Should you Still be Buying Food?

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This is what $26 buys at Walmart
This is what $26 buys at Walmart/

Some months ago, I stopped stocking up on food, figuring I had enough. Now, I am not so sure. Everything is pointing to a problem that could last for years.

At a minimum, inflation will probably last through 2023 and possibly 2024. Food costs are skyrocketing and the food shortage may worsen next year. We are in a recession and it is likely to get worse. I believe we may be past the beginning of the end, but if winter is as bad as some expect, we could reach the point of no return. If Europe goes to hell this winter, we might follow them.

Perhaps it is time for me to stockpile food again.

A Quick Walmart Trip

I picked up the following at Walmart: three cans of roast beef, 3 cans of pork & beans, a single can of bacon flavored spam, 2 cans of beef stew, 2 packets of dried navy beans, and three packs of Knorr pasta. My total cost was $26.38 before taxes and the caloric value total 8,500 calories. That’s $6.21 for 2,000 calories. The best buy from a calorie standpoint was the dried beans, which were $1.13 per one-pound bag. One bag provides 13 servings of 100 calories. The Great Value baked beans were the next best buy from a calorie standpoint. This shows that when people tell you to stockpile rice and beans, they are right. Hand I bought dried beans instead of roast beef, I could have purchased more than 30,000 calories for the same $26.

It’s about more than calories, however. It’s about protein and fat, and while beans can provide the former, they provide little fat. Dried beans also don’t do much for me in terms of flavor, which is why I bought the Knorr’s pasta pouches. I got one pouch each of garlic, Parmesan, and chicken flavored pasta. No need to have separate spices or sauce. That’s also why I bought the bacon flavored Spam. I foresee a day where we either can’t buy bacon or can’t afford it. Spam may be a poor second, but it’s better than nothing.

Again, the pasta pouches cost about four times as much as a box of plan spaghetti or linguine, but I’m far enough into the game that I am not looking for basics. I’m buying for variety and flavor. If you are still at the beginning stages, buy large bags of rice, about half as many pounds of dried beans, and boxes of dried pasta. Focus on the basics like oatmeal, pancake mix, and peanut butter and add the canned meat products once you have built up a good supply of prepper pantry staples that have a good shelf life.

It’s worth noting that all the canned foods had expiration dates between July and October of 2024.

Sam’s Club

There were a few everyday items I needed from Sam’s Club, and rather than jump in the car and drive over an hour, I ordered them online. For my prepper pantry, I bought an 8-pack of Spam for $5 off, six cans of corned-beef hash, and a four-pack of Zatarain’s Jambalaya Rice Dinner Mix. All of this was about $36.50. However, it adds 16,400 calories tour prepper pantry, and at a lower cost per calorie than the Walmart purchase. (Demonstrating the value of bulk purchases at club stores.)

The Spam is so high in fat and calories that with the $5 off pricing, it was an excellent source of macronutrients at $2.12 per can. I’ve written about this before, so if you are new to prepper with grocery items or to this website, I recommend you read it.

For me, the jambalaya mix is in the same category as the pasta pouches: it adds flavor and variety to what might otherwise be a bland meal. Also, if we add some gamey meat, the spices will hide the gaminess. Surprisingly, it is also cheaper than the noodles on a per-calorie basis.

My Total Haul

My total shopping was $62.94 before tax and netted me 24,900 calories. That works out to just over $5 for 2,000 calories. For two people, this is only six days’ worth of food for $10 per day. I’d say that is expensive, but after more than a year of inflation, I guess I have to be satisfied.

It’s cheaper than a case of MREs, which will last two people three or four days. It’s less expensive than a full day of calories form one of those prepper bucket companies. This purchase is about the same price as a single #10 can of freeze dried food from a company like Mountain House, and many times more calories and servings.

Of course, we don’t plan to sit down and eat all this in six days. In a survival situation, we’ll stretch it out. We’ll add fresh eggs from our chickens. We’ll add other foods from our long-term storage food. For example, we have #10 cans of ABC Soup Mix. The roast beef can go in that to make a beef soup. We have buckets of wheat, which we’ll grind into flour and bake into bread. Some eggs and Spam can be added to rice to make a big batch of fried rice. We have many pounds of seeds and beans for sprouting and micro greens, which we will add to meals for nutrition to these canned and dried foods.

Future Purchases

Right now, I have about three months’ worth of chickenfeed in my garage. I’m looking to double that before November. I’ll pick up two bags of 10-10-10 fertilizer at the same time. We have some left, but everything I’m seeing says it will be hard to find.

I have three full bales of straw for chicken bedding, plus a partial in use now, but I plan to stock at least eight. Based on my experience last year, the early cuttings of hay and stray, which is what I am buying now, are far superior to the later cuttings, which is all that will be available by winter. I am stacking the bales on a pallet under our deck with a folded tarp thrown over the top. This should keep them dry with no concern about moisture and rot.

My wife has asked me to buy her some compost for a project she is working on. I’m going to buy some extra, so we have it on hand. Dirt and compost are shockingly expensive already. I’d rather buy it now than wait for prices to rise next year.

Our raised beds sank a surprising amount over the summer. I assume this is because of the large amounts of organic material we placed in them composted and condensed. That should be good for the vegetables. I will spread our old chicken bedding in them as soon as we finish our harvest (we are still getting zucchini, yellow squash and greens). That should break down nicely between now and next April or May when we replant. I am planning to do some things differently, having learned from this year.

So there you have it. I am back to stocking up on food and just about everything else.

Video of the Day

I find much of the Canadian Prepper’s videos to be over the top. If only a small fraction of what he has predicted since Russia invaded Ukraine had happened, we’d have been nuked several times over. For some reason, however, this recent video struck a chord with me.

2 COMMENTS

    • I look at the best buy dates whenever I can find them. They are often on the bottom of the can. This time around, I could not find dates on the pouches.

      For our traditional canned food, we donated much of it before we moved in 2020 because the moving company charged us by the pound. That cleared out our old food. most of what we bought since then is still within the dates, although some are nearing expiration. We tend to ignore the date, but we do make an effort to eat the older stuff first. We eat quite a bit of canned chicken, so that never gets old. I eat at least a can of corned beef has and one can of Spam per month, and I’v eaten five-year-out of date Spam with no ill effects. My wife is forcing me to eat our Dinty Moore beef stew now as it is getting old. I believe we have some chili and baked beans that are out of date, but as long as the can is intact, I don’t have a problem eating it.

      My long term storage food in #10 cans is far older. I probably only have ten cans newer than 2014. We do eat some it occasionally to check that it is still edible. I’ve opened cans of split peas, barley, and grits, and buckets of sugar and rice, and all have been just fine. We are still eating from most of them. I would be more cautious with dairy products.

      In general, we look at dates as guidelines and a way to tell which food is oldest. I don’t think dried pasta from 2008 that is stored in a #10 can with a O2 absorber or pinto beans sealed in a Mylar bag in a in a 5-gallon pail are going to be a problem. The only thing we have had a problem with are tomato products or other acidic food in tin cans as they can eventually leak.

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