I read Calamity Jane’s post Consumer vs Producer Prepping with some interest on Monday. I’d been working on the post below at the time and almost didn’t publish it. Then I got thinking that, hey, this is real. This is what I do. If I’m doing it I’m sure there are others out there as well looking to stretch a dollar. Anyway, it’s cool to point out the various approaches preppers take when they prep.
The other day I was driving through town and noticed the Super Walmart they’ve been building over the summer is nearly done. The traffic light is up, the trees in the driveway have been planted, and the big monstrous building itself is complete from what I could see from the road.
I’m kind of torn about this new shopping mecca coming so close to my home. The groceries and products they sell are cheaper than what you’ll find at local stores and before now if I wanted to go to a Super Walmart for anything I had to drive nearly an hour to get there as well as fight traffic in the Capital city of Augusta. Granted it’s not as bad as most cities I’ve been too, but when you live in the country like I do a trip to Augusta, Maine feels like a trip to the big city.
Loyalty vs Money
Let’s face it – money talks. As preppers and as frugal and responsible adults we try to stretch every dollar we earn and make it count – especially in this economy. The media keeps talking about how the economy is getting better and maybe it is, but I haven’t seen much of it around here where I live. While it’s true grocery prices haven’t gone up that much (but they have gone up some) I’ve noticed that the contents in the package have gotten a lot smaller. 14.5 oz appears to be the new 16 oz. The ice cream bars I buy today are noticeably smaller than what I was buying six or seven years ago. I bought a candy bar awhile back and was shocked to see how thin it was compared to what I remember buying a few years ago. The prices have gone up as well, just not as much as they could if it wasn’t for the trickery in the packaging. Inflation is there people, it’s just been masked by clever marketing.
So here’s my dilemma. I want to be a good American and buy local and American made goods, but often times I’ll pick something up and look at the price and go, “Holy cow! This would be ten dollars less at Walmart!” Same goes for goods at the local farm stands, although Mrs Jarhead does stop and buy fresh fruits and veggies locally.
If I can shop at Walmart or some other big name store and save $50 or $100 I tend to do it. That’s money! That’s sweat off my brow. That’s time from my life traded for things that I need or want. Does this make me a bad person?
Of course there are some things you don’t want to skimp on. Camping gear for instance. If you skimp on camping gear your experience with it will be directly proportional to what you paid for it. I bought a cheap poncho at Walmart once and tried to make a shelter out of it later on when it was snowing and windy. The mountain was not forgiving and by the time I gave it up that poncho was in tatters. After that I bought a MILSURP poncho and haven’t worried about it since.
But for things like cleaning products, groceries, electronics, and kitchen gadgets I often times make Walmart my first stop because I’ll usually find what I’m looking for at a reasonable price. The quality ranges from adequate to quite good depending on what you pay for it too.
And it seems like it’s hard to figure out just what’s made in America these days. Some companies that used to be based here in the U.S. have sold out and moved to China and I don’t always keep up on who’s where.
So how about it fellow preppers? Do you shop at Walmart or do you do what you can for the country and buy American made? I consider myself to be a loyal American, but I guess when the chips are down I do what I can for the family by getting the best quality product I can at the best price I can find.
Sound off below!