Building a Storage Program
"Food storage is good, in that it provides a personal buffer against outside forces (economic, natural, political, etc.). But, it must also be placed in proper perspective. It is a resource and a resource should be wisely managed. Like any other resource it should be kept in balance with other resources. It has never been a wise practice to “rob Peter to pay Paul” or to deplete one resource at the sacrifice of another. When effort is steady and consistent it engenders knowledge and familiarity of the topic thus integrating it into one’s life. For this reason it is not wise to spend a concentrated effort of time and money on food storage in order to simply check it off one’s list of things to do. The more time and effort spent on the project the more the project will become a part of everyday life, practical and useable.
1. Avoid going into debt. This is “robbing Peter to pay Paul” and may create a situation much more serious than not having “food stored for a time of emergency.”
2. Budget all expenses for the household and include a food storage budget.
3. Change the mind set from food storage only in time of disaster to food providently used daily. If the food is not to be eaten immediately, it is food storage. Purchase food to increase the amount stored. Purchase food to manage one’s own storage program. Purchase food in accordance with personal and family tastes, habits, lifestyle, age, etc.
4. Allot an amount each shopping trip to increase storage amount (since food storage is being rotated and used daily—that means 80% of the food dollar should be going for food storage); therefore, use wise shopping strategies on every shopping trip.
A. Shop with a plan and with a list—use the list of foods generated in the “How to Store What You Use” section.
B. Compare prices:
1. Compare the price of one brand to another. Try out new brands before purchasing in quantity to ensure the quality is acceptable to your household and will be eaten.
2. Compare the price of one size package to another. Divide the size of the package into the price and compare the price per unit of different packages.
A. Shop sales—Be cautious of shopping several stores and risking impulse buying at each store. Sometimes the 50 cents saved may cost $5.00 more in the long run
1. Compare price of sale item to non-sale item—is it really less expensive?
2. Do not be persuaded to purchase an item just because it is on sale.
3. Be cautious using coupons, they are used to encourage sales for the store or the manufacturer.
D. Buy foods in season.
E. Buy two items when one is needed.
4. Shop in quantity or bulk—but with wisdom:
A. Be sure quantity will be used before spoilage occurs or quality deteriorates.
B. Be sure quality of bulk item is high quality. Food will never be any higher in quality than the day you purchase it.
C. Use wisdom when purchasing at bargain stores, discount stores, salvage stores, warehouses, etc. Items sold at these stores may be lower priced due to poor quality and safety. If the food is discarded later or causes illness, the bargain price will not be worth the cost. (Even after following the guidelines below the quality of the product inside the package may not be acceptable.)
1. Check expiration dates—old items do not store well.
2. Check quality of packaging for tears, openings, exposed product, signs of leaking, soiling, excessive dirt, etc.
3. Check for signs of pest infestation.
4. Check for signs of temperature abuse—frozen packages are distorted, warped or have large ice crystals; items which should be loose are frozen into a solid clump; frost build up; freezer burn, etc.
5. Reject cans with dents on the seams, dents on the seal, dents large enough to hold at least one finger, cans with bulging lids, signs of leaking, rust, etc.
6. Ways to “increase” available money for food storage:
A. Use non-fixed income for storage such as tax refunds, gifts of money, bonus checks, rebate checks, etc.
B. Use entertainment money for storage by cutting back on (or cutting out) movies and movie rentals for 1 month, 2 months, etc.
C. Eat at home rather than eating out; cut back on snacks; use money spent on snacks such as sodas, chips, candy, munchies; develop cooking skills and cook from scratch rather than with higher priced convenience foods; pack a lunch rather than eat out.
D. Use vacation money by: choosing a less expensive vacation; shorten vacation time and use money saved for storage items; stay home for vacation; plan vacation wisely— lack of planning usually ends up in higher costs and less results.
7. Purchase foods from a reputable source. ..."
(Source: Utah State University Food Storage Cooking School—Low and Hendricks, USU Extension, Salt Lake County, 1/1999, pgs. 118-119. Copies may be made for individual and non-profit use as long as Utah State University Extension credit appears on each page.)