Because Pete works at a D.O.E. site, that means that the workers out there were going to be furloughed, except not work. Everyone out there FREAKED out. I mean, do you blame them? I'm including us in the freaking out group. We were like, does Pete look for a new job? Do I find a part-time job? We didn't know how long the furlough would last. I mean, he would still have a job, but just not get paid until the government was up and running again.
We ended up being fine. We had gotten a furlough notice letter in the mail, and it was going to be starting the next week. Thankfully, the government got things pulled together, and we didn't have to go on furlough.
We were lucky.
Now, I know that we didn't lose a job. Not even close. But that's the closest that I've felt to losing a job, and it was not a fun feeling. It made me take a really close look at our savings accounts, our budget, and our food storage. I felt like it was kind of a voice of warning, if you will. Like, how prepared are we for a financial disaster?
We worked really hard last year, and FINALLY got all of our debts (except mortgage) paid off. YAHOO! So that was kind of a relief. It's nice not having a car payment or whatever hanging over your head. But our savings would have held us through for maybe two months, which was a scary thought to me. I'd feel a lot better with 6 months of money (for like utility bills and whatnot), and 3 months of short-term food storage along with our long-term food storage.
I looked at our budget, and we live pretty minimally already: no cable, basic internet, no huge extravagances. So I knew that budget-wise we were doing all we could. Except...
Short-term food storage. We've purchased long-term food storage ("store and ignore"), which is stuff like wheat, rice, beans. I honestly haven't looked at it for years (it lasts in #10 cans for 30 or more years), and had to look up some of the stuff. Like, what in the world is germade? (Answer: pretty much like cream of wheat. Good to know.) But what about, like spaghetti sauce? Or even yummy things, like brownies? That's where the short-term storage comes in to play-stuff that you regularly eat, and rotate it through, like canned goods (canned corn, for example).
So, that's what I've been working on now. I've tried a few different things, and have been narrowing down what it is that I want to do. We had a lady come to our Relief Society meeting who talked about a shelf-stable three month food supply. She broke it down to 7 meals each of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then you get all the stuff for those like 12 times. So you eat each meal once a week and have enough for three months. I like the shelf-stable idea, because in case you lose power you don't have to worry about having things that would spoil (like in your fridge or freezer). She also talked about getting "just add water"-again, so you don't have to worry about adding eggs to something or whatever. Like muffin mixes-there are some you add all sorts of things to it, and ones where it only takes water to make.
I started looking at that. She had some ideas already. So I was like, "easy peasy, I'll just follow her list". But some of the stuff I know I would eat, but not necessarily Pete or my kids (like cream of wheat-I love it, but none of the rest of my family does).
Then I talked to another lady that was like, just write down everything you use in one week-meals, shampoo, etc., and just get that stuff over and over. Which I was like, okay, good idea, but again, there are some meals that I have that are SOOO not shelf-stable compatible.
Another strategy-write down everything I have in my pantry, and get a whole bunch of that. But I know myself, that I'd be like, what can I combine together for a meal? I need to know I have all the ingredients for a meal, and have it written down. So I think it's good to kind of do this, but kind of do the other, too.
So that's where I am right now. Like, kind of gathering things, but kind of not really specific meals so far. (Plus, I'm thinking I might need some more storage space, which is a whole different expense in itself.) So I've gotten Kraft Mac and Cheese, which my kids and I like for lunches sometimes. And pancake mix (the just add water kind). I've also been gathering more long-term storage stuff that I don't have, just so we can have some flavor, you know? Like, strawberry slices, and banana pieces. Just so I wouldn't lose my mind on MORE WHEAT AND BEANS-AGAIN.
Long story short, I hope that by the end of this year I have my three-month food supply. Of course, you need to rotate it through, but I hope I have a good amount going for us, and divided up into meals. I also hope to have more money in savings for us too. Because you never know when tragedy may strike (job loss, weather problem, or another furlough).