Saturday, September 17, 2011

Case Lot Sales - A tip and A Recipe

I love shopping the case lot sales for 2 reasons; the obvious is that it makes me feel like I am doing something really tangible and visible for my preparedness; it is kind of a feel-good thing. Second and more obvious it helps me to stock up on things I may be low on at a better price.

Actually shopping the case lot sales does several things. It gives you an opportunity to buy what you need at a lower price. You can probably purchase most of your canned goods at a dime or more cheaper for each can. With a box of 20 cans, you've already saved $2, just on one item you use regularly.

You are also making things easier on yourself. You have the cans of the things you use most in stock without having to run to the store. It gives you a kind of head start if you remember to keep a list of the things you used and replace them regularly so you always have at least a case of those items on sale. It is harder to catch up if you wait until you have used the whole case before replacing those items and it seems harder to spend the money for another case than it would a can or two at a time.

Peace of mind is a valuable thing. It is hard to put a price on it. With the economy in a terrible state, we all know how hard it is to shop these days and not be so discouraged at the rising prices. If you have ever known anyone –especially yourself – who has had to live off their food storage because of job loss or another setback in family income, you understand what tremendous asset food storage is. You just might be able to buy some peace of mind after all.

One thing that is the hardest for me when I am able to shop the case lot sales is that when I know I have X amount of money to spend on cases, it does go really fast. It is so important to sit down and make a list of the cases you really want to spend your money on. I used to always buy a case of cream of chicken soup and, aside from cases of meat, the soup was probably one of the biggest chunks of my case sale budget. Ouch! Now that I know I can make cream of soup substitutes for just pennies, I don’t waste my money on that any more.

I love having good quality canned meats in my storage and fruits and vegetables. Tomato sauce is also wonderful but if you are now converted to tomato powder, you are saving money there. Making my own gravy and spice mixes also saved me money. Canning jams, jellies and syrups helps too.

Before shopping the sales, if possible, obtain copies of the sale circulars, these are usually posted online. It’s a good idea to pour over these and be very selective as you make your shopping lists. If you make up a list of 15-20 of your favorite meals that you make the most often and then purchase only the case good times that you use the most it helps so much. I found that when I get in the store I am tempted by many “cheap” deals on convenience foods that promise time saving meals. It’s so much better to make them from scratch and save your money for other things. A good comprehensive list of not only your favorite meals but also canned items you use the most cross-referenced with the sale ads will save you time and money as you shop.

Watch for things that are not that much cheaper by the case. For instance a case of cooking oil may be a great deal but if you won’t use 12 bottles of oil in the next year, just buy 6 instead. A case of cake mixes may be a really good deal, but knowing that cake mixes come on sale pretty often may cause you to just buy a couple or even make your cakes from scratch.

Don’t be afraid to make a list of your most important items that you want to buy cases of. Go through the store and purchase and pay for those first then make another trip getting your second most important items next. Sometimes shopping in shifts helps you to not be tempted to purchase things you don’t really need a case of. If you have money left at the end of your shopping trip then you can go back again and pick up some things you may have passed over before.

One more thing that has helped me many times when I shop case lot sales is to make a list of all the meals I could make from the items that I have in my house without buying any other items. Survey your list and see how many meals you can make. Then make a list of meals you can make with just picking up an item or two to enable you to make a complete meal. Add those few items you are out of to your list.

I think the best advice I ever got was to make a list of 15 meals that I could make using canned or shelf stable items. Write down all the ingredients to make those meals. I did this on a spread sheet. Then I times those meals by 2 and have enough meals for a month. If I multiply by 3, I have a 3 month supply. List all of the ingredients you need to make those meals that many times. This is not necessarily your shopping list but it is your planning list. If you know that you are going to need 12 cans of black beans for instance, you can work at acquiring 12 cans of black beans. Once you get those 12 cans, make sure you always have 12 cans on hand.

I made a list like this for a 3 month supply, including just the dinner meals for 3 months. I carried the list in my purse for some time before I was able to cross everything off the list; once I did, I had enough food stored for 3 months of dinner meals. Then you can work on breakfasts and lunches. It is surprising when you make your shopping spread sheet for your 3 month supply, just how much you can actually find and cross off your list without too much trouble. It is just getting it done that is the hardest.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on cases. Every little bit helps if you are wise in your choice. Planning your shopping trip is as much work as the trip itself. Set your goals and make your list and carry it with you till you accomplish your goals.

Tip of the week

I have always struggle with hard water buildup in my dishwasher and it seemed I just couldn’t get on head of it. I’d clean it with white vinegar periodically but it was not long before that nasty buildup was there again.

I tried a new tip this week that I think is a keeper. Just fill you soap cups in your dishwasher with Tang Orange Drink Powder (I used the generic brand that I bought in bulk for just a few cents at Winco) and set your dishwasher to run through the regular cycle with an empty dishwasher. I am going to do this on a regular basis.

I am happy to have my computer up and running again with all my preparedness info and documents still intact – thank you PC’s Unlimited! I have been canning like crazy all week and am a little behind in – well, everything. I just wanted to share a recipe I tried this week and loved. It is for Peach-Raspberry jam. It was easy and I love it. If you are still doing peaches you may want to try this one. I think it’s a keeper.

Peach-Raspberry Jam
5 cups peeled and mashed peaches
5 c. sugar
1 ½ c. raspberries, fresh or frozen or use a 10 oz. pkg. frozen raspberries, thawed
1 package (3 oz.) raspberry Jell-O
Mix sugar, peaches and raspberries in a large saucepan. Stir and bring to a rolling boil. Stirring constantly, boil for 15 minutes. Thoroughly stir in raspberry Jell-O. Pour into hot, sterilized jars. Wipe rims and add new lids and screw on bands. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Y: 8 half-pint jars

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