Lessons From 8 months of Unemployment. Part 1

Today is a HUGE celebration for us. It has been exactly 8 months since my husband got laid off. We will crack open a Hershey’s symphony bar later to celebrate! (Yes, we had a 2-year supply of those in the freezer! Yet another great bartering tool!) The celebration isn’t that we are still unemployed, but that we successfully made it this far, are still married (and friends) and that we are still being self-reliant and self-sufficient. Don’t get me wrong, we have had many bags of groceries placed on our porch off and on, and even been given money at times, but for the most part, we have done it ourselves and that is monumental. I noticed that in March’s Ensign of 2009, there are many articles written about living on the Dole and getting free handouts from the government. I am elated to state that we have done it, so far on our own. Yippy!

Many times, I have been asked, “What are you learning? What should I buy? What are you missing” etc., etc. Well, after 8 months, here is the list of things that we could have been better prepared with. There is also a “Questions to ask yourself” in relationship to your own preparations, as well as “Spiritual lessons” that I/we have learned.

I have three hopes in sharing these lists with you:

  1. Hopefully, you can learn from this list. (I wish that someone would have shared something like this with me. Had I had this list before this time and used it, we wouldn’t have known a difference between employment and unemployment.)
  2. I hope that you will so something with this list, and perhaps share it with all whom you love.
  3. Buy all of the basics before you try to obtain the advanced list below. If you need a list of the basics, go to Provident living.com, and figure out what you will need for your size of family. (There is also our Excel spreadsheet found under classes, if you want to down load it and use it for your family.


Here we go folks!

Food related lessons: Part 1

  1. When the spirit told me to do things, and I did it, my family has been really bless, and I have been so grateful that I listened. The few things that we did not do because of money or time, we have greatly missed. Some of the things we did do, and shouldn’t have, because we weren’t guided to do so, I have regretted. I was chastised by the spirit, and told that the time would come when I would really regret that action- and, I have. Some things that we were told to do like buy chickens, was really out there, and I wondered what that was all about. Now that we don’t buy groceries anymore, I know why. Bottom line, if you are prompted to do it, just do it, no questions asked. (Blind obedience)
  2. Another thing we were told to get was a milking goat. I hadn’t ever tasted goat’s milk and we didn’t have a barn. Several months into unemployment, we were really missing cheese, sour cream and all other dairy products. Had we just obeyed and bought a goat when we were told to, we would have had all summer to figure out how to milk a goat, and what they eat instead of doing all of that, and building a barn in the winter. If the Lord tells you to do something, he will also provide the way for you to do it. We have seen this many, many times. A milking goat/cow would also be beneficial for milk/dairy or even meat if necessary. Although I made yogurt, we missed chesses, dressings and most dairy items. If you can get a goat, I highly recommend it. Goats need ¼ of the space and eat ¼ of what a cow would. Our goat produced 1.25 gallons a day! (That is a lot of milk- enough to share.)
  3. You will really miss butter. What can you do to compensate for that? Bottled butter was really nice! Make more! Also stock the freezer if you can. I hope to obtain a milk separator so that I can make butter in the high seasons of milk and put it in the freezer for long-term storage, or make bottled butter.
  4. We underestimated how much wheat we really needed. We needed more wheat, and all supplies to make bread if we want 1 loaf per day. (We used approx. 500 lbs. in 6 months- we ate more bread than we had before- it became a staple.)
  5. You will need meat to retain strength and body heat. Store it in several different forms. Frozen, canned, dehydrated, Jerky, TVP etc. Jerky has the longest shelf life is shrunk wrapped and frozen. (3 years) It is also great for the little ones to knaw on while the other foods are being prepared and can substitute for meatless meals. Meat is a comfort food for most men. It is very important!
  6. Fruit trees make a huge difference to a diet of grains and legumes. Canning, freezing and drying them makes for a nice winter treat. We loved making fruit roll ups of every kind, and eating them was the kid’s favorite treat. (Especially to keep in the car for an emergency, or just an emergency snack.
  7. Our garden plot is large enough to sustain my sized family through out the summer, but only for a few months in the fall. We need a larger garden plot, and need to plant more potatoes and squash, things that will last for months. (Our garden plot is a 60×60; our family size is 7.)
  8. When you are grateful for what your garden produces, it will produce more. (Even chickens) Thank your plants and animals for whatever they produce. Pray over them too!
  9. One of my children has had a lot of reactions to some foods- what will you do when one family member can’t eat some, or a lot of the food you have stored? We never knew this before we were living off of our food storage and she really suffered.
  10. It takes all day, and sometimes days to cook certain things from scratch. You have to plan a head of time. (Make a menu and plan several days a head. If you have to sprout it, it will take time.)
  11. “Mix a meal” recipes are very versatile. Bisquick “impossible pie” recipes are great for those times when you don’t have buns etc. You can save a lot of time and money in the end if you make your own mixes. There are many books out there that have mixes from scratch for anything you could possibly want. i.e: Ranch dressing, Krusteaz pancake mix, sloppy Joe mix etc.
  12. Make sure that you have dehydrated veggies and fruits. In the winter months, we really missed fresh fruit and vegetables.
  13. Store plenty of dehydrated onions, garlic and peppers. They make most meals taste so much better- without them, well, don’t ask.


Things I would buy more of:  

  • Cinnamon, oats and seeds- especially sesame. (Just to cover breakfast needs)
  • Sanitation supplies- rubber balls to make a dry toilet, prevention of pest control.
  • Comfort foods- these are things most missed: chocolate, suckers, (For those times when your kids are hungry and dinner won’t be ready for a long time.) hot cocoa, ketchup, salad dressings (ranch), peanut butter, make more jerky and have the seasonings to do so. Figure out a way to have/make cheese.
  • Large visquine sheets and plenty of duct tape.
  • School supplies- paper
  • Warm socks- can also be used for gloves.