Tawra from Living On A Dime (To Grow Rich) estimated that setting up a good, six month food and essentials stock pile should cost you between $500 to $600 dollars (click here). Tawra recommended doing it a little bit at a time, weekly, which is what we did. Every time you go to a store, buy a little something extra for your stock pile. We also had to do it while only on one Social Security check as my husband lost his work.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in full force on March 11, 2020, I will admit that even though I had an semi-abundant pantry, I was lacking on a lot of stuff. DH and I had just returned from a 2.5 month Florida vacation and our freezer was almost bare, as was our food supply and stock pile of toilet paper. Going to the grocery store then, in the midst of an epic pandemic in New York, was almost verboten. Even so, if you were able to make it to a grocery store, many of the shelves were bare and there was no toilet paper to be found.

My brother, who retired to Florida, traveled to NYC on March 9, 2020 to see his cancer specialist doctor for a six month test up review. My brother had just been diagnosed to be bladder cancer free (after undergoing a six month treatment). Despite being a retired doctor and taking all the pandemic precautions (masks, gloves etc) he still caught the cornoavirus. He was diagnosed on March 18 and died of the virus April 13, 2020.

Because of my brother’s rapid decline and death, I’ll be honest and tell you I was terrified to leave my house. But we needed groceries and supplies. So, what I did was order everything online. I tried Instacart but at that time the company was so overwhelmed they couldn’t get to me in time. Against my better judgment (and wallet) I started ordering foods, meds and supplies from Amazon (I was over billed on every.single.thing.I.ordered). I did find a company in Wisconsin that sent me mass amounts of cheeses, packaged meats and salami. I also found a local butcher who sold and delivered to us a variety of roasts, chopped meat, steaks and organic, nitrate-free bacon and frankfurters. His supply was limited and we took whatever we could get.

Also, in the month of April a neighbor offered to bring us milk, eggs and bread. She did this for us twice and then told us she wasn’t going to do it anymore. I froze most of the milk and bread and learned how to freeze eggs. Since my own flour supply and yeast were scant (thus baking was limited) I ordered flour directly from King Arthur. It took one month to get the flour (whole wheat, bread and white). I’m still on the waiting list to get yeast. I was able to locate 6 packs of fast acting yeast from a scalper on Amazon. Normally the 6 packs would have cost me $3.18. The scalper charged me $12 and I was happy to pay! I also ordered a five pound bag of Jasmine rice. I had to wait a six weeks for the delivery. Cost: $16 for what $5 would be the norm. Ditto for dried beans. I paid over $20 for 2 one pound bags of dried chick peas. The normal price for this would have been $1.32 a pound at WalMart. But there was a pandemic raging in the outside world and I had no choice. We live in New York State and we got hit, at that time, the hardest. Death was all around us. And then there was this horror over my own brother’s death. We weren’t leaving our house.

I ripped up old towels into squares to use in place of toilet paper. Nope. It wasn’t a good scene at all.

Our food bill, during good times, usually runs us about $500 or under per month. These last three months (April, May & June) we’ve run on average about $250 to $270 each month over our budget. To total up the whole quarter, we have spent $770 alone just to create a stock pile of food in our home. That’s way above what Tawra recommended but again, this is NYS. We got hit hardest before the rest of the country. It was very, very difficult to get food at that time.

Tawra lives in Colorado. She still hasn’t seen the shortages like we have. Nonetheless, it’s done. We’re up to snuff. We have a six month food and essentials stock piled in place, complete with at least 2 years worth of toilet paper. As most others have been saying: NEVER AGAIN! We will always be prepared from here on in. We also started a veggie garden and fruit tree grove (peach & apple). Since our current refrigerator was only 18 cu ft, we bought a 6 cu ft upright freezer for our stockpiling bin in our basement. We’ll be canning soon and a lot will be going into our new freezer!