Question and articles about the rising cost of food.

The past couple of weeks I’ve noticed more people using calculators and shopping with a list when they buy groceries. One family had a 7 year old daughter who was in charge of the calculator. The parents would call out the prices as they put things in the cart and she would input them and give them a running total. Seeing things like this is a personal victory for me. Everything I’ve been advocating for the past 20 years really does work and as the cost of food rises more people become willing to manage their funds and their personal food supply. Whoo Hoo! Success!

My Question is, are there things you’re doing now that you didn’t do last year, that are helping you control you grocery budget?

I’m shopping with a list every single time and doing my darnedest to NEVER stray from the list. I admit to being susceptible to impulse buys. These days I’m really guarding myself though. I succumbed to temptation the last time I was at the market, putting a couple of drink mixes into my cart. Then when I saw the little girl faithfully working her calculator for her parents I repented and put the mixes back on the shelf. I haven’t missed them either. I didn’t need them, they were just enticing and I fell in their trap, like a fly falling for the ruse of a Venus Fly Trap. I’ve even written about avoiding beverage mixes, but it’s just so easy to be tempted at the supermarket.

I’m also trying to be more faithful about planning meals. I know for some folks this doesn’t work, but for me it helps a lot.

The other thing I’m doing to save cash right now is using fabric already in my stash for all of my current sewing. I changed sizes over the winter and my summer things from last year don’t fit the same. Some simply fit better, but many are too big. I’m taking in what I can and working on new items in my spare time. Current project is a jumper made from a tiny tulip print. I’ve finished the bodice but hope to finish the skirt today. Will share pictures next week. I made it smaller than the last project (purple dress) and hopefully it will fit better. I have a blouse pattern I’m going to try soon, and am looking through my fabric stash to see what I have that would make nice jumpers. I’d like to have half a dozen because they are so easy to wear, and much easier to sew than dresses. If I get this pattern right then I’ll be able to cut out and sew up several in a row. I make each item individually instead of making several at once because I find I’m more careful and get better results that way.

So what is everyone else doing to save money at the market that they weren’t doing last year?

The Extravagant Gourmets:  Why the food press rarely talks about dollars and cents. By Sara Dickerman

Why Are Global Food Prices Soaring?

Food Price Inflation Changes How We Shop

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26 Comments

Filed under Budget, Grocery Shopping, Low Cost Foods, Recession, Sewing

26 responses to “Question and articles about the rising cost of food.

  1. S

    Congrats on the changing sizes! I’m with you about using the fabrics I have. I’d love to hear more about your sewing adventures.

  2. Since I am married to a farmer I feel like I see the cost upfront for us. Transportation costs have gone up sky high for the truckers, farmers and grocery stores.

    Also we can not plant crops without help, it is no longer feasible for the American farmer to do so. We are competing against corporate farmers and foreign farmers. Corporate farming can absorb losses we can not, they can streamline we can only do it so far. Foreign farmers organic or otherwise are totally subsized which we are not. They also don’t have the restrictions we do with farming, we have the highest standard of food products created in the world.

    When a disaster strikes people think we get a bale out, no what we get is an offer to get another loan. We are competing against farmers on a salary that has full benefits, it is not easy. It is not a business that will make us rich, but it is our heritage. So we forge on, for now.

    As my Hubby says, “they ain’t seen nothing yet” when speaking of the cost of food. This is the beginning not the end. It will go up and up before it will come down. The real question is how many American farmers will be left standing?

    Thanks for letting me post. I hope I have clarified some of the misconceptions.

  3. Sheila

    One thing I’m doing this year is to make all of our bread. I rely on the whole wheat 2lb recipe from your Hillbilly Housewife website which always gives me excellent results. I’ve even changed the recipe by substituting other ingredients for the last 2/3 cup of whole wheat flour, as oatmeal, cornmeal, rye flour; and I add sunflower or flax seeds as well for variety. At current prices this loaf costs about $1. My DH loves this and eats this everyday. The loaf is more filling and lasts about 5-6 days. I used to buy a variety of bread and invariably some went bad before I froze it as there are only the two of us now.

    I also rely on many of your recipes from HH and make all of our salad dressings from scratch. Some of our favorites are dirty rice, vegetable lo mein, tuna casserole with a bed of defrosted spinach on the bottom, and of course the PIZZA. Following your advice carefully would benefit anyone determined to lower food costs while eating very nutritiously.

