Grocery Budget Tips: Tip 8 – We Stock Up

Welcome back to the grocery budget series I am in the middle of writing.  In this series, I will share the top 20 ways that I can think of that our large family uses to keep the grocery budget from getting out of line.  To learn more, visit our introduction.

We stock up on non-perishable items. When maple syrup is at a good price, we stock up (we currently tap our own trees but aren’t successful getting a years worth of syrup yet).  When I notice a drop in flour, sugar, baking goods (usually around holidays) I stock up.  When meat is on sale, we stock up.  This way, when we run into a month where we have to cut corners, or we have guests joining us for a meal, or something unexpected happens, food is the last thing we have to worry about.  When my husband became injured from an accident on the farm that left him unable to work for a month then he lost his job on top of that and it took another three months to find anything near our little rural town, our world was crumbling around us financially but we still had a lot of food to eat!

Stocking up is one reason our grocery budget is still around the $400-500 range.  If I cut out the stocking up, and lived completely off the farm, I could get by on less each month.  But the stocking up on food that we don’t grow, or that isn’t yet mature, is a safeguard our family uses to be able to get by the hard times that seem to always be lurking around the corner.

I urge everyone to begin – even if it’s only with beans and rice (assuming you will actually eat beans and rice) – get something stored up that you can live off of in an emergency.  Beans, pasta, rice, are all cheap and easy to stock up on even if it is an extra pack every so often. There are many, many articles on the web about stocking up on food. Emergencies happen in various forms on a regular basis to many of us and I do believe that being prepared – however we can – is the responsible thing to do.  Buy jugs of water, the begin slowly stocking up on items your family will eat in an emergency.  Consider that in some emergencies you may not have access to a way to heat water or food, so perhaps you may want some canned goods on hand that you can eat right from the can without heating up.  When you need to eat in an emergency it may not always be what you want or how you want it, but food will at least nourish you and keep you going.  While you are thinking about stocking up food, consider different ways you can prepare it, then think of other things that you can prepare for.  how is your first aid kit?  Animal food? I am getting off track here, and I know we can’t all be prepared for everything  – we still have a ways to go – but getting in the mindset and taking baby steps toward your main goals is always a smart thing to do.

When we have an abundance of meat, we preserve it through freezing or canning.  Chunks of meat can be canned for stews, soups, casseroles, pulled (pork/vension/chicken) sandwiches, meat pies, etc.  I can ground beef for quick meals where I need browned ground meat but forget to thaw it.  I freeze meat in serving size portions, sometimes I get fancy and freeze chicken in a marinade for a quick future meal on the grill, sometimes I brown and season ground beef for tacos, sometimes I brown plain ground beef to cut out one step in prep for a future meal.

The nonperishable ingredients I usually store in food-grade 5-gallon buckets.  This keeps rodents, bugs and moisture away.  I label them, then stack them and store them in my basement.  Anything that is in its own sealed, plastic or metal container is set right on a shelf.  But anything in a paper bag (such as flour or sugar) or a box (like pasta) is stored in a bucket.

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