One of the first steps in prepping your family for an emergency is setting up a 30-day food supply.
This may seem like an expensive task, but it can be affordable – and east — if you do it the right way.
Store What You Eat
One way to get your 30-day supply of food going is to store 30 days worth of the things you already eat. Some people will get around this via the prepackaged route with a prepackaged 30-day supply of food, but this is a mistake. Your first 30 days should be made up of the food from your everyday pantry.
This takes no special ordering or online researching — just your normal shopping trips to the local store. Fresh food, of course, is so much better for you, but we are talking about storing food. Fresh food just doesn’t keep.
One for You and One for a Friend
Another way you can build your 30-day supply is through a “one for you and one for a friend” approach. That is, for each grocery trip, buy your regular groceries and buy a couple of the same things for your emergency food supply. An extra can of tuna, an extra can or two of veggies, and some extra oatmeal only adds a couple dollars to your bill.
If you are consistent about it, soon you will have quite a stash of extra food. Then, look at all your extra stuff, figure out where you are short, and concentrate on adding to that area.
Don’t Forget Comfort Food
How many of us lived on Ramen noodles when we were first out on our own? Ramen is cheap and stores well, but it has hardly any food value. But it can be used as a base for a large pot of soup with a couple cans of veggies thrown in.
Comfort food does have value in that it will help make things a little more normal in an otherwise stressful situation. Stress can keep people from eating when they need it most, so store up chocolate, candy, chips or other things that usually wouldn’t be on such a list. Just don’t overdo it.
Don’t forget condiments and spices, along with any special foods your family likes to eat.
How Much Water?
Experts tell us we need to store one gallon of water per person per day. I know from personal experience (during an ice storm) that I didn’t use nearly that much in the short term with no power to run the well. In the long-run, though, water usage would have gone up as more cleaning would have been necessary.
Most homes have at least 40 gallons of water stored in the hot water heaters. You can also buy a bladder that fits in your bathtub to fill when you think there will be an outage.
When you want store-bought water, be sure to buy the higher-quality jugs, since the milk-jug type will start degrading and leaking in a short time.
Record Keeping and Rotation
If you are truly storing what you eat, then rotation will be a simple thing. Get a Sharpie and write the month/year on the top of each can as you put it away. Do the same for any boxed dry foods that you use on a regular basis.
When you cook your daily meals, just use the oldest date first. Then your “storage” food will always stay fresh.
A 30-day supply of food can be yours with just a little thought and planning. A small effort now can mean 30 days of food security for you and your family.
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