Being prepared for an emergency is crucial to personal and community well-being. Despite this, even known earthquake zones see less than half of the population actually readying themselves for potential disaster. Here at Total Prepare we understand that getting yourself in the proper headspace for gathering supplies can be a difficult task. After all no one wants to spend money on something they’re potentially not going to use. For these people (and anyone who likes to get the best bang for their buck) we’ve got some tips and tricks on how you can save THOUSANDS on emergency preparedness. Let’s get started!
Long Shelf Lives
Emergency supplies are a unique in that they’re one of the few things you buy intending to leave them in the closet for (hopefully) years. Due to this longevity, the initial price tag on your kit isn’t the whole cost of your supplies. Every year it’s important to go through your kit and weed out any items that are expired or haven’t stood the test of time.
In most kits, the items that need the most frequent replacement are food, water, and first aid. Each of these have an industry standard shelf life of 5 years unless they say otherwise. Due to this, we need to factor in the cost of replacing the supplies and keeping them up to date to reflect the real price of a kit.
For example, let’s take our most popular 72 hour kit, the Family Prep Survival backpack for 4 people. As of today this kit retails for $292.95. Every 5 years the food and water inside require replacement:
4 Ration Bars x $10.50= $42.00
24 Water Pouches x $0.79 = $18.96
$42.00 + $18.96 = $60.96 every five years, or $304.80 over 25 years.
As you can see, replacing items regularly can really add up! If you have a larger family, or are preparing for a school, business, hospital, or other organization the effect is amplified over more people. But by investing a little more up front for items with loooooong shelf lives, you can save A LOT of money over the life of the product.
Blue Can Water
We talk about Blue Can Water and its incredible 50 year shelf life a lot at Total Prepare, but that’s because we just can’t get over how awesome it is! The practical cans can be easily put down (unlike pouches) and are easy to open without spilling. As an added bonus, they’re made from recycled aluminum, and can go back into the recycling stream when they’re used up! As if that wasn’t enough, Blue Can Water is also a ‘win’ for your wallet.
If we take the same kit from the previous example and replace the water pouches with Blue Can Water, watch what happens:
24 Water Pouches = 3L
A case of Blue Can Water = 8.5L – more than double the volume of the pouches.
Case of Blue Can Water = $49.95. That’s it. That’s the whole cost for 50 years.
9 Replacements of 24 Water Pouches = $18.96 x 9 = $170.64.
These numbers don’t even take inflation into account! Already we’re saving over $10 every 5 years on emergency water for a family of four – AND they’re getting more water each than they were with pouches. As we prepare for larger groups or for longer time periods, the savings only increase!
Freeze Dried Food
Ration bars are great. They can be stored in a wide variety of temperatures, are super compact, and require absolutely no preparation. They’re even tasty enough to eat as office snacks (talking from experience). But does anyone over the age of 7 really want to eat nothing but shortbread cookie-like bars for 3 days straight?
Especially when you could be eating stroganoff, pasta primavera, chili, or pancakes. This is where Legacy Premium Foods come in. They have a 25 year shelf life, are non GMO, made with no added MSG, and have gluten free options. All the meals are vegetarian too! (Meat available separately if that’s more your style. 😊 )
I can already hear you asking: yes, but don’t they cost more?
Let’s find out through the glory of math, sticking with the example we’ve been using so far:
4 Ration bars = 14,400 calories
40 Servings of Legacy Food = ~ 14,840 calories
60 Serving Breakfast Lunch and Dinner Bucket = $289.95.
40 Servings from this^ bucket (199.95 x 66%) = $191.37 This cost does not change or increase over 25 years.
5 Replacements of Ration Bars = 5 x $42.00 = $210.00 <- This price is not accounting for inflation, so it would be much higher.
As you can see, Legacy Food saves you money over the life of the product, just like Blue Can Water. On top of that, you don’t need to spend your valuable time checking expiration dates and going shopping for replacement items. This savings is what my economics professor called an opportunity cost. Think of all the other things you would rather be doing than replacing emergency bars!
