The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Pantries and Preparedness. Something is better than nothing!

One of the highlights of the week is the great letters I get! I am learning so much!  Some time ago Helen and I both watched a series on You Tube called War Time Farm. It was wonderful. It is a British series about England in the war and how they had food shortages, rationing and everyone had to work together to survive. It is really interesting and educational.
I know from my Nan's that they both lived through similar here as Australia had rationing also. We also had a "Dig for Victory" plan that encouraged everyone to grow everything they could and make the most of all produce that could be harvested anywhere.
Rations were pretty minimal.  I know here it was one egg per person per week for a long time. It is easy to look up what rations were  in your country. Mostly it was a little butter, some sugar, a small amount of meat and so on, down to soap rations. People supplemented these rations as best they could with home grown produce etc. Imagine the advantage of having a garden and chickens back then!

Now and then I wonder how people would go today? To begin with there would be a riot over the rations as people would start on individual dietary requirements, is this egg organic? was the chicken free range? and 101 other things. People have come a long way from just being grateful for something to eat.  While I understand preferences when things are ideal ,could people cope with just having to make do?

Conversations such as this led to a lovely email from Vicky which I thought I would share as she touches on the idea that something is better than nothing and it is better overall to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!

Vicky herself recently experienced living near somewhere with civil unrest. Now apart from natural disasters, weather events and economic issues this is a reason to stay at home we haven't even talked about! But this it seems is becoming quite an issue for some of us. I have several ladies who have written that they fear riots and civil unrest generally and they are now a reality. This is also a time when you would need to stay home and wait it out. Anyway this is from Vicky...

"One of the things I wanted to touch on about stocking our pantries and living frugally is I think that a lot of people think it means going without. Although I have to say yes we do sacrifice to stay home and build our pantries I think some people think it means that you have nothing and go without everything. For new learners I tell them that is really not the case. I don't feel poverty stricken. It is about getting the most bang for your buck! And yes you can have really nice things, it is just a matter of waiting for the best price.  And even though I prepare I am not an obsessed loon I cook and we eat I just do it all on a budget and I have everything budgeted and if it is not in my budget for the month I do not get it. As I said before at first your pantry may look like a mish mash of things, but just a few things at a time and it starts falling into place and that is really all it takes is a few things at a time to start. You know my motto, It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it! One is better than none.

Since you are building your pantry and starting to prepare for whatever may occur let's assess what we may need. For example people talk about bugging out. I am staying right here unless forced so I don't need a bug out bag. If I had to I am confident I could throw things together in a timely fashion so bug out bags are not on my list. As to the main parts it is obviously food, water, being most important and then being able to cook have heat and light and protection.

 So when thinking about your pantry building and what you would like to have, store what you eat and eat what you store (I have had people tell me we only eat fresh, organic no processed foods etc, and I say good luck!) if you are looking at survival you have to compromise. Herein lies the some is better than none. For example if you like a pot of coffee if you could not get coffee would instant be worse than going without? Plus a lot of instant coffee is freeze dried so stores for years longer than regular. If we do happen to eat out which is not often I take sugar, salt and pepper packets home with me. I know what they retail(not expensive) for and all of it is factored into the cost of a meal. They go into my food storage. If I get a free sample of instant coffee or creamer it goes in there too. So could I not get or run out of coffee guess what lady will still be having a cup! And for free to boot!
Assessing the pantry: Do you need or have? These are just examples:

Do you have:
canned goods like vegetables, fruits, soups, broth and gravies
baking products like flours, yeast, boxed cake and brownie mixes, baking cocoa, baking powder and soda and cornstarch
fats like butter, vegetable oil, shortening, lard(which has a longer shelf life),olive oil
proteins like canned meats, tuna, peanut butter, beans, nuts(I keep dry roasted peanuts)
sweeteners like sugar, honey(neither ever expire), brown sugar, powdered sugar
pasta and rice maybe soup mixes
drink items like coffee, hot cocoa tea, chocolate milk mix, protein shakes(can serve a dual purpose), powdered juice mixes or juices and lots of water maybe a little wine or vodka if you like a nip or two.(I am not a drinker, but keep wine given as gifts) instant ice tea and coffee
assorted spices, bouillon, vinegars, flavored extracts, etc.
comfort foods like chocolate, popcorn ( I have lots of M&M's they store well and have many uses), fruit snacks or leathers, things like that 
disposables like paper plates, utensils, foil pans to bake in(in case water is an issue), aluminium foil
household items like toilet paper, hygiene products, garbage bags(sanitation is something to consider) matches or lighters, candles or lamps, batteries
medicines like cold and flu, aspirins, allergy meds or if you are on a prescription somehow getting ahead on those.

