Wednesday, February 24, 2010

cutting costs -once a month supply runs

Since we lost our job retired we have cut our every other week town trips back to once a month. If it wasnt for all the critters  and food storage issues we would cut this back even further.We  find nothing unusual in ourselves being able to  accomplish this feat  but to the majority of folks, our doing this makes people look at us like we have a third eye on our forehead. Not that most people don't look at us that way to begin with  but that's a completely different post.

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 became unemployed retired, gas was at its all time high  of  $4.15 or so a gallon. Living over 10 miles from  town and driving a gas hog back and forth to town this was an  easy decision to make. Each trip to town for gas alone was  ten bucks. I know not much in the grand scheme of things but when you  have just seen how fast your paycheck can be cut to a 1/3 or less  of what  it was a week or two ago it suddenly becomes more than you ever thought imaginable.

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.


  1. I agree with you about the coupons. Do you ever see a coupon for bags of flour, rice, beans, or sugar? The coupons around here are for frozen pizzas and soda pop. If it isn't something I plan on buying any way, using the coupon actually costs me money, even if I am spending less than "retail" on the product.

  2. Frozen milk is perfect for cooking. Not so much for cereal or drinking. The fats separate and it gets "funky".

  3. Nah, It ain't so hard...

  4. Beautiful words Dilli & HHB, and i agree with Earthmother it isn't that hard; although i have seen many bow-out very quickly... Coming in and thinking a Natural Lifestyle is all fun and games and it will be a piece of cake... Sorry my brothers and sisters yall had good intentions but its just not for ya.... i myself love it and blessed that there are so many folks that do live it everyday.
    Never stop truckin Chris and Marie
    and thank you foreverything..

  5. How long is fresh pasturized milk good for? I can't do powdered milk (even for baking, I have tried and tried and tried), but I don't like milk (so its probably a whole nother issue). The issue I have currently is 2 growing girls in need of calcium and therefore a 2 gallon a week habbit. I suppose I could by 4 gallons every 2 weeks, and I think it would last that long, but my question becomes what is the shelf life of milk. I don't shop the stores, I shop the public market (come on and get here spring) and a co-op. I could go to my co-op 1x a month and that would be sufficient (maybe even less), but I enjoy the public market (and I bike there in the nice weather). So I guess I could plan to go every other week in the winter (when I have to drive), but I also live in the city, cause I like being around other people, and I can be around other people and not spend a dime.