  4. I haven’t changed our spending habits too much at all, but I have noticed the prices rising a little bit at the store.
    I do have a budget of $60 every 2 weeks (that includes bottled water as we can’t drink or cook with our tap water) but sometimes I spend a little more since milk, eggs, and bread expire quickly.
    We have been eating more beans and rice instead of meat and hubby is just on cloud nine. He loves rice and beans! I have grown fond of them as well. 🙂

    I used to follow a menu plan but got really lazy over the past year and a half. And I am a huge cookbook collector and have lots of great cookbooks just collecting dust…but I am changing that come next payday (May 1st).

    If hubby and I could give up our soda addiction, we would save more money…it’s hard though. We don’t really have sweets in the house except soda. Even junk food is going up…I noticed that today in the store…

    We live and learn when it comes to these things. It’s like a trial and error thing.

    Great post! Have a good Saturday!

    Dawn

  5. Christena

    The best way for me to control the grocery costs is to keep my husband out of the store!!!!! He likes to stop at Food4Less on the way home from work to save gas (rather than me drive from home) but he tends to impulse buy. He doesn’t impulse buy junk, but weird things that he perceives as bargains like a huge bag of frozen catfish nuggets on sale – yuk! If I am going to eat catfish, give me fresh caught (can’t find it in Vegas, but nevertheless…). He also likes to buy chicken legs and shrimp on sale. I’d rather buy a whole chicken and skip the shrimp especially after reading of the abuses going on in Thailand shrimp ‘factories’/sweatshops. Hopefully I’ve convinced him to stop buying the shrimp, but I’m constantly afraid he’s going to bring more chicken legs home. He likes to rotisserie them, and if he didn’t totally overcook them they would be fine, but given there is so much bone and so little meat I just don’t see that as a bargain.

    I am also crocheting and knitting through my stash this year, like you are doing with your fabric. I’ve only bought two skeins of yarn so far this year, both to finish projects, and everything I make is going to charity. I’ve made dozens of preemie hats and baby sweaters, booties, etc. It feels wonderful to ‘bless’ so many babies without impacting this year’s budget.

  6. Cindy

    Hi Miss Maggie,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a week or so and I really enjoy it.

    To answer your question…

    *I now use a monthly menu. I’ve been using a 2 week menu for about 4 months and just started the monthly this month. I have to admit I like how it’s going. I always know what we’re having without much thought.
    *We eat very little packaged foods. The only cereal we eat is in our trail mix. Which leads to our snacks are now limited to trail mix, fruit, yogurt or peanut butter crackers.
    *I cook every meal from scratch. Lunch is usually leftovers or sandwiches.
    *Meat is a main dish only 3 days a week. The rest of the time it’s flavoring or not at all.
    *I do not buy liquid milk at all.
    *I make my own quick mix.
    *I make homemade cleaning supplies and have learned to use baking soda, borax, peroxide and vinegar.
    *I made a nightgown yesterday. This is my first sewing project. It ain’t perfect, but it was comfortable and the fabric only cost $3.00. I’m now planning to try to make a jumper and maybe a headcovering of some kind. I’m surfing the net to see if there are any free patterns out there.
    *I only use the car on Tuesdays and get all of the errands done on that day.
    *I bought homeschool stuff on ebay for a great price.

    Oh well, probably more than you wanted to know.

    May the Lord bless you as you have blessed me,
    Cindy

  7. Hi Maggie,

    Food is ironically the hardest thing for me to save on so far. Bit by bit its changing, but part of the block it is that growing up we were always moving around and without that peace of a stable home i turned to food as my luxury to compensate. I might not have been able to control where i lived (which was often very chaotic), but i did all i could to make sure i at least ate well when i could, and pretty stubbornly too. This is the opposite of what many folks in more mountain etc areas have experienced i think, where they have an at least somewhat peaceful and/or stable home but are strapped in the food area. Anyway, clinging to food as “home” in a way growing up, i’ve really carried that and its made it more challenging to make the focus of saving come from there very well…so far anyway. So its had to also come in other ways:

