If any of us were ever in doubt about the importance of stockpiling emergency food, Hurricane Ian put those doubts to rest.
The incredible devastation that storm caused in Florida is almost too much to bear. Only those pummeled by the storm who had food on hand were able to eat without worry about where their next meal would come from.
Even if you don’t live in a hurricane zone, you’ve probably encountered extreme weather that has made you wish you had some survival food on hand… or grateful that you were prepared.
Now, nothing is free in life, and that includes emergency food. But there are ways to stretch your survival food dollars, and that’s what I’m here to talk about today.
Seek long shelf lives
It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to stockpile healthy, nutritious food for a crisis. There are some simple and inexpensive things we can do to get ready for trouble.
Following an emergency, it’s likely the electrical grid will not be functioning properly. If at all. So you want to make sure a vast majority of your food items are non-perishable.
In addition, we don’t know how long an emergency will last. So it’s best to have as much food stockpiled as possible. And make sure most of it has a long shelf life. For items that don’t, rotate them out periodically so they don’t go bad.
If you’re not already in budget mode, try to get there. That means always thinking about how you can spend less and save more. Among the philosophies that must become part of your daily life regarding food are the following:
- Never pay full price for anything. Always look for bargains. Shop clearance and sales sections, both in stores and online. You’re better off spending time than money.
- Buy items in bulk at places such as Sam’s Club or Costco. Or when they’re on sale in regular stores.
- Cut and use coupons. Coupons.com and grocerysmarts.com are a couple of options for obtaining them.
- Find and use in-store-only offers. Some of those stores also have periodic case lot sales worth taking a look at.
- Look for seasonal sales. Some stores load up on products such as sugar, flour and other baking supplies prior to the holidays.
- Grow your own food and preserve it. There is tremendous savings in growing fruits and vegetables. And storing some of them for the colder months of the year.
- Watch for the best deals on websites such as Amazon. They could have exactly what you’re looking for, at a price much less than what you’d spend at a local store.
Some tips & tricks
One of the first places you want to look at to save money is your weekly grocery bill. If you’re not paying attention, it can really add up. The average couple spends up to $500 or more a month on groceries. Let’s look at a few simple ways to save.
Make a list. Grocers know how to position products so shoppers will purchase them. If you have a list, you know just what you need (and what you don’t). And of course, if you avoid shopping when you’re hungry, it’s that much easier to resist tempting displays.
Also, choose foods that your family will eat. Variety is important, both physically and psychologically. But you could buy some of the healthiest food in the store, and if your family won’t eat it, you’ve thrown your money away.
Buy store brands. Buying store brands alone can take a huge chunk out of your grocery costs. Sometimes there will be a brand name item or two that you can’t do without. But more often than not you won’t notice the difference. Except when it’s time to check out.
Use digital coupons. Many stores offer digital coupons not available in weekly newspapers and shoppers. To acquire these savings, you’ll likely need to set up an account and check off the coupons you wish to use each time you shop.
Doing this ahead of time as you scan the weekly circular can help you focus your shopping list around items with the biggest savings.
Use a cash-back rewards credit card. You can probably find one that pays 2% back at a minimum. And don’t just use it when you’re out and about. The key is to pay off that card in full each month. Otherwise, you turn a savings into an interest payment.
Stick to the store perimeter. Center aisles have many expensive, processed foods full of salt, sugar and other additives. The outside ring of the store is where you’ll find more foods such as produce, meat and dairy.
You’ll still need to visit the center aisles for a few things. But focusing on the perimeter will give you more bang for your buck. Try leaving your cart at the end of the aisle, and just dash in for the item you need.
Freeze meals. If you’re buying in bulk, you’ll want to make sure your food doesn’t go to waste. You can freeze many items including bread, milk and chopped vegetables, as well as whole meals. Just remember your power could go out in a crisis.
Use fewer ingredients. Sometimes the simplest food tastes best. But you wouldn’t always know it looking at some of the complicated recipes out there.
Sites such as AllRecipes.com are great for finding different options for your favorite recipes. And usually the top reviews will include tips on how to make them even easier.
Buy in bulk. I saved one of the best for last. We’re not talking here about warehouse stores, which have membership fees. And usually a minimum price tag of $10 per item. Even in a regular grocery store, you don’t want to buy large amounts of just anything on sale.
It’s about buying more of things you already use often when there’s a significant sale. If it means you shop less often, this can add up to even more savings.
Another item to purchase in bulk is produce. Onions, potatoes, apples and lemons are almost always cheaper when you buy the bag. Just make sure you actually use them so they don’t go to waste.
Buying beans and grains in bulk can also stretch your dollars while providing hearty, healthy meals.
Here’s a bulk bonanza
Speaking of buying in bulk, I’ve got a great way for you to stockpile 16 weeks’ worth of tasty, nutritious survival food while only paying for 12 of those weeks.
For a very limited time, 4Patriots is offering a Buy 3 Get 1 deal on its 4-Week Survival Food Kits. That means one free month’s worth of long-lasting food to carry you through a crisis.
What’s included in each kit? Only some of our most popular food items for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts – designed to last for 25 years under proper storage conditions.
Examples include Grammy’s Sweet Oatmeal and Buttermilk Pancake Mix, as well as America’s Finest Mac & Cheese and Fireside Stew. Plus Frank’s Favorite Alfredo, Dinner Bell Broccoli Bake, Old Fashioned Vanilla Pudding and Sweetly Coated Banana Chips. And more.