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I buy bulk items from a variety of places here in Arkansas and also off of the internet.  Sam’s Club has the best prices locally on things like pinto beans, rice, #10 cans of tomato sauce, fruits, vegetables, etc.  Dollar Tree is one of the frugal homemaker’s best kept secrets for saving money on grocery items.  They have name brand canned goods for $1 each (Spaghetti-Os, Treet (like Spam), Campbell’s Soup).

Local grocery stores and even Walmart also sell #10 cans of food, and it works out to be much cheaper per serving.  Please be aware that not everything at Walmart is a good deal.  I used to shop at Walmart almost exclusively until I realized they hardly ever put items on sale, but grocery stores and smaller discount chains do – weekly.  Now before ya’ll start shaking your fingers at me over Walmart, please note I do still shop there…some.  Just not for everything, and certainly not for all of our groceries.  I’ve witnessed in our own hometown how one grocery store was put out of business completely by Walmart.  It’s scary to think about – one day the only store we may have to shop at is Wally World!  Expand your shopping adventures and try some of the smaller stores.  You might just be surprised at what you find.  🙂

If you have a deep freeze, you can purchase a half side of beef (or a whole cow) and put it in the freezer.  The only downside to this is if the power goes off for an extended amount of time.  I fill gallon milk jugs with water and stick in the freezer to help keep it colder longer for that reason.  Most cities have a butcher shop where you can get excellent quality meat for a lot less when you buy in bulk.

If you want to order bulk quantities online, there are several reputable dealers I can recommend.  Please be aware that most companies are handling a huge amount of orders right now, and are backed up at least 12 weeks.  Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either!  Apparently, there are a lot of us with the notion to store food for long-term use!

Here are a few links to get you started (they’ll open in a new window).  I have either ordered from these companies myself, or personally know people who have and were very pleased with their service.  I’m not being paid to refer folks to their website.   I just know how hard it is to trust companies online if you’ve never dealt with them!   🙂

(Update 11/18/08:  I removed Internet-Grocer from the list. I’ve had an order with them since July and it’s now almost Thanksgiving and it has never arrived. I cannot get them to answer email, even to give an update with “I don’t know when it will ship”. Therefore, I no longer recommend using them.)

www.beprepared.com – Emergency Essentials – located in UT and are super quick to ship, plus extremely reasonable on shipping and handling charges.

www.waltonfeed.com – one of the oldest in business.  They recently updated their website and some of the areas that were previously available are no longer up.  I hope they add them back as time allows.

I hope this helps!

Have a great weekend!  😀

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One of the things I see most often is people not knowing what to stockpile or where to even start.  The best suggestion I have is to make a list of what you use in a month, and initially base your preparations from that.

Every family is different, but every family has basic food requirements that have to be met.

There are a lot of things you can pick up when they are on sale and slowly build your pantry and storage without wrecking your budget.  As previously mentioned, be sure to shop the grocery aisles in discount stores such as Dollar General, Fred’s, and Dollar Tree.

A basic list would include some or all of the following:

  • Water – 1 gallon per person, per day – ideally 2 weeks’ worth (includes water for cooking needs)
  • Flour – white, wheat, rye, soy – whatever your family likes
  • Grains – oats, grits, cream of wheat, cracked wheat, popcorn, etc.
  • Sugars – granulated white, powdered, brown, honey (or molasses), pancake syrup
  • Salt – iodized table salt, sea salt, kosher, etc.
  • Yeast – if you plan on making bread
  • Oil – olive, vegetable, corn, peanut, etc., and/or shortening
  • Butter – counts as an oil, but you can freeze or can the butter, or use butter flavored shortening as a substitute
  • Eggs – fresh is always best, but you can buy powdered eggs to use in an emergency
  • Baking supplies – corn starch, baking soda, baking powder, spices, muffin liners, cocoa powder, etc.
  • Dried beans – lots of varieties such as pinto, black, lentils, great northern, navy, kidney, red, etc.
  • Corn meal or corn bread packets (I really like Morrison’s Corn Kits, but it may be a regional item)
  • Rice – long grain white, brown, jasmine, etc.
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly or jam
  • Dried or canned fruits/vegetables
  • Dried or canned meats – jerky, chicken, beef, ham
  • Nuts – pecans, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, etc.
  • Treats for the kids (or the chocoholic in you   🙂   ) – chocolate chips, candy bars, hard candy, Pop Tarts (which have a shockingly long shelf life!), etc.
  • Boxed cereals
  • Condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, pickles, olives, etc.
  • Ramen noodles (VERY cheap, and store well)
  • Dry pasta and canned sauces
  • Coffee, tea, Kool-Aid, Tang, Nestle Quik (chocolate/strawberry), hot cocoa mix, etc.
  • Powdered milk
  • Fruit juice or juice boxes
  • Canned soups – chicken noodle, tomato, vegetable, cream of chicken/mushroom, etc.
  • Crackers – saltines, Ritz, Wheat Thins, Sociables, etc.
  • Canned chili or tamales
  • Apple sauce
  • Instant mashed potatoes (not bad with some cheese and garlic powder added in)
  • Canned tuna fish, SPAM, vienna sausages, etc.  (In an emergency, it’s better than nothing!)

If you don’t know how to make bread (or cook), I highly recommend you learn.  Anyone can learn how to cook with some practice and patience.  Good cooks are not always born – they develop over time.  🙂

For other basic supplies, a beginning list could include:

  • Matches
  • Candles or oil lamps with extra lamp oil and wicks
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Battery powered AM/FM radio
  • Extra blankets/pillows
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Napkins
  • Kleenex
  • Laundry detergent and supplies (stain remover, dryer sheets. etc.)
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Ziploc bags (gallon, quart, sandwich bags)
  • Trash bags
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Baby powder/foot powder
  • Cotton balls
  • Q-tips
  • Shaving cream
  • Razors
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Pet food (dry and canned)
  • Extra canning jars/lids/rings
  • Seeds for planting a garden (use good quality seeds – not the Walmart .25 cent packages)

Consider starting a garden, or planting a few fruit trees in your yard.

These are just some ideas to get you started.  The important thing is to actually begin to prepare before an emergency strikes.  Having food and supplies onhand for your family is a peace of mind that is priceless!

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