Gathering a food supply can feel daunting if you think about getting everything you need at once. A monthly buying calendar breaks food storage into "month-size" pieces, allowing you to focus on purchasing what you can of the items of the month. At the end of the year you have some of everything you need. That's encouraging!

Set money aside each week for emergencies.

It's important to set aside some money each week to create a financial reserve for emergencies. Use a part of this money to acquire food storage.

Make a plan by dividing the kinds of food you want to purchase over 12 months, creating a buying calendar for a year. Then set a goal to buy as much as you can of the items listed for each month.

It is not wise to go into debt to acquire food storage. A buying calendar allows you make significant, yet paced, progress in buying what you need within your budget.

Some monthly calendars become discouraging.

Occasionally, you can find a monthly purchasing plan that lists specific items and amounts to buy. People get excited about these at first. However, enthusiasm wanes, and food storage purchases stop when people find quantities listed don't match their family preferences. Those on a limited budget become discouraged when they can't purchase the amounts suggested.

Here's one idea for a buying calendar.

You decide what to buy and how much based on your budget and the food storage recipes you want to prepare. Wheat, grains and legumes are listed twice, as these are the basis of a healthy diet when you're storing food on a budget. If you're planning a long-term food supply, you will buy large amounts of these. If you want good taste and increased nutrition, you will want to buy other items listed. Dry milk and sugar appear twice as they are the most expensive basic food storage items. Consider buying important non-food items in the winter months.

• January - First aid supplies and medications; Personal and sanitary supplies; Check clothing, blankets and sewing supplies

• February - Oils and Fats: vegetable/olive oil, shortening, mayonnaise, salad dressing, etc.; Dried Eggs

• March - Vitamins; Fruit drink mix (source of Vitamin C); Canned meats

• April - Salt (Iodized), Garden Seeds; Canned vegetables and fruits; Water (rotate water and refill containers)

• May - Milk: dried, canned; Baking powder, Baking soda; Canned vegetables and fruits

• June - Wheat and Grains: rice, oatmeal, pasta, etc.; Legumes: dried beans, lentils, splits peas, canned beans

• July and August - Sugar and honey; Dried fruits and vegetables (or dry/bottle your own)

• September - Legumes: dried beans, lentils, splits peas, canned beans; Wheat and Grains: rice, oatmeal, pasta, etc.

• October - Fuel: alternate cooking and heating supplies; Paper items: toilet paper, tissues, etc.; Water (rotate water and refill containers)

• November - Milk: dried canned; Yeast, Bouillon, Flavorings

• December - Cleaning supplies: soap, dish/laundry detergent, bleach and other disinfectants.

(Source: "Emergency Food in a Nutshell," 2nd Edition, Revised, by Leslie Probert and Lisa Harness, 2003)

If you are on a small budget, do the best you can to purchase at least one of each item for the month. You'll feel good knowing you are moving forward with preparedness, even with limited funds.

What if you find a sale on something not included in the items of the month? Take advantage of the sale, and then return to following the calendar.

Each new year start the buying calendar again. Over time you will be amazed to see how much food you acquire! (To learn how a buying calendar greatly blessed one family, see "Make food storage a priority this year.")

As you purchase the items listed each month, constantly pat yourself on the back for what you are buying. Always replenish what you use. By consistently following your calendar, you will reach your food storage goals sooner that you think!


Did You Know...? (Buying tips)

Canned roast beef chunks are now available in some Utah Costco stores at an amazing price. You will also find outstanding prices on canned chicken chunks at Costco and Sam's Club.

Honeyville Grain, which sells a wide variety of food storage products, will ship any size order anywhere in the U.S. for just $4.99.

Emergency Essentials offers monthly Utah group specials. These come with free shipping within Utah.

Got a food storage question you'd like me to write about? Feel free to contact me at [email protected]