Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

It has gotten harder to find quiet time to write here on my sweet little blog.  Between the garden, this blog, growing and learning my Thrive business while creating websites and social networking for it has all been keeping me busy enough for three of me.  But don’t mistake a lag in postings for having neglected, or even slowing down on my preparations.  Oh, contraire!  I stay true to prepping each and every day!  For me, prepping is as natural as breathing.  The problems that I fear so much have not gotten any better.

English: Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin

Our Symbol Of American’s Taking Back Control

The economy is still a disaster.  We still have unacceptably high unemployment even with fuzzy counting by this administration.  The housing market is no better.  America’s debt continues to rise and I watched our POTUS mention more stimulus! This country’s leading law official, U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder is playing political games before Congress while a brave border agent lies in his grave and a family continues to grieve.  We have a government attack against the very basic principles of the catholic church’s position on human life, jeopardizing freedom of religion.  And the cherry on the top?  Planned Parenthood now has a facility in a school!  We can talk about these things until we are blue in the face, but I realize the “Hope & Change” which will work best for my family is in my pantry.  But I can not contain my joy for Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s victory over the heavy-handed tactics of the big unions! I’ll admit, it does give me hope for November.  But let’s get back on message here. (more…)

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Who doesn’t want to be rich? But as President Bill Clinton coined it, “It” depends on what “IT” really is. What is your idea of rich? Having an endless supply of money? That’s not at all what I consider wealth. The dollar is worth less and less all the time. I feel sorry for those filthy rich suckers we see in the news every day. Because, especially rich celebrities seem to me to be very unhappy and their lives are disasters. We watch their pitiful lives play out on camera for the world to see. Full disclosure, I do NOT watch “reality” tv. I can’t stand it!

My sense of wealth is with the people I love and those who love me.  That may sound cliché, but it’s so true.  I may not be sitting on piles of currency, but I am rich with love. There is another way I measure my wealth in another, more tangible way. The tangible riches I have will never, ever lose their value and I am betting their value will grow exponentially in the years to come. Can you guess what I am referring to? Food! Lot’s of food.  Long-lasting, shelf-stable foods that will keep for years.  If I preserve my garden correctly, it will give my family healthy produce for several years.  And the freeze-dried foods I buy last up to 25 and 30 years! Food that is chalked full of its’ original vitamins and minerals and tastes great.  Because why stock your pantry with loads of food that tastes gross and your family won’t want to eat?

Don’t get me wrong. I prepare for long-term needs. That’s why I buy beans, wheat berries, rice and package them into sealed mylar bags with oxygen absorbers inside sealed in 5 gallon food grade buckets. If something goes terribly bad in society or even within my family, these foods will offer the necessary calories, protein for me and my family.  And they serve as extenders to make other foods go further. You can’t be even a novice or passive prepper without these basics.

Store Healthy Food That Your Family Will Eat

Since I began to use my shelf-stable food supplies and introducing them into my daily cooking, I noticed that the amount of time and cost of going to the grocery store have both plummeted. I’m talking about significant drops in both. I have barely stepped into my regular neighborhood grocery store for months. There was one recent exception. When I learned to make my coffee creamer, I went in to stock up on sweetened milk and sweet potato to dehydrate for chips for my little man. But other than that, I haven’t been going. And when I did, I deliberately did not take a large cart and went down only the two isles where my food was. I was wearing my “invisible” blinders and got out of the store with only what I went in for. But preparing myself was like an athlete phsycing themselves up for a major sporting event! I told myself I would not buy any more than I planned for. By being acutely aware of my goal is to cut my family’s food cost, and knowing that grocery stores and food companies lure you into buying things that you don’t want, I chalked my trip up to being a success.

How often do you go to the store in a month? Of course, you have your weekly or bi-weekly major shopping trips. But then you run out of milk, bread or other perishable item and you stop by to grab those 1 or 2 items. But ask yourself, do you really only buy what you went in for, or were you unconsciously lured into throwing more items into your cart? And with the price of gas already high and only expected to become even more expensive, that becomes an expense that you can’t ignore when tracking your food costs.

