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By Kellene Bishop

Why don’t I believe someone who says they don’t have food storage because they can’t afford it?  Because chances are, these are the same folks who wouldn’t focus on food and water preparedness even if they had the funds.  Sad but true.  Why do I say this?  First of all WATER STORAGE is FREE and yet I rarely see a person who has even a semblance of the amount of water they need.  Surely they have empty 2-liter bottles that they can use to store clean water in the event of an emergency.  And if they don’t, they sure as heck know someone who does.  I even see some folks who have EMPTY 55 gallon drums just sitting in their back yard or in their basement.  But the second reason I really don’t buy this excuse is because FOOD STORAGE is FREE.  That’s right.  By paying attention you can find PLENTY of instances in which you can obtain FREE food storage and in some instances even get PAID to acquire it.  Perhaps you think I’m nuts to state something so bold.  But not only will I PROVE this to you, I will show you how using this strategy can help your entire personal budget as well, and earn your part-time efforts an average of $40 to $75 dollars an hour—AT HOME!  

Nope, this isn’t some multi-level marketing schpiel.  It’s called being aware of what’s going on around you and taking advantage of it.  More simply, it’s called using coupons!  Before you roll your eyes at the thought of clipping a 25 cent off coupon for a store that’s 5 miles away, allow me to clarify, because that’s certainly not what I’m talking about. 

Yesterday I obtained enough groceries for a couple weeks worth of meals in an emergency.  While these meals would be minimalist perhaps, they will bring me peace of mind in the event of a crisis.  I traveled a total of 2.25 miles.  I was PAID $20 to acquire nearly $100 worth of food storage and other perishable items for my home.  I don’t care what kind of income you make.  Free food storage is GREAT. And getting paid to do it FREE is even better!  

Photo c/o squalorsurvivors.com

Photo c/o squalorsurvivors.com

So I’m going to spell out for you how I did this.  I printed out several coupons from Kraftfoods.com.  In addition to this I receive the Sunday newspaper.  In fact, due to the value I get in following this productive strategy, I actually purchase FIVE Sunday newspapers each week.  Believe me, it’s worth it even to the most ardent penny pinchers—you’ll see why in a minute.  I’ve even known some to buy as many as FIFTEEN Sunday newspapers each week just to maximize their coupon benefits.  (Check with your local newspapers to find out if they have a special multi-paper price and what their maximum allowed number of newspapers per week is.)  So in the Sunday newspaper, Albertson’s had several “double the value of your coupon” specials.  This meant that any coupon I presented up to a dollar, they would recognize it as double that discount. 

So, off to Albertson’s I went, armed with my coupons and a strategically prepared shopping list.  While that may sound annoying to you to think of taking all of that time to create, you should know that I actually subscribe to a FREE service in my area where I can simply click on the specials that I want, in the stores that I want, and for the product types that I want, and when I’m done it automatically prints off an itemized shopping list for me.  (For you Utah folks visit www.savvyshopperdeals.com)  This kind of service or similar to it is available in other regions of the country. 

Upon arriving at Albertson’s, I went to the condiments aisle.  Let me break this down for you:

  • A large box of Ritz Crackers was on sale for only $2.89.  I had a dollar off coupon of any size Ritz.  So if I doubled it, making my Ritz crackers 89 cents. 
  • In addition to that I had another coupon that gave me a FREE box of any kind of Wheat Thins with the purchase of a box of Ritz Crackers.  Yup.  My 89 cent box of Ritz Crackers qualified me for my husbands free Multi-Grain Wheat Thins.  And of course I had two of each of these coupons. 
  • kraft-bbq-sauceI also had $1 dollar off coupons for any Kraft BBQ sauce, which was already on sale at Albertson’s for only 68 cents.  And yes, they applied the difference to my other purchases. 
  • I also had a previous coupon, courtesy of Johnson and Johnson for any grocery purchase of $10 or more the next time I shopped at Albertson’s.  I used that to buy some canned chicken which was also on sale. 
  • I also purchased Kraft Ranch dressing, on sale for 99 cents, with my dollar off and $1.50 off coupons.  
  • I got Chinet brand paper plates for only 9 cents after my coupons.  
  • That day I also got celery on sale, eggs on sale, Kool-Aid and jarred Planter peanuts—all dramatically reduced. 

Bottom line, when I was done purchasing everything, I paid a whopping $8.92.  But wait, there’s more.  I also had $20.00 worth of rebates from a couple of beer companies redeemable if I purchased “salty snacks” and other kinds of goodies.  (Note: in the state of Utah it’s illegal to require a purchase of alcohol in order to receive a rebate.  So no alcohol purchase was necessary.)  My total money spent that day for so much in groceries?  NEGATIVE $11.08.  Total time spent with coupons, driving and shopping—3.5 hours.  Average value of that time–$40, and to think I’m actually rather new to this whole process!  I could have saved more time if I’d been more aware of where things were in the grocery store, if I had invested in a better binder for my coupons so when they fell on the floor they didn’t fly everywhere, etc. :)

So, my emergency preparedness menu based on yesterday’s shopping will consist of canned chicken mixed in either BBQ sauce or Ranch Dressing, served atop crackers, (warm or cold), with some Lemonade on the side.  Of course I’ll supplement that with the hugely discounted peaches and green beans I have previously purchased, and viola!  You’ve got an easy emergency meal while conserving your own energy and money.

Now tell me again how you can’t afford to gather food storage?  I’d say if you can get free food storage or nearly free, you can’t afford NOT to.  And please fill up those water barrels!

Other good coupons sources: Boodle.com, pinchingyourpennies.com, grocerysmarts.com.  Be sure to subscribe to your local grocery store’s e-mails for unadvertised specials.  There’s an average of 1,000 unadvertised specials EVERY week in your grocery store!   

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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