    Stopped using baggies (use yogurt congtainers instead, of various sizes). Stopped using indoor trash bags (use small buckest for trash indoors and dump them into the outdoor bin and then wash out the little trash buckets after emptied). Stopped using liquid soaps…i now use only Dr Bronners bar soap (lavender) for both body and home and dishes cleaning, and even hand washing of clothes…works great! Also use baking soda and generic apple cider vinegar as needed for cleaning as well. If something just needs a quick wipe then using vinegar on it is a shortcut, its very disinfecting and inexpensive. Have drastically cut back on paper towels and tissues by using old fashioned hankies, wipe cloths etc. (However these things were used more when didnt have the running water set up, now that its up is when these things can be saved finally). Am kind of fanatical on keeping things smelling nice so i used to spend way too much on essentail oils and spray them as a natural roomspray. In desparation, tried using apple cider vinegar instead to cut costs there, and was amazed at how well that worked….fill a small spray bottle with apple cider vinegar straight, add a few drops of favorite essentail oil and let sit at least overnight. Then use till its gone, as needed. The vinegar really absorbs the essentail oil scent and so when you spray it it smells like the essential oil scent you put in it. Plus the vinegar itself (which is still there of course, you just dont really smell it so much) is amazing at freshening the air. Then there is herbal remedies, that is another area i used to spend a lot on, buying various supplements and tinctures and the like. So been relying more on kitchen remdies now, like ginger roots cut up and boiled for tea for immunity, onion water (onion cut up and soaked in water and kept in the fridge in a glass jar) for disinfecting and poulticing, barley water (water with a handful of barley simmered in it as long as possible) for fevers. Would love to find a good source for vitamin c crystals (anyone know of one?) to make a vitamin drink from them to replace using using Airborne (which i still use when i can becuase it works so well but would like to stop, its pricey). Another cut back other area is laundry. In this trailer i dont have a washer (may get a mini one in the future but not yet; and can’t use public ones becuase of my chemical sensitivity) so instead i gently hand wash some items, and boil clean other items. And doing that is a very quick way to learn how to have less laundry to wash, lol. The trick is airing clothes out outside after each wear (or airing in an out of the way indoor room with ventilation (like the bathroom)). This really extends how long most clothes stay clean and cuts down on washing. And definitely airing bedding as often as possible really extends in between wash time there too….its what our ancestors did after all. Also really want to save energy by going off the electric grid (fixing the propane appliances and getting some solar panel power), but not there yet.

    Foodwise, as mentioned the changes have been slower. But bit by bit they are happening. Trying to save gas by making less trips to the store–and by having my fiance shop for us both instead, becuase he is waaaay less suseptible to impulse buying, he’s a fantastic frugal shopper. There’s the obvious thing about keeping track of leftovers and using them in dishes before buying something else–and honestly i’ve have had to resort to keeping a list on the fridge of what needs to be used to help there, or else i can really forget. Some habits have definitely changed over the year, mainly looking at some things i used to buy and now am shocked i did, things like deli soups and prepared hummus, which are just way too much. I may get them sometimes now (like when i’m sick etc), but definitely not a regular item anymore, am learning to do more from scratch there. Also have cut back on cheese, which i used to eat quite a lot of with bread and such, but now i just more use it as an ingredient in things, and more sparingly. I still get the real stuff, not processed, i just use less of it and keep it in the freezer (its grated). Noticed something else, that i find myself making more cassaroles too than i used to….that seems to be a less expensive way to compensate for what has been given up i think, becuase they feel very nurturing and solid. Let’s see, stopped using much milk, or cream, (used to do these things persoanlly through a local goatherder before i moved, but now thats its store bought forget it). Though i do use a lot of sour cream in things and keep stocked up on that. I still do yogurt too sometimes, and eggs almost all the time. Very little meat anymore though, mostly just canned salmon and sometimes frozen meatballs…the occasional fresh fish or ground beef is a real treat at this point. Lots of grains, beans, lentils, potatoes, quiches. Though on hot summer days/nights try not to cook at all if i can help it…tend to live then on hummus ( this summer no more deli hummus though; plan to use canned-chickpeas-and-the-blender method since cooking chickpeas would be so hot), sourdough bread (dont know how to make bread yet, so store bought), yogurt (havent tried this homemade yet either honestly), and whatever fresh veggies and fruits are reasonable.

    I do see this changing further as this recession gets worse. Well, not only for that reason, but that’s part of it. I see learning how to do a lot more homemade, now that over the past year (finally!) i’ve learned some ergonomic tricks to help in cooking more with the injury. Sites like yours are going to be HUGE in helping with learning to cook more and more from scratch, for so many folks i think. Maggie, i really do think folks will treasure this wonderful resource youve created even more as time goes on. You really have given a gift : )

    Peaceful weekend to you : ) Wendy

    (PS Didnt realize how long this would be till i wrote it…sorry about that)

  8. PS Feel bad leaving more after such a long comment, but there is something i have been meaning to ask you: If you have the time and incination to share this, i would love so much to know what you do for medicines,….what you buy over the counter, what you do homemade instead (and how)….

