“I bear my humble witness to you that the great God of heaven will open doors and means in a way we never would have supposed to help all those who truly want to get their year’s supply.” Vaughn J Featherstone

With a pandemic once again causing concern, political unrest, and inflation, many are now asking for help. As you prepare, you have been promised the Lord will provide a way. Please ask if you have questions. The following are some I have seen recently.

Question: What we should I be preparing for?

As I think about this question, I realize we too often are trapped by thinking about all the scenarios that could happen in our area and we get stuck. Think self-reliance not emergency preparation. Yes, there are specifics we need to consider such as what to do during a disaster, a hurricane (evacuate) or earthquake (drop and cover), but the needs for most disasters are very similar.

Two weeks ago, we had an earthquake where I live. I have been telling people for years that they needed to prepare but most people responded that nothing could happen here. Yes, there is a fault here but it hadn’t moved for many, many years. I really wanted to say “I told you so”. This week we had a wildfire within our ward boundaries. If a disaster has ever happened in your area, even 300 years ago, it can happen again. Home fires, job loss, pandemics, medical emergencies, inflation, civil unrest, can happen to all of us. Ask yourself, if you had a loss of income or an extended power outage or there were empty shelves in the grocery store, could you survive? Most emergencies will include one or more of those. Once you have prepared for those basic challenges, you can be more specific with other preparations.

As an example: If you are prepared for a power outage you will have what you need to cook, wash and dry clothing, have cash on hand (no power, no ATM) have ready to eat food, have a plan to heat and cool your home, and a way to provide light at night. All these will be necessary following floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, blizzards, heatwaves, and more.

Preparing for just three scenarios, power outages, empty shelves and loss of income will cover almost all emergencies.

Question: “I have a feeling I need to prepare but what do I stock up on when prices are going up? Is it too late?”

It is never too late to prepare, as long as it is before the crisis!

Let’s face it, everything from gasoline and food to vacation rentals and appliances have seen soaring prices. These higher prices are all expected to last for at least the rest of the year. I warned months ago of coming inflation and now it is here and here to stay. So, what can we do about it?

Stock up on the things you can so you are able to funnel more cash to items you cannot stockpile when they are needed later. Right now, that means food, medications, gifts, items for 5-day kits, and cleaning supplies.

Many items have not yet gone up in price, there is no demand. As we get closer to the holiday season toys, computers, gadgets of every kind, clothing and even wrapping paper will increase in price. The conditions at the ports are not lessening, there is still a shortage of truck drivers, and we are becoming more dependent on gas from foreign sources thus, increasing prices. None of these will be changing in the foreseeable future and demand will grow; all of which contribute to higher prices. Chip manufacturers are telling us there will be a shortage into 2023 meaning appliance and auto prices as well as computers and phones will continue to go up in price.

So, what should you stock up on now? Work on items for your General Store. Stock up on foods as they go on sale. As a reminder, the reason we post items to purchase each week on the Totally Ready website on Monday is so you can take advantage of the foods on sale Monday and Tuesday. If nothing on the list to purchase that week is on sale, you can wait until Wednesday when the sales change and stock up then. When we post again on Monday, you again have two weeks’ worth of sales to access to get stocked up. As you follow the plan at Totally Ready you will have a one-week supply of every food group with a few weeks, meaning you will have the fixings for familiar meals. Do not make the mistake of spending all your resources on just grains and peanut butter. Great food storage includes all food groups which equals healthy meals and a healthier you.

Take advantage of back-to-school sales the next few weeks. Back packs, colored pencils, binders, notebooks small and large, ink cartridges and so much more will all be on sale at the best prices of the year. No kids in school? What about your kits? Do you have a notebook and pencils/pens to leave notes for family and first responders when evacuating or to keep a journal or take notes when meeting with FEMA? Right now, spiral notebooks are 25 cents! How about a good backpack for items for your pet supplies or for an auto kit?

Think gifts. If you see a fabulous close out sale on summer clothes and someone in the family has a spring birthday purchase clothes now. What about putting together an off-to-college kit for a 2022 high school graduate with school supplies or a shower caddie and laundry bag, all are on sale now. How about patriotic cookie cutters on sale after the fourth of July, to use as stocking stuffers for a child who loves to bake? While you are looking at binders, purchase one for an emergency binder or purchase several and join us in making up emergency binders for family this Christmas.

Watch for camping supplies on close out sales. Purchase a lantern or other camping items to use as gifts for friends and family you are encouraging to be better prepared. Find an article that goes along with the gift and include that as an incentive. If you need help with an article, let me know!

Ok, bottom line, think of upcoming events and everyday needs and stock up for those now, before prices go up anymore. You never know when a fridge will need to be replaced, but you do know when Johnny has a birthday, that you will get a headache at some point and need meds and someone will skin their knee and need a bandage. Prepare for those things by stocking up.

Question: I found pantry bugs in a bag of all-purpose flour, and I cleaned my cabinets diligently but I am concerned that they could still be lurking around. Is it safe to put canned goods (#10 cans, canned veggies, etc.) in the area while I check to see if I eliminated the issue?

This question may not be as universal as the first two, but it is a big concern when stocking up and preserving what you have. This year the infestation problem seems to be worse than normal.

Yes, it is safe to replace the cans. Be sure to wipe down every can, top and bottom to make sure you have eliminated all the eggs. If you have adjustable shelving, use packing tape to place over the holes where there are no shelves. These pests love to lay eggs in there. Once you have checked any boxes and wiped them down, place packing tape over both ends of the box sealing it, if larva is in them it will not be able to escape and any eggs that hatch outside the boxes will not be able to get in. Do this with any foods you are storing in boxes, cake mix, pancake mix, cookies, etc.

Question: There are fresh foods available now and my family loves cheese which doesn’t seem to have increased in price yet. Can I freeze peaches and garden items and foods like cheese?

You can freeze a huge variety of foods. There is an article on the Totally Ready website, Foods the Freeze Well with a list of foods and how to freeze them.

With grocery prices going up, take advantage of anything you can get for free! I hate it when driving and I see fruit on the ground. If you have fruit trees or a garden, please share.

Don’t be fooled if you think prices are not on the rise. Last week I needed milk. The price was the same, but the carton was smaller. Often container sizes will remain the same and the price is the same but the ounces in the container have been reduced. Remember when a tub of ice cream was really a half gallon? No more. During the last inflationary period, 2017-2019 the price of peanut butter increased by only a few cents but the jar itself was smaller. It did not look smaller but the indentation in the bottom of the jar was greatly increased reducing the contents.

Please send me your questions either in the comments here, on Facebook, or in a comment on the Totally Ready blog.  I guarantee if you have a question, others do as well. More of our family and friends are just beginning their self-reliance journey. We have witnessed a pandemic, disasters in places we never expected, wildfires worldwide that were unprecedented, draught in most of the United States and across the globe, worldwide shortages of food and medications and inflation. Do we still doubt the Lord and his Prophets when they warn us to prepare?

“Noah heeded God’s command to build and ark…that they might be saved from the flood waters.  Yet, there was no evidence of rain and flood.  His actions were considered irrational. The sun was shining and life moved forward as usual.  But time ran out.  The floods came, the disobedient were drowned.  When God speaks and we obey, we will always be right.”

–President Thomas S. MonsonTo contact Carolyn with questions or to schedule an online class for your ward or group visit TotallyReady.com, Facebook, or email her at: in**@to**********.com.