A big part of provident living is self-reliance. Now is the time to prepare so that in an emergency or financial hardship, you wonÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt have to rely on your parents, your neighbors, your church or the government to rescue you. ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂSome people think that if there is a disaster in the world, the [LDS] Church is going to take care of them,ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ or the government or their neighbor will, says Jeannie Dayton, co-owner of the local instructional baking company Pantry Secrets. ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂBut what will you tell your kids if you arenÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt prepared, and they are hungry?ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ
Even if you donÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt have children at home, there is a peace of mind that comes from being prepared for whatever the future may hold. With that in mind, hereÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs a quick primer on food storage, excerpted from the book ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂHappy Homemaking: An LDS GirlÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs GuideÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ (Cedar Fort, $16.99) by Natalie Hollingshead and Daily Herald features editor Elyssa Andrus.
First things first: water:ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ
So where should you start? With water, says Don Pectol, vice president of customer service for the Utah-based retailer Emergency Essentials. ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂIn terms of your storage plan, the number one thing is water. A person can live up to a month without food, but within days, you may have damage to vital organs without water.ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ
How much water do you need to store? The Federal Emergency ManageÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ ment Agency recommends storing at least a three-day supply of water per person. Households should store a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day. ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂA normally active person needs at least one gallon of water daily just for drinking,ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ says the agency on its website,
A three-day supply of drinking water is the minimum you should store, of course. ItÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs ideal to store more if you can. Pectol of Emergency Essentials recomÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ mends storing at least a two-week supply of water for each person in your household (one gallon per day).
A three-month supply of food:ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ
In its 2007 ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂAll Is Safely Gathered InÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ Family Home Storage pamphlet, the LDS Church says the following about a three-month supply of food:
ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂBuild a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet. One way to do this is to purchase a few extra items each week to build a one-week supply of food. Then you can gradually increase your supply until it is sufficient for three months. These items should be rotated regularly to avoid spoilage.ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ
No matter what stage of life you are in, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you like to eat. The trick is to just keep a little extra of it on hand. The following suggestions will help you save money while you are acquiring it.
Make a list.
You may find it helpful to make a list of a handful of favorite family meals and all of the ingredients that go into them. That way, you will know what sales to watch for at the grocery store. If, say, your family likes a lot of Mexican food, you can look for sales in the Hispanic foods aisles for sales on chiles, salsa, beans, sauces and so forth.
Watch and record prices:
Keep your list in a notebook and record the ingredientsÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ regular prices at the grocery store where you shop. Then watch coupons and ad circulars for items to go on sale. Remember, if you donÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt want to buy one can of peaches at full retail price, you most certainly donÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt want to buy 20. (You may find it helpful to sign up for some sort of couponing service, such as the Daily HeraldÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs
DonÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt break the bank.
Set an amount for food storage in your grocery budget and stick to it. At first, it may only be $10 or $20. Use that money to buy in bulk the best deals you can find on nonÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ perishable items. And then use them! ItÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs so much better to pay 40 cents for a can of beans than $1. As you build your pantry, youÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂll hopefully get to the point where you are buying the majority of nonperishable items at their lowest prices. Because you will already have a supply of items you commonly use on hand, your weekly groÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ cery bill should decrease. This extra money can then go toward more food storage items. ItÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs a positive cycle.
Think about meat.
Remember you can stockpile meat when it goes on sale as well. Meat is typically the most expensive item in any meal, so taking advantage of a good meat sale means extra savings. If space permits, itÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs helpful to have an extra chest or freestanding freezer in your home for storage. If thatÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs not possible, purchase as much meat as you can store and afford.
Rotate, rotate, rotate.
To keep items from going bad, start using them immediately. When you put items away, put the newest items at the back of the pantry so that older items get used up first. ItÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs also helpful to write the purchase date on everything you store.
Case lot sales!
In Utah, many grocery stores hold case lot sales around general conference time, where they sell units of food by the case. These are often offered at deeply discounted prices, and itÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs a great way to quickly build your pantry. Even if you can only afford one case of food ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ typically between $10 and $30 ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ itÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs a great way to get started.
Store to serve.
Storing items for ready-to-assemble meals will allow you to be ready to serve at a momentÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs notice, and it will reduce the cost of providing a meal to someone. Jeannie Dayton, of Pantry Secrets, says she keeps ÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂbrown bagÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ meals in her pantry with all the items she would need for something like a soup or casserole. These supplies are ready to go as soon as they are needed.
In addition to food items, remember to stockpile nonperishable items such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, soap and shampoo. Once youÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂve got the basics down, you can store additional items that have a long shelf life.
On its Provident Living website, the LDS Church recommends storing grains such as wheat, white rice and dried beans, which can last 30 years or more (at least to sustain life).