Food Insurance: 2 Weeks of Emergency Food

Food Insurance

It seems a day doesn’t go by I’m not propositioned to buy some type of insurance. Switch my car insurance and they promise I’ll save $500! Get your infant a life insurance policy, it’s not creepy we swear! But seriously, we insure our cars, computers, bodies, health and lives; why shouldn’t we get food insurance?

A few years ago in Illinois, some parts of the state were without power for two or more weeks after a crazy ice storm. This is when the reality that we are one bad weather event away from hunger hit me like a ton of bricks. Our nation’s “just in time” food delivery network is just too fragile to guarantee that your local grocery store can feed you in an emergency.

Before you roll your eyes, this post will not be about crazy conspiracies or life without electricity. It is simply about making sure you have at least a two-week emergency food and water supply on hand for your entire family. It is also not an advertisement for any company selling food insurance: this is something you can do on your own at your local grocery store.

Food insurance needs no middleman, but they are certainly out there if you don’t trust yourself to do it right.

What is Food Insurance?

For our purposes, food insurance is simply you planning to acquire and keep two weeks of food and water for your family, and following through. If you want, you can purchase ready-made kits of freeze dried food. But if you are on a budget like me, you can make your own food insurance.

Recently I took a trip to our local Aldi store. They sell mostly store-brand foods and their prices are really low. My goal was to acquire enough food and water for 2 weeks for two adults and two children.

I was able to do all of this for about $100, a solid investment in peace of mind if you ask me.

What Did I Buy?

Canned goods are your friends here. Your food insurance stash need not be things you eat every day, but it is helpful to have some familiar items to make a tough situation easier. The most important thing is that it will last (in a can), and is something you have the ability to prepare (buy a camping stove and fuel, but that’s a different article).

Many canned goods can be eaten straight from the can, especially canned beans (please check before doing this). While it would be nice to heat them up, just knowing that they can be eaten no matter what makes them the best choice. Plus, beans are high in protein and low in fat, making them a superfood.

Here is a rundown of what I bought:

  • Large container of shortening (for emergency cooking)
  • Cans of spinach
  • Cans of mixed vegetables
  • Cans of meat (tuna and chicken)
  • Cans of beans (black and pinto)
  • Canned spaghetti and meatballs
  • Small bottles of water (for rationing)
  • Box of powdered milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Large 2.5 gallon jugs of water (one gallon of water per day, per person)
  • Gallon of bleach (water purification if needed)

Make sure your containers are conspicuously marked with the expiration date. It might not be a bad idea to mark on there when you bought them, as well.

Also, if you have pets, make sure you include them. The last thing you need in an already stressful situation is to be worried about a hungry pet, or even worse, trying to share your food with them.

Giving your family food insurance isn’t difficult. Most of the stuff I bought will last at least a year, (closer to two) so I really don’t have to think about this now that it’s done. I just need to remember to either eat it or donate it to a food pantry when the expiry date gets close.

Now that I have a good base of food and water, rather than forget about it, I plan to have us buy a couple items each trip to the store. Maybe grab a couple extra jugs of water and some canned goods every week until space runs out.

Keep It Simple

If you do any research on food storage, you can quickly become overwhelmed with options. Rather than getting caught up in the different storage methods, ground grains, which food is better, etc, I plan to take the easy way by simply taking action. If you spend months trying to figure out the best approach, you are no better off than doing nothing.

By starting with two weeks of food and water for your family, you can become better prepared for life’s emergencies. After that, you can either forget about or continue to build your food stash.

Like regular insurance, food insurance is something you hope you will never have to use. While it’s nice to be an eternal optimist and hope and pray that food insurance will never be needed, when it comes to my family’s well-being, this is not something I am willing to gamble on.


You May Also Like

Sell My Car to Fund an Emergency?

Talk About Money: How to Do It the Right Way

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

42 thoughts on “Food Insurance: 2 Weeks of Emergency Food

  1. Not a bad strategy. I used to live in the tropics where cyclone were common, so having emergency food was common place. If we knew a storm was coming we’d add a few luxuries to the supplies, like chocolate or other little treats, just to keep spirits up 😉

  2. I have two weeks of food without even wanting to have it! Lol, in early January I did a food inventory and determined that I cool live off of the food I have for a couple of months. So far, I’ve been successful, only spending a few dollars a week on fresh produce that would spoil otherwise. It’s a good thing to have – I suspect we’ll still have a bunch left over after the month is up!
    Daisy recently posted..The Life Enrichment ProjectMy Profile

  3. Glad you mentioned the need for an independent cooking system during emergencies.

    Do you guys already do meal planning? My wife and I stockpile a little of our soup into the freezer each time we make some so we don’t have to buy cans for everyday living, and with the highest likelihood of an emergency power outage striking us in the winter, I count them towards an emergency supply as well.
    bax recently posted..Learning lessonsMy Profile

  4. This is a great idea. Me and my boyfriend have thought about doing this for years. We live in Missouri and a couple of years ago his family was without power for 2 weeks. They had to stay with other family and were able to leave in time. But when they came back they found that everything was frozen in their house from the snow storm. The fishtank was even frozen.
    Michelle recently posted..Newlywed FinancesMy Profile

    • Wow, a frozen fishtank – I guess they had fish sticks for dinner! I think a lot of people just think “well I’ll go to so-and-sos’ house if it gets bad.” Problem is So and So might be thinking the same thing.

