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3/12/12

THRIVE Q - Automating Food Storage

Shelf Reliance offers a unique way to purchase their THRIVE food products--the Q. While the Q may not be for every prepper, it offers an interesting alternative to conventional methods of purchasing food storage.

Here's the basics of how the Q works:
  • Sign up for an account with Shelf Reliance
  • Establish a monthly budget--could be $10 or $500; higher budgets get membership perks.
  • As you shop on the Shelf Reliance website, you have the option of adding products to your shopping cart for immediate purchase, or adding them to your Q.
  • You can add as much or as little to your Q as you want.
  • As you add products to your Q, the system automatically arranges them in monthly shipments that fall within your allotted budget.
  • At any time, you can go into the system and adjust shipments, edit quantities and so on. It's fairly flexible, unlike most "subscription" like services.

I've spent some time with the Q, and see it as being helpful for a several reasons:

You can "set it and forget it."
We're all busy and may not have a lot of time to shop for food storage products on a monthly basis, let alone do so using a disciplined acquisition plan. With the Q, you can figure out your good storage goals and then sit down add all the products to your Q in one sitting. Then, month by month, the food storage will start to come in. If you need help developing a plan, the Shelf Reliance site has a food storage calculator to help you figure things out.

Three more benefits and potential tradeoffs after the jump!

Budgeting.
When you sign up for the Q, you determine your monthly budget, and then the Q will automatically stick to it. You can always manually override the budget or purchase less than your monthly budget, but unless you adjust things, the Q will stay within your assigned budget. This allows you to have a predictable monthly expense for food storage items. If your Q budget is $75, then it will not exceed that amount without your direct intervention. This also lowers the threat of budget-blowing impulse buys. 

Adding Food Storage to your Monthly Menu.
Some may find they appreciate the convenience of THRIVE food storage products and eat 'em up on a regular basis. If you're going through a #10 can of FD strawberries and a #10 can of chicken soup every month, it could make a lot of sense to have them scheduled for regular delivery. No need to remember to purchase 'em, they'll just arrive on your doorstep every month.

Discounts & Offers.
You can get discounts and special perks for being a Q member, and if you're going to be buying a lot of food from Shelf Reliance anyways, these can pay off. The Platinum membership is not too hard to get--sign up for a monthly budget of $100--and gives you the full range of benefits. You can read more about the breakdown of different membership tiers here.

Don't get me wrong, they're not mind blowing perks--for example, the Q points work out to a 3% cash/product rebate. But, if you're going to be purchasing lots of THRIVE food anyways, it makes sense to get rebates, coupons and other perks along with it.

Tradeoffs.
Nothing is 100% perfect--you all know that there are tradeoffs to everything. The THRIVE Q is the same way--the benefits will be important to some and not others. Obviously, the Q is not the only way to build up your food storage--you can definitely establish and maintain your own budget and purchase from a variety of retailers. You won't get the benefits of the Q that I've outlined above, but your mileage may vary on whether or not those are valuable to you.

The benefits of the Q are also minimized if you have a small monthly budget. The smaller packaging sizes of the THRIVE foods are over priced relative to the #10 cans, and #10 cans of freeze dried fruits, veggies, meats and entrees will run you $20-$50 a pop, plus shipping. If you've only got say $30 a month for food storage, you're not going to get a lot of bang-for-your buck.

Also, if you purchase your food storage in jumps and starts--a couple hundred bucks one month, nothing for five months, then another couple hundred bucks, then the Q may not be for you.

A few other things to note:
  • Using the Q also means that you'll need to figure out the interface. It's easy to use and very flexible, but there is a learning curve there.
  • Shelf Reliance/THRIVE have a good variety, but they don't have everything under the sun, and some products have limited packaging options.
  • Shelf Reliance shelves and can rotators are NOT eligible for the Q. Sad.
  • After your first month's shipment is mailed, you can't change your budget or pause shipments for the next 2 months. That doesn't mean you have to order the full budgeted amount (or anything at all for that matter), so there's not a real downside, just a minor annoyance.
  • Finally, THRIVE prices on some items are a bit higher than with other outlets. THRIVE is quality stuff, but you may pay more for some things.
Free to Try.
It's free to set up an account, go into the Q system and play around with it. If you're interested but unsure, I would definitely encourage it.

If you want to started purchasing with the Q, I'd recommend signing up for an initial budget of at least $100 in order to get the Platinum status. You can order under your budgeted amount while still retaining Platinum membership.

Click here to sign up >

Finally, if you're new to cooking with freeze dried/dehydrated foods and other food storage type stuff, I would also recommend checking out the Shelf Reliance Recipe page, where they feature all kinds of shockingly delicious looking recipes. Really, these videos will make you start craving food storage, which is no small feat!

If anyone has any questions about the Q or Shelf Reliance, Independent Consultant Jade Garn will be glad to help out!

2 comments :

  1. This is a GREAT idea. Thanks, Mr. Wolf, for letting us know :)

    Checking out the recipe pages is also a very good idea. I have found a 'problem' with some of my prepper/camper friends - the "MRE Syndrome" - "Pour boiling water on it and shovel it down" - this works for a week or so, but if you dont want rebellion, you need to get good at cooking :)

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  2. Adding products for immediate purchase won't give you Q credit. Select the quantity you want, hit the add to Q button. Then in you Q, edit the upcoming shipment and add the item(s) you just added into the upcoming shipment. Select the date you want it shipped if you don't want to wait. I had 3 Q shipments hit in a couple of days when I placed a couple of large orders.

    I didn't understand this and lost a few thousand in Q credit. There is a way to get 10% in free product if you use a rep and attend a 'party' (no party really attended). This works better if you plan on ordering a lot and have someone you like working with.

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