Tips On Stocking Up and Affording it all.
BY CHRIS RAY
I am not going to lie and say that food storage is cheap or easy, but it can be and should be done. You might have to make some short term sacrifices, but the long term peace of mind that comes from knowing that you can feed your family, come what may, is worth it. I’m going to try to provide some ideas to build up your pantry and a few ideas to raise some income.
Remember the short-term goals that I mentioned in “Food Storage Part Five”? Make sticking to them a priority. Don’t go into debt to stock up, but don’t put fluff ahead of it either. I plan on covering debt in another article. For now I’ll just say that getting debt free (aside from a mortgage) has not only been a tremendous blessing, it has been a huge prep in and of itself.
Food Storage Acquisition Tips
Big Box Stores and Discount Grocers
You may have a discount grocer like Aldi; this would be one way to save money. Buying bulk from a Costco, Sam’s or other big box store is another. I also know that there are some online companies that will give discounts for large ‘group buys’. If you know of other like-minded people this could be a great option.
Avoid going out and dropping hundreds at a big box store, this can really tax your finances and this is often done out of fear. If you’re not reacting out of fear and have the disposable income, this might work for you. On a side note, when you do buy from them, the items on the bottom or in back usually have a longer shelf life, as they rotate with ‘First In, First Out’ too.
Co-Op or Farm Direct
Another way to save money is to purchase from a co-op or directly from a farm. I listed some ways to find local co-ops and farms as well as some on-line stores at the bottom of “Food Storage Part Three” (LINK).
Double Buying/Copy Canning
I first heard about this process from Ron Hood ‘s video “Urban Master, Volume 1”. His wife explains that if you normally eat Spam and use a can for lunch, the next time you go to the grocery store, you purchase two. You do this for every shelf stable food that you purchase until you have the desired amount. On a side note, if wilderness survival is a topic of interest, Ron Hoods’ videos and Internet forum contain some of the best knowledge on the subject that I have been able to find.
I don’t mean the store, but a specific item. Pick one shelf stable food and purchase a specific amount each week. This number is going to vary, based on income and whatever the item is. As an example, this week I buy 12 cans of green beans, next week it’s 12 cans of corn.
Even if you are on a very tight budget, you can still add to your pantry a little at a time. I did a web search for “Food storage for $5 a week” and “Food storage on $10 a week” (without the quotes) and found the following sites. Food storage for $5 a week and Food storage on $10 a week .
Even if you can only spend $5 a week, you can take advantage of sales. The most important thing is that you are working toward your goal.
How Can You afford this all?
Know where your money goes.
There are two ways to do this, you can either write down what every single penny is spent on, or you can do what we did and get the bank statement and itemize it. You need to do it for at least one month, as this will make sure you get the monthly bills. We actually printed off the statements for the last year and broke things up into twenty or so categories and tallied it all up. Shocked is the best word that comes to mind. My wife does a fantastic job of keeping our budget but seeing the total that went to junk, well that brings me to the next section.
Needs vs. Wants
Many people are willing to spend much more on their wants then they are on their needs. Jack, at The Survival Podcast explained it something like this; gas in your car is a need, but people will complain that the price of gas went up $.05 and then drive across town to save $.02 a gallon, saving a grand total of $.40 on a twenty-gallon tank. That same person might have a craving and spend $5 on a latte. I don’t care how good it is, its still a want.
If you do as I suggested above and can see the amount of money you spend on wants, I bet you’ll be a little surprised. I’m not saying that you should deprive yourself but being honest with yourself and looking at this list, I bet you can find ways to cutback and still feel like your not being deprived.
Cut back on spending.
Eat at home and bring your lunch to work. For a family of four, a fast food dinner can run up to $30, pizza or take out can be almost $50. I bring my lunch to work while most of the guys in my department eat out every day. I bet that what they spend in two days will pay for my brown bag lunch for two weeks.
Sell the excess
Glenn Beck recently cited a story that said the average family has $20,000 worth of unused stuff in their home. I’m not so sure about the $20,000 part, but I know most families have excess stuff they could sell on Craig’s list or in a garage sale or eBay. I have seen a few businesses that will sell your stuff on eBay and just take a small portion for their efforts.
Part Time Job
This might not be a great tip given our current economy; however it might be in your situation. If you get a part time job, even if you only work one shift a week and dedicate the money you earn to preps, you’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll increase your pantry. Mow lawns, handy man service, pull some extra hours at a job that is on your way home so the extra cost in fuel is not taken out of your profits.
Another option is selling plasma, I have thought about this. The last time I looked into it a person could sell plasma twice a week and receive $25 each time. That’s $200 extra a month! Blood Banker is a site that you can use to find areas local to you to sell or donate blood and plasma. (although when you give like this it does give the appearance of track marks.)