Thursday, May 19, 2011

Provident living...Where do I start?

I've been waiting to do this post until I had the time to do it justice. I am asked all the time "Where on earth do I start?' Food storage and preparedness is really overwhelming. I get that. I was there. I did the research and learned along the way, and am still learning along the way. I don't have all the answers and I'm not an expert. But I've done extensive research and this is how I have concluded is the easiest way to get your house in order. Take one day a week or one day a month and just chip away at it. It's a process and a lifestyle. Don't think you're going to accomplish this in a day, a week or a month. It's going to take time... A lot of time. And some money. A huge part of the reason Mike and I chose a  townhouse for this in between year was so that we could take the money we save and use it to get our provident living in order. And having a healthy savings account even after we put a down payment on a new house. I tell you this because I want you to realize it takes sacrifice.

STEP 1: Emergency Preparedness. Start with 72 hour kits for your family. This is super important. I have a previous post on that here. Here is a peek into ours.  One back pack per person. Plus a rolling duffel bag of family needs. A camp stove/oven, {and propane for it.} Water, lots of gallons and bottles of water. And extra food. We have enough for 6 people for two weeks. And an emergency plan.


STEP 2: A 3 month supply. We kind of did things backwards. We took care of our longer term storage first. I did it this way because our 3 month storage is going to be more time consuming for me. I'm not suggesting it, I'm just saying that's how it worked out for us. The important thing is that you get it all done. We are currently working on our 3 month storage. Remember my list... The things I still wanted. Like the chest freezer and foodsaver? That's where this comes in handy. Fill the Pantry and the freezer with enough food for 3 months. You know, things you cook with everyday, or pre make meals and seal them and freeze them. That's my plan. It's also going to come in handy to have meals that mike can throw in the microwave or in the oven, right after I have the baby, So my kids aren't eating Chick fil a and little Caesars everyday. {Bless Mike's heart, I really do think he's perfect, but the man can only cook instant grits and eggs.} So I'll make sure to do a big post on how that goes. I'm planning one day of mass bulk cooking and freezing. Casseroles, enchiladas, chicken broccoli pockets, whole grain waffles, spaghetti and meatballs, Chicken Alfredo, lemon chicken and rice, fish and veggies, soups, I also would love to stock up on Publix deli's Boars head honey maple turkey and vacuum seal it and freeze it when it's on sale. But all of that has to wait until next month. {We tackle one thing a month on our "bucket list." Also, It's really important to have on hand a 3 month supply of necessities. {This is where you picture extreme couponers stockpiles} Use those coupons to stock up on toilet paper, paper towels, Diapers, wet wipes, ziplock bags, Soap, deodorant, shampoo, Cleaning Items, toothpaste, trash bags, First aid products, laundry products, Etc. I mean think about it, If you lost your source of income for any amount of time, You'd still need those things too. And I'm sure those aren't the things I would want to be spending my financial reserves on.

STEP 3: Longer term storage. A years supply of food. This is where the longer shelf life food comes in handy. It's really hard to know how much you need. Here's the best calculator I've found. There really isn't a way to tell you exactly what to buy. Dietary needs are different, tastes are different, and budgets are different. It's really a guesstimate of what we'd go through in a year. You can order pre done one year supplies through Costco or Thrive, But It's not the most cost efficient, and it's all TVP {Textured Vegetable protein. AKA fake Soy meat} and not real meat and it grosses me out. And Mike is a VERY picky eater and doesn't eat a lot of the things that come in those packages.  Here is a list of our families supply, and in all honesty I am working on doubling a good bit of it. A little at a time.
Step 4: Learn to cook with your longer term storage. There are TONS of food storage recipes out there. And they are DANG good! I don't use my more expensive things {things from the thrive website}, like the meat, and fruits and veggies, on a regular basis, because it defeats the purpose. But the things I get at the cannery like oatmeal, flour, rice, etc. I use instead of buying it at the store. It's way cheaper! Those are the things I rotate on a frequent basis. P.S. when you're reading other blogs and things, rotate just means use and replace. It sounds scarier than it actually is. Here are my favorite sites.

Food storage made easy.  I have their binder and LOVE it!
Cooking with my food storage.
Deals to meals.
I don't love her approach to food storage, I don't think it's practical and I don't like artificial food. But she does have a lot of good recipes and info.

It takes time, It takes effort. And it's an on going process. But Start small and get the needs and then add the wants. If you have questions or want help, Just ask! I promise it's not a bother!

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