My wife wrote up some ideas here, and you’re all welcome and invited to add to this list by replying in the comments below! It is easy to get overwhelmed when beginning your food storage/emergency prepping. Here are some tips to get you started:
Food Storage Rule #1: Buy what you use and use what you buy.
Do not purchase something simply because it is a good deal. I once bought a 24 pack of green beans at a case lot sale because I thought it would be a good thing to store with the rest of our canned goods. A year later, I have probably used six of those cans. From now on, I check the sales and stock up on the items that we go through regularly. When we run out of something from our pantry, I first check our food storage area for a replacement. If I have a replacement, I will put that item on my grocery list so that I can have an extra on hand at all times. For me, running out of coffee would not be a good thing.
You do not need to buy everything in one month, six months, or even a year. You would not want all of your food items to expire at the same time, so try picking up a handful of different canned goods each time you go to the grocery store. If you wish to have freeze dried or dehydrated foods in your storage, research which items you would like to have and wait for those items to go on sale. Make a list of the items you want to buy and set a monthly budget so that you can cross things off as the money comes available.
Check the coupons in your weekly mail ads for items that you use regularly. Maybe your wife prefers Oil of Olay body soap over Dove, but she may be okay with using it if you have a coupon and it is on sale. Our mailer consistently has body soap, disposable razors, vitamins, and other health and hygiene items that would be helpful for establishing emergency storage. Consider using the money you saved with coupons on extra canned goods or gallons of water.
Sign up for email lists.
We get regular emails from Emergency Essentials. Each week they let us know what foods are on sale. If it is on our wish list, we pick it up during the sale.
Start with your food and water storage first.
It is really easy to spend more than you intended to at a prepper store. They have so much great survival gear to choose from. Truthfully, I would like to have a bit of everything in there but little is more important than having food and water. Next, you might consider purchasing items that will help you prepare your food, such as a hand-crank can opener and charcoal or other fuel source.
Check National Preparedness Month sales.
Every September, the Internet is flooded with great deals on food storage and survival tools. We grabbed several containers of Mountain Home freeze dried foods for 40% off during the month of September. Try to shop early in the month to ensure you have a better selection.
Try before you buy.
Often times Emergency Essentials will have taste testing so that you can try a handful of foods before purchasing it. You would not want to spend $30 for a 10# dinner meal, only to learn your family does not like the way it tastes. I have sampled many dinners and desserts prior to purchasing. We also have bought the small, 2 person bags to sample prior to buying the larger containers.
Buy in bulk.
If you are a Costco or Sam’s Club member, shop on their websites for emergency kits and supplies. Shipping is usually included in the cost. Many of the food supplies are also available in store. Always read reviews before buying. Chances are, someone has already tried the food and is willing to write a review to encourage/discourage someone else from buying it.
Read up on storing food and water. Having the ideal conditions will help your food last longer.
Ease the burden.
Take advantage of our FREE Preparedness Checklist Generator, and save yourself some inventory headache.