Bargain Shoppers Unite! - Livin' la vida Pobre Blog at - 189948

Livin' la vida Pobre

Bargain Shoppers Unite! 
Aug. 12, 2010 10:36 am 
Updated: Aug. 23, 2010 5:14 pm
My husband calls me a food hoarder.  I'm not one of those people that you see on the show "Hoarders" that doesn't throw away yogurt unless it's so full of bacteria that the lid blows off, or holds on to a pumpkin until it's nothing but a puddle of moldy ooze.  No, no, I'm not that girl, but I am the girl that buys 6 jars of mayo when it's on super-sale because we brown bag lunch every day and go through the stuff like crazy.  I can't see spending $5.00 for a jar of Best Foods when I can load up on extra when it's on sale for $1.99.  When 93% lean ground beef goes on sale for $1.67/lb, I buy twenty pounds.  Who knows when it'll be priced that low again?  Sure, storage is a bit of a  problem, especially in the summer when we have to turn off the deep freezer that we keep in the garage, but I can make do.  I do admit that I have extra dishwasher detergent stored under the sink in my bathroom because there's no room for it in the kitchen, and my pantry is one huge booby trap.  One of these days I'm going to open it up and something will fall out and break my foot, I'm sure of it.  It's only a matter of time.  If my husband dares to open the door to look for something to snack on, I'll generally push him out of the way and offer to make him something.  I know there will be a lecture on organization coming if I don't.  No matter how chaotic it looks, though, I know what's in there, and it all gets used.

I buy brown rice and pinto beans in 20 lb bags from Costco.  Unless I can find them cheaper at the grocery store , canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste, chicken broth, black olives and pineapple chunks are all bought by the case.  Olive oil comes in gallon containers.  Around Thanksgiving when whole turkey is $.39/lb, I buy at least five of them.  Our family can stretch a turkey into meals for an entire week.  This might seem excessive at first, but once you realize how much you're not spending by already having things on hand, those tight months that we all have become so much easier.  August is a toughy for us.  Utility bills are through the roof, car registration is due, and so is the car insurance, since it's cheaper to pay for it six months at a time.  This is the month I really miss our deep freeze, but am glad for our bulk staples.  I get to meal plan based on what we have stored, and free up some of that grocery money for other things.  I might be a little nutty for "hoarding", but in the end we come out ahead.  Thanks to some advance planning and a bit of creative food storage, doing little things like this have helped us to become credit card debt free.  So I say Unite, Bargain Shoppers, Unite!  I'd love to hear what others do to save money, because I am always looking for more pearls of wisdom.  How do you stretch your grocery dollar?
Aug. 12, 2010 1:12 pm
Sadly, I'm not organized enough to do this. I do it half-assed. I don't know how to explain it, but I lose things in the pantry. (I'm planning on organizing and taking inventory this weekend!)I buy a bunch of something when it's on sale. (Or at Grocery Outlet, a great way to save money, but their stock changes often, so that's REALLY when you want to stock up) My problem comes when stuff gets to the back of the pantry. Even with 6 jars of mayo back there, I feel like we must have used ALL of it, and I buy more next time it's on sale. but then somethings, like soup, and stock, I feel like I buy to much of, I feel like I'm ALWAYS buying it, but I can NEVER find it. I laughed when I saw the booby trap comment, if I go out of town, my roommate/friend orders out because he doesn't want to figure that mess out.
Aug. 12, 2010 2:46 pm
When I walk in the front door with an arm load of 10 pounds of newly purchased ground beef I got on sale, my husband sighs dramatically, flings open the door of our upright freezer and silently waives his arm dramatically at the packed freezer shelves. "Don't we have enough meat?" he asks. "But we're out of ground beef and it was on SALE!" I say. He just doesn't get it. I do have the same problem as ricks_sister and I constantly lose things in my pantry. And I also think I'm out of something and just buy more of it. Once I came home with a bottle of barbeque sauce and my husband dug through the pantry and found 6 more bottles of it in various locations and of various brands and flavors. I even did an inventory once; posted it on the refrigerator door and there it sat until it was hopelessly out of date. I also had to chuckle about the "booby trap" comment. I once had a can leap from the highest shelf in the cupboard. I jumped out of the way, but the can hit a dish of dry cat food, shattered the dish (it was hard plastic) and sent catfood shooting out all over the kitchen. (the can was fine) I try to save money by searching the ads, clipping coupons and hitting several stores in one day. But somehow, invariably, I end up throwing out decomposed and expired food. I've always said that my method for preparing zucchini is to buy it, place it in the vegetable bin, forget about it until my husband opens the refrigerator and says "What's that smell?", then I find the slimy bag of zucchini and throw it away. Not much nutrition in that recipe. Rebecca, August is tight financially for us too. Our car registration is due also and our power bill is the highest of the year. I can't afford to throw out food, but I can't seem to get organized not matter how hard I try. Good thing my husband will eat anything. He's having Cheerios for dinner.
Aug. 12, 2010 3:03 pm
I'm a food hoarder, too!! My family jokes that I must have come through the Great Depression in my former life, because I stockpile food like I'm expecting a major disaster to strike at any minute. I buy chicken breast 20 pounds at a time when it's on sale for $1.79 a pound. I also buy ground turkey 20 pounds at a time when I find it for 99 cents a pound. Like you said, who knows when it's gonna be that cheap again??? Mayo? Definitely buy five of them when they're less than two bucks each (BTW - have you noticed they're now only 30 ounces instead of 32???). My pantry is so full that most of my canned goods are stacked up underneath the bar kitchen counter LOL! I don't buy rice and pinto beans in 20-pound bags, but I do buy them 10 pounds at a time from the bulk department at my grocery store. I've also started buying large quantities of lentils from the bulk department as well. Whenever people make fun of me, my response to them is this (feel free to borrow from me!): "At least I know that, no matter WHAT happens, I will NEVER have to worry about my kids going hungry!!!" FOOD HOARDERS UNITE!! :-)
Aug. 12, 2010 4:18 pm
Hello! We have a deep freeze too and we also stock up on meat when it's on sale. I'm kind of like Keri, if a major disaster comes we probably have enough food to last us for 2 years! I guess one thing that really stretches our grocery dollar is freezing and using leftovers. My husband loves to use his smoker to smoke meats. With the cuts of beef and pork that he uses we usually get 2 meals out of it right away and then I freeze the rest to use in soups, stews, tacos and things like that. We are also not very picky eaters and I think that definitely helps. Also one day a week we have a day where we eat things that need to be used up from the fridge. Like one day we had a salad mix that needed to be eaten and some cantaloupe, so we had a vegetarian supper that night. I guess basically what I'm trying to say is that if I can freeze it to use later I will and if it's something that doesn't freeze well, then we might be having it for supper that night. lol!
