At 7:45 last night, during a minor thunderstorm, our power went out. Most of the businesses and homes around us were dark, too. We quickly went to the drawer where flashlights, batteries, and candles are kept and put them to use. The chiropractor next door came over to see if he could borrow a flashlight and was impressed that DH knew just where to find one. That led us into a conversation about preparedness and how important it is. We can't be prepared for everything life throws at us but we can be prepared for many things. Like the power going out for an hour and a half.
We aren't die hard survivalists (and I wouldn't call us survivalists at all) but we do believe in being prepared for some things we can anticipate. You know, things like sudden loss of livelihood, birth or death in the family, car repair, etc. We keep bug out boxes ready. We have a good supply of food that gets rotated every two to three months. We both take prescription medications and though we can't have a year's supply of it we do have extra. We also have items that might be useful for barter.
I don't think we're at all "weird" because we do these things. It makes sense to be as prepared as one can be. Blessedly, we've rarely had to rely on our stash of food, clothing, or trade items and when we have had to fall back on them it's been for something minor like a storm taking the power out for a few days or needing extra cash for an unexpected expense. When it's happened I've been grateful we had the forethought to prepare. But preparation can start in small ways.
Planning your grocery shopping trips is an easy way to help your family be prepared. Having on hand the food you need for a week or two definitely takes some planning, especially if you're doing it for a large family or on a budget. Running out of ingredients can be a real time and budget buster so try to prevent it! Sometimes shopping at one store makes more sense than going to several so figure out what works best for your family. We use a very simple method: scour the sales ads, stock up on food we eat that's at a great price (remembering to watch for unadvertised specials in the store), store the food properly, then plan menus that use that food, including leftovers. It's short and sweet and works for us.
Creating a weekly menu is another simple way to be prepared. If it saves you time, money, and stress, what a great thing! Planning for leftovers in your menu is an extension of menu planning. Don't throw the leftovers out and don't let them become a science fair project. Plan for their use and either freeze them or use them in another meal later in the week.
Reading this blog and others will help a beginner learn how to find sales, stock a pantry, and cook/eat from that pantry. If you haven't been prepared in larger ways and would like to learn more, here are a few of my favorite sites on the subject:
Food Storage for $5 A Week - prices have definitely changed since this list was created but the principle is still valid
Safely Gathered In - Fantastic step by step instructions in preparedness
Survival & Emergency Preparedness
You can start small, perhaps just putting together a good medical emergency kit and stashing away a few bucks and some non-perishable food in a safe place. Watch for sales on non-perishable nutritious food or non-edible supplies and stock a few items here and there. You needn't do it all at once and most of us don't have the money to do it all at once. But a little here and a little there can provide a better sense of security. And that's a very good thing, indeed.