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How to Save Money on Groceries

 
gardener
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Location: Southern Germany
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s. ayalp wrote: Simple-cooking, as I call it, is cheaper, way faster and -I think- healthier. Search for recepies of the world cussine that have 5 or less main ingredients. Or try to simplify your recepies.


There are some tasty dishes with 5 or less ingredients. If all the ingredients are top quality and if you additionally have good herbs/spices on hand.
For example a freshly baked bread, tomatoes and basil from the garden, a good mozzarella cheese and excellent olive oil.

But often I like to have more flavours to blend.
I usually do "simple cooking" when I make typical dishes that my children like (and that I liked as a kid):
Pancakes (neutral), either with sweet filling or filled with grated cheese.
Kaiserschmarrn, a fluffy sweet omelette powdered with sugar and served with apple sauce.
Potato pancakes (or latkes, as some would call it) with a bit of onion, an egg, served with apple sauce or sour cream.

Maybe pasta with a good homemade tomato sauce.

However, normally I always prefer to have some interesting ingredients and have several small dishes instead of one. Those dishes don't have to have expensive or exotic ingredients, but I like the variety (like in mezze).
My husband on the other hand is happy with pasta with butter, rice with butter, polenta with butter, mashed potatoes with butter etc. (which he would cook when he was single or when I am sick). I would certainly starve on such a diet.

I know that some Germans who live in traditional German families (with parents who never travelled and who never tried out dishes from other cultures) prefer very bland meals with no "spice" whatsoever. A pizza is the most they would dare. They try neither mushrooms, olives, seafood, capers, hot spices, garlic or similar.
When I read some time ago that boiled eggs with mustard sauce (bechamel with mustard) is considered a treat by some Germans I thought I was missing out as I never had that. Now I am convinced I didn't miss anything!
 
master gardener
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Location: southern Illinois, USA
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In the county of 8000 that I live in, there are people who have never traveled outside of it. And, in a similar manner, their tastes fall along the line of meat and potatoes.  I suspect salt and pepper stretch their limits.
 
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Leftovers were going to waste far too often for my comfort level.  Now I do "rollovers" instead.  Leftover meat from tacos goes into a spaghetti sauce for the next day.  Chicken breasts leftover from Italian chicken get the seasoning rinsed off and into the crockpot for Tortilla Soup.  Veggies that are half cut go into a stirfry, etc.  By using them the next day, they don't become refrigerator science experiments or freezer "How long has THIS been in here?" items.

Another thing, get to know your butcher.  We buy most beef from the same store because it's grass-fed.  Our butcher marks stuff down at 7 pm, 5 pm on Sundays.  As often as possible, I try to do my shopping shortly after that.
 
pollinator
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Location: Denmark 57N
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Anita Martin wrote:

I know that some Germans who live in traditional German families (with parents who never travelled and who never tried out dishes from other cultures) prefer very bland meals with no "spice" whatsoever. A pizza is the most they would dare. They try neither mushrooms, olives, seafood, capers, hot spices, garlic or similar.
When I read some time ago that boiled eggs with mustard sauce (bechamel with mustard) is considered a treat by some Germans I thought I was missing out as I never had that. Now I am convinced I didn't miss anything!



Swap "Germany" for "Denmark" and it's exactly the same my husband had never eaten chinese food or indian before he met me. dinner with his folks is potatoes with meat and veg every night. Ok they eat a lot of fish, but only plaice and herring. as to the eggs, they have that here to it's a cream and mustard sauce here and it's served on slices of rye bread normally for Easter.
 
Posts: 73
Location: Allentown, PA but we bought off-grid property in Newark Valley, NY
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S Tonin wrote:
I live close enough to Amish country that it pays us to take a day trip a few times a year to go to the bulk food store and stop at roadside stands on the way home.  The one I go to (Echo Hill Country Store in Fleetwood, PA) has a lot of organic and hard-to-find stuff, in smaller quantities and cheaper than I could buy online.



Hi Neighbor!  I was spending some time following some Permie rabbit holes and came upon this post.  I LOVE Echo Hill.  Our piano teacher is in Kutztown so while my kids are in their lessons I cruise over to Fleetwood.  If you want things like grains, beans, flours in larger sizes, ask the ladies in the back.  If they have it, you can buy something like a whole 25 lb. sack of beans and they give you a discount since they save on packaging.

