13 November 2007

Preparing for tough times

I often watch a local TV program on Sunday at lunchtime. Landline is an ABC program about all things rural and it gives a good insight into important issues facing our farmers and people in country towns in Australia.

Sunday their lead story was about the effect equine flu has had on the people who own horses but aren't part of the horse racing industry. For those of you who aren't local, in the past few months horse flu has devastated the Australia horse industries - there are two of them, the racing industry and the pleasure and performance industry. The latter being all those horses used for trail, pleasure and equine show riding as well as all the horses in pony clubs and horse studs. The government rushed to help the racing industry but has done very little for the pleasure and performance industry. The end result being that thousands of people who live from pay packet to pay packet are left with no income or any means to live. Those who applied for government benefits, had to wait seven or eight weeks to the first payment to come through.

Imagine living for those seven or eight weeks with no money to buy food or pay the rent or mortgage.

Watching that program and seeing the hardship many of these people are suffering made me realise, yet again, that a disaster that can effect our lives can happen at any time, even if we think it can't. I'm sure all those people who worked in those very well established horse businesses, and especially those who owned them, would have thought that the future looks bright and that nothing would threaten their livelihood. How wrong they were. And it could happen to any of us.

Although it won't fix any great problem that may impact on your life, a stockpile will help you live until you can get government help or work out a way around what has happened, whatever that is. Knowing that you have enough food in your cupboard to tide you over for a couple of months puts a comfortable buffer between your family and those unexpected and devastating things that might happen.

Both men and women have a role to play here. If you're a man who is the sole bread winner for your family, it is your responsibility to help provide food, even when there is no money coming in. If you're a homemaker, the organiser of your family finances and food buyer, you should be prepared for good times and bad. If you're a single parent who fills both roles, it is vital to think about how you will feed your children and yourself if you have no income.

Having a healthy stockpile that is used well and replenished frequently is the best way I know of to protect against the unexpected. That could be the loss of income or a national or local disaster. The side effects of saving you money and time are the icing on the cake. If you haven't got a stockpile, why not look into it and find out how you go about starting one. It will be one of your family's assets. And even if no disaster strikes or you never lose your income, you'll have a cupboard full of food that will make your life easier because you won't have to run to the shop every week. How good is that!


  1. Hmmm. I think I'd feel a lot more secure if I had a savings account with enough to last for a couple of months, or a good income insurance policy, as well as the stockpile. What if the disaster is your roof falling in on your stockpile? Murphy's Law and all that.

  2. I love my stockpile! I can't explain why but it just makes me feel secure :) When I started it I didn't quite understand how it would save me money but it definitely has, slicing at least $30-$40 per week off my grocery bill.
    I also have a fairly healthy emergency fund with at least 6 months of living expenses in it.
    I read an article about the disaster in the US with subprime lending and the rapidly escalating numbers of people losing their homes and it makes you realise just how easily your life can be turned upside down.

  3. RJ, I have fully embraced the stockpiling philosophy as you know it simply makes life a whole lot easier. I'm wondering what you feel about stockpiling drinking water? I recall during Hurricane Katrina and the Indian ocean Tsunami, how drinkable water became the most important survival equipment. Do you stockpile it? I haven't included it but am wondering if even a small supply would be appropriate....just in case the 20,000 gallon tank outside the back door should somehow become unusable.

  4. RJ, It could just be me, but the link on starting a stockpile in this post isn't working.

  5. I've lived from a stockpiled pantry for years, ever since I became a single Mum. It's a real life line, both from a financial and organisational standpoint. I love it.

  6. We have about seven years of income stashed away in different investments and property in case something goes wrong, and no debt. This gives me great peace of mind, and also enables us both to work at jobs that we love, rather than those just to make money. That is one "stockpile"

    That said, I like the idea of a food stockpile. I have a small one, enough to get us by for three weeks, and in the summer a big veg garden and three water butts, but not enough food for several months. I'm looking forward to reading your article and seeing how I can improve our stores.

    Best wishes,

    Anna Marie

  7. when i read your write up about it i tried to follow suit but still very "newbie" about it. you're right, it saves to stockpile or buy large amounts...nice blog, really. i am learning alot.

  8. Rhonda, good point. It so happens I have no reason to think we're absolutely safe here, so I definitely should invest more in stockpiling. Actually I'm already taking babysteps in that direction, but not nearly as much as you.

  9. Absolutely! I remember one article involving a family who stored duplicate canned goods in a big, new, trash container. When they lost their jobs during a time of lay-offs, they had enough food to carry them through. Investing in a big bucket(s) of wheat is also a good idea. Some local co-ops have different grains available. I grind my wheat in a small coffee bean meal as I only need to make 1 loaf at a time.

  10. good morning everyone!

    It's good to see others benefiting from stockpiling.

    Lisa, I hope the link is working now. I just tried it and it worked for me.

  11. Lisa, yes, I do stockpile water. I bought a carton of 600 ml bottles of water about three years ago. We use them when we go out so they're constantly rotated in the stockpile. We clean the bottles thoroughly when they've been used and they're refilled from our filtered water tap. Those twelve 600ml bottles are always there in the cupboard. We also have 15,000 litres in our rainwater tanks and they are usually between half full and full.

  12. Hi,

    I'm in the process of restarting my stockpile. We have always had a small one but ate it down to almost nothing earlier this year to try and save some money. We are now expecting baby #2 in August/Sept. and like I did with our first I plan to have a good size stockpile again. It saves trips to the supermarket when its too cold to take a bub or I'm too tired and means hubby can come straight from work to help me at home. All we will need to get is milk and fresh produce, everything else will be already at home. I hope to then maintain it instead of eating it down as we become better at managing our money.

    I'm also hoping to begin building an emergency fund to get us through the tough times, then I hope we will be covered.

    Thanks again for all the tips your blog and forum provide.



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