Added to this we have Corona Virus and a mounting impact. Last week we ordered pumps since we have rainwater tanks and almost all pumps in Australia come from China. So we quickly ordered spares. But there are many drugs and other things that could become a shortage problem.
Then the dairy industry has been in so much trouble and now overseas companies are buying some of the biggest dairy businesses. World wide there have already been butter shortages and dramatic price rises there. Next week Vicky will teach us how to can butter. This was going to be today but she was half way through when her power went out!
At the bottom I will link to some past posts that are helpful on this subject. Laine taught me to approach grocery shopping and menu planning in an entirely different way. The way she does things basically flipped how I shop! Now I shop many different shops. Not all in the same week but I check out a wide range of stores over a month. I run a little book of lists so when I am in certain store I will check my list and remember what I need.
Now things vary from area to area but in general I have found ...
I can get toothpaste and laundry power cheaper in discount chemists than the supermarket. Also often toothbrushes and other cleaning products.
The discount chemist sells prescriptions at around half of the cost of our old chemist. In the first year this saved me over $600. At the time I had it in my head that all prescriptions were priced the same. WRONG! If you have prescriptions ring around for the best prices.
Plastic and paper products are cheaper in the cheap store/$2 store. I get most garbage bags, snap lock bags and so on in the cheap stores. Also often shampoo, conditioner, cotton buds, soaps...
Whatever is on my list I look there first.
I do check the supermarket catalogues and write down any deals I want to get. This week I will be in two towns on different days. I will check each catalogue first and note anything on a huge deal.
This is worth doing however the very best specials are rarely in the catalogue! The best specials will usually be clearance, markdowns and discontinued items. You have to look for those.
Last week I had a really successful shop. Before I left I had gone through the catalogues and there was not one single thing I considered a good deal. It was GRIM!
I decided God is greater than a catalogue and went to town anyway. I did what Laine does and I prayed over my trip.
The first store I went into had the best priced roasts I have seen in a couple of years so I grabbed several of those.
A lady was going along the shelves in the fruit and veggie department marking things down. I got 2 bunches of asparagus, a bag of avocados, a container or mushrooms and so many things that looked fine although I knew I would need to use them within a day or two. Each were under $1 as opposed to the $11 a bunch asparagus I saw the other day!
The next supermarket had marked down bread, pizza bases and rolls, brie for $2 and so on. Over all I had a great shop! None of these things were in the catalogues. You have to hunt.
Once I have shopped I consider what I have brought home, what I have in the garden, fridge, freezer and pantry and then I get planning. What can I make from all this stuff?
Last week we ate a lot of asparagus, mushrooms and avocados! I had some cream so one night I made a creamy mushroom sauce with a steak. It was beautiful! Those mushrooms were also a big mushroom, tomato (from the garden) bacon and eggs (from the chickens) brunch.
This week I have zucchinis. Suddenly there are lots of zucchinis! And eggs! So I am planning zoodles and making zucchini slices for dinner and lunch. I have noted that with the purchase of cream I can make a heap of meals. The excess zucchini (after sharing some with the girls) will go into the freezer to be added to winter soups. I love putting some food away for later!
Dad tells me the apples on the big old tree will be ready in a couple of weeks. So I will start thinking of loads of things to make. Apples are wonderful as they are so versatile.
The big apples in this photo are some of Dad's apples from last year. This picture is the back of my car on one apple picking trip...
Now what free food we might have available to us will depend on a lot on our location. I hear of my Queensland friends getting bags of mangoes and avocados! But the thing is usually free food doesn't fall out of the sky. The first thing I do anywhere is learn where the fruit trees are. I let everyone know I will pick fruit and return with jam or a pie. I can barter with eggs too. I don't mind knocking at a door if I see fruit going to waste and I don't mind stopping by the side of the road and picking from a road side tree.
Markets can be fantastic and if I go I shop in the last half hour as vendors don't really want to take left overs home and often reduce it greatly.
