[8/11/17] We are all looking for ways to save money. Every little bit helps. The more money we can save, the more money we have to put toward preps. In what follows I share some ideas that I’ve picked up that have helped me save money. These are ideas that I have implemented and which have worked for me. I am curious to hear your ideas. Let’s put our minds together and figure out ways we can save.
1. Stockpile groceries and hygiene products.
With the exception of some fresh fruits and vegetables, and milk I only purchase groceries and hygiene products when they are at their rock bottom prices. And even then I use a coupon. To get started with your stockpile, make a list of the items your family uses regularly. Then keep an eye out for sales. When an item your family uses regularly goes on sale, buy enough to last 6-8 weeks. If the price is really good, buy a years supply. Do this, and over time your stockpile will grow.
2. Make common items at home.
Before purchasing an item, ask yourself if you can make it at home. In the past few weeks I have learned to make laundry soap and dishwasher soap from basic ingredients like washing soda and borax. These turned out so well that I am stunned. Why didn’t I start doing this sooner? What other items can be made at home for a large savings?
3. Cook from staples.
Basic foodstuffs are inexpensive: beans, rice, wheat, oats, corn, pasta; and yet a multitude of dishes can be prepared from them. We have started a program of eating meatless dinners one night a week. Sometimes I will make a tuna pasta salad with veggies from the garden. Sometimes I will make bean and cheese burritos. The main thing here is to cook with real ingredients instead of buying processed foods. If you buy staples in bulk, you can save even more money. I am so impressed with folks who make their own bread on a regular basis. This is one of my aspirations.
4. Grow a garden.
Gardening can save a lot of money. From March until December, I can usually count of some kind of vegetable from the garden. (I am still learning about growing winter gardens.) During the summer months, the veggie for the dinner plate is often as simple as sliced tomato. If you have onions and cucumbers as well, make a tomato, onion and cucumber salad. Plant some yellow squash and zucchini and you will have plenty of veggies for dinner.
If you do not have room for a garden, you can still save money by eating seasonally. Ever notice that watermelons cost $8.99 in April but by the end of May they are going for $2.99? Buy at season’s peak and save money.
5. Can produce from your garden.
Eating seasonally saves money. Canning produce when it is available at rock-bottom prices (or free from your own garden) also saves money. I am down to my last pint of mango chutney. Right now mangos are going for $1.99 a piece. Next month they will be two for a dollar.
If you are new to canning, start with water bath canning. You can make bread & butter pickles, salsa, chutneys, relishes, jellies and preserves. Once you master water bath canning, you can take the next step and start pressure canning beans, meats, soups and other low acid foods. I am just amazed that folks will spend $12 for a can of meat—you can pressure can your own meat for less than $2 a pint.
The best thing about canning is that you’ve got all kinds of Christmas presents ready to give away. A nicely decorated jar of bread & butter pickles is always appreciated.