One of the easiest ways to begin to develop a prepper pantry is by buying in multiples. Buying a can of soup this week? Buy two and put one in your prepper pantry. If soup is on sale, buy three or four and store away the extras. Doing this a little bit each week builds up and you’ll have more in your pantry each week. Even before Phil and I got serious about prepping, we probably had a month or more’s worth of food in our pantry. I’ll blog more extensively about this another time, but the practice applies not only to food items. It applies to everything your family uses regularly that has a shelf-life of six months or more. That includes medicines, vitamins, and other health supplements.
These items don’t have nearly the long shelf-life that many food products have, but they can still be purchased in advance, giving you a supply you can use should a catastrophic event occur. While using the supply, you have a little breathing room to determine how to obtain more. The stress of the event isn’t compounded by wondering how you will obtain needed medicines or by suddenly not having vitamins and other supplements you regularly take.
Most medications have an expiration date ranging from twelve to sixty months from when it is manufactured. Studies have shown that drugs are safe well beyond their advertised shelf-life. Check out this article about studies done by the US military or this one if you like to read more scientific literature. Further, while expired medicines may lose their effectiveness, “there is no evidence that it is unsafe to take the medication in most cases.” (1)
That means we can safely stockpile maintenance medicines for a while longer than we’re accustomed to. (Maintenance medicines are those you take regularly.) How does that happen? Simply refill your medications a few weeks before you run out of your current prescription. Over time, you’ll develop extra bottles of the prescriptions. As each new prescription comes in, be sure to put a date or a number on it so that you know what order to use them in. Having done this over the past year, we have a three to six month supply of our maintenance medications.
For non-prescription vitamins and supplements, follow the buying in multiples approach. When you purchase your next supply, buy double. What prompted me to write this blog now is that Puritan’s Pride is having their best sale now. They are having a buy-one-get-two-free sale through August 27, 2013. That’s a great way to stockpile vitamins. We purchase most of our vitamins and supplements from them. This is the time of year we stockpile about a year’s worth of vitamins and supplements.
Please note that this is our personal practice and advice. We’re not doctors and you should check with your doctor or pharmacy for medical advice. We give advice about preparing for the unexpected and believe that having medicines that will carry you through several months of that unexpected event is wise.
Footnote: (1) http://www.drugs.com/article/drug-expiration-dates.html