The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Learning with Laine.

Last week I headed off in search of cheaper fruit and vegetables and it worked!  This week I am doing the same only heading a bit further south. I can incorporate this with seeing my friend Hilde and a couple of good op shops.  Hilde and I are trading Bay Leaves (me) for Lemons as well.
I told her about my search for much better prices and she became the next person to say to me how much things have gone up.  Everyone I talk to is saying this!  And this includes the US, UK and NZ Bluebirds as well as the Aussie ones!
Since several of you commented on our prices here this week I am going to take some photos to show you the prices in our stores!


My photos are some recent ones from you all! 
This is from Rachel. She made little pies from berries she gathered.

Lately I have signed up for emails from the wholesale butchers,  joined Facebook stockpilers pages,  studied catalogues, viewed catalogues we don't have delivered online and everything I can think of.
Then I have been asking around where people shop? Where do they find the best?

I have learned to make a lot more thing myself from scratch. Overall I have learned a lot in the last couple of years!  A lot of things are thanks to you all!



Finally over the weekend I thought to see what Laine's Letters say about food shopping and budgeting. While a few years have passed and prices have changed her ways were based on scripture and prayer.  These things never change.  So like with other subjects I could delve back into her advice just as I did years ago.
I have spoken about Laine many times before.  Her letters were the first "blog" I followed and had a huge impact on me.  These days her blog is no longer there but it can be read on a web archive. Now I have to hope the links work!
When the girls were little Laine helped me with being a good Mother, knowing my mission, running the home....  now I am reading she is helping me with being a good Grandmother and this current issue of grocery shopping!  There is a whole Laine subject in my index on the right hand side.
Many of you know Laine and are readers already.  For anyone who is new to Laine then reading her letters will do you more good than I ever can.   There is something on every subject and they can be found here:  Laine's Letters.


Two of Chloe's rescue hens. They are gradually fattening up and looking better! 


While prices and stores have changed the way Laine went about things has not changed.  As so many things have gone up the quick and easy grocery shop is over!
I am going to start with Laine's Letter Fearless Food Shopping.  Australia does not have coupons, but we can apply everything else!

I feel I am taking a study. I am taking notes.  How can I apply these things?
Laine treats stretching her husbands wage as a job. She shops at a lot of different places.  There is a lot about stretching meals and using up left overs.



We all probably need a review/revision now and then. We get into habits! Then suddenly our habits no longer serve us so well or no longer work at all!  Last week I did much better and it took changing almost everything!   So this week will be interesting!

We also need to keep up with what is going on around us. Things change.  We can become blind to choices and opportunities.  This was demonstrated to me by a friend who's town was hit by a massive cyclone.  (For the Aust. ladies this was Mackay) Josh told me how after several days there were food shortages.  He walked into town and got bread and a few things from the local bakery.  On his way home he passed a supermarket and there was a queue outside.  Several ladies ran towards him asking him where did he get the bread!?  He told them the bakery.  They replied that there is no bakery in Mackay.   They were so stuck on their routine of one supermarket they didn't even KNOW there were alternatives let alone what they were or where they were located.  Now can you see how we should keep up with what is around!?




So this week I hope to check out some more alternatives, find new places to try and see what I can discover.

Could some of Laine's food shopping tips help keep the budget under control?
Do food prices vary wildly from suburb to suburb and town to town where you live?
We have to consider time and fuel costs of course.  That is another thing to work in.  But how far the food budget goes affects everything from our health, our menu, our pantry, every other area of the budget and our happiness as well!  This one area has a huge impact.  If we are a little bit ahead then we also get ahead with meals in the freezer,  things to store for the future and with lots of food in the house you don't think about take out either.


Some of Mum's Bay Leaf tree as I was picking them to bring home! 

Have a very good new week!  Today I am making fruit cakes. I had dried fruit soaking in juices all night so it is ready to go!  
If you want homework then study "Fearless Food Shopping" and be inspired! 
xxx










41 comments:

  1. Annabel, I love Laine's Letters, I think I have all of them printed out! You've inspired me to do the homework and reread and take notes on Fearless Food Shopping. Sure wish I had a bay leaf tree ... or is it a bush?

