Monday, June 9, 2008

Summer: A time for Picnics and Preparedness

My blog title the 3 P’s in a Pod stands for Practical, Personal Preparedness. In today’s blog it can be for Playing, Picnics and Preparedness. As schools get out and the weather warms up thoughts usually turn to vacations, family and fun..

I have a suggestion to make. As you plan how your budgets will be stretched or tightened in order to take those family trips or have weekend picnics, add your preparedness program to the top of those lists.

Early summer planning and budgeting will allow you to take advantage of the sales that are scheduled at the end of summer. Which in turn means the preparedness pantry will contain a little bit more inventory than space.

For example, are you saving now to take advantage of the annual case lot sales? Late July and August are traditionally the scheduled times for great prices on case lots and bulk items. However, due to the floundering economy, the price wars between supermarkets will be heating up. One of the tactics most likely used will be to promote case lot sales more often and before the competitor’s regularly scheduled sale. Case lot sales bring in customers. As buyers it has been perceived that if the item is sold as a case the price will be lower. That used to be the rule. Now, you do not usually get a better price for buying an entire case. The case price usually is the same as the price per can. However prices are almost always good during “case lot sales.” But now the term has become more of a sale name than the definition for how the items will be sold. Price consciousness will allow you to determine what is a super price compared to just a good price. Planning ahead will allow you to have enough funds to cover all the great buys you find.

Be aware that as you plan to take advantage of “case” sales that sometimes the prices quoted are for shrink-wrapped half cases. A full case is usually 24 cans. That could make quite a difference in the value of a “sale.”

As you compare prices now and keep track of what food items are available in the stores that you frequent, also pay attention to what the houses brands are in those stores. Should you not be familiar with the taste of a particular house brand there is a tried and true method to know whether or not you will want to purchase a case or more during case lot sales. Consider it your homework. Buy one can, take it home and then eat it! If you like it you can buy a case when the price is right,

Let me offer another word of encouragement and advice for your preparedness success. It comes in the form of another homework assignment. Wait! Keep reading! You will be glad you did.

One thing that will benefit your program is if your cupboards and/or pantry are set up so that when you discover an incredible sale and can stock-up you have a place to put it all. That means that you may need to discover the joy of organizing and making space. In Preparedness Principles I discuss many different ways and places to be able to have a pantry or mini-pantry. But just begin with what you have now and then improve on it. You must realize by now that in order to have a preparedness program in place you must have somewhere to put your supplies. It can be accomplished, no matter how small your home may be.

Start now, before that sale hits or you discover the bargain bonanza, to organize the space you have. It can be done in steps or bits and pieces. It can be done a shelf at a time. I have my shelves arranged so that the fruits are all in one area, the vegetables in another, and the “cooking stuff,” such as seasonings, flavorings and so on are in another. The pasta is all in one area. The cream soups are all together. I can go to my shelves and at a glance see which things I need or which things I have plenty of. Instead of a jumbled bunch of “stuff” crammed onto the shelves, among which there just might be some food, the foods are at least categorized. (And no, I have not been peeking in the windows in your neighborhood. And no, this is not meant to be a guilt trip. And no, my cupboards are not labeled and alphabetized, with Tole painted lists on the inside of the doors.)

If you take the time now to rearrange the space and create a working pantry it will become a money management tool for you. You can plan to take advantage of the sales and bargains because now you know where they will fit.

One of the greatest joys of preparedness is taking home all the bargains you find and can afford – even if that is only five cans of pork and beans. As you put those items on the shelves and realize the blessings of stretching the budget, filling those shelves and being able to be just a little bit more prepared; feelings come as a bonus that perhaps you hadn’t realized would be there. Pure gratitude!

Enjoy the lazy hazy days of summer, but stay consistent in your preparedness plans and the thrill of the hunt as you find the sales to stretch your budget and fill your pantry shelves.

So get that pencil ready, get that notebook ready for your lists and get those shelves ready. You are ready for the summer sales! See you in the stores.

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Candace E. Salima said...

Great advice, Barbara. Pencil ready. Paper ready. Now comes the hard part, organization.