Also even just having a little if possible of powdered milk, powdered butter, powdered cheese(I have all of these, but would like) powdered sour cream and buttermilk
and of course anything we are able to can or dry ourselves.
Everyone has different amounts they will want or need, but this is how I see my pantry and know what I need to look for to stock. Since winter will be here before I know it I plan on restocking flour, butter, more canned broths and lots of cheeses when they are a great price. I use a lot of these items in the winter and other things I find at good prices will be for food storage."

Vicky also made a good point that I loved about space and priorities...

"I know a lot of people who say they don't have room to store food, but have 500 cookbooks or a collection of 10,000 stuffed animals. I had a lot of cookbooks and noticed that there were a select few I used a lot and the rest sat on the shelf, so I took a day and went through each one and pulled out the recipes I wanted to keep and put them in a folder and donated the rest of the cookbook. I then had room for a lot of canned goods."

I also did this with cook books. Most sat there while I used over and over a collection of favorites. And beyond that I go searching on, Jamie Oliver or Doona Hay if I need a new recipe. If I find a great one I then copy it into my scrap book. In my kitchen this also saved a while shelf of room.

Next this very good point. As above, we may prefer a Latte with no fat milk and vanilla BUT in a crisis is some coffee better than NO coffee? Are will going to be grateful for powdered milk rather than no milk? and so on...  the next step is if I am cooking on the gas BBQ because the power is out am I willing to do easier things and will I need to make some compromises?

"And even though I cook a lot from scratch I still have "instant" foods that only require water to cook. Pancake mix, instant potatoes, gravy packets, ramen noodles, stuffing mixes etc. Under duress is not the time to have to cook from scratch and figure out how your going to manage it especially if it were to be a grid down situation."

Realistically it's like camping. You do not attempt lasagne from scratch while camping. You do easier stuff. It's about making the most of what you have and can do!

So something is usually going to be better than nothing. Compromises need to be made in not so perfect circumstances. Do not have nothing on hand! Vicky's patience was tested a few times...

"Seriously I really cannot help someone who "wants to build a pantry", but then every suggestion you give is answered we don't eat that or we can't have that or I can't afford foods. I admit to being totally at a loss with those people." lol 

It is true that we need to think in terms of plan B and plan C and no, they might not be as great as plan A but they are all better than having nothing.  I think a lot of people will just have nothing.  Or expect the government is coming to help or to be rescued somehow. But even just now around the world there are so many people wishing they had put away SOMETHING rather than nothing! The basics can look so wonderful when there is a need or shortage. The humble bar of soap became the most exciting thing ever during the war. As did butter or sugar. These basics are wonderful to have on hand. 

Thank you very much to Vicky for teaching me via "long distance learning!" Thank you for the message that we need to be realistic and sensible too. xxx

The flowers are from my current, winter and messy, garden.


  1. Thankyou Vicky and Annabel this is the way I have been building up my supplies - my husband doesn't eat a couple of things but I am still buying them because I know that rather than go hungry he will end up eating them.

    We have tins of Nescafe Coffee for $13-00 again this week - I cannot drink coffee but I am still stocking up on it.

    I had a smile on my face as I read your post and thought - yes I know a lot of people who will be saying things just like that.

    Sometimes it is the simple things that escape people.

