- Shop for loss leaders each week at the grocery store. Loss leaders are the super low cost sale items that grocery stores use each week to lure shoppers into their store so that they will buy other stuff as well. Skip the other stuff and buy as much of the loss leaders as you can (most have a limit but if you bring the spouse and four kids with you you will be able to buy five times the number of items).
- Buy in bulk. It is much cheaper to buy 50 pounds of rice than it is to buy a small five pound bag of rice. Ditto for most other things such as oats, pinto beans, etc. You want to be cautious, however, when you buy huge restaurant-sized cans of food because if there is only one or two of you, opening one of these huge cans means you will need to eat the entire can of stuff lest it go bad.
- Go fishing or hunting. While there is the expense for the license, firearm/fishing pole, ammo, etc, putting up a dozen fish each weekend or an entire elk will fill your freezer in a heartbeat.
- Buy an entire animal. Buying an entire pig/cow/etc and having it properly butchered and wrapped is another way to fill up your freezer quickly and this will generally be cheaper than buying small cuts of meat at the grocery store.
- Grow a garden. You can grow (literally) a ton of vegetables for pennies on the dollar with a bit of practice and planning. You will then be able to take your harvest and freeze/can/dry/pickle the items for use at a later date and bulk up your pantry at the same time.
- Glean/u pick/forage for produce. Even if you don't have space for your own garden, you can usually get produce cheaper and fresher than buying it at a grocery store by going to a u-pick farm, gleaning a field after harvest (with permission of course), or foraging for wild edibles.
- Shop at the $1 store or similar discount store. Some $1 stores have a paltry amount of canned and dried good while others (the 99 cent store chain in Las Vegas for example) have a huge amount of really, really cheap food. Be sure that you know your prices before you shop (some items cost less than $1 at Walmart or other stores so it would be better to get the items there) and also know your sizes--many $1 stores sell food items that are packaged specifically for them and this often means that the grocery item that looks so cheap is actually much smaller than what you would buy in a regular grocery store so do your research first.
- Go dumpster diving. Some people have taken dumpster diving to an art form and can practically eat for free every day of the year this way. While initially this sounds like an icky way to fill up your pantry, it is still a viable option to get food on the cheap (examples here).
- Ask. Simply let people know that you would be more than happy to take the extra apples they have accumulated, the boxed goods from the back of their pantry that they were going to throw away because they never eat the stuff, etc. When people think of getting rid of food, you want them to think of you.
- Go in on purchases with others. Maybe you can't afford a 50 pound bag of rice or an entire cow so consider the next best option, splitting the cost of large food purchases with one or more people. By buying cooperatively and divvying up your purchases, you will still reap the cheaper costs of the food items and still be on your way to filling up your pantry.
Monday, October 1, 2012
Bulking Up Your Food Stockpile
You know you need a stockpile of food to tide you over in the event of TEOTWAWKI but building up a reserve of a year's worth of food to use in the event of a disaster (more likely it will be used in the event of an extended illness, job loss, impromptu large gathering of people at your home, etc) can be a pretty expensive undertaking. Here are some ways to build up your food stockpile on the cheap: