Monday, August 13, 2012

My $200 Emergency Food Supply

I feel that it’s important to be prepared for any number of emergency or disaster scenarios. From financial collapse to natural disasters, a variety of possibilities are out there that could make it difficult, if not impossible to make it to the supermarket or local grocery store…or even leave our home for that matter.

In such a situation, it could prove invaluable to have an emergency stock of supplies on hand. However, I’m not one to go out and throw thousands of dollars at such a supply. Therefore, I’ve worked at developing a sufficient, yet affordable supply of food and water that could last us a month or more, for only about $200.

The Plan
My plan when it comes to our $200 emergency food supply is to be able to outlast any reasonable emergency relatively comfortably for at least a month…hopefully longer. While this won’t entail indulging in gourmet meals and sipping on expensive wine during this time, we will be able to sustain ourselves on meals that we’d likely be eating anyway – emergency or not – for at least a month, and be able to survive on reduced consumption and meal options for at least another month, maybe two, after that, doing this with a limited space (we live in a 900 square foot condo), and without breaking the budget.

My Supplies and Costs
While I don’t plan to list everything contained within our emergency food supply, I would like to provide a general idea of what we have purchased in larger quantities and in what amounts. While it’s not a perfect supply list, in an emergency we’ll be willing to make certain sacrifices when it comes to portion sizes and healthy eating requirements.

Pasta – $1 per box x 10 boxes = $10

Mixed canned goods – .50 cents per can x 20 cans = $10

Peanut butter – $5 per container x 3 containers = $15

Cereal, chips, pretzels -- $2 per box/bag x 10 = $20

Juice (my wife is a type I diabetic) – $2 per jug x 5 jugs = $10

Flour/sugar/biscuit mix/salt/pepper – $10

Raman Noodles – $2.50 per 12 pack x 3 = $7.50

Jars of Pasta Sauce – $2 per jar x 5 = $10

Assorted crackers, jams/jellies/condiments/cookies/pickles/olives, etc. = $30

One bottle tequila = $10

One container dehydrated milk = $10

10 lb bag of rice = $5

Water – 12 gallons mixed bottled and one gallon containers = $10

Total Cost: About $160

Hiccups in our Plan
As I mentioned, we don’t live in a large space. This means that storage for our food supply is at a premium. This also means that storing gallons upon gallons of water – while largely free since we tend to fill up cleaned out one-gallon milk jugs – is also difficult due to limited available storage space; and therefore, most of the water we’d have on hand during an emergency would be used for drinking, not cooking.

This is somewhat of a problem since things like rice, pasta, noodles, etc. (a large part of our emergency supplies) require water for cooking. Therefore, we’d likely have to utilize the same water over and over again for pasta cooking, and limit our rice and dehydrated milk intake.

Remaining Additions and Costs
There are still a few items that I’d like to eventually add over the next few months to our $200 emergency food supply, but that aren’t necessary to its success. We’d like to stock up on a few more canned goods, add a couple more boxes of cereal (since they have a good shelf life, we like it, and it’s cheap and edible without milk), two or three extra containers of baby formula (since we have a new baby on the way), and a few more bottles of alcohol.

I add alcohol to the list not just because I’d be trapped for an extended timeframe in a tiny condo with my wife and two small children, but because of its various other purposes (treating wounds, bartering, and yes, dulling the pain of suffering through a prolonged disaster scenario).

These costs would likely add another $75 in expenses, bumping up our total emergency food supply costs to around $225.

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