Man As Provider In Lean Times

Bad things can happen.  Anyone can experience a sudden downturn in circumstance and it doesn’t matter what you did because sometimes, it really isn’t your fault.  However, as a man, you’re supposed to provide for your family.  When your means to support them disappears, what can you do?

Photo by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
Photo by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Truthfully, that’s not really the time to figure things out.  At that point, there’s not really much else to do besides get a new job.  However, understanding this can happen well ahead of time will let you do a few things to deal with such times.

The most obvious option is to save during the good times.  Putting away sufficient money for six months worth of expenses is smart.  It may be easier said than done, mind you, but it’s smart.

One of your expenses is food, and you should put money away for that, but there’s something else you can do as well.

In a corner of my house, I have a couple of shelves stashed that do nothing but hold non-perishable food stuff.  I have a good few weeks worth of food put away over and above our day to day eating, and I plan on adding more and more as time rolls on.

This is a hedge against natural disasters, but it’s also handy for those sudden lean times.

For example, some experts suggest that food should make up 15 percent of your monthly expenses.  If your monthly expenses are $1,000, then groceries are $150 per month. (Yes, I know this is highly unlikely, but I’m using this to make an example.)

Now, let’s say you don’t need to buy groceries for six months because you’ve put away enough food between canned goods and a loaded freezer that you don’t need to touch that.

That $150 over six months amounts to $750.

That amounts to almost another month’s worth of expenses, just in case things don’t rebound quite as quickly as you intended.

Realistically, few are going to eat out of the food storage exclusively if they don’t have to.  However, it does make it easier to deal with life in the meantime.

Additionally, if you have a yard, you may want to take up vegetable gardening.  I know, gardening evokes images of little old ladies in floppy hats, but plenty of men have taken up vegetable gardening.  After all, a good size vegetable garden is really a mini-farm.

In times of plenty, a garden can provide an industrious activity that can keep a man occupied and put tasty fresh vegetables on the table for a fraction of the cost from the grocery store.

When times get lean, however, that garden will produce food you’re not having to buy.

Heirloom seeds allow you to grow vegetables that will produce seeds you can harvest and grow the same crops the next year.  That means a one-time seed investment may be all you need to grow foods for your family.

The bigger the garden, the more food you can grow.  Ideally, you’d be able to either freeze or can some of it to provide for your family year round, but sometimes that’s not always doable.  However, ever little bit helps.

All of this has the added benefit of giving you food and the skills to keep your family fed if “the lean times” actually means society as we know it has collapsed.  Yeah, it may not be likely, but if you’re serious about providing for your family, doesn’t it make sense to cover the unlikely scenarios?  Especially if you’re covering the more likely bases like job loss.