storage conditions

There are four key factors that will affect the quality as well as the storage-life of your longer-term food storage. Those four factors are temperature, moisture, light and pests.

Store products at a temperature of 75°F/24°C or lower whenever possible. If storage temperatures are higher, rotate products as needed to maintain quality. (Provident Living)

Common storage areas such as attics and garages are likely going be very warm and will reduce the storage life of your food. A basement or the main floor of your home would provide cooler temperatures. Also, interior rooms are less affected by the temperature swings outside.

Keep storage areas dry. It is best to keep containers off of the floor to allow for air circulation. (Provident Living)

Setting products on pallets or even just a few untreated 2x4s gets items off the floor. Moisture is the main reason that buckets are not recommended for storage unless you live in a very dry climate. #10 cans and/or Mylar bags do a better job of keeping moisture out of your food storage.

Protect cooking oil and products stored in PETE bottles from light. (Provident Living)

Closets, pantries and windowless rooms would be great to keep products out of the light. This is more of an issue for foods that are stored in semi-opaque or transparent containers (like PETE bottles, canning bottles, or semi-opaque buckets).

Insects and rodents:
Protect products stored in foil pouches and PETE bottles from rodent and insect damage. (Provident Living)

Pests are persistent and can chew through almost any container. Mylar pouches are particularly susceptible to rodent infiltration. Plastic buckets or bins are also quickly penetrated. #10 cans or steel drums provide the best protection, but even they can be compromised.

Make sure that you purchase and store clean, pest-free products. Oxygen-absorbers can help eliminate any insects that arrive with your storage products (but are usually only effective in #10 cans, Mylar bags or PETE containers). Clean your storage area regularly and watch for signs of pests. Over time a fine food-dust can settle in your storage area and provide perfect conditions for weevils or other insects to spread. Wipe down all areas, including the floor to discourage insects.

[We had a major weevil infiltration in my childhood home storage room. Though my mother kept the area clean, the weevils had spread through this fine dust throughout the entire dedicated storage room. She ended up throwing out her custom rolling shelves because they couldn't be cleaned out. I purchased a wire-style shelf for my own storage to help prevent any similar problems.]

By paying attention to these four storage conditions, you can lengthen the storage-life of both your three-month supply as well as your longer-term storage.


goal 4(a) - choose a storage location

Our current goal is gathering a longer-term storage.

Specifically - Choose a storage location(s) for longer-term storage.

The ideal location for a longer-term storage is dark, cool, dry and rodent-free. Most of us don't have all of these ideal conditions, though. So, choose the best possible location for your storage.

After living in several different conditions and locations around the United States, I personally have located my storage in a garage, in a utility closet, in an attic, under beds, in closets, in kitchen cupboards and currently in an unfinished basement. You might have to get creative in choosing your storage location. Click here to link to a past discussion on creative storage solutions.

Shelves are not necessary for your longer-term storage. In fact, I didn't have any shelves until just a few years ago. You can stack both buckets and cans in boxes. Mylar sacks can be dropped into larger storage containers. Do not place storage items directly on a cement or dirt floor. Unwanted tastes and chemicals can leach into your storage containers. Instead, place items on carpet, slats of wood, shelves, or pallets. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints recommends storing all items so that there is some air flow underneath.

This goal isn't a big step. But it is important to have in mind where you can put your storage and realistically how to fit it in your living space.


longer-term storage

We're going to focus on gathering our longer-term supply for the next few months. Once you've finished gathering your three-month supply, water storage, and a financial reserve, it's time to start working on your longer-term storage. The primary objective of a longer-term storage is storing food that will keep you alive.

If you are still gathering your three-month, water or financial supply, don't stop. Continue working on your individual goals. The goals are all posted to the right and you should work at your own pace. You can learn along with the rest of us right now and start your longer-term supply when you are ready.

For longer-term needs, and where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay alive, such as wheat, white rice, and beans. These items can last 30 years or more when properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place. A portion of these items may be rotated in your three-month supply. (All Is Safely Gathered In: Home Storage)


financial goals

We haven't spent very much time dealing with financial goals on this blog. I am by no means an expert when it comes to financial matters. I have however, been taught by wise parents and try to follow the counsel of the prophets.

Some of the goals that we've discussed have been relatively straightforward, such as saving some money from each paycheck. However, others such as avoiding/eliminating debt may take some time, change, and discipline. Take time to get your finances in order. It might not happen in a month or a year, but decide now how you will accomplish these things and get moving. :o)

Here is a summary of our financial goals:

*Pay tithes and offerings.
*Save some money from every paycheck.
*Avoid debt.
*Use a budget.
*Teach family members.

