Thursday, April 22, 2010
Managing the food stocks
Not only do I strive to be frugal in spending money and maximizing my savings, but I also make sure that the inability to access the grocery store is a minor inconvenience rather than a catastrophic event. Over time, I have stockpiled various foodstuffs in my pantry and my freezer, making sure I have an array of items that can be used in the course of creating meals or dealing with emergencies (e.g., storm knocks out power and disrupts travel). I keep potable water in gallon jugs in my basement, canned and dry goods in the pantry, perishable items in the chest freezer, at least two weeks worth of food for the cat, and a variety of items for personal hygiene, cooking and other uses.
However, the all these items need to be managed. Most canned and dry goods have an expiration date on them to indicate when to use them and items in the freezer do not keep forever. In fact, frozen food does lose its flavor over time. Thus, at least twice a year, I sort though my pantry and my freezer to ensure I am rotating out the older items and reassessing how much space I have for new items. Past due frozen items I make sure I use within a few weeks. Canned and dry goods, if unopened and within two months of expiring, are added to the pantry donation pile. This way, the food goes to someone who can use it and I use up the older frozen foodstuffs before the new.
I encourage you to check your pantry and see what you are using and what you might want to donate to the food pantry. And if something is still good and you are no longer interested in eating it, add that to the pile as well. Keeping your food stores stocked with items you will use and are likely to eat is more helpful than having that can of beans just because you feel you should use it.