As I researched statistical facts to support my hypothesis, I found numbers that even stunned me. I learned that a full 25% of your food costs are from impulse buys. And not even necessarily for food items, even though you buy them during a grocery trip. A new scented bubble bath, a new shade of lipstick, some cheap gadget to cover your childs juice box or one of those silly onion “keeper” containers. Coupons can actually be a stumbling block to people like me, too. Researchers found that people who use coupons casually, not those diligent extreme couponers, will see a coupon for something they never actually rotate into their normal menus and only because they have a coupon for it, they will buy the product. Who would have known it was possible to be an impulsive couponer? But be wise. Don’t keep coupons for items you don’t normally buy. Keep only coupons and buy sale items for products and food that you normally use in your home.Here are some things to think about:

  • The most expensive food is that which you throw out;
  • Impulse or spontaneous purchases account for 25% of your grocery bill;
  • Coupons are only cost-effective if you use them for items you already buy and not buy to accommodate what coupons you have;
  • If you run out of food, you tend to buy take-out or drive-thru meals costing 2 to 10 times more than meals you cook at home;
  • Over 85% of every item in a typical grocery store is processed foods containing artificial colors, flavors and stabilizers.
The Average Family Throws Away $500 to $2000 in Food

Photo illustration by Stephen Webster
An average U.S. family of four spends $500 to $2,000 each year on food that ends up in the garbage. 

If you can gain control in these areas, your food costs will drastically decrease and you will be able to divert your grocery allocations into building your long-term food storage which are amazingly easy to blend into you everyday recipes. I will be posting many recipes I make using mostly food-storage.

And to prove my point about how properly prepared foods save you money, this article from the Wall Street Journal shows that American’s lose from $500 to $2000 each year due to food spoilage. Did you know that freeze-dried foods retain almost all its’ nutritional values and stores safely for 25 years without ANY additives?  And it cuts down on your prep time because you no longer have to chop vegetables and fruits. The food you place on your dinner table is healthy, tasty and so delicious! On average, families sit down at the dinner table for home-cooked meals 2 or 3 times per week. Using freeze-dried and even dehydrated foods makes it faster and easier to for you to have your family at your table every day of the week.I didn’t want to add expenses for my household when I began my food-storage. But until I learned the virtues of using dehydrated and freeze-dried foods like milk, cheese, eggs and even sausage, beef and other meat in my daily cooking, I did just that. It was costing me hundreds more. But thankfully, that trend has completely reserved and I am building my food storage with some of the best (and mostly better) food and the cost is pennies on the dollar! Check out how I make chocolate syrup for my little mans chocolate milk for just pennies!  As my shelves are getting full, my food costs are decreasing.

I use to spend about $700 per month just at the grocery store – and even more if you take into account the fast food drive-thru’s and pizza deliveries. It is actually inline with a USDA report for January 2012 for my family allocating a “moderate” amount of income toward food.

I realized just how crazy I was one day at the grocery store. I had worked a hectic week with all the pressures that go along with a full-time job. As was typical at that time, I stopped by the store on my way home on Friday evening so I had enough “easy” food for the weekend.  As I was filling my basket with hundreds of dollars in food, toiletries and those cute novelty items, I was on the phone with Pizza Hut ordering dinner IN THE GROCERY ISLE!  Talk about distracted.  I told you, crazy! At least back then I was.

Thankfully, my grocery costs are now down at least 50%! What’s even more amazing to me is that I don’t throw out spoiled food and my shelves are bursting with food that won’t go bad or spoil. And I’m talking about delicious, every day food that my family loves. Including milk, eggs and cheese. If you think shelf-stable, long-term storage foods are not delicious (maybe like grandma’s pantry), I’m here to tell you that we are eating healthier, tastier food than we ever have before!

And even more importantly, as my garden grows (take a peek to see how it’s doing) and I harvest its’ bounty, food costs will go down even more. Not just as the produce comes in, but for months and years because I planted and will harvest enough food to dehydrate, smoke, freeze, can and pickle!  When I began thinking like American’s did in the 19th and 20th centuries about planning for their annual food needs.  It makes it easier for me to reach my own goals for food storage.

I spent a little more for heirloom seeds so I can enjoy the same fruits and veggies year after year without investing in the same seeds every season.  I looked at what resources I had to grow the most food on a typical suburban lot. The internet and You Tube is brimming with endless examples of container gardening. Just do a little planning and even you apartment dwellers can grow lots of fresh produce.  Your local food extension office is a valuable resource to help you get started.

