In Case of Emergency: Supplies You Need To Always Have In Your Pantry

What happens when another pandemic hits, or worse? Are you stocked up? Do you have these emergency supplies handy? Find out here!

by Atomic Mommy Editors

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Emergencies happen. That’s a fact. We never know when or where they’ll hit, and if you learned anything from the pandemic of 2020 or the riots at the Capitol or the war on Ukraine, then you already know that getting emergency supplies DURING a catastrophe, is down right near impossible.

So what even counts as emergency supplies? Is it only toilet paper? What else could you possibly need other than food, water, and toilet paper?

All these questions are natural and important to answer. The truth is, you’ll never fully know what you’re actually going to need and use during an emergency situation. Which is why whether it’s a total shutdown or a catastrophic event, you need to plan ahead. And here at Atomic Mommy, our motto is simple… hope for the best, plan for the worst.

But what goes into the planning and what supplies should you plan to get and when? Well, it all depends on shelf life, your family needs, and budget. Yes, there are quite a few sure fire items that you definitely need to get, and in this guide, we’re going to help you sort it all out.

Let’s start with how to budget for emergencies.

man in black knit cap and brown jacket standing on wooden bridge
Photo by cottonbro studio on

Budgeting For Emergencies

A good rule of thumb is to set aside 20% of your paychecks and place it into a savings account. Preferably an account that can collect interest or will not be used for every day living. Out of that 20%, you should tuck away at least 30-40% as cash, and store it away in envelopes.

The envelope method is an excellent way to save for specific things you want. It’s pretty simple to start. Let’s say you want to buy a television, and it costs $500. You would take a certain amount of cash, put it in an envelope, mark that envelope as television and the amount inside, and then store that envelope in a safe place, out of sight, and out of mind.

It works for two reasons: (1) the money stays hidden from your own mind and sights, and (2) because with each paycheck, a new envelope gets added to the pile. You never have to touch the prior envelope, see the cash inside, and be tempted to use it.

Now, 20% from every paycheck seems like a lot, but when you’re attempting to build a budget to purchase emergency supplies, then you’re going to need some serious funds. Remember to give yourself a goal of how much you want to save and by when. This will help you stay on track. Of course, none of your savings will matter unless you buy smart.

How to Buy Emergency Supplies Smart

When purchasing emergency supplies, you need to think long term, in months, and even years. Hopefully not decades, but again, ya never know. You don’t have to be a total dooms day prepper, but you gotta admit, they’re probably the ones who survived the pandemic without any issues at all.

So, how do you buy smart? Here’s 3 ways to do it well: (1) buy in bulk, (2) buy cheap from anywhere, and (3) buy products with long shelf lives or with the ability to have their shelf lives extended.

Okay, now you know how to buy, but you don’t exactly know where. Well, this really depends on where you live in the world. Since we’re in the USA, we’ll cover those places. If you’re in a different part of the world and don’t have the stores we mention, try to find some that are similar.

Here’s a list of the best places to buy in bulk and cheaply. Click this link – extending the shelf life of certain foods- to learn top tips to do it well.

  • Sam’s Club
  • Costco
  • BJ’s Wholesale
  • Wal-Mart
  • Restaurant Depot
  • The Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • Amazon

Tips On Buying Fresh Produce in Bulk

The best tip I can give you is not to do it. As penny hoarders ourselves, we have tested this theory numerous times. Our refrigerators were not grateful.

Needless to say, fresh produce has a short shelf life, but frozen produce can last up to year without losing freshness. In certain cases, you may even be able to eat frozen foods up to 2 years beyond their expiration dates, though their color, texture, and taste will have diminished by then.

So if you’re going to freeze fresh produce, then you’ll need a food vacuum sealer with vacuum sealer bags. Once you’ve done the act of sealing the food, write the date you froze it, and the expiration date (if there is one) on the bag.

The last step is storing all of this food, and if you’re doing it long term, then you will definitely have a great deal of food to store. Do not store these in your everyday freezer or you’ll risk this food being eaten right away. Instead, buy an extra freezer and put it in your basement or garage. This way you can store all the food that you’ve sealed. Check out the one below as a guide:

Emergency Supplies You Need

And now, to the list you’ve been waiting for. Here are the emergency supplies you definitely need to stock pile. Remember, some items maintain their abilities much better when placed in dark and cool places. Keep this in mind when storing your new supplies. Also, there will be a few items on this list that you will think is over the top, but with so much unknown and possibilities that could occur, we find that the Franz Kafka’s tried and true quote holds perfectly, “Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.” So as you scroll down the list, try to keep in mind that while we added a lot here, it’s not an inclusive list, which means there may be items missing from this list.