    Have a great day


    1. Dear Lynette,
      Being practical and common sense are not so common these days.Basic skills, knowing what to do and what not to do! There just seems to be a lack ... like even when you were at Guides and the girls that didnt know how to use a knife and fork and things like that. It is terrible to think of being helpless in normal times let alone in hard times or a crisis.
      There will be people who think we are old fashioned but oh well! Actually, thinking about girl guides being prepared and learning new skills fits into that. Maybe we need an adult equivalent of girl guides!
      I hope you have a good week! With love,

  2. Another interesting blog post, thanks Annabel and Vicki. The importance of simplicity can't be overestimated. We don't need to have gourmet meals all the time. Cold meat and salad is fine, uses less energy and is healthy!

    1. Dear Barb,
      Thanks! It has been a wake up call for me learning from the US ladies. There they are having snow storms, hurricanes, riots and goodness knows what... so what they dont know about being prepared isnt worth knowing!
      It has really made me think and yes simple things will do and probably seem fantastic in a crisis. Even now I think that dinner after a terrible day can be an egg on toast and that is fine!
      We too love simple meals and cold meat and salad, that is our summer time main stay.
      With love,

  3. Thanks Vicky and Annabel! Vicky made a great point mentioning camping. My family have started camping the last few years as a way to have a cheap holiday. We have done a few trips and it has automatically made me more prepared at home for if we were to be without power for a little while. When you go camping for a few days without power, you have to think about: water, food that doesn't need refrigeration and is easy to cook, a cooking source, lighting, being warm enough and many more things. Our camping supplies then double as our at home emergency supplies. Camping is lots of fun but is also sort of a practice run for going a few days with no power. Is also sort of a practice run for what you will need to pack if you had to evacuate because of a natural disaster.
    Marge xoxo

    1. Dear Marge,
      It is just amazing what living without electricity and camping both do to teach us basic skills to get by!
      When I was a teenager and Mum and Dad first bought the farm there was no electricity. At first we had school holidays there, it was later that we moved there. It was rare to have no electricity but it was far from anything. We didnt miss it. I am sure Mum worked very hard ie it was a wood stove and that heated hot water... but as kids we didnt notice and never missed tv or anything we were too busy having adventures. But I did learn how to do things without power.
      Later in my 20s I camped, once for three months! I was truly over it by the end though! BUT I did learn how to manage without the usual things and it did teach me good skills!
      From this it makes me think how good camping is as a teacher as well as a fun time. And as you say the supplies become emergency supplies. You know how to use everything too having already used it.
      Really this is very good!
      Marge are you located in Aust or overseas, if you dont mind me asking?
      Thank you very much for your comment. Love

    2. Hi Annabel, I'm in Sydney in Australia (outer suburbs of Sydney) Isn't it amazing how quickly so many skills have been lost in just 2 generations. Both my grandmas grew up with no electricity but today most people are completely reliant on it and wouldn't be able to look after themselves without it. I also forgot to mention, I had no first aid supplies at my house before we started camping, but had to get a good first aid kit together for csmping which I am still adding to.
      As well as forcing me to get more prepared, camping is also so much fun for my young children
      Marge xoxo

    3. Marge thanks, now I can picture where you are.
      Good first aid supplies are so important and really past of the pantry and supplies. I have some kept in the car now too which is an improvement! Very important when camping or traveling, good idea. I have a couple of first aid books I jeep with the kits, there are really helpful and I got both from op shops. Both are current and Red Cross but were only $1. I keep one in the glove box of the car. xxx

  4. Great post, i know one to many people who give me the"are you for real" look when i mention having an emergency reserve, sadly my eldest daughter and daughter in law are two of those people . Try as i may they will not budge on having at least a two week stash, i hear the 'we won't use it, where will we put it and of course" "i can't afford it".I worry and it frustrates me they don't take preparedness more seriously, especially when so many times i hear them say "oh our cupboard is almost bare and there is another week till payday, what to do !
    As you say Vicky and Annabel it does not take much to build up that feel safe and comfortable when a crisis hits, anything extra is better than having nothing especially when you have little ones. thanks again for so much helpful advise and support, your work is a blessing to us all. Thanks Cassandra

