I grew up in a household that was prepping before prepping was cool.
If you told my father he was a prepper, he probably wouldn’t know what you were talking about.
But that is in fact what my father was. I am the proto-hipster, my dad is the proto-prepper.
So the concept of prepping, that is, banking on [insert problematic situation here] here is going to come and you might want to prepare for it, isn’t unfamiliar to me at all. What I started doing last year was modding some of what I was reading online (as in, since I don’t own firearms and don’t have the ability to do so at this time, nor do I think I would anyway, the advice of fighting ammo money into my budget was tactfully ignored) and what I learned growing up (a stockpile of cereal is great, but where’s the paper goods like TP and garbage bags?) into my own mini-prepping plan.
Most of what I ended up with was a food schedule-and we are still eating off of some of that food, from prior to when Mid was out of work until now.
This is only talking about food and dry goods prepping. I’m definitely not the person to talk to about survival training, firearm safety, or any of the other dozens of physical prepping skills (I do like the Survival Mom network).
Basic Food Prepping-and Why You Might Want to Think About It
1. Why prep a food stash?
Don’t think things like the end of the world, the collapse of society, or the zombie invasion. I mean, you can if you want to, I’m not going to stop you. But there are much more mundane things that you need to be worried about-weather conditions, health problems, life events like deaths or births, a loss of income or complete unemployment. These are the types of things you should be thinking about, not necessarily how to get to higher ground against hoards of the undead, or even the grid failing. Think Mundania first, always Mundania.
2. Figure out what you can actually use
Don’t waste money on a ‘good sale’ if it’s not going to get eaten. If your family doesn’t use peanut butter, it’s just going to waste space, even if your store is giving it away.
3. Figure out how much space you have
This is actually a big one. If you have a huge rambling 2 kitchen farmhouse like the one I grew up in, you’re going to have a completely different plan than my shoe box apartment. The reason I have no canning material this summer? I’m out of food storage space.
4. Set up your food schedule
Yes, a food schedule. What are you going to buy and when are you going to buy it? What I normally do, when I set out to food prep, is assign a different item to each week-proteins week 1, baking supplies week 2, canned goods week 4, and so on.
5. Figure out how much you need to spend each week
And this is the big surprise, I think, for a lot of people-I normally prep with $5 a week. If I have an extra $5 in the budget, I spend that $5 on whatever that week’s theme is. So I might get $5 worth of dried or canned beans, or meat if I find a cheap package.
6. Figure out how you’re going to store it
This is different from how much space-this is how you’re going to use this space. Are you going to freeze stuff? Put stuff in storage buckets? Can it? Do you have the supplies needed? Don’t show up with 40 pounds of flour and nowhere to keep it.
7. Don’t forget about other physical needs
Like I said, I prep for Mundania, so things like winters like last year’s and unemployment. I’ve seen a lot of stuff on Facebook about how you can use family cloth and not worry about TP (which I mean, is true, I guess, if you can handle that). But unless I happen to be unemployed at the same time the grid falls, I’m more concerned with the former over the latter.
What I’m saying is this-try to have one of your weeks dedicated to dry goods like garbage bags, dish soap, laundry soap, toilet paper, other supplies you might need. Watch sales, hit dollar stores, coupon. I’ve found that other than proteins and meats, this the most expensive area for me, so don’t be surprised if your x dollars means that you’re taking awhile to build up a stash.
That said, I’m still working on my dish soap stash from this winter.
8. Make what you can
Cook what you can from scratch, and make as many of your cleaning products as you can get away with. Your budget will go that much further if you’re buying baking soda, flour, and vinegar instead of 409 and Oreos.