Aug. 12, 2010 4:20 pm
Also I just wanted to say I have really enjoyed reading your last few blogs and the comments. Very interesting! Thank you!
Aug. 12, 2010 5:09 pm
I admit that I am a Food Hoarder as well. My family says I am related to the squirrel family in that I hunt for the bargains and then squirrel the food away. Who doesn't love a bargain? I am like most of you that buy the specials and pick up the extra 1 or 2 or load up on the meats on special and freeze. I do and have done this for years. The ads get me to the store and I strictly plan out what I am buying and I stock up. I rarely have to buy things at full cost, and when I do I get mad at myself that I didn't pick up an extra the last time it was on sale. I do this for cleaning supplies and paper products as well. My cupboards are fairly organized but very full, and I have a cold cellar that stores things and another shelf for dry products and baking. I enjoyed this blog Rebecca.
Aug. 12, 2010 5:09 pm
My wife is every bit of a hoarder. So much so that I will be making a 12" wall of pantry cabinets! I will not be dumb enough to call her a hoarder or (shudder!) disorganized. I have only failed to provide her enough storage space. ;)
Aug. 12, 2010 5:11 pm
That is a 12 foot wall. Not 12 inch!
Aug. 12, 2010 6:50 pm
You can never have enough storage space. I am glad you understand Mike. lol
Aug. 12, 2010 9:14 pm
With only one kid and myself left out of my original family size of 6 + neighborhood, I've toned down the hoarding to about a half time preoccupation. I used to be just like you when everyone was home, but now that I don't really need all of it, and don't really have the space for it all, it's much more manageable. I still shop the ads and clip coupons and instead of 20 lbs of ground beef, I'll buy 5 lbs. An extra mayo sitting on the pantry and we're good for 4-5 months. I do can a lot of my own produce, so there is plenty of that stuff. I just look at that as a couple of days of being in the sweat kitchen for a years worth of bonus. Loved your blog.
Aug. 12, 2010 10:21 pm
Bravo!! I tell hubby "Honey, I just saved $35.00 at the market'! He says "Ya, but you had to spend $ 120.00 to do it!. He doesn't Get it. I have been know to go to the day old bread store and stock up on bread/snacks or the bargain bin and grab 4 or 5 bottles of dish soap for .35,regularly .75 and it works great! I wish I had bought the whole case! I have that extra deep freezer on the patio and I wish we had bought it years ago! I did the heck out of it. I don't worry now that I don't have the space if I find that sale on meat or if I want to buy 20 lbs of ice, I do it! Do what you need to do!!
Aug. 12, 2010 11:51 pm
Bravo for you Rebecca....I'm still your greatest fan. Love the way....for those of you who now have an abundance of tomatoes in your garden....have you ever tried making freezer tomato sauce? Just cook your tomatoes with whatever extra carrots onion, zucchini, parsley etc that you have to use up...about 4 times as much tomatoe as the other veggies is a good mix...simmer till it's all cooked through and then cool it enough to where you can blend it in your food processor or blender without making a big mess....freeze in either good freezer bags or rigid containers...I usually don't add any seasonings till I thaw it out to use it....if you use too many tomatoes and it is very makes great v8 type juice...just add seasonings to taste....and if you cook it to the thick stage you can use it for tomato paste....having a lot of this item in the freezer in whatever form saves me tons of money
Aug. 12, 2010 11:54 pm
by the way.....Rebecca got her food hoarding in our family genetic pool....we all have it!
Aug. 13, 2010 5:17 am
Yes, Rebecca, I too am a hoarder. And although I've put an extra shelf in the basement to hold all my goodies, I must say my biggest weakness is free toothpaste. There must be six tubes in the hall closet and I have to really CONVINCE myself not to buy more until I've used one up! My family was totally blessed thru this recession and I was able to fully stock my pantry, basement shelves, and freezers. Things have gotten tight lately, and I've been able to pull from my stored resources. When things get back on track, I can restock. So take advantage of those sales when you find them!!!
Aug. 13, 2010 6:02 am
I raised a large family but never had the extra money at the end of the week to buy extras. I buy a few extra items and shelf them but not to that extent. There are expiration dates on mayo, salad dressings, etc. I have never found that to be a problem after opening a jar of mayo but I have with salad dressing. I like to have extras, maybe a couple extra jars of something but that is it. As far as meat goes, I don't like to have them in the freezer that long before I have to start using them up, and believe me, I love to cook and like a good bargain as the next person but I don't think I hoard food. I have a sister-in-law that had a basement stocked so full of food it looked like a grocery store and there were only two people living in her house at the time.
Aug. 13, 2010 6:37 am
Excellent blog!!! I,too, buy in bulk and on sale things I know we use. I stock the deep freeze and 2 metal shelving units with canned, dry goods and the things that keep my kitchen running smoothly. Go ahead call me a bargain shopper, cheap or frugal-sticks and stones may break the bones but saving $$$ never hurts! :)
Aug. 13, 2010 7:00 am
My parents do the food hoarding on some items. We call the basement laundry room "the convenience store" because there's stack of cases of bottled water and soft drinks and gatorade, etc. piled up as big as a supermarket display. There's enough canned tomato and bean products to last at least five years. At least 4 or 5 loaves of sliced bread in the freezer. A Xerox paper box overflowing with dried pastas and some Knorr soup mixes. Other than items like this though, they buy more moderately. They definitely get a few of whatever is on a really good sale (cheese, crackers, canned tuna) but not so that we have enough to last forever. Same with meat, they'll buy some to stock in the freezer, but not a ton. Our deep freeze stopped working about a year ago and it was replaced with an upright freezer that was much smaller. We like that it has shelves and stuff for organization but it fits WAY less than the deep freeze. It's okay though, I don't really buy into the whole "you don't when it's going to be that price again!" thing. Chances are it'll be on for a really good price in 6 weeks or so, especially things that always go on sale, like ground beef or blsl chicken breasts. Perhaps it's different depending on where you live, for instance if you only have one grocery store in the area and they don't really have to compete with anyone. But there is TONS of competition around where I live so good sales happen very frequently. And I figure, you never what the next sale price is going to be. So if ground beef is on sale for $1.79/lb this week at Loblaws and you buy 20 lbs of it, who's to say that it won't be on for $1.59/lb at Sobeys three weeks from now. That's a better price, but you really wouldn't need to buy another 20 lbs of it..
