In this episode, I’m talking about the emergency fund you can eat, and getting yourself prepared for emergencies.
In this episode, Shannon discusses:
- The emergency that prompted this episode
- Growing up up north and preparing for power outages, etc.
- Why she disagrees with emptying your pantry
- What you need to stock up on
- Why it’s important to be prepares
Mentioned in this episode:
Okay. So in today’s episode, I’m going to talk to you guys a little bit about how to stock a pantry or more the reasons why to stock a pantry and sort of why I call it the emergency fund you can eat. So let’s get started.
Welcome to the Lovely Home Podcast, the show for homemaking mamas just like you. I’m your host, Shannon Acheson. If you’re looking for ways to confidently create a clutter-free, cozy and beautiful home, you are in the right place. To learn more about what we’re talking about here today, visit homemadelovely.com for all our blog posts and podcast episodes. Plus, you can get your hands on some awesome freebies there too.
So I’m recording this episode right now in the midst of this emergency in the US, sort of emergency, I guess, where down in the Southern States it is an emergency. Down in the Southern states, there have been record snowfalls. And what that has done is it has crippled the power grid and people either have had no power for days, or they’re on sort of rolling power where they have power for an hour, and then not for a while. Pipes are freezing and bursting I’m hearing for some friends just because things are not insulated down there the same way they are up here where I am in Canada.
And there’s just this state of emergency kind of that the stores are empty. There’s no bread. There’s no milk. There’s no meat. Even if there was, they have no power and no generators to back it up and keep it good. And so I just, my heart goes out to everyone if you’re listening and you’re from that area, I am really sorry, and we are praying for you up here. And if you’re listening to this after, here’s why I’m recording this. I am an Enneagram six, which means safety and security are high priorities for me. And so which totally makes sense when I figured that out last year, given just how I run our house as far as food and staying stocked and stuff go.
And so I actually grew up up North, even further North of where I live right now, which is just East of Toronto in Ontario. And so up there, when I was growing up, it was a regular thing to get massive snowfalls and ice storms and things like that, and have the power go off and not be able to travel into town to get to the store, even if you had power. And so my mom always kept things stocked up. She always kept a good supply of canned foods and things like that. And so I kind of just grew up watching that and that was a normal way of life for me. And so my kids actually, now that they’re older before this last year, they always actually giggled at me because they knew that sort of fall and winter was coming because I would stock up. We would buy a little extra at the grocery store and there’d be extra canned goods and extra toilet paper and things like that.
And so that’s just something that I’ve always done, except in the last year I’ve done it even more. And so as I’m recording this, it’s early 2021, and so everyone knows that that makes last year 2020, which we all know was crazy in many, many forms. And so I just, the stocking up thing just became a much higher priority for me. So along with, several years ago, there was an ice storm where we lived in over the Christmas break and we lost power, actually, for a couple of days. And so our furnace doesn’t run. Thankfully we live sort of in the suburbs. So we still have water. We can still flush the toilet, things like that, whereas if you live out in the country, obviously, without power, those things don’t work.
And so after that power outage where it was out for a couple of days, and it was really cold, we bought a generator. Now here’s the thing. You can get a generator that is, can attach right to your power box and power everything in the house. We bought a generator. I mean, it was still $300, which is kind of a lot, but it can power a couple of things for a few hours. It’s gas. You have to keep it outside and run the cord inside. Mainly, I bought it in case we needed to power either a heater, or if we needed to keep the fridge and freezers running. Again, we stock up. So we need to keep those things cold.
So we have actually yet to use that generator. In fact, it stayed in the box with the straps and everything on it probably for a couple of years. And then Dean took it off and then all that. And we know it works. It’s here. We have it. And even though we haven’t used it and I spent that $300 and some people are like, “Well, why would you do that?” For me, in many snowstorms and power outages and things like that, even if they were short-lived, I knew that that was there and that we could pull it out. And that just gave me a crazy peace of mind to know that we were kind of, we were kind of okay. We had that if we needed it.
