You hear that phrase all the time along with “be prepared” and “plan for the worst, hope for the best”. They all pretty much mean the same thing… Be ready for anything. I’m not talking about years worth of supplies for an impending zombie apocalypse. I’m talking about being prepared to cover a couple months at a time.
The newest recommendation is that you have a savings built up equivalent to 6 months of income. For many people, this is very difficult to do. If you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck a good place to start is putting 10% of your paycheck into savings each time you get paid. Or, you can put the 10% tucked away somewhere in your house to have cash on hand in case of an emergency. If you choose to keep cash, make sure no one else knows where it is. The last thing you want is someone breaking in and swiping your stash.
I live in rural Indiana where the winter winds blow and 4 inches of snow can be turned into 2-3 foot snow drifts. We have pretty dang good forecasters, but when that wind is a factor, you never know. This is just one of the reasons I stock up throughout the year as I am able to.
I watch sales and stock up on food when it is at its lowest price and I’ll coupon every couple years for a few months and stock up up on toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, laundry soap, bar soap, etc. I have a freezer chest with juice concentrate, bread products, and frozen vegetables. I have a full size stand up freezer filled with meat and frozen fruit, and another stand up freezer that is currently empty (for now). I have a shelf filled with food that I can like jam, pineapple, peaches, apples, applesauce, pears, fruit sauces, pasta sauce, and more. Then, we have a small walk in party stocked with cereal, pasta, hamburger helper, rice and pasta mixes,mketchup, BBQ sauce, etc. And finally, a cabinet filled with canned beans, peanut butter, pizza sauce, sloppy joe sauce, and some other misc canned goods. All this in addition to a regular fridge/freezer combo.
Why? Because I like the piece of mind knowing that I am getting food at the cheapest prices possible, thus saving money while stocking up for the unknown. I won’t buy meat if we we have plenty in the freezer, but I know when I’m getting low and I need to watch prices to stock up. I don’t have 300 boxes of pasta, but I do have about 20. I know I have months before I need to buy it again. I am careful to watch expiration dates as well so I only buy what I know we will use before it needs to get tossed.
How can I afford to do this? I use our monthly grocery budget. I will spend about half of it on food that we need at the time and the other half either gets used on sale items we need to stock up on, or doesn’t get spent at all.
This is something that anyone can do. You just need to watch the sales, stock up when it’s a good price, and have somewhere to keep it. I highly recommend that everyone have a full size freezer to have somewhere to keep meat, bread, juice, fruit, vegetables, and more.