  9. Belinda

    In the past year because of the rising cost of food we have changed a few things in our home. First, I make all of our laundry soap (that is a huge savings in itself, there are 4 boys in this house) I make most of our bread using the family recipe off the HH website. I have switched all of my cleaning products to essentially lemons, baking soda, distilled vinegar, lemon oil. I use old newspapers for cleaning mirrors, windows and fixtures instead of paper towels. In the past 3 years I have started to get into canning and consequently make all of the jellies, pie fillings, pumpkin butters and whatever else can be canned for my kids. Each year we expand our garden to include more and the savings is incredible. We purchase a lot of whole flours and staple items from the Amish Farms in our area. They are way cheaper than the local store or farmer’s market. Even though I live in town we do have two chickens outback that live in a ‘taj mahal’ birdcage. So we have fresh eggs most days. It is amazing to me how much the Lord has changed my life. If you would have said to me 10 years ago you are going to do all of this, I would have thought they were crazy. But God has laid Proverbs 31 on my heart so heavily and he is changing my life piece by piece. Or maybe I should say vegetable by vegetable.

    Proverbs 21:20 In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil………

    God Bless

  10. I have been able to keep my spending the same. It is getting very hard as I recently discovered that most of us need to eat gluten free. Some of the gluten free flours are horribly priced. I am due with baby #5 in 6 weeks. Hopefully I will be able to skip the formula this time.
    My biggest plan has been to go back to the crisis spending/planning that I used when my husband was unemployed 2 years ago.

  11. Miss Maggie,

    We are also cutting back. We have been eating out much more than our normal once a month lately since we have been traveling and are in limbo between moving from Maryland to Pennsylvania. Maryland is incredibly expensive, we were paying $1,000.00 per month rent for a single wide trailer there and that was CHEAP rent!!!!! So we packed up and moved to Pennsylvania near my husbands and my families. Food wise, we are blessed that my mom and step-dad have a beef farm and although they don’t pay for the USDA Organic certification their meat is about as organic as one can possible get. I have found that even though we get this meat free I still don’t cook with it as much as people may think, most days we eat rice, beans, frozen vegetables and other “non-meat” items. I stopped buying chicken, as much as I love it the Lord has blessed us with wonderful beef and to buy more meat because I want it and not because I need it seems very foolish. My husband has grown to love barley, lentils and other dry beans, he just isn’t crazy about soups but as long as it’s a thick soup he’ll eat it (he also doesn’t like very hot food which could explain his soup adversion!) Since we moved back to PA and are closer to my Grandparents we are going to plant a garden out at their property. My grandfather is an amputee and grandma has bad arthritis, they love fresh vegetables but can’t do it by themselves so they have been spending more on vegetables in recent years. Their house is only about 5 minutes or so from our rental so going out there isn’t going to be a big issue, I clean for them also so a family Garden made sense and we won’t be paying outlandish price for produce. I figure the dollar they want for 1 green pepper I can buy a whole pack of seeds and get many, many more as well as every other vegetable under the sun. I make all of my own clothes also (mostly jumpers) and am using fabric I have around the house. I have been faltering on my meal planning but that is on my list of things to do as well as getting my home management binder up and running. From what I hear rice is getting ready to go out of this world as well so maybe we should all start buying an extra bag or so when we go to the store before the price skyrockets! My plan is to get up to the Amish country in May to buy bulk flour, sugar and different things from the Amish since I hear it is cheaper. Oh and I make our bread, everyone likes it better than the preservative laden loaves at the stores that are full of air. For some reason store loaves never last as long as my loaves and we eat more of my bread. It feels, sometimes, like God multiplies the bread and we can just eat and eat on it (unless we eat it all in one sitting). I have tried my hand at making laundry soap but wasn’t crazy with the results so I need to look for more “recipes”. My daughter (who turned 2 yesterday) wears cloth diapers, cha-ching, and we use baby washcloths to wipe her quite often. She is working on toilet training so hopefully soon she will get the hang of it.
    We, too, feel the crunch. Oh, and my husband commutes into Pittsburgh for work and he drives about 15 miles and then rides the bus into the city we save 1)the gas to drive into the city while sitting in traffic 2)parking fees ($10/day average) 3)wear and tear on his already worn out 92 Honda Accord 4) lessens the possiblity of a traffic accident which would cost even more money. The bus ticket is only $100 for the whole month, imagine spending the money in one week driving into town, it would probably be over $100! He reads his Bible on the bus so he doesn’t mind and mabye a door will open and he can share God’s plan of Salvation with someone.
    Those are my thoughts for today! Have a blessed day.

