When my mother was young, and after moving to this country, she and her family had very little. There were 13 people living in a two bedroom house in the Los Angeles area. She often talked about the tips of the chicken wings and how she loved them. At dinner each of them would get 1 chicken wing and she would take everyone’s wing tips.
As an adult, my mother always had food on hand. She was a master at finding sales and shopping places like Grocery Outlet and the Dollar Store, and buying cases of food at the cheapest she could find it. We would often tease her about just how many cans of corn (or whatever the find of the day was) did we really need anyway.After my mother passed away, and my (now husband) moved himself and his 3 young children in with myself and my own 2 children, I started to sing a different tune. This was during the downturn of the market bubble in 2008, and my husband worked as a construction big rig driver for a small company. Construction of new subdivisions and business declined considerably and my husband was soon out of work.
During that time we were often amazed at how lucky we were to have what we lovingly referred to as Mom’s Food to help get us buy. That along with a garden that my husband put in the back yard, and we were able to maintain our bills and still have food to put on the table. Things got lean, but never did we go hungry.
When my husband found work again, our eyes had been opened to the need for some type of food stores. That is how our “prepper” journey began. We came to the realization that either one of us could lose our jobs due to illness or layoffs and that having canned goods to help augment any fresh we might be able to purchase or grow would mean that our kids wouldn’t go hungry, or end up eating nothing but Top Ramen.
We started shopping just as my mother had. Visiting places like Grocery Outlet, the Dollar Store and Winco where canned goods are reasonably priced and almost always has something we like that is on sale. We purchase only those canned goods we know we can and will use, so we can rotate them out and keep a “fresh” supply on hand. First In, First Out, is one of the mantra’s you will hear in our house come shopping day.
Rotating your canned food supply is important, because canned goods will expire eventually. However, canned goods will last for years beyond the “best by” date printed on the cans. We were still using Mom’s Food several years after her passing. It was nice to feel as though she was still taking care of us in her own way. Today, I consider my mom’s shopping as a conservative food store plan. But the benefits of starting small is being able to get used to the idea of food store rotation, and is kinder on smaller budgets.
It is easy to start small. One 12 can case of beans here, a case of corn next time. Or each time you go to the store buy 2 more cans of everything you plan to purchase that trip, and go shopping before you let those 2 extra cans run out, also picking up 2 extra cans of something else. Keep building until you have 10 cans of everything you normally purchase. This will go a long way in helping you be prepared in case of loss of job or a natural disaster that leaves you stranded in your home indefinitely.
Whenever I talk to someone who is new to the idea of prepping, this is the story I tell them. I encourage them to start somewhere, even if all they can do is purchase one extra can at a time.