Be prepared – part two

Today’s relative affluence compared to the generations before us has perhaps led us into a lifestyle of expectation and almost instant gratification. We don’t need to scrimp and save for several months to purchase anything anymore, we just put it on the ‘card’, or sign up to buy now, pay later, feeling secure that our pay check will be in the bank at the end of the month to pay for it all. However, recent events have shown us that the lifestyles many of us have taken for granted can be lost in the blink of an eye. For many the security of that regular pay cheque has disappeared. Currently the government is bailing many of us out, but what happens if, and when their coffers run dry? It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realise that a second, third, or even mutating continuing waves of this pandemic could see us all back in lock down with no job, and without the government assistance that has been forthcoming in these early days. To put it mildly – we’d really be up the creek without a paddle!

Enticements to debt – debt that without a job can’t be paid for

We saw the supermarket shelves get stripped bare within just a few days as the possibility of lock down loomed. Clearly it was to late to begin putting food, and other supplies away for such a drastic change in circumstances such as the change that some of us have experienced recently.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought and putting in time researching ‘stockpiling’. There are extremes at either end of the stockpiling spectrum. There are those that rely on restaurants, cafes and take out for their sustenance, often with maxed out credit cards to pay for it. The supplies in their own cupboards would barely keep them going for a day or two. Then at the other end of the spectrum are the doomsday preppers that have five years of supplies and a bunker in which to lock it, and themselves away in, should the need arise. I wouldn’t be comfortable with either of those scenarios. The first because I just wouldn’t want to be that vulnerable if my circumstances should suffer even a small or short downturn. The second scenario – well if doomsday should come, I think I’d rather be amongst the fallen than be living amongst the crackpots who lived their former lives preparing for doomsday.

I’ve taken stock of what’s in my cupboards. Should anything happen that prevented me from restocking regularly, after about one week I’d be out of some things that I’ve come to rely on. After two weeks I wouldn’t have the makings of a normal meal as I know it. By the end of a month I think my cupboards would be almost completely empty. I don’t feel ok about that anymore, I want more! I’m thinking supplies that Paul and I could live on, eating balanced, and appealing meals for around six months is a reasonable amount to stockpile. But where to start….

Current supplies would last less than a month

It makes sense to build supplies around meals similar to some of the meals that we often eat. Rice, pasta, pasta sauces, canned tomatoes, and canned fish will no doubt form the mainstay of my stockpile. Oats, milk powder, nuts, seeds, dried and canned fruits – supplies we use almost daily anyway, so there’s no harm in keeping a good stock of those too. Then there’s crackers and spreads (peanut paste would be our preferred non refrigerated topping). Some lentils, cans and packets of beans – green beans, kidney and black beans, and and I figure we’re well in the way to a sensible food stockpile.

Long lasting, every day items already in my pantry can be added
to to form good stockpile

Having a good idea of what we’d like to be eating should we ever be struck by a disaster of any length of time gives us the opportunity to buy in bulk when products are on special. My recent research has shown me that I can apply filters to search the major supermarket chains so as to find only their 1/2 price specials. I didn’t know I could do that before – bonus! My plan is to build bulk supplies of pantry staples at half price where possible. Then all we have to do is store everything in such a way that makes stock rotation easy in every day life. By having a clear idea on what we’d want to be eating based upon meals that we already eat, by buying in bulk when on special, and by careful rotation of our home supplies, we will be not only putting aside for a rainy day, or for a real crisis, we’ll be saving money in the long run too.

I’ve started by organising some cupboard space.

Racks added to pantry door to free up some space on the shelves

now it’s time to begin….

16 thoughts on “Be prepared – part two

    1. Thank you Ingrid. The speed that the supermarket shelves emptied has certainly made me think there are times when a few long lasting supplies put by may help. Not only times like this virus, but there’s also natural disasters that can stop supply trucks. Hope I don’t turn into a doomsday prepper though!

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    1. I’m actually looking forward to a more structured approach to food shopping. Once I have what I think is about 6 months supplies I’m going to see how I go without any trips to the supermarket for 4 weeks. Should tell me if there’s any gaps that I’ve overlooked.

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    1. It do to a certain extent, but only a few items at ati e when things are on special. I’m going to increase that a lot, especially now that I’ve discovered half price specials. Good on you Peggy, it must give you race of mind when things like lock downs are happening.

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  1. Preparing well for adversity or for less regular shopping trips, is sensible and could even be a bit of a hobby – rotating the ingredients. I don’t think my pantry stocks would last more than three days. Food for thought. Pun intended!!

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    1. Between my fridge, freezer and pantry I would normally manage a week reasonably easily. After a week though I’d be scratching to make a normal sort of meal. I’m no longer comfortable with that amount of stocks given recent events. I’m hoping to build up suplies using specials on food that I normally eat anyway. A bit of a project..

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      1. It has made me think of keeping non perishables in a different way. A quarantine stock, if you will. This would have to be based on non perishables. That is a challenge isn’t it- to find and think of recipes WITHOUT fresh ingredients. Do you have any? Soups, perhaps?

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      2. I’ve experienced a few instances other than Covid that have hampered the supply chain Amanda. We were in Broome a couple of years ago when a major accident on the highway prevented supply trucks getting through. Supermarket shelves quickly emptied. Then there’s bushfires and floods, anywhere on our supply route, especially so here in the west. If anything was to affect our fuel supplies our supermarket shelves would empty quickly. As far as recipes go, pasta with a chunky vegetable pasta sauce makes a good base for a meal – and I have a few veges and herbs in the garden that I can add. I use frozen or tinned green beans sometimes so a few extra cans of green beans won’t go astray. When on long road trips I sometimes make a salad with a can of kidney beans, a can of green beans some onion flakes, some walnuts and a zesty oil dressing. A sort of minestrone could be made from pantry supplies especially if there’s a something in the garden to add. It’s amazing how a handful of chopped parsley, mint, coriander or basil can liven up a dish. I usually have silverbeet or chard growing too.

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      3. I take your point about fuel supplies affecting food. During the floods, I saw how there was a shortage of veges, within just a few days. The markets were flooded so supply of them halted for several weeks. Our food security is quite tenuous, especially with a lot of overseas products now filling our shelves. Although I try to stick to Australian made.
        It sounds like you have a good base of supplies. Do you freeze the vege pasta sauce or use jar sauce and tinned veges? The Salad sounds great!

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      4. I use jars of pasta sauce occasionally, but mainly I do a slow cooked sauce using a bit of meat and tomato paste as a base with veges added when nearly cooked I don’t freeze sauces. My base of supplies is currently quite small and wouldn’t last us long if we had any lengthy crisis. My pantry supplies have been a bit here and there really, but now that I’ve given it a bit more thought I’m going to change that and add a more substantial amount, but only of things I know I’ll use in normal life. We probably eat a couple of cans of fish a week (tuna, salmon, sardines or smoked oysters), so a good supply of them. We eat 1-2 pkts of crackers a week, and we eat kidney, black beans, chick peas or lentils about once a week. So I think I’ll build my stocks around that sort of thing. I don’t want a stock of food that’s going to go out of date, so it has to be things I’d normally use anyway. I’m aware that power supplies are vulnerable too, as is water. So I’m trying to bear that in mind when stocking up.

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      5. Good point about power and selecting foods that could be eaten without cooking. Other folk must be with you on the crackers, as it was impossible to find them at the beginning of the shut down. They were like toilet paper – difficult to find. We eat tuna but I think the Moth would starve without power – he doesnt eat salad and likes all his meals hot….

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