If you haven’t begun to build your own food storage pantry, you really need to start now!  The economic benefits of buying and using shelf-stable food can be huge.  If you allocate a portion of your existing food budget to shelf-stable foods, you will be rewarded with a pantry full of foods your family will want to eat.  Imagine the hardship if someone in your family suffers a job loss becomes seriously illness.  Or if a tornado or earthquake destroys your town.  What if you don’t get a raise for the next several years, yet food prices and energy costs continue to rise, you will be thankful for a well-stocked pantry.  With a well-supplied pantry,  you are still able to feed your family well – and you won’t need to wait for FEMA or Red Cross to eat. I hope my experiences motivates you into giving serious consideration to a few things:

  1. Start a fruit and vegetable garden that includes medicinal and culinary herbs;
  2. Learn to preserve your gardens’ bounty by canning, dehydrating, drying;
  3. Avoid impulse purchases at all types of stores;
  4. Make a shopping list and do not deviate from it, regardless how strong the temptation;
  5. Allocate 25% of your current food budget toward shelf-stable foods that your family loves and will eat;
  6. Don’t forget that the most expensive food is food that has spoiled. Buy only the food you can eat before it goes bad;
  7. Incorporate storage foods into your everyday meals and recipes.

Click To See January's Food Cost Report

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The Garden Stick

Good morning friends!  I just came in from checking on the little green darlings. It’s so exciting to see a plan coming together. Even though we are just into the growing and gardening season (weather has been awful so far), those new heirloom seeds are sprouting and looking so healthy and strong. The vegetables and herbs offer a wealth of benefits to my family when they are harvested, eaten, preserved and seeds saved for next year, and the next and so on.  I’m only showing you those which are growing.  I have so many more plants that have not popped out. I decided to spare you the boredom of seeing a pile of fresh dirt.  😉

There are a couple of links I’d like to share to go along with this video. I show and mention The Garden Stick and My Patriot Supply. Just click to visit their sites if you are interested in learning more. The Garden Stick you see is their 6 foot by 66 inches, their largest one. I will be posting a review because I am so impressed with them.  And let me assure you, I have no affiliation with either company. I’m just a really happy customer.  If it shows up in this blog, it’s because it’s awesome!

Grab your popcorn, settle back and enjoy the show . . . .


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What do you think our parents and grandparents did before the “convenience” store? What if they ran out of milk for the babies? What about that loaf of bread? The daily lives our grandparents lived was vastly different from what we have settled into today. The convenience of grocery stores was, in our grandparents era, considered a luxury reserved for the wealthiest citizens. The limited number of items manufactured and produced which were sold in retail grocery stores were simply expensive and realistically, unattainable for most Americans.  Most families didn’t even have indoor plumbing and mothers sewed clothes for their families for the most part. They washed laundry by hand and read to and taught their children by oil lanterns or candles.  Most didn’t have telephones in their homes until later. Comparatively, we have a life of luxury.

Sounds a bit rough, doesn’t it? Well brace yourself, because we well might be thrown back into this lifestyle soon. It could be as a result of many mishaps, be it natural or man-made.  And if someone in your household loses their job and your income dramatically decreases, it will feel like the old days, too. It will be challenging for you to keep up a lifestyle that you are accustomed to having and maintaining this for your family.

Interior of a dry grocer, downtown Vancouver, ...

Interior of a dry grocer, downtown Vancouver, Washington, circa 1909. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Considering all these factors, I made a conscious choice to ensure my family’s safety and well-being by learning all the skills I can in growing, storing and preserving food.

Here is a quick list of what I don’t buy from the traditional grocery store anymore. And almost everything on this list is made from products you usually have at home. And if there is something special we want, I can make it myself and can still do it at the most minimal investment of what store brand foods cost.

Flour: I bought bulk wheat and grind my own

Buttermilk: I have a continuous supply I make myself

Sour Cream: I make it myself in my kitchen

Spice Mixes;  Taco, Ranch and Italian Dressing: I make it all from my food storage

Laundry Detergent: I made 10 gallons for $3.00! That alone saved me $97.00.

Fabric Softener: I will never use store-bought again

Pancake, Cornbreadand Cake Mixes: All are easy to make at home.

Latkes with smetana. Українська: Категорія:Зоб...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so much more I am discovering. I will share with you how I make these things and as I learn and try new things, I will share those as well. Learning these things, the old way of doing them, fills me with such a level of pride because I know the health value of serving my family unprocessed foods without artificial preservatives. I know how important it is for us to be able to eat what we all love at without the high cost in a much healthier way. And the ease of doing it is just amazing.

I’ve learned about the value of investing in freeze-dried foods so I have endless supplies of milk, eggs, flour, dairy products and meat that will not ever go bad, at least not for up to 30 years.

Setting up a well-stocked pantry takes planning and detailed attention.  But knowing my family will never have to miss or even be shorted a meal for any reason makes this one of the most important callings of my life.

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Pauline Hawkins

Writer. Teacher. Storyteller.

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