Letter Re: The Least Expensive Way to Stock Up on Storage Food?

Mr Editor,
I’m a newcomer to your site. Last week, I followed a link from a news story that mentioned SurvivalBlog, and instantly found my favorite blog. I’ve been burning the midnight oil for the last few nights, going back through your archives. What amazing stuff! Thank you for sharing so much wisdom on preparedness and for so unselfishly putting out there free for the taking. (Oh, yeah, I should also say that you can count me in on a [voluntary] 10 Cent Challenge [subscription].Three bucks a month is a total bargain, in relation to what I’ve already gotten out of it, and will get out the blog in the future.) At the rate that I’m printing things out for my “Survival” binder, I’m gonna have to get a new inkjet cartridge! I can’t thank you enough for SurvivalBlog!

So now that I’ve come to recognize that I’m so pitifully under-prepared, where do I start? I want to buy some [storage] food, but I don’t live anywhere near any of the [storage food] companies. I tried your advertisers first, and then did web searches. None within 700 miles! (That is what I get for living in middle-of-nowhere Kansas. The only good news is that your “Golden Horde” won’t be anywhere near my house.) I’m afraid [that if I order from a distant vendor] the freight charges will make stocking up very expensive. So my question is: What is the least expensive way to stock up on food, by myself? There is a Sam’s Club only 80 miles away. (Which is considered “close” by people around here. LOL!) Will food that I buy in a warehouse store work for long term storage? Can I re-pack the pasta and other things that aren’t in cans? Speaking of that, I followed your advice and started gathering up five gallon [food grade] buckets from the local bakeries. You were right. They do just throw them away! But a few that I got are missing their lids, though.

Is there a good book that you can recommend on food storage for someone like me that is on a budget and wants to “do it myself”, but not go so far as “grow it myself.”?

Thanks in advance for your advice! – TJD, “Somewhere in Kansas”

JWR Replies: I may be biased, but I recommend the “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course as a good reference on food storage.

For any buckets that you acquire that are missing lids, I recommend that you buy Gamma Seal Lids. These have threaded lid tops, making them very convenient for accessing the storage foods that you use the most frequently. Gamma Seal lids fit standard 5 or 6 gallon buckets, and they seem to last forever. (We’ve been using some of our lids on a daily basis for 20+ years.) In addition to our storage food, we also use them on buckets used for poultry feed, wild bird seed, and dog food. They are available from Safecastle, Ready Made Resources, Nitro-Pak and several other vendors. BTW, many of these same vendors sell a “lid lifter” tool, which is very helpful in prying open sealed buckets that are not equipped with Gamma Seals.

Stocking up on bulk foods at a warehouse-type store (such as Sam’s Club or Costco) is indeed a good idea. I describe exactly what you can and should buy at your local “big box” store, in the “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course. In fact, the main narrative of the course was transcribed from a digital audio recording that publisher Jake Stafford made, as we spent the better part of a day at a Costco store. So you’ll find the course is a great match for your plan to stock up at a Sam’s Club. (The inventories at stores from both chains are quite similar.)