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What’s The Most Important Thing People Can do to Prepare Themselves in Today’s Troubled Economy?

This post is part of a week long cross blog celebration of national preparedness month where we, as blog owners and preppers, answer five interesting and pertinent questions–one per day–and request that you, the reader, provide your own answers as well in the comments section below. Equally important, we request that you visit the other awesome participating blogs as well in order to get to better know the blog owners and their sites. The other participating sites are mostly sites that I highly recommend you visit anyway and include: ApartmentPrepper.comDoomAndBloom.netIfItHitsTheFan.comModernSurvivalOnline.comSeasonedCitizenPrepper.com, and The Retreat. Please choose to visit these other sites and give feedback. Thank you.

Wow! That’s a tough question to answer given the myriad of possible options. Sure, we could talk about investing in precious metals, buying junk silver, getting out of the stock market, or avoiding real estate; however, I would suggest that there is only one correct answer that really works for everyone, and that is: food storage.

Yup, food storage. Well, food storage AND a bit of experience to go with it, which I’ll touch on in a bit. Anyway, think about your grocery store bills over the past year or two. I know it hasn’t been going down in price. Packages are getting smaller, you’re getting less and less product even if package sizes stay the same, and yet prices continue to rise. Some truly believe that our food quality is getting worse for a number of reasons. I’ve even seen articles recently stating that food prices are going to significantly increase at the beginning of next year.

I don’t know about you but that’s really going to “put the screws to us” if food prices continue to rise. Because of this fact, I’m looking to seriously increase our bulk food storage and really begin to utilize what we have, you know, as we’re supposed to! At the very least it’s good insurance against any number of scenarios, including inflation and it gives us options. For example, instead of sweating bullets because a loaf of bread is $10 each, we would have the ability to make our own at a fraction of the cost. Of course, the expectation is that we have all of the other ingredients necessary as well as the knowledge of how to do so.

Knowledge is key. It really was but a few years ago that I didn’t even understand some basics about bread making! If it didn’t go in the microwave chances were pretty good I didn’t know how to cook it. Ok, I wasn’t that bad but you get the idea. Now, I can make bread with a variety of ingredients and even just a few (though still following a recipe). I can make rising bread without yeast (which doesn’t store well, by the way) and I understand how to make other breads such as pan-fried “30 second” bread. I can make bread in my sun oven too, which is totally awesome. :) If I didn’t know how to do this then where would I be? Literally stuck in the bread line along with everyone else who can’t make their own bread.

The point about all this bread-making talk is that I can now see we have options other than the grocery store. I can now see that I don’t need to rely on the grocery store for something as simple as bread any longer. Yes, we do occasionally grind wheat but it’s a pain considering that we can just buy bread or even flour. Regardless, I can say that I have the skills to make bread. Most people in my generation (Gen X) don’t even realize they can make their own food, let alone consider actually doing it. And that’s a shame. It wasn’t that long ago (a generation or two) where families routinely made a majority of their own food. We’ve lost this critical skill.

I’m afraid, however, that we’re going to get a crash-course in it again very soon. And, in order to be ready for it, we need to get ahead of the curve so-to-speak. We need to have not only the basic ingredients to make a majority of our own food, but the tools (e.g., wheat grinder) and the skills to do so. For example, do you have any basic recipes? You might find my Food Storage Recipe Database (Excel file) to be useful as it lists several hundred basic recipes that utilize food storage ingredients. Do you have a wheat grinder? While you can easily spend many hundreds of dollars on a quality grinder (which may be what you want if you’re expecting to grind wheat daily) but even a small grinder would prove quite useful. I recently reviewed the Back to Basics model here. These things will be difficult to come by if times get tough.

As I’ve stated multiple times already, food storage provides you with options. Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast put it best–and I’m paraphrasing quite a bit–that if you have, say 3 months of food storage, but you still have the ability to purchase 75% of your normal food supplies then that 3 months of food storage could extend your food purchasing power to nearly a year at 100% capacity. In other words, your 3 months of food storage would be able to take up the slack and provide the missing 25% for roughly a year. Let that sink in for a moment. Now, consider what 6 months or a full year would do for you.

Back to the original scenario, while everyone around you is suffering because they can only get 75% of what they’re accustomed to (and for some of us that’s not a bad thing) or they’re turning down the heat to just above freezing in order to pay for food, you may not have to. That’s very powerful. Granted, food storage will only get you so far. It WILL run out. But the purpose was never to last forever… just to give you options, and that’s what counts.

13 comments to What’s The Most Important Thing People Can do to Prepare Themselves in Today’s Troubled Economy?

  • Gadabout

    Forgot to mention that these ingredients will make 4 gallons of detergent!

  • Gadabout

    Someone mentioned making soap. While I haven’t gone that route yet, I have been using homemade laundry soap for over a year now. There are recipes online that use only 1/3 of a bar of fels naptha soap, and 1/2 cup each of borax and washing soda. These ingredients are a lot easier to store for the long term than those big expensive plastic jugs of the stuff that contain lots of other chemicals and perfumes that you don’t need to get your clothes clean. Think of the money I’ve saved over the year; more to stock up on rice! Every time I go to the hardware store I get a few bars of fels naptha.

    • I’ve tried making my own laundry soap in the past and it didn’t work out so well; I think I diluted it down too much. I do store these ingredients for this purpose but have found that the borax (and maybe the super washing soda) has begun to cake due to moisture absorption.

  • Gadabout

    As a diagnosed celiac for the past 10 years, I can tell you that bread is not all that important. Stock up on all forms of pasta, rice, and plant some potatoes.
    Last time I was in Costco you could still get a 25# bag of rice for under $10. What’s not to like about that? Pack it in tilia food saver bags, or in 2 qt mason jars sealed with your tilia food saver attachment, or in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. I had put a large bag of it in the bag it came in under the sofa and the mice got to it. Be careful. They can chew through mylar too so put those bags either in large rubbermaid tubs or those 5 gal buckets with a lid.

    • I wasn’t necessarily saying that bread was important, I was saying that it’s important to be able to do so, to have the knowledge and ingredients to do so. The same can be said for any food stape you’re accustomed to eating.

  • T.R.

    Food , fuel shortages is my guess . I would also suggest firearms …..you may need to protect yourselves and what you have from those that are trying to survive by other means . just sayin

  • EFS

    I agree on food storage. I also very much agree with your point about skills (such as making bread). I think it is a good idea to practice a new skill each month. Making bread, canning, making soap, gardening, etc. Learn how to make the things that you regularly rely on others (manufacturers) to make and see how long it takes before you really don’t need much from the grocery store at all.

    • I’ve still got a LONG WAY to go in the food skills department! Regardless, it is interesting to note how fulfilling it is to actually make my own food at times… I feel empowered. :)

  • Bev

    I always find your postings so accurate and refreshing! Loved the part about 75%/25%! I never thought of it that way!
    My hedge with food storage is to be able to buy on sale and not have to need to buy at full price! Keeping a full pantry has saved my tail so many times! The grocery budget seems to be the first one to take a hit if the car isn’t running, etc.
    Thank YOU again!

  • Jared

    I completely agree with food storage but is a SHTF scenario comes down really hard food production and preservation would be better. But because the question refers to current economical times I think you hit the nail on the head!

    • Ultimately food storage is finite. Food production (in whatever form) and preservation are the obvious next steps but unless you’re already heavily invested in this you need food storage to get you to that point.

  • SillyD

    I’m seeing a similar theme amongst many bloggers that food storage is the way to go in most any situation. I’m glad you brought it up again and more importantly point out why food storage is so important.