The first step is to take inventory of what you have – you may be surprised to realize that you already have a week or a month of supplies in your pantry. Read “If You Don’t Know What You Have, You Don’t Know What You Need!” for more detailed information on inventorying the items that you already have. (Note: the 52 Weeks to Preparedness section of the website Ready Nutrition contains a wealth of information for the beginning prepper. It’s a budget-friendly approach to getting prepared!)
Once you’ve figured out where you are as far as supplies are concerned, you must figure out a way to finance your prepping endeavors. Your budget may be so tight that you can barely keep the lights on but there is still hope. When you change the way you shop, you’ll soon find that some of the budgetary stress is relieved. But first things first, you have to free up enough money to get started.
If your house is anything like mine, you probably have a whole refrigerator full of leftovers – resist the urge to do your normal weekly shopping trip and feed your family leftovers combined with the goods you have in your pantry. Take that money that you would normally spend for groceries and let’s get started! No matter how small your budget is, you can begin building security for your family. I am basing these prices on my teeny tiny small-town grocery store, this week. You may be able to get more, based on what’s on sale in your area.
- 2 pound bag of rice
- 2 pound bag of beans
- 4 cans of spaghetti sauce
- 2 cans of peaches in water
- 1 jar of peanut butter
- 1 jug of white vinegar
- 5 gallon jug of water
everything in the $20 list and
- 4 boxes of saltine crackers
- 4 jars of unsweetened applesauce
- 2 pounds of sugar
- 5 pounds of flour
- 1 liter of olive oil
- 3 cans of green beans
- 2 boxes of baking soda
everything on the $20 list and the $50 list and
- 1 canister of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 canister of baking powder
- 10 pound bag of potatoes
- 5 pound bag of onions
- 5 pound bag of carrots
- 2 pounds of powdered milk
- 6 pounds of pasta
- 5 bags of dried spices of choice
- small assortment of treats (candy, chocolate chips, etc – you have $5 to spend on things that make life more pleasant!)
If you’ve ever checked out my website, The Organic Prepper, you may think these lists are in conflict with the “organic” theme. While I’d certainly love to see everyone give Monsanto the cold shoulder by buying local and organic, it’s just not always feasible, especially when you are just getting started. I’d rather see people begin to take control by having a supply like the one listed here – something that when combined with the foods in the cupboards might see you through a month of hard times.
What’s more, when you have this little bit of security – this one-month food investment – you can begin to build on this with healthier and more nutritious options. You can start learning how to be more self-sufficient by growing what you can, by learning to preserve food and by buying in bulk.