Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Extreme Couponing? pt. 2 February 26, 2014

Filed under: cooking,pantry building — ourprairiehome @ 3:39 pm

In my last post, I mentioned that I had bought 2 months’ worth of groceries for $124.  Most of the items that I only have to add a little from my current pantry stores to in order to make a meal.  Most everything purchased was on sale.  Many of the items such as the boxed meals are not or typical meal choice, but are items I consider “filler” for days when a fast meal option is needed.  Soon, I will be making a shopping trip to do bulk food shopping at Sam’s Club and Whole Foods.  Those foods will be more in line with our typical cooking style.

(4) Old Orchard brand juice bottles, priced 2/$3

(4) Barilla Spaghetti, priced 4/$5

(4) Bush Chili Beans, lg cans priced 2/$3

(12) taco Bell refried beans, priced $1.00 each but was given $6 off at register

(12) boxes of Velvetta Skillet Meals, priced 3/$5

(4) boxes of herbal tea, priced $2.38 each

(4)  1 lb bags of elbow macaroni, priced 98 cents each

(5) 1 lb bags of lentils, priced 98 cents each

(5) 1 lb bags of split peas, priced  98 cents each

(1) large bag of the store brand of shredded cheddar cheese, priced $4.99

(2) loaves of sara lee country potato bread, priced $1.69 each

(4) lg. pouches of salmon, priced 2/$4

(2) lg. cans of StarKist Tuna, priced 2/$5

I was doing so well, that I splurged and bought a few snacks that were on sale:

(2) Chips Ahoy cookies, priced 2/$5

(2) Oreo cookies family packs, priced 2/$7

(1) 30 oz. Animal crackers, priced $3.99

And, not to be left out, I bought kibbles for our cat:

(2) sm. Bags of Purina cat food, priced 2/$8

 

Okay, so how if this 2 months’ worth of food?  Easy!

4 meals of spaghetti using homemade sauce from the supplies I have in our pantry already.

4 meals of Indian tacos, using the chili beans

6 meals of burritos (2 cans of refried beans each) with homemade tortillas

12 meals using the Velvetta skillet meals, adding a handful of pasta from the pantry if needed

4 meals of mac & cheese or tuna casserole using the macaroni

10 meals of lentil stew

10 meals of split pea soup

4 meals with salmon cakes

By adding vegetables from our pantry, to any of the above meals, I now have enough to make 54 meals!   This does not take into account the large bag of shredded cheese that I will use for making cheesy rice with tuna or veggies, stuffed baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and much more.  I didn’t buy any breakfast food since we already have several large boxes of both hot and cold cereals, oatmeal, and I make a homemade pancake mix.  Lunches are usually sandwiches unless we happen to have leftovers from the previous day’s evening meal.  With all the meal options that I have, and adding a bit from the supplies already on hand, the purchases made in that one shopping trip will give me meals for a couple of months.

Note, meals like the lentil stew and split pea soup are very economical when you add a sandwich to a cup of soup instead of making the soup the only item in the meal.  I love to stretch out the lentils by making Kashari and serving it over homemade pasta or some rice.

 

 

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Extreme Couponing? February 24, 2014

Filed under: pantry building — ourprairiehome @ 8:25 pm

Okay, I have watched the shows both on a TV and through YouTube videos.  I am intrigued.  I checked the websites of the stores I go to and found they do have store coupons that you can either print or have loaded onto your store rewards card automatically. One problem with having them on the rewards card is that you can’t check expiration dates. You have to print a list of the coupons and add that info yourself. Overall however, I like the convenience of it. I may do both, have a print copy as well as load up the rewards card.

Quite often, out seems that the products that I use do not have coupons, such as large bags of flour. You see, I cook without using a lot of boxed/packaged foods. I am very curious though as to how much better I can build the pantry with the couponing.

Over the weekend, I had purchased 2 months worth of food for $124 without using any coupons.  I wonder how much more I could have bought had I been extreme couponing?

My beloved is changing jobs.  Within two weeks, he will no longer be doing a trucking job that takes him away from home for a week or more at a time.  He will be working locally and home every night, in likely with weekends off. It is something we have been wanting for a long time.  I will be planning less shopping trips, but making larger purchase amounts when we do go.  My beloved is great about helping me and has no problem with us hooking up a utility trailer and taking lots of 18-gallon totes to haul the groceries home in.  Shopping that way, we go once a month instead of every week or two.

 

Spring Cleaning and a Swap February 22, 2014

Filed under: Crafting,gardening,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 6:06 am
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For the past week, the days were nice enough that I only had the heater set on low at night. In the morning, I turned the heater off.  By mid-day, the front for was open to let the warm breeze in.

I have started the spring cleaning.  I want it done before spring planting commences.  Already, the feed stores are selling onion sets and seed potatoes. Garlic can also be planted.  The time to prepare for garden season is upon us.  Once the last frost has occurred, I won’t have time for spring cleaning.

This season, Little Miss is helping.  I have her working along side of me so that she can learn how to deep clean.  She seems to enjoy it while we are working together much more than when doing a task on her own.  It takes me longer to get the chores done, but we have fun with it.

In the evenings, I am crocheting 10″ square dishcloths for a swap that I joined. We have until early April to get the dishcloths made and mailed to the other participants. I haven’t taken party in a swap like this for quite some time.  I am enjoying it though.  I am making 20 of the dishcloths in total.  I was Lucky in that I already had a bunch of the cotton yarn on hand.

As the winter is approaching its end, I am deciding on the final garden plan.  I am considering the vegetables we ran out of the fastest.  How much should I grow?  Is it more cost effective to buy the tins of certain vegetables instead of growing our own?  Lots to take into account before planting.