5 self-reliance tips for YSAs

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(Image courtesy LDS.org Media Library.)

(Image courtesy LDS.org Media Library)

The words “family home storage” and “preparedness” often conjure images of large shelves lined with wheat and canned peaches. But the commandment to be self-reliant applies to everyone, even young single adults with no storage rooms and no canning supplies.

The Church’s official counsel to all members is this: “To help care for themselves and their families, members should build a three-month supply of food that is part of their normal diet. Where local laws and circumstances permit, they should gradually build a longer-term supply of basic foods that will sustain life. They should also store drinking water in case the water supply becomes polluted or disrupted” (Handbook 2, 6.1.1).

Here are a few tips for young single adults on how they can obey this important counsel.

1. Buy plenty of food at a time

When you’re only shopping for yourself, it can be difficult to find the motivation to plan ahead and buy plenty of food at a time. But buying a few extra things every time you go to the store will help you build up a three-month supply of food without breaking the bank.

The Church’s gospel topics page on the subject reads, “Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet. One way to do this is to purchase a few extra items each week to build a one-week supply of food. Then you can gradually increase your supply until it is sufficient for three months. These items should be rotated regularly to avoid spoilage.”

2. Keep bottled water on hand

Bottled water is cheap, easy to find and incredibly useful in an emergency. Buy a case and put it under your bed, then rotate it every few months by taking a bottle to work every day.

3. Build your savings

Unlike food storage, building up a reserve of money doesn’t take up a lot of room or require a lot of planning. Set aside a small portion of your paycheck every month, then increase the amount over time. Take advantage of any retirement funds your employer offers. As you do, you’ll be better prepared for the unexpected.

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught, “Set your houses in order. If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts.”

4. Be creative with space

If you live in a small apartment with several other people, finding space to store food and water can be an issue. If that’s the case, get creative with the space you do have. Try putting your bed up on cinder blocks and using the extra space below to store nonperishable food and water. See if you have unused space above your cupboards or in your closet. And once you’ve found the space, make sure it’s accessible so you can rotate the food periodically.

5. Gather emergency supplies

If an emergency strikes, it will hit everyone — even the young and single who are living away from home. Buy a few things to keep you safe during periods of power outage or severe weather. Keep a blanket in your car and pack a backpack with a few essentials in case you need to grab it and go. Write down important phone numbers and addresses in case you don’t have access to a charger for your phone. If possible, get prescriptions filled ahead of time so you always have a few extra on hand.

“We cannot progress without attending to our own personal and family preparedness on a regular basis,” Bishop H. Burke Peterson taught in 1978. “Preparedness is not something that is static; it is ever changing. I know of no situation in life where it is not necessary.”

 

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Breanna Olaveson worked in the magazine industry before taking her writing from full-time to nap time with the birth of her first daughter. Her work has appeared in the Ensign, Liahona and New Era magazines, as well as Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley BusinessQ, Utah Valley Bride and the Provo Daily Herald. She lives in Utah county with her husband and three children. She blogs at www.breannaolaveson.com.

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