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, 16 July 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Like Merchant Ships.

The last few weeks I have been putting into practice advice from Laine on grocery shopping.  I had really started to freak out about the cost of meat and vegetables here.  But then, I am hearing that from everyone.  Also the other day our electricity prices went up by another 20% in one day.  It is somewhat scary and daunting!   Most times I run into worries I turn back to Laine's Letters and start studying.  This time I started taking notes.

To get started I studied Merchant Ships Mentality which is full of information.  There are other letters on saving money, pantry building, making the most of food and much more.  We were also lucky enough to have new money saving grocery shopping tips from Laine (written especially for us!) a fortnight ago which can be found  here.

I don't know how many times I have read Proverbs 31 and read vs 14:  "she is like merchant ships, bringing her food from afar."
Not just one ship she is like "ships."  That is really busy!   Merchant ships carry cargo from far away lands,  basically never stop,  they set off well stocked for long journeys,  face storms at sea and the pilots mission is to deliver the goods to where they are needed.  There is so much in this verse!

It was Laine who helped me put this verse into the here and now and understand its meaning in terms of my own shopping.  I am still learning, that is for sure,  but the last weeks have shown me some of the potential of travelling further afield and considering a wider range of ways to shop.

Laine  is working on another money saving post for us.  I notice I have to read and re read these kinds of posts to actually put it all into practice so I can't wait to read the next one! She always says to keep learning.  This is true. We can learn so much each week!

It is funny how we can "know" things or have heard them before but not fully understood them or put them to work.  Also we are creatures of habit.  We tend to establish strong habits and grocery shopping is no different.  I tended to go to the same two shops,  park in the same row if I could,  shop the store in the same order ... week after week.   When we got Aldi I was pretty quick to change over to their store though!

Since then I decided to try shops out of my area,  discover different shops altogether and start from scratch basically!   I wrote down everything I currently have on hand that I can use in meals and everything that we need.  Mostly I buy the best deals then come up with a menu plan from this point.   I also started to pray the night before, pray on the way and pray in the shop!
Well, I have to say the results have been AMAZING.  

I am not the only one!  Cookie wrote to me a few days ago and told me the same thing!

"This trip I prayed while I shopped per Laine. Annabel, I am in awe of how effective this is!  I shopped for one month like Laine does and without coupons the grand total came in $110  under budget!  The only place I want to go now is a family owned grocery in town to bulk buy cherries and cauliflower as these are their loss leaders at $1.99 a pound for the local cherries and $1.99 per cauliflower..."

Thanks Cookie for sharing your good results! 

For me it is not just finding cheaper prices it is adding to my pantry as well.   If I can do both I am very happy.  

From two main supermarkets my grocery shopping has extended to:

Aldi, usually once a week. Mostly for the special buys and best buys on meat and staples. 

Franco's Fruit and Vegies...

This is where there was a harmonica player out the front the first week!  I'm not sure why he has a cow on top!  But you can't miss it! 😊

Specialty Foods for the best meat wholesale specials.  We get the weeks deals  emailed to us on Sundays. 

Romeos Foodland at Morphett Vale.

Lettuce Inn at Southgate Plaza.  (good name) 

Rite Price 
Cheap as Chips
Browse and Save 
The Reject Shop
Adelaide Fresh, Morphett Vale.

I don't go to all of these every week.  I try to check the specials and decide where to go and then do as many as I can in one trip.  
Happily there are some amazing op shops in some of these areas as well!

Before I started travelling further afield and trying new stores I had reached the stage of having enough basics at home to only look at buying them on really big specials.  This included things like shampoo and conditioner, laundry power, toilet paper, rice, pasta, tea... the very basics.
But it did not extend to meat, cheese, butter etc.  
Now I have found myself ahead with everything.  This means there is nothing I need to buy unless it is on an absolutely awesome deal.  This is a much better position to be in! 

The last weeks have been fun, interesting and really have paid off.   Totally worth it.
If you are in grocery shopping habits there is a chance things have changed in recent times, it might be worth a look in other areas,  different shops, markets... who knows what is near by!   Many things I just assumed were wrong!   Somehow something quietly happened.... supermarkets are no longer cheap.  I suspect we were lured in until we were regular and reliable and then slowly this change happened!  