    Donna

  12. Terrie

    I’m pretty sure that I don’t do much things any differently then anyone else here. But here are a few links to things that save me money;

    This first one is for free sewing patterns,

    http://www.angelfire.com/planet/mcshelpsite/sewingstuff/freepatterns.html/#clothesrow1

    This one is for laundry detergent & fabric softener,

    http://www.mennonitemaidens.com/laundry.htm

    Some make your own tips,

    http://www.mennonitemaidens.com/simple_living.htm#Make%20Your%20Own%20Products

    Helpful hints,

    http://www.mennonitemaidens.com/Helpfulhints.htm

    Don’t forget to give to others…it’s free,

    http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1&link=ctg_ths_home_from_thankyou_back

    The Urban Homemaker is a great place to buy things that will save you money in the long run.

    This particular link is for what I use in place of fabric softener sheets,

    http://www.urbanhomemaker.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=375&idproduct=2055

    Sometimes you can get free stuff through this website,

    http://www.couponcat.net/

    Otherwise I make full use of Frugal Abundance, Hillbilly Housewife, Old Fashioned Education (and those suggested from this sight), and many others that a lot of us already use.

    I was using Saving Dinner the Low Carb Way for a while. The meals are delicious, and even my picky eater was eating. This book gives carb options to serve on the side & low-carb options to serve on the side. On average my groceries where $75 a week using her grocery list that is provided in her book, with a few extra’s added for lunch and breakfast and personal care items. These recipes call for a lot of vegetables, and I’m not for sure how well we can keep now that the prices are rising so much in my area. Oh, all recipes in this book will feed a family of four.

    God Bless!

  13. Hi Again Maggie,

    This post really got me thinking this weekend on the changes in living that have happened without quite realizing it, and there are a couple more things didnt mention. One is i stopped using candles and switched to burning vegetable oil ( you take a ball of cotton, twist the top part into a wick, and put into a nice sturdy glass (goblets work well), fill with any vegetable oil leaving the wick exposed, and light).

    Another change has been not using shampoo anymore, i use baking soda instead (about half a teaspoon to a cup or two of water along with a few drops of lavender, stir and pour over wet hair, rub in well for a minute, rinse with water(do not repeat!) and then do a rinse with half apple cider vinegar and half water, then rinse with water). For some reason this also keeps your hair clean far longer than shampoo does as well.

    Looking around and thinking on this is just making me notice how many little changes have been made as times have gotten harder, they’ve kind of built up without me noticing how much, till now. And reading these other responses looks like thats how its been for a lot of people. Things i just take for granted as “normal” now, but what really have been living changes that have been building up. Funny how that works, i think maybe God has been helping folks bit by bit make these little changes that really do add up to big changes in the end, to help us prepare for these times ahead.

    Peaceful Week : ) Wendy

  14. JDM

    We’re shopping more and more at the discount/warehouse stores and the local Costco to reduce our food costs. We already have cut out most meat (husband eats it, but not me and the kids) and eat way more vegetables. Interesting article on food prices at Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/26/AR2008042602041.html

  15. Mom of 4

    Since I was already feeding us quite frugally, I haven’t made huge changes. It’s more a matter of vigilance, and cutting things out at the margins. Before I buy something that’s not a staple, I’ve been scrutinizing it more carefully and asking myself if it’s something we really NEED. The answer is usually “no”. LOL

    I’ve also been more attentive to my price book, and have been using mygrocerydeals.com and shopping multiple stores. As a result, our food bill has actually gone down, in spite of rising prices.

  16. Dandelion

    I’ve noticed that we don’t get so many odd looks now when we are shopping at the Mart with my list on a clipboard and a pen in my hand, and a calculator on a string around Dwayne’s neck.

  17. carol

    Some how (the grace of God, I think) our food bill has actually been going down recently. Hubby bought me a grain grinder and I’ve been baking fresh loaves of bread almost every day. I also shop at Amish-run bulk food stores. I buy in bulk and I only buy staples. We eat far less meat and we only buy one gallon of milk a week. When its gone, its gone. I buy NO junk at all. No pop, no sweets, no chips.

