November 09, 2012

Preparing for the "Immediate" Future

The presidential election is over.  Thank God.  No matter if your candidate won or lost, it is at least over.  Enough said. 

I feel as if the last two weeks I have been caught up in so much activity and I am tired of it.  I’m tired of being pulled every which way, but it is only for a season.  Next week is busy, but then the busyness will settle down just in time for the holidays.

So what have I been up to beyond the busyness?  Stocking up.  I have been clipping coupons and searching for coupon on line to match up with grocery deals.  Last week I was able to get some really good buys on granulated sugar, brown sugar and confectioner sugar.  Chocolate chips were on sale and I know that this has nothing to do with baking, but so was toilet paper.  I always stock up on baking supplies at this time of year and I try to buy 6 months to a 1 year supply.  This year I have noticed a significant price increase in those items.  Let’s take chocolate chips for example.  Last year at this time I was able to get Hershey’s baking chips of nearly every flavor for only 98 cents a bag.  This year’s sale price is $1.48 which is good by this year’s prices.  (BTW – I never use a full bag to make chocolate chips – 1 cup of chocolate chips is enough as far as I am concerned for a recipe of cookies.)

The trick to my stocking up this year is that come January 1st my husband and I will be empty nesters.  Our college boarders will be moving back into the dorm and our youngest son has moved into his own apartment.  There is no need to stock up to the level that I did when there were a total of 5 of us living in our home.  So I am finding my way because if I stocked up on anything and didn’t use it or if the food expired or spoiled, that would be a great waste of money.

I have posted many different posts about being prepared for the future.  Now I don’t want to get into a political dialog as I try very hard to keep my political views out of this blog.  However, our country is on the brink of a second financial crisis in 4 years – the Fiscal Cliff.  Let’s not go into the details of what this means as let’s face it, what can you and I do about it anyway?  It is up to Congress and the President to get this resolved before January 1st.  But let’s not bury our heads in the sand either.  While we may not be able to make hands on decisions that affect our country, we can make hands on decisions that affect ourselves and our families.

Four years ago there were people who wished they would have been prepared for what was coming as they weren’t prepared for the economic crisis.  Here is what I recommend to be prepared now.

If you don’t have money in savings and if you don’t have extra food on hand such as in a pantry or freezer, you need to start today.  I don’t care if it is only a few dollars a week, set it aside and don’t touch it for any frivolous purchase.  Make a list of what basic foods you use and what foods you can us to make a lot of meals and stock up on those items.  You can eat cheap, nutritious meals – just take some time to plan.   

Rice, cornmeal, oatmeal, flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, salt, dried beans, canned vegetables, soups, broths are good places to begin.  These are the basis to many meals.  As to meat, you will be able to find turkey on sale at this time of year and other types of poultry.  Look for other possible sales on meat to see what value you can get for the protein that you will need. 

Now, I’m not saying that you need to go out and purchase 40 lbs. of meat as many people don’t have that extra money around nor am I saying you need to go out and purchase 50 lbs. of flour right now.  I’m saying that when you go to buy that 5 lb. bag of flour that is on sale, you may consider buying 1 or 2 extra bags to set aside.  The same is true with canned vegetables and soup.  At this time of year you will find these items on sale at good prices.  If you normally would buy 4 cans, buy 8 and set 4 aside. 

Make it a goal to, at a minimum, keep 2 to 4 weeks supply of food on hand for a “rainy day.” 

Don’t forget your pets.  If there is a sale on the pet food that you normally buy, pick up an extra bag to set aside (take note of the expiration date). 

Set aside a few dollars for gap food money.  Gap food money is money you have set aside to fill in the gaps for your emergency meals.  This money, for example, pays for the meat that you may need to make a meal out of what you have in your pantry.  

photo credit: la fattina via photopin cc

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