Preparing for the possibility of harder times – part one

The announcement of the pandemic showed up some peculiar human traits. First came the hoarding, and strangely toilet paper seemed to be the first thing to disappear from the shelves. Then the supermarkets sold out of the things I would have expected, flour, sugar, rice, pasta, and pasta sauces all became hard to get.

Supermarket shelves emptied quickly at beginning of pandemic

Vegetable seeds and seedlings have been selling out within hours of arriving in the plant nurseries. There has been a huge demand for DIY including the materials to build backyard henhouses, and once built, the egg laying chooks to live in them.

Clearly people’s thoughts, perhaps driven by a primal survival instinct, have turned to preparing for a major recession, or worse, another Great Depression. One things for certain, Covid-19 is, and will continue to have a definite, and probably long lasting effect on the world economy. The relatively high standard of living that a lot of people in our part of the world have come to expect, could be about to change.

Some people will sail through the tough times that are no doubt coming with barely a hitch. A few people who just happen to work in the right niche will thrive above and beyond what they would have achieved in the pre-Coronavirus world. Some will bounce back over time and their lives will take up where they left off early in 2020. But some people’s lives may never return to the financial prosperity they had prior to this global pandemic.

Peoples reactions have caused to me to ponder times gone by, and possible changes that could be upon us in the future. We’re almost definitely going to live through some leaner times as a result of the pandemic lock down and the resulting downturn in the economy. But what if that isn’t all…… There is a lot of blame being directed at China, and world leaders are demanding answers. What if it escalates into a war! What if we come under siege! Ok – dramatic thoughts I know. But it wasn’t that many decades ago when if someone had suggested that Sarajevo was about to come under siege, the residents would have laughed. Yet early in 1992 Sarajevo did come under siege, a siege that lasted almost four years

Monument in Sarajevo serves as reminder of siege

Their water and power was cut off early, then their food supplies and medicines run out. Those that survived the siege did so on a basic diet of rice, flour, beans, and canned foods that came from United Nations food drops.

Although I don’t consider that I was panic buying at the beginning at the start of this pandemic, I did, like everyone else, buy things like rice, pasta, and toilet rolls before my home supplies had reduced to their normal replacement levels.

So what now that the supermarkets are all re-stocked, and the rationing of certain products has been lifted! Should we all just return to our normal shopping habits? The current situation hit us completely out of the blue, but what if the situation takes a turn for the worse, or what if another, unthinkable situation were to hit us. What if something came out of the blue, something that threatened our lives, not by a pandemic, but by starvation. I’m sure no amount of preparation would have seen the people of Sarajevo eating a normal diet throughout four years of siege, but some preparation, both mentally and practically, could have perhaps helped in the early stages.

My thinking has led me to start a bit of an experiment. I’m going to see how cheaply I can buy my basic grocery shopping while still shopping for meal plans similar to those that I already follow. That doesn’t mean I won’t buy extras, but any extras I buy over and above what’s needed for basic living, as well as food to stockpile, will be bought in a separate shop. I’m just curious as to how much money we could survive on eating meals similar to the meals we’re used to eating, should the coming downturn in the economy have a major impact on us personally. Of course in the event of a long term drastically changed situation, no doubt we’d end up eating meals drastically different to that which we have become accustomed to.

I’ve always kept a well stocked pantry and freezer and could easily live off the contents for two weeks without any additions, probably up to a month if I really had to. Clearly, from the speed that basic household supplies disappeared from the supermarket shelves at the start of this pandemic, should we ever be hit with a more serious, longer lasting, crisis, food supplies are going to run out very quickly. Should that ever happen I don’t want to be saying, “could have, would have, should have” been better prepared. So, my experiment is going to include pantry supplies that could sustain us for a bit longer than a month. I’m thinking that supplies that could be eked out to last six months would give us a good start if ever the need came.

A good stockpile

 

 

8 thoughts on “Preparing for the possibility of harder times – part one

  1. Really. I think we’ve been lucky in so many ways down under.They introduced limits on products early here, so after the first couple of weeks most things were available in some form or another. Our supermarket shelves are now almost fully stocked. It was the way in which the basics sold out at the beginning of the crisis though that has prompted me to fill, and maintain a good supply cupboard. If anything like this happens again, or if anything worse happens, I hope to have enough supplies to get by on for up to six months if necessary.

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  2. We’re down to very few cases now, so our restrictions are slowly being lifted. Hope it’s not to soon. I’m sure we’ll get more, just hope we not get overwhelmed with masses of cases. Our early shut down gave hospitals time to ramp up. Things feel almost normal again here with the exception of restaurants and pubs. Hope your supermarkets get back to normal soon.

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  3. Yes, these are interesting times. I finally managed to pick up some flour yesterday … not the brand I wanted, but beggars can’t be choosers. I think the next 2 years will be a rollercoaster 🤔

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  4. Difficult and testing times aren’t they Chris? With a long way still to go before the world finds any sense of normality again. The shortages in supermarkets seem to have been the same the year over but ours are now fully stocked apart from flour which has become a bit like golddust. So rare to see any. Shopping and eating habits may well change for so many people but I guess we may be lucky in that we are used to only ever buying what we need for the coming days so it’s actually no different for us. Even though we’re in the middle of the longest stay we’ve had for 5 years we still only buy what we need and consume over he following week. Could be difficult if times get harder.

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