*Making Food Storage Pay for Itself*
By: Osage
13 May 2012

By starting with just a small extra amount of money even those on a tight budget can add to their food storage and do so without increasing their food budget.

Here's how it works.

Start with a few extra dollars. Whether it's from savings, selling something, birthday money, Christmas, or from working a few hours overtime, start with $24. At the present time in our area canned vegetables run about $0.80/can regular price or $.50/can on sale. Pick vegetables you use regularly. Wait for them to go on sale and buy two dozen cans of each of two vegetables you use regularly. That's your $24 initial investment. Now stash those cans somewhere handy and wait.

Assume you buy 6 cans/month of each vegetable. Next month if those vegetables are not on sale, don't buy any and don't spend that money. Put that budgeted money in an envelope and use cans from the stash you bought last month. Even if those particular vegetables don't go on sale for 4 months you have plenty in the stash. Keep saving the unspent money in that envelope. Even if you have to go more than 4 months you haven't spent anything extra. Just pay for that month's six cans out of the budget that month and wait for a sale.

Let's look at your pocketbook after 4 months based on only one vegetable. You'd have budgeted for 6 cans/month at $0.80/can or $4.80/month for each vegetable. After 4 months you should be sitting on $19.20 for each vegetable.

When your chosen vegetables do go on sale, you need to buy enough cans to replenish the stash plus the budgeted number of cans more for that month. For example after 4 months, those 30 cans on sale should cost you $15, not the $24 in your hand ($19.20 you saved over four months plus the $4.80 budgeted for that month). You just saved $9. No it's not enough to retire the federal debt, but it's real money you saved. Take that money and put it in an envelope. Every time you don't buy one of your target vegetables on sale, don't spend that money. Wait for a sale and spend it then and only then or when you have run out of cans of that vegetable.

With this system in place, based on that $24 initial investment and the prices I used in the example, you'll average saving $3.60/month on the two vegetables. You don't actually save the money until you buy the replacement cans on sale, but that's the average. Once you make the purchase and have actually saved the money, put the savings back in that envelope.

Once you have enough in the envelope to buy two dozen cans of a third vegetable on sale, do so. You can do this on average in 5 months. That increases your average monthly savings to $5.40 on three vegetables. You can then add a fourth vegetable in only 3 months (again on average, don't spend the money until you have actually saved it!).

After a year of this you will (in theory at least) have saved a total of $68.40. I want any bank to beat that return-on-investment! You have almost quadrupled the value of your stash in just one year! You started with $24 and now have $92.40. You now have six items in the program saving you $10.80 each month (on average). After 18 months you have 12 items in the program generating a savings of $21.60 each month (on average).

By this point this simplistic analysis can't be stretched any further. Most folks don't stock 12 different vegetables each costing about the same per can at normal price and the same per can on sale. I know! But the idea is sound!

Applying this idea to the canned foods you normally eat can generate enough savings to easily pay for itself and allow you to expand the number of products you store. And all it cost was an initial investment of $24!! You can save that much over 3-6 months by cutting out something like coffee on the way to work. You can even start with $12 or $6.

Once you get 3-4 months worth of canned and dry goods that you normally eat, you can expand into classic long-term foods like wheat, powdered milk, etc. You'll likely already have started storing extra dry beans, rice, and pasta among other things. You can save even more money faster by purchasing as much as possible in large quantity. Be sure to store it properly (a topic for another article) or you'll lose some to bugs and other wasteful mistakes. And of course rotate the foods you buy.

There you have it: a food storage plan that pays for itself, and continues to pay for itself even more as it grows.


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