Can’t Find Bottled Water as Irma Approaches? 3 Cheap Ways to Stock Up ASAP

Fill soda bottles with water instead of purchasing water from the grocery store in preparation of Hurricane Irma.
Are you preparing for Hurricane Irma? For water, try purchasing off-brand soda, pouring it out and then filling it with water from your faucet. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

The talking heads on the television say the big one is coming. For now, it’s Hurricane Irma, but it looks like Tropical Storm Jose is hot on her trail.

You know you’re supposed to stock up on nonperishable food items, batteries and, of course, water. But even if you have the rest of your budget-friendly emergency kit ready, water can be hard to buy in a prestorm panic.

(Tip: Unfortunately beer is not a substitute for water — not even light beer — so scratch that plan. Bummer, I know.)

You’ve already made the run to the grocery store, and the water aisle has been completely decimated. You even saw an old lady take a cane to a guy to get that last case of Dasani. It’s brutal out there.

So if water is the most important item on your stockpile list (and it is), what now? You’re supposed to have at least a gallon per person per day for three to seven days, plus extra water for your pets. Fret not. Here are a few simple hacks that can help you store up water for the suggested duration.

Use Your Own Resources

n preparation for Hurricane Irma, try filling your bathtub with water. Remember to clean your tub before doing this.

In preparation for Hurricane Irma, try filling your bathtub with water. Remember to clean your tub before doing this. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

You’ve probably seen this on every single hurricane emergency plan out there. It may not be ideal, but filling up your tub might provide all the water you really need. However, clean that bad boy out with a bleach cleaner and rinse thoroughly before filling.

Consider this a last resort for drinking water. It also serves as a good source of water for your pets. Remember, if you have no running water, you can pour this water into the toilet to flush it.

Think Outside the Water Aisle

Picking up cheap soda can help in a pinch.

No, you don’t want to use soda as a replacement for water — not even if you have rum. But in many stores, store-brand sodas are cheap enough to buy and dump out — then you can refill the bottles with clean drinking water.

At a glance, my local Winn Dixie sold its house-brand Chek Cola for just 75 cents per 2-liter bottle. One gallon is 3.79 liters, so give yourself two of these bottles for each gallon you want to save.

Prefer smaller bottles? Six-packs of 16-ounce bottled Pepsi products were on sale five for $10. That’s 30 bottles for $10. It’s not a bargain for water, but it can get you by in a pinch.

Twenty-four packs of Dasani water were going for about $6 each, according to the weekly coupon ad, so the prices aren’t too far off the mark.

Your Hurricane Irma Bucket List, Literally.

Most big home improvement stores sell basic 5-gallon buckets with lids (that part is important to keep your water safe) for very little dough.

At the Home Depot, you can buy the Homer Bucket for just $2.97 and the lid for $1.68. Lowe’s has a similar bucket and lid for $2.98 and $1.38, respectively.

Clean the buckets out with dish soap and water, then fill them and seal the lids tight. You should have plenty of water available without spending much money or fighting the grocery store crowds.

It’s About Survival

Are you preparing for Hurricane Irma? For water, try purchasing off-brand soda, pouring it out and then filling it with facet water

Are you preparing for Hurricane Irma? For water, try purchasing off-brand soda, pouring it out and then filling it with facet water. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

While you may wish you could simply sip crystal-clear spring water from the giant supply of 16-ounce bottles you purchased, that may not be an option.

You need water to survive. As long as you can find containers and follow some basic safety precautions, you can have enough on hand to weather the storm.

Now hunker down — or evacuate if instructed to do so! — and take care of yourself and your family.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

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