Ready or Not #174: No Shopping for 3 Months

Have you ever had someone challenge you to live off your food storage for an extended period of time?  Did you take up the challenge?  How did that go?

Quite a while back I had a church leader challenge the congregation to live for a week without going to the store and exist with only what was in our houses at that time– a mock emergency, no time to stock up.  My kids laughed and whispered, “Wow, mom, a WHOLE week!”  At that time we were only shopping once a month: I bought my eggs in bulk, made my own bread and bought milk and cheese and froze enough for the month and we had a small garden.

(Just a note: Freezing milk is really quite easy; I would have one gallon that I was using, one gallon waiting to be used and one gallon thawing out in the fridge.  When the first gallon was used up, we would rotate one of the frozen jugs out of the freezer to start thawing out.  When the milk is completely thawed, shake it up a bit and it will be just like it was when it was fresh!  The only precaution that I took was to thaw it out with a pie dish under the jug just in case it leaked.  I only had one jug leak out of several dozen and I transferred it to a pitcher to finish thawing – no problem.)

In my experiment, which wasn’t a stretch for my family at all, I only fed me, my husband, my two children and a half dozen or so babysitting kids each day (I had a daycare at the time).  The challenge was not very challenging.  (Some of my friends didn’t even make it two days and they were rushing out to the store – now that did make me nervous.)

I never took on a self-imposed challenge that would really stretch my abilities to try to feed my family, without going to the store or actively bartering for food, for three months (ninety days), but that is exactly what Crystal Young from Omaha, Nebraska did.  That dramatic of a challenge might even still be manageable for me, maybe, but Crystal is a mother of 10 and feeding everyone breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner – and keeping them all healthy and happy without shopping, well that is a feat in itself (even with shopping).

But Crystal, a dietician/nutritionist, wanted to test the intestinal fortitude of her family and to show them that they had the ability to take care of themselves without relying on the government, or others, to help them in a crisis – or just everyday life.  She also thinks that it is important to store water; I love this woman!

So that she wouldn’t flake out and bug-out to the store, Crystal decided to write a daily blog about her family’s experience and follow the experiment through with a forced responsibility to her readers.  The blog that she writes is called, “Preparing – One Day at a Time.”  She started on January 27, 2010 and her blog starts at this link:

My suggestion is to start at day one and read yourself forward.  She shares recipes, things that work and don’t work, things that she wished she had more of, substitutions that work and ones that don’t work.  She shares her beautiful philosophy of the importance of taking care of yourself and not relying on the government to take care of you, especially in times of trial.  She also talks about her family and how they really grew together from the time they all shared this common goal.

I really liked how she shared her true feelings about how sometimes she was so tired and how it would be so easy to just order pizza and how busy she was (you can imagine with 10 kids), but taking the easy way out would defeat the whole reason behind what she was trying to achieve.  There is a lot to learn from this wonderful woman and I think that she has achieved what so many of us hope we can do, but have never been brave enough to try – at least at that level of commitment.

Now you know the reason that I created the food storage worksheets; I want you to learn and know what you need to store so that you can build your food storage to use and rotate on a daily basis – not just sit and look at it while it grows old.

I also want you to know how much you need to store so that you can do more than just subsist on your food/sundry storage if needed.  By building your food storage and using it, you will automatically rotate your stored food and save it from growing old and unusable.  It will save you money by buying in bulk.  You will not run out of things you want or need.  Your family will learn how to cook with basic, healthy food and you will learn what you need to do to keep your family as healthy, happy and as self-sufficient as Crystal and her family were during their experiment.  It is a win-win situation

Question – How long do you think that you could feed your family without them complaining while also staying healthy?

Challenge – Could you even go just one month?  One week?  Try it.  You have the resources (more than you think – and I’m here for you!) and the ability (really, believe in yourself), now all you need to do is just take the time to figure it out.

Now, go read Crystal’s observations and then get started; Crystal is going to start an upgraded, frugal living 90 day challenge – I can’t wait!

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