I have a favorite saying, "Better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it"
To this end, I suggest tweaking your shopping habits just a little. Now, those of you who know me, know how much I hate to shop, but I've had to come to terms with it lately if I want to see what's out there. There are sales out there (and I shudder to say this) that are actually very worth while. A case of 24 bottles of water for $2, tuna cans for $1.29 or less (a sale for us), or heavy freezer bags for...you see my point. When shopping for canned goods, let one become two, and two become three. In other words, whatever number of , say, canned peas you normally get for your family...let's use a nice round number like 4, get 5 instead. If you find peanut butter on sale, get one, even if you don't need it this week. If your family eats beans, green, yellow, lentil or whatever, get one more than you normally would. This line of thinking can be applied to a few items each week, or month, whenever you do your family's shopping. We recently spotted a large jar of Kraft peanut butter on sale for $2, and we wasted no time in getting one, even though we still had some at home.
So why are we doing this?
Because the economy sucks and grocery prices are rising and grocery stores typically only stock three days worth of food.
Anything can happen. In the winter, blizzards would be an obvious risk. Here, I am the only formal income earner, what if I were to fall off the ladder and break my leg? I'm off work for a few weeks with no income. It'll be nice to have that supply of food.
What if you discovered a friend or family member ran into a tight spot and needed a couple days worth of food to tide them over? If you had extra, you could help them out without taking food out of your kid's mouths.
Recently it occurred to me that we've been buying extra food for us, but not our dogs! Prepping for ourselves is all well and good, but we can't forget the furry members of our family either!
Part of this mindset that will bring a little more peace of mind is skills. Can you make bread? Can you bake sweets? Can you fish and clean what you catch? (I have to work on that last item, it's been years for me) Bread and sweets is a great morale booster. Knowing where and how to fish is a simple way of acquiring meat for your family without going Rambo in the woods chasing down Bambi's mother. I have nothing against hunting, or venison (I adore a good, tender venison steak) but if I am faced with not being able to afford meat for my family, then I'm going fishing. Simply because it's easier, cheaper and less complicated than hunting. Especially because, for now, I still live in a city.
Herbs too will prove to be a morale and health booster.
With the prices of manufactured vitamins these days, for some families, it comes down to 'do we buy a chicken this week, or multi-vitamins that will expire before we finish the bottle?' So learn how to forage for the basics, and learn how to use them.
Dandelion, stinging nettle, willow, rose hip....and if you have a picky eater in the family like we do, learn to get creative. We need vitamins more in the winter, because we tend to eat less fruit, so when you make soup or stew, slip in a dandelion leaf and then take it out before serving. (It makes compost even better for those of you that have composters). Your family will never know that they are eating something filled with vitamins and minerals, but you'll have the peace of mind of knowing they're probably going to be healthier than the family down the street.
These two points are very, very basic, but very, very necessary. Just think about what I've suggested. If I can do these things on my less than shoestring budget, you can too.
Just start small and don't get overwhelmed.
I welcome comments and suggestions