    1. Dear Cassandra,
      I think many of us end up keeping extra to try and help, to some extent, family we know wont have enough and worry about them. I think this comes with being older and wiser, and feeling responsible. But also thats what we do. We want them all to be safe and well and protected!
      Only yesterday Vicky said something to me that was a !!! moment. She said every time we have to go especially to the shops for an item that item is automatically much more expensive since we have to factor in the time, travel and fuel etc to go get it! Well of course, but I hadnt thought of it like that. So multiples, a pantry and not needing to go to the store so often all save money overall.
      The cupboard is bare and its a week or more until pay day seems a common thing. That is so avoidable. but how will they go when/if payday doenst come? There is a six week hold up... it happens!
      Stick to your guns and just keep going, it is better than insurance! Sooner or later hopefully everyone learns by example but meanwhile our own security is much better!
      Thanks for the encouragement Cassandra! Love

  5. Those programmes were shown here in the UK and there are a few of them, one of the latest where they were building a castle in France. Fabulous insight into making do...
    A blog I found recently that may interest you is by a lady who has a preparedness mentality and has sheets that you can print for free. So much information. Can be a little overwhelming, and she lives in the U.S., but may be useful? You can find her at "prepared LDS Family".
    My grandmother used to put the free sugar sachets and such like in her handbag. She grew up in times with very little though. It's hard for me to believe that when they grew up as children,horse and cart was a normal sight! JD Farag talks of this on his latest prophecy update, about how fast things have (and are) changing.
    Great post!
    Love Heidi x

    1. Heidi I have been watching that show with the rebuilding of the Castle in France - using the original skills and talking about how the job was done - I now know what a 'journeyman' was on one of my ancestors information.


    2. Lynette
      That is wonderful that you can now "picture" the job your ancestor would have done :) I really enjoy programmes and series such as ones like this. I recently watched the series Dan Snow did on castles with my children, although not on the subject of preparedness!
      Heidi x

  6. Annabel thankyou and Vicki thanks to you too. This was Mums mantra too. She'd lived through WWII in Europe, immigrating here as a child, so she knew the value of 'something over nothing'. As kids we were happy to eat bread and honey. Now kids won't touch bread unless it has four fillings on it and preferably a burger patty! I've been paring my pantry back in some respects, not with this thought in mind, but the strategy certainly fits this idea! One sort of tea, one type of coffee, tinned tomatoes which can then be used as is or in place of many different ingredients, one variety of sugar, knowing that sugar is sugar, not matter what the recipe says, and so on. It makes you think, doesn't it! Great post. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Thanks Mimi. The experience of living through the war years would have a profound effect...I never understood before but now I see why Nan and Pa never wasted anything, never lived extravagantly at all... watched every dollar. They stuck to basics and were very happy too. I wish now I had them here to ask more questions. But they did have a big impact and Nan was a great cook and homemaker. Both my Nans were. Arent we lucky that we had them.
      I agree basic staples are the sensible things to keep on hand. So much can be made from them. With love,

  7. Thank you both Annabel and Vicki for some very thought provoking words.

    While only discovering this blog (and some other like minded blogs) recently, we've always watched our pennies, so to speak. We married while still both students, so our budget was .... very tight .... and while no longer as rigid, most of our friends can't believe how little we spend on stocking our pantry and how much we have in reserve. We eat well, nothing fancy, but still, very nourishing. This has enabled us to pay off our mortgage and live debt free, and has taken the burden off our recent retirement. I thank my parents and grandparents for teaching us the value of being prepared.

    While we are in Australia, our daughter lives on the other side of the world due to work commitments. Being frugal with our everyday living allows us to visit her every second year, for which we are very grateful.

    Unlike some of the thoughts Vicki has come across, ie we "have nothing and go without everything", it's interesting the comments we've received ....
    Oh, you're so lucky to have paid off your house, (really? lucky?) you must have heaps of money going overseas so often (????) gosh, why have you got so much food/fabric/gifts stashed? Even, why bother! It's easier to just go to the shops when you need "x". I let these comments wash over. I'm happy knowing that we can withstand most unexpected pitfalls that life brings (like being immobilized and housebound for 3 months due to an accident and not being able to shop).