So another reason that I wanted to share this today and talk about this a little bit more and encourage you to stock up your pantry is because someone I know and I mean, I love her. She has a big heart. She teaches amazing things. But last week she said something on social media that actually kind of freaked me out a little bit. She was talking about it … She was talking about eating everything in your pantry, except the condiments. Now I totally get where her heart was coming on this. She was talking about it from people who don’t even know what they have in their pantry and their pantries are so full and they’re over buying things. And then it becomes this big basically clutter to manage. And I totally understand where she was coming from. But I think there’s a much more conservative approach that should be taken, especially in light of things like snowstorms and things like that, and all these crazy emergencies and things that are just happening.
And so I wanted to point out a few things. One, I want to make sure that you don’t do something like that. Eating down to your last condiment is kind of not wise, just given that state of everything. My suggestion is to learn and know what your family eats sort of on a regular basis. I used to struggle with this a little bit and I’d buy unnecessary things like 10 cans of frozen, or 10 cans of green beans or something like that. Well, 10 cans is going to take us a lot because we really don’t eat canned vegetables that often, but know what your family likes. So I spend a lot of the last year sort of buying extras of the things we bought anyways. And so it was kind of expensive for right now because of what 2020 was and prices going up and not being able to shop around for deals quite as much. However, if you do this now, if you do this when the current emergency is over, if there is one while you’re listening to this, just buy extra of what your family uses anyways.
Actually, Dean, my husband, built some pantry shelves down in the basement last summer. They’re nothing fancy. They’re like what you’d see sort of if you looked up like a prepper or a doomsday prepper sort of thing online and you saw these basement shelves. They’re made of two-by-fours and melamine shelving. And basically, it was as inexpensive as we could get it, but big enough to fill the space that we had for it. Now it’s fairly stocked, but it took me a good, I don’t know, six months probably to get it fairly stocked. And now I just keep on top of it where when we grab the second last of something for most things, I’ll add it to the grocery list again. So we’re never down to the last one.
So for our family, I know what we go through a lot things like tuna and ketchup and pickles and olives and olive oil and spaghetti sauce and things like that that I know we use, I make sure that we have extra of. So that is one thing. So the foodstuff, buy the extras. Just buy extras. One week buy, instead of buying two of something, buy three, or one of something buy two. You will stretch your grocery budget a little bit more by doing it that way. If you can stock up when things are on sale, that’s fine. Where I live right now, there are actually limits on some things because we’ve gone through lockdown and we’ve gone through stay-at-home orders and state of emergency orders. And so there are limits on what you can buy. And so obviously, you have to follow those limits. So it might take a little longer than under sort of “normal circumstances.” So stock up on food.
The other thing is, is to make sure that you look after the non-actual food things. So make sure you have extra water just in case your water doesn’t work when you don’t have power or something is wrong with it. Buy bottled water. It’s not expensive, and it lasts on the shelf for quite a while. The other thing is things like toilet paper. I don’t know if you guys remember last year, but there was serious toilet paper shortages. I don’t know what people were thinking, but there was no toilet paper. And so now I make sure we have a few weeks toilet paper at a time. Kleenex, paper towels, laundry soap, things like that, you just need to make sure that you have enough of it to last. I know what the government guidelines here used to be a few years ago, that you should be able to look after your family without any outside help for 72 hours. I’m going to say that you need to look after your family without any outside help for a week to two weeks at least, as far as food and paper goods and things like that go.
The other thing I mentioned is some sort of power source. So if you have freezers that you need to keep going buy a portable generator. Get the gas for it. Make sure you have that, especially heading into seasons where if you live in the South is hurricane season or up here winter. When you know that it’s possible that the power is going to go out, make sure that you are good and ready at that time. Rotate those things. My husband, for the generator, he actually will fill up the gas can for it. And if it sits for a while because obviously we’ve never used it, like I said, he will actually go and use that gas can and he’ll put it into the van, fill the van’s gas tank and then go and fill up the gas can again, so that it’s fresh. So don’t let things like that sit around too long.
