Many grocery stores stock only a three-day inventory, which is why you see trucks pulling up to the stores constantly and inside stocking going on all the time. A three- day supply could quickly be used up if the trucks stop running during a natural disaster. This is one reason you are urged to have a preparedness section in your pantry.

The Red Cross and other agencies make the suggestion that your emergency supply become a permanent part of your pantry. The obvious reason is that in case of a natural disaster, food and water would be available to you.

It could be that you are sick and just feel too bad to make a trip to the grocery store. There are many other reasons to have an emergency shelf.

In tornadoes or floods, the grocery store may be damaged and closed. The roads leading up to the store may be impassable or your means of transportation may be damaged and you have no way to even reach the store.

The entire supply will not necessarily be purchased at one time so you have an opportunity for saving. Watch for sales. Buy-one-get-one-free sales may allow you to purchase for the shelf while taking advantage of the offer to save on the current food budget.

Water is the one thing you can’t do without. Make this your first purchase, checking prices. Better still, take thoroughly cleaned empty jugs and fill with your city water, which is probably a cleaner, safer water than that purchased as bottled water which lacks the safeguards demanded of the city water supply.

Keep in mind that if there is a natural disaster the chances are good that the power would be off. The food you choose could not be heated before eating.

When making your grocery list, think through the day. For breakfast. forget grits or oatmeal and go for the dry cereal. Remember this requires milk. Buy small cans of evaporated milk, which will require water to dilute before use.

When thinking tuna, for instance, think of the finished product—say tuna salad. Add a small jar of mayonnaise and a small jar of salad pickles and crackers to your purchase.

Walk down the aisles in the grocery store and make a note of things to add to your list or pick up a few items. Other suggested items are sardines, canned cooked ham, fruits (both canned and dried, peanut butter, jam, jelly, pork and beans, fruit juices, cookies and bread.

Put a few freezer bags on the shelf so you can keep such things as cookies fresh after they are opened.

After the three-day supply is safely on the pantry shelf, all in one place, periodically replace items so the supply will not become stale as in the case of crackers in the regular cardboard box. Crackers sealed in a tin should remain in good condition and would not need to be replaced.

Make a list and mark off items as they are purchased. Systematically swap out any items that are approaching the “best if sold by” date.

Saving money is not the only benefit to having your emergency supply. There will be no last minute panic rush to the grocery store in dangerous weather where your choice may already be limited. There is also the danger of trying to travel during a storm.

The state of this economy demands that we are frugal with our money but it is to our advantage to make life as enjoyable as possible during this time. Additional stress is definitely not needed.

The possibility of a tornado or flood or some other emergency is enough stress without having to worry about food and water. The little things that you can do to avoid stress will pay off.

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .