Surely you’ve read or heard that, if you want to be prepared for Doomsday scenarios, one of the things you need to do is start a food stockpile. Lots of people who hear such advice rush to purchase those pre-packed survival food buckets. Many companies have speculated the high demand and are offering these “magic pills”, that are anything but magical.
Not only are they expensive, but they’re also full of sodium and other preservatives that you don’t want to have in your either pre or post-collapse. Few people realize that they can save a lot of money if they only took the time to build their own survival stockpile. As you are about to see, survival food doesn’t have to taste bad… and many of the things I’m about to suggest are downright delicious.
The Planning Phase
But first thing’s first… You need a plan. Blindly purchasing stuff is what many people do, and you don’t want to end up with rotten food, with food that you don’t like or even with food you’re allergic to and have to throw away.
The good news is, planning isn’t complicated. You need to know:
- the number of people you expect to feed post-collapse
- allergies and other medical conditions that dictate the kinds of foods you can store
- your family’s preferences (i.e. what they usually eat)
- the amount of space you can allocate for your stockpile
- whether or not you have a bug out location (if you do, you’ll need to store some of it there)
At the end of the article, one other thing you need to do is figure out a budget. Some people have as little as $10 per person per week. Do the math, see how much that means for your family over the next 6 months or so, and keep in mind this is number will change once you actually start to buy things.
BONUS TIP! Check out this awesome FREE online food storage calculator over at ReadyNutrition.com. This calculator will make planning your food storage stockpile a tad easier!
Is a Stockpile Enough?
If you have a 3-month stockpile, you’ll be better prepared than 99.99% of most people, that’s for sure. But that food too will run out, and if things don’t come back to normal after a few months or even a year, you’ll need to do what our great-grandfathers used to do: work the field to feed yourself and your family.
Having a survival garden is a great way to complement your stockpile because it can feed your family for life and keep you 100% food independent.
What Should I Start With?
Contrary to what you might think, starting to build your large stockpile is not the first step to being prepared. If you haven’t already, you first need to think about stocking up your bug out bag as well as your bug out location with food, water, medicine and anything else you might need. An emergency bag plus a few supplies inside your car’s trunk are essential and should be taken care of before tackling about your actual stockpile.
I have Those Already, Can I Start Building My Stockpile?
Sure! But before you start spending, you need to figure out where you’re going to keep everything. If you have a cellar or basement, you’re all set (unless you have problems with pests and humidity). Cellars and basements are cool, dry (hopefully), and dark, perfect for keeping your edibles for years or even decades.
If you don’t have a basement, a well-ventilated pantry will do, though you won’t get quite as much shelf life. That’s not really a huge problem (not pre-WCS, at least), because you can simply rotate your food a little more often (say every 8 months or so – there’s no magic number). In fact, once you read my recommendations, you’ll see that many of them are what you already eat on a weekly or even on a daily basis.
Which Foods Should I Stockpile?
The staples for a solid survival stockpile are rice, dried beans, and pasta. White rice, to be exact because it lasts longer than brown (although brown is more nutritious and better for your health).
For storage, the standard procedure is to use Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, then place those bags in 5-gallon food-grade plastic buckets. If you’re worried about rodents, you can go ahead and store those buckets into metal ones (as mice and rats can chew plastic). Of course, not everything needs oxygen absorbers. Salt doesn’t, for instance, because salt itself is a preservative.
In addition, you’ll also want to consider honey, peanut butter, powdered milk, beef jerky and canned food (veggies, fruits, and fish). Feel free to experiment with them, see which brands taste better, which ones have a longer shelf life and which ones are healthier. For example, foods high in sodium may last longer but the extra salt comes at a price.
How Do I Go About Purchasing Everything?
A good way of doing it is to first have a one week supply, then a one month supply, then 2 months and so on. Of course, if you’re fortunate to catch a big sale on some of the items, it’s ok to spend extra on one type of food, even if you’re not fully covered for the time bracket you’re currently prepping for.
Keep in mind you’ll end up spending thousands per family member, so finding great deals should be a top priority. I highly recommend you start an Excel or a Google Doc where you write on one sheet everything you buy and on another that you keep a wishlist of things you want. Every once in a while, when you click on those links and some of them will have a nice discount (all products are discounted at one point or another, it’s a matter of timing and persistence).
BONUS TIP! During your weekly shopping run, grab a few extra cans of food, a sack of rice, beans or several packets of pasta, etc. This is a great way to slowly build up your stockpile without hurting the pocket.
Of course. Food is one thing, but you also need to consider water, medicine, gear, tools to cook and eat your food, communications gear, and so on. These will all suck money out of your pocket if you’re not careful, so please don’t rush to buy anything until you have a plan and you’re sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
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