Cut Your Grocery Costs...

...with FOOD STORAGE!  

I know what you are thinking...really?  Food storage?  Yes...Mormons are not the only ones with food storage...think of it as a great stockpile of goodies to lessen the load on the grocery budget.

  You also don't need to believe in the 
to have a food storage.  

You may review some websites and find that purchasing food storage can be expensive.  It can be.  That's why I purchase only when it's cheaper than finding a sale in the grocery store.  This has lead me to following the sales on emergency preparedness websites as well as my local grocery stores.  Don't fear...they will email you the deals.  You do not need to stalk to websites.

In a way, it is a makeover on how you can view food storage for your family and in your home.   When I started using food storage I found this to be an overwhelming task, so I'd like to share my tips that I have discovered in my journey and save you the same hassel.

#1.  Food storage does not mean food hoarding.  Storing food does not mean you have to have believe that you need 60 pounds of grains per person per year of the desired length of food storage.

Did you know that most families in America do not have enough food for 3 days in their homes?  Think of how often people go to the grocery store...Some people go several times a week because they forgot an ingredient or want to add something to their menu if they don't want to change it altogether.  Or maybe they just realized what they want to eat for dinner that night...

What if you had a few ingredients that you kept on hand all the time that could guarantee you a meal on any day without having to go to the store?  What items would your family need?  You don't need to own an entire grocery store in your pantry.  (If you do, I want to see pictures!)

Starting off with buying one or two items per month is a great way to build a food storage supply for a 3 day emergency or to help with your monthly grocery bills.  The Tax Day floods and Hurricane Harvey are great examples of extended time where families were flooded into their homes and couldn't leave for additional groceries or supplies.

Think of it as buying in bulk when it's on sale!  Think of it as saving more money in your overall monthly grocery budget without having to use coupons.

#2.  Identify your family's favorite recipes first.  Then start with the items needed to make those meals.  Rotate the meals so that the same meal isn't on the same day of the week.  For example:  My family loves tacos.  Week #1 - we may have tacos on Tuesday.  Week #3 - we may have it on Thursday.  Make the easy meals on the nights you need a quick and easy meal for your family.  Perhaps you have soccer practice and piano lessons on Wednesday...make a list of 3 or so meals and rotate them on Wednesdays for your family.  I rotate sausage/beans/and rice, tacos, and baked chicken/rice/veggie.  I'm currently looking into other recipes to add to my food storage meal prep.  You'll notice which ones in my monthly meal plans.  Check out the 2018 Meal Plan page for all the meal plans in one place.    

Perhaps your family loves pasta?  When was the last time you found pasta on sale for less than $1/bag or box?  Did you buy enough for the month or two months?

Do you use a lot of potatoes?  I was constantly buying a 10 pound bag of potatoes because its a filling food for my family.  My house of picky eaters will always eat mashed potatoes.  I can buy a month's supply of potatoes from an emergency preparedness website dehyrated cheaper than buying from my local grocery store and they do not turn into potato plants on my kitchen counter if they are not used within a few days.  If I purchase freeze dried potatoes they will have a shelf life of 25-30 years.  Don't let that scare you.  Can you imagine not having to purchase something on your grocery store list for 25 years?  What if you could do that for several of your weekly grocery store items?  Would you even need to go weekly to the store?  Or if you prefer potatoes - how about prepping them ready for your meals and then freezing them?  Your freezer is a part of your food storage.

I chop and prep all my onions for the month in advance and then put them in freezer bags ready for each meal (approx. 2 medium onions per bag).  They stay in the freezer until I'm ready to use them.  I don't worry about thawing them either, I just throw them in while I'm cooking.  If I remember to pull them out of the freezer, I'll set them in the fridge until I need them.  (See Tip #3)

Do you use a lot of canned goods?  Use recipes that call for the whole can of an ingredient and not just part of the can.  This prevents waste.  There are some recipes where I use the whole can of the ingredient even though the recipe says to use less.  Or I will even use the whole bag of frozen vegetables instead of just a cup or two in the recipe.  I'm not going to complain if my family eats more vegetables than normal.  If you don't want to do that then you can freeze what's left for the next recipe.

Are you really getting the correct amount of servings from a can of veggies?  I can only get 2 servings from a can of green beans with my crew.  They love green beans.  When I break down the cost of a can of green beans per much is it really when the store marks it down on sale?  What would be a cheaper way to save on green beans?  Have you looked into #10 size cans?  Have you looked into freeze dried foods?  What about having a green bean plant in your flowerbed or a small garden for fresh, any time, green beans!  Hubby purchased a giant 5 pound bag of frozen green beans for just a few cents more than a regular 4 serving bag!

Some of our favorite recipes are Beef Enchilada Casserole, Tacos, Shepherds Pie, Baked Chicken, Fettuccini Alfredo, Heavenly Goulash, Mashed Potatoes, Rice, and Beans.  

