OFB Preparedness Mid-Month Update


We’re halfway through October! I’m weirdly excited for Halloween this year, and I don’t even really like Halloween. I think it’s partly because Johnny and I have compiled a noteworthy (and very cheap!) costume for Sally. And I think I’m also curious to see just how mortifying/embarrassing/memorable Sally’s behavior will be when she realizes people are giving her candy. She just learned to say “Mine!” and that in and of itself terrifies me. Sally mutates into a child I don’t know when she’s presented with sugar. Just yesterday, I bought a box of fruit snacks, and when I opened it, she grabbed out two handfuls of packages and refused to give any of them up. I’m already practicing my, Who’s kid is that?! face so I can divert any accusing looks when Sally tries to grab fistfuls of candy at every house.

Speaking of halfway through October, we’re also halfway through our self-proclaimed preparedness month. So far, it’s going pretty well. I’ve actually kind of struggled with stocking up on stuff because I hesitate to buy anything that I’m not absolutely certain I’ll use. But I’m trying, and here’s what we’ve gotten.


The photo on the left (above) is the inside of our hallway closet. Even before this month, this closet always looked like this. Our storage space in our condo is sparse, but I always keep an abundance of paper towels and toilet paper. They make me feel more secure somehow, which is a strange confession I wasn’t planning on making. I also store our extra soap, deodorant, and contact solution in there. What I’ve added this month is that little white basked with some first aid stuff and extra bottles of ibuprofen and Tylenol. I bought each bottle at Walmart and spent about $15 total. I already had the first aid supplies on hand; it was just a matter of rounding it up from around the house.

The bottom right photo is pretty self-explanatory: water! It’s also stored in the aforementioned hall closet. I plan to buy another three containers of water like this one before the end of the month, which will in total cost less than $20. And the water doesn’t expire for a few years!

Finally, slide your eyes up to the top right photo. But first, let me show you another photo.


My kitchen lacks a pantry. But I’m lucky enough to have freakishly tall cabinets. And since I can’t actually reach anything on the very top shelf, I decided it’d be perfect for storing my extra food. I was very careful to only buy food that our family eats, which entailed Costco-sized Skippy peanut butter ($10), pecans ($14), tuna ($15), crackers ($7), and Bel Vitas ($10) (an on-the-go breakfast cracker that Sally and Johnny both love). We already owned insane amounts of canned corn and Kraft mac-and-cheese because we’re real cool like that.

We’ve spent a total of $75 so far this month on “preparedness.” Some of my prices might be off by a dollar or two because I don’t save receipts, remember? 😉 I may buy a few other canned goods, but I want to keep the total under $100 for the month. So that’s where we stand. It feels good knowing we’ve stocked up some extra food we wouldn’t normally have in the house. And it’s all stuff we can take our sweet time eating since it doesn’t expire anytime soon. Any foods you’d add to our little stockpile? If you want to see our other emergency preparedness items, here’s last week’s post.

Coincidentally, we teamed up with eBay this month to write some guides about buying gold. Another way we’ve found to stay prepared is not locking all our money up in a single bank account. That doesn’t mean we believe in storing our money under our mattress. But it does mean that buying precious metals like gold make for a smart way to diversify. You can check out our guides here:

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  • Reply Rob October 17, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Hi Joanna! Well I see that you guys have been busy stocking up on stuff that will be handy should ever an emergency occur. Most of these items that I see are food products and other consumables. So I was wondering – are you also stocking up for emergencies where you might have a power failure? During a cold winter, perhaps? You can’t open tins of food unless you own a hand operated can opener. You can’t see well in the dark unless you have a supply of candles, flashlights (with a good supply of fresh batteries). You can’t stay warm in winter unless you have warm clothing / blankets / sleeping bags. You can’t watch tv for emergency info / news but you can using a good portable battery operated radio. During the Y2K scare (back around the turn of the century) we stocked up on all these things, along with all the cans of food, packages of pasta, bottled water, etc. Also, during winter months, we always ensure that our car’s gas tank is always at least half full (gas stations can run dry or may not even operate during power outages).

    • Reply Joanna October 23, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      Great points, Rob! Thanks for bringing all that up. We do own a hand-operated can opener, and we have a few LED flashlights and a bulk supply of batteries in all different sizes that we’ve purchased from Amazon. We could probably stock up on more candles, though. And we don’t own sleeping bags, but we have plenty of warm clothes and blankets. And we have a solar-powered radio.

      I especially like your tip with the gas tank! That’s a great consideration during the winter. So far all of October has been in the 70s (!!!) here, but I know that’s going to end very, very soon. And you never know what winter brings!

  • Reply Kara October 18, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Just found your blog and while I hardly ”know’ you yet, just having read a few of your fabulous posts, I almost cheered out loud to see you’re taking the time, space and funds to prepare for an emergency. IT”S IMPORTANT (yes, I had to yell that part, because it seriously is.) We had a major ice storm almost 6 years ago that left us without power for 10 days for 3 kids, the youngest only 5 months old. Long story short, as not-fun as it was, we were just peachy-keen because we were well prepared to hunker down for a bit. You’re investing in your family’s safety and welfare, and that’s fabulous. Now, assuming little adorable Sally isn’t potty trained yet (sorry not sure how old she is), go grab some extra diapers a size or two up (because too big is better than too small in a pinch in that department.) Keep up the great work on all fronts, and I’m looking forward to reading more!

    • Reply Joanna October 23, 2014 at 10:59 pm

      Oh my goodness! That must have been crazy. So glad to hear you guys were well-prepared! After reading your comment, I got an extra bulk-size box of diapers, so we’re all stocked up just in case. Thanks for reading, Kara, and welcome!

  • Reply Sarah October 19, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I’m just getting into stocking up on food and household necessities. I’m like you in that I always have toilet paper and paper towels on hand, haha. Not sure why, but I HAVE to have tons of excess of both of those items! We also always have pasta and sauce on hand, rice, baking supplies and frozen meat. Meat can be so expensive, so when we find it on sale we buy a bunch of it and freeze it. Thanks for the post! Hope you’re having a great weekend!

    • Reply Joanna October 23, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      Ha, a girl after my own heart! We love our paper products! Pasta and sauce is a really smart idea! I love reading ideas that I never would have thought of otherwise!

  • Reply Mrs. Frugalwoods October 20, 2014 at 7:00 am

    You’re smart to focus on only buying foods you already eat–I have to remind myself that just because something is on sale doesn’t mean I should buy it! Your storage looks so organized and tidy. I’m impressed!

    • Reply Joanna October 23, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      My storage may be tidy, but my clothing closet is a whole other story. I honestly think sometimes, “What if someone saw this???” Johnny and I are hoping to do some major purging and trips to Goodwill soon!

  • Reply Melanie October 21, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Your place looks super nice AND I’m envious of your tons of cabinet space!! 🙂

    • Reply Joanna October 23, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks, Melanie! It’s so much more kitchen storage than we had when we were living in big cities. There are a few cabinets I still haven’t filled!

  • Reply Patrick October 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I picked up a couple of these solar rechargeable lanterns when they were on sale this past summer.


  • Reply Joanna October 23, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Whoa, very cool! Thanks for sharing…. these would be a great addition to our preparedness supplies.

  • Reply Michelle October 29, 2014 at 9:38 am

    We have similar preparedness strategies! I might stock up on Perrier instead of regular water….but, I think I might need to rethink that. I still think we’re in for a hard winter even though the temperatures are still pretty warm.

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