Thursday, July 22, 2010
Frugal Friday - Spend now to save later
I do like to save money on groceries but I don't like using coupons (not that they are bad I just don't want to deal with them). I do use them on occasion and am not against them. But I like to try to eat whole foods if I can and so this summer I am canning and preserving like never before. I grow a small garden at my home and I also am co-oping with a family from my church in their garden. But what I have been doing is buying produce at the peak of the season from local farmers and orchards and canning or freezing it for the winter.
Green Beans - I have goals that I am trying to make and here is how I figure it. For instance, green beans - I can them and I would ideally like to have enough green beans to have them twice a week, every week for 9 months out of the year. So that would be roughly 72 quarts of green beans if my math is right. I have also found that a 1/2 bushel of green beans (which fits in a 5 gallon bucket) will work out to be about 15-19 quart sized jars of canned green beans. I call around to several local farmers (I meet them at farmers markets or I see signs on the roads) and ask prices and I usually go with the cheapest. Don't pay by the pound, you want to ask how much it is by the bushel or half bushel because you get a price break! In this part of the country it could cost about $26.00 for a bushel. I haven't bought any yet this year because I canned the ones from my co-op garden but I want to buy more to can. Last year I got half a bushel for $8.75 but I doubt I can get that price this year.
Peaches - I call several local orchards and ask where they get their peaches and how much they charge. Again, the more you get the better the price. I called one place and asked for 20 lbs. and she told me I get a good price break at 25 lbs. So I went there and we happened to go on a great day when they had "seconds". Seconds just means they have peaches that are needing to be eaten or canned or frozen very quickly. We bought 100 lbs. for $0.75 per pound. I split this with a friend. We figured out that 10 lbs. of peaches would get you about 10 pints worth or 6 quarts worth.
Corn - I freeze corn and I have a farmer that has a stand very close to where I live. I told them I wanted to freeze a lot and they told me that if I bought 10 dozen they would sell it for $2/dozen which is by far the cheapest around here even at the grocery stores plus it was grown and picked about 2 miles from here. My friend and I bought 10 dozen and we ended up with 33 quart size bags with 4 cups each in them.
I also canned some carrots that I pulled from my co-op garden. I have also done a lot of pickles from the cucumbers in my coop garden. I did peach butter with the peaches I had that were too soft to can. I made some blackberry jam from a friend's blackberries. I made freezer slaw with some onions, cabbage and carrots I got from my co-op garden as well. Basically if anyone is willing to give me some produce I will find a way to preserve it.
I would like to have enough preserved so that most of my veggies and side items are taken care of for the winter months. It is a dream but I believe I am well on my way. Not only is this cheap (I figured the corn is about $0.62 per quart size bag. The only green beans costs were for the seeds.
I have spent the last 3 years slowly building up my supply of glass jars. Each year I do a little more. I would like to have my own huge garden but I don't have a lot of land so this is the next best thing.
This also explains why I haven't been blogging. I cannot wait for the tomatoes to come in. I am doing 20 more dozen ears of corn this weekend. I hope to do a ton of applesauce this fall and whatever else I can think of.
I should say that I don't have a pantry at all, but my husband put up a wall of shelves in the garage for all of my cans and things. He runs a fan in there when it gets really hot and he plans to finish insulating it before winter so my jars will keep.
I am keeping track of everything I spend and how much I get from it so I will be able to have a grand total and see how much I really save this winter. It is a fun and frugal experiment!
For more frugal ideas, please visit Life as a Mom.