This month marks my 4th year of being home. I have had a few little jobs along the way, the last was working at the local library for a few hours a week. I quit that job to devote my time to being a grandma.
Now my husband and I are facing our biggest financial challenge since I’ve been home – paying for the next 18 months of our youngest son’s college education. We had enough money saved up to pay for his first two years of college and then we knew we would have to get creative. We would prefer not to take out any student loans, but we may have to take out a small one. In the meantime, we have to tighten our belts if we are going to avoid borrowing more money for his education.
The biggest way to save money, is not to spend money. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well, honestly that is the best way to save money by not spending money. So in an effort to not spend money, I have taken the time to inventory our resources. You have to know what you have in your home (your resources) otherwise you end up spending money on food items you already have on hand (as an example).
Beginning 4 years ago I became a person who stocks up on sales. The summertime is the best time in our area to find meat prices at their lowest of the year. I know that I can count on frozen vegetables to be at their rock bottom price in January or February. When I have the money, I keep stocking up on sale items until I feel that enough is enough.
There are some decisions to be made when you are stocking up. When is enough, enough? Well my freezer was pretty stocked when they had an in store sale on 85% lean ground beef last week for only $1.99 lb. Even though I already had plenty on hand, this was too great of a deal to miss out on. I bought 40 lbs. By reorganizing my freezer I was able to find space for it. I know that I will not see that price on meat for a long time, if ever again.
It has taken a few weeks to inventory all the food in my freezer and pantry, toiletries, paper products, cleaning and laundry products. Yes, it was time consuming BUT I now know all of the resources that we have on hand and I now have an idea as to how long I can make these resources last. When I say make these items last, I am not going to sacrifice nutrition by only eating what I have on hand. I will supplement our food resources with perishables as I go along. I am also back to baking all of our bread products.
I will share over the next few days what I have in each category and the challenge will be on to see how long I can make everything last.
The following is a list of items that I have in my large freezer and the freezer above the fridge in our kitchen. Yes, it is quite a bit for two people but we do have family over to eat a couple times a week. I enjoy cooking for my family.
I was able to get everything on sale at rock bottom prices. The only thing that I would like to add is some chicken hind quarters if I find a good sale. There has not been a sale on chicken hindquarters for over 9 months. By the way, I have never had a problem with freezer burn as I am very careful about double wrapping my meat.
Beef Roasts – 3 roasts at 3 to 4 lbs.
Italian Meatballs – 1 lb.
Hamburger – 80% lean – 3 lbs.
Hamburger – 85% lean – 72 lbs.
Hamburger – 93% lean – 3 lbs.
Sloppy Joes – 2 pkgs – enough for 2 meals
Shredded Cooked Pork – 1 lb.
Pork Loin Roasts – 2 roasts at 3 lbs. each
Pork Cushion Roasts – 2 roasts at 3 to 4 lbs.
Iowa Chops – 6 chops
Pork Loin Slices – 12 slices
Pork Broth – 1 cup
Boneless Ham – 2 lbs.
Bacon – 5 – 1 lb. pkgs.
Bratwursts – 17 brats
Ground Pork – 11 lbs..
Smoked Polish Sausage – 3 ½ lbs.
Little Smokeys – 1 ½ lbs.
Ham Loaf – 5 lbs.
Ham Deli Meat – 1 lb.
Canadian Bacon – 2 pkgs.
Hot Dogs – 13 pkgs.
Shaved Ham – 4 lbs.
Bone in Chicken Breasts – 2
Breaded Chicken Patties – 3
Chicken Thighs – 10 thighs
Split Chicken Breasts – 2 packages
Boneless Chicken Breasts – 4 breasts
Ground Chicken – 3 lbs.
Ground Turkey – 2 lbs.
Turkey Patties – 12
Turkey Deli Sandwich Meat – 2 lbs.
Cooked Turkey Breast Slices (From a turkey I cooked last month)
Cut up cooked turkey meat – 3 lbs. (From a turkey I cooked last month)
Turkey Broth – 8 cups
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – 20 – 8 oz. packages
Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese – 8 – 8 oz. packages
Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese – 2 – 8 oz. packages
Shredded Swiss Cheese – 1 ½ cups
String Cheese – 4 – 12 oz. packages
Fruits and Vegetables:
Mixed Vegetables – 7 – 1 lb. pkgs.
Corn – 10 - 1 lb. pkgs.
Peas & Carrots – 1 – 1 lb. pkg.
Peas – 3 – 1 lb. pkgs.
Broccoli – 2 – 1 lb. pkgs.
California Blend – 1 – 1 lb. pkg.
Green Beans -1 – 1 lb. pkg.
Hash Browns – 2 lbs.
Small assortment of vegetables – 1 ½ pkgs.
Tomato Paste – 11 – 6 oz. plastic containers
Strawberry Freezer Jam – 9 – 1 ½ cup containers
Whole Strawberries – 3 – 2 cup containers
Cranberries – 4 – 10 oz. packages
Raspberries – 1 cup
Bananas - 7
Orange Juice – 7 Containers
Unsalted Butter – 3 sticks
Oyster Crackers – 5 – 12 oz. packages
Instant Yeast – 1 lb.
Tomorrow's post: My list of what I have in my pantry.