Thursday, May 29, 2008

Late May recession proofing

I had planned to take some pictures today of my pantry area in the garage but I seem to have picked up a bug of some kind... yuk! Hubby has it, too. I'm so glad it didn't hit us yesterday (Christopher was feeling very queasy yesterday) since we had to change the well filters outside and under the sink (done in the spring and autumn).

It was also time to change the Culligan water filtration filters, which is only a once a year job. I know that is a lot of filters but our well water is very high in minerals and tastes horrible without them. For some reason, they gave us more trouble than usual making a messy outdoor job (for hubby) a WET job... inside and out.

I don't normally do any stocking up grocery shopping in the latter part of the month but there were some good opportunities to stock up on sales. Before we left for vacation, my grocery store had one of those 10 for $10.00 sale weeks which not only included the rice and pasta dishes (I believe I already mentioned) but my favorite pasta brand was in the same sale. What is normally around $1.69 was $1.00, even their higher fiber pastas that are better for diabetics.

Dried pasta lasts a very long time when stored properly. I know I've read up to a year in many lists but I had elbow macaroni that lasted well over a year (and I'm still using some of it). I store mine in large Rubbermaid containers to keep the critters away, which also helps keep it dry.

When we were in Lancaster County I shopped at one of the Amish grocery stores that sold bulk items and stocked up on spices for only 90 cents to $1.50 (which I believe was the larger container of cinnamon). Since I don't order regularly from the co-op anymore, I was hoping to find spices at the store. I purchased cinnamon, ground pepper (I use a pepper mill but I wanted this for a seasoning recipe), garlic powder, taco seasoning, celery salt, and two containers of onion powder. I had already replaced many of my baking spices when they were on sale during the Holidays.

Yesterday I was noticing the newspapers my husband had ready to go to the recycle bin in the garage and on top of them was the sales insert for the store I go to the most. It had my favorite potato chips and my favorite ice cream for buy- one- get- one- free, which are the best sales for these items. Yesterday was the last day of the sale but I was able to stop by the store during the evening hours.

While there, I saw they also had one of their five 12-packs of Pepsi products for $11.00 special (which I only find a few times a year). These are our favorite kinds of pop, including Diet Sierra Mist. (Okay, sodas for the rest of the country.)

I try to limit pop consumption but I like to have them handy in the summer. The ice cream, potato chips, and soda pop are all on my list of "purchase only when I find great sale prices" mental list. We've been without all three for sometime now. Note to self: stay away from the ice cream, Brenda (sigh...).

Once again, what is recession proofing? It is buying today (on sale when possible) for what will most likely continue to go up in price tomorrow. I have a small house with very little storage space but with some creativity, I've found ways to deepen the pantry. Hopefully I'll be able to show some pictures soon.

I have a tiny stock up budget but grocery sales, coupons (found a $4.00 cat food coupon today!), etc., help a great deal. It's all part of that whole Proverbs 31 thing... finding my food from afar. (If you haven't read Elizabeth George's book about the Proverbs 31 woman, do so this summer!)

My friends, I've had a really bad feeling about food prices and supply/demand for sometime now. I've even talked to my pastor about it through e-mails. When I arrived home from vacation and saw gas prices near campus had reached $4.15, it was alarming. However, when I passed by the gas station that sells diesel fuel near me and saw that it had hit $4.95... I had chills go up my spine. I am not joking... I truly felt a little ill.

How many truckers will have to park their rigs rather than work for nothing? How much higher will food prices go just to cover transportation costs?

You don't have to do a lot, just do what you can to deepen your pantry and anything else God calls you to do. For instance, I love Eden Organic Pizza & Pasta sauce and I used to order it by the case at our co-op. I can't afford to invest that amount of money in one item since hubby had to go on Disability. However, he qualifies for a Senior Citizen discount at the health food store one day a week and on that day... I have him buy one can of the sauce... two cans at the beginning of the month. Over time, I've been able to "put back" six cans to deepen the pantry.

There may come a time I cannot purchase ice cream or potato chips, they will go first. (There are already many weeks we don't have them.) There may even come a time I cannot deepen the pantry at all as prices continue to rise. I can only do... what I can do. A little done each week will surprise you on how quickly you can deepen your pantry with essentials. For more info, see Recession Ponderings on the side bar.

If I'd known how many people who read this blog lived in the Lancaster County area, I'd have tried to meet some of you! I know exactly how you feel though, having lived in Holland, Michigan for nine years and having tourists come and go all the time. One does take their own "back yard" for granted. I enjoyed your area very much. :)


Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Good ideas, Brenda. And thanks for the book recommendation. BTW, I take cinammon capsules and enjoy a treat of cinammon toast (with splenda) because it is supposed to help control blood sugar. I noticed that was one of the spices you stock up on.I like to stock up on olive oil when I find a good price and on lentils because they are an inexpensive protein meal we like.I'm glad you had such a nice vacation!

