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Food Storage Tips: Fighting inflation with home storage

Fuel prices have recently gone down a bit in my area, though they have gone up dramatically recently in places affected by Hurricane Ike. We had a big run up of prices in general in the spring, and then things calmed down somewhat over the summer. But I don’t think we’re done with inflation. Inflation is ultimately caused by expansion of the money supply, and all the bailouts going on in the government right now mean that either dramatic tax increases or dramatic money printing is in our future.

How can you protect your family against inflation? The simplest means is by buying future needs now, according to your financial means and ability to store. And this meshes very well with what prophets have asked us to do. In the 70s, church members were asked to store a year’s supply of food, clothing, and where possible, fuel. I still think this sounds like smart advice, even if the official word from Salt Lake has changed.

Food storage. We’re covering food storage here on this blog, of course. One thing I’ve noticed about rising food prices is that not all prices rise at once. For example, wheat prices tripled last winter. However, prices on bread and flour tortillas and Wheaties have slightly risen, but they have not tripled. Last time I looked at Super Walmart, generic raisin bran was still priced at a low $1.81 per box. That can’t last forever if wheat prices stay high. The cereal manufacturers and the stores are afraid to be the first to raise prices, so they have taken a loss during the past few months.

While prices are still low and we have storage space, we are putting boxes of cold cereal in the basement and wheat tortillas in the freezer. Eventually prices may rise high enough that we’ll switch to hot cereal for breakfast and I’ll have to make tortillas from scratch. But I’ll try to postpone that day by buying in advance.

I’ve also noticed that some stores have raised prices, and others haven’t. Keep reading the weekly grocery store ads so you have an idea of what different stores are charging for groceries.

Now is a good time to store meat, either by canning or freezing, if you can find good prices still. Animals are fed grains, and grain prices have risen dramatically. Meat prices went down last year because it was too expensive for farmers to continue feeding their animals, so they went to market sooner. That can’t last forever.

Other home storage. Other non-perishable items used regularly in your home can also be stored. We store things like aluminum foil, plastic wrap, over the counter medicine, shampoo, conditioner, dish soap, laundry soap, hand soap, razors, cleaners, Q-tips, toilet paper, paper towels, and Ziploc bags. Did you know that plastic is a petroleum product? Little plastic grocery bags have doubled in price this year because of rising fuel prices. Metals prices have also gone up. If this hasn’t already affected aluminum foil prices, it probably will.

Clothes storage. Clothes are expensive to buy new. Around here, clothes are relatively expensive even at thrift stores. However, clothes are still very cheap at yard sales. Think ahead about your family’s future needs. I freaked when I realized my 10- and 8-year olds are going to be wearing adult sized clothes within the next 3-5 years. I’ve been shopping yard sales this year, and picking up cheap clothes in good condition in the sizes my kids will be growing into. I am still finding some clothes for 25 cents per item. We have the storage space and we aren’t moving, so I feel confident about storing them.

Sewing skills may eventually become important if clothing prices rise. My sewing skills are very basic, so that’s even more motivation for me to store clothes ahead.

Fuel storage, where possible. Fuel storage is trickier. There are ways of storing liquid fuels like gasoline, but there are special rules you need to follow so you don’t burn down your house. Charcoal and wood can be stored. We bought a wood stove fireplace insert this year as a preparedness item, in case natural gas prices rise high enough to make wood worth the hassle.

You can also store items that require less fuel. With a solar oven, you wouldn’t need as much cooking fuel. Bikes make it possible to get by with less transportation fuel.

What other ideas do you have?

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