These are the changes here where I live.  Everywhere will be different and we will have different stores, prices, distances etc.   But the grocery bill is something that can vary enormously.  Our  whole household, health and budget are hugely impacted!  If we are like Merchant Ships we can do much more with much less money!  

Have a wonderful week! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel and Bluebird friends
    This post resonates with me so much - as you know I have been travelling further afield to find meat and other bargains. I have found 'liking' a Facebook page enables me to see the coming specials and decide if it is worthwhile making a trip further afield.

    Last week there were a couple of meat specials but I had no room in the freezer so I didn't chase after them. I did however walk into my local IGA and found that they had some packets of bacon and peppered pork sandwich meat marked down to a great price so I snapped quite a bit up.

    My husband usually takes ham and cheese on his sandwich but he tried the peppered pork and fell in love so I can add that to my 'watch' list.

    This morning I had my hair cut and popped into the IGA - they had some mark downs in the dairy cabinet - of course I picked them up and some is already in the freezer while the 2 small blocks of cheese I got for -50 will end up in the freezer they need to be grated first because I am going to use them to make a bacon and egg impossible pie at a later date.

    What I did notice, while looking at the items in the dairy cabinet was that the black and gold 500 gram butter was cheaper than the plain butter from either of the big two (or even the butter from Aldi). It was -40 cents cheaper. Some would say 'what is -40 cents' the old saying is take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves - so -40 cents for each 500 gram butter purchased will add up to quite a nice tidy little sum over 12 months.

    Woolworths put $10- on my card the other week, I spent it on the weekend. They had the tins of American pie fruit for $2-50 (1/2 price) - I picked up 9 tins of the blueberrie one - 4 cost me nothing. They will go into the shed with the rest of the pie fruit that I have in there - they are handy to have because not only can you eat the fruit like normal tinned fruit (but no juice) you can add it to a pancake mixture, serve it up with the sweet impossible pie or ice cream, top it with a sponge or crumble topping, use it in muffins and the list goes on.

    I love having multiple uses for even the fresh items that I purchase.

    Have a great week everyone


    1. Dear Lynette,
      I am also having good success with signing up on fb, newsletters, catalogues etc. It has been a big help!
      Thanks for the tip on the butter. I will look for that.
      I love pie fruit! It is amazingly useful! From muffins and crumbles to pies ... I will eat it as stewed fruit also I just add a little water... or as yoghurt flavouring. Very good thing to keep on hand.
      Also... I really also find the best things are markdowns. They are usually miles better than specials. And we have to be in the store to find them, look everywhere and some timing and some luck involved too! But markdowns are often my best finds by far.
      I am going to Coles today as I need to go to the post office next door... so I always check specials and mark downs then. You never know!
      Have a really good week. I hope the new routine settles in a little this week! With love

  2. Dear Annabel and Friends. Yes to all of that! I learned the value of checking the fruit barns, dollar stores and markets many years ago, when I was a solo Mum, raising three sons. I also had my brother and his daughter living with me as they had lost their Wife and Mother. My brother suffered many long years of depression following her tragic death, and did not work. So the task was for me to keep a roof over all of our heads, pay the bills, and feed six of us, on my own meagre wage. Some weeks, I only had $25 to feed us all. Now, granted this is 24 years ago, but $25 still did not go far for six people and a dog. The local discount stores and fruit barns were my lifesaver back then, and learning that I could buy eggs and bread for $1 each instead of $3 (no Aldi back then!), toothpaste and shampoo for $1 rather than $5, and apples and oranges 20 for $1, not $2.99 a kilo, was empowering. Even a spend of $25 saw us well fed through careful shopping. I would buy eggs, flour, and sugar to bake with. I made my own yoghurt, and soaked and cooked pulses, long before it was fashionable to do so, and still managed to entertain large groups of friends with huge lasagnas and sausage casseroles. As much as we struggled, it was also a good time in many respects, and taught me much about my own ability to adapt. I never thought of it as being a Proverbs 31 woman, though. I thank you and Laine for that insight. I loved what you said about travelling further afield helping you to be in a position to be ahead on everything. That is so true, and alleviates so much stress, taking the 'what if' feeling out of the equation. I think this leads to a peace of mind and heart, that is truly valuable. Lovely post, Annabel. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, I think the skills you have from those years are worth a lot. Many people have never been taught any budgeting, living basics... nothing. Now things are getting harder financially I think many families really need information on how to feed your family well on not much, how to shop around... the myriad of alternatives there are out there as they are stuck on one supermarket they have been going to for years and see nothing else. Its all about whatever easiest... This is why I love your insourcing posts so much!
      Being ahead is very reassuring. We have all experienced more days than food left before pay day at some time. It is not a good feeling!
      I have always shopped further afield when I am out of our area for a reason but this is really the first time especially just to shop. Although when I lived in the country I did about once a fortnight to a regional centre and now and then to a further away bigger centre. One was an hour and the other an hour and a half. This drive used to save me a fortune even with petrol factored in. In the city I more assumed prices were similar wherever I was... this was rubbish! Prices vary incredibly one area to another and one store to another... more than I imagined! Also it does us good to try different things... and I am trying different recipes to make meat go further etc. I better come and have a new look at your recipes! Many thanks! With love

