Shopping Strategies to Minimize Spending During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Shopping Strategies to Minimize Spending During the Coronavirus Pandemic

What To Buy:


Before you make another run to the store, here is what you need to know about shopping for the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Food: Have three weeks to a month’s supply of food on hand. Focus on non-perishables such as beans, rice, and pasta, which are both inexpensive and easy to prepare. Look for healthy, yet longer shelf life plant-based options that are frozen or canned. Purchase frozen or canned vegetables, fruits, and meat because fresh foods only last a few days. Rely on milk alternatives such as almond or oat milk because they have a significantly longer shelf life than fresh milk.
  • Reduce Exposure: Shopping every two weeks will reduce exposure and save money on food costs. Most companies now offer online ordering with pick up service, further diminishing potential contact with the virus.
  • First Aid kit: Have a basic first aid kit on hand, which should include medical supplies needed for everyday emergencies along with over the counter medications for fever, coughs, colds, and flu.
  • Rx Check: Fill all prescriptions for 30 to 90 days.
  • Household supplies: Have 30 days’ worth of toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and other toiletries. Also, have on hand items for specific needs such as infant care or eye care.
  • Shortage? There is NOT a shortage of household supplies; therefore, it is not necessary to hoard. According to Georgia-Pacific, the manufacturer of Angel Soft bath tissue, the average family of four needs 17 double rolls for a two-week supply. A couple only needs 18 double rolls every 30 days. These estimates account for a home quarantine and include a 140% increase in the average use.
  • Cleaning supplies: Disinfectants, disposable gloves, Clorox Wipes, and hand sanitizer can help protect your home. Disinfect frequently used surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, and bathrooms daily, to prevent the spread of the illness in your home.

Surprise Spreaders: The virus can exist in the air and on surfaces for up to three days. Disinfecting delivery packages and items purchased at the store can help prevent the infection from entering and spreading in your home. For instance, cardboard can remain infected for 24 hours, where plastic and stainless-steel surfaces can transmit the virus for up to three days. Science Alert provides a list of how long a surface could remain contaminated so that you can schedule cleanings accordingly.

What to Skip On:


  • Dehydrated foods: The current medical emergency is not expected to cause an interruption in the power supply, nor should it require emergency evacuation. Therefore, stocking up on dehydrated foods for months and months is not necessary and would add to unnecessary costs.
  • Hoarding: There is not a shortage of food, cleaning, or household supplies. Producers, manufacturers, and transportation suppliers are operating at normal or accelerated levels.
  • Water – Electricity: There is not currently a known threat to the water supply or electric grid, meaning it is not necessary to stockpile a month’s worth of water or purchase a generator which is a big expense.


What To Do and How to Plan:


Make a What-If Plan of Action: Have a plan in place in case someone in the household becomes ill.  Consider childcare and schooling needs for children. Who will care for the sick family member, and how will you isolate the individual to protect other family members from the illness?

Make an Old-School List and Emergency Contacts: Before someone gets sick, make a list of all prescription medications for each family member, gather emergency contact information, and prepare health care directives. It is also a good idea to obtain a copy of your medical records.

Final Thoughts

While the spread of the Coronavirus has struck fear in millions of Americans, with a little preparation, you can have enough food and supplies to endure a short-term quarantine. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores continue to receive regular shipments of needed supplies, and it is possible to visit these stores even under mandatory quarantine conditions.

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