(Guest article by Dan Sullivan) If you have a stockpile of food and gear to last you at least a few months, you’re probably wondering how on earth you’re going to manage the increasing amount of food. Can rotation, food spoilage and all that spent money is definitely something to worry about.
There’s a better way of doing things, one that will lower your costs and still get you much-needed items in an emergency.
In a long-term disaster, the vast majority of things we can buy today will be gone… including the ones that are cheap. So why not start a stockpile consisting exclusively of cheap bartering items, items that may worth their weight in gold at some point? You can then exchange them to get the ones you’re missing.
In what follows, I’m going to give you a few suggestions of things that are dirt-cheap today that you should get as much of as you can. And the first one is, obviously…
Water is CRITICAL when it comes to survival and preparedness, whether you bug in or out, and you can never have too much of. You need it to stay hydrated, you need it to stay clean, to cook, to clean wounds and for much, much more.
This means other people will be looking for it as well. And if the main water sources will be contaminated, those people will do anything to quench their thirst.
The sweet part is that is it’s dirt-cheap, particularly if you opt for tap water. One thing I advise you to do is purchase some water bottles. They will cost you more per gallon, but then you can give those bottles away or barter with, without exposing your stockpile to the rest of the world. Water bottles are also easier to throw in the back of your car in case of an evacuation.
Speaking of which, you will need containers to store it, a cool, dark place to keep it and means to purify it. Even if you don’t have too much room, you should still stock up on water as much as you can. If it grows bacteria, you can just use something like the Sawyer Mini to remove it.
You can get table salt for less than a dollar per pound, even less if you’re willing to find a good deal. People will need this basic ingredient to improve the taste of their food, but you’ll be smart and use it for other things such as cleaning pans and pots, food preservation and cleaning your teeth.
Since salt is a preservative, it’s not pretentious when it comes to storage, but you should avoid storing it in metal containers. Much better to put it in cheap zipper bags.
Another basic ingredient many will need. Just like in the case of salt, you don’t need Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, you can keep it in zipper bags, and then put those in food-grade plastic buckets.
Not only does it have numerous survival uses but the most important one is going to be keeping your teeth clean. In a world without doctors and dentists, the last thing you need is another cavity. Cheap (less than $3 / pack if you get it in bulk), small, lightweight and you can store it anywhere.
#5. Nail clippers
Impossible to DIY, this little item saves us a lot of headaches and we don’t even realize it. Everyone will want one of those. If you get a pack that has several, you’ll end up spending less than $2 per piece.
#6. Hand-Crank Flashlights
OK, so these will be pretty much useless if an EMP hits, but extremely useful otherwise. They’re not only cheap but they require absolutely no batteries. Who wouldn’t want one post collapse?
#7. Toilet Paper
I left this one for last but this will probably the most wanted item in the list after water. The thought of using something else to wipe one’s behind (such as a rag) is unheard of by most people. When there’s news of a prolonged snow storm, people buy all the TP and other basic necessities, sometimes while fighting each-other off.
On the up side, toilet paper is cheap and really easy to store (you can even keep it in a hot attic, where there’s plenty of room but where most foods will quickly spoil). The downside is that it’s bulky so, unless you have an attic, it’ll be hard to store too much of.
#8. Paper Clips
Ok, so you’re not going to run around convincing people to give you food or water in exchange of paper clips. I’m sure life post-collapse will go on fine without them. But one thing you could do is add them as a BONUS.
If you’re looking to seal the deal with someone, one way of doing that if they’re hesitating is to throw in a little something extra. This will give them the feeling that they’re not getting the short end of the stick. A pack of paper clips may just be the thing that will get you those much-needed medical supplies.
If we were to brainstorm for other things that would make good bargaining chips, we could fill up pages upon pages. Nevertheless, I think these should be at the top of your list because they’re so cheap!
Still, don’t forget to fit them into your budget, you don’t want to overspend only to realize you don’t have any money left for the essentials.
Dan Sullivan http://www.survivalsullivan.com
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