  3. Dear Annabel

    Thank you for another excellent post. This rings so true with me. Thankfully I had a fully stocked freezer and a good pantry when my paid leave ran out. Now I only need to top up with bread and fresh produce. It is making it possible for me not to get into further debt in these times and I will be able to sope until I am back at work and earning an income again.

    Living in a low socio-economic area there are some cheaper shopping options. The produce market is my best friend, when working I shop there once per fortnight and I love Aldi. Being time poor I tend to buy meat in bulk so that I don't need to buy it every week and can get by in just buying the specials. We are enjoying some nice homemade chocolate chip cookies and do not feel in anyway deprived. For me homemade Pumpkin Soup tops the list for comfort food in Winter and just so cheap to make.

    Being time poor with normally working full time I find that I adapt the principles of shopping afar to shopping in well researched selected but few places. This works for me for this stage of my life. However when I am farther afield from home I always keep my eyes open for new bargains.

    God Bless and have a great week ahead
    Mel xxx

    1. Dear Mel, hello how are you going?. Great to hear from you , are you doing ok?. Sending you a huge gentle hug .
      Love Barb W.

    2. Dear Mel,
      You are really good on where the best prices are and the markets. I think when time poor it becomes a matter of incorporating quick shops with trips i.e. visiting family and so on. This also helps of the fuel aspect.
      I think another thing is everyone in the family (and friends) helping i.e. let each other know the specials, pick something up and share... The other day I knew Chloe would want that 99c hair colour so I rang her while I was standing there and said how many do you need? We maybe need to form a little co op and include op shopping in this! Hilde works in an op shop so today I was able to tell her my list to watch out for and she can let me know! We should do this so we can tip each other off!
      I hope your week is going well! Its so cold! With love,

  4. Dear Annabel and bluebird beauties,
    Annabel I love this post so much, I went to the golden circle factory outlet today, it's a little out of the way but boy is it worth it . I paid $6 for a carton of muesli and quinoa bars with blueberry and coconut and I think almond in them . There is 6 boxes of 5 bars in each carton , so 30 bars for $6 which is a really good buy. I rarely buy them but I wanted an easy snack so treated myself . I also got a lot of other bargains which I will tell you all about on Friday.
    I think that going out of your way just a bit pays dividends and more than makes up for petrol costs.
    I am continually trying to reduce my grocery spending and at the moment I have a really well stocked pantry , freezer and fridge so my grocery spending this fortnight will be based on a menu plan as always.
    I am very fortunate to receive subsidised help with meal prep and I am very grateful for that. I have my lovely Centacare lady coming today to make me some meals and I am so thankful for that . It makes a big difference as often I am not up to cooking and I am saving a lot of money by not buying ready type meals which I didn't buy often but I also used to rely on my parents to cook meals for me , now there is a lot of pressure relieved and I am happier and so is my mum. We now find it fun as a family to search out bargains for our own homes.i apologise for going a but off topic Annabel.
    Thanks again for a wonderful post as always.
    Love Barb W

