Sensible Prepping, Panic Buying
I'm decidedly grateful covid dropped in. It forced me to see where the holes in my armor lie. We were better prepared than I expected, months before the panic took hold.
What surprised me most about this year is that the panic was more debilitating than the virus.
While covid is real, it's deceptively not as lethal as is claimed. A little common sense is all that's required.
Having traversed three quarters of this year, I've learned a valuable lesson. People overreact, and that's dangerous.
Thankfully, we live in the boonies, far away from populous cities. We also live in a community where we share similar values.
We take care of our own and we mind our own business. We watch out for our neighbors and look in on the elderly. (It's bugging me a little that we're now considered the elderly--but it's nice that our neighbors check on us.)
With that in mind, I've decided to start a new series called Sensible Prepping. When I started to disseminate what was breaking down in society, I found that it was a combination of misinformation and a general naivety on how stuff (infrastructure) works. People panicked. They didn't understand the danger, so they bought forty cases of toilet paper.
I get it. Panic buying is a coping mechanism. It makes you feel like you're doing something proactive. That in itself is not a bad thing, but first you have to focus on what's really important.
If you're going to panic-buy, buy smart. Here's how.
Take inventory. Even though I have a good idea of what I have in stock, I regularly inventory my pantry and freezers. Knowing what you have keeps you from wasting money and time.
Focus on things you can't make at home. My list is pretty small now. There are only a handful of things I can't produce on the farm, but here's a sampling of what you should consider.
- Oil/other Fats
Shop early in the day. Most store clerks will tell you they never know when their trucks come in. If you are dangerously low on necessary items it might be beneficial to hit those stores daily until their shipments do arrive. I found alcohol by dumb luck. There were a dozen boxes on the shelves. Only one box still had a couple of bottles left. The stocker told me she had just put them up within the hour. That's how fast they disappear.
Put your family to work. You can't be everywhere so make sure your family knows what it needs. Everyone should have the same list just in case one of them gets lucky.
Inventory your closets, garages, and workshops too. Don't narrow it down to food and medicine alone. While we were in isolation, we stayed busy but we had to get resourceful with our resources. Lumber ran out, or wood screws, or plumbing supplies. If you're a DIYer, you know those bits and bobs have to be replaced.
Look into the future: Where will you be in a year's time? Are you getting married or divorced? Are you moving? Are your pets, spouse, or parents getting old or need extra care? While we can't actually know what we'll need in 12 months, you can probably make a fair guess. Any big, potential changes should be first on your radar.
Partner with your doctor: If you're on lifesaving medication, talk to your doctor about getting your meds in a bigger allotment. Doctors are increasingly aware of the shortages, and they don't want you to go without important meds.
I like to plan a year ahead. It's why we didn't run out of isopropyl alcohol or hand sanitizer. We'd been using hand sanitizer for years before covid. (Didn't help us, since we got sick anyway. 😕 But you do what you can.)
If money or space is at a premium, plan ahead by at least six months. I don't see us going into lock down again unless it's self imposed, but I don't trust product availability. Several sources are saying our supplies might be unstable until the end of 2021, so let's get started now.
I can't speak for other countries, but the US has raised several generations of helpless idiots. I can't say it any nicer than that. I've met people who can't sew on a button, let alone live on a budget. It's scary. What if this had been a real disaster where you couldn't get immediate help? How would they survive?
We have to be responsible, each and every one of us.
Call me a skeptic, but I've never trusted my total welfare to government agencies, bosses, landlords, my accountant, doctors, or even family. Well...I could trust my family, but I would never, ever burden them on purpose.
It's just more comforting knowing we can take care of ourselves. Someday that might change, but today is not that day.
If we are facing another 15 months of instability, start taking charge of your welfare now. Follow along as I break down how we managed to stock up and stay safe on a retiree budget. It's not hard. Your first assignment: Do an inventory. Know what you have and what you still need.
Next up: Non-Food Essentials