My Real Life

May 30, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

So, I just read a series of young adult books that I loved.

Not high literature or anything, but I totally fell into them.

The premise of the book is that an asteroid hit the moon and knocked it closer to the Earth, causing major disruption like tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc.  Millions die and those that are left have to deal with starvation, epidemic, weather changes, etc.

I’ve always been drawn to reading stories about how people survived during the Great Depression.

I don’t know what it is, but there is just something about stories where people make do with what they have and still manage to survive that has pulled me in time and time again.

I loved watching Little House on the Prairie, as a kid (and as an adult, to be honest), not because of the stories (although who can resist the Laura/Nellie rivalry) but because of the way they got things done.

Life on the prairie was hard.  Life during the Depression was hard.  Life in a post-apocalyptic world with a too-close moon is hard.

And, when I read these stories, real or fiction, it always gets me thinking…how would we survive in such a situation?  Are we prepared?

Trust me, I’m not thinking the end of the world is upon us and I’m not waiting for the government to come and take away all of my belongings, but I do see some logic to some preparation.

In the days before the monkeys, I was a master couponer.

Actually, even in the early days when we just had Monkey Girl and Monkey in the Middle, I did alright with the coupons.

I had a few articles posted in some couponing magazines and people came to me for advice on saving money in the grocery story.

In those days, I had a stockpile in the basement.

Not full of  guns and ammo and anti-government paraphernalia and canned goods to the ceiling, but definitely with enough non-perishable items to get us through a serious dry spell in case anyone lost their job or there was some weird natural disaster and we couldn’t get out to buy food.

And, having just finished this series, I started thinking…maybe it’s time to stock up again.

Not like I did, but just a bit.

In the book, the hottest commodities were batteries, canned goods, and medical stuff like aspirin and inhalers.

I started thinking, maybe I should take $20 of my piano money each week and just buy a flat of bottled water, a pack of batteries and a few cans of beans or corn and just stash them away in the basement.

I’m totally suggestible, by the way.

When I read books about people who are artists, I fully believe that I could paint the Mona Lisa.

I am a moderator (an absent moderator, these days, but still a moderator thanks to a very patient and gracious website owner) of a frugal living website called The Frugal Village, and I know that many people there stockpile on a regular basis just in case of things like a job loss.

Some have amazing pictures of their stockpiles, and I’m always impressed how far they can all stretch their dollars.

Particularly because I fully believe that these monkeys can literally eat every single food item in my pantry and still be hungry for more, and when I have three teenage boys in the house, I worry that Real Man and I will need to get three jobs each just to keep them fed and satisfied.

So, I’m curious…what are your thoughts on preparedness and stockpiling and all of this stuff, and if you have a stockpile, large or small, what kinds of things are you putting away, and why do you do it?

No ridiculing each other…just plain old curiosity on my part.

Please, let me know.  As fun as it must be to listen to me ramble every day, I’d love for it to be more of a conversation!


  1. We’re not huge stockpilers, but we have a few items that I buy in bulk and try to keep extra in hand. Toilet paper is one of them, after being convinced by my husband. I used to tease him about his stashes of Cottonelle around the house (he zips up the cases inside our luggage for easier storage) until Hurricane Sandy. Then he saved a news video clip of someone saying, “Toilet paper is GOLD!!!” and replays it for me over and over again. We could definitely survive a month on what we have in stock now, but I could stand to even it out better with a plan.

    Comment by Stacey Maisch — May 30, 2013 @ 6:50 am | Reply

    • Toilet paper is something that everyone at the Frugal Village stockpiles. Hopefully we never get to the point where we are trading 50,000 rolls of toilet paper for five gallons of gas! 🙂

      Comment by Amy — May 30, 2013 @ 6:57 pm | Reply

  2. With only a family of three stockpiling isn’t really a great idea. In fact I get kinda bummed when I go into BJ’S sometimes bc the family sizes of some stuff is just insane unless you have four monkeys and a hubby to feed. Lol. I do buy TP and snack packs there and some other stuff that won’t perish but that’s about it. Oh and I suppose not having a basement and having a pantry the size of a postage stamp helps my decision. I’ve watched the extreme coupon shows and am amazed but I often wonder why they stockpile certain items.

    Comment by Heather — May 30, 2013 @ 8:02 am | Reply

    • I have not made the jump to BJ’s or Costco yet. Been trying to convince Real Man we should do Costco for the paper products alone, but I do pretty well at ShopRite with my coupons when I match them with sales, so I’m not sure I’d really be saving anything.

      Comment by Amy — May 30, 2013 @ 7:01 pm | Reply

  3. OK, I’m totally suggestible too. After watching The Walking Dead, I’m convinced that the crossbow is really the best weapon and kinda have i tin the back of mind that I should get one and learn to use it for fun but also just in case I need to hunt for squirrels quietly.

    I’ve read about people who stockpile in case of natural disaster, blackouts, society collapsing, etc. When Sandy hit and a good chunk of the East Coast was flooded back to the 19th century, I suspect that NONE of these people were even hit. Because the universe has a sick sense of humor.

    Living in an apartment, we don’t stock-up on much because we don’t have the room (or a car to bring things home from the store). Not even toilet paper. We’re on high ground, so we’re pretty safe from problems, but we may revisit that policy when the next storm warning comes along. Of course, we also have a deli a block away that stayed open during Sandy (the actual storm), so maybe not.

