Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What is a "Rainy Day"?

Photo Credit: Lel4nd
Here at The Real Deal I often mention stockpiling for a "rainy day." A rainy day can be anything-an unexpected car repair, the inability to work for a short amount of time, or something even longer and permanent.

Saving for or stockpiling for a rainy day is simply logical. Most of us have gone through times of plenty, and times of want. It's much easier to get through those times of want if your belly is full-and especially so if you know that even if you can't buy groceries this week, you can feed your family healthy food from your stockpile.

Having a stockpile is akin to having a savings account, if it's managed correctly. If you have two or four weeks of food on hand, plus one month of living expenses, it will be much easier to get by if you suddenly blow a tire on your vehicle, or there's a slowdown at your job, or the hot water heater decides today is a good day to flood your basement.

Having a stockpile goal is important. That way you're not just building up a stash of food or other items that you can't really use. While it's nice to see your supplies grow, having a plan for that rainy day helps make it meaningful. I've had to live off my stockpile more than once, and I can tell you right now that you will get tired of alternating beans and rice, spaghetti, and spam sandwiches.

What should your stockpile goals be? Well, that is individual to your own family. My first goal, and one that I'm working on as of this writing, is to rebuild my pantry supplies. The holiday baking season drained my pantry-and several months of unexpected expenses haven't helped. Since September we've had to put new tires on my van, pay to have our house rewired after completely losing power due to the age of the electrical wiring, put a new fuel pump in Mr. S.'s car, and pay off some traffic tickets. In 2013, we'll have to put in a new furnace, but at least we can plan a bit for that. We're a bit chilly right now, but we primarily heat with a wood stove, so it's not nearly as bad as it could be. We only used the furnace for those early mornings before the fire got going. But once my stockpile is rebuilt, if we incur more expenses than we're expecting with the new furnace, I'll be able to skip buying groceries for a few weeks to free up some money.

My stockpile goals are pretty basic. First is to complete the list that is included in A Well Stocked Pantry. My next goal is to have three days of food. Complete meals that can fill in the gaps if we're delayed in our weekly shopping trip.  Next, is seven days. Then 14 days. Then 30. I continue building from there. My ultimate goal is to have one year's worth of food in the pantry.

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