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    1. Dear Patsy, I am glad you have them printed out. Me too. I am trying to print anything I would really be upset if it went missing from the internet as otherwise its a risk. Overtime I go back to these letters they speak to me in a different way according to the stage of life Im in or what I might be needing to learn!
      Mum has one Bay Tree that I think is about 20 foot high and another (this one) which is about 8 foot high. They are slow growing. She planted the first one I know over 30 years ago. They are seriously expensive in the shops in tiny little packets of there or four leaves! I pick some overtime I go tot he farm... some of my gathering!
      Every day I am reading more of Laine... usually I focus on the letters but then there is the In my home series which I have never really read very much and I am finding a lot in those too! Have a good week Patsy! With love Annabel.xxx

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  2. Dear Annabel and Blue Bird friends - we are about to leave for our few days away. There are good op shops where we are going so I hope that I find some useful items.

    This post resonates with me so much - I have been on a mission to adjust what I buy in the food department so that I am only stocking items that have multi use.

    I don't get all of the catalogues where we are but have found that I can view them on line quite easily - one of which has already got their next weeks catalogue available to be viewed.

    I joined the stockpiling group and will see how I go with the information they have forthcoming when we get home. It was a bit rocky on the weekend with some people not following the rules so I had my doubts as to whether it was the right place for me.

    We have a fortnight before my husband starts his new job so while I can implement small changes the bigger ones will wait until then.

    Have a great week everyone.


    Lynette
    XXXX

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    1. Dear Lynette,
      A fortnight is not long! Enjoy the few days away! I hope you have good op shop finds!
      With the fb groups I have to fast scroll by all the ones about masses of cleaning products and masses of junk food and coke etc. I watch for the experienced ones, the ones who need a word of encouragement and the ones posting actual specials. Seeing the junk food people buy is kind of concerning. Anyway I have had a few good tip offs so that has been good.
      I hope you have a good time away and a great week! With love, Annabel.xxxx

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  3. Hi Annabel and Beautiful Bluebirds!!

    This is a genuine theme presented here - making do on less! -- or, rather, making life richer and spending less money to do it!! I like the latter!

    I love the photos - Chloe's chooks, the elder flowers, and the budding bay leaf tree!!

    I have read up on Laine's article. I like the old-fashioned way of shopping for the wholesome basics, and then producing the rest ourselves, or gaining them by resourcefulness rather than money! I think we have hardly skimmed the surface for this kind of living!

    I think South Australia must be smelling like beautiful fruit cakes baking by now!!

    We are finding the shopping game quite interesting. Diesel is much cheaper in a small, outlying town. Gas refills are cheaper for a small bottle in a small town hardware, but better value refills of large bottles are obtained in the city! Yes, butter is up everywhere, as is olive oil - still. We were referred to an outdoor patio business, and found that they are a mini hardware, with some worthwhile items. We actually bought some things on stocktake sale!! It's all a game, and I like to study the vegetation in the landscape for usefulness as we travel the country roads on shopping day!!

    Warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

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    1. Dear Rachel, haha! My last fruit cake came out of the oven at 9pm last night!
      Yes... making lifer richer... thats a good way of putting it!
      We are so alike Rachel! When on country roads I am watching the road side and paddocks for fruit trees and interesting things! I have found apple trees and all kinds of things this way!
      It sounds like you have made some good discoveries i.e. the mini hardware shop and the prices of things varying like they do here. There are no standard prices this is for sure. I think its a bit of a game myself... it certainly can be fun and then there is a good prize at the end!
      I also agree... we have barely skimmed the surface. Laine had so many levels so looked on and so many levels she worked on. It all came together so successfully! Thanks so much, have a very good week! With love Annabel.xxx

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  4. Hi Annabel and fellow Bluebirds : ).

    I thought I would pass on a tip on saving on groceries that I just discovered that may help some readers on here too.

    You can buy gift cards from RACQ for supermarkets such as Woolworths for 5% off face value. They take from what I have read about 10 days to arrive but it does save you on grocery costs. From talking to friends this is apparently Australia wide and available to most roadside assistance motor clubs.

    I will be starting to do this in July for my end of month grocery shop and combine these savings with items that are on special in store that we need as well.

    Very often I do anyway get memberships and not look up what benefits we get with these.

    I hope this tip helps some to reduce their grocery costs.

