One way to enhance your frugal lifestyle is to establish a home food storage system. My family is building our food storage slowly, and we have close to four months of food storage available (our goal is a year’s worth). The idea behind food storage is to buy things when they are on sale, and to store them against the time you might need them. Indeed, if you run into financial trouble later, being prepared with food storage can be helpful, since you will be able to use it to supplement your meal planning without having to buy as much with limited funds.
While you don’t need a year’s worth of food storage to be successful, even a month or two can be helpful. Consider how much space you have in your home, and what sorts of items it is feasible for you to store. You need to be careful as you build your food storage, and go about it in planned fashion. Here are some tips for establishing home food storage:
- Don’t buy everything all at once: It can be expensive to purchase everything at once. However, you can build up your food storage a little bit at a time. Buy one or two extra food items each week when you go to the grocery store. Get an extra bag of flour, or three or four extra cans of corn, each trip. By spending an extra $5 to $10 at the store each week, you can begin building food storage.
- Shop case lot sales: Another idea is to shop case lot sales. Many stores have them. You can buy items in bulk at these sales, and for good prices. Many stores have case lot sales twice a year. Figure out the schedule, and set aside a little bit of money so that you can buy items during a case lot sale. Keep an eye out for coupons that can work to lower the per-unit cost even further.
- Buy things that you will actually eat: Food storage is no good if you won’t eat the food. Consider buying things that you can use to make foods that you will eat. Also, consider the types of food that your body can eat. For example, storing wheat is a great idea since it lasts so long. However, if your body isn’t used to digesting the food, there can be problems if you suddenly start eating it out of your food storage. Make sure you incorporate foods that you store into your diet, so that if you have to use your food storage your body can comfortably digest it.
- Rotate your food storage items: Realize that there are some things that you shouldn’t buy in bulk, since they will go bad before you use them. Check expiration dates, and use items in your food storage. You can set up a regular rotation so that you use items that are close to expiration, replacing them with items that are still good for longer. Get in the habit of using your food storage items in order, and you will keep items fresh, and keep them from going to waste.
Establishing food storage is an essential part of frugal living. Start with what you can, and build slowly to ensure that you don’t strain your budget. If you have a food storage system that is regularly rotated and used, you can build up one, three, six or even 12 months’ storage gradually and be prepared for times of economic difficulty.