Using SALES To Build Your Food Storage

Filed under :Food Items, Food Storage

Let’s face it, building a food storage can be expensive especially if your budget is pretty tight and there isn’t much money left over at the end of each paycheck.   But, taking advantage of SALES at your local grocery stores as well as “DRUG STORES” such as CVS, Walgreens and RiteAid can really help you to stretch your food storage dollar.

Typically, when people think of food storage, their mind immediately goes to thoughts of  freeze-dried, canned foods that last for 20 or 30 years.   That’s fine if you’re working on building your long-term food storage, but what about if you need to work on your 90 day (3 month) or 1 year food storage?

I try to keep an “eagle eye” out for sales that are offered by local grocery stores and “drug stores” in my area.  I’ve had considerable success in adding many items to my 3 month and also my 1 year food storage pantries.  Let me give you an example:  This past week I stocked up on canned ham (12 oz size) at Walgreens for $1.39/can.  This ham is regularly priced at $3.99/can.    The brand is “Celebrity” and is a “boneless – cooked” ham that is 96% fat free.   And the expiration date is March of 2015!   The per purchase limit was 3 cans.    Well, I travel by this one particular Walgreens once per day during the weekdays so making several trips wasn’t a problem for me.     This canned ham is going to be a great addition to my food storage!

Another item that was offered on sale last week at Walgreen’s was SPAM.  It was $1.39/can.   The cheapest price I can purchase SPAM is for $2.62/can at WalMart – so the Walgreens sale price was a tremendous savings for me.  The per purchase limit on the SPAM was also 3 cans.  The expiration date for the SPAM is September of 2013.

A food storage item that I found with a very long expiration date is Chicken of the Sea “Pink Salmon”.    This was also on sale last week for $1.99/can.  The salmon is “Wild Alaska” salmon so it’s not the genetically-modified frankenfish (my opinion).   The expiration date is July of 2016!

This week (April 24th, 2011) there are a couple of interesting items on sale at Walgreens – they have a 24 pack of 16.9 oz water on sale for $2.99 and gallons of distilled or drinking water on sale for $0.69/gallon.  You can also pick up toothpaste for 99 cents and band-aids for FREE with a “register reward”.   Over at CVS, a 24 pack of 16.9 oz water is on sale for $2.88 with “Extra Bucks”, men’s antiperspirant is only 99 cents (limit 5), and tuna is 59 cents per can (limit 10).

In addition to food items, stores like Walgreens, CVS and RiteAid are excellent places to pick up many personal care and hygiene items (like q-tips, shampoo/conditioner, soap) and medical supplies (medicine, band-aids, vitamins).

AND — don’t forget to use those free coupons (you can print them online at places like coupons.com) to further lower your food storage costs.


Back to the Basics – Baking Your Own Bread!

Filed under :Bread Machine, Small Kitchen Applicances

 

I have found that I save so much time (and effort) in the kitchen with a few small “appliances” that I have purchased.  These appliances help me because not only do they save time (that I can spend doing something else), but because they make tasks easier – so much easier that I don’t mind doing what I need to do!  Let me explain….

I have a bread machine – actually, this is the 3rd bread machine that I’ve owned in the last 17 years.  Yes, I wear them out to say the least.  I definitely get my money’s worth out of my bread machine so I don’t mind spending the money to purchase a quality machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do I like about using my bread machine?  Here’s my list:

  • It’s SUPER EASY to use – and it saves me SO MUCH TIME!
  • I can provide FRESH bread for my family every day if I want to
  • The ingredients for fresh bread are so much better (and LESS) than the pre-baked, packaged bread at the grocery store
  • I can make fresh bread for less money
  • I can make use of the staples when rotating my LONG TERM food storage
  • There are so many other “meals” and recipes that I can put together using baked bread

Do you bake bread?  Do you own a bread machine?  How often do you use your bread machine?

