I make a point of buying some prep items a couple of times a month. Mostly long term food storage. I have purchased from Emergency Essentials and Honeyville Grain on a semi-regular basis, but I try to limit those purchases to things that are not readily available in my area.
For example, I have not found an economical source for freeze-dried foods. So I have purchased freeze dried fruits and vegetables from Emergency Essentials and Honeyville. Same with flavored textured vegetable protein.
Some dehydrated foods and dry foods I have been able to find locally. Split peas, beans, and rice are the obvious dry foods available locally. I have also noticed that some supermarkets are expanding their bulk foods areas, and that some of the bulk foods are dehydrated and dry foods ideal for prep storage.
I was at Fred Meyer (division of Kroger) the other day and looked at the bulk foods. Normally I only go near this area to get a bag of mixed nuts or macadamias. I noticed that Freddy's had hard red wheat berries for 92 cents a pound. This compared favorably to the price from some online sources, which is $1.00 a pound, and up. 92 cents a pound for wheat berries still seemed a little much to me, especially when compared to the price of flour at less than 50 cents a pound.
The Spokane area has at least half a dozen grocery store chains, including Safeway, Albertsons, Yoke's, Rosauers, Super One, Fred Meyer, Walmart, and Winco. Winco is a relative newcomer to our area, and has stores in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and California. It is like grocery shopping in a warehouse. The prices are usually better than other stores, but one must suffer the inconvenience of the cattle-call mentality and bagging one's own groceries. I limit myself to one trip or so per month to avoid the aggravation.
Winco has a large bulk foods section. I found hard red wheat berries for 42 cents a pound. Thirty pounds plus the bucket and mylar bag runs about 19 dollars. Yellow popcorn was 64 cents a pound, so thirty pounds and the bucket/bag runs about 26 dollars. Winco also has about three kinds of dehydrated potatoes, five or more kinds of rice, a variety of other grains, and peas, beans, and pastas. They also have bulk sauce mixes, seasonings, and spices, for which my smaller mylar bags and plastic coffee cans will be ideal.
One interesting find was dried tomatoes. These are not dried in the sense of dehydrated to a near crisp, but are more like sun dried tomatoes. I figure that they are too gooey to put into long-term storage, but are treated for spoilage with sulfur dioxide. I bought a pound (at $3.90 a pound) to try drying out in the dehydrator and putting into storage. If this works I will buy more, as tomatoes are a necessity for pasta sauces, chili, and soups.
If the tomatoes are successful I may try this with dried fruits like pineapple, apples, strawberries, and cherries.
Slowly but steadily I am working towards having my year supply of food for the family, with enough variety to eat decently and avoid appetite fatigue.