Aug. 13, 2010 8:15 am
@Alex-I'm sure you're right, and I don't need 20 lbs, but I know the rock bottom prices in our area for certain foods, and when it gets there, I know I won't see it again for awhile. It works! Besides, we're a family of 5, and have company every weekend so I can use up 20 lbs in no time at all. @Banshezmom-I got to the point with the free toiletries that I was afraid my husband would divorce me if I brought another tube of toothpaste or bottle of shampoo in the house. One day the cashier (a guy, of course) asked me what I was going to do with all the soap and shampoo I was buying. Who knows, but it's FREE! I was storing totes in the garage because we had no more room in the house. Hubs put the brakes on and we eventually used it all, but I admit I was a little out of control for awhile! @Patty Cakes--guys just don't get it. Luckily my grocery store posts the savings on the receipt, so I can show Hubs not only did I save $$, but I saved 40% of my bill! He loves percentages! @Mike--Talk to my husband please, we're in desperate need of more storage over here! I'm thinking of converting his half of the closet to pantry space....I've started storing certain things inside of pots that we don't use often. My turkey roasting pan is full of wild rice and split peas! (in bags, of course)@Keri--FOOD HOARDERS UNITE!! @nanabooboo--Love you MOM! Thanks for passing on the hoarding gene! @Cat Hill--Thanks for all of your comments, I love hearing from you! I think you and I could swap savings stories all day. @Nicks-sister--you just need to plan better. Inventory your pantry and cross things off as you use them, add to it as you put things away. Plan your meals around what you have, instead of writing a grocery list before you go to the store. I've found that it's much easier to substitute something I have in a recipe then it is to buy something special that I may end up never using again. You'll get a handle on it! @Diane-I tend to buy cucumbers and forget about them, but only because I don't like them and buy them for other family members. It helps to stock up on only staples that you know you'll use and not on fresh produce. I've been going to the grocery store every couple of days and buying what produce we'll use in those days, nothing extra. I hate food waste. Thank you everyone else for your comments; I don't get a chance to respond to them all (three kids under 4, you know) but I read every comment, and I love hearing all of your stories!
Aug. 13, 2010 8:48 am
I used to 'hoard' food too! I'm fine with people doing so, don't think i'm trying to change anyone please - i'm enjoying reading these comments and relating very well! I've greatly improved on this not long ago when i started planning meals for the week and buying what i'd need for those meals. Now I very rarely stock up on anything other than meat that's on sale for a great deal. I tell myself 'it will be on sale again' similar to like Alex said I happen to have many grocery stores in my area so it promotes competition. It is weird to me to see 'space' in my pantry now as i've worked through a lot of my overage stocks lol but it is working for me and I'm not anxious about not having an overloaded pantry :) i do get anxious if i don't have a decent supply of the meats we use most - because i only will get items on sale. i try to keep an inventory of what i have in the freezer but not always so good about updating it so from time to time I have to redo that (last weekend i realized i had 9 packages of drumsticks, i thought i had 2 or 3 - cool tho! lol) anyway go hoarders! maybe i'll revert again one day, we'll see :)
Aug. 13, 2010 8:52 am
I too am a confessed food hoarder. I buy food that is on offer each week, you would not believe the amount of items I get each week for either FREE or very little money. The other week I had a sour cream mountain in the fridge, all FREE. I had so much fun baking to get the mountain to a more manageable hill!!! I must have over 20 boxes of cereal at the moment! All costing around 50 cents a box. Its crazy, luckily my house has plenty of storage space... Its all a matter of looking at the store adds for the deals and then combining them with store coupons and manufactures coupons. Its become quite the game for my friend and I. Same thing with toiletries, cosmetics etc. My house is bursting to the seems...
Aug. 14, 2010 5:48 am
There is nothing so sweet as a good sale! We are a big family so it just makes sense...! Dollars and cents! Space is tight and I do try to rotate by putting new purchases in the back of the shelf. I am careful not to buy too much produce unless I can freeze it. I buy mayo and peanut butter the most often it seems, cans of tomatoes, flour I buy in bulk on line and freeze.... the list goes on. I am so used to shopping as cheaply as possible due to the kids and their hoard of friends always around our table - I dont know if I will ever get used to buying for just the 2 of us at some point! Such an interesting blog! Great read and fun to see what others are doing! I truly feel good about buying items when on a sale that cant be beat or getting something free! Yeah - I am definitely going to get what I can! We both work hard for our money and it makes me feel so good to spend it wisely - but sadly my husband is no good with tools so..... HEY THERE - Mr. Harvey!!!!!! I could use some shelves too! I'll make lunch for ya - Whatever you like... I am well stocked up! :-)
Aug. 14, 2010 6:43 am
Rebecca, what happened to your Walmart blog? I read it, then it was gone. I found your take on Walmart very interesting. I too find the store actually sucks. Sorry
Aug. 14, 2010 6:46 am
Fun blog! I just had to reorganize my pantry because I know I had a couple of cans of coconut milk and I couldn't find them! So out came everything and I re-packed the pantry a bit differently. I sorted all Asian ingredients to one area. Tomato products to another etc... One shelf for baking goods. It helps. I do buy flour 25 lbs at a time. Also I hit numerous stores. The Asian market has amazing prices on Asian food stuffs - then off to the Mexican market for produce and Mexican food. I go to Winco for their bulk bin deals. My daughters often come shopping in my freezers (yes, plural = 3) and pantry.