    I have to say, I'm far from being as organised or prepared as you, Annabel and Vicki, but thank you for reinforcing that I'm not crazy in doing what we do.


    1. Dear Janine,
      I am so glad you get to visit your daughter, that would be my priority also.
      You will like what my Dad says.... "the harder you work the luckier you are" this is what he says to people who attribute everything you have from blood, sweat and tears to "luck"!
      I hope you thoroughly enjoy retirement and I am guessing you will always be busy. You have achieved so much by being sensible and now is the time to enjoy it.
      So many of the ladies are telling me how at some time their pantry got them through, yours for three months is quite a long time too.
      It is lovely to hear your story, thank you so much! Love

  8. Annabel, something else to think about perhaps is learning how to use herbs that might be growing in the garden. We have Soapwort growing and apparently it can be used to make organic soap I haven't made any as yet but do plan to. I just have to find the pot and make sure the frost hasn't ruined the plant. LOL!

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      I would love to hear how you go with this and how it turns out. I have heard of it and that it was used in soap shortages but have no idea what its like. An interesting experiment for sure.
      I still have soap making on my ro do list but would love to use your recipe for presents.
      With thanks,

  9. Vicki and Annabel great post, it makes me want to build up my pantry faster. I was going to donate a manual food processor to the op shop last week and then thought it would be very handy if we had no power. So I am now concentrating on gadgets that will make life easier if the power goes off, hot water bottles for heat, manual can opener, maybe a couple of camping lanterns, solar battery charger and probably have sufficient material to make a solar or hay box cooker.

    1. Dear Maggie,
      I have a manual slicer dicer thingy and I love it. Also a hand turned beater, like Nan used to have. I love that too! And a manual can opener, many people dont think of that!
      Your pantry will grow faster than you think! It all adds up even little things and little opportunities. I am amazed!
      I think the solar batter charger is a very good idea. I will look into that. Many thanks!

  10. Dear Annabel and Vicky,

    Freeze dried instant coffee is a great way to get the caffeine fix needed by those who drink caffeine regularly. In the midst of an emergency situation or crisis, no one wants to be dealing with the severe pain of a caffeine withdrawal headache.

    Adding a little here and there does wonders for one's pantry. The idea of taking small sugars and jellies home from a restaurant is a very good one and I know people that do this regularly. Just this action alone has added quite a lot to the 'quick grab' portion of their pantry.

    As you mentioned, Annabel, everyone should stock what their family eats. Some people have severe allergies and some foods are life threatening to them. It is prudent to stock one's pantry with foods that are edible for everyone in the family. That seems to be more difficult these days, as allergies, digestive issues, and chronic ailments are on the rise.

    If three people can eat anything and have no ill effects and one person might possibly have an asthma attack and die if they ingest a food, then the person responsible for stocking the pantry should keep that in mind. This, no doubt, makes stocking food much more difficult and expensive, but the choice comes down to life or death. We have to keep in mind that medical help will be either scarce or non-existent in a crisis or emergency situation. History is clear on that.

    While almost all foods are plentiful, these days, we are blessed to be able to stock what is needed in the pantry. For people with an inability to eat gluten, there are many other grains that can be stored for years and years. There are box mixes that are gluten free and one just adds water. Gluten free soups, mixes, oatmeal, etc.

    In reality, a pantry can and should be stocked with what the people in the household do and can eat; rotated on a regular basis; and kept well supplied. It is amazing how much food is required to feed even one person for several months.

    If someone doesn't eat anything but organic, then it would be very wise for them to have their own garden beds ready to plant; open pollinated seed stocked; and a working knowledge of how to grow a garden without sprays. If they do not have large amounts of organics stocked, at least this way, they would be getting fresh produce.

    Expecting organic produce or any produce, canned goods, or food to be on shelves in a grid down situation is fool hardy. Growing a garden is dependent on weather, skill (so one needs experience and practice), and beneficial insects, as well as, insect deterrent herbs, if a person plans on growing solely organic.

