Buying expensive quantities

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I received a comment to an earlier post and it had some math in it, calculating that 5,000 rounds of .308 ammo would cost about $2500~. (The 5000 rounds was based on the persons idea of what was a good amount to keep on hand…your mileage may vary on that one.)

$2500 is a lot of money to come up with at once. Some of use won’t have too much trouble doing it (that would be the evil ‘yuppie’ know, the people that actually got real jobs), some of us will have to do it over time (raises hand in the air…hello), and some will laugh hysterically and sneer that we’re fools since that $2500 would buy us the entire Bulgarian military’s supply of 7.62×54R for the $70 Mosin Nagants.

As usual, theres a middle ground.

How much ammo do I have? Honestly, I have no idea. I have an idea of how much there is at minimum. I know that right now theres at least 18k of ammo in the bunker, not including .22 ammo. Theres actually more than that but once it gets past the ‘minimum amount I like to have on hand’ I don’t worry about it.

Isnt that expensive, you ask? Sure it is….if I bought it all at once. Lets use the 7.62×39 as an example. Back in the good ol’ days that stuff was about $75 a case. So I picked up a case here and there. Six months go by and the price has jumped to $95 a case. I bitch and whine about it and buy another case or two. A year goes by and now its $125 a case. I’m annoyed,  but I buy another case. This goes on for another year or two until finally I’ve got at least 5k of the stuff on hand. Nowadays the stuff is around $225-250 a case. I stopped buying it when it went north of $175.

Do I wish I had just plunked down a grand and bought 10k rounds when it was less than $100 a case? Of course! But I can count the times Ive had $1000 in disposable cash on one hand.

Simply put, for me the best way to buy things that are needed in large quantity is to buy it over time. A case of .223 every year, 2 bricks of .22 every other month, etc, etc. If theres some sort of cash windfall that dumps a lot of money in my pocket (like the gift card I got last month) then I’ll do a big purchase but normally it’s a nickel-n-dime acquisition process. Isnt it cheaper to buy it all at once and get the big bulk discount? Absolutely…if you have the cash. Im lucky if I can divert $100 a month into being prepared. While I may save money if I bought a pallet load of ammo at once, the fact is that if I don’t have the money it wont matter how cheap it is…the money simply isn’t there.

There have, however, been exceptions. The biggest exception has been the group purchase. A few years ago I wanted some Mountain House #10 cans. They aint cheap and although not heavy, they are bulky so shipping was pretty spendy too. The solution was that MH would give free shipping on a $2000 order. So I rounded up a bunch of folks on the internet, collected the money from everyone and made the big purchase. When the palletload of MH showed up I boxed up folks’ orders and sent ‘em out. Everyone, including myself, got a smoking hot deal on the freezedrieds and saved huge amounts of money.

If you can get a few like minded individuals together who have the same needs as yourself you can take advantage of those huge wholesaler-size discounts. Get your buddies together and ask who can kick in $100 (or whatever) towards something all of you need (like spare magazines, ammo, lithium batteries, body armour plates, knives, etc, etc.) If you’re really disciplined, and really on the same page…you and your buddies could ‘collect’ from each other every month towards a common goal. Maybe everyone chips in $50 a month and at the end of the year you go into a big purchase on a bulk package of ammo, surplus rifles or the like. Tricky business though…us preparedness types tend to be very individualistic and getting us all to agree and act on a plan of action can fit the definition of cat herding.

Every so often someone posts about whether they should go into debt to finance their preparedness. Its an attractive proposition…you max out the American Express card on survival gear and then when you need the survival gear Wall Street no longer exists so you wont have to pay it back. Problem is, TEOTWAWKI isn’t something as predictable as Haileys Comet. There’s some ethical considerations, which I don’t particularly get worked up over but some do. I would say that theres no reason to get into debt for being prepared when you can do what you need to do over time. However, if some absolutely unbelievable deal came down the pike (cases of Wolf 7.62×39 for $50 a case, Mountain House at $5 a can, new Honda generators for $169.95 ea.) then it might not be unreasonable. But, generally speaking, I don’t think you need to go into debt for any of this stuff.