Aug. 14, 2010 6:50 am
Oh - the best "deal" I have found lately is Kraft Mayonnaise in a clearence basket, marked .25 cents each. Buy 1 get one free! The use by date was nearing but I bought a bunch and gave them to my kids. We all went home and made a bunch of potato and macaroni salad!
Aug. 14, 2010 7:16 am
LOVE your blog. We had to be sisters in a previous life since my life mimics yours to the letter! My DH would say, "Do we really need all this" until he saw me one day go to my over-stocked pantry and put enough groceries in bags to last for 2 weeks when my DD lost her job! The only thing we had to buy was milk and juice for the kids. BOGO is an open invitation to do some stockpiling!! 'Nuff said! Great, timely blog!
Aug. 14, 2010 8:03 am
I think the term food *horder* gives the wrong impression. I firmly believe (and no - grin - I'm not a Mormon) that it's prudent to keep 6 months to a years worth of food on hand. We're lucky enough to have enough land to raise our own beef, pork, and eggs (although, let me tell you - it's not cheap with the price of feed going up the way it is. Tip to all of you - expect much higher meat prices next year). If you've a deep freeze, I'd strongly recommend finding a nearby farmer/rancher and asking if you can buy 1/2 steer or hog when he has some of his butchered this fall.
Aug. 14, 2010 8:44 am
well i have been caught...I'm a food hoarder too
red wine 
Aug. 14, 2010 10:02 am
I remember Mom's well stocked pantry shelf.Dad would blow a fuse upon seeing bargain items stockpiled. They grew up in the Depression Era. His theory- hang onto to every penny until you NEED to buy. His mantra- Let the store stock that #%*&! (No well-stocked bomb shelter at our place.) Mom's idea-it's cheaper to buy it on sale.Going without as a kid she liked the security of a full larder.So here I am, a middle aged homemaker with a FULL pantry. Not only do I stock up on great food sale items, I also stockpile paper products and health & beauty items. My local store often runs two brand name toothpastes (both made in USA) for 59 or 69 cents a tube !!! It's the larger 6 oz. tube. That seems to be a weakness for me. AT THAT PRICE,WE CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO USE IT. Of course I watch expiration dates on all items and rotate stock accordingly (LOL)My husband loves it...he knows during 32 years of marriage I've saved a ton of money with my buy on sale & save technique. Come to think of it, I think we were taught how to value shop in home-ec classes.(Younger readers: Ask your Mom or Grandma what that was)Now as far as the toothpaste goes....there's not enough on hand for a third world country but if anyone needed a tube I could help 'em out there. I'm Toothpaste Rich !(I'll seek help when I start to measure the toilet paper supply in miles instead of feet.) Smiles to all you Smart Shoppers out know who you are.
Aug. 14, 2010 10:04 am
Rebecca, do you ever shop at Sprouts? I don't know what part of Chandler you live in, but the one in Gilbert on Val Vista between the 202 and Williams Field sometimes has lean ground beef in the family packs for $1.99 or less per pound, and it is ground in the store, plus their own beef supply is no hormones or antibiotics and grass-fed only. I prefer the ground beef there over any of the local grocery stores. On Wednesdays, they have double ad day (from the week before and the current week's ads), and some of their bulk bin prices are much better than the grocery store. Occasionally, they do 25% off all bulk bins and I stock up on dry beans, steel cut oats (even not on sale, way better price), turbinado sugar, etc. Also, it's not super cheap, but their fresh-ground chicken sausage at the meat counter is really good. If you haven't already, you should check it out sometime. Wednesdays are a mad house, though, so be prepared! I food hoard, too, as it makes sense for a busy mom not to have to make extra trips to the grocery store. I also take it a step further and prepare some things and freeze them, like pasta sauce (even cooking and adding ground beef for spaghetti sauce), taco meat, homemade pizza crusts and so on. I will spend several hours cooking big pots of sauce, soups, chili, grilling chicken breasts and slicing it up, baking bread, and then package them, usually in freezer bags (sometimes doubled), stack them flat and freeze them for busy nights. It really helps both budget and time crunches. The best thing about your blog for me? I don't feel like such a nut anymore, lol!
Aug. 14, 2010 1:04 pm
all u hoarders out there especially the ones with multiple bills due at once ..unless u live in china or somewhere ..DON'T stock up as much as 30 jars etc ..don't buy meat unless you're totally out .. this stuff does go bad ..things in cans taste metallic and dry stuff gets mealy worms ..I too was sort of a hoarder .. think ahead ...I made a wonerful dish with top ramen ,brocoli and someleft over meat,rst,chicken,pork,tuna all those would work..I'm not saying don't stock up ..but be reasonable ..BELIEVE IT OR NO U ARE WASTING MONEY!!!!! also pinto beans take forever to cook if they are years old ..My sister and I proved this theory,..One month tell yourself you are only going to buy ..fresh stuff ..perishable ..milk ,produce and try to make nutritious meals with what u have in the house...RIGHT NOW i HAVE more than 7 cans of cream of celery soup in my pantry.. so we have some casseroles etc ..w/chick etc ...I would be happy to help anyone.. we just had a flood here ..Just think all the food that was lost and people in 3rd world counties ..yeah,if you are feeding the Duggars thats e-mail is wyomingjudy and I'67 yrs old and raised 4 kids on a watress salary for over 10+ yrs..and I know welfare doesn't give you alot ..JMPO...WILLOW
Aug. 14, 2010 2:10 pm
It's sooo good to hear that there really is such a thing as a "food hoarder." Simply put, I am definitely one of them. My pantry is overflowing at all times. Sadly though, I buy lot of every food not just when it's on sale. I need to get to that part! I have four kids, and my husband can eat us all under the table! Many people have joked that I must have been raised in the Depression as well! This blog has made me feel so much better about my constant need to have way way more than enough groceries in the house at all times. The good part...I don't have to run to the grocery store every other day in order to make dinner! lol.