    1. Dear Barb, The other day the golden circle place was on TV! Oh my goodness I wish we had one!
      I think it can be fun to help each other with finding good prices and deals. If we all watch out then it is easier! The meal prep help is really good. Even if things are chopped and ready you can put on soup the next day etc. What a help! Many thanks Barb, you didnt go off topic at all I totally agreed with you! With love

  5. Dear Annabel, my mum a wise woman always taught me with money save 10%,.then food and other bills. She taught me to shop the specials. Now with ALDI I eat the "7 day specials". I live near a market but I've found their prices in Sydney to not be much cheaper than ALDI. I only eat and cook with the seasons. It amazes me people will pay $9 a kg for cherries in winter imported !! I get a lot of soap, shampoo etc from reject shop and such. Made a beautiful, thick, creamy corn chowder today. Real winter food. Filling and cheap to make.
    With love, sonia

    1. Dear Sonia, The cheap shops are great for detergents, toothpaste, soap, glad wrap and so many things! I love them!
      The corn chowder sounds beautiful and just right for this weather! With love

  6. I love the thought of reading your new posts Annabel. This is another good read on being able to think outside the box in order to save and get ahead. I love to save money and eat well. Have a great week. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona, Thank you! Loving to save and eat well sets you up for success! You are a good cook too! And have chooks! Chooks would be one of the best things we can do for the budget actually!
      I hope your week is going well Fi, with love

  7. Hi Annabel and Bluebirders,

    I'm looking at those fruit and veg prices in the photos and am thinking WOW! 10kg of onions for $5.99, we're paying that for 2kgs here and zucchini are $6.99/kg .... I'm thinking SA is a little too far to travel though. I did manage 5kg of pink lady apples for $5 and carrots for $1/kg this week, so feel that was a score. Fruit and veg prices around here are pretty high (outer Sydney). When I have the grandchildren with me, I do take advantage of the "free fruit for kids" that Woollies have out, and they both take a piece to eat while shopping.

    Have a great week,

    1. Hi Janine, I'm in inner Sydney . The only way I can afford to be here is because I'm in housing from the govt and wouldn't wish it on anyone. However home is your haven and I've made my place pretty cosy with my mum despite some sketchy neighbours. The lord always provides for those who love him. For instance my neighbour is a Christian older lady who has survived hard times in Russian and a absolute god send to me and sanity.
      With fruit and veg I would recommend Flemington markets if you can or, try and find local sources where you live. My mum lives in the hills area and buys only what's in season, what's on special, and this includes meats. There are some warehouses for meats in western Sydney, and with veg depending on how much you need or want, I would suggest a Google search for your area such as "cheap veg". I know of a few places really cheap near Liverpool . Other than that I shop the aldi 7 day specials. Whatever fruit, veg, and meat is on sale I get those. Living alone I don't get a lot. But if you do have a family then you can stick up. E.g onions $1.99 a big bag. I also find carrots the same price all the time at aldi. I avoid tomatoes right now as they're up to $7 a kg ! I will not pay that ! Its due to the qld storms. I also know if you sign up to Harris farm (free) you can get up to 15% off. I only ever get their specials. This includes this week $1.99 a kg for zucchini. Just big beautiful ones. And for that I eat them, either steamed or as a zucchini slice etc. Sometimes we need to get creative ! I'm on disability pension and that means after bills and rent I live on about $220 a week. So, I know how to stretch a dollar !!!
      I saw pumpkin on sale last week for 99c a k.g. for that I made soup, etc. I aim for 3-4 veg a night with some protein. And a large salad in the day. People say it's expensive to eat healthy, but I beg to differ ! I also say pay now to be healthy or pay more in sickness. I guess I've learnt a lot since I left a violent marriage where I had no clue. I didn't even know how to cook beyond the basic eggs ! But I've educated myself and now can happily report I love to cook and can do so well !! . These things take time. Finding bargains from "affar" takes time. Blessings, sonia

    2. Dear Janine,
      The prices I posted are nothing like around my own area. Yet these prices are less than half an hour away. The difference is amazing. I can see that Sonia commented to you and that zucchini is varying also in price in Sydney by at least $5 per kilo. With Grandchildren with you it might be hard to travel further afield but it might be worth it sometimes. I didnt realise how worth it until the last weeks when I have found I can easily save $50 in an afternoon by going to some of the places Ive found.
      Overall from prices I see in the different capitals I thought SA was expensive. But now I think the prices vary so widely that we have to try out markets, wholesalers and little shops far off that still have good specials. Keep your eyes out in your travels.
      Thank you Sonia for your help! With love

  8. Hi Annabel and beautiful Bluebirds :-),

    What a beautiful post and subject and something I didn't think about was to pray before we grocery or do other shopping. I do believe and know we are blessed when we do so.

