Stroll down any aisle at the grocery store on an average day and you’ll probably see thousands of items of all kinds made by any number of producers. Many times there are six or eight brands of the same item. And they come in all sizes.
Although store shelves are currently full, there may soon come a time when that is not the case. As the U.S. Federal deficit grows beyond the current historic levels there will come a time when a correction comes. A devaluing of the dollar has already begun. It will be followed by inflation that could become so severe that food and other necessities become unaffordable or unattainable.
It is happening right now in Latvia, where the government’s current budget deficit is estimated to be about 12 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), according to the International Heritage Tribune.
So as the Latvian government cuts wages and spending in order to bring down its deficit and qualify for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, “Austerity is rippling down the social hierarchy, as the affluent cancel vacations, middle-class people fret about social descent, and Dickensian scenes of destitution multiply,” the Tribune says.
Many of the people there can simply no longer afford to feed themselves.
Currently, the U.S. is running a budget deficit of about 13 percent of GDP and spending almost $2 for every $1 it takes in. It doesn’t take a Pythagoras to understand that math like that doesn’t add up.
So if you want to prepare yourself for Latvian-type circumstances and ensure that your family has food to weather such a storm, you need to begin stockpiling food and water now. And even if you don’t believe things in the U.S. can get that bad, it’s a good idea to have some food and water stored in the event of a natural disaster that affects the food and water supply for a short time.
You should always keep on hand at least a three-day supply of food. It’s easy to stockpile a few cans of meats, soups and vegetables, as well some rice and grains, to get you through a short-term emergency. You can do this by buying a few extra things each time you go to the grocery store. Remember, canned foods have a shelf-life of about two years, so rotate your foods.
For longer-term situations, some planning in advance can save you from tremendous hardship when the catastrophe strikes. To prepare, you should have a good stockpile of both canned and freeze-dried foods. All canned soups, fruits, vegetables and meats should be kept in a dry, cool space.
Be smart with your planning and purchasing and you can accumulate food that will sustain you for a long time at very little cost. Just don’t gather things your family will not eat. Oatmeal, Ramen noodles and Bisquick are great things to have on hand in an emergency, and they don’t cost much. And, don’t forget to add commonly used spices, which help to make any food more palatable.
Freeze-dried foods and military style Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) are convenient types of foods to have on hand for emergencies. These are available from outdoor supply stores, survivalist stores and via the Internet. There are various types of MREs that can be purchased in kits with quantities to feed families for up to a year.
Warehouse stores like Costco sell freeze-dried emergency food kits in plastic buckets with as many as 275 servings for about $85. That would be enough to feed a family of four for three weeks.
When buying these pre-packaged meal kits, be sure you compare the packages for a list of meals and ingredients included before making your purchase. Some tend to scrimp on their offerings and provide just enough to survive but not enough for a hearty, filling meal.
How much food should I save?
You can never have too much food set aside for a crisis because you can’t know ahead of time what the crisis will be or how long it will last. Will a three-day supply be enough? One week? A month? Three? A year?
You hope it doesn’t last long but you never know. So it’s best to start small and work from there. And start with a definite plan.
There are several things to consider. How many are in your family? How many additional people would you bring under your roof? What is the nature of the crisis—natural disaster, terrorist attack, economic collapse or fuel shortage?
Let’s start with a three-day supply. If you are feeding a family of four for three days you will need to plan on three breakfast meals, three lunches and three dinners.
The main idea is to prepare. That way, if the U.S. should turn into a Latvia—or a 19th century London—you won’t find yourself on a diet of meager meals, scraping to get by.