Monday, April 28, 2008

Buy Low, Eat High? Thoughts on Preparedness

This is a crazy time, with food prices and shortages and all.

I'm recalling President Hinckley's talk in 1998 when he read from Genesis 41 and then said:

I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order.

So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings.

We have witnessed in recent weeks wide and fearsome swings in the markets of the world. The economy is a fragile thing. A stumble in the economy in Jakarta or Moscow can immediately affect the entire world. It can eventually reach down to each of us as individuals. There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.

Of course, I cannot interpret the prophet's words for anyone else, but I can't help but feel that we are experiencing a glimpse of what stormy weather can look like, and what the impact of an interconnected worldwide economy can be. As he said, if something happens in one part of the world, it can affect us all.

I remember when a big storm hit the East coast when I was living there. It only shut things down for three days, but people went crazy and bought the stores out of bread and produce. I was stunned when it took a month for the produce to really come back up to a normal supply.

We are seeing similar panicking now. You can't just walk into Costco (or any grocery store, for that matter) and get a 25 bag of rice. You can't go to your cannery and pick up more than a couple of bags of food. And prices of what you can buy (such as wheat) continue to go up.

President Hinckley also talked a lot about avoiding consumer debt, about not living on the edges of our incomes. This situation we face now to me seems like a simple example of why this is wise counsel. If one has a fixed food budget, one cannot simply go and pay premium prices for commodities, unless one has some extra money tucked away...which is yet another element of preparedness counsel we have received.

I've also been struck by how the focus for food storage has changed from storing commodities first, to storing three months' worth of what our families regularly eat. Might such a focus also help us at times like this? If we are working on our three-month supply, do we really need to go out and pay premium prices for commodities right now? Might this be a good time to stock up on other foods that aren't getting so much attention? Plant a garden? Learn how to make bread? etc....

I dunno. I suppose for each family, the solution might be a little different, depending on budget and existing storage and typical eating patterns. But I've been thinking about the idea of 'Buy Low, Eat High.' If prices continue to soar, will I really want to pay bookoo bucks for a loaf of bread, or should I just make some (I need to use up that flour that is getting old anyway....)?

It is clear to me that prophetic counsel has the power to protect us from times of panic. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

How are you approaching things right now? Are you buying high? Are you going to ride it out and live on your storage? Are you ignoring the panic and storing other things?


Cheryl said...

Having just moved, we don't have as much food storage as we usually do. I'm slowly re-buying things; I've never done it quickly or in a panic. Bit by bit seems to help and I actually feel peaceful with the process. I like what you said here, though, about how the prophesy of food storage doesn't need to mean there will be no food --but that just a change in economy can make it harder to get food. Something to think about...

Papa D said...

The economic stimulus money might be a good way to take care of a fundamental food storage.

Tiffany Wacaser said...

I'm not going to worry about the rice right now. Although there doesn't seem to be such a panic in the Northeast at the moment.

I'll just buy potatoes or use pasta instead. And when rice becomes a reasonable price again, I'll buy it.

Panic only leads to more panic and ruin.

Great thoughts on following the prophet's counsel, M&M.

m_and_m said...

Thanks for your comments.

cheryl, I think your approach is a good one. Although I will admit that there have been a couple of times when I have decided I just wanted to GET IT DONE and went a little wacko. I did do a little of that recently, because we use rice so much and all of this made me realize that I didn't have as much as I wanted as a foundation. Now I do.

papa d, I wonder if some might do that.

swedemom, way to go. I have been doing some of the same...buying other things that we eat to supplement a rice supply. For me, this has been a good experience to evaluate what we have, figure out what we are lacking, and try to fill in the gaps.

I also agree with your comment about panic, although I admit to panicking a little myself this week...more as a reaction to the panic, which is exactly what you have commented on. I did feel pressed to do a couple of things, though, and now I feel settled, so like I said, this has been a good kick in the pants to get a few things rounded off in our storage.

And I do hope we can all get back into the mode of doing things a little at a time. This panic stuff is insane.