As I sit tapping out this post on my phone, Thanksgiving safely over and anticipating the arrival of Christmas, I am thankful for the roof over my head and food on my table and my family's general well being. Like the majority of families all over the globe, we've had to do some belt tightening in our budget due to the rising costs of just about everything. Yet, even with that, we are very well off compared to some.
On the news the other day was a story of how Walmart, the largest retailer in the US, has had to change the way they run and staff thier stores in the current economy. Because government payments to families on public assistance are deposited into the recipient's bank account after midnight on the first of each month, the store managers have been getting swamped with a large number of shoppers coming to shop at the 24 hour stores right at midnight as soon as they confirmed the deposit of the funds. The news story showed a young, well dressed, otherwise ordinary looking couple, shopping cart at the ready, calling the automated phone number of thier bank verifying the deposit. The look of relief on thier faces when the money was finally there was very sad and disturbing.
The sad truth is that most people are only a paycheck away from economic distress. In the current state of economic and political uncertainty, it is important as ever to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. When my husband and I started our food storage to stockpile non-perishable food items about two years ago, we did so in secret from friends and family for fear that they would think we were weird and a little bit looney. Now, I regularly hear radio hosts and even financial advisers giving advice about stockpiling and buying multiples of items when you come across a good sale. Times have certainly changed in a very short time! Just the other day, I heard a radio host tell his audience that this Christmas, the best gift you can give yourself and your family is the gift of food storage! And he is a very mainstream national figure!
I'm thankful that I'm ahead of the curve and that my pantry and freezer is full of items purchased at rock bottom prices. I'm going to challenge myself to feed my family without grocery shopping except to purchase produce for the next few weeks. Nothing should be taken for granted in these tough times. Being prepared is the best thing we can do for ourselves.