    Sewingcreations15

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    1. Dear Sewingcreations15,
      Aha! "Royal Automobile Club of Queensland" -- another Queenslander!! Well, five percent is five percent, and the little savings certainly can add up - especially on groceries!!
      One little thing we do is buy fuel where we like and, providing our IGA purchase is over thirty dollars, we present the fuel docket to receive a 4cent/Litre rebate at the register from IGA.
      Will you show us your sewing (and/or other) creations?!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Dear Sewicgcreations, thank you for this tip! Sometimes the big stores have specials on their gift cards which is a similar way of saving.... also I hear Groupon sometimes has this. It is a clever thing to do!
      You are exactly right... we may have benefits we are entitled to and not even know it! Thank you for this! With love Annabel.xxx

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  5. Having a price book, or just knowing the price you want to/usually pay for something makes all of the comparison shopping easier. There was a writer years ago who had a newsletter (way before blogs!) named Amy Dacyczyn who wrote the Tightwad Gazette. Her newsletters were compiled into 3 books that I borrow from the library now and then. That woman could pinch a penny! I learned about a price book from her. Now that I have whittled the amount of different products that I buy down and from years of experience, I no longer carry a notebook around, but have a mental idea of what things cost at which stores so that I know when I see a good deal. I like the idea of treating shopping like a game.
    Well, I am off to look at some of Laine's letters, have a great week everyone!

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    1. Dear Sarah, I had the Tightwad Gazette from the library! Now I cant say I have read it all as it was huge but I got the idea! It was really good! I used to keep a price book. Then over time I figured out mostly we buy the same things over and over and I can mentally keep track of most prices. My daughter was with me in Aldi and I could name how much the equivalents were in Coles and she was amazed! haha! I could not have done that once! But knowing your prices is so important. There are people who just shop not knowing if it is a good deal or not and I guess they don't even care. I think it is kind of a game too! I actually think it is fun and that finding something awesome is the price! It feels like it! Thats the reward. mmm op shopping is like this too! Then you might hit the jackpot!
      I hope you enjoy Laines Letters... they are very encouraging! With love Annabel.xxx

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  6. Good morning Annabel and fellow Bluebirds,
    Thanks for the pep talk! It is summer in the US right now. I tend to fall away from my frugal ways during this season because it is so hot that I do not want to go to multiple stores to find the best prices. I'm very fortunate to have all of my grocery stores within a very short distance of my house and each other. Getting in and out of the car in this heat is exhausting and I tend to just shop at one store which always means I'm spending more money. I really just need to slow down and take my time instead of rushing around so I can cool off at each of the stores I go into and stay hydrated! You have inspired me to search more and take my time! I have not read Laine's letters, but I will! Thank you again for the inspiration to continue in my frugal endeavors!
    Much love,
    Holley

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    1. Dear Holley, I hope you are really blessed by Laines Letters! I understand about the heat. When it is very hot here I doubt I will be doing the distance shopping. I will try and keep an eye on good local specials and do my bigger trips when it is cooler. The extreme heat is very wearing.
      Now you have some good reading when it is too hot to go out! With love Annabel.xxx

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  7. I have a lot printed out, too. I enjoy reading through them.

    We have a lot of options within a couple miles. By going to a few stores, we get the best prices. We go to Sam's Club once a month for items best bought in bulk. I try to rotate bulk purchases to save money. For instance, I will buy bulk paper towels one month, bulk TP another month. Some items cost less when on sale at grocery stores but many are cheaper in bulk.

    We are also eating mostly meals that extend meat instead of meat as a main dish. I just wrote on my blog Saturday about making a new to ne bread recipe that is so easy, I can make it a few times a week! Learning new things keeps me young. Kind of. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    1. Dear Brenda, I love your tip to rotate bulk purchases. Bulk buying can be daunting but one bulk buy a month for instance could impact the budget, build up the pantry and be manageable as well.
      Learning new things is the best. I have not read your Saturday post yet. I REALLY love your deep pantry posts and also that you keep your eye on things and are very watchful. I notice that! With many thanks, Love Annabel.xxx

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  8. Hi Annabel & bluebirds.
    Did Laine get her new website/ blog uo and running yet. I love to read her letters, so helpful & encouraging. Would love to read anything new from her.
    Food prices still rising here in the UK. I am really trying to stretch the budget as much as I can. Thankyou to you and all the Bluebirds. This is such an ecouraging lace to visit.

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    1. Thanks so much for your encouraging words! No sadly Laine didnt start her website. I also would love it if she did. The last I heard she was homeschooling Lucy and grandchildren and very busy. Maybe one day in a quieter season she might!
      It seems wherever we live this food price rise is affecting us all. Do see if there are cheaper areas as I mostly assumed three suburbs over was about the same and its so wildly different! There are lots of things we can do but I truly have had to try new things and I still am experimenting. Thank you so much, with love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Annabel, I am blessed, as where I live, there is a large ethnic mix & I find that by using their stores, I can get quite good bargains on fruit, veg & even household items. I have noticed that even those prices seem to be on the increase, but not as much as the mainstream stores.