    I am glad you are building up supplies and can now wait until items come on special and know it does take a while to get to that stage. How we did it was used for example one tin of soup and replaced it with 2 when we saw it on sale. It is amazing how fast you can build up your supplies.

    We have also noticed the supermarkets are getting very expensive on most things and yes those prices have snuck up on many of us.

    This week we have also shopped at alternative shops other than supermarkets where the prices for some items were up to 50% less than the supermarkets. It makes a huge difference in savings to our budget and no doubt to many others household budgets too.

    I love the analogy of likening us to many merchant ships bringing in supplies and how very right that is.

    Have a great week one and all :-) and thank you Laine for taking the time to do another money saving post for all of us.


    1. Dear Sewicgcreations, It is interesting you are seeing this about supermarkets too! 50% less is a lot! Supermarkets aren't so super anymore! You are right how fast you can build up your pantry with buying a little extra. This is the way to do it! With love

  9. Janine , I'm in Sydney too. Yes it can be really hard. Try Flemington market if you can get to a train ({find out when they are open) also aldi 7 day specials can be good. Harris farm do specials and last week I picked up $1.99 k.g zucchini. And 99c kg pumpkin. I do not buy many tomatoes esp at $7 a k.g some places. I do eat what's in season only. I plan my food around specials including meats. I know there is a chicken wholesaler in western Sydney in Blacktown and also green valley. Asian grocers some have amazing cheap produce. Parklea markets may have some deals too: check them out. Not sure where you are. Eating veg is far cheaper than seeing a Dr ! I know how to stretch a dollar being on disability pension.!! I love making soups esp in winter . E.g this week i found a giant cauliflower at Coles on sale. Made a massive batch of cauliflower potato soup very filling and healthy. Today I made a corn chowder which will last a week or more. I just love to cook !! That free fruit sounds great. A fantastic habit to start with your little grandchildren! So often I see in a low economic area kids eating junk. I live in dept housing inner west and it's only way I can afford to be here . Despite some awful drug addict neighbours god has provided me a wonderful elderly Russian neighbour who sees me as her grand daughter and I see her as a nana ! She's so wise and has taught me so much. She's been through awful hard times as a baby in Russia and as a woman. Coming to Australia to her was hitting the lottery ! She has taught me so much as to doing a lot with little ! She's so jolly and happy but has little. Goes to show you rich people aren't always happy. Once a week she takes her trolley and goes afar to get her bargains is gone an entire day but cones home with the best and is 80 plus. She can barely get up the stairs with her load and her old age , and I help when I'm home. This woman is wise !!! We have so much to learn by the elderly and women who have survived the war like my grandmother when times were so hard there were rations !. Best, sonia

    1. Dear Sonia, I love your lovely neighbour! What a good friend to have!
      Thank you for sharing some of the places in Sydney to shop. The way you are shopping and cooking is really good! Soups, baking etc all help so much.
      Thank you for helping Janine also! With love,

  10. Dear Annabel and all the wonderful ladies in the Bluebird Nation! A super post again Annabel! You always impart wisdom that is timely and inspiring! This week I stumbled upon a great deal at Sams club. 6 packs of Bushes baked beans for a $1 US ! Apparently the boxes had gotten wet so they sold them ultra cheap . Regular price per cans $2.79 but are usually on sale for $1.69 I called my Mom and she said get all you can so i did 15 six packs! All my family are extremely thankful and excited for such a great deal! It will be baked beans all around!! This week we are prepping for the family garage sale with lots of stuff to price and sell. It will be a busy week for sure�� have a wonderful week! Love Gaila from Washington state

    1. Dear Gaila, What a good deal! Baked beans are a great thing to have in the pantry. This sure is the way to stock up! Have a wonderful week! With love

