit Cups
  • Snacks: Chips, Candy, Cookies


  • Water Bottle
  • Can Opener (non-electric)
  • Utensils: Fork, Spoon, Knife
  • Zip lock Bags
  • Garbage Bags
  • Vacuum-Sealed Bags
  • Bucket
  • Paper/ Plastic Cups and Plates
  • Paper Towels
  • Bleach

Personal and First Aid

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Pain Pills
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Cold Compress
  • Band-aids
  • Gauze
  • Gloves
  • Waterproof Tape
  • Disinfecting Wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Face Masks
  • Peroxide
  • Alcohol
  • Scissors
  • Deodorant
  • Bar Soap
  • Travel Dental Kit
  • Toilet Paper
  • Tissues
  • Baby Supplies: Wipes
  • Feminine Products


  • Flashlight
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Batteries
  • Rope
  • Duct Tape
  • Tarp
  • Multi-use Knife


  • Pen
  • Notepad
  • Sewing Kit
  • Toys and Activity Books

Other Needed Supplies

This list of emergency essentials are a bit more expensive, but are very recommended!


Keep your emergency supplies in a backpack so it’s easier to grab and run out the door. A waterproof backpack such as this is better, but you can use any bag and keep your items in zip lock bags.


In case ATMs are inoperable.

Water Filter

Clean water is important for survival and flies off the shelves during emergencies. My family never has to worry about running out of water thanks to our Big Berkey Water Filter countertop system. But, there is also a GO Berkey Kit that is small enough to fit in a backpack.

To be extra-safe, don’t forget water purification tablets!

Cell phone with chargers

Image of 4 portable phone chargers

Keep your phone charged and buy a portable charger (I have 4). This is a high-capacity Portable Charger that can fully charge some phones about 4 times and has 2 charger ports.

Battery-powered or hand-crank radio 

This is the NOAA Weather Radio that the Red Cross promotes, but there are cheaper options as well.

Medical Supplies

Baby Supplies

  • Formula or other baby food
  • Bottles
  • Diapers

Water and Fireproof Safe

We keep our important documents inside one of the Dollar Tree vacuum-sealed bags, then inside the safe; double protection!

Copies of personal documents 

  • Medical Records
  • Driver’s License/ Military I.D.
  • Home Deed/ Lease
  • Passports
  • Birth Certificates
  • Insurance Policies

EILIKS Emergency Survival Kit

If you’d rather just buy a kit, this low-cost box already has a lot of useful supplies:

  • Knife
  • Tungsten steel pen
  • Spoon/ fork
  • 10 m umbrella rope
  • Water bottle clip
  • Survival blow Fire Tube
  • Flintstone, scraper
  • Flashlight
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Disposable tourniquet
  • Tape
  • Fishing supplies
  • Waterproof notepad
  • Sealed bags
  • Emergency poncho
  • Survival blanket
  • First-aid supplies: Disinfectant pads, Alcohol pads, Band-aids, Gauze

Emergency Preparedness Tips

What’s in your family survival kit? There are plenty of other items that can go in your kit, and the potential disasters in your area should reflect the choices you make.

Avoid unnecessary stress during disasters by being prepared:

  • Make an emergency plan for your family. Visit, a National public service campaign designed to help Americans prepare for disasters.
  • Have an emergency fund in place to help with unforeseen circumstances.
  • Get property, health, and life insurance. (Take pictures and right down serial numbers of valuables.)
  • Shop early or prepare ahead, stores sell out quickly.
  • Keep a full tank of gas. Closer to a storm, car lines can be over an hour wait.
  • Fill up water bottles (to drink) and bathtubs (cleaning/ flushing the toilet) in case the water supply is shut off or becomes contaminated.
  • Keep a frozen bag of water in the freezer so it will stay cold longer if power goes out.
  • Unplug small appliances to protect against power surges.
  • Bring inside anything that can be thrown around by the wind.


What are the 5 essentials for an emergency kit?

The most important things to include in your kit is water, food, a flashlight, copies of important documents, and a radio.

How much does it cost to make a survival kit?

An emergency kit can cost under $100. Most things can be bought inexpensively with the most pricey things being a radio, portable charger, and medical supplies.

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