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How we need to prepare

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Basic mistakes

Last night my next door neighbour popped round with a computer problem, while we were working he told me that a couple of days ago he needed to get some cat food, some tins for meals, bread and some tea bags. So he asked his son to pick them up on the way home instead of going himself. His son scrimped, he bought cheaper brands than they normally have for convenience.

So, when he put food out for his cat he turned his nose up at it straight away. He thought the cat was not hungry so he just left it. He then made himself a cup of tea and found the tea so strong and bitter he couldn’t drink it without diluting it down and even then he didn’t like the taste without a lot of sugar and milk. His wife went ballistic when she had her first cup. They ended up throwing the tea bags out. In the meantime the cat disappeared, bowl untouched and only reappeared at night. It sat by its bowl crying in that annoying way cats do. They bought him new food in the morning. The bread apparently was OK but quickly went tasteless and hard. Much quicker than their ordinary bread. So far the tins have been OK, not as good as the others. The beans and sausages were not very nice either the kids complained. Apparently the cat food was £1 a kilo compared to £3. The bread was 50p compared to £1.20, the tins and the tea bags varied in price but were much cheaper than they normally spent. Exactly what we look for when shopping.

They are a nice family and I’ve talked to them about prepping before but they do not think anything will happen. The back garden has one of those raised decking areas and the rest is grass to play on. No vegetables or fruit and they have no real pantry to speak of, just the cupboards in the kitchen. They shop weekly, with an occasional mid week pick up as necessary. However they do buy expensive stuff, all branded and don’t try anything else. The live from hand to mouth and have nothing put aside for a rainy day. They, like many, just can’t afford it but unlike some they could but won’t make the changes that would help them. Perhaps soon, when things change a little more.

Five basic mistakes were made here that we all need to learn from.

1) A third party with nothing invested in the outcome will have no interest in what they are buying. They will buy to meet your criteria but not really care what it is nor the cost. If you need to use a third party make sure you trust them or/and be very clear in your specification.

2) You should store what you know and like, for you and your pets. They went out and bought their normal brands and everything was OK but after an event there will be no option to replace just make do. So they should ensure that what they have they will eat. Of course there is always the fact that it is eat or starve then but it will make life after an event just that little bit more bearable.

3) The cheapest option is not always the most cost effective. A more expensive solution that is fully utilised is better than a cheap solution that is unused. Works the same with tools, consumables like food and everything else we have. Try the cheap tins and if you like them then compare the prices. If not go with what you will eat even if it is more expensive. With tools, clothes, etc. see how good they are, how long they last and their cost. What is the best value for money? 5 cheap coats at £5 each which last two years or 1 good coat that cost £25 but lasts decades?

4) You should try other products and not just stick to the ones you know and love. There may be alternatives out there and now is the time to try them. So go into that cheap store and try that not very nicely packaged tin of curry. It may work out OK.

5) You can make small changes to your lifestyle to start you on the road to preparing. They could find cheaper sources of food that will free up some money to enable them to build up some stores. This in turn will save them going to the local shop for items they have run out of which costs them more than their normal shopping. You can build on this as the basis of your stores. All within your means.

Most people need to be more flexible in their approach to what they use. Many buy from habit and just will not consider change. Adapt or suffer. I think many of us are doing it already but there is usually some room for improvement somewhere. Just think about it.

7 comments to Basic mistakes

  • moosedog

    Many moons ago, when I worked for HMG Ltd, one of the guvnors was always impeccably dressed when in civilian clothes, looking much like a country gent. He taught me the lesson that not only will that £25 coat last for decades but will still be in fashion all those years later as well. I’ve not always heeded that advice but paid for my mistakes every time. “Buy cheap buy twice” is a good saying, though I try to buy those expensive clothes when they are in the sales.

  • Skvez

    I’m all for buying good quality but remember that if you have only one expensive kinfe (or torch or coat) you can’t lend it to someone and still have one yourself. If it gets broken or lost it’s gone.
    I prefer one medium quality one and one or two cheap ones to a single ‘all or nothing’ expensive one.

  • Ellen

    Yeah some off-beat brands are really good other’s a starving dog wouldn’t eat.
    I buy what I like if it is name brand fine if not so what.
    There are some things that have name brands on them I wouldn’t eat.
    I don’t think I would have anyone else do my shopping unless I was totaly incapasitated or decapitated.
    We are all creatures of habit. But somethings you have to try to change for the long haul or you won’t make it.

  • maddog

    over the last year being unemployed with no kids i find i will eat any old rubbish may give me tummy troubles but it keeps me going
    i bought good quality when i could most of that is still going strong and if it breaks or wares out i wont be able to replace them

  • Skean Dhude


    My parents taught me that one. They did not come from a throwaway society.


    There is that but I believe you should buy quality where you can. If you are looking at saving money then lower quality as spares but only on selected items. basically, prioritise. Like everything else needs must.


    I think there could be times we would fight that dog for that food then eat the dog. We will make do. The point though is to make sure we don’t have to and where necessary we will adapt to survive.


    Needs must. There are a lot of people on this planet doing that. Making do and it isn’t doing our health much good. Hopefully, you will get back to affording good quality before you need to replace anything.

  • flashbaztard

    good article!
    on the note of dodgy cheap curry, i am now addicted to jars of sainsbury,s home brand curry sauce its only 9p a jar and the empty jars are great for canning/pickling afterwards, i dont add anything to the sauce,just heat it up and stick it on a bed of rice [sainsbury’s 45p lasts weeks of meals] a hearty meal for around 6p a person [jar should feed 4 but we share by 2]
    plenty cheap enough to stock up on [to mix with all them hundred weights of rice you have stored!]
    fido likes the rice too mixed with his mutt food!

  • Skean Dhude


    I’ve not tried that but I have tried some of the other retailers cheap brands. 9p though, I would have thought the jar cost more than that. However, with your recommendation I will give it a go. I’ll try it with pasta and rice.

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