Published February 7, 2022

Food Storage

Written by
Charlene Nelson
| The Dakotan

Let's talk food storage  

At first blush, talking about food storage may sound hard core prepper, but it's really not. It's hard core common sense

When preppers talk about food storage, they are usually talking about a long-term food storage made up of MREs and freeze-dried foods that will see them through an end-of-the-world catastrophe.  

The kind of food storage that I'm talking about is a super pantry, a three-month supply of food that your family eats every day. Having a three-month supply of food is something that many financial advisers and emergency specialists advocate. In this article I will lay out the reasons why I think this is an important part of everyday readiness. Next week I'll show you how to get that three-month supply by following a few easy steps.  

Keep your food budget under control 

This is the biggest reason I have food stored up. Food prices can be wildly unpredictable. In the last year (between September 2020 and September 2021) food prices rose 31%. That is the sharpest increase ever recorded. Wages are not keeping up with this kind of inflation and that makes living within your budget increasingly difficult.  

But, if you have food storage, you have a bit more control over how much you have to pay at the grocery store. You have probably noticed that foods routinely go on sale — either because of certain holidays or because the food is abundant (like in the late summer and fall when harvests bring prices down.) If you stock up when there’s a sale, you will never have to pay full price for the items you need the most.  

Always have the food you need on hand 

How often have you had to make a quick trip to the store for that one ingredient you need for dinner? Or have you ever had a midnight hankering for fudge brownies but all the stores are closed? If you have a super pantry you will always have the food you need for the unexpected, whether it's a guest or a craving.  

Be ready for the next blizzard 

What happens whenever there’s a winter storm predicted? Everyone races to the store to stock up on milk and bread. If you wait too long, you may find some bare shelves. But if you have a well-stocked pantry you won’t need to make that mad dash to the store and fight the crowds. Instead, you can get home all safe and sound before the really bad weather hits. And if the storm lasts a couple days or more? You can rest easy, knowing you have everything you need.  

The unexpected repair or medical bill 

No matter how well you manage your budget, you may still be blindsided by an unexpected home or car repair. Or your child breaks his arm and needs emergency treatment. Temporary financial stress is just one reason financial advisers recommend having a three-month supply of food. Imagine your peace of mind if you don’t have to worry about the grocery bill in order to a pay for that new roof or unplanned appliance purchase.  

Loss of wages 

We live in an uncertain economy. Almost any one of us could find ourselves suddenly out of a job or seeing our income drastically reduced. Who imagined that half of the country would be put out of work at the beginning of 2020? I have a good friend who was hit hard by the recession that began with the housing crash in 2007. Her husband was in real estate — the hardest hit segment of the economy. And they live in Nevada — the state hardest hit by the recession. They saw their income reduced by 70% for a while. But having a pantry filled with food, she was able to feed her family and with frugal living they weathered this storm just fine.  

Shortages and recalls 

Every now and then there are shortages. Even in years when there are no bottlenecks in the supply chain or or slowdowns among truckers, other factors can limit our food supply. An early freeze may wipe out the orange crop in Florida or a shipping strike means food imported from South America doesn’t get delivered. Or there may be food safety recalls that leave some shelves bare. You may find store shelves empty or the store will limit how much of an item you can buy. But if you always have extra in your pantry, these shortages will have no impact on your ability to feed your family.  

The one thing you can always be certain of is that life is uncertain. It is always throwing us unexpected twists and turns. This is just a partial list of some of the challenges you may face. Having a pantry stocked with a three-month supply of food will help cushion you from some of the mishaps of life.    

For questions, comments or suggestions email me at: charlene@providenthomecompanion.com
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