Saturday, September 4, 2010

JIC versus JIT

Do you know what JIC and JIT stand for?
I was watching a TV program, probably Oprah, and saw Martha Beck talking about JIC versus JIT.  I’d never heard of those concepts and they really hit home at the time.  I still think about JIC pretty often, usually when I’m shopping.
If you don’t know what those acronyms mean:
JIC – Just in Case   An inventory strategy in which companies keep large inventories on hand. This type of inventory management strategy aims to minimize the probability that a product will sell out of stock. A company practicing this strategy essentially incurs higher inventory holding costs in return for a reduction in the number of sales lost due to sold out inventory.
JIT – Just in Time    An inventory strategy in which companies keep minimal inventories on hand.  This is a newer inventory strategy where companies try to minimize inventory costs by producing the goods after the orders have come in.  A good example would be a car manufacturer that keeps low inventory levels, relying on their supply chain to deliver the parts they need to build cars. The parts needed to manufacture the cars do not arrive before or after they are needed, but just as they are needed.
Martha Beck was using those acronyms to refer to personal buying habits.  “What are you?” she asked.
I am a JIC. 
Those of us who are are JICs and are planning to fulltime in the next few months or years will need to undergo a transition from Just in Case to Just in Time.  RV Fulltimers have to be JITs, you don’t have room to keep large inventories of anything in your rigs.
My kitchen is so stocked with anything I need, might need, and sometimes will never need.  But JIC, I have it on the shelf.  Remember, I live alone.  But still, I always have a large jar of Best Foods Mayonnaise in the fridge and a spare in the cupboard, just in case.  Cereal, rice, soup, spices – so many duplicates (and triplicates).  Just in Case.
I could never understand people “stopping on the way home from work” to pick up something for dinner.  Whatever I wanted, I HAD, either in the freezer, refrigerator, or pantry - and I wanted to get home.  But in the last few months I’ve become a JIT and (pretty much) only buy things as needed.
I was surprised the first time someone said something about how much food I had in my cupboards or fridge. I thought everyone was as well stocked as I was.  Then when I heard Martha’s explanation of JIC versus JIT, I understood why I had so much “inventory.”
So…  Now I am becoming a Just in Time.  I have to admit it IS nice to have extra room in the kitchen when I come home from grocery shopping.  I know exactly what’s where, and can find stuff easily. My fridge isn't this neat, yet, this is from an ad.

But I'm getting there.
And when I’m in my RV, I’ll have so much less space in my fridge and cupboards, I’ve got to get used to having much less available. This is from an ad I found for RV refrigerators So Small!  This may be my biggest challenge when fulltiming.  I know some of you have larger units, but I'm going to have a small Class C - I won't have many options.

Look at the difference in the size of these two refrigerators!
The rest of my condo, outside of the kitchen, isn’t too bad.  I used to overshop for clothes, but stopped that a few years ago.  Now I just have a lifetime of accumulating things, but I’ve moved so much, and each move I got rid of things.  So my Craig’s List sales and upcoming garage sale won’t be too bad. 
I like being a Just in Time.  It really is so much easier.  And Cheaper!


  1. Great post today. So many people are the JIC folks (I was, too) out of fear of running out of something, I guess. Heck, there is rarely a time we cannot find a grocery store when we travel. Yeah, what we need may not be at the bargain price, but we can get just what we need for the moment and shop for a better price in larger town. Adjusting to fulltime life in the RV wasn't a big ordeal for us, and I'm so glad about that. Love your nearly empty fridge!

  2. Great post. I guess we all tend to stock too much. I am really bad about fruits and vegetables. I always buy to much then have to throw away. This is the area I am working on to be more frugal. Some one wrote me a comment the other day and said that Frugal is the new cool....

  3. Such thought provoking material- really the difference between wants and needs. I think over the past couple of years many people have changed to more of the "as needed" lifestyle, I know I have!!

  4. Our biggest problem is every time we moved it was into a bigger place and we never got rid of anything! When someone else is paying for the moves (companies my husband worked for) and the packers are paid, well stuff comes with!

    Foodwise we are much the same. I have a well stocked pantry, but my husband likes to shop almost every day. Thus the inventory just grows!

  5. Great post with interesting thoughts. I used to be a JIC buyer....I hated to start cooking something only to find out I needed something I didn't have. Now I am in the JIT category. I plan out my meals and write down what I will need to make that particular dish etc. I then buy only those items as needed.

    Our first two MHs had the double wide refrig.(12cu) and when we bought the Dutch Star it had the 10 cu refrig. I thought I would die when we first started out but I have actually not had a problem at all. We have a basement freezer that helps alot. I make many meals up in advance and freeze them.
    You will do fine.

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  6. Good post. I never thought about it before. I spent four years full time living with one of those tiny frig's, and now my new rig has a four door. Wow, I'm in heaven. :)

  7. Im a JIC hoping at some point to become a JIT.

    It's hard though, not to stock up for that "rainy day".
    Like my parents always did. If the cupboard isn't full, and the storm should hit.. :)

    I have even read posts of Fulltimers that have issues after they go shopping to try and fit all the stuff in the motorhome.
    I remember one poor fella's wife was still a JIC, and she used to buy all the bulk stuff, leaving him to find places for it all!

    I suppose it won't be so hard when you are the only one shopping?

    I hope I am right!


  8. Definitely a JIC! I have a tendency to plan waaaaay ahead, and oftentimes my purchases reflect that. *blush*

    Great post today!

  9. sorry I am still a JIC...I love Costco..!!! day I will be JIT..but not yet!!


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