[caption id="attachment_938" align="alignright" width="237"] Shopping with a plan[/caption] Before you go to a website or drive to a business to buy food storage, you should have goals and a specific plan in mind. -Have a budget: Know exactly how much you can spend before you start shopping, and don't go over budget. This will help you stay focused on what you need, rather than being caught up in hype or the latest gimmick. -Do you hoard or do you rotate? Some families want to buy food that they will use every day, make a part of their diet, and rotate through their pantries to keep things fresh. If this is you, you will need to know how to use these items and incorporate them into your cooking. Some families, on the other hand, are looking for a long term food storage plan that requires less effort. They want to buy a box of food that will last a long time, that will be really easy to prepare, and will feed their whole family for a year. Knowing beforehand what type of food storage you are looking for will save you a lot of time and money at the store or online. Consider your family: You will need to know how many people you will need to prepare for, their age, and their dietary needs. And since most food storage lasts at least 15-20 years, you will also need to consider how old they will be in 5, 10 or even 20 years from now. Do you have parents or relatives nearby that you may need to provide for? You need to do your homework so you can ask the right questions and make informed decisions when you get into the stores. Being mindful of calories per dollar goes hand in hand with knowing how many calories per person per day you need. Generally, an active adult needs "between 2000-2600 calories per day, more if very active. Children need 1500-1600 calories per day to maintain growth and energy". By taking the calories you need per day and multiplying it by 365 days in a year, you can estimate how much an adult versus a child would need for a year. Remember - most food storage will store at least 10 years, and some for as long as 25 years. In 10 years, what will your family situation be like? Be ready to add to your supply for your kids as they grow or plan for them as adults, depending on your circumstances. Wouldn’t you rather have a little extra than not enough?