Tuesday, October 25, 2016

After Shopping

I thought I would let you know what happened with my first shopping exercise...

I ride the bus to do my traveling, and that includes shopping.  I really didn't have much food left yesterday.  As I was getting ready to go, I was weak and shaking, so I decided to eat what I could before I tried to leave.  I didn't expect that physical reaction, and consumed some almonds I had, a section of the homemade bread I had made the day before, and the last of some cinnamon applesauce I made this past weekend.  After resting a bit, I was well enough to try to leave.

Imagine what it must be like for people all over the world who are battling starvation... I have been hungry before, lived on foods that were cheap, gone to community meals, and sought out food boxes for the poor...  the effects of hunger and starvation are not something I welcome.

I finally made it to the store in the later part of the afternoon.  I could only go to one store because of my morning experience, so I decided to start at WinCo.  They have good bulk food prices, and reasonable prices for many other food items.  Starting to fill my empty shelves with new supplies took half of the food stamps I had left for this month.

I did purchase several of my planned meal supplies, but these were for my consumption.  I'm not sure how long my new food supplies will last, but the effort has begun.  Stretching food supplies has been a constant part of my poverty experiences.

As I realized how difficult this new food effort would be, I decided I might need to make a separate list of my emergency foods.  In thinking more about what I would be doing, including some kind of purchase references (when, where, etc.) and possibly the expiration date, if it applies to that food, would help keep track of what I have saved.  Special storage containers may also be an important thing to consider.

The need to separate my regular food budget from my emergency food effort became an obvious issue as I shopped.  I noticed how little $11 would buy... this was going to take a long time at this investment level.  Maybe I will need to find other resources to help me speed up the effort.  Making a food record for my emergency pantry seems like the best way to deal with creating my meal plans and keeping trwck of sources and expiration dates.

When I did my recordkeeping later, I made a new shopping list for my immediate needs.  I am still trying to build my current food pantry with staples like flour, sugar, dry milk, condiments, bulk foods that store well, and everyday food needs. 

This is an new and evolving experience for me even though I have been keeping some kind of emergency pantry for as long as I can remember. Creating a meal-based pantry is very different.

Until next post,  Deb 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Budgets and Emergencies

I am again working on my budgets.  At the end of one financial month, before the beginning of the next financial month, I try to plan how I can make my small funds last until the next infusion of money.  It has always been a survival issue for me... started way back when I had kids and lived on welfare only.  Now I only have a small Social Security Retirement check along with a small amount of food stamps (currently called SNAP).  Not much has changed in my income, despite lots of efforts to change it, but it is only me right now.  My kids have grown.

Right now I am at the end of my food supplies and planning to create a better emergency pantry than I have had in the past.  I know I have talked about it before, but let me update what I can as I write this new post.

Awhile back I purposely tried to live on my back-up food supplies.  I discovered the meal options were not very good.  I had a lot of easy to store foods like rice and dry beans, but little to go with them to make a decent meal.  I decided then to make a change in how I prepare for unexpected food emergencies.  I am trying to make a pantry that would create meals I like to eat.  I am now working on that challenge.

Since I live at such a low income level, I am going to work on a three month pantry first.  My food budget is so low (only $126 each month), I can only use a small amount of food money to begin the building process.  This morning I decided there is only $11 available for my emergency pantry efforts each month.  This will be quite a task.

I have created a plastic container to act as my starting storage option.  Naturally, I will eat the food if I have to, but the bigger goal is to stretch my other purchases to meet the regular food needs of November.  I see a lot of rice and pasta ahead... maybe a steady diet of ramen, a great meal stretcher !!  😃

Actually, I have been reading a lot of materials about food and diets and weight loss.  FOOD RULES by Michael Pollan is the latest book I have been reading.  Eating healthy and eating cheaply is the main difficulty in poverty.  I hope to find some useful solutions to those problems.  I will share them with you when I do.

What will eleven dollars buy for my first month doing this?  I don't know...yet!  My staples for quick meals are Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice, ramen, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese... they will probably start the process.  Canned milk is good to have on hand.  That might be all I can get in one budget.  Dried fruits store well, so I need to decide which ones to get and how to package them.

By the time we get to December's budget, I should have more meal ideas to start collecting for.  Let me know if you have any good ideas for this effort.  I search lots of resources, and will try to share those with you as time goes by.

In Christ,  Deb  💛