This week, add a flashlight and some batteries for the flashlight. Long-term, it's best to store batteries outside the flashlight, so keep them separate. Or, if you want, invest in one of those wind-up flashlights. You can find them for under $15 (online or in stores), which may be a little pricey for your budget, but long-term it will probably save you money since there aren't any batteries to buy or replace later. Get whatever is best for you - anything will do.
Now for the three-month supply. As I was looking through my food storage two weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I have a lot more food than I thought! Lately I've been stocking up on groceries that have been on sale, so that's helped a lot. However, as I looked closely, I realized that while it was all good food, it would still be difficult to make even a week's worth of balanced meals. It's great that I have 20 cans of vegetables, but just having those for dinner won't leave us feeling very satisfied. Are you feeling the same way? If you are, here's a possible solution:
Sit down and write up 7 dinner menus for meals that can be made using food storage (if you are having trouble coming up with some, check out our "Food Storage Friday" posts, where every week we share menus using only food storage. There are only a few so far, but check back every Friday for our new one!). Now that you have 7 meals actually planned, you know exactly what to buy each week to add to your food storage. For example, I chose spaghetti and a side of canned veggies and some canned fruit for one meal. This week, I will buy all or part of the ingredients for this meal (depending on prices).
Now, here's a tip that could make this whole thing a LOT easier. I really love the 7 meals that I have come up with. I could eat spaghetti every Monday night if I needed to. Three months is about 12 weeks, so... I am going to stock up on 12 spaghetti dinners! That way, if I needed to live off my food storage, my family would eat spaghetti every Monday night. Does that make sense? The same goes for my Tuesday menu, etc.
If that's all a bit too repetitive for you, plan 14 dinners. That way, if you were living off your three-month supply, you'd have the same dinner once every 2 weeks. Or, just plan to make small tweaks. For our spaghetti dinners, maybe I'll store 6 tomato sauces and 6 Alfredo sauces, just to change things up a bit.
Now that I have my 7 dinners planned, I'm going to make one big organized list of all the ingredients I need for these meals (7 meal ideas x 12 weeks = 84 dinners). That's a lot of food! Every time I go to the grocery store I'll glance over this list, and I'll be ready to stock up if the right things are on sale. Then I'll just cross things off the list as I buy them. When everything is bought, I'll start stocking up on breakfasts and lunches.
It's really important for me to keep organized when it comes to food storage. If I didn't do something like this, and for some reason we had to start living off what we have stored, I'm afraid we'd be eating canned veggies and granola bars. If you are anything like me, I hope this little tutorial will help you get on the right path, too! Good luck!