Last year I moved to a new state because I was finally able to gain full time employment. (For five years I looked in our last metro we lived in, and while I found many part time jobs, no full time ones.)
As part of the move, we had to use up our savings and then some. To make up that money we nearly stopped spending money on food. This freed up almost $300 a month for three months as we got ready.
We had stored up close to 90 days of food to help us out in bad times, and to save money in good times.
In the last five months we have been storing food and finally reached 30 days of food.
We did this with out increasing our food budget by more than $10 a month.
More details for those who are interested after the squiggle.
Thank you for reading, I hope this is informative and useful. If you have any ideas to share, please share them.
Also, Please, I do understand that no everyone has an extra $10 a month. And I understand that not everyone has places to store additional food. This is not a posting demanding that everyone do this. I do feel that everyone would be better off if the did, but I understand it may not be possible.
First off, why store food?
Years ago, I met a survivalist at a permaculture training course. He just did not fit the image or type of person you would expect to see at a pro-sustainable environment growing session. He explained his interest because "I've never had to shoot anyone, I'm likely to never have to. But I eat three times a day for all my life and will need to."
Everyone is going to need to eat every day! If survivalist would really think about it, they would not bother with guns and bunkers and armored trucks. They would be setting up food forests, polyculture gardens, and food storage.
Since I am going to need to eat every day, what can disrupt that which is very likely? Job loss, injury, winter storm, floods, drought, civil disturbance, wild fire, etc. Not "end of the world as we know it" stuff, but "hard times that may only be effecting me or my family" stuff.
Having lost income for two and half months due to a sprained ankle, having food saved up let us not rack up debt on the credit card or that winter storm that blocked off roads for three days with all the stores in walking distance out of food. Add in my feeling that as the "man of the house" I have a duty to provide for my family to my best ability.
How to store food with out being stupid about it?
Way back in last century, 1999, there was a thing called Y2K. Survivalist and what can only be described as "fear-mongers" hyped up the emending doom and pushed the idea of filling up your home with MRE's. This was so you could feed your family for a year.
Now i've lived off MRE's for over a month, and on MRE's for 1 meal a day for several months. Please trust me when I say, they suck. (not because they are bad, but you get burned out on it.) The other thing is that your kids don't eat MRE's every week.
These suckers, I mean people who got marketed to, dropped thousands of dollars on these pallets of MRE's they would never eat.
I don't have that kind of money, and hate to waste money. I want food my family eats now, and don't want to spend more than one hour of pay a month on it.
This is where "Copy Canning" comes in.
What is Copy Canning?
This method of building a food storage is very simple and low cost. It works like this: When you go shopping, buy an extra can of something you normally buy.
That is it.
Here is an example: Your normal weekly shopping has you picking up a can of pea's. Each week you get a can of pea's. Maybe you add them to meals to stretch them out, or add some color to your meals. Either way you use one can a week. This week you go shopping and pick up TWO cans. Now, when you get home, you have not just one week of pea's, you have two weeks of pea's on hand.
If you have a bad week, you don't have to worry about not having an item you use each week on hand. You have the start of a food storage system.
Ok, you have done this for one week, then you do it again. You had two cans of pea's, used one then buy two more. Now you have three weeks of pea's in your cubord, and plan on using one. After a point, for us it was our first goal of 30 days, we set the point of four can's on hand each week. At that point we stopped buying two cans, and just replaced what we used. We picked another item to get.
Actually we picked four things to get each week. This allowed us to stay in our budget for food, and rebuild our food storage. The first week we lucked out, and found what is called "opportunity buys". After you get some storage, you can coast some and hold off replacing an item you use till the stores have a sale. We had set aside $4 a week extra for food storage and one of the stores we shopped at was having a 4/$1 sale on some items we use. Instead of getting 2 cans of an item, we got the whole month's for much less than we planed.
With the opportunity buys we have successfully built up 30 days worth of food. (rice, beans, pasta, canned veggies, canned fruit, canned meat) And it is all things we use now for food. This is on top of what we grow in the garden or buy fresh. Milk is bought each week, but we do have two boxes of powdered milk we use for cooking. The kids won't be going "but I hate that stuff from the brown bags". This will be because the food storage is stuff they like to eat. And when the power is out, or the schools are closed because it is so cold, or Daddy has lost his job and is trying to make it off $290 a week, you don't have to add one more stress to them or you.
Where do you put it?
Ideally you put it in a pantry. A special room just for storing your food in. Other ideas are: your cubords, (it is where you put your food now) on a small book shelf, under your bed, in plastic bins that stack in a room. The goal is to have the cans and boxes some place you can access them easily, and can rotate, where you can use them.
If you have them or hints, please help out by posting them. I plan on coming back to this at some point but looking more at food storage and gardens.