Aug. 14, 2010 2:37 pm
My husband has given up trying to find anything in the fridge other than the milk which I keep in the front just for him. He needles me about how I abhor the tiniest empty space in any cupboard, drawer or the fridge or freezer and he's right of course. I cannot resist a sale on anything we use regularly or any tempting gourmet stuff that I have a coupon for or is on sale or at an introductory price. When I recall my childhood, I see the root of this kind of stockpiling, a term I prefer to hoarding, since hoarding implies you just hang onto it forever but stockpiling simply means always having a supply. I'm a military brat and we shopped the commissary rather than the local supermarket. Often this meant a long drive and it likely happened around paydays so our station wagon always returned with a dozen or more full grocery bags. I never thought about this but that's how I learned to shop. And since my folks were depression-era children, they always stocked up even more when there was a good deal to be had. I have never in my life run out of tp, paper towels or dish soap. It's just beyond my experience not to have plenty of backup for all things household, including pet food and toiletries. My sundries closet is as jammed as my cupboards and fridge. Nowadays I shop from the weekly ads and match the sales with coupons from the Sunday papers whenever I can. I keep our RV plugged in (it's in our driveway) so I can use the fridge and freezer there and we also have an upright freezer in the garage. And this is for just the two of us! Ironically, when I remodeled the kitchen last year, I had to settle for a smaller fridge and after installing drawers in all the lower cabinets, I lost alot of space for canned goods. (Heaven forbid I would give up any of my kitchen equipment!) It's a challenge to keep the food rotated but it keeps our meals varied and interesting. And there is a another upside for me besides saving money. I can pull together a potluck dish in just about any category or serve unexpected guests for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just cocktail snacks, all without having to leave my property. You name it and I probably have all the fixins' for it. And since there is usually no place I'd rather be than in my kitchen, it's a win-win for everybody. Great topic for a blog, btw!
Aug. 14, 2010 2:59 pm
Another way to save money grocery shopping is to take various grocery store ads to the store you're shopping at. I live in Iowa; most stores match other stores' coupon prices and/or ad/sale prices. Then use mfg. coupons if applicable. Also, look in the bargain carts. I've read that stores usually put items on sale 2-4 weeks after mfg. coupons come out. If you time it right, that's like a double sale. Make as much from scratch as possible - it's the pre-packaged, canned goods that are the most expensive and not as nutritious (of course with some exceptions). Shop the perimeter of the supermarket.
Aug. 14, 2010 3:00 pm
Never shop when hungry or with kids!
Aug. 14, 2010 4:36 pm
My husband did not get the food hoarding or the personal items hoarding either. He made fun of me and then he outlawed it. So now I only buy what I need so I do not need to store so much stuff. By the way, if there is a major disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, volcano, tornado, they usually involve a power interruption which totally blows the theory of food hoarding in the deep freezer because it will ALL go bad within a matter of days and you will still have nothing to eat!!!! I hate to dampen the spirits of the food hoarding epidemic going on here, but it is the truth.....
Aug. 14, 2010 4:55 pm
I missed the food-hoarding gene in our family pool! My mother was pretty good at it. LOL I refuse to buy stuff I can't store neatly but I do buy non-perishables for our food pantry at church when there's a great deal.
Aug. 14, 2010 5:01 pm
I think it is also interesting that most food items that have coupons are processed foods. We already had a discussion about that. I do not use coupons very much because I do not use processed foods. I shop the perimeter of the store and buy my grains and beans in bulk. Those items are sometimes on sale, but they do not have coupons.
Aug. 14, 2010 5:04 pm
So I guess my point is true bargain shopping is NOT buying processed foods and cooking everything from scratch. It is also healthier!
Aug. 14, 2010 6:38 pm
Buying in bulk can be a real savings, however freezing 20 pounds of meat or anything else costs money. The amount of energy used by refrigerators and freezers is surpassed only by water heaters and furnaces here in the northeast. People with three or four freezers may be eating up the savings on the meat or other products by the large electric bills. I also agree with cookhealthy--fresh is best. Does anyone here have Aldi's grocery stores in their area? They are a no frills store where you have to take your own bags and they have only one brand of each product--theirs. Their products are very good and most are comperable to name brands. Fresh produce is excellent. If you have one in your area and haven't tried it, please try it--you'll like it.
Aug. 14, 2010 7:35 pm
All right, I buy in bulk too, all the time, if something is on sale and we use it, if I don't buy it I think about it and it drives me crazy. I am a sucker for a bargain when it comes to food. I really don't like it when I want to make a large batch of spaghetti sauce to freeze and I am missing ingredients. I also don't like not having food on hand that I want to use to make something. When I buy something, I always buy 2 and if it's not on sale, I will wait till next time I do groc. to get it. Our cupboard is always well stocked, but every now and then we let it run down so I could clean and see what's hidding in the back, or so I could empty out the large box of crackers that holds 6 packages, but there is only one left in there taking up so much space. I have been finding though that food is taking up more and more space in our house. I buy something new or start cooking new foods regularly and then I think of where can I put that food. (lintels and beans for soup are in fancy containers in our china cabinet). I find if it's not a deal or on sale, I'll wait since we are so well stocked, we can do that. As for the meat, we just bought half a cow from a local farmer, and got a real great deal on it, and now have found us plugging in our old freezer again. that makes an upright freezer, a deep chest freezer and a large fridge that has no freezer in it. Where to put it all, but our family is growing and I love to entertain about once a week. So cooking for 30 people once a week, and 3 meals a day for 7 people is a busy life. I feel life revolves around food. And I must admit I am guilty of occasionally making a frozen pizza with fries (processed garbage) but it's quick and easy and a break from cooking and much cheaper than eating out.
Aug. 14, 2010 9:22 pm
Living in earthquake country, we have three generators and a store of stabilized fuel. We know that eating the perishables first from the smallest refrigeration unit on up to the largest would be the first priority. Last would be the freeze-dried and dehydrated food we store in both the RV and the pantry. It's definitely a valid point, and one we take into consideration. That's why I prefer the term "stockpiling" to "hoarding."
