Food Budget

It seems like everyone lately is talking about the increase in food prices. My husband & I have been discussing what we can do to maintain control over our budget when the prices keep rising on everything

Produce

Grow as much as you can yourself. Plant a fruit tree. Plant a garden. (I love Square Foot Gardening for gardening with less space.) Start with a salad garden which is so easy to grow. You don’t have to worry if its been contaminated or if you can’t get to the store.

Preserve as much as you can from your garden, gleaning from others and by purchasing produce by the case. I’ve been canning or freezing a lot more this year!

We also love Bountiful Baskets! It has now has locations in Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Texas, South Carolina, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. They are adding new locations all the time. For $15 you get 2 laundry baskets of fruits and vegetables or for $25 you can get Organic. They also have lots of add-ons available such as cases of apples or peaches. Whatever is in season!

Meat

We are raising our own chickens. Although this hasn’t been very cost saving this year. We hope next year will be much better!

We purchased half of a hog. We paid approximately $2.05/lb for 180 pounds of meat plus fat that I rendered into 2 gallons of lard. That includes cured ham slices & bacon, ground pork, breakfast sausage, pork chops, ribs, a couple roasts, a couple steaks, and a tenderloin. I’m pretty sure I could not have gotten that meat from the store any where close to that price! (We haven’t been big pork eaters in the past mostly just bacon and a ham for Christmas but we were able to find this good source of meat before our stock of beef ran out.)

Last year we were gifted with venison from a friend who likes to hunt but not eat the meat. For $150 we have been able to enjoy delicious jerky, Italian sausages and ground venison for nearly a year.

We purchased a whole cow nearly a year ago. Although it was a big expenditure. We have been able to enjoy a variety of delicious cuts for about the same amount we would pay for just ground beef from Costco. Plus it was pasture raised beef which is healthier by far than conventional beef. Although my supply is dwindling I believe with the additions of the other meats we will be able to hold out until spring before we need to purchase another cow. Eventually we are hoping to raise our own beef cow.

We have about 50 layers. We have been getting 9-18 eggs a day. What a wonderful source of protein we are able to get from them! As a bonus we are able to sell our extras which helps pay for their feed.

Dairy

We have chosen to pay more for our milk by getting fresh milk from a farmer. To compensate for the extra expense I do my best to make as many of our own dairy products as I can although I frequently wish I had more time to do more. Currently we make our own yogurt and occasionally mozzarella cheese. I also turn some of the yogurt into yogurt cheese which has the consistency of cream cheese and then use the whey for fermenting and soaking grains, vegetables and other things that I am learning from GNOWFLINS.

We buy cheese in bulk from Costco. When we bring it home we shred the block with my salad shooter and freeze it in quart size baggies. We also by a blend we call “pizza cheese.” It has mozzarella, provolone & cheddar. We divide it into baggies as well and then freeze it. This does two things: 1) it preserves it for longer and 2) it gives us some portion control since we all like cheese so much!

Grains

I purchase my grains, beans and several other bulk products from Azure Standard and Wheat Montana through our local co-op. I buy them in 50 pound bags and keep them in food grade buckets with Gamma lids.

I make almost all of our bread from scratch as well as other baked goods. I make 6 loaves at a time for a cost of less than $5 for the batch.

By purchasing in bulk it keeps us out of the store which always saves money, it makes it easier to pull together meals when everything you need is already at home and it is cheaper in the long run.

Joining 4 Moms, 35 Kids: http://www.smockityfrocks.com/2011/10/tips-on-keeping-the-food-budget.html

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2 thoughts on “Food Budget

  1. You have to get someone to show you all how to process your own deer! Tony hunts, and when he brings one home we take care of it ourselves. I don’t do sausage, but it is easy to do. My kitchenaid has the grinder attachment and I make burger from the scraps… makes yummy tacos and chili. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  2. We hope to but our friends that know how were too busy when we got that deer last year so we just took it to the processor. Paul is hoping to hunt more this year & hopefully bring home a deer ourselves.

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