Mormon Channel Blog

Self Reliance: How to Begin Your Short-Term Food Storage

January 10, 2015

Is one of your New Year’s goals to get more on top of your food storage situation? Every Saturday this month we will be sharing tips and tricks with you on how to do this with helpful videos and posts from expert bloggers. This week, our post is written by food storage writer Tracy Allen on how to start building an emergency supply of food for singles and college students when you're low on money and space.

What do you think of when you hear about food storage?

Chances are you’re thinking of a larger-than-life room stocked full of food that could last 20 years.

With this mental picture of food storage, it’s no wonder so many feel like food storage is out of their reach. This is especially true for young single adults who may think they don’t have the money and space for it. As a result, many decide to wait until they are married or more settled before worrying about it.

However, food storage can be just as important for singles as it is for married couples and families.

Food storage is more than just preparation for natural disasters. Many end up using it during smaller life disruptions. These could include periods of unemployment or underemployment, taking an unpaid internship for work experience, an unusually expensive booklist for school, or an unexpected car expense. Life is full of unforeseen challenges, especially when it includes frequent transitions.

Since buying food can take up a substantial part of your budget, preparing for challenges today will help you be better off when challenges arise. For instance, if you already have a supply of food in the cupboard, that’s one less expense you have to deal with when an unanticipated expenditure comes up. Food storage can allow for more economic security and independence.

Here are a few ideas for getting started:

Buy a little extra at the store. Affording food storage can seem daunting. Luckily, you don’t have to buy it all at once. In fact, you shouldn’t go into debt for it at all. Even if you don’t have much extra room in your budget, think about how much one can of food costs. Just pick up one or two extra cans of food you actually like to eat each time you go to the store. Eventually your supply will grow as you make this simple change. It takes a little planning, but it doesn’t increase your monthly expenses much.

Buy food you enjoy. Food storage can be built around foods that you enjoy and regularly eat. Think about your favorite meal. Chances are there are several nonperishable ingredients in the recipe. With a little tweaking, you can probably find a version of the recipe with ingredients you can store long-term.

Start small. One of the biggest challenges with food storage is finding the extra room, especially if you live in an apartment or share a space with other people. As mentioned, keeping just a few extra ingredients on hand is a great start. You can also buy the items you like in smaller quantities. For example, instead of a bucket of flour, keep a few extra pounds of flour on hand as a starting point. It’s also wise to have an emergency supply of cash on hand if you do need to buy food in an emergency.

So much about single adult life is geared toward building self-reliance, with priorities on work experience, education, and making ends meet. Food storage inherently fits that lifestyle, which will increase independence and decrease the stress that accompanies unexpected challenges.

For more information on food storage, visit lds.org/food/topics and providentliving.org/self-reliance/home-storage-centers