Most singles or college students are overwhelmed with the concept of food storage because they aren't sure what to store, they don't have the space to store it, and are afraid of the expense. It does't have to be overwhelming if you buy food storage a little at a time along with your grocery shopping. Abandon the mentality that food storage is only wheat, rice and beans in commercial-sized cans. There are so many ways to make food storage easy for you. Here are some suggestions:
- Quickly Put Together a 72-hour Kit - Even though this falls under the category of disaster preparedness, you may need an emergency kit. It's what you'll grab if you have to evacuate your home and head to a shelter, or shelter at home. Tell your relatives you would love for them to help you build one for Christmas. It won't last very long, so you also want a 3-month supply of food.
- Gather a 3-Month Supply of Everyday Foods - If you live in a small condo, an apartment or with 5 other roommates, then start with a 1-month supply. Obviously you won't be able to store a year's supply of food in #10 commercial-sized cans. Consider shelf-stable foods in the sizes you normally cook with. This supply will help you during disasters and between jobs. Soup, canned fruits, tuna fish, fruits and vegetables, a bag of rice, boxed cereal, kidney beans, etc. all store well. The gathering may take time, but you can do it one extra can at a time.
- Make A List Of What You Have - Eliminate fresh foods from your mind. Yikes! Did I say that? Most of us are fresh-is-best eaters. However, those fresh foods won't be available after a disaster. You have to have shelf-stable foods in your home. Remember how long it took people to get help after Hurricane Sandy? Remember what happened to their local stores during the power outages? That is what it could be like for you after a major disaster. Look in your cupboards and find canned, boxed and packaged foods you already use. See, you do have them! These will become the basics of emergency food storage. Most of us already have a 3-month supply of food and don't even know it. Make a list of what you've normally buy.
- Create Disaster Menus - Now expand that list into simple menus. An easy meal could be a can of soup and crackers, breakfast cereal and a can of peaches. It may not be what you eat like now, but most of theses foods are foods you can survive on. For ideas, see Disaster Menus for 7 days or check out my College Food Storage list.
- Buy 1 For You, and 1 For Your Shelf - Make this your new motto. When you go shopping for a can of tomatoes, buy two. Or a bag of rice, buy two. Soon you will have food storage on your shelf.
- Old Mother Hubbard? - You don't want to have bare cupboards like hers. It's okay to leave food on your shelves. Move away from the mentality that you must eat that last box of cereal before you buy another one. Open one box, but leave one uneaten box on the shelf. Then shop again so you have two again. Leaving food on your shelves is not like leaving food on your plate. It's a good thing!
- Shop Smart and Buy on Sale - Learn what a good sale is by comparing prices. Most singles are bright college students or college graduates. You can do it! Remember that list from idea #3? Now record the prices of those items next time you go to the store. It may be a longer shopping trip, but you've created your first price log. There are apps for this, but sometimes paper and pencil is quicker. Watch for sales by looking at grocery ads online each week. The front page is a good place to look. Come up with your own limits on the most you will pay for something. My father-in-law never pays more than $1 per pound for fresh fruits and vegetables. I think he's on to something.
- One Week Each Month . . . Don't Eat Out - Singles tend to eat out more often than non-singles. Take homemade lunches to work or school, and use the money saved to put in your food storage fund. And remember; your favorite restaurant or cafe will be closed after a disaster, perhaps for months. Those campus vending machines will empty in one day. Yikes! Those snacky foods will be gone.
- Use My Monthly Food Storage Lists - I've prepared these lists to help you gather something new each week based on monthly categories. If you don't like an item on my 12 Monthly Lists, stock up on something else. Almond butter could be exchanged for peanut butter. Brown rice could be exchanged for white rice. Even though brown rice doesn't have a long shelf life, you normally use it so you will buy it again. It's okay to stock up on a supply of it in your 3-month supply.
- Pray For Guidance and Inspiration - We live in "difficult and turbulent times." It is no longer if you will need it. It's when you will need it. God does listen. Pray for guidance. Ideas and inspiration will come. I know this, because I've practiced it.
Listen to Barbara Salsbury - Author of "Preparedness Principles" on the Mormon Channel. She will encourage and motivate you!