*Article was written by Karen Jensen, my sister, and co-author of our book Living a Rich Life as a Stay-at-Home Mom: How to Build a Successful Financial Foundation for You and Your Children.
Shortly after my husband and I were married we decided to work on building a food storage supply. We didn’t have a lot of extra cash but we did get a Christmas bonus so we used most of the bonus to buy a good supply of staples like wheat, rice, beans, powdered milk, sugar, etc. Then I started buying extra canned and boxed food whenever I saw a great sale at the grocery store.
After a while, we were able to build up pretty substantial food storage. Since we want to rotate our food I try to buy extra amounts of the things that we normally eat and then use them up in my day to day cooking. Every six months our grocery store does a case lot sale and I stock up on the things I have used again on canned food.
I have been doing this for over ten years and I have come to really rely on my food storage. Here are a few reasons why I believe that having good food storage is essential, even in non-emergency situations.
Some days a trip to the store is not possible.
I have three young children and my days are very busy. Often, I am not very good at planning out what I am going to be making for dinner and sometimes I still haven’t decided when it comes time to make it. Many late afternoons find me looking in the fridge, trying to figure out what food I have that could make a filling meal for five people. If my fridge looks a little too bare, and my kids are nagging me about when dinner will be ready, it could be a stressful experience. By this time, amidst helping with homework and piano, I really don’t have time to go to the store. So I turn to my food storage. I have a handful of meals that I know I can make from the food I keep in my food storage.
This knowledge helps my stress level when there isn’t much in the fridge and helps the evening go much more smoothly. We can still get everything done and I don’t have to pack up three kids and haul them to the store. It also saves lots of money because if I did have to make that trip with the three kids I would most likely end up at the pizza place or the sandwich shop instead of the grocery store.
Food storage comes in handy when you are missing that one ingredient.
As I stated before, I am not great a planning meal beforehand. Sometimes I look online before dinner to find recipes I can use if I have potatoes I need to use up, or broccoli or whatever. I will search for recipes using that ingredient and find something with great reviews I want to try. The only problem is inevitably those recipes will call for something that I normally don’t keep on hand.
The other day my newfound recipe called for green chilies. That is not something I would normally have but I was able to go to my food storage room and grab a can of green chilies. Last night I was making a pasta salad that called for Italian dressing. I made the whole salad and when I opened the fridge to grab the Italian dressing, it wasn’t there! It was there two weeks ago when I made the same recipe, and who knows where it went, but there I was with a whole bowl of pasta salad and no dressing to put on it. My kids were starving and I was so grateful to be able to go to my food storage and grab a package of dry Italian dressing mix. I mixed it up quickly with oil and vinegar – two other things I always keep around – and served up a tasty pasta salad! It was a relief, to say the least!
Food storage saves you lots of money
Whenever I buy food storage, I always buy it on sale. If you are only paying .49 cents a can for you green beans, you can afford to get a case of it and use it up over the next few months. Then every time you have a need for green beans you can use a can that only cost you .49 cents instead of $1.19. It may seem like a small amount of money but when you multiply that savings by every can or box of food you use your savings become substantial. Also, whenever you are baking and the recipe calls for milk you can use powdered milk which costs almost nothing compared to the $4.00 a gallon you pay for regular milk. There are lots of ways of having food storage saves you money. A great company to buy powdered milk out can be found here (this website is only accessible in the US). Their dry milk (this website is only accessible in the US) tastes almost as good as store bought milk!
Food Storage brings peace of mind
Just as the old saying goes “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark,” we never know when disaster may strike. Ten years ago when we started building our food storage the economy in Las Vegas was one of the best in the country. Housing, tourism, retail sales, and pretty much everything else was booming! Jobs were easy to come by and the pay was good. Then in 2008 everything changed.
When the recession hit the United Stated the housing market crashed in Las Vegas and our whole area went into a tailspin. So many people lost their homes to foreclosure, lost their jobs, or were otherwise adversely affected. Although we were not in danger of losing our home, many of our neighbors and even family members lost their homes and all the equity in them. Those were dismal days for the Las Vegas area as well as many other areas of the country.
I remember 2009 as a particularly difficult year for us. My husband is in the construction field and although he didn’t lose his job his work became really slow. He often wouldn’t get 40 hours a week when we had been used to getting that plus plenty of overtime. We also happened to have our second baby in the first part of that year which made our expenses higher than usual. It was a real struggle and I am so thankful that we had our food storage to fall back on. It wasn’t as if we were starving by any means, but it was the closest I have ever come to feeling like I was living paycheck to paycheck. We really relied on that food storage and used up a ton of it during those difficult days.
So having food storage is very important to me for a lot of reasons, but a big one is just having the peace of mind that if something bad were to happen, my children would not go hungry.
Thankfully we have not needed our food storage for ’emergency reasons’ but it has been super important for us because it has omitted the need for countless last-minute-trips to the store, it saves us considerable amounts of money, our food storage comes in handy almost daily, and most importantly it gives my husband and me peace of mind.
Karen Jensen is married to her best friend Jacob and stays at home with their three darling kids. Ever since she was young Karen has had a knack for finances. Throughout her childhood, she often started up little money-making ventures that kept her and her younger siblings busy. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship. After graduation, she moved to Nevada where she successfully turned a financially failing company into a profitable business. She also started up and ran other businesses until she had her first baby at age thirty. At that time she sold her business and quit her full time job in order to stay at home with their children. Karen loves sports, especially water-skiing and biking. She is an avid journal writer and home re-modeler (she and her husband have remodeled four different homes that they have owned). She is a member of Marriot School of Management Las Vegas chapter, has given lectures in her local community on finances, and has an 800 point credit score. Further, her family, despite being young and living on a middle class income, has no debt besides their mortgage.
If you are looking for ways to save money on building food storage, Anita recently wrote a great article on 7 ways to save money on food storage here.