How Basic Can You Get? List #2

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Just getting started with prepping?  Has some piece of news scared you to death for the future and that of your family?  You can become better  prepared for …whatever…by just jumping in and doing something proactive today.  I posted List #1 here.

  1. Track down a source for free, white plastic buckets.  Bakeries, restaurants, delis and grocery stores all have them, often for free.  I get mine from the bakery counter at my grocery store.  You’ll use these to store larger amounts of dry food and for organizing smaller items that you begin to accumulate, such as toothpaste and bars of soap.
  2. Watch for sales on canned goods, and then buy as much as you can afford.  Focus on canned soups, canned meat (tuna and chicken), canned beans, and canned veggies.  Also, cans of ravioli and beef stew come in handy.  Generally, canned food has a very long shelf life and, once opened, doesn’t require any cooking in a dire emergency.
  3. Does every member of your family have a good pair of walking shoes?  Are they comfortably broken in?  If you ever need to walk for a long distance, you’ll need them.  Consider storing them beneath the seats of your car or in the trunk for a worst-case scenario in which you’re miles from civilization, have a broken-down car, and are wearing flip-flops!
  4. Get started on an emergency kit for your car.  Use this checklist.  A lot of people drive many miles per week, upping the chance of encountering some sort of emergency far from home.
  5. Are you free of all debt, except the mortgage?  Use Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball concept and choose one bill to pay off.  Whenever you can, add another $10 or more against that debt until it’s gone, and then tackle the next one.  Being unprepared for the future and in debt will be a double whammy.  Don’t let it happen to you!

I’ll have List #3 for you in a few days, but in summary: get some free food buckets, buy as many canned goods as you can afford, store a pair of walking shoes in your car, start putting together an emergency kit, and focus on paying off one of  your bills.  You can do this!

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

(19) Readers Comments

  1. You might want to store a pair of socks inside those shoes. Shoes without socks are a recipe for blisters.

    • Yes! And some moleskin and a small pair of scissors. When your feet go, you’re zombie bait!

  2. I just checked the canned spagetti and ravioli, they have "high fructose corn syrup". also a lot of canned foods had MSG. I guess it's better than being hungry. But in order to rotate cannned foods I would like to be able to eat it rather than have to throw it away when it expired. So I am reading labels and only buying thing with at least a 2 yr. shelf life left. Also I just learned that othe r countries, esp. china have caught on that people in the US don't want to buy food made in china, seems there is no law that they havae to put the country it is made in on the label. the only way to tell is by the barcode. For China the barcode starts with 690, 691, or 692. For Taiwan, 471: for Germany-40-44: Japan-49:UK-50: France-30-37.

    • This is some of the most useful information I have run across, Joyce. Thank you very much.

    • I just read this on : naturalnews China food safety
      A circulating email claims that UPC barcodes reveal the country of origin for food products. Anything made in China, the email informs us, will begin with three digits in the range of 690 to 695.

      Products made in the U.S. begin with 00 to 13, says the email.

      This information is false. NaturalNews looked into the barcode issue to determine the reliability of this advice and found it to be pure fiction.

      Many nutritional supplements made in the U.S., for example, actually begin with 85, and there is no correlation between the country in which a UPC symbol is registered and where a particular product is actually manufactured.

      It’s far better to look for the phrase, “Made in USA” (or whatever country you’re in). Definitely avoid food products that say, “Made in China.”

      Unless, of course, you think your diet is deficient in melamine.

      Bottom line: Don’t believe the emails that claim you can tell which products are made in China just by reading the bar code.

      And the best strategy of all? Stop buying conventional processed foods altogether. Processed factory foods are usually dangerous to your health in one way or another, regardless of where they are made. U.S. food manufacturers, for example, load up foods with cancer-causing nitrates, MSG, aspartame, refined sugars, partially-hydrogenated oils, petrochemical additives and deadly levels of processed sodium.

      Just because it’s made in the USA doesn’t mean it’s safe.

      Remember this:

      The difference between food made in China vs. food made in the U.S. is that Chinese foods will kill you quickly while U.S. foods will kill you slowly.


  3. i volunteered at a food pantry. a guy in his 70's . said when he was in the military the govt claimed canned goods were good for 40 years undamaged.. now they say expire in one year. minus the white bpa liners imo canned goods are still good ten years any thoughts ?

    • I know that I've had canned goods in my pantry 5yrs before I just threw them out. They were probably still ok though. I always understood that it would be the color, flavor and/or food value that would decrease.

    • Expiration dates were invented by lawyers.

  4. I have been under the assumption that canned goods last 30+ years. I store soups, spam, and meats as much as I can.

  5. Keep in mind: Any canned goods with a pop or pull top should be used first. The seals aren't as strong as on regular canned goods and can break from pressure or heat. Though great for grab-and-go bags when rotated frequently, they aren't intended for long-term storage.

