Why You Should Have a Well Stocked Pantry and Freezer
I believe firmly that every person should have a well stocked pantry and freezer. This will vary from person to person and family to family. If you are single, your stockpile will not consist of nearly as much as mine for my family of 6. The thing that I see as important is that you have extra food and water in your home at all times.
I recently went through all the food in my house. I wanted to check expiration dates on things - using up what needed to be used quickly. I also wanted to get a good idea of what I had on hand, what I needed to buy, and what meals I could make with what I already had in the house. I made a list - and worse case scenario I could feed my family for about 1 month with exactly what I have in the house (not including water). To me this is pretty good.
Some people are more comfortable having food on hand to cover a 3 month time frame. Others insist on having enough food to last a full year. I can't imagine where I would put food to last a year. I guess what would happen is it would be bare bones for the year, not a complete balanced and healthy diet. My 1 month supply of food would probably last 2 months if I limited everything and we all ate bare bones. So in a true emergency my family could live longer than 1 month on what I have in the house.
But why should you have a stockpile of food? What are the benefits of having extra food and water in the house? Security is a big one for me. If something happens and I can't get to the store we will survive. I was very sick for 10 days one time. I didn't have to worry that there wasn't enough food to eat. I knew that we had plenty. It might not have been what everyone wanted, but we had food. I could not have run to the store during this time and prefer not to rely on neighbors, although I know they would help us in a bind. We try to be as self sufficient as possible, having a supply of food on hand allows us to be.
How about emergencies? Each person's definition of emergency is different. There are also different types of emergencies. If you lose your job, it would be really nice not to have to worry about what you were going to eat that week. Having a food supply built up will free up what cash you have available to cover other bills like the mortgage. What if you get hit with a large medical bill? We were denied a $400 claim one time. Of course by the time everything was said and done, the doctor really wanted to be paid. We had thought it would all be covered. Instead of putting the bill on the credit card, or pulling money from the emergency fund, we were able to cut most of our grocery budget and pull from some other areas to cover this bill. Using the food we had on hand (aside from milk, eggs, produce) we were able to eat for that pay period for under $25, using the rest to pay the doctor bill.
Another emergency that many people think of is a natural disaster. Think of Colorado and all the snowstorms last year. Many times in the winter there are power outages that can last for days. The Midwest was without power for over a week in places last winter. Having food and water on hand was essential for these people. Many were unable to get out of their driveway. Imagine the fear and hunger they could have experienced if there was no food in the house. Having the peace of mind, knowing that my kids will be fed, even if I can't go to the store for a few weeks is priceless.
I firmly believe that having a well stocked pantry and freezer is essential for everyone. Please consider doing this, to some extent, if you haven't already.