I’ve decided that one gift I’m giving my adult children this Christmas is a hefty gift card to Sam’s Club with instructions to buy food, paper products, cleansers, and personal care products. Both my kids have freezer chests, and this would help fill them. Besides food, buying things like laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, soap, and trash bags will help delay the inevitable impact of inflation for at least six months or a year.
If you are comfortably prepped on food, consider stocking up on the everyday consumables that you need to live a normal life. The obvious is toilet paper, but think also of soap, shampoo, and all the other health and beauty products you use. Then look at household cleansers, not just things you spray on and wipe to clean up spills and kill germs, but dish detergent, washing machine detergent, fabric softener, etc. Then look at the comfort foods you eat to make you feel better or to celebrate a little something. This could be a bottle of wine, a bag of chocolate chip cookies, or a pint of ice cream. Stock up on all those things.
As inflation rises and we can afford less, you will want to concentrate your limited funds on the things you really need, like food, the electric bill, and transportation. You will be happy knowing that you have enough laundry detergent, shampoo, and other household items to hold off buying them for a while. And if the SHTF, you’ll appreciate having a few remnants of civilization to help remind you of the good times.
On My List
On the top of my “to get” list is Alka-seltzer cold and flu gel caps. These are my favorite cold medicine and they work great for me. I’m going to buy a couple boxes to have on hand, just in case. That should cover me for a year or two. I might pick up some cough drops while I am at it.
Next on my list is my favorite shampoo. I have a bottle in stock, but why not another bottle? It’s $13 today, but it could be $18 or more by the time I need to buy some more.
I’m also stocking up little by little on pet food and chicken food. (Right now, there is a shortage of cat food that has lasted months.) I may buy some more welded wire fencing, which has many uses in the garden, just in case.
After yesterday’s post, I’m tempted to find a coin dealer and buy a roll of pre-1965 quarters or two rolls of pre-1965 silver dimes. You know, just in case. Not sure I will. The “precious metals” I prefer are lead and brass.
Reminder: Help Others
There’s a great deal of bad stuff happening in our world these days. I want to remind you that helping others makes you feel good, makes them feel good, and often makes others who witness your good deed feel good. My wife is the family volunteer, helping in an organized fashion. I am more spontaneous and personal.
Today, I drove down the mountain and dropped a dozen eggs and a pint of my wife’s homemade beef and barley soup to a neighbor who is a widower. On the way there, I spontaneously stopped and removed a tree that had fallen down in an elderly lady’s driveway. I don’t know her, but I’ve seen her with an oxygen tank, so I know she wouldn’t have been able to do it herself. When I realized how heavy the tree was, I was doubly glad I helped her out. She thanked me and said her son was going to come over and do it “one day.”
The lesson about how helping others makes you and others feel good was driven home to me some 20 years ago when I was out to dinner with my wife in a small Mediterranean restaurant that had a buffet. We were eating our meal when a somewhat unkempt man in a heavy beard and old coat came in and was shown to a seat in the corner. It was obvious he was down on his luck or homeless. I signaled to the owner. Before he even knew what I wanted, he was apologizing for the presence of the homeless man. I told him I was not complaining, I just wondered what his story was. The manager didn’t know, only that he was homeless and came in once every couple of weeks to take advantage of the buffet.
I told the manager to put the man’s dinner on my tab, but not to tell him. The manager’s demeanor instantly changed. He would be happy to do so. My wife’s face lit up in surprise, possibly because I am the last guy to hand out money to someone on a street corner begging.
When the waitress brought the bill, she told me what a wonderful thing I was doing. When we walked out, the manager thanked me, and the staff seemed to smile at me. I felt good, better than I had expected to, and I think everyone in the restaurant felt good. It was probably the best $15 I had spent in some time.
‘Tis the Season
I tell you this not looking for kudos, but to show you how a simple gesture can have a broader impact. I like to think that all the people who seemed happy went home and did something nice for their roommate, spouse, or perhaps to a stranger.
As we head into the Christmas season, when we are all busy and dealing with family, take a minute to do something nice for someone who doesn’t have a family or whose family is far away. There are plenty of people out there who have little to be happy about. Maybe you can give them a moment of happiness. Sure, you can give a toy to Toys for Tots, put money in the Salvation Army kettle, or donate to your local food pantry, but you can also remove the intermediaries and do something nice for someone face-to-face.