Yes, two blog reviews in a row. This one doesn’t cover nearly as many topics, but goes in great detail into a few. What I find most interesting (being a numbers person) is the detail and planning around eating. One of the old posts – still linked to the homepage – refers to her ability to feed her family for 40¢/person/day. It’s gone up a bit since then, but you get the idea.
She achieves this by shopping wisely as well as growing/making much of her own food. You can read in great detail on the blog.
As a numbers person I find the planning fascinating – to paraphrase “Potatoes will be $x/lb this month so I’ll buy 300 pounds which is enough to last a full year.” To be able to do this one needs to know ones prices (ideally this would be a price book), know how much of everything your family consumes in a given amount of time, and have enough space to put a year’s supply of food. I don’t have enough space for a year’s supply of food, but I do know my prices (maybe not quite as well as her) and I know how much we eat (roughly).
The blog is excellent at reminding me to be mindful. I’m not going to buy all my year’s green beans at their lowest ever price and can them. But, I do realize when green beans are 3x their lowest price and buy something else.
Second, she phrases it just right when she recommends to plan meals around what’s in your pantry, not what’s on sale. That’s not to say that I don’t pay attention to what’s on sale. But, any given week a big chunk of my grocery shopping goes towards items that are on sale that I won’t necessarily use that week. If I can use them immediately, great – less to store. But, if its something I will use and it’s a great sale (or good enough on things I use regularly) I will stock up. For me stocking up is 6-8 weeks worth since most sales cycle in that time. For a few items, like pantry staples, that go on sale at specific times of the year I will buy more.
The downside I find to her numbers, though, is the money she spends on things most of us who shop regularly don’t have/need. She has many kitchen gadgets – food dehydrator, canning supplies for a years’ storage of many different things, deli slicer, grain mill, food grade storage buckets – that cost money. She has a tricked out garage/pantry. She spends a lot of time/money gardening. I completely agree that once one has these things grocery shopping is cheaper, but there’s an upfront cost and a lot of ongoing work that I think we need to keep in mind. All that being said, I like reading about it with my own life lens.
So, since I’ve taken to posting our grocery spending here, I did a quick calculation to determine what we spend per person per day on meals. Realizing that we do eat out from time to time, I estimate that we typically make 555 meals/month. I aim for $900/month, but for this exercise we’ll use $1000/month in groceries. That gives me $1.80/meal or $5.40/person/day if we ate every meal at home (spending more on groceries, but less total since we wouldn’t be going out).
Obviously this is much higher than her number. But, I don’t own much food storage equipment. I have two refrigerators and a closet pantry. I barely garden (I don’t have time and living in the Northeast makes it impossible much of the year without greenhouses or other expenses.). We also drink milk and eat fish regularly, neither of which would be in her budget.
I took a picture after my last trip to BJs, which was admittedly pretty small by our standards.
But, I put it here because I don’t think this would make the cut for her. Maybe she’d buy the craisins, bacon, and one gallon of milk with coupons. But, these are things we like to have available. And, I’m ok with that.