Unless things fall apart extremely rapidly, you should still have the opportunity to make one last trip to purchase supplies and materials that are needed before you batten down the hatches. Of course your funds and time may be limited, so you’ll want to focus on the most important items first and make sure you don’t miss out. This list shows you the top 10 most valuable items you need to stock up on when you’re out on your final shopping trip.
1. Medications and Prescriptions
These should be restocked first and foremost. Be sure to check each bottle of over-the-counter stuff and purchase meds with the longest possible shelf life. If you can get your doctor to sign off on a larger prescription refill than normal, definitely push to get it before your trip so your necessary medications are all fully stocked. Furthermore, stock up on glasses, contacts, and any other assistance items you may require.
2. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Even if you have a garden, purchase some fruits you may not be able to grow like bananas and pineapples. Not only are these full of nutrients, but you’re not likely to have the chance to taste these again for a long while. If you are able to can them, you could slowly parcel out these treats as a nice reminder of what was. Don’t rely on the seeds in these fruits, however, as they’re not very likely to grow or produce.
3. Foods You’ve Already Stocked
Naturally you’ll want to replenish any holes in your current stocks of long-term foods like canned soups and ramen noodles. You might also take this chance to grab some long-term comfort foods like candy if you have money to spare. As with the fruit, it can be nice to have a taste of the past during the first few months, and hard candies last for a long time.
4. Basic Construction Materials
Nails, screws, wooden posts and plywood sheets, plus whatever other materials may be suited to your needs. If you plan on blacking out your house with black trash bags, for example, make sure to buy an extra box or two. The most important items are the fasteners like nails and screws, since you could use just about any scavenged material in a pinch but might have a harder time finding the means to put them together.
5. Small Barter Items
This can vary depending on your climate (a cold one might value winter gloves, while a tropical one might value extra sunblock) but items like matches, lighters, tobacco, alcohol, and other valuables will always be wanted. They’ll certainly be of higher value than the cash money you’ll use to purchase them!
Honestly this will probably be cleaned out pretty quickly, but if you’re alerted soon enough you might have a chance at this. If you have funds to spare by all means clean the shelves, focusing first on ammunition for the weapons you own and then buying others for trade or if you manage to pick up another weapon later on. Just don’t go too crazy if you’re limited on cash, since things like food and medicine is still very valuable.
7. Animal Feed (Pets and Livestock)
Get the longest lasting stuff in the greatest amount possible. Note that even if you have more renewable sources of animal feed (say if your cat hunts for its food) you should still stock up. Depending on the season and local population density, natural food sources may dry up for a time and so having some food in a bag for them will save you a lot of trouble and stress.
8. Oil lamps, candles, and other light sources
Comb the camping and decoration sections of your store looking for any usable light sources. Stock up on oil and other fuels for your lamps, and add extra wicks and other supplies too. Even if you don’t use these items early on you may have the chance to make some very advantageous trades since these will be very valuable.
9. Fuel Including Kerosene, Gasoline, and Diesel
This should go without saying, but any processed fuels you can acquire will be extremely valuable once the refineries and shipments shut down. While you’re at it, purchase some extra Sta-Bil to preserve your gasoline once you have it home. Finally, purchase a few additional gasoline containers so that if you can trade for fuels later on you’ll be able to fill up your own. Be very careful while doing this, as fuels are very common purchases during a pre-disaster period and it may become dangerous particularly if you start filling up extra containers.
10. Water and Water Storage
If you have water filtration already, this may be somewhat lower on the priority list but nevertheless you should take the chance to purchase a few gallons of clean water if the opportunity presents itself. If you only have larger stationary filters available, try to get a few water bottles so you have clean containers to carry water in once you get home. If you can, buying a few of those large blue water tubs to store filtered water in would allow you to take advantage of downtime to build up water stocks for washing, drinking etc.
You may only have one trip to buy the items you’ll desperately need in the event of an emergency, so be sure you know what you’re getting before you ever arrive!
What would your “final shopping list” be? Would you have to focus on only a few items, or would you try to load up on as much as possible? Let us know in the comments.