Friday, October 7, 2011

Back to Budgeting

"The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah." ~ Pres. Ezra Taft Benson

The idea of coming up with a year's food supply, as recommended by the prophet, is a little daunting. It reminds me of the old joke. Q: How do you eat an elephant? A: One bite at a time.

That's exactly the same idea I have about food storage. Even focusing on 3 months might be a little overwhelming. So my rule is the motto of the old fable of the tortoise and the hare. Slow but steady wins the race.

Having decided to tithe my food budget for storage, I determined that I spend $100 most weeks, some weeks less. Remember, I'm a widow living alone, so that seems high to me, but probably low to you if you're feeding a family of four. In the years when I never went to the grocery store, because Paul was the cook and he did the shopping, prices went way high. Every time I leave the store, I look at what I bought and try to figure out how that could possibly be $100 worth of groceries!

This means I have $10/week allotted to food storage. Not much, right? Not so! It makes a big difference in slowly acquiring that storage. What can I get for my ten dollars? If I choose to spend it as ten, as opposed to saving a few weeks, here are some ideas.

  • Four #10 cans of oatmeal from a Home Storage Center.
  • 10 small cans of fruit or vegetables or beans (only things your family will eat!) from the local grocery. Check the sales. Last week, I could get 10 cans of pineapple, a national brand, for $10
  • 9 double rolls of toilet paper and one #10 can of white rice or hard red wheat.
  • Makings for a meal your family likes - something that doesn't contain perishables. Or something you can use freeze-dried foods to complete.
I'm sure you can think of lots more. If you save your budget for 4 weeks, you have $40 and can buy a starter kit ($22 at the storage center, $34.50 including tax and shipping from The LDS Online Store) and still have some left over for other items. A starter kit contains #10 cans of wheat, rice, beans and oats. I think it's 2 cans of wheat and 2 cans of beans, but I could be wrong. If you can go to a Home Storage Center, you could get the starter kit, a case of oatmeal, and a can of something else.

Or you could use that $40 online with Shelf Reliance/Thrive Foods, buying either #10 cans (costlier) or pantry cans (more variety for the $40). What I'm trying to do is buy both - store the #10, use the pantry cans in my recipes. It's working pretty well. The other night, I fixed the Taco TVP according to directions, then added salsa and put it on a hamburger bun. Quick and easy, and with a side salad, very nutritious. Oh, and it tasted good, too!

Don't forget, if you're going to store these things, you need to *use* these things. Your body needs to physically be accustomed to the foods, and you need to be familiar with how to use them. Have you tried one of the wheat recipes I've posted? I'm going to add another one in a few minutes.

Do you have this booklet? It's a guide with suggestions for gardening and producing items at home and for storing a year’s supply of food and other necessities - available here for only $1.50.

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