My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

Let Me See A Show Of Hands… How Many Of You Wish You Could Actually AFFORD Food Storage And All The Stuff That Goes With It?

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How many of you would like to build your food storage, but money is tight, making it difficult?  How many of you would like to have a few more gadgets, like a pressure canner, vacuum sealer, etc., to make food storage cheaper and easier, but it’s nearly impossible to find that amount of money in your regular grocery budget?

I feel your pain.  I’ve been there. Sometimes there is no extra money to spend on these things.  That’s okay.  Just do what you can when you can.  If you make saving money a priority, you will be able to set a little aside to build your food storage.

Here are a few things I’ve done and am doing to “find” money within my existing grocery budget for my food storage.

1.  I started buying more basics in bulk.  I was buying bread flour from Walmart.  It was about $6 for 10 pounds of flour, but I realized that my Costco sold 50 pound bags of bread flour for just under $15.  The only problem?  I didn’t have anywhere to store 50 pounds of flour.  I got some food grade buckets for free (from the bakery in my local grocery store), washed them well, and sterilized them in a bleach water solution.  I let them dry, and when I knew they were clean and ready to go, I bought my flour from Costco.

50 Pounds of Flour!

When I brought it home, I stuck it in my chest freezer for a couple of days.  A friend of mine told me that if I freeze my flour, I will never have weevils.  I had them once, (they came home in some flour I bought from the store) and it was quite yucky.  So, now, I freeze all my flour for a day or two before I open it.  Haven’t had weevils since.  After my flour was good and frozen, I moved it to my food grade buckets (labeling and dating each bucket).

I continued with this pattern with other bulk items I wanted to purchase (sugar, salt, baking soda, etc.)  Now I am paying much less per pound for these staples, and I can use the money I’m saving to stock up on other items.

2.  I started making my own bread.  I did this for three reasons.  First, I really, truly LOVE homemade bread.  Second, I have some dietary restrictions, and I really am not supposed to eat white bread (aka no fiber or non whole grain bread).  Third, I knew it would be better for my family to eat homemade bread where I control the ingredients and know exactly what’s in it.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread - So YUMMY!!

Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread – So YUMMY!!

Making my own bread doesn’t save me a ton, but it does save me about $5/week, and every penny saved counts!

Homemade White Bread - Because My Kids Will Revolt If I Don't Make White Bread Along With The Wheat!

Homemade White Bread – Because My Kids Will Revolt If I Don’t Make White Bread Along With The Wheat!

3. I shop the “sale” meat.  My local Walmart Supercenter marks down their meat by 20% 2 days BEFORE the sell-by date.  Every time I go shopping, I swing by the meat section and see if there are any cuts of meat (that I use) on sale.  If so, I buy as many as I can afford and put them in my handy-dandy chest freezer.  Most of the meat we eat was purchased this way, allowing us to pay 20% less for our meat.

Yesterday's Sale Meat Find!

Yesterday’s Sale Meat Find!

4.  I started buying a couple extra cans of items we regularly use when I went grocery shopping.  This allowed me to have a small “stockpile”, so I didn’t have to buy these items at whatever price they happened to be sold for the day I needed them.  I am now able to buy them only when they’re on sale.  Now, I don’t use a ton of store-bought canned goods, but I do use some, and this saves me money which I can use elsewhere.

Cream of Chicken Soup

5.  I try to control food waste.  I try to use everything I buy and make so I’m not throwing away food.  Throwing away food = throwing away money.  I have varying degrees of success with this one.  It was particularly challenging when my second son went off to college.  I didn’t realize how much he ate not only at dinner, but also that he ate a lot of my leftovers.   If it looks like something is going to go bad, I see if there’s any way I can use it or store it (usually by freezing it). 

Lasagna

6.  I freeze some meals.  I am not a “once-a-month” cooker, but I try to make extra when I make foods we eat that freeze well.  For example, when I make lasagna, instead of making one, I double or triple the recipe and make 2 or 3 and put those in an aluminum pan (which I buy in bulk at Costco or Sam’s), and freeze the extra ones.  This saves money in two ways.  First, I buy in bulk, paying a lower price per ounce, pound, etc.  Second, I have quicker and easier meals ready to pop in the oven when I am busy, so I don’t go out to eat just to have a night off from cooking.

Now, I’m not going to pretend that this is saving me boatloads of money.  It’s not.  I probably save between $10-20/week depending on the week.  That adds up if I am deliberate and don’t just spend away these savings.  I either spend it on extra items from the grocery store or set it aside for a larger purchase (like a food item in bulk or a pressure canner, etc.).

Here are some ways I have “earned” extra money which I used to buy bigger items.

1.  I opened a Capital One 360 checking account*, and they paid me $125.  That was higher than their every day offer, because it was a Black Friday special, but the normal incentive is $50.  Not too shabby for a free checking account.

Capital One 360 – They gave me free money I used to buy my pressure canner!

All I had to do was make an opening deposit and perform at least 5 transactions (debit card transactions, deposits, or a combination of the two) within 60 days.  On day 65, the $125 was in my checking account ready to spend.  I used the money to buy my Presto pressure canner from Amazon* and to buy the Zaycon chicken I canned on Wednesday*.

