I've told you the WHYs of my yearly self-inflicted challenges to myself, but the telling took so long I never did get to the WHATs. At least not directly. If you've followed my blog the past week or so and are exceptionally clever, you might have realized that I've alluded to *some* of my goals already. The Book List reveals my value of literature and my hope to further myself BY it in the coming year. The list was created with the hope of staying motivated and with the intention to reevaluate next year. I've also shared how I long for my tongue to be more an instrument and less a weapon, and have written verses that I do hope will encourage me in the coming year, to become more sanctified in that area.
There are several more things that I have prepared for and begun working towards this coming year. Many of them will be highlighted here in the very near future. One of which I will share now. Anyone who checks my Mattie's (more sporatically published) blog might know what is coming.
One of our goals for the coming year is to become more...prepared. And by doing so, less DEPENDENT. "Prepared for what?" you ask. WHATEVER. A large snowstorm. A month without very much cashflow. An economic collapse. You name it. Whatever the reason and for whatever length of time, we realize we are ill-prepared in any (and every) way to deal with poor circumstances appropriately.
I've just finished reading a bunch of Dave Ramsey books (the Christian financial guru) and even HE suggests being prepared in the cash realm with a $1,000.00 emergency fund. I agree...and would expound on that notion to include other areas of life also.
Our goal in 2009 (which, in effect, is MY responsibility) is to get necessities stored and a pantry stockpiled; Matt calls it "food insurance". The idea is to be PREPARED so we don't depend on (or burden others by the need for) charity or kindnesses of others if/when it really matters. No, I'm not suggesting you get together five years worth of food and hoard it in your basement. Not at all. While it would be wonderfully handy for an emergency situation like power outtages and so forth, stocking a cupboard makes sense for a number of other reasons to.
1) Unexpected company. We are called to be hospitable and charitable and I fear a lack of preparedness has, in the past, hindered me from fulfilling that duty. How many times have I opted not to invite people over because the grocery budget was too tight that week? That would be far less likely, if you have a running supply.
2) Stockpiling allows you to spend money on sale items ONCE and then not worry about them for a while. (Read: stock up on things when they are on sale) I have already found this to encourage real savings in the food department. For example: a few weeks ago Walmart had Chex cereal for $1.66 a box. I had a ton of Chex coupons for $1.00 off a box. I stocked up on tons of cereal and didn't have to pay full price for cereal for a LONG time! I saved myself money as I was able to not purchase cereal until it was on sale again.
3) It also gives you peace of mind-knowing that your family is cared for in times of crisis. I know how many people are losing their jobs these days. I read in December alone it was 500,000! That's alot of people. I don't want to take Matt's job for granted and I don't want to be panicked and afraid if something like that happens to us too. It is just WISE to plan and prepare for meeting the needs of your household-in good times and bad. The Proverbs 31 woman was not afraid for her household when the snow came , and neither shall I be.
Not knowing where to begin, or the first thing about stockpiling food, I went blog-scouting (something I try to avoid at all costs because I just can't afford to find any more wonderful blogs to follow!) and found a few that I have found very helpful. And yes. I now follow them. These two blogs: Safely Gathered In and Preparedness Brings Peace have both been incredibly helpful to me. Both, I believe, are written from Seventh Day Adventists which I certainly do not ascribe to, but they offer a wealth of information on food storage. That is, after all, their name of the game. I think it would be imprudent to disregard the good that can be learned from them, just because of their beliefs. After all, no matter what your religious background or denomination~yours is not perfect and we all have differing gifts. It is WISE for us to learn from the gifts of others so that we too, might grow in those areas that do not come naturally to ourselves.
Anyway. This is a tremendously long post-bunny trailed it, I guess.
Basically, what I am saying is this:
One of my goals for the coming year, is to start a PANTRY.
To that end, I have been on the lookout for some opportunities to stockpile while not breaking the bank. Coincidentally, I've found after-Christmas to be the perfect time! Hickory Farms, producer of those delicious meat smoked sausage logs that sell at Christmas~ happened to be packing up the week I went to the mall to use up a giftcard. Their meat rolls were 80% off. Perfectly wonderful summer sausage marked down to under $2.00 a roll! They are good for almost a YEAR. So, I stockpiled. And let me tell you: $14.00 bought me a LOT of delicious summer sausage! I don't know about the electricity going out or food shortages-but I DO know that those will be some welcome treats sometime in the future!
I have also found that stockpiling has required some creativity. Thinking outside of the box. Prime example---yesterday.
I was doing my CVS routine when I noticed all the Christmas items were 90% off. 90%!!!! I swooned. Nearly fainted with my good fortune! There, up on the top shelf, were these brown Santa MONSTROSITIES made from Hollow Chocolate marked $5.99. I crossed my eyes and imaged a foot long chocolate Santa being given to me. Then I imagined sending $6.00 on a foot long chocolate Santa. But I couldn't. I couldn't even IMAGINE it. People actually BUY this stuff?!?! Frankly, my kids might fly to the moon if they consumed so much chocolate. And I would never spend $6.00 bucks on CHOCOLATE for heavens sake.
Gears started turning. Smoke poured from my ears. (Almost.) Then a light flickered above my head and I promptly loaded the cart with as many as would fit. Five. WHY?!
What in the WORLD was I going to do with FIVE chocolate Santas as large as a ruler?
Why, I was going to let the children smash them to smithereens, of course!!!
Not intending, for FINGERS to also be a part of that equation...
And who knew--I'd actually capture it (or the quick Panda reaction TO it) on a photo?!?
Meanwhile, Little Miss pounds away, totally oblivious to the finger smashing the had given.
Okay. Bunny trail again. Point is~ because I was thinking "outside the box", I figured a way to get five quart-sized bags of chocolate chunks for just .59 cents a piece. And those quart-sized bags have WAY more chunks then the Hershey's Chocolate Chunks bags that sell for over $2.00 a piece thankyouverymuch.
It's turning out, that this pantry business is not only "not as hard as I thought" but also, kind of FUN.