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One of the incredible benefits to reasonable efforts toward disaster preparedness, is that during an emergency, you have given yourself and your family choices. Choices are something that go a long way in terms of helping families to manage risks. If you are a new mom at home and there is an impending snowstorm, and you are using your last package of diapers and you didn't stock some washable diapers, some plastic pants, and an emergency package of wipes or disposables in advance, then pretty much, you have no choice. You or your spouse might have to risk your lives heading out into a blizzard to get diapers for your new little one. Sometimes life is just that cut and dried. Some might argue that they couldn't afford the advance preparation for this, and that diapers are expensive. Before my first child was born, I was 24, and only fairly recently out of college. Friends from school asked what I wanted in terms of shower gifts, and knowing that we were all as broke as one another, I asked them to buy me a package of diapers. (Top price at the time for the larger packs was about six dollars.) Each friend bought me diapers of a different size, as I had asked. One of their mothers bought me some cloth diapers that could be washed and were secured with velcro. She didn't know I didn't have laundry facilities,at that house, but they were a welcome emergency strategy nonetheless. In that first wintry year, we always had diapers, and in the year which followed, every single one of my friend's gifts were used. When people ask you what you need,whatever the undertaking, don't be afraid to give them practical suggestions. Conversely, don't be afraid to act on them when someone else says they would rather have something practical !
Several of my son's friends had a difficult time in college. They were approved for financial aid, and then found it taken back as they needed it when the semester began. One was left with no way to buy food for an entire semester. My son took care of several of his friend's with emergency breakfasts by giving them large inexpensive packages of quick oats and a box of brown sugar. One of them ate little else plus vitamins for an entire semester. This was not a hardship for my son, and it was an incredible help to several of his friends.
Many times, small inexpensive strategies and simple ideas we implement in advance of a problem can be the difference between succeeding or not. Advance planning can provide us with an optimal number of choices. The less spare money you have, then the better you must be at advance planning. If you are a single mom with two small children and you are heading into flu season, then you MUST head to the Dollar Tree for an inexpensive package of ginger ale to aid in hydration for sick older children, gatorade, generic pedialyte packets, children's acetaminophen, a generic Vick's rub. If you wait until everyone has the flu and you run to a nearby pharmacy, the same items may cost ten times the price than at the Dollar Tree in the Fall. By buying early you will also sidestep the fact that during flu season, the pharmacy may well be sold out of the item you need the most. Advance planning is always wise.
It is with all of these things in mind that I would like everyone to look toward more self sufficiency. Again, this means very different things depending upon your family size, how much cash you have to spend, and where you live. However, preparedness does not always favor the wealthy ! Evacuating an area can be easier with fewer things, and it can be easier to start again when you haven't lost as much.
If you are in an apartment in a city, can you grow tomatoes in a pot on your balcony ? Can you grow sprouts in a jar on your kitchen window ? Both things can provide greens for sandwiches and salads. This year all summer I grew several varieties of lettuces in my front porch. I didn't buy any lettuce all summer and for part of the Autumn. We enjoyed terrific fresh salads and despite our harvesting from the plants every couple of days, as long as we watered them, just about daily, they recovered and recovered to deliver more lettuce to us.
This is a link for growing sprouts:
And a prior link for storing potatoes and onions in the suburbs:
Being more self sufficient means a lot of different things. It can mean saving twenty dollars for your children's haircuts by trimming their hair yourself in between haircuts.
This is a post on learning to cut your children's hair, that I wrote some time ago:
It can mean learning to change your own oil (yes, even if you're female.) It can also mean learning to do many things on your vehicle, which might not be as difficult as you at first, may think.
When I was a young college student, and a biology major, I had been a Pre-Med major. I deliberately chose to change to Nursing, because although I thought I would likely enjoy medical school, I didn't think I could stay up all night working every two to three nights while on call during residency, as was the custom in the early nineteen-eighties, and to slightly less a degree today. I didn't realize until I was home with two babies in the mid eighties, and working nights as an RN, that I was staying up every third night all night, to do my job ! I thought the same thing about engineering. I had always thought of myself as a people-person. I was a verbal person whose strengths lay in reading people not machines. I was as far from an engineer as one could get, and I wasn't mechanical ! That misperception also had to bite the dust late one 3-11 shift when I was working in a medical ICU and I had to reset and debug an intraaortic balloon pump for my patient. It's amazing how mechanical you become when someone's life depends upon it.
So, toss out your perceptions of yourself. You can earn extra money on Ebay ! You can earn extra on Etsy ! You can learn to change the oil safely. You can grow your own sprouts, cut your kids hair without lasting psychological trauma ! You can make a wall garden project with your child. You can grow onions and potatoes in containers, if need be, depending upon your location. You can save more, and spend less. You can have more choices !