Practical Prepping: Building A Pantry

Pantry canning jars

I was raised by parents whose own parents lived through the depression.  As such, we learned to prep.  Not for zombies or nuclear war, but for hard times, snow storms and power outages.

I remember quite vividly the blizzard of ’78.  (If you don’t remember it or weren’t here yet, check out those pics.) My parents had just bought our first house in Northern Illinois, just 8 miles south of the Wisconsin border.  Being from NYC and then Chicago, it was a huge thing to have a house and yard, but to find out we lived on an emergency snowmobile route was truly amazing!  My Grandma came for a visit (the fun one), and because of airports being snowed in, she wound up staying much longer than she was supposed to.  Not everyone had as much fun as we did though.

Why Prep?

There are many reasons to prep…

  • short paycheck (or several)
  • no paycheck (or several)
  • medical emergency,
  • natural disasters
    • hurricanes (the names Sandy, Ike, Katrina, Andrew, Isabel and Hugo come to mind)
    • blizzards
    • wildfires
    • tornadoes
    • earthquakes (Haiti)
    • tsunamis (Indonesia, Japan)

I was taught to be a pantry shopper.  I don’t meal plan, I’ll be honest it clashes with my ADD.   I have a grocery budget, I buy what’s on sale… meat, produce, canned goods.  I meal plan from what I have on sale.  Sure there are times that I deviate because I’m in the mood to make something different, but this is how I build my pantry.   Needless to say, if I can get $100 worth of groceries for $75, I’m still going to spend the entire $100 that I budgeted to make sure I have back up.

When my husband and I first started living together, there was a bit of an adjustment.  He was taught to buy what you need when you need it.  When I came home with a case of boxes of macaroni & cheese from a redeemed rain check, he was beside himself.  Why would I possibly buy so much for a family of 3?  He felt it was excessive.  I showed him the receipt.  They were on sale for 10 cents when they normally cost 55 cents each.  Why should we pay full price in the future.  We were still going to eat it in the future but they wouldn’t honor the sale price on our schedule.  I spent $3.60 instead of $19.80 for something we were going to be eating anyway.  In the meantime the money that we just saved could now be used for other items.

Whether it’s buying extra canned goods or canning produce from your garden to last for the winter, it’s best to have extras on hand… just in case.  Utilize sales, coupons, buy one/get one offers as well as farmers markets deals and your garden.  Everything you grow you don’t have to buy!

You’ll find you save money in the long run by buying things when they’re on sale rather than when you need them.  You will also eat better without boxes of chemical helper.

The best part is that in an emergency, you’ll have better choices than just cans of tuna, cream of chemical soup, ramen noodles and saltines.

Maggie

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