  6. I store all my canned goods in boxes that r labeled. I do not like storing food that hascthe pull tabs. I keep all my storage in a dark cool bedroom . I put reflective window film on the windows last summer. The summer sun beats down on that side of the house in the afternoon. My room stays at about 68 degrees. They are perfect. I don’t really pay attention to best by labels. I have opened cans that were ver old they are fine

  7. Spent 20 years in the Infantry, ate C-rations older than I was at the time. Same food you buy in the grocery store except more consecrated and the cans were painted green. Buy what you eat, rotate your stock and look and smell at it before you eat it. Government labels are their to justify the government and the taxes you pay……

  8. Provided the can is uncompromised, no sharp dents, leaks, bulges or rust, the food inside is pathologically SAFE to eat. Canned foods as much as 100 years old have been found and tested, and discovered SAFE to eat.

    Now we get complicated. SAFE means there’s nothing in there to poison you. Most foods begin to gradualy loose nutrition, color, texture and/or taste after 3-5 years. Some things, like thickened gravy or sauce, will clot and not smooth out well even with stirring after only 2 years, though everything else about it is just like new. That 100 year old food was safe to eat, but tasted like paper towels and looked like… well, you know what, and hand no useful nutrition.

    Use by and expiration dates are not scientifically determined. They are decided by the marketing departments. 10 year old beef stew is SAFE to eat. It will not taste as well, and will have lost some small portion of its nutrition. It may even look a little lumpy and watery.

    The exception here is canned Milks and Baby formula. They will actually fail within a year or two of the expiration dates and contain harmful bacteria. Do not use old canned formula. For long storage, use powdered.

    • Great advice, Barb. Most people think that expiration dates are set by some sort of legal authority, and they’re not. Canned foods have a longer shelf life than most other grocery store quality foods but still need to be rotated.

  9. #3 came to me just last weekend, when I decided that my 6 year old and I should walk up to the grocery store to spend some time together and start getting into shape. He rode his bike though, I’m the one who walked, in beach sandals. Bad idea, bad bad idea. :)

  10. I’d like to expand on Katy’s comment. You know all those mismatched socks that accumulate? You can use those as the socks in your car shoes.

  11. Hi Just want to say upfront that I love your website and your book!!! Your information and way you present it is pefectly presented, esp. for me, a mom of four trying to get better prepared without getting too overwhelmed!! I was wondering if there is a place where I could find guidelines for the right size of oxygen packets to use when packing 2 liter bottles of rice/beans, and also the right sizes to use when I would use smaller gator aid bottles (20 oz) or even ziploc bags? I would hate to have my bottles/bags blow up, lol. I see on your site that I have obviously been lazy in my storage because I thought I was ok in just leaving the rice and dried beans in their original bags and just putting in a lidded container. Also, can I safely store water and food items in my bleach treated gator aid bottles?? – they are smaller in size than the larger soda bottles and perfect for smaller bags of rice and beans that I get at the grocery store on sale. Thanks so much!!

  12. Car emergency pack:
    –Really good shoes with good socks (also bandages, better have mole skin)
    –Long Sleeve shirt to cover up in & Jacket for the cold.
    –Sun glasses, fold up hat, light weight poncho or rain coat, bandana, portable silver blanket
    –Water, food bars, asprine
    –Flashlight & extra batteries, Mulit knife set, whistle
    –Work gloves and crowbar (incase you need to help someone, you won’t ripe your hands up, and the crowbar gives you a lot of power). Also a good weapon is needed.
    –Car emergency tools

  13. Quick version for a beginner Prepper for House-hold emergencies.

    -Food & Water: Of course lots of water and food. But canned goods are great, because they are already cooked, and don’t take long to heat up. Also think about some pre-cooked rice and pre-cooked beans. They heat up quickly, and beans & rice together turn into a protein when together. But don’t forget: Spices (because food gets routin tasting real quick), and Oil, Powder Butter, Eggs (Ova-eggs are egg crystals are good tasting & come in small packets for easy use). Get Powdered products and store for long term like: OJ juice, Lime or Lemon juice powder, ect.

    -Personal products: Face cream, tooth paste, floss, deoterant, razor, sun screen, eye wash, med’s & vitamins, what ever you use all the time (have back up). Depending on where you live, bug repellent.

    -Medical: Antibactial cream, wound wash, bandages, butterfly bandages, large cloth wrap w/hooks (for spran or injury), breathing masks, eye googles (in case of smoke).

    -Protection: try your hardest to get some type of protection (gun, knife, elect. buzz wand).

    -For general use: Camp stove, propain tanks (for food, water purification, little heat). Depending on where you live: Cold weather cloths, sleeping bags, tarp for protection is needed.

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