When people think of getting prepared they often think of spending a lot of money on things
they will probably never use but that they should have around as insurance. When we started our preparedness journey as newly weds still in college extra money and extra space where completely nonexistent so having extra, useless stuff lying around as a definite no go. Through that experience, coupled with our unique personalities, life experiences and preferences, we developed our own way of doing food storage and preparedness that didn't follow any of the guidelines we'd seen. And the crazy thing was that by creating this system we found we were saving ourselves a ton of money. Here are some of the ways we noticed we saved money as we focused on preparedness (read to the end for the bonus).
Lock in the Lowest Price
For us getting prepared meant we wanted to start having some amount of food on hand at all times. That food storage started pretty small, with only a couple weeks of food at first, then 3 months and eventually a years worth. We created a food storage system that is self-rotating, full of food we eat (and enjoy) every day, and that functions as an in house grocery
store. Instead of shopping for a week at a time, or even a month at a time, we are shopping for 6-12 months at a time when we find food storage items on a good sale. By doing this we are locking in the lowest price for a year at a time instead of just a week or two. Saving a couple dollars may not see like much but check out the math. Butter for the store brand is $3.19 pound (and going up) and we stock up when it is less than $2.00 a pound. Last time it was $0.10, $0.99 and $1.89 so we got some (all the store had) at each price point. We got around 20 pounds of butter in one trip. Full price that would have cost us $63.80. At $1.89 it would be only $37.80. At $0.99 it would be $19.80 and at $0.10 it would be $2.00. You may not be able to find $0.10 a pound butter but even $1.89 saves you $26! You start doing that with a few frequently used foods and you are looking at serious cash! It really adds up in the long run.
Because we shop for food in amounts to last us 6-12 months we often buy in bulk. Bulk as in 50 pound bags of oatmeal and 25 pound bags of flour, not bulk as in CostCo sized containers. When you buy larger quantities of food it is often at a much cheaper price per ounce or pound. Check out the math with just oatmeal. At Walmart Quaker Oats are $4 per 42 ounce container ($0.10/ounce). Winco quick oats are $14.49/25 pound bag ($0.04/ounce). You’d need 10 containers of Quaker Oats to equal 25 pounds which would cost you about $40 compared to $14.49. That is $25.50 in savings! Walmart brand is still $2.70 ($0.06/ounce) so you save $12.51 by buying in bulk. It may not seem like much but it really adds up quickly when you start looking at the savings over a year. When you start doing this with almost all the food you eat you are saving yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.
Cuts Down on Impulse Purchases
Every time you go to the store there is probably greater than an 80% chance that you are going to come home with something you didn't intend to buy (statistic based on personal experience...). If you aren't going to the store as often because you already have what you need on hand then you aren't going to be buying as many things. Not to mention it cuts down on gas and time spent at the store, and time is money.
You Can Do It Yourself
Preparedness isn't just about having stuff, it's also about learning skills. Gaining skills that
help you do things yourself can save you so much money. Take cars for example. Our mechanic (who is totally worth the money because he is awesome) is $80/hour. But for little things like an oil change use YouTube University and learn to do it yourself if you don't already know how. An oil change takes 30 minutes and we have 3 cars. Changing the oil on our vehicles ourselves saves us around $120. You can also apply this principle to food. At Kneaders a loaf of sourdough bread is $5.00 per loaf (and it's probably not even real sourdough). It costs us $0.60 per loaf for real, long fermented, mostly whole wheat loaf of sourdough perfection (we have plans to share the recipe along with our tricks on making whole wheat delicious so stay tuned). We eat 3 loafs of bread a week on average. Thats over $13.00 a week saved on bread plus what we make is better for your health.
You Know Basic First Aid
Having basic medical skills is an important part of preparedness but it also helps save you money. When you have basic skills you will find there are so many things you don't need to run to the doctor for because you know how to take care of it at home. Each of us has basic and some advanced first aid training and there have been so many trips to the doctor avoided because we knew what to do at home (because we have 3 kids and let's be real, they are harder to keep alive than you might think).
You Are Physically Fit
Part of preparedness should be taking care of your physical health. If you are doing what you need to do to be physically fit you likely aren't going to to have to run to the doctor as much in the first place. You won't be spending tons money on prescriptions. Those can add up quick. Something like a rosacea skin cream can cost $300 for one tube without insurance. With insurance it can still be $50-75. Start adding in pills for lifestyle related diseases and you are looking at serious money. And take it from a dietitian, most diseases we struggle with in first world countries are lifestyle related which means to a large extent it's up to you to take control of your life to prevent the diseases most likely to be a problem for you. So take care of your health to be prepared and have better quality of life and you'll also be saving yourself money.
Planning Ahead to Shop Sales
When you are looking at the world through the lense of preparedness you are striving to be two steps ahead in all areas of life. This has huge advantages because by having this mindset shift you are ready to take advantage of sales. You can buy clothes a season or year ahead and either shop end of the season clearance or shop yard sales and thrift stores for great finds. We often get our kids clothes for $2-3 per item and create them a capsule wardrobe for around $50-75 per season. You can do this with school supplies and shop back-to-school sales, end of the season clearance items, or scratch and dent sales. We do this with our kids (who we homeschool) and just by shopping at one scratch a dent sale we saved over $150...on school supplies for 2 years out because we'd already gotten everything we needed for this coming school year during a different sale. Now we have time to keep looking and get the rest of our curriculum at great prices because we planned ahead. Planning ahead can save you money when shopping vehicles or appliances or really any purchase. By planning ahead you can also take advantage of free things when they come your way as well which is the
ultimate good deal.
Saves You Time and Fuel
Preparing and planning ahead saves you so much time and gas money. You don't have to run to the store every week. You don't have to be constantly running around playing catch up with the next thing on your list. Save yourself all that time, energy and money by planning ahead so you can free yourself up to enjoy life more. Take a step back from the rat race and enjoy smooth sailing by adding more preparedness to your life.
Preparedness saves you so much money and adds to your quality of life. You may be thinking to yourself, "This sounds like a lot of work for a couple dollars. I don't think it's worth it." But imagine a life where you aren't running out of milk, toilet paper or cereal and making runs to the grocery store at 11 pm. Imagine a life where you save hundreds to thousands of dollars on everyday purchases so you have money for fun things or bigger things. Imagine a life where emergencies aren't emergencies because you were prepared. We are here to tell you it is amazing and we think everyone should try it.