With food prices rising and expected to keep going up, it is always a good idea to stock up when prices are low. Here are a few of my personal strategies for stockpiling food to be prepared for shortages, higher prices or who knows–even a natural disaster.
Choose a Storage Location
If you plan to stockpile food, you need to make sure you have a safe location in which to store it. You should not choose a location that is susceptible to temperature extremes–an unheated garage can get too cold or too hot.
A location could be as simple as a box underneath a bed or in a closet. Perhaps you have a couple of extra shelves in your pantry or in a cabinet that could be earmarked for stockpiled food.
Make a List
Make a master list of non-perishable and freezable food items that you want to stockpile. Staples and foods that can be used easily with other foods are your best bets. Stock up on staple baking items like flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt and your favorite spices.
When choosing canned and freezable foods, be sure that what you choose are items your family will actually eat. If your family hates peas or canned carrots, don’t stockpile them. Sure, in the event of an emergency and if there is no food, a hungry person will eat anything that is available–hopefully that will never be the way it works, but just in case try to choose foods that your family enjoys.
Canned items like tomato sauce, fruits and vegetables, canned meat (Spam!) and other such items should definitely be on your list.
For freezable items, just remember that in the event of an electricity loss, those items will most likely be lost. I found this out the hard way after a severe storm caused a four-day power outage in my area. The frozen corn and peaches that I had put up over the summer were lost and it would have been a better choice if I had canned those items rather than freezing them.
Make a Budget
If you are like most people, you probably don’t have a lot of surplus money to buy extra food. I prefer to budget to buy a little extra every week or two. Even if you spend an extra $5-10 for stockpiling food items during each grocery shopping trip, that puts you that much ahead.
Look for Sales or Buy in Bulk
When buying food for stockpiling, getting the best deals is a must. Keep your list handy and check your local stores regularly for sales. If you have a bulk store in your area, check and compare prices on bulk items. Be careful with these though–take a small notebook and a calculator into the store and do the math to make sure buying in bulk is really a bargain.
Work on building up your stockpile by adding a little more every week and eventually you will have a good stock of food to rely upon if you are faced with an emergency or excessive food prices.