Last month I did a few posts on some of the methods we use for tightening our financial belt as far as food costs are concerned. We are smack in the middle of several months of belt tightening. The reason for this is we have a new debt that we are paying. And that debt is called food storage.
I have written many posts on how important it is to us to have a well stocked pantry. I’ve even written a couple of post directly relating to food storage and how it is important to us. Until recently our pantry stocking/food storage has been a part of our regular food purchases. In 2011 our average food budget was $659 per month (for our family of 5) which included any bulk purchases for our pantry. A few months ago we decided that we needed to rethink things.
The last couple of years we’ve used late summer and fall to stock up a little extra food. Mainly because of the way we do our Azure Standard orders. We have a 2 hour drive (one way) to pick up those orders and sometimes our weather is rather bad. So we don’t do Azure orders in the winter. Buying extra of things we use to carry us through those few months wasn’t a big deal. Figuring out exactly how much to buy was a little more challenging and some items I guessed wrong and we ran out. Other things we had plenty. This year we fully intended on doing the exact same thing– stocking our pantry well to get through winter and a little longer.
But the more Joe and I talked about it, the more we felt like that this was no longer the best choice for us. We thought we needed to take our pantry stocking another step. So… we have now officially ‘crossed over’ from simple pantry stocking to food storage. What’s the difference you ask? About 6 dozen 5 gallon buckets.
Instead of continuing on our path of taking some of our food money and putting it toward pantry stocking we decided we needed to make a few drastic changes to our budget and get this food storage done. Since we were already planning on some stocking up for winter we had been money some money aside for that and we had thought we might dip into our savings. Using the money put aside and restructuring our budget has worked well so far. We did dip into our savings by $25 last month but that is not too bad. As a result, our regular food budget has been cut. I know that might sound confusing since we are buying food but in my mind it works. Currently, our “regular” food budget is for perishables like produce (we do not have a produce CSA or farmers market here at this time of year) and our cow share (3 and 1/2 shares which is 3 1/2 gallons of milk each week) plus our monthly beef CSA. Plus we were starting with a well stocked pantry and full freezer after chicken processing and hunting season.
After restructuring our budget we came up with a dollar amount to put toward the food storage. We are treating this just like a debt obligation. We are not using credit to buy these things (I think going into actual debt for food would not be very smart). We are purchasing things that fit into our real food diet. Some things, like produce, are processed at home to be put into long term storage. My husband says the food dehydrator has been running every day for 6 weeks!
Since I’ve often talked about having a well stocked pantry you might be wondering exactly what we are doing different with food storage. I plan to do a few additional posts and give you some of the nitty-gritty of how we are doing food storage with our real food eating. In case you can’t wait to get started on YOUR food storage (or just build a better stocked pantry) check out the links below.
Food storage posts and information from others;
A Year’s Supply of Food-Traditional Food Prepping— be sure to listen to the podcast linked in this post.
Prepping 101 Podcast– this is one of an entire series of podcasts by Cooking TF. This is a great one to start with.
This is a great post that outlines what a family of 4 might need to start building a 90 day food storage.
Do you think food storage is important? Would you like to learn more about how to have food storage and keep it consistent with real food?
PS- I’ve hesitated to share our food storage intentions on here. One reason is that having a well stocked pantry seems acceptable but crossing over to food storage puts a person in a different category. But with the way things are concerning natural disasters, the economy and assorted other things this is an important subject. And my hope is you will benefit from it and not just think that I need to tighten my tin-foil hat -which I don’t actually wear since I’m concerned about the aluminim leaking into my brain. 😉
Photos: Money Roll, A few of our food buckets ‘in process’