    I feed 5 of us, self, DH and 3 teenage boys on about $100 a week. Its not organic and right now its probably a little low on fresh fruits and veggies but once the garden is in full gear and our apple trees get harvested in the fall (we have 3 trees in our suburban yard) that won’t be an issue.

    I’m sure the food police would squall to high-heaven about our diet, but we’re all healthy, nobody’s needed to see a doc for years and while none of us are model-thin, we aren’t obese either.

    We’ve lived near the poverty line for years. I’ve been made fun of, called “Amish” and have practically been accused of child-abuse for not feeding my children soda-pop and store-bought treats.

    Nobody’s laughing at me now…

  18. Dandelion wrote–
    >>>I’ve noticed that we don’t get so many odd looks now when we are shopping at the Mart with my list on a clipboard and a pen in my hand, and a calculator on a string around Dwayne’s neck.<<<

    ROTFL Amen sister. We do what we have to do to keep the costs down. I applaude your technique!

  19. janet parks

    thank you wendy i didnt know the burning oil trick or the baking soda instead of shampoo ,i knew that vinegar was a great rinse,i printed off you post to put in my new skills i learn book (lol ) see i only thought i knew a lot about being frugal and saving a penny jan

  20. maria

    Long Island NY – Living expenses have always been crazy here anyway, but have become much worse in the past 4 months.

    We now home-bake everything since healthy bread is around $4 a loaf and even the cheapest bakery sweets are obscenely expensive (leftover home-baked breads make fantastic crumbs, stuffings,puddings and french toast!).

    We buy only soymilk for health reasons, and it’s actually cheaper now ($1 to $1.50 a box) than regular milk! The only thing I haven’t given up buying at a premium is eggs, because we really need them.

    My criteria for buying ANY food item is as follows – it MUST have more than one or two uses. For example, if I’m shopping and my kid wants a $1 box of cheezy snack crackers, I’ll ask “Can we really do anything else with it besides just eating it as it is?” If the answer is NO, we don’t buy it. If that item is a $1 box of graham crackers, the answer might be YES because once we tire of eating them as is, they can become a pie crust or the stuffing for baked apples or the crumb part of a fruit crumble. In this way, I get way more out of that $1 because I don’t find myself throwing out uneaten, stale leftovers of prepackaged foods (otherwise known as $$$$) while I gain more cooking options.

    I keep two shopping lists – one is for the cheaper staples like onions or garlic which need to be replaced ASAP or I just can’t cook a thing, and the other list is for pantry items like pasta or canned tomatoes which I tend to buy in bulk when there is a good sale. I scan the sale ads every week, and then make TheList, which is a compromise from both lists.

    Right now, I am able to make three hot meals daily plus snacks, plus buying cleaning supplies, disposeable items and maintenance supplies on 100 dollars or less a week. (I know that sounds like TOO MUCH, but we are on Long Island)

    I can probably squeeze about 20% more, but it would mean depleting the pantry and not re-stocking – something I wouldn’t relish doing since we rely on that cushion if I get sick or there is some rotten weather afoot and I can’t go shopping.

    Gas is almost $4 a gallon here so we are staying really close to home in our free time.

    I am wondering how quickly prices are rising in other areas of the country and how the gas prices are affecting you all?

  21. I contine with monthly planning, after re-assessing what’s on hand in the pantry, the cellar shelves, in the chest freezer. This helps me so much. I plan for busy days, making those crockpot nights. I also made the following changes in the past 6-12 months:
    -no Deli meat/cheese/salad. I DO take meat ends and cheese ends
    -cooking more and more from scratch
    -baking 95% of our cookies/breads/cakes etc
    -no eating out
    -rarely take out
    -HM HH pizza
    -more beans
    -more vegetarian meals
    -BIG meat meal on SUnday, provides leftovers for the upcoming week
    -SOUP day is Sat-grea tuse for leftovers and leftover soup is work lunch for DH and I
    -no buying school lunches (not that we allowed the kids to all that often)
    -no box juices, instead I make up “koolaid” type drinks, using less sugar
    -shopping the reduced meat/bakery/produce and crushed grocery sections of stores
    -shopping different store chains for their reduced sections
    -alot less waste-using my freezer more often to hold leftovers.
    -more casseroles
    -less tradional tossed salads (produce is very expensive in New England)-mroe coleslaw, 3 bean and Jello salads
    -no coffee from DD or other shops
    -no ice cream shop treats
    -no meats over $2/lb, More less expensive cuts such as pot roast, pork shoulder
    -cut up and grind roasts for other preparation, instead of payign to have it done at the store. That $1.49 roast is the same as the $4.29 stew beef

