Once you have gotten your three-month supply of food, it’s time to start building on that. Food, of course, is your first priority. But after you have the food you need for three months, start thinking about the non-food items you should have on hand.
You’ll want to have a good three month supply of personal care items. This includes things like lotion, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, cotton balls and Q-tip swabs. Include feminine hygiene products for all the women in your household.
What are the typical over the counter medications you use? You’ll want things like ant-acids, cold or sinus remedies,
Think about first aid items: band-aids, ant-biotic ointment, rubbing alcohol and/or hydrogen peroxyde. In my family, Epsom salts is our first go-to treatment for minor injuries, so I have plenty of Epsom salts on hand.
You might not use paper plates and paper cups very often. I know I don’t. But they will really come in handy if there is water shortage or other emergency that makes it difficult to wash dishes.
Toilet paper is number one on my list of non-food items to get. This is one item you never want to be short of. Also include paper towels, handwipes and boxes of facial tissue on this list.
Don’t forget all the household cleaners you routinely use: laundry soap, dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, bleach, ammonia and scrubbing pads or sponges come to mind. Then think about things that don’t fall into any of these categories: light bulbs, bags or filters for your vacuum cleaner, plastic garbage bags come to mind.
What did I miss?
No matter how thorough you try to be, it’s pretty easy to miss something. So here’s what you do: take a piece of paper and go through each room in the house. Write down everything you see in that room that you bought within the last six months or so. In the bathroom look in the shower, the drawers and the medicine cabinet and write down everything you see that is important. For example, you probably have make up and nail polish remover in in your bathroom. But how difficult would life really be if you ran out of make up or nail polish remover during a prolonged crisis?
So go through the kitchen, your cleaning closet, your laundry room, and the bedrooms, looking for things that you might need to replace in a 3-month period. Write those things down with an estimate of how much you would need of that item during three months.
This is your shopping list. Get a few items from this list every week for the month of July. Your goal is to have a three-month supply of non-food items by the end of the month.
You’re in luck. During July you is usually when we see paper items (like paper plates, cups and towels) go on sale. Toilet paper usually goes on sale at least once a month, as does shampoo and toothpaste. When you see those low prices, buy enough to keep you supplied for three months.
Inventory is everything
Now that you have this three month supply, you don’t ever need to pay full price for cleaning supplies and paper products again. But that means you need to keep an inventory of what you have. As you use items from your
storage, make a note of it. Then be sure to buy replacements the next time they go on sale. This way you are not only prepared for a long-term crisis, but you are cushioned from crazy price increases.
You’ll find that with a three month supply of food and non-food items, you can save a lot of money and keep a better grip on your budget.