Bargain shopping helps me stock up on items when they are cheapest. I’m often able to combine coupons and sale prices to save 50 – 80% on every day grocery staples and personal hygiene products. I’m not an extreme couponer. I don’t attempt to stock the shelves with 50 bottles of some item I never intend to use, instead I save my limited space for items I know we’ll actually utilize.
If you took a glance inside my cupboard you’d find disposable products including toilet paper, paper towels and tissues. You’d also see nonperishable food items like tuna, peanut butter, canned fruit, crackers and applesauce. Every so often I check our medical stock and buy supplies like bandages and topical ointments. I also stock up on batteries from time to time and keep them in the freezer so we have them on hand if we need them. Most of these items will last for months if not years and I’ve purchased many of them for pennies on the dollar.
I don’t stock up with emergency situations in mind, but should the need arise I know exactly where to look for them. Best of all, when others are running to the store and fighting crowds to fill their pantries I don’t even have to leave the house.
Over the years I’ve learned tips and tricks for riding out storms. When hurricane Isabel knocked out electricity for days I started keeping ice packs and large bottles of water in the freezer to ensure we could keep our frozen food cold for at least a few hours or days. I set the ice maker into overdrive and dump the ice into plastic bags and bowls so I know we have ice if we need it. And forget driving to the store in search of bottled water. I simply fill up thermoses and pitchers with water and place them in the back of the fridge.
In the case of a hurricane I often cook extra food that we can eat during the storm. For example, if we’re grilling chicken for dinner the night before the storm arrives I make two packages rather than just one. If we lose electricity I don’t have to worry that the package will spoil and we can always eat the chicken cold or at room temperature the following evening. Similarly if I find eggs in the fridge I go ahead and boil them. A cooked egg can not only be eaten, but it will last a bit longer than an uncooked one.
I also try to set aside time to clean and prep all of the produce in my fridge. Today I washed strawberries, blueberries and cherries. To make sure the strawberries were ready to eat I took off the stems, cut them in half and placed them in an airtight bowl in the fridge. I also peeled and cut a few pounds of carrots into bite sized sticks that are ready for eating. Now I don’t have to worry about eating unwashed produce, (if we lose water), and if the electricity goes out I don’t have to worry about wielding a knife in candlelight either.
Lastly, if I have the time I bake a boxed brownie mix or defrost, slice and bake the cookies in my freezer. Once prepared I also slice these in advance and place them in an airtight container. It’s an extra little treat to indulge in during the storm.