Monday, March 26, 2012

Couponing for Preppers

If you've ever watched the TLC show "Extreme Couponing," you'll notice that they have stockpiles that could rival those of emergency preppers. The difference is, preppers store items like bulk flour, water and beans and couponers often have lots of condiments, Hamburger Helper and boxed cereal!

I started couponing to stockpile and save money, however, I've found that is a perfect compliment to emergency preparedness stockpiling and you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on MREs, buckets of flour or #10 cans of green beans. Here are some ideas of sales and coupons to watch for that can become a working emergency stockpile. As the experts say, "Store what you eat and eat what you store." That's a lot easier to do with everyday-sized products than with bulk items.

Many of the typical prepper storage "essentials" can often be purchased cheaper per unit with coupons and sales. Items like flour, oatmeal, dried milk, dried beans, rice, pasta, shortening, vegetable oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing, peanut butter, dried soup mix, sugar, honey, jam, powdered juice mix, salt, baking powder and yeast. It may seem that buying in bulk is cheaper, but consider that a 50 pound bag of all-purpose flour can cost 96¢ a pound from some prepper web sites and a 25 pound bag from Sam's Club is a whopping $1.93 a pound. A good coupon and sale combo can get you a 5 pound bag of flour for just $1.28 (that's just 26¢ per pound!) Shop smart and get pasta for 50¢/lb, mayo for $6 a gallon and peanut butter for free! The key to stockpiling smaller packages is rotating (using older items first) and using what you buy. Items bought and stored in larger amounts - such as flour, sugar, rice sand pasta - should be repackaged and stored in the same way as those which were bought in bulk by using storage solutions such as sealed mylar bags, food-grade buckets and oxygen removers.

Here are some great long-term or extended shelf-life food items to consider stocking up on while couponing:
Canned tuna (5 years)
Spam (5+ years)
Mashed potato flakes (5+ years sealed pouch)
Coffee (2 years)
Complete Pancake Mix (2+ years sealed pouch)
Canned vegetables and tomatoes (2-4 years)
Canned fruit (3+ years)
Canned beans (2+ years)
Tomato sauce (12 months)
Hard cheeses (Indefinitely if waxed)
Canned chunky soup (1-3 years)
Bisquick (1 year)
Evaporated Milk (18 months - 2 years)
Beef Stew (Indefinite)
Velveeta (up to 1 year)
Sports drinks (5+ years)
Canned beef hash (Indefinite)
Spaghetti sauce (2 years)
Ramen noodles (5 years)
Canned chili (Indefinite)
Hormel Completes meals (18 months)
Betty Crocker Helpers Complete Meals (4 years)

And don't forget the meal enhancement products such as Campbell's Great for cooking soups, Knorr seasoning packets, McCormick seasoning and Lipton Recipe mixes.

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