(written by Jackie)
When you first start storing food as a new prepper, it can be overwhelming. Goals differ, but it seems that most aim for around a year’s worth of food for their entire family. That’s a lot of food, a lot of space, and a lot of money to devote to something you may wonder if you’ll ever need.
You’ll hear about how storing food can save you money, even if you never use it. You’ll hear about beating inflation by buying basic staples before food prices increase. You’ll hear that it’s an investment.
That’s how I got started. I’ve always felt more secure with a full pantry, but I felt a little weird when I began buying items in bulk and stashing them on shelves in the basement. But I dutifully did it anyway, relying on sales and coupons to make it more affordable. I tried different organization systems to keep track of it all. I began creating menus around what I had stored and practicing them and making sure my family enjoyed them.
I never really thought we’d use our food storage beyond that. Dennis was a state correctional officer and National Guardsman. Job security. South Dakota can get tornadoes, but they’re rare in our neck of the woods. So blizzards and the threat of a couple days without power is about all I felt I had to worry about. I was much more concerned about keeping warm than keeping in food.
That all changed when Dennis returned from Afghanistan with a torn ACL.
He was injured during his deployment while battling 966 Taliban ninjas, and the one that got away gave him a roundhouse kick to the knee…otherwise known as playing basketball with his buddies.
Since he was injured during his deployment, the Army should have covered not only his surgery, but paid him while he convalesced….about 6 months.
What really happened? They kept him in Afghanistan for ten more months, sent him to a physical therapist on the base there that merely gave him an ill-fitting brace (I mailed him a better one from a sporting goods store), and then sent him home with the rest of his unit. His medical liaison officer told him to go to his civilian doctor and they’d process everything from there.
We thought everything was groovy until after his surgery. He’d kept in touch with his medical liaison officer the entire time. But when it came time to get the Army to cover the medical bill or give him a paycheck, he was told he did everything wrong. He was supposed to fly to an Army base, spend a couple months with a physical therapist there, then if they decided surgery was necessary, they’d do the procedure there and keep him there during his recovery, letting him do odd desk jobs as he convalesced to earn his keep. In other words, there was no money.
Thankfully, military medical insurance covered the surgery, minus the usual copay. But we were staring down 6 months without income from his full-time job. He wouldn’t be paid by the Army, and he couldn’t return to the tiers at the prison. Heck, because of a torn meniscus, he couldn’t even put weight on that leg for a couple of weeks after surgery, let alone climb stairs.
And this is when I became a die-hard food storage fan. Our food storage meant that our kids never knew how much we were struggling financially. Between our savings and our food storage, we were able to keep a roof over our heads, keep the lights on, and keep food on the table. I hate to think what would have happened if we had to put a giant grocery bill back into that equation instead of just the milk and bread and eggs we added to what we pulled out of food storage. I’m sure our mortgage would have gotten at least 3 months behind. As it was, we only got behind on a couple of bills before Dennis felt his knee was sturdy enough to return to work…. 3 m
Sadly, that knee, 3 years later, still gives him fits. But we made it through.onths ahead of doctor’s orders. We still had plenty to eat, but the other bills were getting a bit precarious.
The loss of a paycheck can happen to anyone, regardless of job security. If you don’t already have food storage, now is the time. Just ask a furloughed Federal employee…
Not sure how much to store? Read about how to determine your Caloric Needs.