Food Storage: Purchasing The Food

Alright. It’s time to move on to the next step of “The Plan”, and that is… drum roll please… PURCHASING THE FOOD! This is where it starts to get real, people. We’ve got our ‘year supply’ down on paper, but now we’re going to start putting it on our shelves.
So what does that mean?! It meeeeans… it’s time to go SHOPPING!! Woohoo! This is so exciting! 😀

Alright. This is how it works…
First, you need to do an initial inventory of your food. (Use List #3 for this.) So, taking your ‘Master Inventory List’, go through all your food and write down how much you have and then how much you still need to get for each item. (And try not to get depressed if it starts looking like a lot. :))
Next you need to decide how much time you want to give yourself to acquire the needed items. If you are on a very limited budget, or a fixed income with barely any extra to spare, you’ll want to give yourself a longer amount of time. If you’ve got a decent budget to work with, challenge yourself to get it done fairly quickly. Either way, this part is completely adaptable to your situation.
Then we’re going to break our ‘items needed’ amounts into chunks… we’ll call them ‘Chunk Lists’. The number of Chunk Lists will be determined by how quickly you are trying to accomplish this. If you are giving yourself one year, you will break your list up into 12 chunks (because there are 12 months). Two years would be 24 chunks. 6 months is 6 chunks. You get the idea. How you break the list down is up to you. But here’s something to consider: try not to buy the full amount of what you need for a specific item all at the same time (i.e. if you need 50 cans of chili, don’t buy all 50 in the same month) because then they will all expire at the same time. For me personally, I like to break the list down by taking smaller amounts from each item where there are large amounts needed and dividing them among my Chunk Lists. For the items with small amounts needed, it’s probably easier to just do them all at the same time. Dividing and purchasing this way also helps you to have a more well-rounded food storage at all times. So if you were to need to rely on your food storage 3 months into this, you’re not stuck with only chili to eat… you’ve got a little bit of everything collected so far. Make sense?
And here’s a helpful way to make your Chunk Lists… just get one piece of paper for each month you’re giving yourself and lay them out in front of you. Write the name of each month at the top, and just start dividing and writing down your items. Spread them out evenly across your lists (so no single month is overloaded) and just keep going until you have all ‘needed items’ accounted for. For items that tend to go on sale seasonally throughout the year, put those items on the months they’re most likely to be on sale (so I might divide the bulk of my chili up across the winter months). Easy enough?
Alright. And finally, the last part is to GO SHOPPING! Sweet. Now there are several ways you can accomplish this. Most obviously, you can just take your Chunk List for the current month with you each time you go to the store and pick up some of the items until you’ve got them all purchased for that month. But that can be a little dull and boring. Why not make it fun?! So here’s an idea for you… make a ‘Food Storage Shopping Date’ for yourself! Set the date for once a month. If you’ve got young kids, LEAVE THEM AT HOME WITH HUBBY (or a babysitter, or a neighbor)! This is YOUR day/night/afternoon (whenever) for just you and your beloved food storage. (I know you’ve started dreaming about food storage by now, right? :)) Don’t do your regular weekly/restocking shopping at this time (unless you have to). Take just your Chunk List and then take your time going up and down each aisle, doing price comparisons, checking out the nutritional facts, checking the expiration dates… you know, all those things you never have time to do because your toddlers are in a screaming match at the top of their lungs and you’re racing to see how quickly you can get out of the store. (What?! Your kids scream in the store?! Not MY kids… they’re total angels! I always have all the time I want.) 😀 Um, ya. So like I said… it’s just you and the food. And then when you’re done, you’ve got your Chunk List done for the month and you had a nice little getaway. (Don’t forget to pick up a chocolate bar for yourself while you’re at it.) 🙂

And that’s it! Just keep going… each month pull out your new Chunk List and just keep chipping away at them until you’ve got them all done! And when that happens, I think it’s definitely time to throw yourself a ‘Congratulations- I’ve Got My Year Supply’ party. You’ve earned it. 😉

*But just remember, this will only result in a full year’s supply as long as you continue to replenish what you’re using on a regular basis. These Chunk Lists do not take the place of your regular shopping lists. They are in addition to them. So make sure that each time you pull out a jar of pasta sauce, you write ‘pasta sauce’ back on your weekly/regular shopping list in order to restock your used items. And then don’t forget to keep up with your inventories as well. 2-4 times a year and you’re good. Good luck! And HAVE FUN SHOPPING!

Wow. That’s the end of “The Plan”. I feel a little sad. 😦 *tear* No worries… there will be lots more fun adventures to come! For pete’s sake… we still have to talk about ORGANIZING the food. You KNOW good times are ahead now! 🙂


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