Success in these goals will ultimately result in a financial reserve and no debt, which will bring an amazing amount of peace into your lives.


family home evening lessons on finances

Here are some lesson materials that could be used (or adapted) for a family home evening on finances:

Tithing - FHE Resource Book, 227

Managing Family Finances - FHE Resource Book, 210–211

Work - FHE Resource Book, 231–32

Financial Responsibility - Young Women Manual 2, Lesson 46, 175–78

Managing Family Finances - Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part A, Lesson 21, 153–59

Managing Family Finances - Marriage and Family Relations Instructor's Manual, Lesson 8, 35–40

Temporal Wealth and the Kingdom of God - Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, Chapter 32, 234–41



Stress the importance of obtaining as much education as possible. (All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances)

All around us, families are currently struggling to make ends meet. Those with more education seem to have better job security in these hard economic times. It is important to stress the importance of getting as much education as possible to our children. The quotes below emphasize how important education is. Once again, our children learn more from what we do than what we say. Your example is huge here and it's never too late to go back to school.

It is the obligation of every woman of this Church to get all the education she can. It will enlarge her life and increase her opportunities." (President Hinckley, October 2006)

. . . Rise up and discipline yourself to take advantage of educational opportunities. (President Hinckley, General Conference, October 2006)

You need all the education you can get. Sacrifice a car; sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world. That world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field. . . The Lord wants you to educate your minds and hands, whatever your chosen field. Whether it be repairing refrigerators, or the work of a skilled surgeon, you must train yourselves. Seek for the best schooling available. Become a workman of integrity in the world that lies ahead of you. I repeat, you will bring honor to the Church and you will be generously blessed because of that training. There can be no doubt, none whatever, that education pays. Do not short-circuit your lives. If you do so, you will pay for it over and over and over again. (President Hinckley, Ensign, January 2001)

"Complete as much formal, full-time education as possible, including trade schools and apprentice programs. This is money well invested. Based on potential lifetime earnings, the hours spent in furthering your education will be very valuable indeed. Use night school and correspondence classes to further prepare. Acquire some special skill or ability that could be used to avoid prolonged unemployment. The ability to do basic home and auto repairs can frequently be helpful, as well as a source of family savings. Periods of unexpected unemployment can happen to anyone. We should not allow ourselves, when we are out of work, to sit back and wait for “our type of job” if other honorable interim employment becomes available." (Elder Ashton, One For The Money)


kids and money

You have a powerful opportunity as a parent to teach your kids about money management by allowing them to have or earn some. I noticed in "One For The Money" that Elder Ballard stated, "Much has been said over the years about children and monthly allowances, and opinions and recommendations vary greatly. I’m from the “old school.” I believe children should earn their money needs through service and appropriate chores. . . I think it is unfortunate for a child to grow up in a home where the seed is planted in the child’s mind that there is a family money tree that automatically drops “green stuff” once a week or once a month."

We used to give our kids an allowance until I read this quote and it made sense to me. So, we've been transitioning away from giving an outright allowance. Instead my kids do all of their chores for the whole month before I'll pay up. We also have made sure that they have responsibilities in our family that are not tied to money. We do this so they'll understand the importance of working together to benefit the family (without expecting financial compensation).

Remember that your example is the most powerful teacher. If you tell your kids to manage their money carefully, but then they see you spending recklessly, they'll remember what you do more than what you said.

Here are some of the ways our family handles kids and money:

*Budgeting - Label jars and help kids to separate their earnings into tithing, savings, fun, mission, etc. We did this until our kids were around eight years old.

*Bank Skills - Let your kids open a checking account in a "family" bank. Mom and dad control deposits and withdraws and help kids to learn how to record these on a bank sheet. This works better than the jars with older kids and higher volumes of money. This also teaches about balancing a check book. My kids still keep a tithing jar/envelope.

*No Credit - We don't EVER allow our kids to buy on credit (or a promise that they'll pay us back) even if they're sure that they'll have enough money "tomorrow." We emphasize that if they'll have the money tomorrow, then they can wait until tomorrow. If they do have enough money in their "account" they can use the Mom bank to withdraw money and spend it.

*Work Opportunities -Post extra jobs (and money amounts) on a steel door, fridge, or magnetic board. Kids can move the job/amount under their name as they complete the jobs. I pay my kids for these extra jobs twice a month. (I printed a bunch of "job" words onto cardstock, mounted them on magnetic paper and covered with strips of packing tape. Then I cut them into small words. See picture above.)

*Encourage Saving - Help kids save to a certain amount/goal and then match. My oldest saved up for 2/3 of the cost of a wii, we paid for the rest. This was his first big financial goal. I was pleased to help him get rewarded for patience and saving. I intend to offer a dollar for dollar match for all money that goes towards educational or mission savings.

*Money Incentives - Give money for good grades or other goals. We set up an incentive for one of my boys who was struggling with turning in assignments. Because we wanted drastic results, we offered $5 if all of his assignments were turned in each Wednesday. He's made drastic improvements, earned some money and we're gradually going to reduce this incentive. My parents gave us $5 for each "A" grade.

*Family Councils - We involve our kids as we discuss financial priorities. They help us determine things such a family vacation locations based on how small/large our budget is. We're also pretty honest about our current financial situation. My kids know about our family savings account (and why they don't have finished bedrooms in the basement).

