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Food Storage Essentials: 5 tips for buying food storage on a tight budget

Published: Friday, April 6 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Even with limited funds it's possible to buy food storage.

Leslie Probert

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It can be daunting to think about buying food storage when there is barely enough money to buy groceries each week. But that doesn’t mean food storage is impossible. Here are some ways to find success when funds are limited.

Turn a little money into more

Just because there is not enough money to buy a case or two of food does not mean you have to give up. Save as much as you can after buying groceries each week. Over time the money you save will grow to allow bigger purchases. Then maximize the purchasing power of your savings by buying food only when it is on sale.

Replenish food when used, increase storage with sales

It is important to replace any food storage items used during the week when you go shopping, even if you have to pay regular prices. If this is not possible some weeks, catch up on others so what you have stored is maintained. Plan to increase food storage only when sales are available. In this way your food storage will grow over time.

Tax refunds make a difference

Tax refunds are a great way to make headway with food storage. When all or even part of this money can be saved to buy food on sale, your food storage can get a boost.

Purchase the least expensive foods

Because we’re all used to eating convenience foods, some people wonder about storing beans and grains. However, these are the least expensive foods to store, which allows you to buy and store more food than ordinarily possible. Beans and grains store well and taste great when you have good recipes.

Dried beans cost pennies compared to other protein foods and, when packaged for long term storage, they will store for 30-plus years. It is recommended to store five pounds per person per month.

Many of us enjoy convenient canned beans, which are very easy to use. Even these are a source of inexpensive protein, when they are on sale. What is a good sale? A good buy is two cans for $1 or between 59 and 69 cents a can. (This also applies to canned vegetables.) Consider storing Pork’n Beans which, particularly in the summer months, can be found on sale at two or three cans for $1. Canned chili, and baked beans are also possibilities and, though they are more expensive, these are affordable when they are on sale. Because canned beans in any form are already hydrated, plan to store 16 (15-ounce) cans per person per month. These have a shelf life of around five years, if stored in a cool, dark place.

Oatmeal, long-grain rice, pasta, cornmeal, and even white flour, are all inexpensive grain foods. Whole wheat can also be stored. Again, watch for sales. It is recommended to store 25 pounds of grains per person per month. Most grain foods, except wheat, require long-term packaging to avoid rancidity if they will be stored for long periods.

Macaroni and cheese, Ramen noodles and Rice-a-Roni can all be counted in the grains category if you like these foods. Because they have a shorter shelf life, these will need to be consumed before or close to the expiration date on the packages.

Save money by getting on mailing or email lists from food storage supply companies advertising their sales. Honeyville Grain will ship any size order anywhere in the United State for just $4.50. Go in with some friends, and that cost can be divided.

An LDS Cannery is set up so people may can their own beans and grains for long-term storage. It’s hard to beat the prices at the cannery. Those who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can attend when they go with a Mormon. Your saved dollars over time will allow you to buy a few cans of different foods or even a case or two of something.

Consistency is the key

It becomes a habit to save some money every week and to look for sales. Make it a goal to see how much food you can store in a year. It’s fun watching your food storage grow, which can be especially rewarding knowing you gathered it on limited funds. It doesn’t matter if large quantities of food cannot be purchased for now. The important thing is to consistently do what you can. There’s a rewarding feeling in that.

Leslie Probert, a graduate in home economics from Brigham Young University, has been a popular speaker and is co-author of "Emergency Food Storage in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition" with over 400 fast, creative recipes. Email: foodstoragechick@gmail.com

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