There are times when we all need to budget and to carefully watch our food expenditures. Throughout my own adult life, I have done so on many occasions. Sometimes it was because I was saving for something special but more often, my personal austerity had to do with the reality of income less expenses resulting in a shortfall.
As a prepper, this can be a dilemma, especially as we try to acquire emergency food and supplies that are going to stand up to the test of time. For most of us, even during the best of times the process of acquiring large stores of emergency supplies can be daunting, expense wise. Actually, it is a daunting process period, regardless of the expense.
I find it so much easier to break things down into baby steps, and, from your comments and emails, know that I have had some success in doing so with my 12 Months of Prepping series, which, when written, had beginning preppers in mind.
Baby steps can also be applied to prepping on a budget. And what is my #1 baby step? Raiding the pantry for emergency food preps! When the budget is a wreck, before spending even a dollar on food storage pantry, go on a scavenger hunt and gather food staples and supplies from the kitchen cupboard.
Here is the list of items to look for:
- Canned or dried beans
- Canned meats or seafood products (chicken, tuna, sardines)
- Canned tomatoes
- Canned soups
- Unopened jar of peanut butter
- Chicken broth
- Powdered beverage mixes
- Instant coffee and tea bags
- Condiments: salt, pepper, chili powder
- An old fashioned, manual can opener
Something these pantry foods have in common is that they are relatively easy to prepare, nutritious, and except for the canned meats, budget friendly. They may be boring to eat maybe but then again, our goal is not be become a gourmet cook while we shelter in place.
My best guess is that you will find most if not all of these items in your kitchen pantry. The next step is to remove them from your kitchen pantry, mark the date with your Sharpie pen, and take them out of circulation. I recommend that you put them in a spare cupboard, a bin, or even in a large plastic garbage bag. The point is that you want your emergency items set aside for just that, an emergency. They should be out of sight.
Something else to keep in mind that if at all possible, these items should be kept in a cool, dry place. In addition, the rice and oatmeal should be sealed in containers that will keep out the insects and critters. Have an old cookie tin or popcorn tin? That will work. If you have a food saver, better yet. As you become more advanced, you can move on to Mylar bags and buckets but for now, easy baby steps rule.
Jus remember that whatever storage container you choose should be scrupulously clean and dry.
Additional Reading: Survival Basics: The Six Enemies of Food Storage
A quick note about condiments: adding a bit of salt, pepper and spice to your foods will make all the difference in the world when it comes to taste. One easy way to get started with condiments is to make small, foil packets of your favorite spices and include them with your emergency supplies. Just don’t forget to mark them so that you know what is in each packet.
Nothing I mention here is rocket science. I suppose it is best described as a gentle kick in the bum to get up and do something.
The Final Word
Let us not lose sight of what it is like to prep when you are just getting started. We were all there at one time or another, In addition, sometimes we have had to start over because we used our preps to get through a short term crisis. Or, as I am facing, a long-distance move. Is it really worth is to move a year’s worth of canned goods?
In closing, let me remind you that prepping is a lifestyle. And, as with all things in life, circumstances can change. When that happens, we must adjust, adapt, and start anew by going back to the beginning when we were just getting started.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Need some ideas for your Bug Out Bag? When I redid my own pack, I wrote about it in the article How To Build Your Own Perfect Bug Out Bag. Here are some of the items I included along with items mentioned in this article.
Made in USA Manual Can Opener: You just can’t go wrong with one of these can openers. I have had mine for more years than I remember and as long as you clean the blades after each use, it will last forever. I also like this OXO can opener (great company, by the way) but it is a bit more expensive.
Sharpie Permanent Markers: Sharpies were invented for preppers! And without question, Amazon is the cheapest place to buy them.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.
RAVPower 15W Solar Charger with Dual USB Ports: This compact, three panel, solar charger will charge two devices at once, including tablets, smartphones, Kindles, and even AA/AAA battery chargers. For more information, read: Gear Review: RAVPower 15W Solar Charger with Dual USB Ports.
Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets make questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink. Easy to use and the water is ready to drink in 30 minutes. One 50 tablet bottle treats 25 quarts of water.
MPOWERD Luci EMRG Inflatable Solar Lantern: This is the original Luci EMRG Solar lantern. I have put mine through its paces and it is one tough cookie. It has weathered both a wind storm and rain storm while hanging outdoors for a month. Lightweight, waterproof and shatterproof, Luci EMRG provides ultra-bright, reliable light to guide your way indoors and out, through blackouts or extreme weather conditions. With free Prime shipping, it is a great value.
Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: This is a great knife that is currently with free shipping. Not only that, it is ranked as the #1 best seller in both the camping and hunting knives categories. The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and and can recommend it. See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.
Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel: This “Scout” is the one I own. Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions. This is a small, compact version and is my personal favorite.
Grabber Outdoors Original Space Brand All Weather Blanket: I was interested in a re-usable emergency blanket so I purchased one of these based upon the excellent reviews. This space blanket is definitely “heavy duty” compared to the cheapies (not that they don’t have their place because they do).
BaoFeng UV5R Dual-Band Two-Way Radio: I own two of these. Something to keep in mind that if you are just planning to listen, you do not need a license. Still, it is a good idea because it will make understanding the technical aspects of HAM radio a whole lot easier.
For over 25 years Emergency Essentials has been providing the highest quality preparedness products at great prices. Plus, each month they feature sales that quite honestly are fantastic.
A good value is the Do It Yourself SuperPail Combo which includes 8 x 6-Gallon Buckets with Lids, 8 x Metallized Storage Bags and a 10-Pack of Large Oxygen Absorbers. The combo is currently on sale for $84.95.
Don’t forget that you do not need fancy equipment to seal the metalized bag. A cheap hair iron will do the job. Forget about a hose and a vacuum sealer. A $20 hair iron works great.