Now that you’ve read the disclaimer, here’s the official list:

  • Lithium Batteries – Top Shelf Life (Double AA, Triple AAA, D, C, 9Volt, 12Volt, Car Batteries, Assorted Button Batteries)
  • Water
  • Water Containers, Recyclers, Collectors
  • Water Filtration Kit
  • Portable Shower and Toilet
  • RV
  • Weapons (handgun, shotgun, rifle, and bullets)
  • Smoke Grenades, Pepper Spray, Taser, and Bat
  • Traffic Flares, Flare Gun, Traffic Glow Sticks
  • Crossbow or Compound Bow
  • Flint Kit
  • Buckets
  • Fire Blankets
  • Cold Weather Blankets
  • Fishing Net (handheld and loose)
  • Can Opener
  • Topical Ointments (burns, hives, itching, bites, etc)
  • Antibiotic Topical Treatment (Neosporin, Bacitracin, etc)
  • Cast, Splints, Flexible Wrap Bandages, etc.
  • Allergy Medicine
  • Calamine Lotion (for poison ivy, oak, sumac, etc)
  • Wound & Eye Washing Station
  • Gauze and Hospital Grade Bandage Tape
  • Scissors & Box Cutters
  • Locks with keys
  • Safety Goggles & Glasses
  • Extra Eye Glasses (reading & prescription)
  • Window Puncher
  • Seat Belt Cutter
  • Duct Tape
  • Electrical Tape
  • Measuring Tape
  • Flashlights
  • Hammer
  • Nails, Screws, Bolts
  • Planks of wood
  • Hatchet
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench Set
  • Hand Saw
  • Utility Knife
  • Gutting Knife
  • Hunting Knife
  • Fileting Knife
  • Razor Blades
  • Socks
  • Face Masks
  • Gas Masks
  • Prescription Medications
  • Over-the-Counter Pain Medicine (Tylenol, Advil, Aleve)
  • Vitamin Supplements (powdered pill form, not gel)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Bandaids (small, medium, large, body-sized, for burns, etc.)
  • Vaseline
  • CPR Kit
  • Medical Suture Kit
  • Compression Wound Bandages
  • AED
  • Tourniquet
  • Quick Clot
  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Gasoline
  • Matches
  • Candles
  • Solar powered lanterns
  • 18 hr wax candles
  • Gas Lantern
  • Wicks
  • Generator
  • Baby Wipes
  • Body Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner
  • Q-Tips
  • Wash Cloths
  • Alcohol Wipes & Liquid Alcohol
  • Traditional Watches and Clocks (not digital or battery powered)
  • Walkie Talkies (for when cell phones don’t work)
  • Rope
  • Bungee Cord
  • Light Jackets, Winter Coats, Rain Coats
  • Cargo Pants and Jeans
  • Packed Go Bags
  • Shorts
  • T-Shirts (short and long sleeves)
  • Waterproof Boots
  • Tents & Waterproof Ground Pad (for under tent)
  • Fire Wood
  • Bug Repellent
  • Shovel
  • Newspaper (for when dry fire wood is unable to be found)
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Carpenter Gloves
  • Bandanas
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats
  • Fishing Rod, Fishing Line, Filled Tackle box, and Bait
  • Fruits and Vegetables seeds
  • Mason Jars
  • Steel Oats
  • Powdered Milk
  • MRE’s
  • Dried Cereals
  • Portable grill grates
  • Portable cooking pans and pots
  • Stainless steel thermos
  • Plates & Cups (ceramic or glass work best as they are least toxic)
  • Utensils
  • Canned Foods (beans, soups, veggies, fruits, sauces, meats)
  • White Rice (can last up to 20-30 years if stored properly, learn how here)

How to Appropriately Pack For Long Term

The list above is mighty long! And if we could go longer we would, but the truth is, only you really know what your family needs. So before you buy everything on this list, be sure to take an accounting of what each member of your family uses daily. Then use that as the basis to build their go bags, and your storage area. While tastes can change over time, it’s important to remember that you’re not storing emergency supplies for their cravings to be satisfied in the future, you’re doing this to keep them safe and healthy during an emergency. That’s why you only need to buy the basic emergency supplies.

In Conclusion

Don’t buy all of the emergency supplies listed above in a short period of time, unless you think we’re headed for another pandemic or other catastrophic event. Set a plan to make purchases each month, and be sure to get the essentials set up like first aid kits, food, water, and clothing. The rest of the items on the list can be added to your stockpile over time. Lastly, this list is not meant to be the end all be all, so be sure to do your own research and figure out the emergency supplies you believe you’ll need.

Good luck!

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