This is a great website with more great ideas:

[I'd love to hear your ideas. Please comment and share how you teach your kids about money.]


goal 3(e) - teach family members

Teach family members the principles of financial management. Involve them in creating a budget and setting family financial goals. Teach the principles of hard work, frugality, and saving. Stress the importance of obtaining as much education as possible. Abundant resources are available—from classes, to books, to other resources such as One for the Money: Guide to Family Finance. (All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances)

The example you set, the lessons you teach, and the work and budgeting that you do as a family will all have a lasting effect on the future decisions of your children. Make a goal today to involve your children in your financial decision making and budgeting process; model good money management; and take the time to teach them about money.


budgeting methods

There is not a right way to budget. There are many different methods. The most important thing is that you have a budget. Here are some possible ways to budget:

Use a computer program - There are several commercially available budgeting programs that can hold your hand through the process of creating a budget. Quicken & Money seem to both have the weakness that budgeting seems to happen after you've spent your money. Unless you're creative it is also difficult to carry money over in different categories from month to month.

Use a spreadsheet - I've never done this. But it's the method that many use in order to easily carry overage amounts from month to month.

Use a notebook - This is the method modeled by my parents. It is essentially like using a spreadsheet, but you are doing all the calculations. No need for computer skills with this method.

Use cash & envelopes - Distribute budgeted amounts of cash into category envelopes. You can determine how much money is available throughout the month by counting what is left in the envelope. This method is tricky for those who use bill pay, don't like having a lot of cash on hand or enjoy earning rewards on an always-paid credit card. There are computer programs that mimic this concept, but do it virtually (and reduce the disadvantages listed above). I am currently researching these programs.


home storage prices (best prices below)

Here is a list of prices for home-storage product comparison. This is obviously a work in progress.

These are stock up prices found within the last 2 to 3 years. They are for comparison only.
Apples, dried (#10) - LDS Cannery - $6.95
Beans, green (can) - Associated Foods - $.33
Butter, powdered (#10) - Associated Foods - $15.99
Corn (can) - ?
Eggs, whole (#10) - Associated Foods - $14.78 (1/2010)
Flour - Costco - $5.99 for 25 lbs. (1/2010)
Gamma lids - Wal-Mart - $4.99
Milk, Country Cream (#10) - Associated Foods - $8.88 (1/2010)
Oranges, mandarin (small can) - Associated Foods - $.33
Refried beans, Taco Bell (can) - Associated Foods - $.50
Rice, white (25 lbs) - Costco - $8.30 (1/2010)
Sugar, brown (2 lb. packages) - Associated Foods - $.89
Sugar, powdered (2 lb. packages) - Associated Foods - $.89
Sugar, white - (25 lbs) - Associated Foods - $9.68 (1/2010)
Water Barrel, (50 gallons) - Wal-Mart - $34.00
Wheat, hard red/white (45 lb. bucket) - Morning Moo - $12.99 (4/2010)

Other comparison prices (sampled 3/2009):
Associated Foods:
Eggs, whole (#10) - $18.99 (This is a good price, but I've seen them for as low as $16.99).
Butter powder (#10) - $15.99
Milk, Country Cream (#10) - $9.99
Butter, Red Feather canned (12 oz) - $4.99
Water Barrel (50 gallon) - $39.99
Wheat, hard red or white (50 lbs.) - $18.99 (Prices are finally back down. I paid $16.99 for most of my buckets several years ago)
Cheese, Red Feather processed (8 oz) - $3.99
(Brand - "Harvest of the West")
Black Beans (42 lb bucket) - $47.33
Butter, Red Feather canned (12 oz) - $6.02
Morning Moo milk alternative (37 lbs.) - $70.98
Morning Moo milk alternative (#10) - $11.58
Soup, ABC mix (#10) - $9.74
Creamy soup base (#10) - $11.64
Creamy chicken soup (#10) - $12.47
Powdered sour cream (#10) - $24.50
Butter powder (#10) - $20.48
Cheese, Red Feather processed (8 oz) - $4.18


goal 3(d) - use a budget

Keep a record of your expenditures. Record and review monthly income and expenses. Determine how to reduce what you spend for nonessentials. Use this information to establish a family budget. Plan what you will give as Church donations, how much you will save, and what you will spend for food, housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, insurance, and so on. Discipline yourself to live within your budget plan. A budget worksheet is a useful tool to help you with your plan. (All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances)

There are so many ways to create a budget. It is a personal choice as to which method you will use. One recommendation that I want to make is that you manage your finances together if you are married. Communication is essential in staying within a budget. Be kind and respectful to each other as you discuss money. Try to understand the other's priorities, needs, and wants before you judge the other's thoughts on budgeting. By making decisions together, both of you will be committed to and more likely to stay within your budget.

I personally use a computer-based budget program. My husband and I discuss and agree to the budget allocations together. By keeping a financial reserve, we've been able to weather several unexpected expenses.

Do you have any budgeting tips that you'd like to share?