Aug. 14, 2010 10:55 pm
I know exactly where you're coming from, Rebecca! We're in a two bedroom apartment and I have limited cupboard space, and very little freezer space. I drive my boyfriend crazy because every time he opens the freezer to get some ice cream, 20 other random things fall on his feet. However, when it comes to meal time I'm always glad I have so many things on hand and that grocery shopping when my budget is tight is something I hardly ever worry about, we just live off the freezer and cupboards for a couple weeks. Things I always buy in bulk are: tea bags, cans of tomato stuff, pasta, and granola cereal. When chicken hindquarters go on sale for 39 cents a lb. I buy a 10 lb bag, boil them and pick off the meat and freeze in a few quart bags (doesn't take up as much room as that huge bag of chicken legs).
Aug. 15, 2010 3:31 am
Oh, honey, trust me, I know exactly how the hoarding is! In my freezer at one point last year, I had 36 New York strips and 18 separate pounds of organic lean ground beef because (I think this was the deal--it's been a while) if I bought two steaks, I got the ground beef with it ($6 worth!!!). I went twice a day during the sale week to get that. Mind you--I don't have a separate freezer, just the one with the fridge. And still I bought to get the freebie. My husband refuses to let me have a freezer when I'm already insane that way. And how I'm even worse about dry and canned and grooming goods. I'm still using the Ziploc bags I bought in 2001 (maybe 2000), and he set his foot down to tell me that I can't buy anymore until I use them all. So maybe it was crazy to buy 5 cases of each size when they were on sale at Costco--but it was a bargain! He started crying the other day when I told him I wanted to start canning and making jams/preserves/jellies. So he'll have to wind his way around the cases of shampoo and soap in the garage already? Exercise!
Aug. 15, 2010 4:00 am
I admit it Im a Hoarder too!! I dont have a deep freezer so the regular freezer is often filled to the door with all my bargins. I have a trick thatr my Mom taught me growing up. Pick one item a month to stock up on, say mayo or dish soap. Every time you go to the store that month for whatever you pick up that item. Even if youre just going in for a gallon of milk or even a pack of gum, that goes for any family member who goes to the store.
Aug. 15, 2010 10:06 am
Thought of this blog this morning! Whole chickens are on sale for .69 lb. Off to the market I go to stock up! Can't pass up a deal like that!
Aug. 15, 2010 12:13 pm
I was raised during the depression. We had an ice box on the enclosed back porch. It was kept out there. As you know, ice melts. Every few days it was replenished. We could not keep a lot of food in it as it wasn't that big. We lived with my grandparents; 4 adults and 2 small kids. This meant the grocery store every few days. Then, my grandfather hit on the idea of partioning off the front end of the basement and putting shelves up. They were stocked with canned goods. Under the front cement steps was an area that was a bit colder. My father got 100# bags of potatoes of the Idaho and smaller red variety. They came from the produce market, in Chicago. They lasted all winter long. On the basement side of the canned goods area the wall had a pretty wallpaper. This was back in the late 30's and 40's. Until the time when frozen vegetables were available. The potatoes lasted
Aug. 15, 2010 1:14 pm
OK, I could go on and on here b/c I am about like everyone spare bedroom has cereal and crackers on the floor b/c my pantry runneth over. But the best is that I am still using a box of Baggies that has a Kohl's sticker on the must be from the 70's (I have lived in FL for 30 years)...and Kohl's was my grocery store in Milwaukee. Now, of course they have department stores all over the country!
cactus wren 
Aug. 15, 2010 1:25 pm
I`m not a hoarder,I`m a prepper. LOL I see the world as getting dicier by the day. Who knows what will happen? I`d rather have a good supply of..well...everything, than have my family go hungry or dirty, or cold. We live in a small house, but,once you get some of those risers under your beds, you can store a lot there.Be it canned goods, either store bought or home canned, or dry goods. My freezer is full, so is my pantry, and cupboards, and I like it that way. So, if WW3 breaks out, or our sun throws us enough stuff to fry our grid,we`ll be good.Even if the economy keeps getting worse. And,I do have a genny for that freezer, so I can keep stuff good until I get it canned. And,I do have enough jars to do it. (They`re also under beds.
Aug. 15, 2010 2:07 pm
I just finished reading your blog and all the replies and I have enjoyed it very much! We live In northern Ont Can. and we have 1 fair sized store in our community, other than that, we have about 1 1/2 hour drive for groceries. We only use our local store for emergancies as their prices are so high on most items. We get very few coupons and usually they are for non food items so I rarely use them, definately no double days. And no B1G1F either. Grocery prices areso much more than what I have read on here. We definately use our freezer's and pantry because we normally shop about once a month, maybe more often in the summer. We "miss" alot of good sales that way but I balance that out by thinking about the gas used to go shopping. Whenever we do go, its an all day session incorporating appts etc. I always have a list going and its for everything, not just groceries, whatever we run out of or are close to running out of. We are on disability so I can't get alotofsome things but I always have at least one spare at home. I really resent having to purchase non sale items but sometimes its impossible not to. Oh and no free items up here either I am lucky to get toothpaste on sale for a dollar.Anyhow keeo up the good blog I have really enjoyes it,,Susan in Ont
Aug. 15, 2010 2:39 pm
I stockpile food as well. I'm a grad student and friends with many poor, starving undergrads and young families. If not for my overflowing pantry and deep freeze lots of hungry college students and little kids would still be hungry. By maximizing sales and buying in bulk I am able to feed my own small family and my extended family of friends (not every meal, mind you, but several times a week) for the same price as I could feed just my daughter and myself not taking advantage of sales and buying in bulk. That, plus I can't resist a bargain, is why I stockpile. It seems silly not to. Plus, I LOVE not having to run to the grocery store EVERY time I want to make something. Talk about a waste of gas, and think about the added polution of driving to the grocery store every day or couple of days. That is what's really silly!