The other thing is, is you need to make sure that you have, yeah, an alternative heat source. If you rely on electricity, which most of us do, even if you have gas heat, because the pilot light on the gas furnace for us up here, it’s electrical. It requires an electrical current to get it going. If you rely on baseboard heat or anything like that, you need to make sure that you have an alternate source of heat so that if it does get cold, that you and your family won’t freeze or do dangerous things to keep warm. The other thing is, is if you’re going to rely on a fireplace for that, make sure you have your chimney checked routinely. Make sure that you’re getting it cleaned so that five, 10 years doesn’t go by and all of a sudden you need it, but your chimney’s clogged and you cause a house fire, which would be horrendously tragic if that’s something that happens. So keep up with these things. Put it on a list to check regularly as your home maintenance.
Yeah. So just make sure that you’ve got these things looked after, things like paper goods, food, a heating source. Light, if you need batteries or candles, just make sure that you’re using candles safely and things like that. Never use outdoor camp stoves, if you’ve got those because we’ve got a camp cookstove as well. Don’t use them inside. They’re not made for that. They’re not vented for that. Your house isn’t set up for that. Just to think ahead and prepare.
Now, now that I’ve said all that, I want you to you go and check out … There’s a blog post on the blog called, How to Stock Your Pantry, the Emergency Fund You Can Eat. Now, here’s why I call it that because when our kids were little, we really didn’t have a lot of money. I stayed home with them. Didn’t really have a business at that point. Dean commuted to work. We had three kids in about four, four and a half years. So we had lots of diapers, lots of expenses and not a lot of money coming in. And so there was this article and I wish I could remember where it was from because this is going back probably 15 or 20 years at this point that was called, Stock Your Pantry, the Emergency Fund You Can Eat.
And the reason it’s that is because you could have money in the bank and that’s great. You should always have at least a baby emergency fund of a $1,000 to cover minimum expenses. You should probably keep a little cash in the house, things like that. But the emergency fund that you can eat, i.e. a stocked pantry, is amazing because it will help you, whether it is an emergency, like a natural disaster kind of emergency, provided you don’t have to evacuate, obviously, which some of it you can take with you. But snowstorms, power outages, things like that, you can definitely rely on your pantry then. The other thing is if you have job loss or a sudden drop in income or things like that, it’s an emergency fund literally that you can eat because you won’t have to go out and buy more groceries for presumably a couple of weeks, at least, if you’ve stocked it well.
So me and my Enneagram six encourage you to not eat down to the last things in your pantry whenever possible. If you are at that place now, and it’s an emergency, I’m really sorry. And I hope that you can find the resources. Call a friend, call some family to get yourself back on your feet. And if you’re not in that place right now, and you’re in a good place, make sure that you stock up ahead, stock ahead. In Egypt there … In Biblical times, there was the seven years of famine that I believe Joseph helped to plan ahead for. God gave visions to share that there’s going to be years of plenty and years of famine and to prepare for those. And so just do your best to prepare those things. Set a shelf in the garage, set a shelf in the basement if you can. Build some built-ins, if you can go that far. It’s taken … Dean and I’ve been married for almost 25 years and it took till last year to get sort of my “dream pantry shelves” in the basement and get them stocked up.
Try not to wait as long as I did. Do it in little baby steps, if you can, but just look at this as another way to sort of look after and love on your family. And if you happen to be in a great place where you can have that stocked pantry, maybe one of your neighbors or friends or relatives will need your help when an emergency comes around. And that’s another way to show Jesus’ love in a tangible, really helpful, loving way.
So go check out the other blog post about a Pantry, the Emergency Fund You Can Eat, and let me know if you guys have any questions on this.
Thank you so much for joining me today on the Lovely Home Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you, how you can implement all these things, and more on your home to make it more clutter-free and beautiful, go to homemadelovely.com. There are free downloads, virtual classes, guides, and other resources there to help you create the home you’ve always wanted. I’m cheering you on, beautiful. Again, thank you so much for listening. This has been Shannon Acheson with the Lovely Home Podcast.