I should note that Legacy Food does require additional water and fuel to cook but there are many inexpensive ways to keep these on hand. A BPA-free plastic water container (like you might use for camping) and a campfire can do the job wonderfully. When you start dealing with larger quantities of food, Blue Can Water becomes an economic solution for rehydrating food too.
If you’re preparing for an organization and want to know the best solutions for your kit is, feel free to contact us – we’re happy to do the math for you.
Shop the Sales
As in all money saving endeavors, shopping the sales is a top-notch strategy. Emergency Kits and Food Storage go on sale regularly at totalprepare.ca with savings of up to 25%. If you would like to be notified when we have a sale scroll to the very bottom of this page to sign up for our email list.*
If the item(s) you want aren’t on sale, worry not! There are other ways to save. Ask around your work, school, and social circles to see if anyone you know would be interested in purchasing items with you. We can often do special deals for large orders based on volume discounts. If nothing else, it never hurts to ask!
Another strategy is to champion a preparedness effort in your workplace. If your business buys supplies we can bundle your supplies with theirs for pricing. We can even keep the bills separate to save your accounting department from headaches!
Chocolate bars and coupon books are all fine and dandy, but what about fundraising with things that are useful in the long term? Our fundraising program is quick and easy with prebuilt hand-outs and instructions for parents.
Orders placed for select items are eligible for a discount and/or a rebate directly to the school. At the end of the ordering period all of the orders are shipped together to one location, clearly labelled for distribution.
These fundraisers work great for PACs, daycares, mother’s groups, and youth clubs (think scouts/girl guides). Total Prepare loves to help our communities in any way we can, and fund raisers give us that chance. There’s nothing better than helping families get prepared while also giving back!
Employee Buying Programs
If you’ve already prepared your business you’ll want to ensure that your staff are prepared at home too. Having a kit to go home to will help to minimize employee reliance on your supplies in an emergency. The last thing anyone needs is for Steve in accounting to bring his family of 6 back to the office for food when they realize they weren’t prepared.
Total Prepare makes this process simple and straightforward. We can provide special pricing for your organization, along with an order form, for distribution. Employees fill the form with what they need, or enter a coupon code online, and orders are delivered together to the office for distribution. Some organizations have even implemented payroll deduction programs so staff can pay for their orders in installments, directly through the business.
Repurpose What You Already Have
In our store we have the pleasure of showing off our emergency kits to customers in person. More often than not, they’re struck by the realizations that “Hey! I already have half of this stuff.” This is a great position to be in!
If you camp, backpack, or have inherited camping gear from an outdoorsy uncle (happens more than you’d think) then you’re well on your way to a complete emergency kit! After all, dealing with an emergency is just camping without notice. Okay, there’s a lot more stress than camping – but the supplies are the same!
Even if you’re not an outdoors-person, and Uncle Jim is stubbornly hanging on, you might already have many items for your kit. Blankets, tarps, toothbrushes/paste, pots and pans, cutlery, and toilet paper for example.
The catch with having all of these items in your home is that they’re not easy to grab and go. Gather all the pieces into one place, preferably in something you can roll or carry, so that its easy to grab if it’s needed. If a storm or forest fire is heading your way you might only have a moment to take what you need.
Plan With Your Neighbours
Whether or not you’re keeping up with the Jones’ it’s important to keep them in mind as an emergency resource. If you have a family size tent, but the kid’s have all left home, make a deal with the couple next door to share shelter if they’ll let you use their generator. Or have one family prioritize canning fruit from their trees to share, and another provide the firepit and wood. Once you start talking you’ll be amazed at how much more resilient your neighbourhood is when it stands together.
Plus, you’ll only need to pack a fraction of what you would have needed alone.
Investing Now Saves Costs Later
I’ve mentioned inflation a few times in this article but in researching for this article I was amazed by just how quickly it effects the costs of preparedness. Inflation increases costs by about 2% each year, so something that costs $100 now, will be $110.50 in 5 years. That adds up quick!
This, coupled with the fact that delaying preparedness could result in an emergency happening before your ready, means that there’s never been a better time than the present to get prepared!
Thank you for reading.
This article was written by Zenia Platten – Author of Tethered and emergency preparedness professional.