Zaycon Foods

2.  I belong to a rewards website called My Points*.  It’s free and easy to use.  I’ve been a member for 16 years and earn an average of $50/year reading emails, linking to online merchants through their website when making a purchase (like Kohl’s, Expedia, The Disney Store, and more), printing and redeeming coupons, and by taking advantage of other offers on their site.  I get rewarded for reading ads and for buying things I would have bought anyway.  My Points pays it’s rewards in gift cards, so I select a gift card for the merchant that sells the item I want to buy.  They offer gift cards for over 200 merchants, including: iTunes store, Target, Baja Fresh, CVS, Home Depot, and many others.

My Points

And that’s it!  Basically, I save money where I can in my regular shopping, and I “earn” money when reputable merchants offer incentives to use their services.  Then I spend the money on Food Storage related items.

Now it’s your turn… 

What do you do to save money? 

How do you “find” the funds to buy bigger items? 

Please share!  My readers would love to learn from your experiences.

* Affiliate link – While this doesn’t affect your rewards or the price you pay for anything, I may receive a small commission from the merchant if you sign up for their services or make a purchase.  For more details on affiliate links, visit my About page.
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Author: Laurie Nguyen

I am a happily married, stay at home mom with four sons, ages 24, 22, 18, and 14. I'm not a professional blogger, and I'm certainly not a foodie or a chef. But I like food, so I think I'm qualified to write about my own life experience with food. Want to be a little more prepared for the unexpected? Check out my Food Storage Blog, http://forayintofoodstorage.com. Have a question about Food Storage? Email me: forayintofoodstorage@gmail.com.

12 thoughts on “Let Me See A Show Of Hands… How Many Of You Wish You Could Actually AFFORD Food Storage And All The Stuff That Goes With It?

  1. I have my own bread maker and split the 50 lb. bag of bread flour with a friend. Yet I still buy bread at the store. My problem is I can’t seem to get the beautiful, even slices you show in your pictures. How do you do it? I’m assuming you use an electric bread knife…I’ve considered purchasing one before, but the reviews on everything are so mixed I’m afraid to buy a lemon. What brand do you use?

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    • I do not own an electric bread knife, but, yesterday, I told my husband I needed one so that my bread slices looked better. Thanks for your vote of confidence in my ability to slice bread!

      Truth is, it took practice. Also, I’ve found that really soft bread (like white bread from the grocery store) does not slice well. The firmer the bread, the better. It helps to let the loaves cool completely before slicing. They are easier to slice, and they slice more evenly.

      Of course, it’s very hard for me to wait to slice bread after I bake it, so it’s good that I rarely make only one loaf. There’s one to eat right away with messy, uneven slices and one to evenly slice.

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  2. I bought a Foodsaver Vacuum machine from an online yardsale ($20). I am religious about freezing my meat in it because it lasts so much longer this way, and it can also be quickly defrosted by floating the sealed pouch in a sink filled with warm water. I also use my Foodsaver to pack locally grown vegetables in the summer by blanching & freezing them. The local farm produce is do much cheaper & tastier 🙂 Thank you for the tips on flour & sugar!

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  3. Great post! I love getting new food/money saving tips. I also make my own bread. Do you have any recipes you’d want to share? I’m still experimenting haha.
    Also, thanks for following my blog, christinecollegecooking.wordpress.com!

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  4. :3 Sound advice, thank you!

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  5. I keep my 50 pond bag of flour in the freezer, and then keep about 10 lbs in a recycled popcorn tin in the cupboard– but it is a pain- especially when it is time to refill the one int cupboard. I can’t think of a place to store a 5 gallon container- so I guess it stays in the freezer.

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  6. Thanks, Laurie, for stopping by my blog G’day Souffle.’ I like to pride myself in trying to shop at supermarkets on the days they mark-down the meat prices, but I keep forgetting to do this, so thanks for reminding me! The biggest food saver for me is to freeze half a loaf of bread after I buy it, otherwise the bread gets moldy after a few days. My husband asks why we have so much bread sitting in the freezer and I tell him it’s so we don’t keep wasting the bread!

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  7. Hi there! Interesting point on preventing food wastage. Having grown up in India, even though we had the means, as a kid everytime I left food in my plate, my dad used to remind of the many starving homeless kids and how fortunate we were. And somehow that conditioning has worked so well that till date I HATE throwing food away, which often means coming up with interesting ways to conjure up a meal out of small amounts of varied ingredients leftover in the refrigerator or even using leftover meals to create new ones. 🙂 And thanks for visiting my blog, just started writing, will definitely love to share some such “food saving” recipes over time. Also the tip regarding freezing flour, works well for all types of flour as well as dried fruits, something I learnt from my mom.
    Cheers
    deepali

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  8. Hello Laurie. Really liked going through your posts! I am already doing some of the cost saving tips but lots of stuff to learn I guess:) Thanks for visiting my newbie blog and following it!

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  9. Reblogged this on My Foray Into Food Storage and commented:

    In honor of Throwback Fridays, I am re-posting one of my very first posts. I bet many of you haven’t seen it, because it’s an oldie (but a goodie).

    I wrote this post, because I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I build my food storage without spending extra money beyond my grocery budget. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, my hubby and I have made some purchases outside of my regular grocery budget, but we haven’t done that for some time. All the stuff I buy to store comes from my grocery budget or from saving/earning money other ways. If you’re interested in doing the same, please check out this “oldie, but goodie” post.

    ~ Laurie

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  10. Pingback: My March Preps: You Get To Hold ME Accountable! | My Foray Into Food Storage

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