  11. Dear Annabel,
    This is a great post!! I love the Merchant Ships concept. You are right about how we can read something over and over and then it just clicks or sparks a thought that draws us deeper into understanding. I am glad you are sharing some of Laine's earlier teaching.
    I am excited for you and your adventures out further shopping. We don't have much opportunity here for that as we live in the largest city in the center of the state and to find competition that would decrease prices is a 4 hour drive. We have a lot less people in our entire state than you have in Adelaide :). We have more land mass than many other states, but cities are far apart and sparsely populated.
    Have a wonderful week.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, I need to look up the size of your town. I am finding price variations even within a few miles here. I think you are about twice the size of Mt Gambier where I used to shop so there would be a lot of stores at least. That is good! My old town only had 1200 people. I had to do a lot of merchant ships work there. I wonder if Amazon and other online retailers make further afield shopping possible? I don't know if the postage/shipping then negates the savings? Also it seems usually the edges of town are where the markets gardeners and fruit growers etc are, even things like eggs for sale... but I think climate would impact that a lot as well! It maybe best deals that make the difference and mark downs. Also possibly wholesalers? It is an interesting subject! With love

    2. Dear Annabel,
      We have many choices within our city. It is around 50,000 people. It is either the largest or second largest city in the state. However, there is no where outside of what is here to venture to for better bargains without driving 4 hours.
      We do online shopping for bargains, also. We use alot of organics, so when there is a good sale we always buy enough for a year of non perishables.
      Another aspect, I would like to mention, is getting to know the manager of a store. Often, if a person is an actively loyal patron and buys in larger quantities, a better deal can be had by talking with the manager.
      Many online businesses will offer savings coupons for an entire order. That combined with sales produces a nice savings. The places we order from offer free shipping with a minimum purchase.
      Amazon Prime offers free shipping on items, but we learned a couple of years ago to not order food from Amazon. They don' t take back canned goods and the two cases arrived full of rusted cans.
      Love and hugs,

    3. Dear Glenda, This is a really good idea! I had not thought of buying a large quantity and talking t the manager for a deal! Also thanks for the info on Amazon... they are coming here you see... with love

  12. Annabel,
    I love this post. I often done tank trips to maximize my savings and if there is a new store opening or I am out and about I like to snoop in all of the nooks and crannies of what the grocery shopping world had to offer. I have found some of my best deals in unexpected places. stopping at a bread store when we were farther out yielded 60 packs of hot dog buns for .25 a pack. LOL most will be chicken food, but some will be used for us for things like garlic bread. I think mostly we all just really need to know that it is possible to save quite a bit if we don't limit ourselves.
    I hope everyone has a great savings week!

    1. Dear Vicky, Thank you! You have the spirit of adventure so you would be good fun to go shopping with! You were rewarded with that hot dog bun haul! I am planning to go to Hildes supermarket next week with her... she says it has awesome meat deals... so I will see! With love

