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You have probably noticed, over the past couple of years, that food prices are increasing. Food prices inflation, combined with an economic climate that some still consider uncertain, presents challenges to households trying to live frugally on a budget. Even if you don't feel in immediate danger from a job loss or other financial setback, it never hurts to be prepared. One way to prepare for financial difficulties -- and reduce your exposure to food prices inflation at the same time -- is to build up your home food storage.
When you have home food storage, you have the ability to draw upon your resources to help stretch your dollars in lean times. Plus, since you are buying staples now, at a lower price, it protects you to some degree from higher prices later. Someone with food storage would be able to feed a family for a month or more, without needing to go to the store beyond the need for the purchase of the most perishable items. With a more complete food storage, it would be possible to survive the after-effects of a natural disaster, or a financial catastrophe, without needing to visit the store for weeks.
Tips for Building Your Home Food Storage
Too many people focus on creating a stockpile quickly. For long-term food storage, though, there is no need to spend a great deal of money up front for a huge stockpile. Instead, you can begin to build your home food storage economically, and in a way that can help you maintain a frugal lifestyle.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
Buy what you will eat:
If you don't have a wheat grinder, and aren't used to eating whole wheat products, storing up wheat won't be terribly useful. Think about what you eat, and try to purchase shelf-stable items that you will actually consume.
Start small:Don't try to buy everything at once. That can be quite expensive, and bust your budget. Instead, buy two or three items for your food storage each week. Budget it in as part of your grocery shopping.
Create a schedule:List out items you would like in your food storage. This can include such items as canned or frozen vegetables, pasta, shelf-stable milk, dried fruit, and baking supplies. Create a buying schedule so that one week you purchase milk and three cans of vegetables. The next week you could buy an extra bag of flour and two packages of dried fruit. Build your food storage evenly.
Rotate your stores:Pay attention to expiration dates, and make sure to rotate items. This means that you should eat from your food storage, making inexpensive meals (that beat food price inflation) from items that are ready to expire. You can replace these items when you go to the store.
Use couponing strategies:Even though this isn't exactly stockpiling like you would see on Extreme Couponing, you can still use some of the same strategies. When you have coupons, when there are sales, or when you can buy in bulk, consider doing so. You will save more money over time.
Consider growing and preserving your own food:It is possible to start bottling, dehydrating or freezing your own produce fairly easily and relatively inexpensively. If you have a garden, you can save money by eating some of the produce as it ripens, and then preserving the excess for later, adding it to your home food storage.
Bottom LineYou will be ready for just about anything with food storage. You will be financially prepared for a job loss or some other setback when there is adequate food already in your home, and you will be ready for emergency situations and natural disasters. On top of that, you can save money in the long run by purchasing food at lower prices now, and eating it later.
Janet Hutchins writes for Credit, Eh, a blog about personal finance and responsible credit use.