When you are unemployed for a length of time, you begin to break absolutely everything down into how much it will cost or how much it will save you to do this, that or the other thing. I am certain there is a name for this disorder and probably some really good mind altering drugs to "cure" us of this ailment, unfortunately being unemployed also means being uninsured and therefore we can't cant afford the doctor, the "fix" or the gas to get to either.
Anyway, logic says that when you go to town you inevitably spend money each and every time. If we didn't there would be no real reason to go to town now would there? Then again as teenagers I can remembering going all over yet have no place to go. I am so glad I outgrew that.
When we first
That ten bucks could buy 10 pounds of rice and 10 pounds of beans each week. If you multiply that by four that's a lot of rice and beans in one months time or 40 dollars a month. Two people don't eat THAT much beans and rice in a month so lets break it down a bit more. Our average monthly food bill is only about 80 dollars a month, which means that the 40 dollars saved from gas trips is 2 weeks of groceries. Therefore, in 3 months time by cutting out 9 trips to town we are eating the entire fourth month for nothing based solely on gas savings.
Here are a few other hints, ideas, tips, suggestions and thoughts on the subject.
When we go to town we head out and are back in less than three hours time, that is with 35-40 minutes of driving time. We have a system or pattern of how we do this so that we can be back home in the least amount of time possible and the least amount spent. The fewer places you have to go the less money you will spend overall.
A running list is kept each month with all stops listed and all goods needed and we adhere to it. Neither of us care for stores nor people all that much and now that we are a stay at home couple town is the biggest cause of stress that we have in our dull lives so we like to keep it as short and as sweet as we can.
We stop at the dump with our bag of trash then (as of late) drop the clothes at laundry mat, run to the bank, stop at dollar general . We then head to the laundry and depending on the weather take the clothes out or put them to dry and if needed run to chinamart or lowes then hit the critter food store. Next we head back to laundry if we dried the clothes there and gather them and go the the grocery store and pick up any remaining items on our list. From there we head toward the house, stop at post office if needed, go get gas and come back to the mtn where we check the mail and fill water totes on our way in. By having a plan and following it, it leaves no question of should I stop here or there. It becomes a habit and eventually you learn the routine. Make sure to list all necessary stops or you will forget them, once it becomes habit you no longer need such detailed lists.
Store hopping does us no good. Other than what I listed we have two other grocery stores here in town neither of which I care for. Coupon clipping and running all over to catch the sales doesn't work for us. We simply don't purchase products that coupons are good for and I am not going to start because I can get it free.
If you are a from scratch cook, buying sugar and flour in 25 pounds is much more economical than 5 pound bags.
For us a few other costs have played into why we have cut back on town trips. Our driveway is very long and hilly so in and out traffic daily or weekly causes expensive to repair wear and tear on the driveway. By cutting all unnecessary traffic on it out it shaves off 1500 dollars of driveway work a year leaving us that money for much more necessary items.
Not having contact with others is not as easy as it seems. Through the years we have told people visiting or staying to be prepared for seclusion, for a life with only seeing others every couple of weeks. A life void of cell phones and store trips except for every couple of weeks. Reality has shown us that few can last the couple weeks and it is very rare for any one to go a month or more. I think in all the years of having people through here exactly one has gone an entire month without leaving the homestead.
One should have a decent stock pile of basics as well as knowledge of how much food you will need in advance of attempting this. I would also suggest cutting back to twice a month first and then every three weeks before going to a full month. By doing this you will save yourself a whole bunch of hassle. In the long run you will save even more money on food bills because you will know exactly how much of darn near everything you eat in that time and can buy bulk accordingly.
Milk will freeze. It sometimes gets a little weird but it is still fine. For those that don't drink much milk or just use it for cooking, powdered milk is a good alternative.