By the author of Be Ready for Anything and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
We’re at the end of week 1 for the Stockpile Challenge, 2018!
For this week’s check-in, I want to dispel some myths about the challenge and share with you some of the observations people have made.
Stockpile Challenge Myths
Here are a few things I addressed in the Facebook group but figured that people not in the group would also want to read.
If it’s not difficult, that is a GOOD thing.
I noticed that some people had said they were feeling almost guilty because the challenge has been too easy so far.
That the things they’re eating are “normal.”
And I say this is a very, very good thing. First of all, you’re eating without your regular grocery trip and you’re happy with what you have put aside. That rocks!
But secondly, and most importantly, the number one reason we end up using our preps is a financial difficulty.
Here’s a personal example. About 10 years ago, I got laid off. As a single mom with a mortgage, this was terrifying. I knew I’d be employed again within 6 months, but I would be going that amount of time on only 60% of my wages (with unemployment insurance payouts.
So, for 4 months, I spent every dime of my unemployment pay on my mortgage, my utilities, and insurance. I didn’t have to spend money at the grocery store at all. Why? Because I had a chest freezer that was loaded with food. I had shelves laden with canned goods and dry foods. I had toilet paper, sanitary products, shampoo, toothpaste. We were absolutely fine, kept our home and our car, and had no needs unfulfilled.
All because I had a stockpile.
So, you’re doing everything right. Stop worrying. Often, when SHTF hits you, all of your utilities work just fine. Not always, of course. But that’s the most common scene.
Eating the things that are going to go bad first is ideal, not a cop-out. In a real emergency, you should prioritize what you eat by how quickly it will spoil. This way, there is less waste.
- Fresh food
- Frozen food
- Canned food and regular, not-repackaged dry goods
- Freeze-dried food
Those of you who ate like you usually do this week did everything right.
People who had to purchase something felt like they had failed.
Not one single person has “FAILED” at the Stockpile Challenge.
I’ve seen a few people say this in comments or the challenge thread but it’s totally wrong, and here’s why.
— Did you have to buy something? Then you learned about a hole in your preps. You can now take steps to fill that hole.
— Did you run out of something that is essential? Now you know that you haven’t put back enough of it.
— Was there a supply you never even thought about stocking up on until you realized you didn’t have it? You wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t started out on this challenge.
We’re all at different places on this journey.
Sure, there are some folks who are going to sail through this month without even breaking a sweat and I commend them all.
But I bet even they will learn of a few things that would make life more pleasant after a period of time.
There are people who thought they’d be fine but ended up going to the store right in the first week. I’m one of those people and I’m running the darned challenge. I started coming down with a kidney infection on the second day and decided to go buy some pure cranberry juice so that I didn’t end up having to go to the doctor and get on antibiotics. And you know what? I grabbed 8 bottles of it while I was there because obviously, this is something I want to have on hand.
Every challenge we run into teaches us if we’re willing to learn from it. And that is the point of this exercise.
If you don’t make it completely on your stockpile, don’t worry one little bit. This isn’t failure. It’s education.
You are learning things you would never have if you hadn’t embarked on this challenge. We are ALL learning from one another.
Some are worried that they’re depleting their inventory and something bad is going to happen.
There is absolutely no rule against replenishing your stockpile as you use it up. I personally just placed a big freeze-dried fruit and veggie order because I realized I didn’t have as much on hand as I wanted. Just tuck away the new items you buy and you’re still adhering to the challenge.
Here’s what people are learning
When I asked folks in the Prep Club group what they had learned, here are a few of the lessons they’ve picked up – and we’re just on Week 1 of the challenge!
- I learned I wasn’t stocked enough on protein. Due to my husband’s health, he no longer eats pork or beef/venison. This killed my stock. I was able to bless a needy family with a freezer full of meat. It wasn’t payday so had to wait and purchase the protein during the week. Otherwise, we are good. January is always a tight month for us anyway. This December my husband didn’t work, so no paycheck for him. Hence the reason I waited till I was paid. After the challenge, I will build a new stock of chicken, turkey and such. This is making me much more aware of spending habits too. Using the extra time to repair a couple of t-shirts.
- I basically had no real stockpile when I started. I had canned and frozen veggies and stuff in the freezer but not a real stockpile. This challenge is forcing me to do things I wouldn’t normally do, cook things I wouldn’t normally cook, and basically just take a look at the way I’ve been living lately. Lazily. That’s how I’ve been living. And, I’ve noticed that I’m not snacking as much and when I do snack, it’s on almonds and dried fruit I have on hand instead of going to the store and buying chips and dip. I’ve lost close to 10 pounds and adding up what I normally spend just on soda each day, saved almost $20 bucks! I know I won’t make the whole month without spending but I’m going to get close, and it’s giving me an idea of what things I need to stock up on in the future.