If you don’t currently own a bread machine, they are quite easy to find at garage sales and flea markets for a good price.  I would suggest buying one “used” first (if you are wanting to try one) or maybe even borrowing a family member’s machine that they are not using.  Try making just a traditional white bread the first time you use it.   See how well your family members like fresh-baked bread….

Now for the EXTRA information about bread machines!  A little about the mechanics of the machine.  All of the bread machines that I’ve owned have a “kneader” in the bottom of the baking pan that spins around, mixes the ingredients and kneads the dough.   The only other part of the bread machine that requires any cleaning at all is the baking pan.  And, these items can be removed from the machine and washed very easily in the sink.  All of the bread machines that I’ve owned have all had a “non-stick” interior that makes removing the baked bread from the pan very easy.  Just always be careful NOT TO SCRATCH the interior.  As far as the outside of the machine, I just use a damp dishcloth to keep it wiped down.

Next, I want to talk about how easy it is to use the bread machine and how much time it can save you.  The only items you will need from your utensils is a measuring cup, a teaspoon and a tablespoon.  That’s the only items that I have to wash in preparing my ingredients for the bread machine — no rolling pin, no rolling mat, and the best thing is that I don’t get flour all over the counter LOL   This is because all of the ingredients go directly into the machine and the machine does all the work for me.   I measure the ingredients and place them (in order) into the bread machine.  Then select the settings and hit the START button.  The machine does the rest – all of the mixing, the kneading, the rising and the baking.  I probably spend the most amount of time using the bread machine in just getting out and putting up the ingredients!

FRESH bread for my family every day if I want — yes, it’s that easy!  And it’s really fast because I can place the ingredients in the machine, select the settings and forget about it until I hear the BEEP BEEP BEEP that signals the bread is ready.

The ingredients — well, let me just put it this way…. less is better!  If you have a loaf of store-bought bread in your pantry, then read the ingredient list.  Now, compare it to the ingredient list for my traditional white bread:  flour, water, sugar, salt, yeast, butter, dry milk    Impressive, eh?  Yes, most of the ingredients are items that you have every day in your kitchen!

The price?  Well, the price of bread at the supermarket has really jumped in the last year.    And since I buy my staples in bulk (flour, sugar, dry milk) I get lower prices for my ingredients – this makes the price of my homemade, fresh-baked bread even less!    Do a price comparison of store-bought bread versus your homemade bread to see how much you would save per loaf.

LONG TERM food storage…. yes, most of the ingredients for fresh, homemade bread come straight from your long-term food storage pantry.  For example, these ingredients come from your long-term storage:

  • flour (10 year food storage when packaged in mylar bags with oxygen absorber),
  • sugar (30 year food storage when packaged in mylar bags with oxygen absorber),
  • salt,
  • dry milk (30 year food storage when packaged in mylar bags with oxygen absorber)

Only the yeast and butter will come from your refrigerator…

What other meals, food items or recipes can you make with your bread machine?  Oh my, the list is long… for this I will write several blog posts!  So stay tuned :-)


Food Storage – Preparing for the Unexpected?

Filed under :Food Storage

Do you have a “food storage” ….  do you know someone who does …. what do you think about “food storage”?

Very interesting questions, wouldn’t you say?  Thought provoking ….

 

 

 

But I guess the first question that you might have (if you don’t already have a food storage) is why?  Why would anyone want to “store” food for the longterm?

I would like to share MY ANSWER to that question.  My reasoning might be completely different from yours …. that is if you do “food storage”.   My number one reason for creating a food storage is for the benefit and well-being of my family.  They are number one in my life and I would do anything to protect them.  For me, food storage is just like life insurance, car insurance, home insurance, health insurance – it’s an “food” insurance that I have for my family just-in-case.

