Budgeting & Finances Lifestyle

Food Storage: How to Fill Your Pantry on a Budget!

Food storage and emergency preparedness have been on my mind a lot recently. Every time I look at the news, there is another natural disaster popping up somewhere in the world. It’s so important to have a store of food for your family in case of emergencies, big or small!

While there are several companies that offer pre-made and bulk food storage products, these items may not fit within everyone’s finances. It definitely doesn’t work for mine, so I’m sharing some super easy, budget savvy ideas to help you fill your pantry without creating any financial burden!

The Food Storage “One Can” Rule

Grocery store canned soup for food storage.

This is a great, almost passive way to build a food store for your family. I read about the “one can” rule years ago when I was in college. It’s the idea that you add one additional can of food to your regular grocery shopping each time you’re out. That food item goes into storage rather than towards your meal planning for that week or month.

It doesn’t just have to be one can, though or a canned item at all. It’s whatever little extra you can afford. This was great for me in collage because I didn’t have a lot of extra money or a lot of extra space. The small store of food I was able to build with this method did come in handy when in between jobs or in a tight spot.

This allows you to contentiously build your store without feeling a huge hit to your budget or becoming overwhelmed.

Create a dedicated space for your food storage. Make sure it can hold more and more food overtime as you build your store.

Couponing Basics

Coupons! For me, couponing has always seemed a little intimidating or that it’s something only our parents did. Math was always my least favorite subject as well, so it just didn’t seem like something I could get into.

However, it’s worth the little effort it takes to get the hang of it. Now, there are even apps and websites devoted to educating people on how to use coupons. Some apps even do all the work for you.

I’ve found two, super helpful resources to get you started. The Krazy Coupon Lady is kind of the end all be all in this arena. Here is a link to the general website, here’s one for couponing on your smartphone, the best stores for beginner couponers and a link to the Krazy Coupon Lady coupon database.

I also have found helpful information on ESAVINGSblog. This is a link to their top suggested coupon apps and a link to their coupon database.

Stack of newspapers; great source for coupons to build food storage.

Of course, mailers are still always a great resource for coupons! Be sure to go direct to manufacturers to see what coupons and discounts they might offer as well.

Coupons make it easy to find food at greatly reduced prices, or even for free. They are also great for non-food items that you should store like toiletries and cleaning supplies.

Don’t forget pets when building up your food storage, either!

Case Lot Sales and Store Promotions

Case lot sales and store promotions are a great time to stock up on items in bulk. Pay attention to the grocery store ads that show up in your mailbox. You can also ask the store manager what their sales schedule is.

Put these dates on your calendar, and plan shopping trips around those times. This will ensure you’re taking advantage of the most savings.

Piggy Back for Warehouse Savings

Find food storage staples at warehouse stores.
Image by rawpixel.com

You may not have a Costco membership or a Sam’s Club card, but chances are, you know someone that does. Ask them to take you shopping for essentials that you can put into store. You can budget for a trip to stores like these every quarter or every six months, whatever works with your finances.

Warehouse stores often have jumbo or bulk packs of staple items, perfect for food storage. There are often other ways to save with these kinds of memberships if it works with your finances. Some examples are, car rental services, cheap cruises or discounted gas.

Bulk jar of oats.

Depending on your family size and the items you regularly consume, warehouse stores can save you a ton of money. I had a Costco membership when my husband and I were first married, and we never used it. We just couldn’t get through the bulk items in a reasonable amount of time, so it wasn’t worth it. Now that we’ve added two kids and we’re purchasing diapers and wipes and baby food, constantly, this is a good time to re-invest in that black for certain items.

I still like to do our weekly shopping for perishables with walmart grocery pickup. This helps us stay on track with our frugal living goals. I also shop at Winco for specific items and meat, now that we’ve moved right next to one!

Bonus Tips

Don’t buy things you don’t need just because they are on sale. Make sure anything you purchase, your family will actually use. Items that you regularly go through and staples (canned goods, beans, rice, flour, pasta) are the items you want to store.

Do, cycle through your food storage. Even long term storage items have expiration dates. Make sure you are using food items before their use by dates and then replenish as you go!

You can start a spread sheet to keep track of dates if you want to be extra organized, or just keep in eye on it. You can also cluster items by their expiration dates and label your shelves accordingly.

Food Storage Final Thoughts

Big flour jar.

Food storage is a big deal in the state of Utah, so I’m always being reminded of it’s importance. If this isn’t something you’ve thought about or invested in, it’s a great way to safeguard your family in case of emergency. It provides peace of mind. We never know what the future holds, but we can always do our best to prepare!

For even more ways to save, check out my posts for saving money on cars and homes and 7 super frugal tips to save on baby items.

As always, if you enjoy what you read, please like and share below!

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