    If a person wants to eat only organic, then their storage shelves should reflect that with organic grains, organically grown canned foods, organic herbs, etc. If they truly are insistent on this then the possibility to have this type of pantry isn't hard, but yes, it is expensive. At this point, people who are particular about this will have to decide if they are willing to spend the extra money; have the extra money; or are willing to compromise on storing some organic items and some not. Choices!!

    Anyone, except those who are infirm and unable; the homeless; or those in destitute poverty, that use excuses such as, "I only eat fresh or organic or a certain brand," or "I can't afford to stock up," simply do not want to be bothered and they are the people who will be the first in line to expect handouts. There is always a way to stock up on whatever one uses regularly and needs, it just takes diligence, planning, creativity, and determination.

    Thanks Annabel and Vicky for a timely and important post.

    1. Dear Glenda,
      You are right that special needs, medications, allergies etc are all things we need to think about as things could become dire very quickly without them.
      Also it is true that in times of stress when you will need your favorite things (in my case cups of tea) this would be the worst every time to not have them! However even more so for actual addictions! Imagine a crisis without whatever it is that you really have to have. Probably not good.
      I am very excited about your post next week! This will give us all added ways to add to our pantries! Thank you for such a helpful comment. With love,

  11. This is a great post! I am still reading your blog, but life has been busy and I haven't been commenting as much as I did at first. Lots to think about in this one.

    1. Hi Cristy! I am glad to hear from you. As long as life is a good busy not a crisis busy! I hope it is the first one.
      Many thanks and love,

  12. I spent a good part of yesterday organizing my pantry, it would not suit everyone but I am pretty happy with it. I do want to add more canned soup for emergency meals and more water.

    I feel your frustration on trying to help some close minded people :)

    1. Dear Rhonda, I need to have a re arrange and organize session myself. Its easy to lose track! I find canned soup useful for quite a few things including a flavor base in a casserole... as well as for soup!
      Recently I got a dozen tins as they were on a really good special.
      Many thanks, Love

  13. Great post. Thanks Vicki and Annabel. I have extended my pantry or preparedness to also include new sheets and towels after a big linen closet clean out and tidy.

    I think it is important to be prepared. There are lots of ideas here in the comments, thanks to everyone's contributions. A blog Tania recommended on her "One contented homebody" blog is called "g.Donna" it's very interesting in that they are living on rations like the times during WW2. I am going to have a good thorough read of it one day soon!

    1. Dear Kaye,
      I have started reading g.Donna! Oh mygoodness I am going to like that!
      Recently I filled a big zip bag that had a quilt in it originally with a heap of clean fresh but older towels. I thought in an emergency towels could be very handy for all kinds of purposes. So they are in the cellar.
      I am loving the amazing comments too and the helpfulness of everyone. It is wonderful! With love, Annabel.xxxx

  14. Dear Annabel, I would like to thank you and Vicky for a wonderful post. Such good information! The "nay sayers" are the ones who will be wondering why they didn't take preparedness to heart. It's sad but true. I would rather stay home than be in lines when the grocery shelves are empty and people are very unhappy!

    And, "something is better than nothing"! I was raised to accept what was on my dinner plate, and not complain. We always said grace to thank God for providing our meal. My parents worked hard, as did my grandparents. I only wish I'd have asked more questions years ago. I learned lots but would have liked to know more about how they got through the depression.

    Lots of great comments here today! Thank you! I learn so much from each of you! :) The $5/week challenge is a great way to start/add to our pantries! And there is always room "somewhere", just need to look, declutter (which I'm doing a lot of) and soon there is space for extras!

    I, too, will be reading more of the blog about living on rations, like KayeB said. Very informative plus learning from the War time videos.

