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Food Storage Tips: How to get food storage when you can’t afford it

Food storage can seem expensive when you are just starting out. What can you do to make it affordable when money is tight? I hope we can start a discussion to see what you have found helpful.

Here are some of my ideas:
Buy food in bulk at the absolute lowest price. I detailed how to do that in this post. This method of shopping will naturally build a three-month supply of most staples.
Buy the long term storage foods with the intent of using some of it. Bulk rice, wheat, oats, and beans are the cheapest foods out there during normal economic times. If you eat some of that food instead of your regular groceries, you can use the money saved towards food storage. In addition, you will have learned how to cook with the simple foods. Those skills are just as useful as the actual food storage.
Perhaps you will be lucky and find “used” food storage. Sometimes people move and leave food storage behind. If you help people move, you may be poised to accept such offers. I’ve seen people giving away their old food storage on Craigslist.
Eat less expensive foods, and put the savings towards food storage. Perhaps eat out less, or use fewer convenience foods, or add a meatless meal to your week.
Preserve fruit or vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. My friend April is really good at this. She prunes the neighbors’ fruit trees in the spring for a share of the fall crop. She will also walk around older downtown neighborhoods and look for fruit trees that are not being harvested. She’ll knock on the door and ask if she can pick them. According to her, they usually say yes. She dries the fruit into fruit leather and serves it all year. Similarly, last fall after the first frost, I looked around for green tomatoes going to waste. I used them to make a delicious salsa verde.
Make more foods from scratch. Bread and yogurt can be made at home for much less than they can be purchased at the store. This requires time and planning, but once you learn how, it takes less time than you would think. Purchase food storage items with the savings.
I read this idea in the January 1993 Ensign: Newlyweds set aside some groceries each week as “frugal food storage.” If they were invited out to dinner, they set aside the groceries they would have used for dinner that week as food storage, and they spent a few dollars each week on staples.

What other ideas do you have?

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