Friday, January 22, 2010

Food storage Friday- picking up where we left off

We are getting to the part of why we are doing this in the first place- we know what we eat, what we use and have our list.  Now we need to acquire 3 months worth to have on hand.  This will make meal planning so much easier and cheaper in the long run. 

If you listed 10 meals, you'll need enough to do each 10 times to make about 3 months worth.  This includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner.

If you did 30 meals, you'll need enough to do each 3 times.  I like to do this version, because it gives us more variety.  I also like it because stores will have limits on sale items, and it's usually 3-4.

You now have your MASTER shopping list.  These are the things to look for on sale.  When things are 50% savings and above, this is when you need to stock up on your items.  Matching with coupons will add for extra savings as well.  Here are some sites to try- they collect the coupons from other sites so you don't have to go all over to find what you need.  You can print 2 of each coupon per printer. (I've added a toolbar in the right column for you to link from)

If you're looking for more Natural/Organic foods- This site covers Whole Foods and has lots of links for coupons: Organic deals.  The prices may be different than Hawaii, but it'll show you how to save something.

A lot of the time, it helps to write to the companies that make the foods you use and give feedback-good or bad.  They appreciate it and will send you samples and coupons to buy more of their products in most cases.  I did this recently when a travel-size pack of formula seemed to have gone bad- it had brown spots and bubbled when I put it in water.  They responded right away and even sent a 12-oz. can of formula to me and sent a $5 coupon/check for my next purchase.

You won't buy everything on your Master list all at once, but definitely watch for the sales on your items so you'll know what a good stock-up price is to watch out for.  You may have to put a certain amount of money aside each week ($10-20 or whatever you can handle) while you still have regular groceries to buy until you've built your food storage.  Check expirations on sale items, sometimes they are just trying to get rid of inventory because they are going bad soon.  Make sure you have enough time to use the items or else it might be a waste.  Fresh foods- milk, eggs, fruits, veggies aren't able to store either, but buying the fruits/veggies that are in season will save you a TON.  You can also buy powdered milk/eggs if they are used as ingredients in a recipe- only you'll know and the rest can't tell a difference.  Frozen fruit/veggies are a good option to explore also- stirfry, smoothies, etc and not having to worry about if something is in season or not.

Keep track of what you have, and use them your meals around the items you've already bought.  You'll be all set to join in Menu Plan Monday.  Please share if you participate

Last step and most important- rotate!  This is a continuous process, but so rewarding- this is why I wanted to share it with others.  Our food budget has gone down A LOT for two reasons- I only buy things when they are on sale and stack coupons with it when possible.  But I feel like we are eating more than we ever have!

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