    Have a great week, all! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      This week I have been clearing out and re organizing some cupboards. It has turned into a big job but I am donating some goods ie clothes I will never wear to a charity and then cleaning out and it is turning out really well. I still have a way to go though. My craft cupboard is the worst!
      I love that you always said Grace. We do. The spirit of being grateful for food on the plate too, we should keep that gratitude.
      Thank you Teri, I hope your week is going well! With lots of love,

  15. Great list from 'Vicky'! As I went through the list, I kept saying to myself, "yes, yes, I have that..." I feel good about having the basics and more, and I keep adding to it every time I grocery shop... just one or two items here and there add up over time. And just think, our Grandmothers 'prepared' for hard times and they weren't considered strange. Another thought I had was that these supplies could come in handy simply because prices are continually rising! What you save on today, you save on even more in the future! One person could lose their job or be temporarily laid off from work, and bingo--you have your supplies that you very wisely laid in earlier. Love all your wise advice (and you are always so gracious in your replies!).

    1. Joy,
      My husband did lose his job almost 7 months ago and we have been living almost exclusively from our pantry. Some people have a hard time understanding that if you buy 10 cans of coffee when they are on sale (I am using my own experience here) at 5.99 and I had a 1.50 off coupon and regular price is 9.99 I saved 55.00 total by not paying full price and had a years worth of coffee and when the price went up to 13.99 a can 2 weeks later I really saved by buying ahead and planning ahead. That 55.00 I saved paid for meat that month. And when my husband lost his job I did not stress because I didn't choose between paying a bill or buying food.

    2. Dear Joy,
      You are exactly right! Vicky pointed out to me too that if we have to go to the store especially for something we have to count the cost of the time and fuel etc into the price of the item. So on top of savings as prices go up we save on trips to the shops plus time as well. it amounts to a lot.
      Thank you for your kind words.
      Also to the lovely lady above, that is a wonderful reply!
      With love,

    3. Annabel,
      The lady above was me I was multi tasking and forgot to put in my name. Hello can we say ding dong!

    4. Moving from suburbia to where we are now meant that I looked at things differently - I was no longer passing by a supermarket, any supermarket on a regular basis so I made the decision that if I left the house it had to be either when I had something else to do or a very good special on something that was used in the house on a regular basis.

      I factor in the cost of the car when I look at the specials and if they are not fantastic or a few cents cheaper than what I can pay locally then I do not make the trip.

      Today I picked up the coffee - 6 tins saving $42-00 so well worth the trip out, they also had broccoli at $1-99 a kilo and a few other things that were cheap, also good quality so well worth the trip out.

      Yesterday I had my check up with the surgeon, just opposite is a small shopping centre with a Woolworths in it - I picked up camambert cheese marked down to $2-25 (usual price according to the docket was over $11-) - they had 7 so I purchased them all and they are now in the freezer, use by was today.

      Heading out to purchase 1 item defeats the purpose of saving money.


    5. Dear Lynette,
      $42 is such a big saving on coffee! I read someone saying not to buy multiples of something and I thought this was stupid as the savings can be so huge as you just proved.
      Also the cheese was a bargain! You trip turned out very well.
      I hope also that you got a good report from the surgeon. Their location is very handy anyway!
      I also try and combine a trip to include my errands and everything at one time to save time and petrol. There are some places I visit, like my aunts, where if I have driven that far I make sure I go to the good fruit and veg shop near her etc as I wold not just drive there alone. But while there I will always go.
      I got broccoli today for the same price. Very pleased. Had some with dinner already! Thanks Lynette, with love

  16. People don't keep pantries like they used to. I'm in a rural area and we used to have a smaller grocer in town. After they closed, the next stores were 15 miles round trip...and not generally open Sundays. Now everything is open practically 24/7 and the distance to the big box stores is only 35 miles round trip. People don't think twice about running for a can of soup, until bad weather hits or money is tight.

    The best pantry listing I've found was by Granny Miller (but her site appears to be not working right now).....she kept track of her use over a couple of years time and she then had a master list for future years. I believe I saved it on my computer....hopefully she gets up and running again.

    I used to be a cookbook-aholic. I've come up with a way to stop the buying of cookbooks that turn out to be ho-hum. When you pick a book up in the store, flip it open randomly 3-4 times....if most of those recipes actually look like something you would try, then buy. If not, don't bother.

