Friday, August 23, 2013

So blowing our grocery budget away this month

As of the 18th we had already spent $363.25 on groceries and household items for the month... I know i'm still shocked just looking at that number too... but to our credit, we have still been playing "stock up" as apart of our summer readiness project at church. If you have no idea what i'm talking about, allow me to shed some light. Our Bishop has asked us to take the next 3 months and evaluate where we are with the following three things:
  • Do we have a financial reserve?
  • Do all your family members have an earthquake or fire emergency kit?
  • Do you have a rotating supply of 3 months of food your family regularly eats?
Since SCB is just coming back from a long 1.5 year stint of unemployment we know where the Bishop is coming from. We only made it through the long period of unemployment because we:
  • Cut our expenses
  • Have/had no consumer debt which allowed us to cut our expenses.
  • Have/had a 3 month emergency fund to fall back on... which meant we could sleep okay at night. 
  • We counted every dollar and cent and tracked it to see where we were getting out of line.
  • We evaluated our shopping trips to not waste gasoline... especially since it was over $4 a gallon. 
  • We learned to say things like "no..." and "we're done spending money this week..."
  • When it was possible, I picked up overtime and holiday pay.
We were lucky and made it though with our savings in tact... but not everyone is so lucky. When disaster comes knocking on the door your not always prepared for it and that is what our Bishop would like us to focus on. Whether it be Job loss, earthquake, emergency, etc... and were taking his advice. 

Since we have at least 3 months of expenses stocked away in our emergency fund, we are going to tackle the other two questions first. My husband and I have some earthquake "72 hour" kits made up already... but we don't have one for our dog.  
  • Did you know most shelters won't let you take your dog in if you can't prove they are up to date on their rabies? I don't know about you, but trying to find that paper in an emergency is going to slip my mind... 
So besides the emergency kit, we are left with food... personal care items... and house hold items. Last month we began stocking up... and since we are doing it gradually, this month we are continuing as well.

Some of that $363.25 includes things like laundry detergent and razor blades for SCB from Costco which can be somewhat pricey... but mostly it has been food. Just to give you guys and idea, here's what our pantry looks like right now.

In the cabinet on the left we have: 2 rows of canned tuna (16 cans), 2 rows of canned chicken (10 large cans), 4 bottles of Worcester sauce, a spare large ketchup, 1 bottle of sugar free syrup, 2 bottles of BBQ sauce, 2 bottles or ranch, a spare mustard, 2 sleeves of apple sauce, 2 containers of nutella, 2 bottles of Parmesan cheese,  2 jars of salsa, 1 jar of jelly, 2 containers of peanut butter, 10 packages of chocolate pudding, 1 package of vanilla pudding, 5 boxes mac'n cheese, some popcorn, various open cereals, 2 boxes of crackers, some generic crystal light flavors, box of oatmeal and a couple kool-aid packets. The Tupperware has some sugar in the one and the other cinnamon and brown sugar mixed to sprinkle on toast when I want it.

The cabinet on the right has our powdered Milk and Chocolate Milk, cinnamon, 2 containers of yeast, some Crisco, oven roast bags, 2 boxes of shake and bake pork and chicken, some muffin wrappers, and 2 containers of dehydrated potato flakes that were from a larger container that was almost empty. Then we have some seasonings, brown sugar and wheat flour in the containers, 2 bottles of cooking oil, white vinegar, 2 bottles of bacon bits, more seasons, sprout seeds, packet of tempura batter, 2 bottles of ta-patio, 2 bottles of cooking spray, a bottle of sesame oil, garlic, and toothpicks.

Here we have 4 things of pasta, 2 cans of corn, a can of water chestnuts, 2 large containers of muffin mix (all you do is add water and bake-- 1 is open), 2 boxes of stuffing... then we have a shelf for granola bars (these are relatively new purchases-- before we were lucky to have just the green ones occasionally-- we have Peanut ones, oat n' honey, and protein ones.)

Here we have 2 of those white food grade buckets. One contains sugar, the other one behind it has oats in it. Behind those 2 cans of diced tomatoes are top ramen and cup of noodles. The we have a lot of tomato sauce (it goes all the way to the back), 2 rows of large olives with 4 cans of chopped olives on top. Maybe around 6 cans of sliced pineapple, and 5 cans of pasta sauce.

These shelves on the left are mostly empty. That old ice cream container has some sugar that wouldn't fit in the large container in it... some powdered Gatorade... a box of cereal and another Costco style box of granola bars. If your wondering why all the granola bars-- Costco was doing their back to school promotions this month and discounting a lot of them. We hope to see which ones we actually eat often enough and then keep those ones. On the bottom shelf we have 2 bags of gold fish, a bucket of wheat flour and then a LARGE bucket of all purpose flour. This is actually our first bucket of three. A large 50 lb bag of flour takes 2 buckets to fill, but since I don't want to run completely out before I can buy some flour, we have three buckets so when we get down to one, we do a Costco run and buy more flour. 

The shelves on the right have beans on them. 2 rows deep of black and kidney... and one row of re-fried beans. The shelf below that has some of our dehydrated canned food. We have one can of pinto beans, white beans, a can of hard red wheat, a can of diced carrots, a can of potato flakes, & a can of dehydrated apple slices. We ordered a can of black beans and another can of the apple slices this month. 

Water. We empty these and re-fill them every 6 months (and drop a little bleach in there for good measure). Each one contains 6 gallons and they recommend storing 1 gallon per person per day for emergencies. So this should be 6 days of water for hubs me and the pup... plus some for light washing and cooking. In the past we have actually had to use our water when the water in our condo gets shut off and we need to still get things done, so its come in handy. We have also taken these with us while camping so they have multiple uses.  :)

I mentioned those 2 other LARGE food storage containers with flour in them... they are here. Together they hold 50 lbs.

And this is our small "dessert" shelf. Evaporated milk, hot chocolate, vanilla, coco, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, marshmallows, melting chocolate, and some pancake mix and brownie mix.

How do we store all that in our condo... like this:


  1. Wow. This is impressive. Thank you for this post. I live in a hurricane prone area (Hurricane Ike visited our house) and know that we should stock up. Rather than stock up, we keep our cars full of gas so that we can evacuate, but that isn't a very good plan for any other kind of non-hurricane emergency. This plan has inspired me to go buy some more items (at least enough to get us through a couple of weeks).

    But I have to ask - can you actually use that much flour before the bugs move in? I keep our flour in the freezer to keep the weevils out.

    1. We haven't had an issue because we have food grade storage containers with these special GAMA locking lids that have an air lock feature... and we make sure we rotate the flour. We bought 50 lbs of flour back in January and it took us until August to go through it...

      (But that was also when we were making our own bread more-- so I think we have a years supply on hand for baking and what not, but if I go back to making bread, about 6 months to cycle through 50 lbs.)