  13. Dearest Annabel and bluebirds,
    Even though I rarely comment I am truly one of the fold. I so enjoy the spirit of these comments because I too do these things. Being a stay at home mom to three, soon to be 4 children, plus homeschooling doesn't leave me a lot of time for grocery shopping however a few years ago I was so fed up with leaving our local big chain grocery store in tears. I simply couldn't get what we needed there weekly with our budget. So I told the Lord and myself I'd find a new way if He'd help and He really did. Now I travel one hour each way every 2-3 weeks and am able to go to Aldi, B.J.s (like Sam's club) and occasionally another discount store like Ollies. Yes it's a sacrifice and a lot of women think I'm crazy but I got so tired of what They called deals! We have a big family and I love to entertain and now I always have plenty to share. At least some in the US see stocking up as weird but I feel blessed knowing we always have food to share. We live in a very rural area so if we have snow, or some other tragedy we are prepared. I also make an hour trek about every 6 weeks to a massive discount grocery store owned by the Amish. This trip is gold! I leave with two carts, heaped up and over, full of anything you can think of (gourmet, organic, specialty, coffee, cereal, cheese, yoghurt, body products, house products, even gifts) for around $300. Here a normal week of groceries could easily cost that much if you just shopped a big market. So with these trips I feel prepared, my husband and children are blessed, and I can share so many meals! Yes it's exhausting with the boys but it's teaching them so much about the cost of things and what it takes to run a household! My nine year old can spot a great deal! It also helps them have some say in what they get to eat which they enjoy. When we do our Aldi trip we usually splurge and eat a meal out. We can, we just saved a lot of money! Most of our beef and pork we are able to buy in bulk, we eat local eggs and do grow a lot of veggies. We have started an orchard and have many berry bushes planted too. I also grind our own flour, which is an initial investment, but oh so tasty and healthy. Everything else I look on Amazon for and get through subscribe and save for very competitive prices. Overall I can see just where the Lord started blessing me when I was willing to step from my comfort zone and work a bit harder to bring in food. I just recently got a friend to do the same as she too was feeling so sad over how little a grocery budget could do. I took her to the Amish store and when she got home her children and husband were practically in tears at the bounty! On another note Annabel I just recently saw how important it is to have extra bedding! I have always kept whatever extra nice bedding i could (we have 6 beds in our home) so when recently we had missionary friends stay with us our guest beds were lovely. The evening they left they called us with some sad news, they had found some lice on their daughter's head :( We immediately stripped the beds, pillows, and couches. I washed and line dried everything (hot summer sun here in Pennsylvania) and vacuumed (best tool against lice i read.) Now you tell me what I would have done if that was basically our only bedding! I have wiped up too much vomit, baby spit up, and potty accidents to believe that extra bedding and towels could ever be a problem :) I truly strive for my home to be orderly and manageable, which it is, but I draw the line at getting down to one set of sheets per bed! You ladies are such an encouragement to me! I want to comment so often and can't but I'm going to make more of an effort! I always talk about my Bluebird friends. I want to send you some pics Annabel as we have similar styles. Love and blessings to you all! Jesse in Pennsylvania

    1. Dear Jesse, Thank you for your wonderful comment, I do really appreciate it!
      You really are following the Merchant Ships advice! And I love that you changed your shopping ways and turned things around so hugely for your family! And that you have now helped a friend to do the same! Yes it is work. But it is very well paid work! When I lived in the country and the girls were young I went once a fortnight to a town an hour away. And sometimes to another town an hour and a half away. It was so worth it. We had so much more because of these trips. The girls loved to come. It became an exciting day out! We also would often have lunch or get it from a bakery. They loved it! It had a sprit of adventure about it. There were also god thrift stores in these towns and if I had time I went to them. So this often added to the bounty! Coming home with the car loaded up was fantastic! Especially compare to the small amount of tired looking produce my money would have got us in our own little town. Your story is a good demonstration of the massive difference this all makes!
      I would love to go to an Amish store! I keep hearing about them!
      Well done on the bedding too!
      Please do send pics, I would love to see... I post my email often but it is Thank you so much for this I loved reading it! With love

  14. Great post. It really gives me a lot to think about. I tend to go to the same places, and most don't have fresh fruit or veggies marked down.
    I need to start going to a few new places.

    Thank you for making think about stepping outside my safe zone.

    1. Dear Cheryl, In your town ask around where people shop, look for markets, whole salers etc... start from scratch! If it is anything like here and my experiment you will be saving a fortune in no time! Find good local stores and follow on fb or sign up for emails and catalogues. Im not sure how big your town is but truly the variations can be mammoth! Good luck! With love

  15. Dear Annabel and lovely ladies,
    What a wonderful week! I love the post this week so much wisdom. I did not know about laines letters until a few years ago. Merchant ships mind set and prayer before shopping yields much. I have always gone many places to shop.I grew up in a farming community and lots and lots of food goes to waste. It could be the wrong size or wrong shape or has a blemish. If so they they throw it away or sell it for culls or cattle food. If any one has packing sheds or big farmers in your area they are often happy to give it to you or you can pay very little for it. It is like a treasure hunt. I do pray when I move into an area and ask God to help me find cheep and free groceries and he does. One blog I read Frugal Work Shop she found groceries at the swap meet last year. Annabel I forgot to tell you if you run out of time with the lemons. I just wash them in water and cut them in half and freeze in a bag. That way you can juice then later. I hope everyone has an amazing week.
    Love Patti


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