Thursday, June 19, 2008

Something to look out for...

This may not be news to you, but this practice of giving you smaller amounts of product for the same amount of money is happening more and more, even if it is not a new practice. If you don't notice the difference, or don't pay attention to the ratio of food-money when it comes to your food storage budget, it may make a big difference when you have to start using it as a main resource.
For instance, we have bought some wheat for our food storage. When we went to the emergency preparedness store a while ago, we had the choice of buying the wheat in packaging that I would call "storage ready," locked into a white six-gallon bucket with oxygen packets already included, or buying wheat in fifty lb. bags, then buying the buckets and oxygen packets to get the wheat "storage ready" ourselves. This is based on memory, so excuse any mistakes, but the ready-to-store buckets were priced around $31.00, and contained about 44 lbs. of wheat. The bags of wheat ran about $25.00 or $26.00, but the six-gallon buckets cost $8.00 or $8.50 apiece, and a package of oxygen packets, with 24 to a package, was about $8.00 as well. The nice lady helping us indicated that sure, we could pack our own wheat, but that in order to store it well, we would need to store 3 oxygen packets per bucket, and that the way to do that properly would be to line up all of the buckets we were preparing in a row, lids ready, and drop the oxygen packets on top of the wheat and then quickly put the lids in place. (If you are not familiar with the white buckets of which I am writing, their lids need to basically be hammered into place). This would need to be done quickly, or the oxygen packets would quickly be basically good for nothing. So, if I have my math done correctly, we would need to have at least eight buckets and wheat enough to fill them in order to make maximum use of the oxygen packets. (To be fair, I don't remember if smaller packages of oxygen packets were available, but I would be surprised if they weren't.)
So the question becomes, which method is more economical? We bought some wheat from another location, so we needed some buckets and oxygen packets to properly store what we already had. We also bought some of the wheat that was ready-to- store, because we needed it. If you look back at my previous post in May, you will see how much wheat to store for one individual for a year. We have more than one person to provide for, and when you start to multiply the numbers, they add up quite quickly. We were also worried that the price of wheat would just continue to go through the roof, and we wanted to buy some while we could still afford it.
So what is my point? The packaging and lbs. were different--there are also different size white buckets, though we opted for the six-gallon variety. You may end up with less lbs, but properly stored food, or you might want to go the "self-storage"route and get it ready yourself. But please pay attention to how much you are actually storing, how far that will stretch for your family, and what is best in terms of the storage space that you have available to you.
On a side note, we went to a bulk grocery chain store recently to evaluate whether it would be cost-efficient for us to buy a membership and to see if there were things to buy there that would make such a membership worthwhile. There were buckets of wheat there (sorry, I don't know what size) storage-ready, that were between $18-$19.00, and if memory serves, each held about 37 lbs. Not as close to 50 lbs as some might like, but considerably more than 25 lbs. There are different sources available for storage items, with different prices and different products (i.e. red wheat vs. white wheat). Starting to store before you actually need to survive on those products has to be easier than looking for it during an emergency, when nearly everyone else will be looking for it as well.
The jury is still out for us on the subject of the grocery store membership. It may not be the best option for us. The price of the membership has to be added into the food cost--but if buying in bulk would help you to get more in storage quickly, you might want to look into it. Just check on the amounts per package in the bulk section too.... :)


The Scavenger said...

Marie, thanks for bringing that to our attention, portions of food per package are for sure getting smaller and the price seems to be getting larger. A bag of chips hardly has enough for one serving anymore. I wish we had a bluk food store near us but none that I am aware of. When shopping we always try to look and compare the price per unit displayed on most store tags. It helps to know just what you are paying for. Thanks for the info. Keep up the great work.


Marie said...

You make an excellent point about the price per unit--I hadn't thought about that, but I sometimes check it when I'm comparing prices of brands or sizes. That would be a great thing to always check out.
One of the things that I found with the bulk stores is that you don't always have a lot of choice/variety, but then again, maybe we wouldn't be that picky in an emergency. We're still thinking about it.
Thanks for your input!