To the beginning prepper with limited resources, the task of gathering supplies and stockpiling food seems daunting, and nearly impossible when it is difficult enough to have the money to pay bills and still have enough food to last until next payday. Having 3 days, let alone 3 weeks or months’ worth of food and supplies set aside seems like a pipe dream. However, with a bit of common sense, and careful budgeting, it is possible to plan for tomorrow’s meals as well as when the s**t hits the fan.
1. Incremental Prepping
Don’t feel as if you have to buy 5 year’s worth of food at one time. Concentrate on the staples first, such as rice, dried beans, oats, a gallon of water or two, etc. which have a very long shelf life, and can be bought fairly cheaply. Plan for the larger budget items one at a time, such as a hand crank radio, or a weapon. Even $5 a payday, though it seems small, can be saved for the larger items, which later on can at the very least defray the cost when you have more money at hand (such as when you receive your tax return).
2. Store what you eat – Sort of
In an earlier post, I talked about the importance of adapting your lifestyle now to be fit to survive later, and that storing things like Twinkies will only keep you fat and unhealthy for a longer period of time than the other survivors. HOWEVER, there is no point in stocking up on 5 years of hominy and anchovies if those are things you will not eat now. Adaptation is the key to survival, but so is common sense. It may be, and probably will be, necessary to eat a lot of beans and rice in a survival situation. In the meantime, why not come up with some favorite recipes which can incorporate them now?
3. One for now, one for later
When you are purchasing canned or dry goods or other items that will keep for long periods of time, or indefinitely, buy one more, just one, to set aside. It’s not necessary to buy a whole cartful, just one at a time will slowly but surely build your stockpile without breaking the bank.
4. Seize the deals
While buying in bulk seems to be the complete opposite of what I have been just saying, there are times when you have to take advantage of a really good deal. For instance, my wife and I were at the store last week and she happened to notice that fresh peaches were on sale for .25 a pound. We knew we would not see a deal like that again for a while, or possibly ever. So, even though money is EXTREMELY tight, we bought $5.00 worth. Since we are just getting started prepping, we do not currently have the means to can the peaches, so we did the next best thing in our situation, and we cut up and froze them. While they may not make it to the apocalypse, it will provide us with fresh fruit for some time to come. And for many of us, a SHTF situation does not necessarily involve the collapse of society. It may be the loss of a job, or an injury, or the car breaking down which pushes us and our families to the brink. And in times like those, bulk peaches can help a lot.
5. Don’t fall for the Dollar trap
It’s easy, we’ve all done it. “But it’s only a buck! What a deal!” Marketers count on us to have that reaction. They have engineered ever-decreasing sized bottles of soda, packets of pre-seasoned rice mixes, and other items boldly emblazoned with the one-dollar sticker just to have us waste our precious hard-earned money on scraps strategically placed at eye level or near the checkstands for our temptation. As preppers we think – “Wow – at a buck, I could get a bunch of these for storage! I could get 20 of them and fill a food-grade bucket!”
Stop right there, put down the rice-a-roni, and step away from the shopping cart. Now look carefully at the shelf tag, right on the corner or side of the price tag where it tells the cost per ounce. For .59 cents more, you can get a 2 lb bag of rice which will last far longer than that 8oz box of instant crap. You’re welcome.