You’ve decided you need to be prepared. You have been practicing your fire building skills and know that you need to boil your water before you drink it from a stream. You have drawn out your fire escape plan and have your precious family photos backed up. You’ve started thinking about where you would go if you had to leave your home for either an extended period or even permanently and you are now ready to buy food storage and gear for your family.
You approximate how much money you spend on food each week and multiply that by 52 weeks in the year…. Your eyes just bugged out of your head and your heart starts to race… You ask yourself “How in the world am I going to afford to buy a year’s worth of food?” Starting your food storage can be a very daunting task when you first start, but it doesn’t have to be scary. There are tricks and tips to help you save money to purchase your long term food storage.
Start Small: Any task can be made easy if you take it one step at a time. To start, focus on having an extra weeks’ worth of food for your family. Think about ways you can save a little extra money throughout the month to spend on your food storage and prep items.
Tip #1 Cut Out Drink Runs: If you pick up a drink at the local coffee or soda shop each day, you may be spending anywhere from $1 to $5 each day. If you pick up a drink before work 5 times a week, you may be spending up to $25 a week on a beverage. Try making your favorite drinks at home or cutting them out completely and take a refillable water bottle with you instead. Not only will it be better for your health, but it can also save you an extra $100 a month that you can put towards your food storage. Brown-Bag-It: Along the same lines of drink stops, grabbing lunch on the go can really add up throughout the month. Bring along leftovers from home to cut down on your quick, yet expensive fast food lunches. You might be able to save another $25 to $50 a week and you won’t be wasting the food you already have in your refrigerator.
Tip #2 Meatless Mondays: Okay, this could actually be any day of the week, but by having one meal a week without meat, you can save a considerable amount during the month. For all you carnivores, there are plenty of delicious meals that are made without meat. You don’t need to get extravagant either. Grilled cheese and tomato soup was always our go to growing up. Cheap, delicious, filling, and MEATLESS. Tip #3 Simplify Your Menu: While you’re planning your Meatless Monday, consider simplifying your meals as well. It’s okay to have a couple of nice meals during the week, but it’s also okay to have taco soup or stir fry with the extra veggies in your fridge too. By simplifying your menu, you can actually save quite a bit of time and money. Tip #4 Change Your Thermostat: Another way to save a little bit of cash is to change your thermostat settings. In the winter, set the thermostat lower and throw on a sweatshirt. In the summer, set it slightly higher.
Don’t forget about the times your gone as well! If you go on summer vacation, set your thermostat much higher than you are used to.
Tip #5 Invest in a Dehydrator: For those that tend to waste a lot of fruits and vegetables, this is a great way to save money! You can preserve your harvest (or the zucchini you bought from the cute little neighbor kid) for another time. Dried fruits and vegetables can be used later in stews and soups and even be eaten as snacks. Plus, now they aren’t rotting away in your refrigerator. Now that you’ve figured out a couple of extra ways to save money, consider setting the money aside in a separate account. As you watch your stash grow, you’ll be able to watch for sales and discounts to purchase your food storage and emergency preparedness gear.