Sunday, September 9, 2012

The 5 Year Plan - Frugal Food

My family teases me that I am the only female they know that hates to shop.  To me, it means sacrificing a day off, driving 20 miles to the nearest store of any size, pushing a squeaky cart around the store, swiping my debit card (sigh), loading and unloading the booty, usually in the rain.  Where is the joy in any of that?

Considering my poor attitude toward the whole ordeal, our five year plan includes as little shopping as possible.  Right now, we shop for groceries once a month.  Shopping twice a year is music to my ears, and once a year is downright dreamy.  Some around me are skeptical but here's the plan.

The new shop area we are building will have a generous storage area to keep our can and dry goods.  Most items are shelf stable for a year or more.  We have a large chest freezer that, with some creative stuffing, should be sufficient for our yearly needs.  We will have chickens for eggs and a goat for fresh milk.  Veggies from the garden will be canned, frozen or dehydrated.  This is the easy part of the plan.  The big question is how we can get it to fit into our very frugal budget.

Current pantry.  Our new space will have a lot more room.

The last time I went shopping, I purposely turned my brain off and just bought what was on my list and what I wanted. I even brought my hungry husband along.  Hungry husbands are great.  Not only did he do the driving, he pushed the squeaky cart, did the loading and unloading, and only disappeared when it was time to swipe the card.  We spent $418.13 on that trip. With the frugal budget for entire living expenses at only $500 month, what can we do? 

Taking a look at the receipt and the bigger picture, there is a lot that can be done.  Here's what I see:

1.  Leave the hungry husband at home.  Instead of two containers of Greek yogurt we  bought five.  We bought two cases of San Pellegrino water instead of one.  Some vitamins caught his fancy and he contributed a carton of ice cream to the cart as well.  By leaving the hungry husband home I could of saved $61.

2.  The kids will grow up.  Stormy needed a box of diapers.  We treated the teenager to his favorite juice.  Just for those two items - $54

3.  Raise chickens and goats.   We consume a gallon of milk every 2-3 days and a dozen eggs a week.  The hungry husband is the biggest consumer of milk but the teenager is the egg fan.  In five years this won't change much.  I'm not sure what the cost of raising chickens and goats will be but I'm confident it will be less than the $75 we are spending monthly on just those two items now.

4.  Stop the Full Circle deliveries.  Right now our fresh fruit and veggies are delivered to us by Full Circle Farms.  A nice box every 2 weeks or organic produce is $75.  By gardening, picking wild berries and sprouting we will save this expense.

5. Shop once or twice a year in Anchorage.  Anchorage is Alaska's largest city and has the best stores and prices.  It's about 200 miles away but if we drive our veggie powered van, the cost of driving there will be minimal. Anchorage also has no sales tax whereas we do pay 7.5% here. 

We have a lot of planning and learning to do in the next few years.  The payoff will be huge and healthier with less shopping.  Win, win, win! 


No comments:

Post a Comment