photo by bkajino
Guest Post by Hannah and Abby from Safely Gathered In
Syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey advises his listeners to set up an emergency fund that consists of
three to six months of living expenses. The fund is for "just in case"
situations like job loss and medical or auto emergencies–basically a
source of cash for unexpected tough times.
Along this same line of
thinking, it is also smart to consider setting up an emergency fund of
food. Thinking of your long-term food needs is not only for
"gloom-and-doom" situations. By systematically storing food that your
family enjoys eating, you will be able to purchase the food on your
plan when it is at rock-bottom prices, learn to plan and budget better,
and give your family peace of mind.
a three month supply of food can seem daunting at first—it is a lot of
food! But it can be done. The first step is to plan meals you want to
store. It won't do you much good to just store random food items.
a menu plan and post it on your pantry door for easy reference. Ideally, you want to plan meals that only use non-perishable items so
your food storage isn't ruined if you lose electricity and your freezer
food thaws. Spaghetti, rice and beans, chicken pot pie, and vegetarian
taco soup are some excellent meals that can be made completely from
pantry (non-perishables) items.
Once your meals are planned
out, write down all the ingredients you need on one "Master List." Each time you visit the grocery store, look at what's on sale and stock
up reasonably on the things from your list. Or, you can just buy one
extra full meal every time you shop. Soon you will have a week of
extra meals, then a month, and so on.
A supply of food should
be built up slowly according to both your budget and plan. Do not go
into debt building your food storage—that's neither frugal or
responsible. Don't "hoard" food either. Only buy what you need and
what your family will enjoy eating. Then use it when you need it.
third important step in creating your emergency fund of food is
rotation. Even non-perishable food can spoil. This is why it's so
important to "store what you eat and eat what you store."
In order to
avoid wasting the money that you spent purchasing the non-perishable
food items, pay close attention to expiration dates, and devise a
system for rotation. For example, if you have cans of veggies or fruit
in your food storage, eat them. Then, when you replace the items
you've taken out, put the new food in the back so the old food gets
eaten first. Food storage is a constant cycle of buying, storing,
rotating, eating, and replacing.
Do we only serve food storage
meals to our families? Of course not! We like to try new food storage
recipes weekly and we also like to eat a lot of fresh foods in the
rotate our supply, usually eating at least one food storage meal per
week, sometimes more. Because the foods are non-perishable, there is
not any pressure to use them immediately. At the same time, if we don't
feel like cooking what we had planned for dinner, we can fall back on
one of the food storage classics, and no one will complain.
recently, Abby and her family had a tight month financially with some
car issues. The one expense they could confidently cut was their food
budget. She stopped going to the grocery store completely except to get
a few things like milk, eggs, and a little produce. Did they starve?
Not at all! They ate delicious, nutritious meals. In fact, no one even
noticed she hadn't been shopping as long as they didn't look in her
emergency fund of food–take it one step at a time. Start by making
small goals like storing one week of food, then two weeks, and so on
Then when you hit those bumps in life, feeding your family will be
something you don't have to think about.
Hannah and Abby share recipe ideas, food preservation
tutorials, and more information regarding food storage