The following is a guest post from Erin at I am Frugal.
Erin is a mom of two trying to stretch her family's budget while her husband completes his college education. If you enjoy her money-saving tips, consider signing up for her RSS feed or email digest.
Building up a food storage for your family can seem like a very unrealistic and daunting task to take on with limited funds available in your budget! I heard of a great way to start building up your supply of "comfort foods" that I have been working on for the past month or so and wanted to share how the plan worked to get everyone started.
Here is how the plan works...
1. Sit down with your family or spouse and pick out your 10 most common meals that you eat at your house, these are your "comfort foods!" If you were going through a struggling time like the loss of a job or natural disaster where you couldn't get everything you needed right when you needed it, you would tend to panic (at least I would)! But, if you had some of your "comfort foods" to help you through this time for say a month or two, you wouldn't notice the struggling times as much in the beginning. This would buy you a little time. So sit down with your family and pick 10 meals your family eats on a regular basis!
2. Gather up your Recipes for each of these 10 meals and write a detailed list of everything you need in order to make each of those meals. List everything!
3. Now multiply each ingredient on your list by 9. This will give you enough ingredients to make 90 (9*10) or three months' worth of meals. In other words, if you need one can of corn for a certain meal, multiply it by 9 and you obviously will get 9 cans of corn. Do this with EVERYTHING on your list!
4. When you have multiplied everything by 9 this will equal the amount of food you will need to build up a 3 months supply of your "comfort foods." Now keep a hold of that list for the future!
5. Now you just need to go and buy all of the supplies! To some of you this may be easy, you can just whip out your little debit card and not have to even think twice about whether or not you can afford this right now. But...if you are like me, you have VERY limited money to be spending on anything extra. So I would suggest starting very small. I am going to try and do a 1 month supply of food first and then repeat the process two more times. In other words, I'm going to multiply each of my ingredients in my list of "comfort foods" by 3. That way I have 30 days worth of meals. When I have reached that goal I will simply repeat the process again until I have a 3 month supply of "comfort food" for me and my family.
I think this is such a simple and realistic way to start off with your food storage. From here you can rotate your food, and it is easy because it is food you are actually already use to using. Some of your ingredients may be difficult to store for a longer period like your fresh produce ingredients. Because of this you are going to want to look for substitutes with some of your items. If you are needing milk in a recipe you might want to buy some Non-fat Dry Milk to store instead. Non-fat Dry milk really is not that bad when used in baking. Also, frozen foods have almost as much nutrients as fresh and you can freeze almost anything. You can also replace things with canned items or use dried spices and herbs instead of fresh.
Just remember to START SMALL! You don't have to build up your food storage in one day, and you should NEVER go into debt to build up your storage! If you can't even do a one month supply right now, pick a few meals to work on and each time you go to the grocery store grab an extra can or two of something. Slowly work on building up your supply.
From Deal Seeking Mom: What are your best tips for starting a stockpile? Do you take a different approach? I'd love to hear about different methods!