I'm terrible with names so please excuse how vague this is, but if you take 222 towards Allentown, just past where it goes down to a 2 lane road, turn right at the traffic light by the Burger King, there are 2 Menonite farm stands shortly up the road.  The second one (larger with a more permanent store building) sells bulk apples as seconds on the cheap.  I buy bunches of them in fall, keep the best for eating fresh and can apple sauce and apple pie filling.  I've bought other bulk produce from both these stands at very reasonable prices.  And even full boat, their prices are very reasonable.
 
pioneer
Posts: 538
Location: Oregon 8b
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Search for "restaurant supply store"

These are stores where restaurants buy their products at near wholesale, and in my area they're open to the general public.

I haven't been shopping for 4 or 5 months. When I went last, I spent $467.

For that I got:

  • 50 pounds of masa
  • 50 pounds of black beans
  • 50 pounds of brown rice
  • 25 pounds of oats
  • 25 pounds of salt (for fermenting)
  • 12 pounds of popcorn
  • 25 pounds of frozen veggies (to supplement the garden which had been destroyed by deer)
  • 50 pounds of chicken
  • 10 pounds of grass fed beef (because it was marked down)
  • 10 pounds of bacon
  • 10 pounds of sausages
  • 5 pounds of peanut butter
  • 10 pounds of pasta
  • 5 pounds of apples (again to supplement what the deer had destroyed)
  • 3 gallons of ice cream
  • 3 gallons of vinegar
  • 1 gallon of soy sauce
  • 1 gallon sesame oil
  • 5 pounds of cheddar/pepper jack
  • 5 pounds of cottage cheese
  • 30 pounds of dog food


  • The average is around $1.11/pound, even considering that a solid 20% of what I purchased was meat. Excluding the dog food, that's enough calories to feed an adult for 8 full months at 2,000 a day (and that's not counting eggs from the chickens and produce and herbs from the garden.) That's $58/month, not counting eggs and produce. Factoring in the production from my chickens (which pay for their own feed), that's almost 9-1/2 months of food for less than $50 a month. The goal this year is to reduce that to $0, or at least $0 except for meat, by growing all of my staples rather than purchasing them. I'd like to cover the meat as well, and I've considered rabbits, but I'm not sure that's going to work out this year.
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 912
    Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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    When mom & dad were first married, [1943] the budget was quite tight. In those days, and in France, $20 was a chunk of change. Dad was paid each month, but by the hour, and there were few opportunities to work overtime and mom was a housewife for many years , At the beginning of the month, there were 4 envelopes, each with about $5.00 in it. When that money was gone, it was out of the question to pick out of the next envelope. If we were out, we were out. When there was some leftover, it would go back in the piggybank, not in the next envelope. That was considered "savings", for a rainy day.
    Mom would peel the potatoes making sure there were "eyes". The basement was just bare soil. She would dig and plant the peelings and water them a bit. This way, she would be able to get a second "crop" of potatoes later [little marbles, really, but very tasty... We ate them with the skin] Under the Occupation by the Germans, you didn't want to plant them outside: The German army could requisition anything you had to feed their troops. Celery stubs could be planted too and you would get another [tiny] crop. Raised in darkness, they were even better than the green stuff.
    Scrimping is a habit you get into. When you *have* to, it gets really handy. To put some calories into us, I remember mom making some lard sandwiches: A little slice of bread smeared with lard and sprinkled with [very little] sugar. Lordie! My sister and I hated those things! But mom was quite happy she had gotten lard!
    Chances are we can all do different things because of different circumstances: Make do with what you have. There is a kind of pride from making do on very little, especially in war times, when everyone is in the same pickle.
    I think that instead of specific tricks, which are different for each person, if I had to do it again, I'd work on my "mindset" When you enter that frame of mind, economizing comes easy and before too long, it is second nature. It doesn't "cost" you. Later on is when you think back on it and think: God, we were poor as church mice!
     
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    Food Prep and storage. This is where I love to invest my time and resources for the future. I started with buying bulk bags from our local coop. If you purchase in bulk there is a substantial discount. You can purchase a year or two supply of bulk foods you will never have to grow in a field. It is already done for you and readily available.  I have purchased and experimented with different storage techniques and it is amazing how long you can store grains beyond the suggested expiration date. I also created an underground storage tank to hermetically seal large quantities of grain for the future. I am thinking 25-50 years, and if not for myself, then for those in the future who may be in need to start a new beginning. So, thinking beyond your limited one lifetime parameters really opens the mind to its potentials.

    THE TANK: 8x20 stainless steel milk tank buried in the ground with a Bayer Marine flush deck hatch for the opening. First I cut a hole in the side to be able to load 50 gallon drums full of grains and other essential for the future. I painted the inside with a blue primer/paint that was very expensive to buy. I can't remember the name, but it is a rust proof sealant that looks really good in blue too. I loaded 16 50 drums with bulk grains and rechecked them 10 years later. The sealed containers had fresh and beautiful grains as if they were new.  So, I have things in 50 gallon drums and in 5 gallon buckets. The drums of food are for 30 years future forward. The bucket of food are for 5-10 years forward.