I use rice and beans from our home food storage.  I purchased a large bag of rice from Costco and keep it sealed in a 5 gallon bucket.  I keep the bucket at the bottom of my pantry.  I simply pull it out when I need it and slide it back when I'm done.  (Same for beans).  

Not my photo, but a great example of the buckets that can be used to store rice and beans safely for your home food storage.  

I substitute ground turkey for ground beef as much as possible because I can get ground turkey for $2.99 or less a pound.  Ground beef is over $5.99/pound ON SALE!  I stock up on the ground turkey when I can and use it until the next sale.  Ground beef also gives Hubby heartburn or indigestion so I limit it to about once every two weeks even though he loves it.  

Do you have your pantry stocked with pasta?  I keep several packages of pasta on hand all the time.  I buy them when they are on sale - at least a month's worth.  If I can get away with buying 3 months worth (consider pasta meals once a week to calculate my family's "month's" worth) I will.  When was the last time you heard of pasta going bad?  It's never gone bad at my house.  We eat a lot of pasta.  It's a filling food.  It's also cheap and easy to make at home.  I have also found that you can buy pasta in #10 cans.  It's very cheap!  I'll be making that purchase in the next couple of days myself.  A #10 can of pasta can give me 22 servings and at $4.69/#10 can....that's $0.21/serving.  That would last my family probably 3 or so months and it's much less than what I would pay.  I spend at least $4-5/month on pasta at my local grocery store.  (Hey-that's quilting money right there!)

I buy bread and large bags of tortillas and freeze them when they are on sale.  Hubby can't tell the difference and neither can I.  It's a great way to keep a staple in the home.  Tacos are a quick and easy meal and it's a few simple ingredients for my household: torillas, meat, cheese, pico....Cheese is always on hand and I can make pico if need be.  Hubby will usually just add hot sauce to his if we don't have pico de gallo.  I've recently acquired tortilla mix into my food storage.  Homemade tortillas are amazing!  If you have the time to make them, your family will thank you!  

If your family won't eat it - don't store it.  It's not going to save you any money in the end.  

I also use frozen veggies for meatloaf and Shepherds Pie.  Quick and easy...and I don't have to do any chopping.  Onions and peppers are the same a bag in the freezer.  I often times will buy in bulk when they are on sale or when I can find a great deal at Costco.  I have just recently found that I can purchase freeze dried onions for a very cheap price on an emergency preparedness website.  I will make that purchase and experiment with a few recipes to see if my family can tell the difference.  I'll post on the blog when I do that!  

#3.  Food storage includes your food in your freezer!  What goodies do you have in your freezer?  When onions were on sale, did you buy 10 pounds, chop them up (or use a food processor/chopper) and freeze them until you needed them?  Onions thaw fast and don't need any time from the freezer to the pot, in my opinion.  When Kroger sent you a coupon for a free frozen vegetable, did you get it?  I have found that if I chop the vegetable up small enough, my family doesn't know it's in the meal.  I use frozen vegetables in Shepherds Pie...That's a quick and easy meal...and the vegetable chopping is done for you with a bag of frozen vegetables.  You can use frozen veggies in soups too!  Frozen hash browns?  Frozen tater tots?  These are great for casserole recipes.

Do you still have leftovers days after you made the meal?  Does it look like your family is not going to eat them?  Freeze them!  Save them for a rainy day.  You will be suprised how often you will need just one meal or two.  Perhaps Hubby is out of town and I don't feel like cooking a huge meal.  I can just pull out a small meal from the freezer, thaw, heat, and eat.  This is great to do with leftover homemade soup too!  I will freeze soup in plastic freezer bags laying flat and then move to where I have soups stored.  This helps with space in my deep freezer.

#4.  Did you know food storage websites have specials and sales?  Often without needing a coupon?  Sometimes there are online coupons so take advantage of that!  They rotate their items too and may select an item you use often with a super cheap price.  That's the time to take advantage.  You may find a regular price that's cheaper than your local grocery store.  That's another time to take advantage and purchase those items for your family.

#5.  Meat.  My hubby cannot have a meal without meat.

Meat is the most expensive item at the store for us.  I recently found a new source for fresh meat.  However, you purchase more than just one pound at a time.  Introducing  Tell them you learned about them from the My Charmed Cabin Life Blog!

Recently, a meat truck stopped Hubby while he was working at the deer camp and offered a great deal if we would buy the rest of the meat on his truck.  He came to do a delivery to a neighbor.  Texas Choice Meat Company from Fort Worth, Texas...we purchased steaks, pork chops, hamburger, sausage, chicken, and ribs.  It was a pretty big purchase in my opinion (around $500) but now I won't have to buy meat for about 3 months, at least!  We opted to not buy the seafood because we ran out of freezer room at the deer camp.  A perk with this company is that some of it is already seasoned, so I just have to come up with sides for dinner!  Super easy!

