Spending Too Much Time Shopping for Food and Supplies

If you’ve read my last book or visited my website, you know that I’m a huge fan of keeping extra food, household supplies, and medicine in the house. (I call my stored supplies my stashes, and I think they’re invaluable to busy homeschooling moms.)

But once we decided to move, I started using up my food and supply stashes, figuring it made more sense to consume them than to pack, move and unpack them.

Using up what you have at home certainly makes for reduced bills. Not only do you not have to go shopping much, but staying out of the stores reduces impulse buys, so your bills are even lower than normal.

That’s the good news. The bad news is, now that we’ve moved, I not only have a hundred “moving in” things to do all at once (change addresses, banks, etc.), but I also have to go shopping for items I’d normally find at home in my stash.

To make it worse, no matter how many times I’ve run to the store since we moved in, I inevitably come home to hear someone say, “We’re also out of (fill in the blank).”

Sigh. I’ve moved “Restock the pantry and cabinets” to the top of my list.   :0

(Learn more about stashes HERE.)

Little Luxuries

While cleaning off my desk today, I found an article I’d saved to blog about. It discusses the little luxuries that people like to enjoy in spite of cutting back on their expenses in a lousy economy.

In my early years as a SAHM, I occasionally bought little things to make myself feel good. I felt guilty about not bringing in an income, so I didn’t splurge. But I’d grab a quilt magazine at the grocery magazine rack and go home and enjoy it thoroughly. Or I might pick up a votive in a new scent and keep it burning at home until it was just a little blob of wax. (Usually, one of the kids or even my husband would come into the room and ask, “What stinks?”)

These days, I don’t seem to require little luxuries, at least not the ones that cost money. I’m happy to find a good book or DVD at the public library, or take a walk on the beach. (Although I did pony up $3.99 at the Goodwill store a few weeks ago for a hardback copy of an Elisabeth Elliot book I hadn’t read yet….I was thrilled to add it to my collection.)

But I like to have things around for my family to enjoy. So my little luxuries have become things like picking up a bucket of fried chicken at the grocery store deli when it’s on sale, or buying a box of peppermint hot chocolate mix at Sam’s Club for a whopping $1.81 for 28 packets. And when candy bars go on sale “buy one, get one free,” I buy some for everybody, not just me :)

So, are you finding that little luxuries make life a little easier these days? If so, what are your favorites?

Should You Stock Up?

Sick Child is Offered Some Sustenance from a Girl Acting as Nurse
Sick Child is Offered Some Sustenance from a Girl Acting as Nurse

All the furor over the swine flu (which may or not be justified, we’ll have to see how it plays out) is resulting in news reports suggesting that people should stock up on food, water, medicine, etc. in case a pandemic wipes out our already struggling economy.

Of course, if everyone followed this advice, it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because most grocery stores keep very little in reserve, instead relying on a steady stream of deliveries to keep their shelves stocked. It only takes a little fear-mongering to quickly clear those shelves.

Nevertheless, it’s always wise to keep a small stash of necessities in your house. (Learn more about stashes here.) I learned this the hard way when my husband and I were struck by a rough flu bug at the same time. Back then we had two toddlers; keeping them fed and their diapers changed was all I could do because I had a fever and was so dizzy. But my poor husband was even sicker than I was. So when we discovered we were completely out of acetaminophen and pop, guess who got to drive to the store to buy more? I was the logical choice, being the less dizzy of the two people in the house with driver’s licenses.

That was over 20 years ago, but I remember well driving down the highway and then trying to aim at the parking lot of the store and thinking, “I have no business driving in this condition.” It was all I could do to stumble into the store, buy what I needed (imagine the clerk’s joy over waiting on someone as sick and probably contagious as I was) and make it back home.

That experience made me decide I would never let my family be caught sick without supplies again. Since then, we always have acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin in the house. I keep spare containers of drink mix just in case. Crackers, applesauce and rice are also good things to keep in the pantry for recovering patients.

So, should you stock up in case the swine flu makes it to your neck of the woods? That’s up to you, but I highly recommend that you make sure you at least have the basics in good supply at your house, because even if the swine flu turns out to be just another bug, you know how families share germs. Sooner or later, you’ll be glad you don’t have to run out for supplies when you’re feeling awful.