State of the Union: In Answer to Kathy

Proverbs 27:23-27  23Be sure you know how your sheep are doing, and pay attention to the condition of your cattle.  24Riches do not go on forever, nor do governments go on forever. 25Bring in the hay, and let the new grass appear.  Gather the grass from the hills.  26Make clothes from the lamb's wool, and sell some goats to buy a field.  27 There will be plenty of goat's milk to feed you and your family and to make your servant girls healthy.

I have mentioned the desire to deepen my pantry, to stock up on things we might find ourselves needing in the future.  Someone asked if I 'foresee' something in the future since this seems to be a common theme on many blogs at present.

So some of my thinking is just about being prepared.  You'll note the Proverb at the head of this post is really about just that.  It doesn't mention a great war coming nor a disaster about to occur, but it does mention changes.   The verses do seem to  say to know the state of your assets and to use what you have to provide for your household needs with an eye towards the future as well as the present.

I don't think we can any of us be totally prepared for all the things that might happen...and unless we've heard a specific word from God (think of the Pharaoh's dream of the 7 fat cows and the 7 skinny cows), it's unlikely we will know just what we're preparing for.  I don't want to go about my life living in fear but I do want to have something to carry us along if the unforeseeable thing happens.

Our pantry/freezer were a bonus to us at the end of Spring/early Summer this year when I was too ill to shop for groceries.  It would have stood us in as good stead if for some reason John was out of work.  I've said before that in my mind, a full pantry and a filled freezer are like having an additional emergency savings account, only it's assets in nutrient rich foods.  If necessary  we could probably manage a good month and a hard month on what we have in the house.  I say a hard month because we're low on fruits and green vegetables and flours at the moment. I don't have quite enough powdered milk on hand to see us through a full month if I couldn't for some reason go buy even milk. Those 'holes' I've mentioned in my pantry are such as that.

Here's where I am at present:   I foresee challenging times ahead for my own personal economies at present and I suppose that is partially why I feel the urgency to stock up while I can.

For my future, I will soon have to renew my medical insurance.  When we chose my policy last year I purchased the lowest tier insurance plan I could,  which had a high out of pocket deductible and lower payments.  It took a good bit of adjustments to manage to pay this monthly fee and I don't have a clue what we can adjust to afford to pay more, but it's a possibility I must look ahead and plan for. Based on my lack of doctor visits and illnesses at that time last year, it seemed a good choice.  From this side of the view, I don't think I will even be allowed to go lowest tier this time around nor indeed would I want to choose that plan.  Which means an increase in premium and in January means starting a whole new deductible year, etc (i.e.more money out of pocket than we've paid to date).  I do believe that with the good management I've had thus far, I won't by any means have to buy the highest tier of insurance, but it's a given there will be a change in the coming year and that means we'll feel it.

I've mentioned we went right through the beginning of the new fiscal year on John's job without even a hint of a whisper that there would be a cost of living raise given.  Yet again we're living off the same money as last year while food and other prices go higher. We're living on less and yet our out of pocket will continue to increase.  It's a constant juggle to balance all our needs against what we have to purchase them.

Do I think this is indicative of economy overall?  Yes, I do and if I'm experiencing a shift in my finances, it's more than likely others are as well.  If we aren't getting a cost of living raise, then others likely are seeing smaller than expected raises or none at all, too.  Everyone is seeing the cost of food increase for one reason or another whether or not they got a raise in living, so yes, I think it is an indicator of the economy.

But I am, first and foremost, looking ahead into my own future more than taking a world view or even a national view.  So if I find myself gazing at my sheets wondering how much longer they might last, then it would do me well to watch for a sale on sheets and have a few extras on hand.  If I find myself thinking  I should stock up on a few sewing supplies or supplements as the budget allows, I shall try and do just that.  If I'm practicing dressing well using fewer pieces of clothing at present, I believe there is good reason for it, if only the need to practice making do.   I don't want to give up what we're able to put into savings at presen because we're going to need those funds in the future for sure. I do want to juggle my current allotment of funds so that I can stock up without being continually over my budget.  No need to drill a hole in the side of my ship in order to plug a hole in my pantry shelf, if you see what I mean.