If this doesn't suit your needs, have you thought of purchasing half a steer for your beef?  Have you met another family who would like to save money on their grocery bills?  Perhaps 3 or 4 families can split the cost.  Often times you can locate a fresh meat supplier and purchase half a steer.  You will receive the processed meat ready for your freezer.  Another family can buy the other half.  Perhaps the farmer would like to only sell half the meat?

Did you also know it's cheaper to buy the whole chicken than just breasts or legs in a package?  You can purchase a whole chicken, break it down at home and package the breasts in a plastic freezer bag if you want to save them for later.  You can save the legs and thighs for later too.  When our local grocery store has chicken legs/thighs for sale for $0.39/pound - I stock up too.  They are usually in 10 pound bags and I will try to walk away with at least 3 bags for my freezer.  Hubby loves the dark meat from chicken.  Leg quarters are his favorite part of the chicken!

#6.  Freeze dried food PERK!  Did you know that freeze dried foods make great baby foods?  Remember how expensive it is at the store ready for baby to eat...a simple solution is taking some of the freeze dried foods and grind it - then add water when the baby is hungry.

Also, when your baby gets teeth and is more into table can use freeze dried yogurt and veggies as snacks.  The baby snack section at your local grocery store has yogurt bites...guess's the same yogurt that's been freeze dried!  Different brands will have different textures, so try a few!  Bailey won't eat the baby yogurt, but she will eat the THRIVE freeze dried yogurt bites.  Crazy, huh?

So not only can you snack on the foods straight from the container, but you can rehydrate it with water and eat it with your meals.  You also can use the same items for your baby food needs.  It's a 3 in 1 product!  LOL!

#7.  Internet.  There are tons of recipes for food storage on Pinterest.  I know...I'm a Pinterest fool.  I love that website and I don't know how I lived my life without it.  Just recently I started saving recipes using basic food storage supplies and I will be making them in the future.  Why even have a food storage if you don't use it?  If you aren't using it, you aren't saving yourself money!  If you aren't saving yourself money, where are you getting you're extra quilting money?  (LOL...I digress.)

There are lots of blogs that post their recipes for food storage and additional information for emergency preparedness.  Save those recipes you like and share with other moms in your friends circle.  Who doesn't like saving money?  I am finding several blogs that I enjoy and I will be adding them to my Favorite Sites List located on the Home page of the blog.

There's even several Facebook groups on how to cook with food storage or how to save money cutting your grocery costs.  Join some and see if you like them...the more you join, the more other groups will pop up as recommended for you.  You can always leave the group if you don't like them.

As I continue on my journey with food storage I will add to these tips.  What I learn...I will share.   I will later post this blog post as it's own page on my blog for quick and easy reference.

My biggest tip is that I have learned this is not an immediate will take about 3 months before you see the savings hit your wallet.  So do a little each month for 3 consecutive months and see how much you save!

           ...with DIGITAL COUPONS! 

#8.  Digital Coupons.  Here's something I realized that I found my family members had not...With the start of all major grocery stores using digital coupons, they have the same coupons now.  The question comes in to play - who has the items on sale?

Yesterday (4-24-18), I was at my local Kroger and there was a sign at the Pampers showing how great a deal on diapers they had...(at least they wanted you to think so).  They showed the for sale price of $7.99, then minus a $4.00 coupon that was digital, and minus another $1.00, if you bought 5 packages of the diapers.  This was in regards to the smallest package.  When I finally made it to the check out, there was a woman who was questioning her total from the checker, because it was way higher than she expected.  All she had were the packages of diapers and I knew exactly what the problem was.  It took me a while to figure it out in the aisle myself.

The $4.00 off digital coupon was for only one box of diapers, not each package of 5 as the sign was encouraging you to purchase...The only real savings was the total of $1.00 - if you bought 5 packages of diapers...

So with digital coupons, you really have to pay attention to the check out process and watch how the prices ring up and make sure your coupons actually are applied to your purchases.  Yesterday, NONE of my coupons came off and I had to scroll through and show the cashier each and every one.  Of course, when I got to the car, I remembered more coupons...and lost that money.  I won't do that again.  Next time, I'll have a print out of my coupons and make marks by the ones I use so I can show the cashier to save that money...or I will refuse to make the purchase.

#9.  Paper Coupons.  You can also use paper coupons when you have digital coupons.  You have to check the coupon policy of the store that you use, but sometimes you are allowed to "stack" coupons for additional savings.

Some stores like CVS, even have a free random coupon based upon your purchases.  It's worth it to stop in and scan your CVS card at the kiosk and see what deal you are offered.  I use to stop in CVS more, but I don't live as close to one anyone.  I was a CVS customer for a while before anyone ever told me about this daily secret coupon.

If you have any grocery money saving or food storage tips for newbies, please share them below in the comments.  I would love to keep adding to this page!  I'm always willing to learn more ways to expand my quilting budget!  LOL..

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