Thursday, October 8, 2009

More about my shopping....

I stopped buying small bottles of seasonings some time back and began to buy BIG bottles! Well, a little bottle of spices (unless you can find a generic, but some things do not come in generic) is about $4. I can spend less than double that and buy nearly ten times that much in a BIG bottle!

Kroger sells these in bulk and we have a Cash-n-Carry that does as well. If you have a Sam's, they carry them too. My DH also bought me an over-the-door OR mount-on-the-wall rack that houses all of them. peppercorns, cumin, cinnamon, dill, etc.

I now only have to shop for these every few months. What a blessing! Much better than every month or every other month.

My kitchen is small and I've had to learn to make the most of the space that I have. I mooched buckets from the local donut shop (not that I'd EVER eat any white flour pastry deep fried in trans fat!;). I have stored flours, sugars, nuts, wheat, beans, popcorn and more in these buckets.

When I shop the Cash-n-Carry, I look at their markdown shelves. Last month I found a 50lb bag of oats for like $15(I can't remember now exactly what I paid but this is close.) But when I find bargains like this, I snatch them up!

The Cash-n-Carry also sells big bags of fruit. I usually try to keep blueberries in the freezer and whatever else I can swing. But these give me fruit when the fresh fruit is gone! They are also great for smoothies. ....They also have a 2lb bags of chopped bell peppers. I think it's under $2 and when I'm out of them from the garden, this is the best frugal way to buy them- and they are already chopped to boot! I also buy honey there. A 5lb jug is under $12. I try to buy 2 at a time as some months this store may be skipped if I am pressed on shopping day.

I stopped buying little bottles of olive oil and now buy the big cans. Saves money and I have what I need on hand for months. This also saves time on the shopping trips if I only have to pick this up every few months.

I try to buy bulk yeast. The local health food store usually carries this.

If I need baking soda, I buy six. If I need salt, I buy four. When I need cooking spray, I buy 3. ..Many of these ideas came from Brandy and some of them came from learning as I go.

I try to buy a lot of 'basics'. Chicken and ground beef- potatoes, carrots, and onions plus apples= a bunch of meals with the right spices and extras. If I have those basics, then I can dig for recipes or make simple foods that my family loves. Just breading and frying the chicken for 'nuggets' and making homemade oven fries will tickle my crew. I can finely chop onions, carrots, and any other veggie and mix with ground beef for veggie-beef patties and bake a potato and they are in heaven! (If I cook a pot of beans, a skillet of cornbread, and fry some potatoes- they are IN heaven!)

But with basics on hand, I am free to have quick, fast, and favorite meals OR dig for something new, fancy, and exciting. I like having the option as the days can be quite unpredictable and you can't tell for sure what might happen 2 weeks down the road.

I don't buy very much convenience food. This saves money and its not as healthy as homemade.

However, I do like to keep some things on hand just in case, especially with winter coming. God is good and it seems that mothers seldom get very sick, but if we do, it is good to have things in our home that someone else might could put together. Its also good to have them if something comes up and you have to be busier than usual. My DH has helped me many times, whip up salmon patties and mashed potatoes when one or two children were sick or I had to spend extra time in the garden. ...I've also been thankful for times when there was a can of chicken noodle soup here when a child was not well and feeling like they could only eat soup.

Also along these lines, I have had to decide how 'healthy' my family is willing to go. To go too far out there would be a yoke for me and my family. As much as I enjoy 'healthy eating', I also want to enjoy my family. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and there are times that it is good to come out of there sooner!

Also, I have my own 'compromise foods'. Some of my family thinks its somehow depressing if certain things aren't EVER here or that I'm being a little overboard if I completely abstain from certain types of foods. All of that must be considered. For example: My crew can get really bummed out if there is NEVER cereal here for breakfast. My DH thinks that I should occasionally let them have 'sugar cereal' (as I call it) for a 'treat'. So, when I have coupons that enable me to get a few boxes of these for nearly free, I will. They are reserved for the days that have "kids choice" written in on my menu plans. They usually have these gone within a few days. Then I have my own choices of cereals that are for those days, such as right now there are several boxes of Organic Cascadian Farm cereal in the pantry that I also bought with coupons. On some of those days, they will get up and want oatmeal, or leftover waffles in the freezer, or toast.... See, I let them have some of what they want, but try to save the bulk of my $$ for better choices.

Brandy taught me to think on a 'price per pound' basis. You will see a couple of posts on my Grocery Shopping label, where I've told the highlights of my once a month shopping and it will include a 'price per pound' on the bulk of my shopping.

Being 'frugal' has also taught me to think about getting the most for my money. I could buy five boxes of brownie mix for around $10 or I could buy sacks of flour and cans of cocoa and make much more than five batches of deluxe brownies.

My biggest challenge was finding storage!


Millie said...

I missed this post but found it today when going back to your once a month shopping tips (it's that time again).
I so agree with this. We try to eat real/whole/traditional foods too but there are still some very conventional items in my kitchen. Partly because of Brandy too (how funny is that?). It is important to me to be prepared for things like a power outage, sickness, stuck at home in a snow storm, etc. Brandy had info on the Smith's case sale in September and I happen to have a Smiths so... We now have stuff that I don't really cook daily but are perfect to have if needed. It did come in handy when baby and I were both feeling icky. KiKi (14yodd) made a dinner of mac n cheese with tuna fish added in. The next night Lulu (12yodd) made canned soup. Hubby was happy to come home to dinner even with a sick wife. And the stuff is sure coming in handy for when my son in law needs a snack :-)

Donna said...

Sounds like you are working out a system that fits your family! That's the most important thing, don't you think?

More along with Brandy's tips, I've been tucking away some canned things underneath one of the boy's beds. There's already been times when I couldn't get to the store and needed something from that stockpile.

Your girls sound like a great blessing!

Joy said...

I just found this post and well it is amazing and packed with lots of info! Thanks so much for sharing!