Thursday, June 25, 2009

Food Budget- It's ALL About Stock-Piling!

This is a compilation and expansion of the tips and explainations in Monthly Budget Breakdown, Tips & Explainations sparked by questions and conversation in response to the Monthly Budget Breakdown, Tips & Explainations discussion and question replies on a forum site.

I know it doesn't seem like it would make such a big difference but it does. You would be amazed at the deals you can find when you don't HAVE to buy certain foods. Stock piling is wonderful when you are on a tight budget. I talked to another mama yesterday on that has found out the same thing about stock piling and spends an average of $160 a month for food, but also has a "disastrously large stockpile" as she put it ;-) We normally spend $100ish once a month or sale items (I've figured out all the grocery stores in town that have organic and a route that takes the least gas) then use the $50 throughout the month as we need perishables or whatever.

I try to pick up as much organic as possible but I will not buy organic if it's not in the budget. As a result we have a pretty even mix of organic and conventional, leaning more towards organic. I make a lot of our own food like bread and cook meals from scratch, so that helps to get cheaper organic food when you are buying basic ingredients instead of the finished product. Honestly, mostly I have found that organic will go on sale/discontinue for the same prices as conventional goes on sales (or even lower since stores often discontinue organic for super cheap prices), and I can normally find coupons for organic in the pamphlets at our local health market, so check out the pamphlets at your local all natural stores for coupons.

When you see a good deal of something you use, buy it up. That's what stockpiling is! Stockpiling frees up larger amounts of money to use at one time on buying a lot of one item as good prices. Here's some personal past examples of prices we've found & bought large amounts at so you can see how this saves money (you will find low prices more common then you think when you are stockpiling and only buying when you find good deals):
  • We got 20 boxes of organic spaghetti for 10¢ a box a couple months ago that was being discontinued from that store, I grabbed the rest of the boxes. Normal size boxes of long spaghetti.
  • We got a shopping bag full of organic cheese for $1 for 8oz on a sale last month (cheese is stock-pile-able, it freezes and unfreezes really well)
  • We stock pile lots of cans, organic cans go on sale a lot for the same price as their conventional counterparts or cheaper if the store is discontinuing it from the shelves, so when they do I will stock way up on them.
  • We bought several bags full of canned organic tomato sauce for 15¢ a can in November that is great, because we use it for spaghetti, pizza, lasagna, meatballs, sauce on some meats and whatnot, just add applicable spices and you have whatever tomato based sauce you need.
  • We stock up on organic flours whenever they go on sale. Those don't normally go as cheap as other organic products; I think the cheapest I have gotten organic flour for is $1.80 for 5lbs on time, which is still very cheap.
  • The same with sea salt, it does not normally go as discounted as other organics products, but sometimes will, so we stock way up when it does.
A great point another mama made is that it doesn't help to get deals on foods you don't like. It's not as big a deal when you are buying more basic ingredient type items- sincethe taste difference from brand to brand isn't as large, and even where it is you are mixing these with spices and other ingredients to make the finished product. When buying prepackaged type food this is more of an issue. Personally we don't buy as much convenience food anymore, but in the past have found you can fix taste issues with spices or by making something entirely different out of it. That can be a pain though, especially if you were going for convince to begin with. Another quick tip for taste when buying canned veggies/fruits and ect.. that tend to taste like can, have tons of salt or tons of sugar, I put them in a colander (smaller the holes in it the better) and rinse them out in the colander under hot water in the sink. This helps a lot to get rid of the excess salt/sugar and to wash away some of the can taste that permeates the liquid in the can.

The whole reason stock piling works is that you just need a handful of things to be on sale each month when you are stock piling. You aren't looking to buy a variety of items and need many to be on sale, you just need a few good sales and you stock up on those particular items. We still grab conventional when it's a good enough sale though or if we do get down where we need to pick up something until we find it on sale again (this rarely happens though, and hasn't for months) But I don't think there's any way we could afford me to stay home, or afford any organic at all without stock-piling. :)

About Me

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I'm a semi crunchy stay at home wife and mama of two boys. Extend Breastfeed, Cloth diaper, Cosleep, Babywear, Homeschool, Homebirth. My sons and I have some serious health concerns (allergies, growth hormone, kidney, lung, spine, etc...). We didn't realize they were genetic (or I had) until after Trace's birth. Tristian had some big medical and possibly/probably autism related delays in early childhood but also taught himself to read at 2yrs and started on math equations at 4yrs. Trace is bit delayed across the board by about 6 months, but as he's 1yr+ behind in height... it's not very noticable ;-) Trace is very musical and hands on. With plenty of common sense, love, good doctors and faith we are doing wonderfully!

This wonderful chapter in my life of discovering the green subculture has (mostly) ended. Living green on a budget has changed from the thrill of discovery to habit. This blog remains in rememberance- with occasionally crossover posting. I hope you join me- the same green mama on a budget, in a new blog celebrating life's daily experiences- LIFE O'KAY Still lots of crafts & crunchiness- with even more sweet family moments.

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