Okay. That title isn’t nice but I’m so tired. I have been up all night with a sick kiddoe and my brain is fried. So why try to write now? Because even with no sleep, I am more creative in the morning than I ever am at night. I tried to do my posts after I got Phoebe into bed but I mostly just sit there, staring blankly at the computer and looking for some pearl of wisdom to pass on. So I am going back first thing in the morning.

I actually have something to share. I went to the market yesterday. I was really pleased because it seems I am finally on track to shopping in what  I think is the most efficient way possible. I want to shop only to refill my pantry and take advantage of not-to-be missed sales. I came home with 4 gallons of apple juice, 12 boxes of brownie mix, 2 boxes of freezer bags, aluminum foil, canned pumpkin, and a number of other items ( 5 bags worth and I carried the juice in separately) for around $50.00. The total was actually $100.00 but with the coupons and in-store rewards, 50% was saved and I received another $15.00 in coupons for my next trip. The best bargains were the brownie mixes at $1.00 each, free toilet paper, recycled aluminum foil, free with a rebate card, a cloth shopping bag, free with a coupon, the apple juice, $2.50 a gallon and 10 pounds of rice that was on sale and I had a $.55 coupon for that I tripled with another coupon. At our small store, I picked up organic bananas for that were going brown for $.49 a pound. Altogether a good buying trip.

The worst way to shop is often because one is tempted by the goodies one sees on every trip. I am planning to do my big shop on Tuesdays because I have to go into town on that day anyway. I pick up my grandson for the day, saving his parents the drive and then hit the two markets in town. If I stick with the loss leaders in each store and check my coupons carefully, I should be able to keep my weekly spend to less than $50.00. I do need to watch for some things. I nearly bought sugar because I had a coupon but after doing the math I found that it was still more expensive than buying from BJ’s where I go once a month for some of my bulk purchases. I also found that with coupon use bigger is not necessarily better. If I get the smallest size, with a triple coupon the item is often free.

What I find amazing about these numbers is that I don’t purchase much real food with the dollars spent. I have not bought a vegetable since June and darn little fruit. I purchased some meat until recently but now that the freezer is up and running I will not need to do that again. I will get all of meat from local sources and get it in bulk. I buy most of my grains in bulk from the co-op. So the only actual food I will get is some cheese (until I learn to make cheddar) juice as I don’t can enough for the year by a long shot and the dairy that I don’t make at home like sour cream and butter. When we calculate our food bill, we are generally counting things like laundry soap and deodorant. I really don’t know how these unemployed families with no pantries to fall back on and no gardens are going to make it. The burden on food pantries and food stamps must be horrific. It also points to just how much food a family consumes. It is a lot more than most think.

So today I need to get Phoebe to the doctor and then return and get out the food saver and quart jars. I will repack the brownie mix for long term storage. If I store it in a dark closet with all of the air sucked out, it will have a very long shelf life. I may even take Karen with me when I take Phoebe in a have her run back into the store and get another 12 boxes. It is not a food I would use every day but it sure is handy to have it when one of the kids needs something fast to bring to a school event. It is also something I can cook in my solar oven or in my stove top emergency oven. I want to try a batch in a cast iron dutch oven ans see if that works.

So now I’m inspired. I think that, as I will be spending a good deal of the day entertaining a sick 6 year old, I will update my preparedness notebook. I keep pages for what I buy, how much I have on hand, what I need and the usual price. I should check over those prices and see where are they are. I love this kind of project. It helps me feed my tiny OCD monster.

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