We have actually covered being prepared on a budget fairly extensively. We are going to touch on this subject again. I don't know that this subject will ever be exhausted. I am going to do my best to not be redundant. We are going to focus on the essentials- food, water, and shelter. I will provide links for other topics. For the purpose of this discussion, we are going to go with the assumption that you are planning on sheltering in place, but we will cover a few of the basics for bugging out.
Developing a Deep Pantry
I have mentioned this before but it is well worth repeating. Whenever you go grocery shopping pick up at least one extra item of something that you are buying already. This will keep you from buying things that your family will not eat.
When you start unpacking your groceries, the extra item goes into your food storage area. This is a slow, methodical approach to increasing your self reliance. It will work and it won't cost you a lot each time you shop. Store what you eat and eat what you store.
Copy canning is not just for canned food items, it can also be used for dry storage items. Beans, flour, sugar, cornmeal, and the like can be done in similar fashion.
Bent and Dent Stores
I will be honest here, I do not know how common these stores are throughout the country, around here there are a few. At a bent and dent store you can purchase name brand as well as store brand products at a fraction of what they would normally cost. The selection changes all of the time, but the prices are well worth the effort.
What is a bent and dent store?
Our society has gotten to the point where the majority of us will not purchase something that is not in perfect condition. If you have ever walked through a store and saw a bent can of something that was on your list, odds a really high that you moved that can aside and picked an undamaged can. This is normal and natural. If you are going to have to pay full price for something, you want it to be in as good condition as possible. Many of the large chain grocery stores realize that their customers are not going to buy bent cans or damaged boxes of products.
This trend has become so wide spread that there is a lot of food that if someone were not to reclaim it would go to waste. Enter the bent and dent store. What a bent and dent store does is contacts the large chain grocery warehouses and purchases all of the damaged cases and sometimes even pallets. They then clean and separate the products that are usable and offer them for sale in their stores at a huge savings to their customers.
Most of the bent and dent stores offerings are canned goods, but occasionally you will find bagged goods at these stores as well. I have seen sugar, flour, and cornmeal. I know of a store that had an entire room of charcoal for sale.
If you are adventuresome, there are always cans that have lost their labels. There is no way to tell what they are besides opening them. These are very cheap. Be warned though, it is just as likely to be dog or cat food as it is people food.
Bent and dent stores will always hold a special place in my heart. My first public job was at a bent and dent store. Mr. Jones (that really was his name) gave me my first job. I started out washing off condiment jars and jugs. It was a squishy and sometimes a stinky job, but I really enjoyed working with them. They treated me well.
Buying in Bulk and Group Buys
I know you may be thinking, "this is for people who think they are too poor to be prepared, how on earth am I going to afford to buy anything in bulk?". That is a fair question, but hold on we will get to the answer.
Buying in bulk has been proven as a way to reduce the cost per unit. This method can be used for basically anything not just foodstuffs. If you do not have the funds to pony up for case quantities of say beef stew find some others that are willing to purchase with you. Most grocery stores will give a discount on case quantity purchases. This can be a good way to not only to increase your food storage, but you can also meet like minded people.
Group buys can be used as a way to increase your storage of really anything. This is especially true of first aide supplies or anything. I like group buys whenever I am able to be part of one.
Be CreativeThe thing about trying to increase your preparedness on a very strict budget, you have to think outside the box. There are ways to develop a preparedness plan that do not require a lot of money. We know what it is to struggle and it stinks. There is always a way.
You can be more prepared and in this way you can
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