How do you stock up and prepare for hard times when already struggling?

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I know everyone is in a bit of a panic right now with this annoying virus that has halted all business…almost all business, commerce, has almost taken down the stock market (at least halted it a couple times), and is spreading fear and fueling mass toilet tissue sales.

If you are one of the many that are not prepared, stocked up and already wondering where that next toilet tissue roll is going to come from, we are going to explore ways to get prepared…or maybe begin preparing for future issues.

I did have some surpluses as I’m into pantry stocking, homesteading and a little prepping. However, I was not totally prepared and I certainly didn’t take the toilet tissue seriously until far too late. Now I am finding old napkins, paper towels, and rationing our supply of tissue that we do have.

So, after a little stock up shopping at my local Grocery Outlet, it got me to thinkin’. What does a person do if they are poor, struggling, on social security, or military incomes? How do you stock up if you are on food stamps and/or welfare? This must be a scary time for those that don’t have the extra cash or savings to go out and fill their pantries.

I don’t know how to help you at this time but I can talk about the next paycheck or when the food stamps are refilled. Here is all I have learned and know up to date. I have much more to learn and I am educated daily on my YouTube Channel by wiser men and women on how to get through the hard times. I also love my Depression Era history books, We Had Everything But Money, When The Banks Closed Our Hearts Opened, and Feeding Our Families. I have learned so much from the grandmothers and great grandmothers that made it work through very hard times; WW1, the dust bowl, the Depression, and WW2. Oh, and let us not forget the Spanish Flu! These were intense times.

We are fortunate these days with modern technologies, medical advances, sanitation, refrigeration, and government assistance. We panic over things our great grandparents would laugh at and then tell us a “real story of hardship”.

Never the less, we need to learn to take care of ourselves and our families better. We need to learn more skills for sustainability and self-sufficiency. We can not rely on the economy to always flourish. We cannot depend holy on the government to provide and take care of us.

People used to be very independent. They didn’t have supermarkets or government assistance. If you collected any sort of welfare you had to pay it all back once you got on your feet. This was hard and definitely not good for the sick, disabled or elderly. Thank goodness we have a new system…but it doesn’t always provide enough. Natural disasters and diseases happen. Sometimes the food stamps don’t stretch, social security barely covers things.

The most empowering thing we can do is learn to grow food and stock up the pantry well.

Even if you have food stamps or an apartment with only a balcony, you can begin the journey toward homesteading.

I found that when I only shopped bulk and produce at the store, completely avoiding junk food, packaged food, and drinks, my grocery budget was reduced by $700 dollars or more a month.

When I learned to cook from scratch and turned my kitchen into a bakery and made my own bread, muffins, cakes, crackers, graham crackers, and tortillas. When I learned that simple potatoes, rice, rolled oats, flour, beans, and garbanzos can become many, many dishes. When I reduced our dairy and meat consumption and learned to make faux meats and gluten steaks or soy milk…I saved hundreds upon hundreds and stocked my pantry easily.

So, when you get your next grocery allotment or the food stamps are restocked go out and buy only these items: rice, beans, potatoes, flour, yeast (for bread making), huge jars of peanut butter or some nut butter, onions, pasta, rolled oats, canned tomato sauce, ground beef or turkey, whole chickens, nuts and dried fruit, frozen vegetables. Buy 25 to 50 lbs of everything or huge jars and bags. If you need seasoning, rely on simple salt, pepper, oil, onions, and garlic powder. Maybe some taco seasoning or such that you like.

Shop at stores that are very affordable; WinCo (the best for prices), Auldi’s, Grocery Outlet, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, .99 cent stores. You can work with coupons and sales to get your lotions, shampoo, soap, laundry soap, and such cheap.

Winco has large bags of beans and rice, flour and a huge bulk section. Online stores offer bulk dried goods as well. Maybe a local co-op? Buy plastic 5 gallon storage bins to keep the food fresh and safe from bugs. Buckets are cheap at Winco or maybe Lowe’s, HomeDepot, or a hardware store. If you have no money for this, I’ve heard that bakeries (or bakery departments at big stores such as Safeway, Raleys, Auldi’s and so on) will have big buckets and lids they dispose of. Ask them to save so many for you. Or if you buy laundry detergent in buckets, begin to save them. Ask friends, family, and neighbors to save buckets with lids for you.

I save jars and buckets from everything. You use these to store all your bulk items.

Create a pantry in a guest room, extra room, shoe closet, bins under the bed, shelves in clothes closets, laundry room (only if airy and cool and doesn’t get steamed up or too warm).

Learn simple meals from books from the library, Depression Era cooking, or your elders. The most popular Depression Era meals were fried potatoes and beans. They used a little bit of bacon ends to give flavor to beans, greens, and potatoes. I have a couple packages of inexpensive bacon in my freezer to use a little at a time in beans. You can also save the oil to cook with thus eliminating the need to buy oil.

