Food Storage

What Should I Store?-Part 3, Deciding How Much Is Enough.

With Food storage, there is a fine line between enough and too much.  For this post, I had considered making a list of all of the items I would need to buy in order to make my two week menu plan along with quantities, but I realized that it wouldn’t be relevant.  Each families situation is unique.  This decision has to be your own.

In my household, we try to have about a 3 month supply of food on hand at any given time.  Occasionally, we have as much as 6 months of food on hand, but this usually happens toward the end of the summer when many jars of home canned food items  are added to our pantry and fresh garden produce fills our freezer.  Of course, that only applies to years when our garden is very productive. An older neighbor prefers to have a years supply of food stored in her home, and she regularly rotates through it, so that none of it goes to waste.  Each person, or family,  has to determine their food storage goal.

Each person, or family, will have a different food storage goal.

If we were going to exclusively eat those two weeks worth of meals, we would need to multiply our two week shopping list times 26 in order to have enough for a full year.  Of course, I wouldn’t be able to afford an entire year’s worth of groceries at once, so I need to have a specific goal, as far as the number of a particular item of food I want to store.  Let’s take spaghetti for example.  If my family is going to eat spaghetti once a week for the next year, I will need 52 jars of spaghetti sauce, and 52 pounds of spaghetti as well as either meat or meatballs to put into it.  Once I know how much I want to have in storage,  I need to break that  down into smaller amounts and purchase a little extra each time I do my grocery shopping.  I also need to consider the fresh ingredients needed for these meals because I can’t purchase a month’s worth of salad ingredients and expect them not to spoil.    Canned and frozen vegetables are your friend when you’re building a long term food storage because they have a longer shelf life.  .

Setting aside a specific amount of money in your weekly budget can help you to gradually build your food storage.

This is where the $5 and $10 per week food storage people have a good idea.  In the beginning, I set aside a specific amount of money to buy food items for storage.  I also had a specific amount of money that was allotted to buying groceries per week.  Any money left over from the regular grocery shopping trip, or the food storage allotment, was saved and added to the following week’s budget.  At that point, the weekly grocery store sale papers that show up in my mail box were my best friend.

Watch your local stores for sales on those items that you like to store.

I would carefully study the sale papers and see which of the things that I needed was on sale that week.  If I needed to build up a store of spaghetti sauce and noticed that one of  the stores had them on sale for .99 for a 26 oz jar, I would use my designated food storage money to pick up an extra five or ten.    For most of the items that I store, I have a price that I look for before stocking up.  Several of our stores frequently have canned tomato sauce on sale for four to five cans for a dollar.  I can usually find canned vegetables for fifty cents per can.    Over time, you will learn the sales cycles, so you can buy your food at the best price.  You will also have a very well stocked pantry that you can draw from.  At that point, you only need to replace things as you use them, and this can be a significant help with your grocery budget.    That’s our ultimate goal, and we are getting closer to it every week.

How much do you think you should have in your food storage?  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

If you liked this post, click below to visit the previous posts in this series.

What should I store? –Part 1, Determine what you eat

What should I store?–Part 2, Making your food list

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