August Week 3: Tomatoes - salsa, sauce, whole, diced, paste, pizza, spaghetti sauce
It's amazing how often I use some sort of canned or bottled tomato product. We love Mexican food and also some Italian food, so it's important for me to always have some on hand.
For the most part, these are the items (from the list) that I keep in my food storage:
As with most of the other weekly items, I try to estimate what I might use of each of the items in a year's time. And then I pad my numbers. At the end of the year, I want to still have a few on my shelves that I can rotate through. I really try to plan it so that I never truly run all the way out.
After deciding how many of each of the tomato items I will use this year, I update the totals on my inventory sheet, then check that against how many I actually have on my shelves. The difference is what I will go shopping for.
Now, case lot sales are a good place to pick up many of these items. Whenever our grocery store has a case lot sale, I check my shelves to see what items I might need a whole case of, and then buy the case and keep it in the rotation. You can decide which you would like to do -- wait for a sale, or buy the items you need now and move on. The problem with putting too many items on the "waiting for a sale" list, is that that list can get pretty long, and your shelves can stay empty for a while.
After I pick up my items for my food storage, I'll update my inventory list with the new totals, and I will be done for the week.
Remember, this is a rotating food storage plan, which means you will actually be using many of your food storage items so that there is very little wasted, expired food. I used to keep cases of cans on the shelves, never rotating through and using them, and every time I would clean out my shelves, I would end up throwing a lot of old food away. This plan should resolve that problem.
I've had a few people email me with questions this week, and I thought I'd share the questions and answers here so that maybe some of your questions will be answered also.
Q: I would be curious to know how much you budget for each week, how much are you spending to create this supply?
A: Since each week will be varied as to how much you will spend, I would recommend implementing a budget in which you set aside a certain amount from each paycheck for all food storage and emergency supplies. Then, when you go to purchase items, you can take from the money you have budgeted for it. As you get established, you’ll notice that some weeks you literally won’t have to spend anything, while other weeks will still require purchasing items. The money you set aside will also depend on how many you have in your family. Look at the monthly lists and estimate what a month might require as far as budgeting, and begin setting that aside. You may have to adjust that as time goes on.
Q: I have a couple of follow-up questions, if you don't mind. I recognize that this plan is to build a food storage and emergency supply. I have never really had the time or extra money to do such a thing and have always shopped week to week for the things we need right then. That being said, my first question is for each week's list do you intend to purchase enough of that item(s) to last until the following year's shopping? My second question is, how often do you shop for fresh items? Thanks again!
A: To answer your first question, when I first started out, I was not able to purchase an entire year's supply of every item. Sometimes (depending on the item) I would purchase only 3 or 6 months worth. After a while, I was able to get my storage to a year's worth of the items, so now I do try to purchase an entire year's worth of what I might use of each item; and, for your second question, I'll answer it two ways, since I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "fresh items". If you mean fresh produce, I usually pick those items up twice a week, or whenever I need them. I don't include any fresh produce in my food supply. If you mean items to refresh my food storage shelves, I am generally successful in only having to shop for them once a year, whenever they come up on my list.
If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.