With the recent events, the economy and natural (and man-made) disasters that we’ve experienced over the last year (let alone what’s happened in the last couple of months), there are probably more people becoming interested in doing their food storage.  They are beginning to GET IT about why food storage is so important.  As an American, I know that I’ve come to take for granted just how convenient it is to make a trip to the grocery store once per week to purchase the food that my family needs for the upcoming week.  BUT, what if something happened and the grocery store shelves were bare.  Then what?  How long could your family live on the food that you have in your pantry?  You could have the money in hand to purchase the food – but if there isn’t any food on the shelves then your money isn’t worth much, is it?

Many grocery stores practice “just in time” inventory management – WalMart in particular is renowned for their efficient inventory control system.  By implementing this “just in time” inventory control system, WalMart doesn’t have as much CASH tied up in idle inventory taking up space in their warehouses.  This “system” runs like clockwork for them.   What is sold in each store each day is reordered and on the next truck delivery.  But what happens if there is a hiccup in the system – something throws a monkey wrench in?  How long would it take before all of the shelves are empty?

Let’s shift our thoughts to another “what if”…. natural disasters…. I will use the recent earthquake in Japan as an example.  I’ve been watching videos that ordinary citizens in Japan have uploaded showing the store shelves empty.   The earthquake has caused a disruption to the stores’ inventory replenishment.  The citizens in some areas of Japan are beginning to run out of food.  It doesn’t matter that they may have the money to afford to buy the food – there is just no food on the shelves to buy.  The same goes for water which is a topic that I will cover a little later.  Check out this video uploaded by a Tokyo citizen saying that there is no food, no water and no gas:

The “what if’s” above are pretty much short-term food storage reasons – they are not permanent situations and can be overcome in a matter of weeks to maybe even a month.   For example, in hurricanes or earthquakes, roads can be cleared making it possible for the transportation of food and products to the stores again.   In these situations, usually it doesn’t take too long before help arrives or things get back to a somewhat normal state.

Now I’m going to cover a scenario that no one likes to consider.  What if…. just what if something happened that could possibly disrupt the food and water for an extented period of time?  For this scenario I am going to use Japan’s earthquake and resulting nuclear disaster at Fukushima.  The soil and ocean is becoming more and more contaminated.    Check out this video of Greenpeace France in Japan measuring the radioactivity:

As you can see in the video above, the soil is contaminated, the water supply is also contaminated.  This isn’t something that will be corrected in the next several months.   And in this case, even the nuclear reactors are still very unstable and still releasing radioactivity for almost a month now.  Who knows what the longterm fate of Japan will be at this time.  And for those people, I do pray!   But, let’s shift gears to the U.S. again.   There are reports of milk in the U.S. now containing low levels of radioactivity.  Actually, the last report I heard, 14 states are reporting low levels of radioactivity from the Japanese nuclear power disaster.   This isn’t something that could potentially just dissipate in a few months.  This is something that the U.S. may have to deal with for who knows how long.  And, at this point, we do not even know how long it is going to take before the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is contained.

So, what if… just what if something happened that prevented you from being able to just run to the grocery store and purchase your family’s food on a regular basis?   What if there were some sort of contamination in the food supply (as with Japan and the radiation)?   What would you do and how would you be able to feed your family?

Another scenario…. what if the economy “tanked”…. what if the income-earner in your family lost their job?  What if no one in your family could find a job for the next 6 months?  How would you feed your family?  Would you just sit back and hope that the government would take care of your with food stamps and unemployment compensation?   Oh sure, that sounds easy enough, right?   But what if the unemployment was not enough to cover all of your bills and the food stamps only cover a portion of your grocery needs?   What if you ended up like so many Americans that have completely exhausted their ability to collect unemployment?  You do know there is a limit to the amount of time you can collect, right?

This is just some food for thought for you…. I will be exploring “FOOD STORAGE for the American Family” in my upcoming posts.  My goal will be to help you get your food storage in order in your household.  I’ll be discussing SHORT-TERM (3 months) as well as LONG-TERM (1 year or more) food storage.  It’s important to cover both because it’s better to be prepared and not need it than to be unprepared and a situation arise where you wish you would have been.