A lot of us can grow some things ourselves. Vicky has her annual Victory Garden. She grows just rows and rows of veggies. During the world wars governments encouraged everyone to grow whatever they could. Well], we can still have a Victory Garden! You can grow a surprising amount in a small space. Also in a few pots!
If you have the space and could possibly have chickens this is one of the very best ways to improve your food security. You don't just get eggs but also fertiliser for the garden.
Another idea from during the war and depression years is to form a club or group. One person might have the space for chickens yet several people could help and set up a share programme.
I read that pig clubs were a thing during the depression. A group would form and they would all save scraps and weeds etc to feed pigs kept at one persons farm. The costs and work were shared and everyone then had a portion of meat at the end.
Similarly if you can grow or produce one thing you have something to barter with. My main barter item is eggs. Sometimes parsley, spinach and Bay Leaves. I want to increase my barter items.
There are whole sale and restaurant supplies, wholesale butchers, spice markets, co ops, food pantries and pick your own orchards. We need to consider going outside of what we have always done.
One thing for sure... supermarkets are no longer the cheapest places to buy your food. The convenience of shopping in one place comes at a price. Just comparing the fruit and veggies to those at a little grocery shop out of the way might be a massive surprise. This sometimes saved 3/4 the cost of a supermarket when I lived in Adelaide.
Not wasting food is a big saver. It is not just what we pay for food but how far we make it go!
I think it has been gradual but I really re assessed what I cook. I am just not going to buy one random ingredient to make a recipe if I think that I will use one spoon out of a jar (or whatever) and the rest will probably be wasted. Nor will I buy some outrageously expensive ingredient. I will probably just skip the recipe altogether. When I make Pesto I completely ignore the recipe that says"pine nuts"
as they are so expensive here. Almonds will do for a fraction of the cost.
We have to remember that many recipes are aimed at getting us to buy certain things. Free recipes come out in magazines the supermarkets give way. Many of these are great but also they try and get us to buy things and are a form of advertising.
I have also lowered my expectations. It is ok to have a toasted sandwich or omelette for dinner. It is good to have something simple. If I can make enough for lunch the next day then I do. If I can make enough for a couple of dinners then I do!
Pizza, fried rice, soups, frittatas and impossible pies are my favourite meals that will use up all kinds of left overs. They are all yummy and use up that little bit of bacon and left over roast veggies and goodness knows what!
Use what you have. If you have an ingredient and don't know what to do with it google for ideas.
Do not feel defeated or worried about grocery prices. We just have to change out tactics and maybe our habits. Maybe even by shopping for simple basic ingredients we will also be healthier. Basic ingredients give you so many options.
Here are some past posts on this subject...
Laine's Menu Planning. Sorry about the test size changing in this article! But Laine sheds light on how she shops and menu plans and it is really good!
How to beat rising prices like Nana did. This is from last year and a general post on simple ways to save.
How to make meat go further. Nan knew how to make meat go a long way.... just as we need to know now.
The Money Saving Baking Day.
Never waste one slice of bread. If you have a challenge of filling hungry tummies and making lunches etc this post is for you.
Take a jar o f jam. There are a lot of saving tips here and a few tricks!
Economical and yummy cake. This is good if you have left over stone fruit of any kind.
Miracle Muffins. These are savoury or sweet and will use up anything from bacon, corn, cheese, herbs... to fruit, cereal, dried fruit, jam, yoghurt... you name it. These can be good for breakfast and filling lunch boxes.
Consider that many with young families are reading. What are your tips for filling hungry kids after school, filling lunch boxes and teenagers when they go through that inhaling fridges full of food stage?
Right there I have one word. Pikelets. Boy did we eat some pikelets when we were young. And fried rice and toasted sandwiches! All cheap yet I thought they were all heavenly!
Enjoy your weekend. Use up what you have and be inventive.xxx