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Everyday Cheapskate: Best Nonperishable Food to Stockpile for an Emergency

Mary Hunt on

If recent world events have given you a big, fat wake-up call, you are not alone. The message is clear: Every household needs to have some amount of food in storage. Natural disasters like blizzards, hurricanes and floods often come with little or no warning.

Stocking up now on the right nonperishable food items will help you weather the storm (or global pandemic) with less stress. The type and amount of food to store is an individual decision that depends on your financial resources and storage area.

Ideally, your long-term goal is to have stockpiled enough to feed your family for six months. But start with shorter goals, like enough food for one week and then two weeks and then a month. This kind of incremental plan won't bust the budget or throw you into panic-buying that can easily lead to burnout and buyer's remorse.

When nonperishable items are on sale, buy enough for your immediate need plus a couple for your stockpile. Make this a regular habit, and you'll build a very impressive stockpile in no time.


Generally, commercially canned foods are good for two to five years from the date they were packed. High-acid foods like tomato sauce will not keep as long as a can of beans, for example. Canned varieties can provide you with essential nutrients, making these a great hurricane food or natural disaster option. Canned foods lose vitamins as time goes by, so you will want to rotate your food supply so you are using and replacing items before their "use by" dates.



Canned protein like tuna, salmon, chicken, corned beef, turkey and even bacon (yes, you can now buy canned, cooked bacon) has a shelf life of five years or longer. Canned meats provide essential protein.


An added benefit here is that soups and chili can be eaten straight out of the can while providing a variety of nutrients.


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