Aug. 15, 2010 3:54 pm
I didn't realize there are so many of us! My wife yells at me about our pantry--I usually buy a bunch when on sale too. I got 4 jars of Best Foods Mayo with coupons/double coupons for 49 cents each. I have enough mustard and ketchup for several months worth of picnics, and I recently found a chicken in my freezer that was bought on sale in 2007. Had to toss that along with some of that stinky zucchini! She thinks we should only buy what we can use tonight--that's crazy to me. And I use Grocery Outlet and another closeout grocery as well. My son calls it the "used food store"! Keep on storing and hope we don't end up on TV (Hoarders)
Aug. 16, 2010 6:39 am
Rebecca have you tried buying your meet directly from the farmer? We buy half a beef and half a hog. I can't remember what we pay for the hog but we pay about $2 a lb for beef that includes Tenderloin Steaks or ground beef. You could buy it in a month that finances are not so tight and have it for the rest of the year. Of course you have to have room in your freezer. I am also a food horder but I'm very careful to only buy what we have room for and what we can use. I have a huge pantry (upground cellar) but mice can get in pretty easily (little buggers) so I have to keep everything very organized so I can quickly tell when one moves in and things like nuts and flour get put in containers where they can't get to it.
Aug. 16, 2010 6:54 am
I'm not a hoarder, but I like a good bargain and will stock up on staples when they're on sale. What makes me happiest is when I see my refrigerator getting bare and I know that I've used up everything without anything going bad. That's what makes me feel happy, healthy and competent.
Mommy in Gretna 
Aug. 16, 2010 10:53 am
Loved this blog. When we built our new home this year, a nice pantry was a must have. Not too much of a food hoarder myself, but I am very organized with the Wednesday ads and my trusty coupon box. I've noticed coupons getting better (frozen veggies, whole wheat pasta, milk, etc) so I am sure to use those. My husband (after almost 9 years together) finally sees the method in stocking up when the body wash and deodorant he likes are on sale, and we have a bogo free coupon! It makes more sense to me to buy toothpaste on sale with a coupon, then at full price 2 weeks later. The same with toilet paper and towels. We also have a few supermarkets that give $5 off $50 coupons through our local recycling program, which helps with the cost of produce and other fresh items.
Aug. 16, 2010 11:32 am
Thank you all for identifying yourselves! I think you should make a list so that in case of a disaster I will know where to go. I used to stock up on stuff in the freezer and the pantry but ended up throwing out a lot of expired, freezer burned, or bug ridden food. Now, I try to do a freezer cleanout every few months where I promise not to purchase any new meat until I have gone through what is in my freezer. That seems to be working for me. I think there are still a few expired canned goods in my pantry but I'm also trying to circulate that stuff too. I do try to keep tabs on who stockpiles though, just in case.
Aug. 16, 2010 12:29 pm
I have a family of 6. I buy only name brand items primarily at Publix (no supercenters or warehouse clubs - too expensive for me!) I spend $350/month and often have excess. I cook some organic, some whole foods, some processed. I have 1 small outside freezer - it pays for itself! I filled it with about $600 worth of nearly-free Kashi items last year. Some general rules of thumb regarding stock-piling (aka hoarding): 1. Stock Pile whatever 3 months worth is for your household. Grocery sales generally run on a 3 month cycle so it'll go on sale again. 2. Remove all outer packaging (that's the majority of the bulk right there!). Freeze things like cheese, lunchmeat & yogurt. 3. Use it! Plan your meals around those items. Donate as the expiration dates near. 4. Use my website to find out which sales items have coupons to go with them and are worth stock-piling! Lot's of stuff besides food, too.
Aug. 16, 2010 2:21 pm
I don't feel comfortable unless I have at least a month's worth of food in my house. Raising two kiddos on my own, I never knew when an unexpected bill or expense would come up that would use up my grocery allotment. But...on that note, I refuse to waste food. It makes me sick to throw food away. I see it like money right down the drain. So there's a balance to find. You can save money by buying meat in bulk, I can get 90/10 ground beef at Sam's for $2 or so per pound. I know planning ahead, buying things in bulk and shopping sales can significantly reduce grocery bills. It also helps planning when you get home from work. If I know I have the main ingredients for easy, quick meals, I save myself the stress and worry of trying to figure out what we're going to eat. Also, it saves me from eating fast food or spending extra money on eating out.
Aug. 16, 2010 8:46 pm
My trick is to put the date I bought something on the outside of it and keep rotating items. We stock up at Trader Joe's since we don't have one close. We bought Foster Farms chicken breasts at Costco last year for $1.29 a pound (boneless, skinless) after Christmas. We bought 101 breasts. If things get too close or past dated, you can donate to St. Vincent de Paul or Salvation Army Soup Kitchen.
Aug. 16, 2010 10:43 pm
I am a food hoarder also. I will spend half a day on Sundays seeing who has the best deals and then cut my coupons out to match the stores. I don't care what your finacial position is...a penny saved is a penny earned..I usually save at least $100 a week with specials and coupons. I have two frig. and two freezers. I put the purchase date on the packages when frozen. I use my frozen food within a year. I love doing this..I figure I save several thousand dollors a year. I also have a garden and love to cook fresh vegtables. I have a pond with 15 lb catfish, bluegill, and bass, I also have chickens for eggs. I freeze my flour, and cornmeal..It will stay good for 5 years in the freezer. I am planning on buying a couple of dairy cows for milk and cheese. I only buy meats on sale;I stock up. I am a country girl going back to my roots. :)
Aug. 17, 2010 8:26 am
I have a friend just like you. Her husband thought that the sticker with the marked down price on the meat the meat packages was the regular price sticker. I have learned to shop that way. It is so much easier to meal plan! Now I have a garage and I am ready to start storing : )
Aug. 17, 2010 2:41 pm
What I really have never found out is, how do you freeze meat and other things for a longer period of time without it getting freezer burnt. I have used storage bags and sucked the air out with a straw, which works ok, but somehow it always gets freezer burn after a month or so. I freeze leftovers for lunches the next week, and make soups in the crock pot to freeze in mason jars. I keep frozen veggies and they always taste old quickly. What am I doing wrong? This is a great blog! Thanks! :o)
Aug. 17, 2010 4:49 pm
I love this blog! But, as always, I have to chime in with my two cents. Being on a super-tight budget, the only thing I ever buy that isn't on sale ('cause it never is) is milk. But I don't know how, if you buy a ton of what is one sale every time you go shopping, you self-proclaimed "hoarders" save any money. If you're spending the same amount of money (or more) that you would have spent for less if it was not on sale and every time anything is on a really good sale, I'd say you've got a growing stockpile of food stacked to the ceiling and the bursting point of your deep freezers but saving comes when you DON'T spend money! Maybe I'm just too cash poor to understand...or just jealous! Thanks for the entertainment!
