a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What If . . .? The Grocery Shelves are Empty --- #1 Getting YOU Started

This store could be YOUR store faster than would ever seem possible --- even when there is just a possibility of a disaster. I will be posting ways to prepare for that eventuality on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
     If you are new to this blog, please go to the What If . . .? posting category and become acquainted with the postings there. This series on foods to sustain you and your family when a need arises starts with an introduction and then each will be numbered, best to be read in order. Previous posts in this category include emergency water, lighting and waste disposal.
Photo from http://preparednesspro.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/empty-grocery-shelves.jpg.

I am starting with ideas that have worked for me. Hopefully some will work for you. Or, at least spark other ideas.

  •  If you don't think your budget has any extra money in it for food storage, put on your thinking cap and find areas you can gain a couple of dollars. Put them aside in a special place. You'll be surprised how change can add up. 
  • With the extra money put aside you will get to the point where you can start to buy a few, several, or even a case, of something you regularly use when it is on sale, keeping you from having to buy it when it isn't on sale.
  • Long ago I tried to create a menu for a month and I was overwhelmed trying to come up with 30 different main meals. Then I realized that in actuality we usually ate the same things over and over. One time it might be tacos and the next week burritos, and then maybe we'd have a taco casserole, etc. Not the same exact food, but basically the same ingredients prepared differently. That is when I started making up a weekly menu and basically multiplying the grocery list by four.
  • Write down things you can do with a can of tuna.
  • Write down what you can do with your "stand-bys."
  • Our tight budget didn't allow us to properly balance every meal nutrition-wise, but I found I could balance the day's meals. If we had muffins for breakfast, I would try to serve a healthier lunch or dinner.
  • With six kids it was hard to have something each day that everyone loved, so I tried to have something each week that each individual loved. On pizza days I made pizzas on cookie sheets, dividing each in half, so each had a half of pizza "made to order" with what they liked.
  • I think it helps to pay attention to visual appeal. The following two meals contain food that cost the same and have the same nutritional value basically, but as you picture them, is there a difference in appeal?
                           macaroni and cheese, corn, yellow gelatin
                           macaroni and cheese, green beans, red gelatin 
  • Look over your menu and make a list of the items that you buy pre-made that you could make from scratch. It may take a little time and effort initially but in the long run you would save money, and it would be a product free from additives.
  • Don't be overwhelmed by new ideas, instead view them as a challenge, set a goal to try one new thing each week, and see what works for you.

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