I have changed my mind set about how I shop now that we are starting to see shelves that are not getting restocked. I don’t think “panic buying or hoarding” is causing empty shelves. I think it is a supply and transportation SNAFU’s that are the biggest problem in my area right now. I suspect that many of the items I am buying are on sale is to clear the shelves of the “normal” size packages to make way for another downsize of cans, bottles and bags of products. This is not new as the last few years I have seen a coffee can shrink from three pounds to just a little over two pounds. Products that were once sold by the gallon are now 3 quarts. Now we are adding in more inflation with rising prices with the packages getting smaller.. Or production has fallen off so much that some items are not available at any price.
One of things that I’m seeing more shortages and rising costs is pet food. Especially good quality dry dog and cat food. I’m not talking the high end pet food but the above average grain free/no by-products types of pet food. The bags are getting smaller and the price has jumped at least $2.00 for 14-28 pound bags and that is the sale price! Getting quality pet food a descent price is becoming a challenge.
My solution is to keep replacing/restocking those sale items I use that are on sale before the jump in price or the packages get any smaller. It is not like buying up staples/basics in bulk to meet a prepping goal of 3 weeks,3 months or a year of food. It is more about keeping yourself stocked up on the week to week shopping trip of replacing what you use and adding more backups when stuff goes on sale. There is another I have noticed in stores the cheapest items are going up the fastest in cost. Staples are going up in price, Fresh meat, veggies and processed foods like ketchup, frosted flakes, crackers and frozen meals/snacks seem to be going up the fastest or have the most empty shelves.
What I have done shopping is focus on getting as much good pet food before the price goes higher or the packaging gets smaller. I bought a 14 pound turkey at $1.69 per pound just to make sure to have a turkey for Thanksgiving. From what I understand there is not a Turkey shortage but You may not get that 69-99 cent per pound price or find a smaller 10-13 pound turkey. If turkey goes on sale or I find a smaller turkey great! I’ll just buy another turkey and keep it in the freezer. This works out for me as I have what I want on hand though I paid a bit more cost now. If the price drops in the future I can always buy more and my cost over time stays low.
I have not seen a lot of talk about buying clothing. The world wide cotton crop harvest was not good this year. Many man-made fabrics will also be going up in cost as they are oil based and the USA does not have a good textile industry. Almost all clothing is based in Asia and with the shipping SNAFU getting clothing might be a challenge. I’m focusing on building up things like undies, bras, socks, quality shoes and then simple T-shirts, shorts and sweats. I change out my undies every day and don’t wear the 2 days in a row. Even if you can’t bathe daily you should always change out your undies as it helps keep you healthy and vermin-free. Clean clothes tend to be warm clothes as sweat and dirty clothes trap sweat and are uncomfortable. Undies, socks, t-shirts are easier to wash and dry without using a washing machine and dry quicker than most clothing. Back in the day (Carter era) I had school clothes and play clothes and my Mom tried her best to make me change into my play clothes after school. Did not work work all that well as I was a child attracted to dirt, grease and grass stains. I don’t get as many grass stains now but I have more than made up for it in grease stains from tools and paint.
I would recommend you top off your fuel backups and if you use oil or propane for heat you get your tanks filled ASAP as the price will probably only go up the closer we get to winter. Sorry I don’t have any money saving advice for folks that get caught in rising heating costs in winter that use gas or electric to heat their homes. I had a money hit it this summer dealing with the heat and using Window A/C units and a low water year that drove up electrical costs. I can say that getting my wood stove was one of the best purchases I every made because I control my heat. Every time I read about energy costs hitting folks I bless having that wood pile.
Speaking of the I got the fire starters made. Paper egg crates are the best material as for holding the sawdust/chips and paraffin wax. Cupcake papers are okay but I use a lot less wax filling up egg cartons compared to paper cupcake filled with the same saw dust/chips. I used about 5 pounds of paraffin wax to make 276 fire starters compared to using 10 pounds of wax using cupcake papers last year for about the same amount of fire starters. If you use only one of the fire starter per day you have over 9 months of fire starters. All you need is some sawdust, some egg cartons, cupcake papers and melted paraffin wax.. You have to use low heat as paraffin wax is flammable at high heat. You want just enough heat to melt the wax not ignite the wax. Mom has access to more free paper than I so she has leftover fire starters I gave her last year.
Mom’s chimney has been cleaned up. Mom used My shop vac with a Dry wall dust collection bag to clean up the last of the soot I could not clean out. The bags are a little pricy at $18.00 for 3 bags but they do suck up the soot and keep you house clean. It is just a paper bag so make sure there is no heat or coals that could ignite the bag before using a shop- vac to clean out soot from your chimney. I did not see any Dry wall level dust bags for any Shop-vacs under 5 gallons.
I think most preppers need to change how they shop and get into a different mindset about making themselves more sustainable. I know I’m not only focusing on food or heat and cooking but getting tools that I can use or neighbors can use to get projects done. It is amazing the amount of work you can get done on your place if you loan out tools so a neighbor can get a project done but the don’t have a tool readily available
I don’t have every tool needed for a job, but I have added a small router and a table saw and every tool I add adds to my education to learning how to make stuff. I screw up a lot but that is just tuition or the price I’m paying to learn new skills. If you are not willing to fail, make a mistake trying some thing new. You won’t learn anything.