    Comment by Jen Anderson — May 30, 2013 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

    • Jen, it was interesting during Sandy. We have a generator, so we were okay, but the shelves at the stores were bare, so there was nothing for us to buy! Just kinda ate our way through the fridge/freezer/pantry.

      Comment by Amy — May 30, 2013 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

      • My parents’ neighborhood lost power for weeks, and I couldn’t get to them for days. So everything in the fridge was trash. But the red cross showed up with MREs and food trucks fed the neighborhood for free until the power came back. They did have gas, so they could at least cook a few things at home.

        I went out there 2 weekends in a row to help with cleanup, then took the subway home along with kids heading out to nightclubs. I smelled like low tide and they were wearing high heels. So surreal.

        Comment by Jen Anderson — May 30, 2013 @ 7:11 pm

      • It was insane. My students and I were just talking about it the other day. They were like, “Hey, remember when we didn’t have school for a week and then we had to go half days at the high school because there was still no power the next week?” Then one of them said, “OMG…that was this school year? It feels so long ago!” In many ways it does, but it’s made me so wary because now living in NJ doesn’t necessarily mean you are safe from intense weather.

        Comment by Amy — May 30, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

  4. My husband tends to be the one who stocks up on things. We always have extra batteries,bottled water,toilet paper and the like.He’s the practical one. I on the other hand am terrible. I make sure we have the fun stuff…instant coffee,chocolate,munchies,peanut butter,candles,crackers,and foods for the animals.If the zombies are going to come and get us? At least we’re going down with Ghiraradelli! In the summer we have a huge garden so I can lots of soups,chili and veggies for winter. I’m kind of amazed how much we still have so? That’s a plus. I do tend to make sure we have at least an extra month of “female products”, soap and toothpaste on hand. And we both make sure there is firewood around. We could easily make it a month or possibly two I guess. With it only being us and two cats in a little farm house? We try to make the most of our space. Love your posts!They always make me think and laugh….

    Comment by Kerry — May 30, 2013 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

    • Well, stocking up on female products is just good sense. It’s not like next month’s period is going to be a surprise. Yet when I was growing up, we ran out all the time. That is one thing I do stockpile.

      Comment by Jen Anderson — May 30, 2013 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

      • LOL…no, it’s definitely not going to be a surprise!!!

        Comment by Amy — May 30, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

    • Thanks, Kerry! Never actually thought of stockpiling the “female” stuff, but it makes sense! Don’t want the zombies to catch me unprepared! 🙂

      Comment by Amy — May 30, 2013 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

  5. I find Costco great for buying in bulk but its not always cheaper. In the US though, its competitively priced vs a grocery store. In Canada, I find Costco’s pricing for produce insane!

    Comment by myliladventures — May 31, 2013 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

  6. my husband is in the coast guard so we generally have an evacuation plan in place (usually for me and anything we want to save since he will be responding). We also move every 3-4 years so I make sure that we are prepared for emergencies but don’t do a lot of stockpiling other than things like bathroom supplies and other stuff that we use regularly and I try to never run out of. That stuff I’ll happily move too. Our current project is a home inventory so should something happen to the house, we know what we lost. Not so cheerful a project and hopefully we will never need to refer to it.

    Comment by Eve — May 31, 2013 @ 9:48 pm | Reply

  7. I would stockpile the things you eat. So if pasta is on sale, buy twice what you normally buy that week. You know how to do it! I wouldn’t keep it separate, but just try to have more of a pantry than you currently do. And as for the kids eating it all – if there is anything special you know they would down quickly, keep it separate in a rubbermaid container or something.

    Comment by Jennifer — June 2, 2013 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

  8. I am a big Costco shopper. Have been made fun of, but those who laugh at me will not be welcome when all hell breaks loose and they are looking for a can of beans to feed their starving child. The kid can come in, but parent can keep laughing from the porch.

    Although, I hate Costco and shopping in general. My stock piling comes from my disdain for crowded places. I used to go once every 2-3 months. Think I purchased toilet paper at Acme 1x in the last 10 years– and paper towels, paper plates, plastic ware, cups, and napkins. Along with shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, shaving cream, razors, garbage bags, detergents, coffee, tea bags, ketchup, bleach, vinegar (it’s great for everything) and batteries (I hate to say it, but I have become my grandmother who stock piled the for some reason. When she died, she had batteries which were expired by 5+ years). We use them. And when I need to change batteries on smoke detectors in October, I just put them on the Costco list for next month to restock the 9v.

    I do this not because of the end of the world, but my own sanity and lack of time.

    Doing the gluten free thing and stock piling is not and easy task. But it’s getting easier.

    And I can’t have guns in my house due to my night episodes, so no ammo or weapons. If woes comes to worse, unless I am facing the end of a gun, I have no doubt my Cutco knives will inflict a great deal of damage.

    Here are some great projects for the Real Man and the kids this summer. Math, engineering, wood working, art, etc. Sounds like fun, uh?

    These religious groups who plan to survive 20 years after the end, sure have some great ideas.

    Comment by Carla email without 2 in address — June 10, 2013 @ 7:43 am | Reply

    • I haven’t taken the Costco plunge yet, but have been considering it for awhile, in particular for paper goods. I don’t think you’re crazy at all. I can understand it. I’m actually about to use the last razor I purchased in 2004 when I found an excellent deal and stocked up.

      Comment by Amy — June 10, 2013 @ 8:10 am | Reply

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