We’ll since I already have started, I guess this should actually have been titled How Do You Get Started…
How Do I Get Started?
If money is a non-issue for you this is the way to go and in the long run it is probably the cheapest route too. Look for local (or even relatively local) food wholesalers, warehouses or even supermarkets that will offer special pricing on bulk purchases. Once you find such an outlet make your list and negotiate away (if you can) and write the check.
It is really that simple.
The problem for most folks, including myself, is we don’t have that kind of cash laying around and if we did we might want to hang on to it for emergencies. So, for the rest of us we just…
Buy A Little Extra
Next time you go shopping and need a staple that you plan to stock up on, buy a little extra. Need a 5 pound bag of rice? Buy a ten pound bag, or two five pound bags, or whatever extra you can afford. This is a much slower way of building up your food reserves and consistency is critical.
If you are taking the Buy A Little Extra Approach make sure to watch for, and take advantage of sales. If you see an item on sale for a good price and know it is something you plan to stock up on buy a little extra at that point. You save a few dollars and get closer to your goals more quickly.
Especially if you are on a budget, you might want to spend some time prioritizing what items to focus on first. Foods that combine a long shelf life and high nutritional value should be on top of your list. Grains, I choose rice, combined with beans have a good number of calories per pound, lots of nutritional value, are pretty inexpensive and have a pretty good shelf life when stored properly. That would be a good place to start, if you eat beans and rice (see The Basics Of Food Storage Part 3: The Golden Rule). Other considerations to focus on from the start with would be salt, sugar and honey. Honey is a great source of nutrition and calories after all John The baptist lived exclusively on locusts and wild honey.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
Matthew 3:4 (NIV)
Honey also has a ton of other uses as well including medicinal and as an anti-bacterial. Like salt and sugar, if stored properly has an almost indefinite shelf life.
By stocking up a little at a time the expiration dates on the your supplies will be staggered. This makes rotating your supplies much easier.
The downside of the Buying A Little Extra approach is obvious. Until you meet your storage goals (refer back to The Basics Of Food Storage Part 2: How Much?) you could be caught out by an unforeseen disaster, as most of them tend to be.
So, now that you have some ideas on how much to stock and how to get started let’s go on to a little tougher topic: