Disaster wears many faces, not all of them coming from nature. The world economy is experiencing a very bumpy and heart-stopping roller coaster ride because of turmoil in the financial markets. A terrorist attack could disrupt the food distribution system for a prolonged period. Crops fail periodically, driving up prices. Job loss is a possibility or a reality for people all the time. Having a stash of extra food in your pantry will not fix every problem that comes along, but it gives a little peace of mind. It can save a little cash, too.
Look at your bank statement or checkbook and see how much you have spent on groceries over the past two or three months. This probably includes items like health and beauty aids and paper goods---essentials that you probably use every day.
Go to your refrigerator and take an inventory, including partial jugs of milk, half-empty ketchup bottles, and that jar of mayonnaise that's been in there since Bill Clinton was president. Anything of questionable freshness or safety should be thrown out. Write all this information down for future reference. Repeat with the items in your kitchen cupboards. Take everything out and toss the stuff you're not sure about. Now is also a good time to wipe the shelves and replace the shelf paper if needed. This is a good way to make sure there aren't any pantry pests raising a family in that open box of oatmeal.
After you've determined how much you eat in a week and how much food you have on hand, it's time to make a shopping list for the upcoming week. Try to identify the items your family eats on a regular basis. For most of us, caviar will not make the list.
If you get the daily local newspaper delivered to your home, you're in luck. Depending on the market area you live in, the weekly grocery ads appear in the Wednesday edition of the paper. If you don't have a subscription, you can still make a point of picking up a copy of the newspaper on Wednesdays. Most supermarket chains also post their weekly ads online. Identify the best prices on staple food items and circle them. Clip coupons. Take advantage of two for the price of one deals.
Carve an extra $20 out of your budget each week. This will be your seed money for your storage food plan. It's not a lot of money, but you can work wonders with it. There are tips below to help you find the cash.
After your shopping trip, bring everything into the house and designate which food is for daily use and which is to go into storage. Store the extras on a spare shelf in your closet or even in a plastic bin under a bed. Just make sure the storage area is as cool, dark, and dry as possible