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  9. Dear Annabell and lovely ladies,
    We do shop at multiple stores for the best price. You can check on "Yelp" and you will find other people opinions on some of the stores. We shop ethnic market for certain items.
    You can save huge on a 25 pound bag of rice in an Asian store maybe in china town ? Also I find these ethnicly diverse stores have great prices on giant bags of spices. You might have to use your phone to translate the label. Sometimes they have great prices on produce also. We also shop at GTM which is an outlet for Costco/ Try Googling ,overstock,scratch and dent discount groceries,discount groceries. You need to watch dates at these stores. Sometimes the label might be upside down but the food is still great. Kristi got 47 oz of organic apple sauce last week for $2 a jar and and all kinds of other wonderful things. Sometimes restraunt supplies and stores with bulk bins can be cheeper. You just have to know your prices. Some stores here have senior discount day and you get 10 percent off you only have to 50 for that discount here.
    love Laines letters that is how I found your blog by Gooling for her letters and your Blog popped up.
    Much Love,
    Patti
    ging Lains Letter

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    1. Dear Patti, I didnt know this is how you found me! That is amazing! I am so glad you did find me!
      Your tips are wonderful. I know here that Greek, Indian and Chinese markets have amazing prices on herbs, spices, garlic, rice... heaps of stuff. They sell big bags of all kinds of things miles cheaper than supermarkets!
      Thank you for mentioning GTM for the US ladies. We have similar... and you have to watch dates as you say but boy are there some bargains to be found! Also taking advantage of senior or other discounts is a good idea
      Thanks so much for all of this Patti! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  10. Dear Annabel,
    I love Laine's Letters and this topic. I have found that doing once a month shopping at stores a few towns over to be very cost effective. Also, those towns are larger than ours so there's a lot of stores very close to each other, making it an easy thing to do. Prices here not only vary from store to store, but from town to town.

    I just wanted to pass this on, and maybe you are all familiar with it but it's new to me. I found a site called myfridgefood.com where you can just check off what food is in your fridge and they give you all sorts of recipes to use what you have on hand. Blessings, Cookie

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    1. Dear Cookie,
      Local competition is definitely one thing that helps with the better prices and specials. When I lived in the country I used to head off to a regional centre once a month. It saved me a fortune even with fuel. I made a day of it! Back then I remember one item was $5 cheaper and I would buy four and at that time it covered the full. After that I was ahead on everything!
      Thank you for this site! Its such a good idea! Even say with a windfall of something you can find suggestions of how to make the most of it. Really its brilliant! I will have a look at this one as I have buckets of lemons coming at the end of the week! With lots of love, Annabel.xxx

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  11. Right Price Grocery clearance might be one of these outlets for groceries,
    Blessings.
    Patti

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    1. Dear Patti,
      It's really wonderful to have you back!!
      US shopping boggles my mind, with the possibilities!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Dear Patti, Thank you! We have several versions of stores like this! They are excellent! I think I will be going to one on Friday with a bit of luck! Thank you so much! With love Annabel.xxx

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  12. Hi Annabel and Beautiful Bluebirds,
    We are noticing the price variations as we travel from town to town. Some of these towns are very close to each other. The main variation that is effecting us is the cost of fuel. So far the cost of diesel is cheaper in the smaller towns. Can't work this out. Last week we picked up most of our fruit and veg from roadside stalls. So much cheaper than the supermarkets. At home we have a fabulous green grocer where you get loyalty rewards. As much as possible of the fruit and veg is sourced locally which is a real bonus. What we don't have in our garden we get at this store.
    Thank you to sewing creations for the RACQ gift card tip. I am going to look into this.
    Annabel I have my Bay Tree growing in a half 44 gallon drum. It is now a decent sized bush and provides all the Bay leaf I need. I also use the Bay leaves in my Bay Rum aftershave I make for the men in the family. There are so many recipes for this on the Internet and Pinterest. I tend to use what I have to get the aroma I am after. The boys love it.
    Bluey is the food shopper in our family. He checks out all the catalogues, works out what days various items will be coming on special, then goes and does the shopping. I hate shopping so this approach works well for us.
    i have found a site listing all the op shops in Toowoomba and plan on visiting a number of these today. Have a wonderful week.
    Life is good

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    1. Jane Allan you are most welcome and I hope it saves you some money. We are on pensions here so every bit of savings adds up for us. DH on a military compensation and myself on a carer's pension.