Eat with the seasons. Buy produce that is cheap and in season. It will taste better and be so much more affordable. Stick to bananas, apples, and oranges in the winter. squash, potatoes, onions, zucchini are the most affordable. Lettuce and cabbage as well. I buy big bags of carrots. You can make a big pot roast to feed the family with mostly cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and a little piece of meat.

Invest in a PUR water filter or pitcher. You will save thousands on bottled water and reduce the pollution of plastic (only 20% is recycled). I have a Berkey but they are pricey. I’ve heard the PUR is cheaper and really cleans the water of impurities. You can get one for around $25 at Walmart. It cleans out heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. Drink water instead of juice and soda. Better for your health, saves on cavities and dental cost, and free!

I’m a coffee lover, but when on a budget I buy the cheap stuff and use milk instead of creamer. A bag of tea can be added to a whole pot of water and make many cups.

Now, let’s grow free food! You can get seeds, starts, herbs plants, tomato plants, and fruit, and nut trees with food stamps. Winco and other stores that take food stamps and sell these trees, plants, and seeds will accept SNAP. This article may help: It would be wise to purchase seeds and trees because, even though you may be short some grocery money that day, in the future you will have baskets of free, organic food.

Dig up that lawn and put in a kitchen garden. Make your own free compost. It ain’t that hard. You don’t need a bin or bucket. Find a corner of the yard, add scraps from your meals that are mostly produce, egg shells, banana peels, coffee grounds. Don’t add meat, dairy, poop. Cover in lawn trimmings or leaves, wet well with a hose, cover with an old sheet. Let cook.

For mulch use straw bales from feed stores. $10 is all. It lessens the need to water.

You don’t need a greenhouse. Use cans from cooking, poke holes in the bottom, fill with soil and seeds. Put a table in front of your best sunlit window and put the cans there. This is what our grandmothers did, they didn’t have a garden nursery to buy fancy seedling pots and greenhouses.

Learn to can and dehydrate. You can buy a cheap dehydrator and water bath pot and tools at Walmart or Winco. Find jars on Craigslist or ask around. Watch YouTube vlogs on canning properly so you don’t give the family a bout of botulism.

Give yourself a couple of years to learn and make mistakes. In the future, you will grow and preserve so much food you will hardly spend money at the store but to restock the flour and beans.

More to come on this topic. And no, I didn’t forget to post about the new old house. I’m still unpacking and will post before and after photos soon.




25 thoughts on “How do you stock up and prepare for hard times when already struggling?

  1. Absolutely wonderful post! That’s the way to do it folks, In this day and age we just don’t know what to expect. And now we have the coronavirus it’s making everyone realize that life is not that easy anymore. We need to go back to the old days, Just as Kate is mentioning in this post. You are never too young or too old to do this, believe me I am now 62, live in the hills of Kentucky, and we are building a big garden this year! And folks if you need food stamps get them, apply for them, there is no shame in that if you need them, that’s the wonder of the American government, they will take care of you in times of need. Also please stock up on the essentials of rice, sugar, flour, water, dried milk and in my case Coffee & Wine lol..
    Finally stay in as much as you can for the sake of yourself and others!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Bubble and squeak was a frugal favourite when I was growing up, it still is and my whole family always wants second helpings. Particularly nice when cabbage is in season here north. Stay safe. Pam


      1. 🥔 potatoes & Cabbage 🥬
        Mashed potatoes & cooked cabbage …
        Then add a little oil & fry in skillet to a little crispy around edges. Add salt & pepper ( we used to eat with ketchup It’s an English thing )
        Bubble is the potatoes
        Squeak is the cabbage
        You can also add onions & other veggies too…many recipes online

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Such great advises Kate! I enjoy reading your blog. I was semi prepared for this, but I know what I will add to my pantry on my next pay check. One “essential” item if we don’t have electricity is at least one cast Iron pan, to Cook food and bake bread over a fire. You can often find them at Goodwill. Thanks for a great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post Kate! Be careful with paper towels.. they do NOT flush well and they do not break down like toilet paper or Kleenex, paper towels will clog up your septic tanks and your toilet bowls.


  5. Our local Krispy Kreme donut shop has buckets with lids for $1. The have not been washed when you get them but after a good soapy wash and rinse and thorough drying they make great food storage buckets.


  6. Very happy to see your family thriving and moved into a place where you’ve been wanting to go. Keep calm and carry on. Always looking forward to your posts. I’m planning my garden now and very excited to do it. I get excited when I see the first sprouts emerge from the soil. Hope you and family stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this article! Such great advice. I would add Adobo to your list of spices. It is amazing on meat, fish, veggies, etc. It’s seriously my go to spice blend!


  8. Please, use only food safe buckets…lowes, home depot and laundry soap buckets are not food safe and can poison your food.


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