    THE GRAINS:  I purchased one Ton Hard Red Winter Wheat Organic, non-hybred, non-GMO from Montana. Wheat will last forever. It has been found in Egypt and still was able to be sprout. With living wheat, you can do many things for a long time to come. It will sustain you when your garden fails during a catastrophic disaster. It was the first thing I purchased when learning about food storage. No special treatment but to put it in sealed containers to keep the mold and bugs out. It is the easiest and most economic thing to do.  The next thing I purchased was 300 lbs different kinds of Rice, 500 bls of different kinds of beans and lintels. They are very cheap and all you have to do is put it in the bucket or bin. It never goes bad. You do not have to use oxygen packets to remover the air. I have sprouted beans that were 10 years old to convert the carbs in to sugar before cooking. They are just fine. Again, I will never eat them all, but I was thinking more of feeding the community a natural disaster. I then stared experimenting with specialty grains like quinoa and amaranth and other ancient grains. Some I have sealed in "seal a meal" for 10 years and counting. They never go bad. I have hard oats, barley and that is about it for the grain. I never have to think about running to the store and I never have to worry that I will not have anything to eat. I can also supply neighbors if the Earth goes Off GRID.

    Sustainability is my Key to the future. So now that I have all the grains secured is like having LIFE INSURANCE for you, your family and the future. The act makes you preservable in and of itself.

    CANNING: Now, I have also become a great canning advocate putting up 99 quarts of fruit, veggies and soups this fall. I canned from August to October sometimes gleaning from local farms. You can also purchase 1 extra can of food at the marked to put away. Now, sometime you may not have a lot of cash. So, I have gone to food banks and collected cans they give away there. Sometimes people don't want the cans they recieve, I take them and put them in a box and store it away. My goal is to start with 6 months supply of food, extend that to 1 years, until I have 2 years of food stored and put away.  Now, I don't eat a lot of canned food, so I have had to recycle those cans and get some more when I have had them a while. Because you don't want to eat bad food if you had nothing else to eat, right?  

    Freeze Dry: For a time I was a freeze dry food consultant selling THRIVE foods. I was able to obtain and store 50 cases of freeze dried food in my "Tank" I also gave away about the same amount to people who did not have any way to purchase them. Part of my commission was free food, so I kept it all and gave it away.

    FROZEN: I have always had a freezer full of meat, but when the power goes out, what will you do? If you have a propane stove, you can start canning! I like to store things I can eat like, chicken, turkey and beef. I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have fresh salmon in season. But for the freezer, its beef and elk if I can get some. I am really shying away from freezing a lot of meat, simply because of the power outages and I would would like be able to sustain  OFF GRID.  so this year I am not freezing a lot of meat. Just enough to get through the winter. My back up is also having enough empty jars in case I need to can the meat. I just don't want to be dependent on a mechanical freezer for my life.

    I have done all of this with out the introduction my own garden.  Also, purchase 50 lbs of your favorite salt and other essentials "just in case"

    So, now I am just about to purchase a 6 acre piece of property where I can create a sustainable garden that will produce food all year longs. The property was not for sale, but I knew it was what I was looking for and I approached the owners and they agreed!

    I have one more thing to share at the moment. That after my last remaining parent passed away, I move to a valley (where I am buying the land) and rented a place that is on a dairy. So each week, I have fresh raw milk and cream.  I also drive Wednesday to pick up bread for the local coop, so I can get some fresh bread and milk each week. I would count myself very fortunate!

    I am of European stock and love my wheat, milk and meat. I don't mind cutting out meat in the summer if I am on retreat and someone else is cooking microbiotically balanced meals. But in the winter, I am a true nomad consuming healthy hearty foods we were designed to eat. What will I do with all those beans and rice? Well, I suppose I would let someone else have them, but the whole point of the exercise was to become sovereign and sustainable while having enough to give to others.

    Now, on to "SHAMBHALIN GARDENS 2021" for my Permaculture Food Forest Botanical Park


    IMG_3587.JPG
    Shambhalin Gardens
    Shambhalin Gardens
     
    master steward
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    Nancy, thanks for sharing.  Your are the first person that I have run across with that kind of storage.  Great to know!  sounds like you are well prepared.

    And I like that you have a routine for checking it to see if it is still good.
     
    Just put the cards in their christmas stocking and PRESTO! They get it now! It's like you're the harry potter of permaculture. richsoil.com/cards
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