      Another tip for those in and around Brisbane is that there is a bulk food distributor called Trumps and you can get some fantastic bulk raw ingredients food items from them. If you email them they will send you out a price list that is current for that month. You can arrange to pick up your orders from them as well or have them delivered, best to look into the delivery costs to see if it is worthwhile for you.

      As we cook all of our own bread here and make a majority of our house cleaners and food from scratch we have also found that Pantry Packer also has good prices on yeast, bicarbonate of soda, bulk herbs, spreads etc. They are not cheap on everything but worth a look for what you need in your home and compare prices to what you can get locally. They are located in South Australia and we normally do an order once a year for what we need in the home to maximise the delivery cost which for us in a country town is $15 for any amount of product.

      We are also finding the price of butter is huge here too and went up $1 a 500g block a couple of months ago.

      I hope this helps everyone.

      Sewingcreations15.

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    2. Dear Jane, This is interesting about the towns being so varied! I LOVE road side stalls! Op shopping in Toowoomba! Nanna Chel is in Toowoomba! I hope you have great fun and good finds!
      I must make that recipe up of the aftershave as I think I would like it too!
      Dear Sewicgcreations.... thank you for this tip for the Brisbane Bluebirds! That sounds just fantastic! I would love a shop called the Pantry Packer! I haven't even heard of them and I am in South Australia! Ok I am off to investigate! Thank you so very much!
      As for butter that seems to have gone up world wide. There were shortages in europe at one stage too. As it freezes well I am now really watching butter and if I see specials I will stash some.
      Thanks so much for your fantastic tips they are so helpful.
      Have a good week to both of you with love Annabel.xxx

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    3. Annabel I thought you might be located in South Australia on your firewood prices and I know that your cost of living there is higher on a majority of things compared to us here. Pantry Packer also have fresh vegetables and meat too being a restaurant supplier so that may be worth a look too. Most welcome for the tips for different areas as well.

      We are also in Nanna Chel territory around 45 minutes from her. She knows who I am too :) although we haven't met yet.

      Jane I will have to do an op shop hop when I am up in Toowoomba next too. We usually only go there when we have multiple errands we need to run.

      Sewingcreations15

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  13. Dear Annabel,
    I think food prices, as well as other items, are going up everywhere. Food shortages is another concern we might all watch for in the next few months. Weather conditions, as you well know, affect the availability and prices of edibles a lot.
    I am very grateful for the loaded elderberry bushes and small fruit bushes we have this year. Last year there wasn't an elderberry crop in our yard at all. The story of Joseph keeps coming to mind; seven years of plenty and seven years of famine.
    Basics are my focus right now. I am seeing how many ways a food can be used and what basics can be combined to make a lot of different dishes.
    The Proverbs 31 woman looked far and wide for the food to feed her family. She, also, made sure they were well clothed. I have been upping my sewing skills lately and very led to do so.
    This is a wonderful post and so pertinent.
    Have a wonderful week!
    Love and hugs,
    Glenda

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    1. Dear Glenda,
      Your Elderberry bushes are just heavenly! You are quite right, history teaches us there are times of plenty and times of lack. Its been going on forever but people have forgotten and think you can always pop down the supermarket for anything. I agree the Proverbs woman had everything looked after ahead of time... I think she was smart, watchful and prudent!
      I have noticed some funny things too.... here we are with Andy without a full time job and doing all we can to keep ahead and not get behind. Yet I am bombarded with people trying to get me to spend money on luxuries and things that are not good investments. Well re reading Laine and Proverbs etc I am not even tempted. I am so glad of your support and this group of ladies. I am focusing on keeping the home fires burning! With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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  14. Hi Annabel and Bluebirds,
    I haven't commented for a while but have been reading every post and loving them as usual. My mouth is watering looking at the photo of the naan bread from your previous post! I have found that serving naan bread or roti or pappadams is the best way to get my kids to eat curry, they get so excited about using it as a scoop.
    Now I am just wondering what Facebook stockpilers pages there are? Are they area specific? I'm interested!
    And now I'm off to have a look at Laines Letters...
    Thanks Annabel and have a lovely week.
    Peach