  22. TamiAnn

    I have been using this website, and the HH one for a while, but never posted, but feel driven to now. We live on the west coast, (my sister from Minnesota turned me on to Maggie) and a year ago were doing very well financially. I am an appraiser and my husband is a manager and we had no complaints. We have a business that HAD 10 employees. Boy, how a year can change your life! As the real estate market started to crumble, we had to make some fast adjustments. Our business had fixed expenses, but the income fell almost overnight. To say I’ve made some changes is a huge understatement. I used to be at the office 10 hours a day with a full time office assistant. Now, my office is at home, and I’m it. We are down to just a couple appraisers, and last week got in only one order. We used to eat out more nights a week than not, now we eat casseroles and everything is homemade. We used to do hot lunches, now I am up every morning making my youngest son’s lunch. Hot breakfasts are cheaper than cereal, so that’s changed too. I make my own bread, didn’t even know how six months ago. I have veggie starts all over my kitchen just waiting for the rain to stop so I can get them in the ground. I am madly reading all your suggestions and making notes because I haven’t had to be frugal for 10 years and that seems to be a skill I was too willing to lose. I shop with a list, and am trying to figure out if it’s worth it to sell my SUV for a smaller car now, don’t know if I’d get anything for it! All in all, I have to honestly say I am happier and more fullfilled today than I have been in a very long time. At the height of our success, we had money but no time, and I felt like I was spinning my wheels for “things”, which truly felt empty. I know that the next few years are going to be really tight and we are going to have to make many more changes to stay a float, but I think I’m ready for it. More ready than my husband, but I know he’ll come around. Thank you for letting me post and thanks for all your great ideas.

  23. Mamalade

    I am originally from NYC and have been living in GA for the past 2 yrs. My life has completely changed from being a single working mother of 2 to a married stay @ home mother of 3. Just imagine the cost difference, but I must say we did it smart. The Lord began to show us very clearly about 4 years ago when we weren’t even married that things were going to change quickly. My husband and I were good friends working together in ministry when God showed us a very narrow gate and said “walk ye in it”. We left everything and everyone for a homestead in Georgia. (we call it GODS COUNTRY) because everything grows in GA. The first thing we did was buy a milk cow (free $ a gallon). My son has been and still is (help) nursing ( mo free milk) my neighbor got chix (free eggs cause we swap) and I was a City Chicker turned HillBilly house instantly.
    I was a cook/caterer in NYC so cooking is easy for me. Now Im learning canning which is pretty straight foward. I forgot to say I have a good sized veggie garden going, but all of the bounty that I had in NYC for me became like the temptations of the Isrealites after the Exodus so I let them go and GOD has really blessed my garden.
    I think GOD is taking us all into our own personal wilderness. Just be ready to let go of the things you might love to much and believe me HE will be faithful.

