After Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream of seven fat cattle and seven lean cattle, he advised Pharaoh to use the seven years of plenty to prepare Egypt for seven years of famine that would follow. (See Gen. 41:29-36.)
In this dispensation, Church leaders have counseled members to prepare for times of hardship. At the October 1995 general conference, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve said:"On a daily basis we witness widely fluctuating inflation; wars; interpersonal conflicts; national disasters; variances in weather conditions; innumerable forces of immorality, crime, and violence; attacks and pressures on the family and individuals; technological advances that make occupations obsolete; and so on. The need for preparation is abundantly clear. . . .
"Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. . . . We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.
"First, gain an adequate education. Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remuneration sufficient to care for yourself and your family. The rapidly changing world breeds obsolescence and requires us to be continually engaged in preparing ourselves for the future. . . .
"Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with. As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. Include your children while planning for the future. . . .
"Third, avoid excessive debt. Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice. We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. Wisely we have been counseled to avoid debt as we would avoid the plague. President J. Reuben Clark fearlessly and repeatedly counseled members of the Church to take action: `Live within your means. Get out of debt. Keep out of debt. Lay by for a rainy day which has always come and will come again. Practice and increase your habits of thrift, industry, economy, and frugality.' (In Conference Report, Oct. 1937, p. 107.) . . .
"Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life. Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency. As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year's supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness. . . . Start now to create a plan if you don't already have one, or update your present plan. Watch for best buys that will fit into your year's supply. We are not in a situation that requires panic buying, but we do need to be careful in purchasing and rotating the storage that we're putting away. The instability in the world today makes it imperative that we take heed of the counsel and prepare for the future."