Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

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TheContractor
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Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by TheContractor » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:45 am

Several years ago I started prepping, or more accurately I adjust my preparedness from short term to long(er) term. When I did I could not buy enough stuff fast enough. I felt like I needed to go from 30-60 days worth of supplies to 365+ days worth of supplies in short order. I did not fully take into consideration that many of preps I purchased had/have a limited shelf life and since I purchased them all at once, they are all going to go bad around the same time. I am also not a "store what you eat and eat what you store" sort of person. I store what I can so I can eat when I need it. Starving people will eat whatever is available, if it's part of their preferred menu or not. Just ask people living in Venezuela. Anyway I found myself with numerous cases of MRE's, canned goods (metal can and jars), vacuum packed foods, freeze dried foods, etc. that all need to be consumed or tossed out in the near future. To replace it in bulk would not only require a heavy financial lay out buy would also put me back in this same position down the road.

I decided the first thing I needed to do was sell off every case of MRE's that I could while they were still edible, ditto that with the vacuum packed food and the short term freeze dried food. They went quickly too at fair prices. I then used those funds and some savings to purchase long term freeze dried food products with a 25-30 year shelf life versus the 7-10 year shelf life stuff I had. I then incorporated the canned and some vacuum packed food into my menu planning for me and the family to use it up. I also started buying canned food that we do eat, and I started buying more of it to use and rotate. This required a few additional floor to ceiling storage cabinets. I then picked up a larger chest freezer and started buying frozen meats from a local supplier. Cubed beef, diced turkey, shredded pork, etc. all in 5# sealed freezer bags. Some stayed in the freezer, some was cooked and canned. Those cans are stored in the basement on protected shelving. I got the family involved by building a couple raised bed gardens for my lady which has resulted in canned veggies, tomatoes, pickles, etc. Finally I started making my own MRE's designed to last approx. 2-3 years. I used items that I do eat and as they age I can use them when hunting, camping, hiking, etc. I intend to make a new batch every winter and rotate.

So in short I essentially went from one bulk purchase that would all begin to expire at once, to a more phased in and phased out system. I focused less on just what I could purchase and more on what I could produce or replace myself. And of course I am now using more of what I store and rotating through it. I don't regret my initial bulk purpose and I appreciate the lessons learned in the process, but if I had to do it all over again I would have done things differently.

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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by NT2C » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:04 am

You give good advice and I agree with you that buying items that are perishable in bulk is likely not a good idea unless you need to buy in bulk (large family for example) or unless you know you can/will use them up before their shelf life becomes dire. That said, I will point out that properly stored bulk food items that are shelf stable can still often be safely consumed well past their "Best by" and "Use by" dates (which are two different things). Our Near Death Experiences in Food thread is proof of this (as is the container of peaches with a best by date from 5 years ago that I had with my morning coffee today). I have a couple of cases of MRE's out in our climate controlled storage room off the garage that are still fine several years past date. I know because I had a 2010 Pork Rib MRE for lunch the other day when we lost power after a storm and I didn't have the generator setup yet. It was fine and I really enjoyed my Patriotic Cookies.
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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by Stercutus » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:28 pm

Sounds like you learned the lesson the hard way through your wallet.

We use several different rotation systems here to keep stuff fresh. I will also point out that properly sealed, fully canned goods last much longer than their expiration dates. This is also true for certain package good like Knorr mixes (currently available at your local Walmart for $.99 a serving.

MREs are also good well past their inspection date as well. Back before the GWOT consumed every resource the military had at much higher rate than during the Cold War MRE's would get inspected and their shelf life would be extended another few years. Personally I've eaten them 10 years after their initial inspection date with no ill effects other than the normal ill effects that MREs give you. Certain items inside such as M&Ms were no good but the rest was fine.

We use a FIFO can rotation system here. One of the items we use a lot of is canned baked beans. I can make some mean baked beans in the crock pot but it takes a while and here the cans are only $.59 or 2/$1 on sale. I can't make them much cheaper than that in a family sized portion. So when the sale hits I buy a few cases and restock the shelves from the rear. Same with peanut butter and all the other stuff we store.

After a while you will notice the cyclical sale times to stock up on certain items.

