Long-term goals

In a week and a half, I’m leaving for a two-week vacation in the U.K. – mostly Wales, flying in and out of London.  This vacation is the culmination of a long-term goal for me, albeit one that turned out to be shorter-term than I expected.  I started saving up for this trip a little over a year ago, and intended to go next spring.  However, when the tour company told me they had a spot in September/October, I grabbed the opportunity (after getting permission from my boss, of course).  Who knows what will be happening by next spring? – especially with the airlines.  I already had enough money saved, and the tour company gave me a small discount since they had an open spot – so, when I get back, that goal will be accomplished!

So, what comes next?  I’ve been pondering that for the past month or so, and I think my next goals need to be related to preparedness.  Mostly, that means building up a long-term emergency fund.  I already have a short-term emergency fund, enough to cover all of my deductibles.  I need to boost that fund, too, but it’s much closer to where it should be.  The usual figure I see for a long-term fund is 3 to 6 months of expenses.  I’m not quite sure what one month’s expenses are – it’s less than my monthly budget, because I do have expenses that I could drop if necessary, like cable.  Whatever it is, though, I know that right now, I have less than one month – that doesn’t give me a very secure feeling.

The second goal, of course, is to get the garden underway.  As soon as I get back, I’m going to plant lettuce and spinach.  I’d like to add one new food per quarter.  I think that will give me time to learn to grow each one as I add it.  If I planted too many things at once, it might be too much, especially with working full time.  Eventually, I want to do a lot of growing and then learn to preserve – canning, freezing, making jam, etc.  But I’m going to take it one step at a time.

A third goal is to have a larger emergency food supply.  Right now I have about a week’s worth, tops – probably not that much in reality.  That isn’t even enough to last through a two-week power outage after a hurricane, much less a flu epidemic where everyone has to stay home for a couple of months, or worse.  My family’s philosophy has always been, “Hope for the best but expect the worst,” and expectation leads to preparation.

So, with preparation in mind, here are my goals – to be met by the end of 2009.
1.  Calculate basic living expenses.  Save 6 months of living expenses. 
2.  Begin garden – plant lettuce and spinach for fall/winter; add one crop every 3 months.
3.  Figure out what one month’s food supply for one person is.  Save 6 months of food.
I found this website, sponsored by the Mormon church, that shows what one month’s food supply for one person is, based on things you can buy at the grocery store:  http://www.simplyprepared.com/one_month_grocery_store_supply.htm 
I need to figure the amounts for six months, then figure how much I need to get each month to meet my goal.  I also need to figure out where I’m going to store it!  I’ll have to take another look at my kitchen storage to see how I can use it more efficiently.
It’s a good challenge.  I’ll keep track of my progress here.

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