Stockpiling

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This blog post is copied from a post I wrote in another forum.  I am interested in your thoughts.

Is stockpiling a saving or ‘dead money’?

I do not stockpile to save money as such but I do have enough basic foods and essentials such as toothpaste and toilet paper to see us through a minimum of 4 weeks and in most instances, much longer. I am very confident that I could feed us for 3 months. There might be some odd meals but we would be fed.

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Why? It is generally acknowledged that supermarkets carry 3 days worth of stock and rely on ‘just in time’ deliveries. As we endure more severe and frequent weather events it is prudent to consider being independently responsible for your wellbeing during and immediately after these events. You will never find me queuing for fuel, buying bread or filling gas bottles as a cyclone approaches. It is already done as part of our day to day routine.

It can be something as simple as being unwell or busy at work and you can feed yourselves from what you have on hand. Some years ago I was snowed under at work and barely had time to do the basics so each week I would grab some fruit and veg and everything else came from the freezer or pantry. I did this for 7 consecutive weeks!

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By having enough on hand you will be less likely to pop into the shop and grab unnecessary items while you are there = savings.

Remember the mantra – “eat what you store and store what you eat”. In other words, do not store ‘special stuff’ for your stockpile. Do not keep 100 tins of baked beans if your family do not eat baked beans.

Whatever stock you have should be rotated. I keep 2 large tins of tuna in my pantry. When I use one I buy another. I always place the new can on the bottom of the pile.

Consider using a permanent marker to write the purchase date and month on bottles and cans eg: 10.16 for October 2016. This means that you can see at a glance what needs to be used first.

Keep track of what you have by doing a regular stocktake.

Make sure you have suitable storage containers and conditions. Food which deteriorates is a waste of money.

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My recommendation is to try to store enough food to feed your family for 2 weeks beyond your normal shopping cycle. Start small and add an extra can or packet as you can afford.

Stockpiling may save you a little money but in the long run, I think the time and sanity savings are far greater as well as the peace of mind of not being totally dependent on the vagaries of the supply chain.

Shopping At Home

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In years gone by the phrase ‘shop at home’ usually referred to mail-order catalogues.  This meant that you could peruse the pages for your choice of everything from underwear to saucepans.  It was a service provided to people who lived in remote areas.  Imagine the excitement when the carefully-chosen and long-awaited parcel arrived from the city stores (Myer and David Jones) to families on outback properties.

Shopping in the comfort of your own home was also a driver of many ‘party plan’ and catalogue businesses.  These included Tupperware, Avon and Nutrimetics, to name but a few.

More recently, much of this shopping activity has been surpassed by buying online.  I have bought things online, but usually only after considerable research.  It makes shopping easy, so easy in fact, that I think some people have accumulated much more debt due to the ease with which they can part with their money or more likely, credit.

My shopping at home, today, was none of these.  I merely walked downstairs to my store-cupboard and replenished supplies which would otherwise have necessitated going to the shop.

2012-07-11 01This morning there was no cereal nor much psyllium husk which I have on my cereal.  So I headed to my cupboard and picked these two buckets.

2012-07-11 02Here are my pantry containers refilled.

2012-07-11 03This afternoon I ‘shopped’ again – this time for raisins and sultanas as I wanted to make a boiled fruit cake.

2012-07-11 04Having a store of staples means less trips to the shops which in turn saves time, petrol and opportunities to spend money on other items.  It makes sense to me to have a supply of goods on hand in case of a range of possible emergencies or disasters.  As well as food I keep a supply of other items such as toilet paper, toothpaste and soap.

Do you keep a stock of foodstuffs or other items?

Minimalist vs Survivalist

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I have never considered either minimalist or survivalist as terms I would use to describe myself but I have read a couple of things recently including this post from Kim at Extra Organized which have made me stop and think.

Over a period of months, even years I have been slowly but surely divesting myself of ‘stuff’ that does not add value to our lives.  I have made considerable progress but there is always more to be done.

However, at the same time I have created and maintained a well-stocked pantry.  I also keep back-up supplies of toiletries and general household needs such as batteries and light bulbs.  This may seem to be the complete antithesis of minimalism but I do not believe that is necessarily the case.  There is one basic principle which must be adhered to in order for a stockpile to work:

“Eat what you store and store what you eat”.

This is my stock cupboard in the kitchen.  On the other side of the refrigerator is my pantry (shown below).

The wire baskets under the shelves on the left-hand side hold spices and other small jars.

My pantry is where I keep the items for day-to-day use and I replenish as needed from the stock cupboard and also from the buckets of bulk dry goods (flour, cereals, dried fruit etc).  These are stored in a cupboard downstairs.

I do not hoard massive quantities of food but I work with a level of supply which I believe would easily feed us for 3 months and could probably be stretched to 6 months with some creative meals.  It means that I can shop when it is convenient for me and not have to shop every week or even every fortnight.  I am not dependent on the ‘just in time’ supply lines that supermarkets use nor will I be in the panic-buying queues in times of impending natural disaster such as flood or cyclone.

By having a relatively uncluttered house I have plenty of room to store extra food.  I also minimise the trips to the shops which in turn minimises petrol use and wear and tear on my vehicle.  Less time at the shops offers less temptation to spend on unnecessary items.

We usually but enough meat at once to last about 2 – 3 months.  This tends to be used up before we buy more, so in theory, depending on the timing of a disaster I could be caught with next to no meat but I do not see this as a major problem because we eat plenty of vegetarian meals now and that would just become the ‘norm’.

I also ‘shop’ from my garden and we always have eggs from the chickens.  Our menus are based on seasonal produce, either from our own garden or what we buy from the local markets.

I am not what anyone would truly describe as a minimalist, although I do have a lot less ‘stuff’ than many of my friends and colleagues.  On the other hand, I know I would not survive long-term if left to my own devices as I simply do not have the skills and knowledge to fend for myself completely without outside help and support.

I do know that I am happy and contented with my life as it is, my demands on the planet are relatively light and I have taken reasonable steps to be as self-reliant as possible.