Around here:
- Canned garden veggies go on sale as soon as the gardens start producing locally.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly go on sale when the local schools start back up in the fall.
- Candies go on sale around Black Friday.
- Before Thanksgiving different store will have Thanksgiving Table items at deep discount. One store may have cheap turkeys, another may have a basket of other goods. Unsold Thanksgiving items may be even cheaper but that is more a rarity.
- Same with Easter, 4th of July and Christmas.

On the holiday sales "store may limit quantities" rules tend to come in to play more often. There are ways around that if the sale is good enough.
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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by NT2C » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:15 pm

Nope, never had it affect the wallet at all. It's very rare that I have anything nearing the point of being unsafe to eat, but my closet and pantry are full of stuff that's past the "Best By" date (especially since that's better viewed as a "the manufacturer thinks it would be Best if you bought more of this product By or before this date so that they are assured of continued profits", and has zero to do with if a product can be safely consumed or not. Hell, I opened a case of paper the other day that had a Best By date on it.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by Stercutus » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:28 pm

NT2C wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:15 pm
Nope, never had it affect the wallet at all.
Contractor, not you.
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by NT2C » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:30 pm

Stercutus wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:28 pm
NT2C wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:15 pm
Nope, never had it affect the wallet at all.
Contractor, not you.
Oops, my bad. :oops:
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by flybynight » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:56 pm

The best by date is referring to best taste. It's still edible but just won't be as tasty. We've gotten to the point of only buying in bulk for what we will eat by about the best by date. And then supplementing it with home canned foods. ( which sadly is not happening this year ). Anything more just becomes wasteful. I do know that if TEOTWAWKI happens tomorrow. I'm going to be eating really good for a few weeks as we go through all the frozen meat in the freezers. I'll be gaining weight in the PAW :awesome:
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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by TheContractor » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:17 pm

I don't go by dates, I go by the old 3 step review: if it smells okay, and it looks okay, and it tastes okay, there is a 95% chance I am not going to die or spend the next 3 days on the toilet. Dates are just marketing ploys to sell more product or hedge against liability. When I say my stuff was getting to the point of use it or lose it, I mean it was really getting to that point. Most of it was purchased before the resurgence of prepping and the related TV shows that helped push it into the mainstream. When you had to shop at Army Surplus store and not Walmart for your food storage needs.

Plus it seems freeze dried foods have improve quite a bit in the last 5-6 years. Longer shelf lives, better taste and texture, etc. I have been buying 10# cans for long term storage and testing some out here and there. So far so good.

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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by grumpyviking » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:49 am

buying in bulk is never a good idea, I was warned a long time ago that buying the same batch can have a hazardous effect on preps if there was something wrong at the factory that prepared them.
I am far enough out that it is impossible to get to a cash and carry or other supplier so I just buy extra each time I go to the store and I still do a "big shop" once a month.
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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by Zed Hunter » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:56 am

I have been buying bulk grains and packing them in 7mil mylar 10lb containers with oxy absorbers. 15-20 yr shelf life. Beans in 3 lb mylar. Canning ham and beef, 5 yr. But will be rotated. Canning soups heat and serve. Buy ing canned items we use and rotating.

Then there is the ammo, guns, and gun cleaning stuff.

Then there is the bullet electro plating set up I'm making, and the induction heater for annealing brass, and casting small amounts of different metals. The bullet swaging and making jackets out of worn out bullet brass.

Got to keep busy in retirement.

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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by grumpyviking » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:15 am

wife has relatives who live in an urban environment, they have a supermarket in all 4 directions within a 5 minutes walk, they are completely amazed when we tell them our nearest supermarket is 25 miles away and its still a relatively small one!
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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by raptor » Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:50 am

grumpyviking wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:15 am
wife has relatives who live in an urban environment, they have a supermarket in all 4 directions within a 5 minutes walk, they are completely amazed when we tell them our nearest supermarket is 25 miles away and its still a relatively small one!
I have a similar issue at my farm. We make a point of stocking a lot of non-perisable consumables. That and playing Santa (making a list and checking it twice.).

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Re: Buying preps in bulk may not be a good idea

Post by grumpyviking » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:09 am

i'm probably the only one in my area that still does a monthly "big shop".
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