Reasonable Emergency Situation Preparedness

As the world is faced with a worldwide pandemic, it’s necessary for most people to have a reasonable emergency situation preparedness plan. You’ve probably heard of the coronavirus and how people are starting to get a little extreme by buying up all of the toilet paper and hand sanitizer that they can. Raiding Costco for all of the toilet paper definitely isn’t necessary, but having a small stock pile of necessary cleaning products and food may not be such a bad idea.

Since people are starting to panic and clearing out grocery stores, it’s a good idea to stock up on a few items that your family will definitely need in the coming weeks as coronavirus spreads. Stores across the country are reporting longer lines and certain items selling out almost immediately. We don’t want to be without basic staples for ourselves and the girls if local stores start running out of stuff. Plus, we didn’t want to be fighting huge crowds for a jar of peanut butter and some toilet paper. To determine what our family’s needs were, we took a look at our typical shopping list and the items that we buy weekly or bi-weekly. Then we made a list of the non-perishable items, or those with a longer shelf life. For us that reasonable emergency situation preparedness list looked like this:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Flour (we use a lot of bread, but the shelf life isn’t long so we wanted to be prepared to bake bread)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Rice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Syrup
  • Yeast
  • Goldfish
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Black beans
  • Cheese
  • Tuna
  • Coffee
  • Frozen waffles
  • Frozen fruits
  • Frozen veggies

All of the food listed above is stuff that we eat on a regular basis and most of it is for the girls. We wanted to make sure that they wouldn’t be without their normal mealtime staples in the event that we can’t get to the store or their favorite items are sold out. We bought a few weeks worth of each of these items and cleared space to store them. The plan is to continue shopping like normal and only dip into our backup as needed. Once the chaos of coronavirus has passed, or is more under control, we will simply eat whatever supplies are leftover. This list is obviously an upfront investment out of our emergency savings, but it’s worth it to us. Plus, since we are only buying things we actually need and will use, it doesn’t feel like a waste in the event that we can continue shopping normally. Also, note that we bought frozen food. We don’t eat many canned vegetables, so buying those items didn’t make sense for us. We have a drop freezer and plenty of room in our regular freezer to stock up on a few frozen items. Our girls love fruit and smoothies are one of the few ways that we can sneak green veggies into their meals, so it was important that we have plenty of frozen options. The point of reasonable emergency situation preparedness is to not be selfish or wasteful.

Our next list was a list of all of the cleaning supplies, paper products and medication that we may need. The news, and social media, have been showing a lot of empty toilet paper aisles and that is definitely NOT something that we want to be without. Most cleaning products are also getting wiped out, so we wanted to have enough to last us a few weeks. This means that we bought like two extra bottles, not 10! The best safeguard against the coronavirus is washing your hands with soap and water anyway. We go through one bottle of cleaner a month, so having just a few backups is plenty. We also wanted to make sure that Belle had plenty of diapers and wipes. And in the event that the girls get sick in any way (not just coronavirus), we wanted to have some kids’ Tylenol on standby. Plus, cold and flu medicines for Jesse and I. We did buy some hand sanitizer because the kind we usually use for the girls isn’t alcohol based. However, we wanted to focus more on soap. The hand sanitizer is for if we go out and are not able to immediately wash our hands. I doubt once the virus hits near us that I will take the girls out in public much, but for now we are still just living our lives. Here’s everything that was on our non-food list:

  • Lysol
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand soap
  • Bar soap
  • Bleach
  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Children’s Tylenol
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Laundry detergent
  • Paper plates
  • Desitin
  • Kid’s shampoo
  • Brita water filters

Finally, we created a third list. This is a list of all the things without long shelf lives, but that we use all the time and would really hate to be without. This list is dairy products and meat. We can definitely freeze some items to make them last a little longer. This list is mostly about avoiding the hoards at the stores because waiting for over an hour to buy some milk and chicken just isn’t worth it. We made this list and set it off to the side initially, but as crowds have been increasing at our local stores we’ve deemed it necessary to go ahead and buy these things. Again, we have means to store them and we aren’t buying anything that we won’t use any way. We didn’t go overboard, this is reasonable emergency situation preparedness, not overboard hoarding.

  • Chicken
  • Milk
  • Almond milk
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Ground beef
  • Yogurt

Buying all of these items ahead of time definitely took a chunk out of our emergency savings, but this kind of scenario is exactly why we have that money set aside. Plus, by sticking to buying only the things that we actually use any way the money isn’t a “waste.” It will either save us from going shopping at all, or we will buy less at the store and slowly work through our supplies if things aren’t too serious. The money we don’t spend at the store down the road will go back into our emergency fund to save for the next emergency situation.

Stocking up on items that we eat all the time has definitely eased some of my anxieties both for our current situation and in future situations. Now, I know that we can practice reasonable emergency situation preparedness. We can stay at home and still eat well and be comfortable. We may get a little stir-crazy, but that can be cured by going for walks and playing in the yard.

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