At the start of a new year, many of us make resolutions… and let’s face it, most of us fail to keep them. We have the best of intentions, but life, time, or money get in the way.
The same thing is true when it comes to building a one-year emergency food supply. We understand the importance of having a stock of emergency food on hand, but money or life can stop us dead in our tracks.
If you are hesitating to get started building an emergency food supply or have been meaning to finish your stockpile, just take a minute to consider the issues we’ve faced in the last two years:
- Natural disasters
- New food regulations
- Supply chain issues
- Cyber attacks on food suppliers
- Crop issues
Recently, Kraft Heinz Company offered to pay consumers $20 to NOT buy cream cheese or make cheesecake during the holidays due to a cream cheese shortage.
According to HITC, “The shortage stems from a combination of Covid-related factors, including transportation issues and labor problems, but also a reported cyber attack on the plants and distribution centers of Schreiber Foods.”
While cream cheese is not necessarily critical to your emergency stockpile, this situation highlights the myriad of threats to America’s food supply and the reasons why preparing isn't just important…it’s critical.
The problem is many of us don’t have enough money to buy a years’ worth of emergency food at once.
But money doesn’t have to be an obstacle. It is entirely possible to build a year’s emergency food supply in 2022 on almost any budget.
With a little patience and preparation, you can fill up your pantry little by little throughout the year. Here’s how...
1. Make a Plan
Of course, laying out how you’ll pay for a year of emergency food is important. But you also need a plan for what kind of emergency food you are going to purchase.
For example, are you going to buy canned foods from the grocery store or bulk emergency food designed specifically for long-term storage?
Here are some things to consider as you make your plan:
- What kind of emergency food do you want to stock?
- How much will you need to feed your entire household for a year?
- Which brands or companies do you prefer?
- What is the expected cost?
Having a concrete plan for what you want in your pantry at the end of the year will help you meet your goal.
[Related Read: Not All Emergency Food Is Created to Last — What You Need to Know]
2. Budget Accordingly
Once you have an idea of how much it will cost to stock up on a year’s worth of long-term emergency food, create a budget.
Calculate how much you need to put away monthly to meet your goal. Along with your regular expenses, add emergency food savings to your budget. With a clear budget, it is also easy to see how you can move money around to increase emergency food savings.
[Related Read: How to Stock Up Survival Supplies Without Breaking the Bank]
3. Prioritize Wants and Needs
When it comes to preparing for emergencies, the key is understanding they can happen at any time.
So, while you are planning to stockpile a year’s worth of emergency food little by little, you need to have some emergency food stocked right away.
With this in mind, prioritize your wants and needs.
For example, you may want to prepare to buy enough food for a month first. Then, build on top of this one-month supply.
This will ensure your family has some emergency food if a disaster strikes before the year is over (or before you have your one-year stash).
Similarly, it is important to stock up on the most essential items first, such as foods with enough calories, then add to your stock.
4. Make Cuts
If you want to prioritize building a one-year emergency food supply, it likely means you will need to make cuts in other parts of your family’s budget.
Start by cutting luxuries like subscription services. How will all five of your streaming services help if you lose power? They won’t—but emergency food will.
Take whatever money you save from canceling services and apply it to your emergency food savings.
5. Sell What You Don’t Need
Another way to add money to your emergency food savings is to sell what you don’t need. Almost everyone has items in their home that sit unused. As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Get serious about building your one-year food supply and sell items that are gathering dust and won’t prove useful in an emergency.
6. Look for Sales
Yes, it is costly to purchase a one-year emergency food supply for your family, but you can’t put a price tag on peace of mind.
The good news is that many emergency food suppliers offer sales or discounts throughout the year.
After you’ve met your initial goal (such as having a one-month supply of food), keep an eye out for sales from your favorite bulk food companies.
Helpful tip: Sign up for company emails to get alerts about sales.
7. Request Money or Food Supplies for Gifts
Another way to build up your emergency food supply throughout the year is to request food supply items or money that you’ll put toward meeting your food supply goal.
You can also request gift cards to use at your favorite emergency food supplier. If you get a work bonus, use this money to fund your food supply.
8. Use Your Tax Return
If you get a tax return in 2022, plan to use the bulk of it to purchase long-term emergency food supplies. This is a quick and easy way to stock up several weeks’ worth of emergency food.
For example, a 2-Week Emergency Food Supply (2,000+ calories/day) costs around $175.00.
9. Consider Financing
While it isn’t the right choice for everyone, another option is financing.
If you don’t have the money now but you know you will have it later (after budgeting and saving), financing could be the answer.
My Patriot Supply offers simple financing for emergency preparedness. Provide some basic information and get a real time decision to split your purchase into 3, 6, or 12 monthly payments from 0-30% APR.
10. Live Simple
We often talk about self-reliance in our Survival Scout articles. A key part of becoming self-reliant is learning how to live simply.
A bonus to living simply is that it is cheap! You save money by not trying to keep up with the Joneses or have the newest and fanciest gadgets.
This type of lifestyle change will make it easy to afford the things that really matter, such as peace of mind from having emergency food on hand.
Make long-term emergency food a priority, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply