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It can be hard to imagine living in a time where food is not thoroughly stocked in our pantry or at the supermarket. Could we really find ourselves in a situation that would force us to rely on food that we have stocked in our homes for families?

There are many reasons why we could run into problems that would force us to eat our stored food supply. Anything from a national disaster to unemployment and everything in-between could cause a disruption in our food. In those rare cases, having enough food, water and also emergency supplies will be important and can provide peace of mind.

Gathering enough food to survive for 72 hours, three months, or maybe even a full year can be a bank breaking experience. If you’ve never seen the amount of food one person consumes in a full year then you really have no idea how much we actually eat. But stocking enough food for each person in your family doesn’t have to cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. Here are 5 ideas to start storing food frugally.

Common sense

Okay the first thing we need to talk about is using common sense when purchasing food storage. What I really mean is, don’t ever buy something you wouldn’t normally eat. That will be a complete waste of money. I love using the example of lima beans. If you don’t like to eat lima beans on the normal everyday basis then why would you consider storing them in case of an emergency. There is a good chance that you will be forced to simply throw out the lima beans when they expire because you haven’t used them in an emergency situation and you won’t break them out and cook them up for dinner. How much wood you have spent on those beans? $20 $50 or more to stock up enough lima beans for the year? If you never eat something don’t put it in your food storage because you won’t eat it in an emergency.

Expiration dates

No matter how carefully your food is prepared and packaged it will eventually expire. Professionally packed food storage may last for 15 or 20 years but it still expires. Most food storage items last for a few years before they go bad. Keep track of the expiration dates and rotate those items out of your food storage and use them up. This will prevent you from wasting money on food items that go bad and have to be thrown away.


If you’re determined to buy food items that you really want you may incorporate using coupons to get the best deals. Make a plan of the types of foods you’ll be eating and then be on the lookout for coupons which will fulfill your wants and needs. Waiting for weekly or monthly sales will provide major savings. In addition if you purchase your food in bulk you can also save additional money.

Plant to garden

It doesn’t matter if you live in the country or the city anyone can plant a garden. Planting a garden can be a huge way to save money but it takes some time and planning. Vegetables require maintenance and must be planted at the appropriate times of the year in order to have a good harvest. Once you have your harvest take steps to properly prepare it for storage so it doesn’t go to waste. If you know anyone who has a garden then you’ll know they usually come around with their grown vegetables every few months and give everything away. That’s because of the large surplus most gardens produce, so just take that surplus and store it in your food storage to save money.


Having a food storage budget is probably one of the best ways to save money. Placing a cap on how much you will spend per week or per month prevents you from going a little bit overboard on buying food for your food storage. Only you can determine how much you can budget for your food storage but a good place to start is $10 per week for each person in your home. Once you have a budget you also need a list of items to purchase with that money. So with your budget in one hand and your grocery list and the other you can start looking for coupons and buying in bulk to stock up for a rainy day. Then mark off what you have purchased, keep track of the expiration date, and continue to shop for what’s left of the list.

These are just 5 simple things you can do to save money on food storage. I’m sure there are lots of other ways to save even more money. Food storage can be a fun and bonding experience for the whole family. Preparing for emergencies or times where food is not as plentiful is a smart way to be as a family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and expert in long-term food storage and emergency preparedness.