How Your Food Planning Ensures Stability in Financial Disasters

by Bill on February 20, 2012

Everyone has heard countless times how prudent it is to have up to a six months cash reserve; this is known as an emergency fund in case problems arise. But, what if something comes up and you must choose between paying bills and eating? Yes, I’ve been there, and I’m sure others have been too – go look at the food pantry lines. You don’t know if you’re gonna have enough food at the end of the month if you pay all the bills; or the car goes down and you fix that without thinking about your food supply. Or, as the article I pointed to shows, weather hits or a strike occurs or you get seriously ill – now what? You can’t get to the food. This is why I state that having an emergency food supply of at least one month is as important as having an emergency cash reserve.

So, how do you do this. Other than growing your own food, which is the best method for having a food supply, there are the following:

Learn Canning
This is something I seriously want to learn (hopefully this year). I know that canning and storing your own vegetables and fruit is possible just like freezing them; canning them would be just as efficient and cost effective. If you bought all the fruits or veggies in season, at least the ones you cannot grow, the cost is reduced since it is very likely your supply was found locally. Actually, if you shop at farmers markets and local farms, you know this already. Can them up and set them aside with the dates written on them.

Freezing
Now this I’ve done with veggies, meats and meals. I don’t recommend fruits though unless you are freezing juice or preserves. Again, shop in builk, in season and local when possible. I’ve got a small food store about ten blocks away that I walk to for hamburger, chicken and pork. I usually come home with five pounds of each. Break up the packs into smaller meal sizes and freeze those; or cook up a few meals and freeze for later. I try to have about a month supply on hand. When I have the garden going I can get almost through winter with what came out of the ground.


Canned Goods
This is where people may get confused with hoarding. No, I won’t recommend stashing months of canned food you found 10 for a $1. But if you find a deal that allows mixing varieties go for it. Get a months worth. I do that with soups and canned pasta. I also have lots of tomato sauce (since I hate making it and can’t can it yet), and baked beans. Oh, and kidney beans do make a lot of different food from ham and bean soup to stew to salad.

Boxed Items
Be careful of this one. Boxed stuff tends to go bad faster than canned. This is especially true if you have a mouse, ant or insect problem. But otherwise, those 2/$1 things of mac and cheese go a long way. This also goes for all the pasta you find. Spaghetti, and stuff like it, doesn’t go bad, it just dries out if the box isn’t closed right. I’ve used noodles at the end of the month when the other food is all gone. I’ve also mixed pasta with God knows how many different things to create stews, gulash, simple filler meals and believe it or not dog food. Yes, dogs eat pasta when you’re out of food.

Basics
This includes flour, sugar, herbs, sticks of butter, eggs and bread. The first two (flour and sugar) can keep for months when unopened; and when you do open them, stick them in air-tight containers. Herbs should be dried but can last for awhile – they do lose their flavor after a year though. Eggs can last when refrigerated for awhile. And so many homemade foods use eggs you can’t go wrong having them around. As for the bread and butter, freeze them. Get paper sacks and wrap the bread, in the wrapper, in the bag. You can also buy packages of frozen bread dough and stick those in the freezer; these are fun to make and actually last if you have an old bread wrapper saved up. The butter should be actual butter and not margerine; the reason, the margerine will turn watery when you thaw it.

So if you plan your food like you’re supposed to plan your money, getting through the tough months isn’t that tough. Plan for an emergency food supply using basic needs and what you know you will eat. Learn to prepare basic meals that can be frozen and kept. Using foods that can be utilized into many recipes will not only keep you from being bored, but will also keep you from wondering if you’ll have enough to pay debts and eat – or in some cases the difference between utilities and food.

Here’s a link to canning
National Center for Home Food Preservation

And here’s one for freezing
University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Hey anybody with experience in either leave a comment or some feedback. I would love pointers on canning if you got any.

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{ 2 comments }

John | Married (with Debt) March 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

One of my favorite topics. You might see if your town has an LDS canning facility. They are usually open to the public and they let you use their resources.

If you don’t have at least a few weeks of emergency food, you are taking an unncessary risk.
John | Married (with Debt) recently posted..Best Personal Finance Writing – Week 9My Profile

Bill March 3, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Hey John thanks for stopping by! You gave me an idea for another post when I went to look up LDS canning facilities. Never heard of them. Did a Google search and found some information. Unfortunately the LDS community is not that strong here in New York State, and there is only one canning place for the whole state.

And thank you! At least someone else I know understands the risk of not having enough food supply should something happen.

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