By Mike Thayer
There are a lot of programs out there offering storable food packages, various types, sizes, prices.... I encourage people to use a program I utilize myself, GoFoods Global. I think it's a great progam, it's a good company, the food is reasonably priced, easy to prepare, easy to store and it's delicious.
But buying dehydrated, freeze-dried, or MRE style food isn't for everybody. Buying things in bulk isn't for everybody either, and not everybody has an unspoken for $100 or $200 laying around to do that. So I've come up with a way for you to start building your food reserves starting tomorrow, for about $1 a day. It's a plan that's really quite simple to do, all you need is a grocery store.
"But Mike," you say, "We already buy groceries, what are you talking about?"
Sure, you're buying groceries, but are you building a food reserve? It's kind of like a savings account. A food reserve is the stock of food you have on hand in the case of emergency, or it can be food you buy now, so you're not fighting inflation later - an investment if you will.
According to the Department of Agriculture (USDA), beef prices were up 9.8 percent last month compared with the same month in 2010. Pork prices were up 6.9 percent, poultry was up 3 percent, eggs were up 10.2 percent and dairy was up 8.7 percent.
Food reserves aren't just for emergencies. You actually save money building one. That can of corn you buy today for 89 cents is probably going to cost you over $1 in 2013, $1.25 in 2014, you get the picture. Aside from a temporary sale, can you remember when your overall grocery bill went down? I can't. Food prices continually rise.
So start building your food reserves, for whatever reason that motivates you. Maybe you want to stop buying so much delivery pizza.
The next time you're at the grocery store, pick up an extra can of green beans, or pears, a little bag of rice, something like that. I do this every morning when I venture out to get the daily paper before work. One day I get a can of black beans, another day I might get a box of instant potatoes, the next it might be a bag of lentils. If you're not a morning person, this can be done on your lunch hour. If you usually eat out for lunch during your work day, take an extra 10 minutes or so and stop at the grocery store on the way back to work. Pick up something simple. There are plenty of things you can get for under a buck. Gravy mixes, salt, macaroni, tomato sauce, etc., all these things are needed to build your food reserve, it starts to build up much quicker than you might think and you don't miss the $1!
Look for sales, or buy store brands
I'm not a coupon shopper, but this can come in handy for things like specials on canned meats and/or some of the pricier items you may want to include in your food reserve. After all, there's no sense in stocking up on things you really don't care to eat just to save a few coins. Buy things you enjoy, eating a bland meal is a downer. Store brands are another way to go. Not always the best quality, taste test the store brand product(s) to see if you like it well enough to stock up on it.
"But Mike," you ask, "How much food do I need to buy for my food reserve?"
Good question. A lot of households are surprisingly short on pantry items (folks that don't like to cook and end up eating out or ordering in a lot), at a minimum you need a 72 hour supply of food you don't touch, or at least rotate out by keeping an eye on the expiration dates. For a single person that's nine meals and three gallons of water. Put another way and for those of you who live in University Heights, that's three breakfasts, three lunches, three dinners. So we're talking some items like store brand cereal, about four cans of assorted veggies, a bag of rice, a bag of pasta, a couple cans of soup, perhaps a can of tuna. Along with three gallons of store brand bottled water, you now have an emergency 72 hour food supply and you spent about $14. That's it.
You may have spent that $14 on Chinese take out last night. Tasty, but one, perhaps two meals. The thing is, spending about $1 a day at the grocery store over the course of two weeks easily translates into building a food reserve that will get you through a rough three-day period. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. And don't forget that you've beat inflation to boot.
Ideally, you should try to build your reserves in steps. Once you get the 72 hour mark achieved, it's easy then to keep going and build it up to a couple weeks, then a month. It's a matter of spending $1 a day is all.
The best part is, you won't need government assistance if crap hits the fan. If some type of emergency happens in your area, you've provided for yourself and your family. Think Hurricane Katrina. Some people were told to leave their homes and go to the Louisiana SuperDome. Homes were flooded, damaged, power went out. In many cases leaving a home was a must. But a lot more people went to the SuperDome only because they weren't prepared. They didn't have food on hand, the neighborhood grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants - all closed either due to evacuation or damage. Many people's homes were fine to stay in, perhaps no power, but otherwise not flooded out or damaged. Yet those people still went to the SuperDome because they didn't have any food, bottled water and a few candles on hand. They weren't prepared. They exercised poor judgement and relied on the government to help, and we know how bad that turned out.
You can prevent having to put yourself in that kind of situation. Be prepared on $1 a day, that's it.
Coming soon.... A list of essentials for your food reserve.