Preparing in hard times can always be a challenge especially if you are barely getting by as it is. I see a lot of stories about prepping where they recommend that you buy 200 lbs. of this and 300 lbs. of that and a couple of cases of can goods. The trouble is that if you are barely getting by now, then it can be a real challenge to not only buy the extra food and preps, but the containers to keep them in. I hope to give you a few ideas in this article on a few good ways to do it that will still allow you to eat and make till the next payday.
Let’s start with containers. I prefer to store most of my preps in 5 Gal. buckets that I get at Lowe’s for about $4 each, and $2 for the lid. These are food grade buckets and are safe to store raw food such as rice and beans in as well as other items. They come with rubber seals on their lids so you can be assured of a tight fit. I try to buy at least one every other payday and more when I can. You will be surprised how fast they add up, and they are easy to store. You can stack them several high in the corner of a room out of the way. Don’t try to buy the buckets on line, because no matter how good the price is, the will kill you on shipping! Lowe’s usually has plenty in stock as well as the lids to go on them. Wal-Mart and many sporting goods stores usually carry cheap duffle bags that are great for storing things that won’t fit in a bucket. These can also be stored in a corner as well as under a bed or in a closet for convenience.
Now, about the food and supplies, always check the expiration date on anything you buy to go in your preps. There is no point in putting anything in your preps that will expire in 3 months. Try to get things that have at least a year or longer if at all possible. Items like dried beans and white rice have an indefinite shelf life as long as they kept cool and dry. Other items like Pasta has a shelf life of about 2-3 years under the same conditions. Other items like flour also have a long shelf life but I would recommend freezing the bags first to kill any bugs that might be dormant in them. Be sure to let it dry out real good before sealing them up tight.
You may have noticed that many of the items that I have mentioned can be purchased in small bags and are not expensive. A pack of beans here and a pack of pasta there will add up in the long run. I buy one or two items as I can afford them and add them to a bucket. Try starting with one for Rice, one for Beans and one for pasta. These are good basic foods that provide a lot of carbohydrate that you will need when it hits the fan. Once they are full, just put the lid on and get another. You will be surprised how quickly your food stores add up and soon you will have quite a stockpile of food without even trying. Remember that the goal here is to survive not eat like a king.
Other items you may want to consider is things like Kool-aid and other drink mixes that can be purchased cheaply because plain water will get boring really quickly. I’m not a big fan of Spam myself, but sometimes you can find it on sale cheap and it is a viable meat source. Remember those duffle bags that I mentioned earlier, well those are great for storing up toilet Paper in. (Unused of course!) 🙂 I try to buy a few rolls now and then when I can get a really good deal on them. They do not need to be the best TP, just something to get you through for a while when you need it. Also, don’t forget to attach a piece of paper to the outside of the buckets with a list of what is inside and the date that you sealed it. Do not write on the bucket! You may want to reuse it latter on for something else when you rotate your Preps and replace them with some fresher Pasta or whatever. Always be thinking about reusing anything you can.
Well, I hope I have given you something to think about and hopefully a few ideas about how you can actually afford to start prepping even when things are tight. Just remember that the goal is to store up enough food and supplies to hopefully help you and your family survive when SHTF hits. Start small and you will be surprised just how fast it adds up! A few pennies here and a nickel there and soon you will have a stash of preps to rival anyone’s. In the long run, you will be glad you did. Always remember that Prepping is a journey, not a destination and if you add it to your lifestyle, before long you will be doing and not even noticing it. Happy Prepping!