And that's the current estate of my economy.


Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

well said. I like to keep my pantry/freezer well stocked. Because, we never know , what tomorrow holds.. Sickness, high prices, and unforeseen expenses.
thankyou for sharing.

Rhonda said...

We don't know what tomorrow holds and I think you are doing things as right Biblically, as I understand it.

Georgene G. said...

Very interesting post. I find it fascinating that so many people are deepening their pantry... myself included. I enjoyed this post. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

And yet, our government continues to give themselves raises...funny, but not funny.

Since you mentioned sheets, I thought I would pass on this interesting bit of information. While reading up on 100 percent linen sheets and why many of them were often passed down, I learned that 150 years ago there were no fitted sheets, housewives simply used two flats sheets and did not worry as to which was the top or bottom sheet. In time, as one sheet would get worn in the middle and...this is the genius part to me...the worn sheet would be cut down the middle and the two good sides sewed together for more years of service.

I can attest to this as a former collector and seller of vintage sheets...the flat sheets 99% of the time are like brand new. Most folks buy the sheet sets and use the flat sheets very little. I have since been buying three sheets with the third used to make our own pillowcases...for some odd reason I can not seem to find standard pillows that fit standard pillowcases so I need to shorten them. As we have a full-size mattress I buy the queen size sheets in order to have extra to tuck under.
blessings, jill

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile and really enjoy it. Our health insurance continues to go up and we have had no raises for the last two years. Did you have health insurance before you got sick and was it affordable then?

Lana said...

I have always said that a well stocked pantry and freezer are like money in the bank. A good deal of my desire to keep everything stocked up going into the winter involves not having to drive on snowy or icy roads which I do not do. Besides, winter weather is the best time to stay in and cook something yummy.

With our health insurance I noticed that we either pay the deductible monthly or all at once. I found that with ours the premiums and the deductible added together are all the same over the levels that my husband's employer offers. So, we can pay it monthly or when we actually need the insurance coverage. Other than the year that my husband had his heart attack we never even come close to meeting the deductible so we are better off choosing the highest deductible. This year they were telling the employees that the premiums did not go up and they did not but the out of pocket surely did.

I think we went around 10 years without a raise in pay but now we do get raises and it is just like Christmas to me after so many years of just stretching the dollars further and further.

Wendi said...

I don't comment often, but I wanted to let you know how encouraging you are to me. Many things you say make so much sense. I have been working on stocking my pantry and freezer. We are looking at a huge increase in medical cost next year. Although my husband has been getting raises it hadn't covered the cost of the yearly increases. His take home pay is currently less then it was two years ago. Scary yes, but I am not afraid. I have faith that our needs will be met.

Crystal H. in Nevada said...

My pantry and freezer have been carrying us for the last two months with just the basic necessities out of pocket. Between health and my trips up to see my dad before he passed I just couldn't afford a lot of extra $$$ out of my pocket. Now I need to stock up but also with an eye towards cold and flu items. Seems like we get hit once or twice (even with the flu shot) a winter and/ or the weather is bad making no one want to drive to the store and pay high prices for meds or ginger ale, soup, crackers, etc... all things my husband wants when sick. That and TP. You never want to run our of that. lol. I lived in Germany years ago and at that time on Sundays the PX and Commisary and all the German stores were closed on Sunday. Once I had to borrow a roll of TP from our German landlady and she thought that was so funny. Ever since then I make sure to have plenty on hand - always watching for a good deal on it. lol

Anonymous said...

