It’s all in the planning…
When was the last time you had a power outage that lasted for more than three hours? Has your neighborhood ever flooded or come through a landslide? Have you ever been laid off and unsure where grocery money was going to come from? Has wildfire ever threatened your home? Have you ever been suddenly thrust into an unsafe situation?
The world as we know it is different for everyone. The many ways our world is evolving are staggering. A radical change to our world as we know it can be anything to suddenly being without power for days (which happens to more people than you may realize), a massive flood (been there, done that), to an unforeseen job loss, to a nearby chemical spill, which yours truly has lived through. Even in a minor power outage, we cannot pump gas, or pay for anything electronically, and eating out if there’s no power is not an option either. You will not be able to cool your home by either A/C or fan in a power outage, you won’t want to be looking in the fridge every 15 min, and what about flushing the toilet? Let’s not forget food shortages brought on by a massive snowstorm or being cut off without transportation after a flood or snowstorm (been there, done that too). The number of ways our world can be radically altered is both alarming and staggering. But we don’t have to wring our hands and moan, we can do something. Lots in fact.
I’m well known for having backup plans on top of backup plans. Once, it was only for childcare, but as the kids grew, having a Plan B, and Plan C, and so on, spread throughout my life. In these challenging times, we can plan for many of life’s surprises, and not only end up in control of our lives but also change our mindset. Think about it, if you can plan for a sudden layoff, your attitude changes. Let’s say one day, you and 150 of your co-workers are informed your factory is closing next month. This has happened to so many people, I can’t count that high. So, how do you plan for this BEFORE it actually happens to you? Times are hard financially and you’re only living two paychecks ahead of panic, so investing $200 in stocks isn’t going to happen anytime soon. But let’s set aside the investing, and money security for a minute. Let’s think about something more basic. Food.
Planning For A Food Shortage
If you’re laid off and you have some food put by, your attitude towards this crisis will be different than the outlook of someone who has not planned for just such an occasion. It will still be a huge upset, but you won’t have to wonder how you’ll feed the spouse, two kids, and the family dog. I’ve been there, and I can tell you that visiting a pawn shop to trade in jewelry so I can feed the kids isn’t fun. So, when you go grocery shopping, make a list. (It’s been proven there are fewer impulse purchases in a grocery store if a pre-made list is involved) If your grocery list calls for three cans of kernel corn, buy four cans. If you were going to get two pounds of ground beef, and you can afford it, get three. I know you might not be able to do this all the time, but do it if you’re able. Every time you go shopping, look realistically at your list. One week get a couple of extra cans of vegetables, the next shopping trip, get a bit of extra meat. Keep up with what the cheapest meat is from month to month. One month it might be chicken, the next it might be pork. Do your research so you know what a sale really looks like, rather than falling victim to store marketing. Just because the sign over a cooler of ground beef proclaims a sale, doesn’t mean the ground beef actually is cheaper. Sounds devious, I know, but most stores are more concerned with their bottom line. On your next shopping trip, consider getting a home first-aid kit, or improving on the one you may already have.
The next thing you need to do is keep track of your food. Sounds silly, right? You wouldn’t believe the amount of food tossed away or redirected to food banks because expiry dates have come and gone. (Don’t get me started on how wrong it is to send expired food to food banks) I used to work in retail, and we had a system of rotation that is summarized by FIFO.
“First In, First Out”
If it’s easier for your family, get a permanent black magic marker and write on the can or box the date you bought it. Meat can be wrapped and sealed in a freezer bag. Be sure and write the date purchased on the bag before the meat goes in. If someone in your house bakes, consider buying an extra bag of flour. (TIP: if you can freeze it for a few days before putting it in a storage container. That way you won’t be unpleasantly surprised by small, black, wriggling things. We found this out the hard way)
Using this plan of buying a few extras as we could, we’ve been able to set aside large tubs of coffee, drink crystals, peanut butter, meats of all kinds, yeast for baked goods, pasta, a variety of sauces, and the list goes on. I remember having to visit the pawn shop before the grocery store. I recall all too well that feeling of fear, depression, and hopelessness. I also remember living in Northern Ontario and being snowed in with my spouse-at-the-time being gone already for a few days. I didn’t drive, but I had a toddler to feed. Again, having food stores made all the difference in my attitude and outlook.
The wisdom of food storage cannot be overstated. Everyone, regardless of income level, tax bracket, location, or age should consider what they can do to put some food by. The more, the better. Give careful thought to storage, record keeping, and how all that can be achieved cheaply.
That is how you increase your resilience, by planning ahead. Then, if the worst happens, you aren’t caught without resources. If you have a backup plan, unforeseen circumstances aren’t quite as shocking.
Do you have a backup plan already? Do you know someone that needs to create one? Shout out in the comments!