Frugal Food Storage

    “Frugal Food Storage,” Ensign, Jan. 1993, 73–74

    Frugal Food Storage

    We really wanted to begin a food storage program, but as newly married full-time college students expecting our first baby, we wondered how we could possibly do it. Discouraged, I said, “Food storage must be one of those things you do after your children are grown up.”

    My husband smiled at me and then dashed to our cupboard, opened it, and pulled out every box, package, and can. As he hummed a tune, he began arranging everything into groups. He looked at me, grinned, and pointed to a small stack of food.

    “Food storage!” he said. I looked at the stack: two cans of green beans, a bag of rice, a package of spaghetti, and one jar of apricots. “This is our food storage?” I asked.

    “Sure,” he answered. “This is our frugal food storage.”

    Since then we have followed his frugal food storage theory. Each week we bring home our groceries, go through each bag, and ask, “Can we do without this item this week?” If we can, we set it aside as a food storage item.

    This idea works so well that six years and three children later, we are still using it. Though we have more money now than we did during our first year of marriage, we are still on a budget. Following are a few other tips that help us add to our food storage when money is scarce:

    1. Store any storable food that comes from an unexpected source. For example, if friends or family invite you to dinner or bring in a meal to you, store the canned or packaged food items you would have used for that meal.

    2. Set aside a small amount of money each week to buy staples such as pasta, baking ingredients, and paper products. You may be surprised at how quickly you can build up a supply of these staples for only a few dollars a week.

    3. Learn how to bottle, freeze, and dry fresh foods. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can preserve small amounts of fresh fruits or vegetables when they are on sale at the grocery store.

    4. Set goals for your food storage supply. Work toward a one-month supply, then a three-month supply, and so on. Be realistic.

    Try new ideas until you find the ones that work for you. The important thing is to start now; don’t wait until you have more money, or you may never start. Next family home evening, go through your cupboards and set some of your food aside for your food storage. You can have a food storage program, even on a modest income.—Colleen Hansen, Marienville, Pennsylvania