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Getting Started on Your 90-Day Food Supply

Step 1: Take a careful inventory of what food you already have on hand and make your meal plans accordingly. You may have some long-term storage such as wheat, rice, beans, honey, powdered milk, oats, etc., or you may have invested in freeze-dried or dehydrated food packages. You may have a freezer well stocked with meats and vegetables and/or shelves full of home-canned fruits and vegetables. Or, you may have a combination of all of these.

Whatever you now have on hand, are you using it?Have you incorporated it into your meal plans for everyday use? Or, have you stored it away for that big emergency or disaster that may never happen—while the food is still good. If it’s stored away and just gathering dust you are probably wasting a lot of money. Sooner or later, some of that food may not be usable. For example, beans stored too long, won’t cook up soft no matter what you do; powdered milk stored too long will taste so bad you won’t be able to drink it; and white flour stored too long will not taste good, either.

If you have purchased canned food by the case, look at the “best if used by” date stamped on the can. This is the latest date that the manufacturer guarantees that the food will be at top peak and quality. It is still usable after that date and, in most cases, will still taste good. If your canned food is getting close to being out of date, or is already out of date, start planning meals that will include those foods.

If you are just getting started on  your 90-day food supply don’t buy more than you need for 90-days just because it’s on sale. How do you know how much you’ll need of a specific food? That information will be provided by your meal plans. Download free worksheets to plan meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts and snacks by clicking on the Worksheets tab and follow the directions for planning your meals. You can also download the master shopping list(s) that you can use to keep track of what you need to buy and what you have already purchased.

Planning your meals first is one way to build your 90-day food supply that we know works and is easy to do. Jan has been doing it for years and I started using her system about two years ago. It’s saved me a lot of money because I now use the food I buy. I don’t store it away and then toss it out in 20 years like I’ve already done—twice!

If you wonder how you can afford to build up a 90-day food supply just know that it is possible even on a limited income. Here are some things to look at:

  • Look closely and prayerfully at your monthly income and outgo. Are there places where you can cut so that you can dedicate a specific amount each month to food storage? Can you save money by making gifts instead of buying them? At Christmas time, most of my gifts are homemade and many are from my kitchen. Just $20 each month will get you started, if you stick to your meal plan and buy food when it’s on sale.
  • Use coupons in connection with sales to extend your available cash. There are several excellent Web sites that will provide this information, such as www.savvyshopperdeals.com which teaches a great money-saving system. Most coupons are online now, if  you don’t take the Sunday paper.
  • Foods tend to go on sale based on the season and holidays. Based on your meal plans, target a few items that are on sale and pick up two or three more than you’ll need for the coming week (or two, based on how often you grocery shop). Additionally, certain food items go on sale in 90-day cycles. If you can afford it, stock up on a much-used food item when it’s on sale. Food prices continue to climb. Buy now whatever you can afford, but don’t go in debt to do it. Instead, cut back on something else.
  • When planning your meals, remember that processed meals, whether frozen, packaged, or canned, not only take more space— they will cost you more. Using the Dinner Meal Plan worksheet you’ll be able to take a favorite recipe and figure out how many times  you want to serve it over 90 days. Following the formula on the worksheet you’ll know how much of each ingredient to buy, which you then transfer to your master shopping list.
  • Consider saving money by cooking more “from scratch.” You can bake a delicious loaf of homemade whole wheat bread for a fraction of the cost of bread you buy. Even if you bake bread using white flour, you’ll save money and there won’t be any added preservatives or chemicals. Once you get used to homemade bread, you won’t want buy it anymore.
  • Instead of frozen meals, such as pizza, or packaged meals, such as Hamburger Helper, make as many meals from scratch as possible. You’ll save money, storage space, and you won’t be feeding your family the chemicals most of these processed foods contain, then use the money you’ve saved to extend your food storage. Meal preparation was a “family affair” in our family. Jan and all of her brothers learned to cook and enjoyed it. The fact that my husband enjoyed cooking also was helpful.
  • Another way to save money is to make your own sauces as often as possible instead of using creamed soups, which contain a lot of sodium,  and MSG. (Take a look at the label of the creamed soups you have on your shelf.) It takes only a few minutes to make a delicous substitute for cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, cheddar cheese soup, etc. The ingredients for sauces such as these take very little storage space and cost only pennies by comparison—and they taste just as good, if not better.

My next post will continue with Step 2 in acquiring  your 90-day food supply.

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 12th, 2011 at 10:04 am and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Getting Started on Your 90-Day Food Supply”

  1. What great tips! I never use what I already have and tend to go out and buy new food items. I’ll remember to try this! Check out this website to bulk up your food supply even more with dehydrated food storage.

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