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    1. Dear Peach, The best stockpilers on FB is A Working Pantry classroom. You join via A Working Pantry fb page. For Australia there is Aussie Stockpilers. Most are just starting out but it is good to see! Also local Buy Sell Swap fb pages can be good. There are also produce swap pages... post in your area or town name followed by buy sell swap and see if anything comes up. I would like to find out about more good ones myself! Also follow anything near you that could be good i.e. the wholesale butcher for special.... that kind of thing. They can be great tip offs!
      I am sure you will love what Laine has to say! With love Annabel.xxx

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  15. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    Thank you for another lovely post and comments!
    My husband and I were just talking about a time when he was out of work and summers when I didn't get paid since I was a teacher. He said he would sometimes pick up something that cost "only" a dollar and then put it back instead of buying it. I said I would do the same type of thing when buying groceries. One of our local grocery stores has been giving out e-coupons for $5 off of a $25 purchase. I treat this like a challenge or game to get as close to the $25 as I can with sale items, items with other coupons, clearance items, I just read my first of Laine's letters. So good! I think I may be hooked on them.
    I hope you find lots of good prices as you visit new stores this week!
    Love from Arizona,
    Elaine

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    1. Dear Elaine, Thank you! That $5 off can go a long way! I hope you have gone on with many of Laines Letters... they are very good reading! With love Annabel.xxx

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  16. Dear Annabel,
    I just want to say thanks for all the effort you put into this amazing blog. I am in awe of all the beautiful crafts. In fact, I have been inspired to do some more crochet and learn how to sew grub roses. I am looking around my home now with renewed motivation thinking of all the things I can do to feather my nest.
    Many thanks
    Del

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    1. Dear Del,
      Thanks so much! I really hope you will get out your crochet and try grub roses! A little bit of practice and you will be good at them! There are so many things we can do to build up our nests! Little things make a world of difference! With love Annabel.xxx

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  17. Annabel,
    I used to read Laine's Letters and just love them. I may have to read them again.
    Prices vary here, but everything is costing more and wow rolls of toilet paper are getting much smaller. Talk about the ever shrinking package!
    For me shopping and stocking the pantry has always been the grocery game. I like getting the most bang for my buck and maximizing what I can add to the pantry. We have several stores in my area so I will go to the one that has the best sales for the week or I will do a one tank trip and go to several if the sale items are stock up prices. If there are no good sales I don't go that week and save my grocery dollars for the next sale. I know so many people who shop only at one store, don't look at the sale ads and just throw things in their cart and then will say about how their grocery bill is so high. I always try to browse any store I'm in because I have found some of the best deals in odd places. I used to buy the store's gift cards for groceries and get fuel discounts from buying the gift card, but they changed it so you can't get the fuel rewards for their own gift cards, but that's ok because if we have to buy supplies at any of the home improvement stores that they carry gift cards for I get those and get fuel rewards since we will be shopping at the homeimprovement place anyway.
    Any kind of gift card or store reward I get I try to double it with coupons or clearance items or good sales.
    XOXO
    Vicky

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    1. Dear Vicky, I am always amazed at how many ladies I know or have met used to read Laines Letters! It is so good to have people who know what Im talking about!
      You are a good shopper. I agree... I have found the very best deals in odd places... not usually advertised specials but instead random mark downs in funny places! Some of them fantastic! Mark downs are often better than whats advertised by far. This is where looking well and taking some time comes in. I also like to double my gift cards by waiting for a half prize sale! Ahh we are the same in so many ways! With love Annabel.xxx

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  18. This post is timely. Much to ponder.

    I know it is winter in Australia, but it is summer here and one thing I have found that really saves money is to go to you pick vegetable farms. I can pick a 5 gallon bucket of tomatoes for $10.

    I have then been canning and tallying my totals for the Vicki Challenge as if I had just purchased these things from the grocery store. I was AMAZED to find that I have saved over $151 just by buying these from the you pick rather than the farmer's market. The farmer's market saved me over the grocery store, but this is better! Then, I can save again when I make the salsa, tomato purees, and drying the tomato skins. (Dried skins can be ground and used in place of tomato paste in recipes. Just rehydrate and use.)

    I have also found that prices vary widely between different you pick places. One blueberry farm even allows you to pick 2 buckets and give them one for the price of the other. They can sell the berries without hiring employees and I get free blueberries.

    So this might be another option to investigate for food savings.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Cristy, This is a fantastic idea! Also it could be fun and make a day of it, take a picnic etc. I would love it!
      The way you worked out the saving sis very motivating! It was so worth it! Armed with this knowledge you know that this is something that can make a huge difference. Another good way to get ahead! Thanks so much for sharing this! With love, Annabel.xxx

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