Sunday, March 29, 2009

Food Friday: How I got my 3 months of food storage

I am now somewhere around 95% for my 3 month storage. Wa-hoo! And after I go grocery shopping next week, I will be at 100%. Even bigger Wa-hoo.

I put this goal on my radar at the end of September. In just 6 months, I now have my 3 months of food supply in my pantry and basement. I will tell you how I did it, in case you are thinking of starting, or need a push to keep going on it.

The very first thing I did was simply decide that I was going to get it done! I have spent years and years saying 'I should do this', but this time I said "I am going to do this. Now." What a difference that made. At the same time, I set up a method of accountability. For me it was creating the 'food Friday' here on the blog. It could be anything you want- work with a friend, have someone ask you about your progress, make a chart to mark off your progress, whatever. But it was a lot easier to keep going with my goal knowing that there was some sort of accountability.

Next, I came up with a list of recipes that would store well. I used the form at Food Storage Made Easy. I also started immediately trying to find new recipes that I could include. My favorite recipe sites have been Safely Gathered In, and Fun foods on a budget. I have a sidebar on my food blog that links to many recipes that I have tried and liked. They are not all food storage friendly, but many of them are. Every single week I would search for and try new recipes that sounded good. Some were a success, some weren't, but I did find a lot of new recipes that I could work with.

Once I had my list of meal plans, I created a shopping list. I started buying a few things from the list, but I was also paying more attention to what I was normally buying at the grocery store, what kinds of things we ate a lot of, etc. I used this information to further tweak and adjust my shopping/storage list. I kept the shopping list in my purse at all times. The tweaking of the list took several weeks, and it still may need a little bit more adjustment, but I am pretty happy with it at this point.

Now that I had my meal plans and my shopping list, I just needed to start purchasing the food.

This part was a little difficult, mainly because we are aggressively paying off some debt, and I had to get a little creative to find the money to buy all these extra groceries. Here are some of the ways I came up with the money:

  • I cashed in all the change we had been storing in little cups all around the house, and used that money to buy some storage items.
  • By keeping the list in my purse, I was able to buy one or two extra things every time we went to the store. Little by little, it began to add up.
  • I bought cereal for Christmas, then quietly hid it in the basement before anyone caught on!
  • Because I was trying out so many food storage friendly recipes, we ate a lot more beans-and-rice meals, and a lot fewer meat meals. As a result, our grocery bill was a lot lower, and I could stock up on more of my storage items.
  • Anytime we got an unexpected check (reimbursed for something, a gift, etc), I would take some or all of that extra money and use it at the grocery store.
  • We decreased some of our other spending (like eating out or buying clothes), and increased our food spending.

There were probably a few other things I did, but the main point is that it was just something that I wanted to do, and was focused on. I was constantly looking for way to make it happen.


Kim said...

Way to go! It is such a nice feeling when you reach a goal! I'm afraid I'm still at the "I should do this" point, but I'm going to set some goals, make a plan and change that to the "I'm going to do this!" I love the pictures... It really makes it feel more doable to me. Again, I'm way impressed!

Katie said...

Congratulations! That really is an accomplishment, and I am proud of you. Thanks for doing this. It really has helped me get motivated to get started. I am no wherenear as close as you, but I have actually made an effort, so thanks for the inspiration.

Merilee said...

Congrats on your storage! I have a pretty decent storage, mine is just making sure that I rotated it, and use it! When we were first married I panicked and did as much of EVERYTHING that I could through the cannery. I quickly learned how much of that stuff we actually DON'T eat in our everyday meals. I wasted a bunch of money, but it helped me to learn what exactally I did need to have on hand. I will have to take a picture of my storage sometime and post it on my blog. You have given me inspiration!

amy said...

Ive got to read this again!!! Awesome..I cant organize anything.

We are back from China and we have a baby1!

TheVillamorFamily said...

I am jealous!!! Congrats Shanna!

Just many loaves of bread do you have for 3 months? How many boxes of cereal?? These are staple items in our house and I don't seem to keep enough on hand!! I need to get back on the bandwagon and start buying again! We are eating....just not replenishing!