I thought this insurance the government set up and made every one get said that preexisting conditions did not count. So why do you have to pay more next year now that you know you have diabetes when you started into the insurance without it? This next year it is a preexisting condition Or is it when you first get insurance everything before that is canceled but once you get something new it counts and you are then penalized? Just wondering.
Since we have always had seasonal layoffs due to the work my husband was in we got in the habit of keeping a pantry and making sure we had everything we could think of ahead for this lean off work months. Including of course money for all payments due during that period and some savings for what might come up. Not easy on at first minimum wage but it happened. Once food, shelter and bills were taken care of what was left..if any.. could be spent on other needs. You know the drill already. In 40 years of work he never got a cost of living increase. The last 21 years of his work his wage never increased. Although we did get one since going on Social Security. Not gripping just stating the facts and I know many have had and do have it way harder. And still do. That is one reason I have made a hobby of learning new ways to cook or do anything using less so save more! :-) Yet doing it healthy and so on. We all do that here in comments and you too of course Teri.
We never had fitted sheets at home. I don't think they had them when I was young. I am almost 70. Mom would add a bit to the end of sheets to keep the top one in if needed and just do the hospital corners to make a bottom sheet..maybe adding to it too.. Towels as well as sheet bore the seam down the middle if they got worn out in the middle. Or the towels ended up as wash cloths if only a smidgen of it good yet! :) Then they would be relegated to rags when that usefulness was gone. Soap bars were cut in half so little hands could use it easier and it not end up on the floor. Then too the other unneeded half could sit and harden longer. :-) So many things we all learn not by word but the actions of our peers don't we.
I think we are all waiting for the other shoe to drop as far as the economy is concerned. I mean we all live by a budget and pay up any bills and don't over due any credit. That is we all do kept the government it seems. You can't help but wonder how long this disregard of reality will last? We just keep on keeping on and only keep this in the back of our minds as there is little we can do about it at this point. Except pray and study before we vote. As you said we have to watch our own state of our own economy. :-))) Sarah

Kathy said...

Great post! Thank you for sharing the state of the union of your economy. I think many of us are in similar situations. It is worrisome to see what is happening in the world and in our own country, but we can only control our own household, so thank you for being the Proverbs woman who helps inspire us to take care of what we can.
We have had unexpected medical bills lately; our son had to have an esophagram and endoscopy. I thought we had good insurance, but our out of pocket is much more than I expected. So I need to cut back where I can, and I thank you for sharing your menus and ways that you save money.
I hope that your husband will receive a raise next year; he is surely deserving of one.

Anonymous said...

Last night I heard the presidential candidate, the one with ugly hair, say he started out poor with only a million dollars from his dad! His casinos have also gone bankrupt 4 times anduring I am sure making him richer each time, as he brags about someone else bailing them out. I think if this person does get into office we are all, going to have to make every penny squeak as he certainly has no sense of how common people live! Don't mean to be politicking, just stating why we should be concerned. Several of you mentioned getting more use of sheets by splitting and resewing. My mother did that all the time. On pintrest there are directions for making flat sheets into fitted ones if anyone is interested. Seems like it is always the bottom ones that wear out. Gramma D

IM said...

As usual, your post was well received! When my hubby was out of work for a year and a half, I was very glad to have a well stocked pantry. I did notice though, that things seemed to wear out in that time more than any other since we have been married! The towels developed holes, the sheets became threadbare. But we just rode out the storm until funds became available once more. Something changed in me during that time as well. I realized that to spite the restricted income, we still lived like royalty in other eras. We have lovely mattresses, well heated homes and an endless supply of clean water. We are so privileged, even when we live below the poverty line. I live in Canada, so health care is universal. We do pay for it through our taxes, but it is a necessity of life. I think the country to copy is Denmark. They have healthcare and education for EVERYONE and consider living too high on the hog to be gauche! A simple clean life is best, and I am so glad when I see that you have a new post supporting that very thing! Thank you!

Lana said...

I just read this excellent post over on Annabel's blog which will be helpful for all of us who are needing to restock the pantry

Deanna said...

I like to have a well-stocked pantry and freezer in the winter because our area is prone to ice storms. I'm always happy (and perhaps a little smug) when I don't have to brave the crowds at the grocery store as bad weather makes its way toward us.

Leigh said...

Thank you for sharing, Terri. I have prayed over my grocery list before shopping and rejoiced when I found the right items marked down. This year I've also learned to home can something new and have canned more of things I didn't used to fuss with at all. Isn't it strange that our national economy is "officially" recovering but so many of us are still feeling the push to stock up and learn to do more with less?

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