  5. Great idea to create an emergency food stash. Since I live on the west coast, there is always the threat of the next big earthquake. So I’ve got in the habit of keeping a bunch of canned foods in the cupboard. I’ve got a little lazy with it lately though since we have limited cupboard space. Thanks for the reminder to restock.
    Jeremy @ Modest Money recently posted..Buy An eReader & Save Money On BooksMy Profile

  6. I read an article not too long ago that said that the best water purifier is sunlight(UV) and listed how long water needed to sit in a plastic jug in sunlight to be safe. It wasn’t long and no more than two hours even on a cloudy day.
    Thad P @ recently posted..Keeping Track of PasswordsMy Profile

    • Very true. Most of the cans I bought are good for almost two years. We will probably just eat them when they are close to expired, or donate them to a food pantry then buy more.

  7. Although not done on purpose, I believe we have the suggested amount of food insurance within our home at most times. I probably should update my water storage though.

    Call me crazy, but I make sure water is near our “bunker” in the basement. (area underneath the workbench designated as our hideout for severe weather emergencies). I also keep a hammer and hand-saw nearby, in case we need to dig our way out of the rubble. Canned goods and a can opener are not far away in a basement storage pantry. Perhaps I should just upgrade slightly and call it what it is, a bomb-shelter!
    Matt recently posted..Free Money is Just a Phone Call AwayMy Profile

    • Now you’ve got me thinking about what more I can do. I hadn’t thought what to do if the house is leveled. Probably should, considering it was passed over by a tornado about 3 years before we moved in.

  8. We used to have an “Armageddon Stash” of canned goods and fruit juice and such in our basement.. That might sound a little paranoid, and we really don’t expect the world to end any time soon, but the thinking was that if the local grocery stores ever had a shortage, we would have enough food to get by for a month or two until hopefully the situation improved.

    That said, it didn’t really work out. All the food that we had down there expired and we had to throw it all out. We haven’t restocked since, and we probably wont

    If you do keep a “food insurance stockpile”, be sure to monitor expiration dates!
    jefferson recently posted..Should We Consider Moving the Family to a New City?My Profile

    • I don’t think it’s paranoid – just a rational preparation for something that has happened, and will happen again. People get desperate and mean when they are hungry.

      Now I know not to come to your house when it gets rough because you have no food 🙂 (or maybe that was your plan all along!)

  9. This is definitely a good idea. I experienced the ice storm in the north east, specifically eastern Ontario and Quebec in 1997. I remember the grocery stores got pretty bare and ran on generators for a few days. However, I think it’s people in rural areas that need to be a little more prepared for these natural disasters. There you’re looking at needing sources of heat, water and food in many cases. A lot of people had to buy generators, and they still keep them around.
    TheDailyThinker recently posted..Dig Yourself Out of Debt by Making SacrificesMy Profile

    • If you are in a rural area, this will be much worse for you. Not only are the grocery stores smaller and more remote, there are other challenges if you get snowed in away from civilization.

      I hope to move to a very rural area in the next twenty years. Can’t wait to acquire all those necessities.
      John recently posted..Food Insurance: 2 Weeks of Emergency FoodMy Profile

  10. We have a deep walk-in pantry, and additional storage in the ‘camping closet’. I haven’t broken it down to how many months or weeks or days, but it’s something. Mostly it’s almost like a food savings account. For example, if we happen to run out of a particular staple like coffee or green beans or olive oil, we’ll just check the camping closet. More often than not, there will some of what we’re looking for in there.
    101 Centavos recently posted..A Little bit of Geopolitics, a Little Bit of PotashMy Profile

  11. I personal like to get canned soup. I take it to work all the time and rotate through my stash to replenish it. We also have quite a bit of water in gallon jugs that we keep in a storage room. My wife and I have also been considering getting an emergency generator just in case power is out for an extended period of time. The problem with a generator, they’re expensive. Our cats almost always have a pretty good supply of food, but we should add a bit more just in case. Great advice!
    CultOfMoney recently posted..Academic Investing Advice – What do PhDs know that you don’t?My Profile

  12. This is an important topic people should consider. We have a stockpile of food in our pantry bought at rock bottom prices, so that serves as our food insurance. Luckily, we aren’t in a hurricane zone. We only use bottled water when driving on vacation, so what ever we have extra sits in our pantry until the next trip or if there was an emergency.
    Melissa@PersonalFinanceJourney recently posted..How Do You Know When a House is Right for You?My Profile

    • Good to see you, Sydney! Earthquakes are tricky because they destroy, and could destroy anyone’s preparation efforts. Good thing you guys have a lot of practice with them out there.

      Thanks for reading

  13. Unless you are planning on sending a container full of food and water what’s the point in knowing that information.Rest assured the Japanese government has set up centers all over the affected areas to feed and water the survivors.

Comments are closed.