I was raised to be prepared for the unexpected. My family grew up in a semi-rural area with tank water and no public transport and no local shops. The area has changed a lot now, but when we first moved there it was very much a case of half an hour’s drive to the nearest supermarket. There was a “local” petrol station (10km away?) but it had limited opening hours and the fuel wasn’t the best so it was wise to fill up in town if you valued your car. We used to lose power frequently. We felt as though every time there was a storm we lost power. Tank water means that when you lose power you also lose water, so you can’t even flush the toilet. So mum and dad taught us from an early age the important of being organised and a few steps ahead. We would always have the pantry stocked with non-perishable food. We would always have pinecones for the old wood BBQ in an old tin bin in case we lost power for a long time and had to cook up the meat from the freezer. There was a webber and coals floating around somewhere too. We would always have candles, torches, and lanterns and we would always know where they were. We sometimes couldn’t go too far from home when it rained for a decent period of time in case the bridge flooded and we couldn’t get back home, so we always had plenty of cat food, kitty litter, tissues, medications and lotions too.
When Corey and I were first married we lived in a suburb that had it all. It was close to all major supermarkets, fast-food outlets and restaurants. The nearest petrol station was in walking distance (not that we ever did walk there). It was so convenient. If we didn’t feel like cooking we didn’t have to. It’s a good thing it was in a convenient location, because the place was quite small. It was hard enough to fit all our “stuff” (furniture, electrical good etc) without food, drink and consumables. We had a tiny kitchen with a tiny pantry and simply didn’t have room to stock up on everything like I would have liked to.
When Alexis was born we discovered the importance of being organised once again. Ducking to the shops suddenly took so much effort. It was still easy for Corey to stop off after work, but he wanted as much time at home as possible (or, early on, I wanted him home to take bub off me as early as possible)! We also discovered the importance of living on a budget, and the best way to do that was to buy in bulk and/or when things were on special. With the tiny kitchen it was too hard to have everything at once and with the small rooms it was hard to have extra nappies and wipes and things like that. So we moved to our new place with our big massive kitchen, plenty of cupboard space and extra room. I was so very excited when we moved, and once we had a bit of money to spend I stocked up the pantry and the nursery.
Since then I have almost always had at least one extra box of nappies and wipes and had the pantry stocked up with everything as I like to. There’s always a can of pineapple, a can of beetroot, tinned spaghetti, cans of soup, different types of pasta, different types of sauces, rice, nuts, chips, salsa, different cereals, different spices, flour and other baking-type things, one or two packet mix cakes for emergencies, some lollies, some potatoes, a taco kit, some packet mac n cheese/rice dishes for lazy nights, some rusks, some jars of baby food for emergencies (I make Alexis’ food fresh and freeze it, but they’re great for day trips and travelling), some coffee (I rarely drink it but it’s nice to have for visitors. I have an unopened packet of green tea if anyone’s interested..), spare peanut butter, spare nutella, spare tomato sauce..
I’m sure you well and truly get the point. We try to have the freezer stocked with meat and lazy meals like pies and also frozen veggies for when we run out of fresh ones in the fridge (or they grow legs and we have to throw them out..). It really works for us though because it limits the “we have no food, lets get take-away” nights. Now we know that we don’t have that excuse, so we can only say “I’m too lazy to cook lets get take-away, which I surrender to far less often.
It was quite expensive to set ourselves up like this, but it doesn’t take much to maintain. We replace what we use each week if it’s a high-use item, or put it on a list until it’s on special if it’s only needed occasionally. We save money by not giving in to buying takeaway as often and by not paying full price for nappies (I have NEVER since we moved in July!). When things like nappies, wipes, baby food, tissues, paper towel, nuts, cleaning products, soap, sauces and meat go on special I buy in bulk, so we rarely have to pay full price. It might not seem like much, but when you’re living on one income every bit helps. It’s definitely worth it, if you have the space. It also helps us to be prepared in case we lose power or get flooded in. You can take the girl out of the bush but you can’t take the bush out of the girl. Actually I’m allergic to nature but I do like to be prepared. We always make sure we have gas for the BBQ. We always fill the water jugs and a sink or two in storms, just like old times. We’re on town water here except for toilets and washing machine, but old habits die hard.
What I forgot though, is that we only have one torch, and when Corey goes away he takes it. I realised this back when I was deciding whether to stay or go when 75% of Queensland was at risk of flooding, losing power etc. So we should certainly invest in another torch and a lantern of some sorts. I also should make sure I have enough consumable items for my own personal hygiene. As a mum I make sure we’ll never run out of nappies. As a wife I make sure Corey’s always set for razors, deoderant etc. I’m hopeless at looking after myself though, and far too many times I’ve had to send Corey to the shops to get me some nursing pads. Maybe I should just buy a dozen boxes and stash them in a cupboard somewhere. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.