September 2008 - Posts - Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller
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Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller

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September 2008 - Posts

  • Preparing the 6-8 month pantry.

    My last post was hoping to see how very far I could stretch my $115 in groceries for our family of five (all adult eaters).  This fun frugal challenge, however, came to  an abrupt end when my husband took us on a switch in direction. We are now re-stocking our 6-8 month pantry. Why? and How? You may ask.  Well, here are the reasons:

    1. All but ONE of the gas stations within 45 minutes drive of our home are out of gas. So trips to the store will likely be limited soon.

    2. Stocking up NOW while prices are lower (yeah, don't laugh - they will be higher as gas shortages affect shipping) is a wiser move than waiting.

    3. A 6-8 month pantry is a safety blanket. We lived in suburbia through three hurricanes which knocked out power and cut shipping supplies. I've seem the National Guard have to pull guns on people for fights over ice and bread...don't like the thought of that if food supply gets more expensive or shipping gets cut off due to shortages.

    4. Bulk is often much cheaper and sales hit 'whenever' so stocking up makes sense.

     Those are the 'why' - on to the 'how':

     1. Take stock of what your family WILL eat and multiply by the # of people, times the # of times a week it's worth eating it and then by 4. You then have a month's worth of some dry pantry good.  If you want 6 months worth, multiply THAT number by six and start stocking up!

    2. Although we are not Morman - this site is helpful if you wonder how much of what to stock up:  There are some basic ideas that may spark some ideas of your own.

    3. Start looking for ways to have long term storage. Freezers need electricity so they are great if you have no power outages or plan to cook a LOT if there were an outage.  Also pails such as this one:

    They stack high and are air-tight.

    4. Dehydrated foods store well for things you might usually keep fresh such as fruits.

    I'm no 'gloom and doomer' - I promise - this is actually a fun thought for me to be prepared to care for my family with a 6-8 month pantry!

    Best Blessings!


  • Fun New Game: "Let's see how long before I have to get groceries again!"

    Part of the homesteading mentality is making deprivation creatively FUN ~ Wink

    So after I got groceries this past week - I thought it would be fun  to see how long before I have to get ANY the game is ON!

    Drinks always consist of mostly water between meals, and milk, OJ, coffee or tea with a meal.

    So for the meals yesterday (the day after grocery shopping) here is how I fed my family of 5 adults - all three meals:

    • Breakfast - Multigrain Waffles (made with a little fresh milled flour and left over grits and oatmeal) w/ Agave Nectar and banana
    • Lunch - Left-over Homemade Friday Night Pizza and apple
    • Dinner - Pinto Beans and pan fried cubed potato browns, green beans.
    • Dessert - Lemon Amish Friendship Bread (pound cake) with berries.

    Today's three meals for 5 adults consisted of:

    • Breakfast - Cheese omelette with Turkey Bacon and apple
    • Lunch - Homemade Hummus and pita chips, homemade cherry yogurt, carrots and snap peas.
    • Dinner - Butternut squash Mac and Cheese (ssshhhh...they don't know squash is in there), tomato soup and salad.
    • Dessert - Lemon Amish Friendship Bread (pound cake) with berries (yep again, I baked 3 loaves!).

    Thursday night our family goes out to dinner so...we'll just see tomorrow or Friday what the next two days' meals look like...

    The point I guess I am getting at is not that I think I'm so 'good' at stretching my grocery dollars - it's more that making it a game or FUN helps me be more creative. 

    My goal is to buy nothing aside from MAYBE milk. eggs or fresh produce for the next 2 weeks - (and I'd like to avoid those too if possible) that is until October 3rd (our son turns 22 so we'll HAVE to buy some special foods then!)  Stay tuned to see if I can pull it off!  It's my own personal challenge to see if I can do it!  To see if $105 will last two weeks for a family of five grownups!

    Have fun playing YOUR game that helps you stretch those dollars!

    Best Blessings!

    Donna Miller


    New Videos each week on stretching grocery dollars: Tried and True Tips and tricks


  • In words - Stop Tossing Tomatoes!

    Well, it was pointed out to me, quite kindly, that some frugal choices are to have dial up vs. DSL so I will try to put it into words what was in the video post just prior to this one.

    I *DO* know that you can choose 'dial up' as an option for viewing on youtube if that helps some people (because I'm not sure I'm going to make much sense with words) Confused

    Okay mostly it's about tomato tops, tomato bottoms and left-over slices.

    They are very valuable!

    Cut all the usable tomato off of the tops away from the core and store in an airtight container to use in omelet’s, on tacos, in salads. These are firmer than the rest of the tomato and can hold up to a wide range of uses.

    In the video, you can see how just a few tops of tomatoes gave me a really big container of diced tomatoes to use.

    Left-over slices (pre-sliced for sandwiches) and the bottom (with the teeny little black tip) are much softer, but don't have to be thrown away either. Chop these up and put in salsas, gazpacho, or in sauces and soups. They freeze well for this use also, so no excuse that they won't be used after chopping.

    I've seen so many people toss the ends, tops and slices into the garbage. With a little creative depravity, those would-be scraps can add or even build a whole new meal!

     Best Blessings!

    Donna Miller


    Free Recipes each month:


  • Stop Tossing Tomatoes!

    When a picture is worth a thousand words, it's easier to SHOW ya'll this than it is to talk you to death on it and be confusing.

    While I was at a function where someone was feeding a crowd (30) I noticed how she tossed all the tomato tops in the trash. They are inconvenient but I've always used them. Here is how: 


  • An Audio-Visual Tip for Saving Money on Groceries!

    An Audio-Visual Tip for Saving Money on Groceries!

    “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.  Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”—Author unknown

    More visual tips uploaded every week (usually Fridays) so you can not only READ what I'm talking about with a Homesteading Mindset, but also SEE and HEAR some practical steps to saving $$.

    Best Blessings!


  • What could be better than the word FREE?

    The word "FREE" has so many uses and conjures up so many thoughts, but all of them are positive thoughts.For instance, as I think of the word 'free' these things come to my mind:
    • Free from Debt!
    • Free to be myself!
    • Free to love!
    • Free to laugh!
    • Free to learn and grow!
    • Free to Dance!
    • Free from the past!
    Even when it is attached to an item or getting something for nothing, the word is uplifting:
    • Free for the asking.
    • Free gift.
    • Free to a good home.
    The only time this word is used that I think *might* be taken negatively is in this phrase: "No free lunch." The colloquialism that means we have to work for what we want. Even then, it's not really negative, but more cautionary. It's not negative to have to work to earn something. Good, honest, hard work makes what we earn have value and meaning outside of simply being a possession. The key is to own the possessions (even if just a few) but not let the possessions own us.I'd like to share something for free with the readers here....Free Videos and Recipes for Money Saving Ideas. Just sharing and helping others is free-ing!Thank you for the Blessings!Donna


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