- We eat pizza at least twice a month, and we use a pre-made pizza crust. While I’ve stockpiled all the ingredients to make pizza from scratch, I just realized I’ve no idea how to make a crust from scratch! That went on the to-do list. Also, I don’t have nearly enough fruits and veggies stored. Just placed an order from Emergency Essentials for those, as well as canned bacon!
- What did I learn? I learned that the fridge may decide to freeze half of my tender vegetables but I can still salvage enough to feed company that we were blessed to have over last night. That even small tiny hurdles can happen. This challenge has helped me in looking at the big picture and to slow down in how I think of feeding my family. But most importantly it has helped me in realizing to take stock in more than just supplies. It is helping me to take another look at filling my store box of positive thinking, overcoming roadblocks with solutions instead of always replacing. This applies to food, supplies, etc. I feel this challenge will teach me much more than being prepared with food and supplies.
- The biggest thing I have learned is I really need to have an inventory check list and check it monthly. I use a lot of kosher salt in my cooking and it is going to be a squeak to make it. Also, I need to remember my pets and keep a way to make sure they survive without giving them people preps. And those lessons are just week 1!
- I learned that I need to store some actual food at work. Right now I only have snacks (fruit, nuts, rice cake, bouillon, etc.) but no canned soups or meal type items. Spending the night at the hospital Thursday (due to snow storm and being *essential*) I was forced to use the cafe (but did not have to use any money as I had two gift cards given to me as thank you gifts from various bosses). I am also upping the quality of my sleeping quarters by bringing in a cot and sleeping bag for next time. And learning by reading everyone else’s posts of course.
- Prior to the challenge I went to the store and got fresh veggies and an extra gallon of milk. At first, it felt like a cheat, but what I learned is that maybe I should start each month with the thought “what if I can’t get back to the store this month?” What would I want a little extra of? While perishables go quickly it makes the first week or two a little nicer having extra on hand. I also have a bad habit of letting produce go to waste…Not this month! Meals are getting planned around what needs to be used first to get the most out of what we have!
- I learned to think differently about leftovers. Normally I might give a large amount to our pets, but not this time. Used leftover pork roast 3 different ways and they all tasted different so it didn’t feel too redundant. I need to rotate my stock better. I had some older-than-I-would-like pancake mix but made it anyway. I’m loving the challenge.
- My husband and I have a small farm with pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens, and ducks. Stocking food for them for more than a week or two ahead would be impossible for us. We might make it another week or two with our hay supply. Long range “doomsday” plans include butchering what I can possibly can and preserve, and letting the others go to fend for themselves. Some of them would stick around and eat what’s available for a while, giving me longer to work on things. I know I have plenty of canning supplies, and I have practiced using a canner outside on a wood fire [hope that won’t be necessary — big pain in the wazoo]. I just hope things never get that bad. But I accept that they might.
- I need to do better at rotation/inventory. Also, I work at a grocery store so I have had to muster up all the strength I have to not buy anything at the end of my day for meals. One day I really wanted to buy just a couple carrots but did not do so. Went without.
- just joined yesterday, so not really in the loop yet, but I did learn something this week. My elderly Basset is on the vets prescription w/d dry and canned food. I had a case of cans but was low on the dry, figured I’d pick some up after work on Tuesday. They were out and wouldn’t get a shipment until Friday. We limped along only crumbs left Friday I bought the giant bag and another case of canned. It was the first time since I started doing this a year ago that I let it get so low before refilling.
- I just realized a big hole in my preps: canned pumpkin/sweet potatoes. Both of my dogs woke up with diarrhea and will be eating boiled chicken and rice for a couple days at least. Which is fine but in a true SHTF situation we wouldn’t want them eating our food if we had other options. So canned pumpkin and sweet potatoes are being added to the “must have” list.
- We have changed how we eat. Not just food but meal timing. No more “free range” eating.
- Years ago I used to shop only once a month due to finances. I did fresh, frozen, canned in that order. I have become lazy and spend way too much money going to the store for every little thing. I go for three things and end up with a basketful-sales. I often have a houseful of food but nothing to eat. I am using this challenge to get back to being more efficient. Doesn’t help to have bags and bags of beans if you do not have the ingredients to make a dish!
Most people are running out of the same things.
The most common items mentioned are:
- Fresh produce
- Pet supplies
- Sour cream
Solutions for these are:
- Freeze-dried, canned and frozen produce
- Growing sprouts and greens
- Dry milk and canned condensed milk
- Stocking up on pet food, making pet food from supplies you keep on hand
- Freeze dried cheese and sour cream powders
- Freeze-dried eggs
- Egg substitutes for baking (like flax seed eggs or applesauce)
Did you participate in the Stockpile Challenge?
Let us know in the comments what you learned. If you have run into any stumbling blocks, share those and maybe we can make suggestions to help you.
If you’re on Facebook and haven’t joined Prep Club, go here. Be sure to answer the questions so that we let you in!