  24. Delta Jackson

    In the last year I’ve found that I’m sometimes utilizing more economical recipes. I’m also using less prepared frozen foods. When I cook I’ve been making more soups, stews, and chilis from scratch. Presto pressure cooker has a good recipe for beef stew in their cookbook and I substitute ground turkey instead. One of my kids’ favorite recipes is sloppy joes made from a recipe on the Five Minute Brands oat bag. This year I discovered that leftover cold oatmeal can be substituted in that recipe and the kids can’t detect the difference. In the last year I’ve been cooking stir fries with just a little meat and a bunch of fresh vegetables. I try to serve beans every couple of weeks. I soak them overnight in the crockpot, pour off the liquid, and rinse the beans the next day before cooking the beans in the crockpot. The first night I serve them as plain bean soup and then place the leftovers in the frig. The next day I drain off most of the liquid then add browned ground turkey, onions, garlic, and spices to make chili beans. I’ve started making my own tortillas from scratch using masa flour and a tortilla press. My 13 year old daughter enjoys doing this with me. This year I’m trying hard to check the frig at mealtimes for leftovers and incorporating them in my meals. Another thing I’m doing differently is the result of a gift from my husband, a small stainless steel cooking oil can with a spout on it. This allows me to precisely put a small amount of oil in my cooking pan, saving money. We use olive oil which we buy at Costco and this little oil can which I keep on the center of my stovetop has saved us money because I use less cooking oil. This summer I hope to blanch and freeze some seasonal vegetables. I suggest that people who don’t know how to do this look in a Kerr or Ball canning guide. The canning guide is used to determine blanching times for different vegetables. Our family takes the blanched vegetables. drains them in a colander, and after draining immediately place the vegetables in a sinkful of icewater to immediately stop the cooking process. After placing the blanched vegetables in ice water, we then drain the vegetables and place them in Ziplock freezer bags. In the summer we look for good deals on seasonal produce. If you’ve looked at the price of frozen corn on the cob at the store, you will understand why blanching and freezing vegetables in season can save every family money. I’ve been trying to keep an eye on the produce in the frig to keep down spoilage. Some foods I’ve been buying in smaller quantities to cut down on spoilage. I’ve filled my kitchen with used tupperware purchased at second hand stores to protect grains, flours, cereals, pasta, beans, etc. from insect infestation and mice. At times I’ve utilized some money saving ideas like cold water rinse on the family washing machine, always running full loads, trying to use the clothes line to dry clothes in the summer. Our family has a forest service wood cutting permit and we cut our own firewood in the local U.S. forest for $5.00 a cord. Last year we had been buying wood cut by other people but this year we hope to get an early start on cutting our own. We’ve shifted our household to compact fluorescent light bulbs and this initially saved us about $7.00 a month on our utility bill. This year we discovered our utility company gives us a rebate off our power bill for the purchase of energy star compact fluorescent light bulb. This year my husband and I have made sure that every appliance we bought–washer, dryer, and freezer, were Energy star appliances and that we requested a rebate from our local utility company on those. We bought a heater for our bathroom with a thermostat but recently unplugged it when we found our utility bill had soared.

  25. Tracy

    I live in South Africa so some things differ but will share anyway. Have always been thrifty with meal plans etc but am now being even more creative. I spend a bit more time on the internet following frugal blogs and sites – besides the advice, I enjoy the inspiration and motivation.

    Our temperatures don’t drop as low as the typical USA winter, but we still use a heater most winter nights (we don’t have central heating or cooling here). Ours runs off gas as we are having an electricity crisis here. The gas has gone up over 50% in the past 2 years. A month ago each member of my family got to choose fleece fabric of their choice and I made each of us our own blanket. We now dress warmly and get under our blanket in the evenings instead of using the heater.

    After years of being lazy (really, need to be honest here) I’m back behind my sewing machine and am sewing most of my and my daughters winter clothing at a huge saving.

    I have cut down even more on the meat we use and now bake all of our bread. I used to bake half and buy the other half for convenience, but now bake 3-4 times a week and save quite a bit.

    I stock up on non-perishables when its on a sale. I’ll buy as much as 3 months worth if the sale is very good.

    I strictly stick to our fuel budget now and have to plan any driving trips carefully. This means I generally get more exercise (walking more) and spend less as I’m not in the malls as often.

    I now find that I am following our budget, spending and savings plans very closely. We put away specific amounts each month towards birthdays, Christmas and other annual costs (like the old fashioned envelope method) and I am very strict on myself about not spending a cent in any category if it isn’t allocated for.

    My children work with me and have already learnt that if we save on fuel and food, the extra goes into a holiday fund from which we all benefit. Saving and being thrifty has become something we all enjoy because we all share the benefits.

  26. Felicia

    Mamalade Here Here I love you story that you shared
    and I have to say that God has also blessed my family by preparing us for the storm as he is always so faithful in doing. I also live in Georgia and am Thankful for the wisdom he gives us during times like this. And Tracy it is sooooo important to teach your children the value of money and how to manage it!! There are so many children in Georgia that have no clue about saving money and getting whatever they want, sometimes hard times can allow us to teach our children how to make ends meet as the economy is not always going to be good and this is something they need to know before they get their own family. So Way to go!! I love to make homemade candy and I make fancy candies for a lot of events we have at the church and it has come in handy with trading. Alot of people will do work in exchange for a homemade treat. It is still cheaper to make than buy and of course home made is much better. At first I got upset over all the high cost but then I just gave it to God and he took all the fear away and has provided us with all and more than we need. What a joy it is to know him as my savior. I pray you will know him too!! Many Blessings to all.

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