Brenna said...

Yes, food prices are going up rapidly, and we are feeling the pinch too. I have budgeted $115 every two weeks for food - so I only have $230 for the month. It's getting harder and harder to plan my meals with what I can buy with that. The day before shopping day we are usually down to bare bones meals. And believe me, I don't get too fancy. I like to cook and try new things when I can, but for now I am sticking to tried and true, hearty meals that make plenty of leftovers. Thank goodness my husband and daughter aren't picky eaters. I think it's more me that misses some of the things I used to be able to buy. :)

Terri said...

I have a very generous budget But with 5 children it goes fast!!
This year, I am looking forward to canning what I grow in my garden. I did that for years, and I can tell you it saved me a fortune!

Hitting the sales and using up all the leftovers are what is going to keep us going this year.

I'm also going to re-do the pantry down stairs and lay by some supplies as I find good deals on them.


Kim said...

Hi Brenda...I recently discovered your blog and am throughly enjoying your writings. I also have begun deepening my pantry. With six children and one income it certainly is a challenge but it can be done! Blessings to you! Kim

BTW...we are only about a 1/2 hour from's also where our doctor is located! Would love to meet you if you ever get back this way!

Anonymous said...

I sure would LOVE to visit the Lancaster County area. All that I know of it is what I've read in Beverly Lewis' books! (Which I LOVE!)

As for the Prov 31 book, I'll have to see if the library has it here to borrow. It sounds like a 'good read'!

Hope you're feeling better soon and I can't wait to see the pantry pics...

cheri said...

Brenda, I really appreciate your writings. You think like I do!

We had a 'deep pantry' but recently moved. Before our move we ate out of our pantry for several months, which saved us quite a bit of money.

Restocking much higher prices!
(I know what you mean about the NCIS finale...that show is our one 'guilty pleasure' because hubby works with NCIS sometimes and Tony reminds us of our middle son...).

Trish said...

I have enjoyed your recession proofing posts! I hope you don't mind that I linked to your blog in my post today. If you do, just let me know and I'll be happy to remove it!

lady jane said...

Excellent suggestions, Brenda. Thank you for bringing this important topic to the table (literally) and sharing ways to help during difficult or uneasy times such as these.

We own a Chevy Suburban, primarily because my 6'6" husband can fit in it. It also does well to pull our vintage trailer, which would be our home should anything happen to the one we're currently in. My husband doesn't have a long commute to work but as expensive as gas is right now, it sure makes a deep cut in our finances. Our Suburban is filled up every 3-4 weeks. Having cut down on my driving has helped tremendously.

We budget $100 a week for food but would like to lower that to $75 and make more 'from scratch' items and make meats stretch over meals.

One perk I've found over the years is to make only 3 evening meals a week, having leftovers the other 3 meals. The 7th evening meal is 'every man for himself' as Cheryl from Copper's Wife puts it. This has helped in reducing our food budget.

While we're a family of three, we usually have an extra person at the table and I cook for a professional couple 2x a week which is included in our food budget.

I'm rambling. ;o)

my little corner said...

I enjoy your blog as well. I am fortunate to have a large pantry and animal produce right off the farm.

You are right to think your food prices are and will continue to go up. We here on
the farming end are paying close to double for tractor fuel then we were two years ago. Our prices go up to produce and its a chain reaction from there.

Buy local if you can this summer. Freeze and can as much as you can handle. prices will bottom out but when???


Bren said...

Great post!!!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge. We all need it right now.

Honest to Ya~Ya said...

I like your concept of "deepening your pantry"...I have a nice sized one in this old house, I like to think it was from former owners during hard times doing their canning and such. There are so many things we need to learn, if we are going to go through this, but one thing I do know, the Lord will provide!

Hope you are having a wonderful day!☺

The Liberty Belle said...

Thanks for sharing such good ideas. I hope you get over the bug and feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

Hi Brenda, good ideas as always!
I'm having to restock some pantry items and am waiting (and waiting), for the items to go on sale. I used to keep a price book but with the ever changing grocery prices I just can't keep up with it anymore. I'm thinking that what I used to consider a "sale" price is just a pleasant memory now LOL!

It's really hard to make the budget stretch! Thank goodness the veggie garden is starting to produce and the berry bushes will be ready to pick soon!


Sandy said...

We've been buying food in bulk to save money and shopping trips. Like the above commenter, we have a generous budget for groceries, but I'm feeding six people. I feel very blessed that we've been able to buy things each week of the last month to deepen the pantry. My husband is installing shelves to the pantry doors today to hold cans and we're thinking of building some shelving in the dining room. I'm learning a lot, and I have to say that even though our reasons for doing this are less than comforting, we all feel better knowing that we have a full pantry and freezer to work with. Besides, it's just a lot easier to cook from a full pantry. And more fun too! The pantry series continues on my blog, do stop by and join us when you can.