Nancy L. 
Aug. 17, 2010 7:15 pm
I feed 10 people each and every day ! (Food , personel care products and household neccesities Budget 675 a month.) There is no hoarding when you have to use 5 lbs of hamburger for chili to feed this crew. The economy has force all my grown children back home , their spouses and their children. I buy my staples at aldi's, Meats at Compare foods and anywhere there is a good deal in town. I try to find it. The real way to make Hoarding work is to know the prices of foods at different markets and types of stores. Dollar stores can have some real deals even your large chain drug stores can offer up surprizing savings. One of the cheapest places to buy milk are the large chain convience stores in my area. Too all you hoarders, hats off, Maybe one day soon I can be you. Right now I am dying for something sweet but alas payday is 2 days away and the cupboards are bare.
Aug. 18, 2010 2:56 pm
I too am a food/ toiletry hoarder. However, I'm also an extreme neat freak! The two rarely mix, but I've got it down to a science :) I only buy things that are on sale and I have a coupon for -- then I stock up. -I limit myself to 4 of each item (always checking what I have in the pantry before shopping) -Every 2 months I go through and check expiration dates. If things are close to expiring, I donate them (making sure to tell Salvation Army/ etc. to use them before expiry). -I mark every the expiration date on every item that comes in with a permanent marker. -It does take time (and money) to build up stocks, took me around 3 months. - I only pay for price for things we NEED. -Pay attention to sales cycles. Most things will go back on deep sale within 3 months of the last sale. My husband used to laugh, but since I always have whatever I need on hand and I keep it all organized, he actually laughs when I come home. Says I've "stolen" from stores. Obviously, I paid for my food, but at 40% off most everything I buy -- it is great!
Aug. 18, 2010 3:05 pm
p.s.) we buy all of our meat from a local German Baptist butcher. Costs less and far better quality.... I buy it three months at a time and have it packed in individual portions for the freezer. Always ready for anything I feel like cooking :)
Aug. 18, 2010 4:27 pm
I too hoard food, but I do have it all organized, canned goods, cereals, meats, sauces etc. I take comfort in knowing that, should we have a tight month (my electric alone was $800 this month) I can still feed my family good, wholesome, homecooked food. I buy as much as I can in bulk, coffee, creamer, canned tomatoes and sauces, 90% lean for the same price as 80% on sale at the local grocers. There is something to be said about these times we are in now, and that is you never know when disaster will strike, are you prepared?
Aug. 18, 2010 6:33 pm
What a great blog - lots of ideas. I am reporting back on my .69 cent a lb. chickens. I had dreams of buying a whole shopping cart full - but after further examination of my freezer space I opted to buy 3. I got them home and opened them up - took out the giblets etc. With on I cut the back bone off and sprayed flat for easy BBQ. One I cut the back bone out and the wings and cut the rest into pieces. One a left whole and seasoned - put in a plactic bag to make beer can chicken for the Pickys. The back bones and wings were roasted and then into a pot to make 2 quarts of great chicken broth. We ate roasted chicken dinner one night, Chinese Chicken salad another and I sold the whole beer can chicken dinner for $40.00 (along with all the sides and bread) to the Pickys. I still have a whole chicken to use up tomorrow. Chicken salad, Chicken pot pie? Maybe - not bad for $9. worth of chicken!
Aug. 19, 2010 5:19 am
NOT ANY MORE! I used to be a hoarder but I too fell into the waste issue that others seem to have.I applaud you all for making an effort to save for the sake of the family but I think you are simply not organized. I am not condemning you, only giving my side of the "saving issue". My background is managing a multi-million $ business. Since I've retired I'm a stay at home person. I took a look at what foods we do eat, made my own recipe book based on what we eat, decided how often I wanted to rotate my recipes , how often I wanted to introduce a new recipe, made an inventory list of foods I needed to keep on hand to meet the recipe needs and purchased foods that I needed. If it appeared on my rotation frequently, I bought more. I only cook what we need, I've cut out waste and saved 30% on my food expenses. Organization is key.
Aug. 19, 2010 9:40 am
Maybe I am not good at bargain shopping, or maybe it's that we don't have many grocery store options here (check out where I live!) but we RARELY have meat sales, at least not that I have caught. My Mom will go to the store mid morning (when I am at work) and sometimes call me and tell me she has found a decent sale but most of the time, it's not marked down unless it's the sell by date. But I enjoyed your blog! I SOOOO wish I had a deep freeze! I am obsessed w/ at least going to Sams and buying in bulk! The BF doesn't understand that you save money even though you usually drop a least you don't have to go back for a while!
Aug. 19, 2010 11:41 pm
While I do hoard canned goods and cake mixes (you never know when you need an impromptu cake!) I lived in Japan for a time, and got quite accustomed to the method of shopping there. You buy your oils and spices to last for 3-4 months, your rice, pasta, canned drinks, sauces to last 1 month, and the rest (especially breads, meats, fruits and veggies) to last you only two or three days. Sure, you go to the store more, but you can easily buy only what you are going to use for that time period. For me at least, I save way more money, because I'm not chucking those five zucchini I bought. If you just buy enough for what your going to make, you don't have to chuck extra, and always know what you have. Buying small portions is cheaper, especially if you might not eat it all before it goes bad!
Aug. 23, 2010 5:14 pm
My secret is to use chicken thighs for anything that is being marinated and chicken breast for anything breaded. Saves me a mint, because my toddler won't eat beef or pork... If I used chicken breast all the time, even Costco couldn't help me keep them in the house (I've tried.) Some of my other favourite tricks include using whatever I've got lying around in the freezer or pantry to make a meal, or stretching my meat 8 ways from Sunday. Tonight I used a $3.00 chicken, some baby carrots, a boatload of frozen peas and carrots, and Bisquick to make a Chicken Pot Pie that had my husband and I arguing over who got to take the leftovers to work tomorrow for lunch. There's nothing wrong with hoarding food, as long as it's getting eaten :)
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