Survivalists and other people interested in preparedness are just like other consumers: when making purchases, they wish to obtain the most value per pound spent. Military MREs may be ideal survival foods, but the cost adds up quickly. Due to the expense involved in long-term food storage, experienced survivalists have become experts in finding the best prices and scouting out the best deals to lower both the overall cost and unit cost of storage foods.
Whether you consider yourself a long-term survivalist or you merely want to be prepared for the next flood, blizzard or extended power outage, you can ensure that you have a good supply of nutritious food stored -- and to do so at a reasonable cost. Survivalists can reduce food costs in two ways: buying in bulk, to reduce unit cost, or purchasing foods when they are least expensive.
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Cheapest price foods
Although students may be able to survive on ramen noodles, microwave popcorn and supermarket-brand fruit cocktail, these are not the choices for survivalist food stocks. Like other consumers, survivalists want nutritious foods that have high-quality protein, quality carbohydrates and healthy essential fats.
Decrease the cost of these essential foods with a combination of retail sales, coupon usage and purchasing generic brands. For example, canned tuna is a prized choice of survivalists; it provides high-quality protein and lasts for quite a while in storage. However, the brand names are costly. Instead of buying the brand name, purchase the store brand; these generic versions are usually produced by the same large companies that manufacture the branded versions.
Watch for sales at your local supermarkets and clip coupons from the newspapers. Even brand names become affordable if you can combine a sale with coupons, which are often doubled at supermarkets.
Survivalist foods that you should buy when they are at their cheapest tend to be prepared foods. These include canned meats, peanut butter, canned beans and canned fruits and vegetables.
Low unit cost foods
Already lower-cost foods can become extremely cost-effective when purchased in bulk. These tend to be grains and other agricultural products. When packaged and stored properly, these foods have the longest known shelf lives -- measured in decades. In a few cases, stored grains, preserved in a dry environment, have been found in Egyptian pyramids. Stored in oxygen-free packaging and kept away from excessive heat, these foods have been demonstrated to maintain their nutritional value long after initial storage.
Survivalist foods that can be purchased at low unit costs when bought in bulk include grains (especially wheat), legumes, rice, dried fruits and dehydrated vegetables, honey, flour and sugar. Frequently, these items are already vacuum-sealed by the manufacturer -- meaning that you will not incur any additional costs to package them for long-term storage.
Purchasing cheap foods
You can achieve lower unit costs on expensive canned foods by purchasing in multiple packs at chain warehouse or wholesale retailers, like Costco or Makro. These products usually have lower unit costs than their supermarket counterparts. Additionally, warehouse clubs issue members-only coupons that can decrease the unit cost even further. You can find excellent deals on canned goods, spices, cooking oils and many other products.
Food co-ops (cooperative buying clubs) are great sources to buy grains and other staples in bulk; many will sell to non-members for a very modest service charge. Your local health food retailer will be happy to place special orders for you; although you usually pay a slightly higher retail price than ordering the products yourself, you usually will still save money by avoiding expensive shipping charges. Bulk grains and vegetables are good choices with these retailers.
If you live in a rural area, agricultural markets and farm supply shops are a great source for purchasing grains in bulk. Because the products are sold close to their growing locations, the costs are usually the lowest retail prices you will find for bulk wheat, corn, oats, rye and other grains.
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