Here, we have many opportunities to avoid the grocery store, thank the Lord! I, for one, do not enjoy shopping at all. avoiding the grocery store is often difficult with a growing family and especially with growing teenage kids. Our menu is already fairly simple, and our pantry is generally pretty full. My goal, of course, is to get to the point where grocery shopping is a once every few months ordeal, but for now I am limited to one or two big trips a month. That is HUGE, considering I used to shop weekly for our needed items.
This week, after watching these videos, I have spent even more time evaluating what we buy and why. I already make most of our food from scratch, but there is always more I can do. A few areas still could use some improvement...like pasta, crackers and lunch items for my husband. I buy very little ready made items, but still feel like I should be able to do more....always a work in progress.
Some of the things we have moved away from buying are:
- hamburger/hot dog buns
- potatoes (this last season we were able to grow enough to last through most of February, this year we'll try to make it through spring)
- pickled beets
- green beans
- milk (part of the year anyway)
Another area that I've been looking at are cleaners and shampoo. I've made and used my own shampoo several times over the past year and liked it! As my family runs out of shampoo, I'm slowly transitioning us over to all homemade. I found some great recipes on a friend's blog. You can visit Freedom Acres Farm for recipes. They are so easy to make and have nothing "bad" in them like so many that you can buy in the stores do. As far as cleaners go, I am using more vinegar, baking soda and buying my dish soap in bulk from Azure.
Another area that I've changed is my laundry soap. I have been using Charlie's Laundry Soap since December. Even with our extremely hard water, this soap works wonders! I love it, can't say enough good about it. One 80 load tub has lasted me since the 13th of December. How's that for inexpensive. Best part is there is nothing in this soap that is harmful...it's just that, SOAP! I can't say enough about this product. I saved up and bought 6 tubs of it all at once to save on shipping. Those 6 tubs will last me more than a year...gotta LOVE that!
While this is not even close to EVERYTHING that I am doing, I wanted to share a bit with you. This has been a big part of my thinking this past week. I'm always looking at what I am doing and trying to do more, or at least be more efficient with what I am able to do.
Given the recent forecast for our food costs this year, I am working even harder to do a better job at what I do. My garden planning this year is different, my canning and preserving goals are changing a bit and my focus is on simplicity and efficiency in it all. This was a big part of my thinking even before I saw the videos this week. I've seen the prices in our grocery stores here rise at alarming rates over the past few weeks and months. It's frustrating, at best, when you are trying to feed a growing family with limited resources AND trying to be as health conscious as possible at the same time!
How have your shopping, cooking and budgeting patterns been changing? Is the economy affecting this part of your life or are you to the point where you are providing enough of your own that you don't feel it as much? I can't believe that for a minute to be very true of most people, you are either feeling it at the gas pumps, the feed store or even just in the little you do buy. We are all feeling the pinch. What have you changed?