Prepping and Couponing
I've read your column for a long while, and I think you should consider how your methods cross over with people like me, who are often called 'preppers.' We believe that a cataclysmic event could happen at any time and we should all be prepared to survive off the grid with necessary supplies.
With your methods I have stocked up on many canned goods, medical supplies, bar soaps, powdered laundry detergent and other essentials. Please consider sharing important survival goods to stock up on.”
This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked about utilizing Super-Couponing methods for the purposes of “prepping” – preparing for an unknown disaster that would disrupt our ability to run to the grocery store and pick up whatever we need. While I wouldn’t consider our family to be large-scale preppers, we do have a good quantity of food, water and supplies on hand to sustain us in the event of a short-term event, such as an extended power outage or storm.
Department of Homeland Security recommends storing one gallon of water for every person in the house for a minimum of three days’ water usage. For our family of five, this does equal fifteen gallons of water. While the majority of our stored water is of the commercially bottled variety, one tip I learned recently is to use empty canning jars to store bottled water, too. If you’re someone who cans fresh produce when it’s in season, instead of storing the empty jars for the next year, put tap water in sterilized canning jars (using a hot water bath). Since the water is in containers already being stored, it won’t take up additional storage space.
Foods that can be eaten uncooked or with minimal preparation are key. Canned foods top the list, because they’re heated to cooking temperatures during the canning process. You can open, heat and eat. Foods that don’t need to be cooked at all, such as granola and protein bars, also are handy to have on hand. I like to stock up on these whenever I find good deals on them, and especially if they are a particularly good deal with coupons.
You may still want to cook indoors if you’re able to during a power outage. If you have a gas range, it’s likely it has an electronic igniter. While the igniter won’t work when the electricity is out, you still can light the burners with a match if the gas supply is uninterrupted. If you want to light a grill, fireplace or outdoor fire pit to cook over during a power outage, make sure to add matches or lighters to your emergency-preparedness stash, too.
Remember that emergencies don’t always strike when you are home. You never know when an auto accident, inclement weather or an unpredictable delay may keep you in your vehicle much longer than anticipated.
A few years ago during a road trip, a surprise storm coated the road with ice. A tractor trailer collided with another vehicle on a bridge, and traffic was shut down in both directions for more than four hours. There was no way to turn around or leave the highway until the wreck was cleared. Our “dinner” that evening consisted of crackers and granola bars, as well as bottled water and juices that we’d packed for the trip. Since that day, I’ve always kept a few nonperishable food items and drinks in each of our vehicles, as you never know when you may be spending more time in the car than planned.
While I believe the chances are relatively low for a large-scale disaster that would disrupt life as we know it, there’s really no reason not to prepare for short-term emergencies and unexpected situations. Stocking up on these items when prices are low will help you build an emergency stash of supplies to sustain your family.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.