Guest post by Heather of Prudent Pantry, a member of our Survival Mom-Blog Ring.
We are taught to think in a monthly budget or a paycheck-to-paycheck budgeting manner. What would you say if I said it’s time to throw that idea out the window for your food and supplies?
Yes, I do mean buying a side of meat in the fall for the entire year’s needs. Or buying 100 boxes of pasta with coupons when it goes on sale in early March. It’s time we started thinking yearly rather than monthly!
The biggest obstacle to this is the quantity you will need. I am astounded at how much my family needs to keep going for 3 months, much less 12 months. In fact, this freaks me out at the grocery store, and I’ll chicken out when it comes to buying the larger amount. Then, I don’t buy the 100 boxes of food that I know we need to eat for a year
Figuring Out How Much You Need
Here is one of the easiest ways I have found to ease the pressure I put on myself when it comes to quantities. There are 52 weeks in the year. How many times in one week do we eat ground beef? We eat ground beef 2x times a week for lunch and 2 to 3 times a week for dinner. Each meal, at most, for my large family, would be 3 pounds of ground meat. That totals 15 pounds of ground meat a week. Then 15 pounds x 52 weeks = 780 pounds a year or 65 pounds a month.
This information is great. Realize that I won’t cook this much ground beef every week. Some weeks I might be veggie heavy or chicken is on the menu. If I get this amount of ground beef, though, I know that I have five meals a week fully covered.
Why should you know how much ground beef you would use, or pasta, or salsa, etc?
Several months ago I was in Kroger when the meat manager was cleaning out the meats that would pass their expiration within two days. The ground beef was marked 60% off! I should have cleaned him out of all the ground beef he was putting in the clearance bin, but I didn’t. Why? Because I didn’t have a firm number in my head of how much we needed for a week, month, or year.
That loose idea of, “Gee, we need a lot,” translated into a queasy feeling when I had 25 pounds in my cart, so I stopped there. Firm reliable numbers would have assured me that I was doing fine and to keep on shopping.
Knowing your family’s average usage will make getting over the quantity hurtle much easier!
Knowing the quantity your family needs for a year helps you estimate costs. If you know that you use 780 pounds of ground beef and it averages $3.00 per pound, that will come to $2340.00. If you can save even a dollar off the cost through coupons or bulk buying, you are saving your yearly budget $780!!
I highly recommend that you take the time to write down your family’s favorite meals and translate that information from a week menu into quantities needed for a year. Take those amounts to find out how much your family needs for one year of eating the tried and true meals you enjoy. Don’t worry. You won’t get bored. Much of our menu revolves around the same food basics, just prepared differently.
Take the plunge and start adjusting your thinking and budget to a year long budget. That will help you know how much you need for your pantry, and roughly, how much it will cost. This is a great way to fill up your prudent pantry!
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