Sometimes for a prepper it’s best to buy in bulk and build up a little reserve and hope for the best on hard goods. But after you are feeling a little more confident in yourself as well as trying out some of the cheap stuff. Getting good quality at a reasonable price is the way to go. I have no fast and easy solutions on how you can tell but to read the reviews and then try it out for yourself. I bought a couple of new brands of coffee and I want to drink and store coffee I like. For my update the S&W brand was okay but reminds me of Folgers in taste. I’m not a big fan of Folgers coffee. I just opened a can of the “Nice” brand coffee I got from Walgreen’s and it taste a bit more like Maxwell House if not quite as robust. I tend to like a strong coffee without it getting bitter. My favorite (price point and taste) still tends to be Fred Meyer’s French or Colombian roast or for the expensive stuff the Dunkin’ Donuts brand coffee. That should give you all a good idea of my tastes for coffee.
I like the Xtra brand laundry detergent as hits a sweet spot on being good detergent at a great price. Family Dollar’s dishwasher detergent is as good as Cascade for half the price. Sun brand cleaners are cheap but it’s a bit hit or miss on how well they work. Dawn dish soap is awesome and a great multi-tasker and I will pay extra to get it but it’s a lot cheaper at Family Dollar than at Target. I tend to buy basic cleaners if I can, there is not a lot of difference between a name brand pine oil or the generic and the same for Ajax/Comet or something like bleach. Don’t be afraid to try stuff out once you get your basics. If you don’t care for it add it to your barter box or stuff for charity or handing out. Just because you don’t like it does not mean everyone feels the same way. It’s not wasted unless you just toss it in the trash. Don’t think you will just use any product because there is an “Emergency/Disaster”. Sure it’s better than nothing but the reason you are prepping is to make life the best not just getting by day to day.
You got to test and trust your preps, I bought a few off brand undies from Big Lots and within a month most had disintegrated now I only buy Hanes or undies not in a package so I can judge the quality, same for socks. I trusted Hanes for 100% cotton socks and the weight of material is so thin now that the word “mesh” better describes the material than weave. But the Stanley socks I found at Big Lots are a good thick weave and material. That’s the great thing about the barter box even if you don’t care for a product you can toss it in the box and trade or give it away so you have not lost anything on the purchase in the long run.
No you can’t eat gold,silver, stocks, bonds or paper dollars. I believe there are some folks that have stocked up on those items and will be willing to trade for stuff they need when times get tough. Get yourself and your family good and strong on the stuff you need to live and then some. If the worse happens and you have have a little extra for trade in you barter box then you can see if you you can add a little gold and silver to your stash.