    1. I do that with cookbooks too... many are not realistic for me! ie too complicated, weird or expensive ingredients.... too many ingredients... etc. I know they are never going to happen! BUT sometimes the pictures are great and I make cards with them!
      I have been a reader of Granny Miller but have not seem this list. I see too the site is still down. I wonder why? I hope it returns.
      With many thanks! Love Annabelxxx

  17. Thanks Kaye for letting us know about that sounds so interesting. Annabel and Vicki, this is a wonderful post for encouraging people to be practical in taking care of themselves and others.
    I love War Time Farm and have watched the series three times...there is so much to learn from history isn't there?
    It does concern me that preparedness is often linked with fear as it's twin. I understand those feelings if we let our minds feed on frightening things.
    I want to have a calm assurance that I am God's child, and that each day He knows what my needs are...Love Helen

    1. Helen I havent watched yet but there are others similar in the series, like War time farm but in different eras. I need to watch them.
      You are right in the world there is sometimes a reputation that preparedness means fear. Where as to our Grandmothers it meant common sense. If I get this response my reply is about the Proverbs 31 woman and that "the prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions". I never understood the word prudent. But following the prudent homemaker I have come to love this word! It is truly beautiful.Prudence would make a good blog post!
      I will go searching those videos and let you know what I find. xxx

  18. Another wonderful post full of great information. I love reading your posts through and then going back again to re-read and make a few notes.

    We have had record rains for the past 3 weeks, sometimes 5-6 inches in 24 hours. This past weekend, with all the ground saturated, and the canals full, then a high tide, we had pretty bad flooding in the city and they were asking people to stay home on Monday. Many people had flooded cars and homes and there were evacuations in nearby counties. With a pantry, I didn't have to go out in the torrential rains just to get a few things I "had to have." Many people here rely on getting a "hurricane warning" before they prepare but you just never know when bad weather will strike and you will need to use your supplies!!

    To those ladies looking for solar powered battery chargers, we bought the Goal Zero solar charger and battery pack. I have tested it to make sure it works and it does! Although I haven't been in a power outage to fully use it.

    I will check out the War Time Farm series.

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Even here I knew you had big rains as it was on the news! I am so glad you are prepared. When you get a hurricane warning how long is it usually until the hurricane hits?That must be pretty frightening. But as you say there are other circumstances you need to be prepared for too.
      I am looking into solar chargers so will see if I can get that one. Many thanks! With love,

    2. Annabel, They issue a watch like 2-3 days ahead of time and a warning 1-2 days ahead of time. Of course, once a watch and warning is issued, then everyone is trying to get their supplies and the stores run out and the lines are terribly long. I keep a pantry and avoid the stores during the warning/watch. If I don't have it when a storm is coming, then we do without and use what we do have. Also, during hurricane season, I try to not let the gas tank get below a half tank. During the last year I had gotten a little lax with my preparedness, but I've been stepping it up a bit and find your blog to be a great motivation.

    3. Dear Debbie, Thanks for that I have been wondering for a while. It is good to get some warning. Getting clothes washed and dry etc can be good in that time.
      I am glad you are motivated to be really prepared, we can get a little used to the risks in our areas. Bush fires are the main issue near us.
      Thanks for filling me in! With love,

  19. Great post! I could not agree more! We have to do our best and with our budget. Though I am a major raw milk advocate, I do have powdered milk in my pantry and freezer and it has saved me many a times! Imagine the blessing that things like this would be in a crisis! Same with the instant coffee. You better believe some is better than none!!! :) I am enjoying reading through the last few months of posts...

    1. Dear Jes, thanks so much! When I was a teenager we had a cow and natural milk and cream. It was wonderful. Now in our state there is a great fuss over raw milk. (it is illegal) People have to buy a cow to have raw milk. If I told you this whole story you would just be amazed. Yet contaminated food from OS is ok and largely untested and people die from it. Anyway I think on the farm natural is best too.
      But as you say and I said here, in a pinch something is better than nothing and we have to go to plan B, C and possibly D. In a crisis substitutes become so welcome! Then we are just thrilled to have something to go on with!
      Thank you for commenting and reading, with love,


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