6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
For a few years I'd watched documentaries and YouTube videos about "prepping." They all seemed to try to convince you that you needed to spend 10s of thousands of dollars to accomplish this.
I can't afford that, nor can most people I know.
Note: My parents and grandparents, who canned everything they grew in the 2 acre garden, would be considered preppers by today's standards.
About a year ago, I found myself buying a few extra things here and there. To my amazement, I started amassing a small cache of the necessities. You can do the same.
This is the simple way to start filling your cupboards, closets or basement.
Need a can of corn or peas? Buy 6.
How about dried legumes? Pick up a bag every now and then and put them in a bucket with a lid. (Don't empty the bags. Just throw them in the bucket.)
If you have dried legumes, you'll need something to give them some flavor. Spam or some kind of canned ham works great. Pick them two or three at a time. (You may not like Spam, but it helps cut down on the missed meal colic.)
Tuna is cheap. Pick up a few every time you go shopping.
Mashed potatoes are cheap when you buy them by the bag. Thrown them in a bucket or a tote.
Dehydrated soups are not a must, but they can add some variety to your larder.
Knorr makes several varieties of side dish noodles. Throw them in the bucket.
Don't forget about Uncle Ben's, Zatarain's and Rice-a-Roni for a variety in sides.
Don't forget the spices.
What do you use the most of?
For us that would be garlic powder, onion powder, salt...
I never buy McCormick. They have good products, but if I can buy 6 ounces of an off brand garlic powder for less than a 1.5 ounce of McCormick, I'm going with the off brand.
What about bulk?
Right now, Rural King has sugar in 10 lb bags for $4.99. That's about half what I pay in the grocery store. I grab a bag about once a week and plan on putting the bags in a bucket which I will vacuum seal when I have enough. (I'll write about vacuum sealing at a later date.)
I stopped at the Global Market in Kirkwood, MO, today and bought a 50 lb bag of rice. Only about 40 lb would fit in a 5 gallon bucket. I'm not going to vacuum it down because we eat quite a bit of rice. This bag may last 6 months with us, but probably not.
Salt. You can go to Home Depot, Ace Hardware, or virtually any hardware store and buy rock salt in a 50 lb bag. It's with the water softener stuff. Just be sure to get salt. Don't forget that you'll need some way to grind this: pepper mill, coffee mill, grain mill, etc.
You don't need to spend huge amounts of money to get started. If you do, you'll attract attention to yourself anyway, and who wants that?
Go with store brands. They're usually pretty good, but test them first.
There are some store brands that we will not buy again, i.e., IGA brand macaroni and cheese or Dollar General pasta. The quality is just not there.
Buy whatever you can on sale. We've found a few products that we really like this way.
Remember that expiration dates on cans and jars are mostly a suggestion. Beer is an exception, but I ain't trying to stash beer. I'm sure there are a few other things but you'll just have to figure that out as you go.
Do rotate your product. As your main larder gets low, replenish from your stock first. Then keep adding to your stock.
A couple of other things
Do you have a camping stove or some way to cook if there's no power? Propane and camping fuel are not going to be getting any cheaper, so...
Paper products and feminine hygiene things... enough said.
And don't forget water. It's more important than food.