Tips That  Stretch Your Grocery Buck

Tips That Stretch Your Grocery Buck

                                                                                           By Jeanette Vale

I recently made a meme for our Facebook feed.  

It makes one laugh, but mostly,  there is a disturbing sadness to it.  We chuckle to keep our sanity about us.  There is nothing funny about the calamities that have been affecting so many people in our nation and across the globe.  Inflation has been very hard and I'm not sure we've seen worst of it.


This past Sunday I attended a big family dinner and the food was plentiful.  So much uneaten food was thrown in the trash.  My chickens would have loved that! 

 If I had the logistics (and humility) to haul  those bags of trash home, I would’ve done it.  

I am the one who has to buy the chicken feed.  It’s not cheap.  I am finding that owning chickens still has me paying $8 a dozen. For the past four months the hens balked at their feed.  I want to yell,  "I paid good money for that!  Don't you know there are chickens in Tim-Buk-Tu that are starving?!"

From smaller family BBQ's,  I'd  dump the contents of trash into the coop and the hens did the dishes.   Not a grain of rice was wasted.  They eat meat, salad, grains, everything.  And it stretches my budget!   Then I'd rake out the trash. They're happy. I'm happy.

Check out the chicken resume.   


I live in Utah.  I’d say we are the food storage capital of the world.  A caller from Louisiana asked me today, “Why does all freeze dried food come out of Utah?”

It’s what we do.  A collective personality quirk.  We have been doing it  for over a hundred years.  "Be self-reliant and store some food"–it came over the pulpit.  Some have built businesses from that concept.  

However, we’re not always good at rotating our food storage into everyday eating.  We buy in bulk and then twenty years pass.  What do you do with that much expired food?  Here are some ideas.

Old hard beans.  These won’t soften no matter how long you cook them. False.   Don’t throw them out.  Even if they are several years old.  There is a way to soften them and they are good as new.



Work in the Food Service Industry - If you need a job, work for a caterer.   My sister's roommate filled the freezer with the best food that was leftover from events.  You get paid for work, and you get gourmet food to take home!  Sister advice to this: Learn to use a pressure canner.  

When Utahn's (who do store food) relocate out of state, they sell off their piles of food storage at really low prices.  Some even give it away.   

But most households are actually not into this movement and consider it a fools errand.

Once, I had to move suddenly.  Guess what I kept?  The food storage.  All the  furniture was donated away--and it was nice stuff, recently bought.  

A neighbor took the furniture and ended up giving me $2000 for some of the pieces.  What a blessing.  I wasn’t expecting  a cent.  

When I was generous, someone else became generous.  And people who were in need got a free washer and dryer, and other items.  It was a win-win all the way around.  I was able to clear out the house without holding a dreaded garage sale.  

When you open up and give in your abundance (or give in your poverty), it sets off a chain reaction.

Even as things get tighter for us, and I believe they will,  be generous.  Then watch miracles of multiplication happen.  This is another way to get free food.  Give to those less fortunate and the food spreads.  Bellies are filled.  Darkness is pushed back.  These are the pockets of light that will keep us.

Here is a better idea.  If you have a homestead, it is  always needing some chore done.  If you have people come to you for food, have them work for it.  Even children can gather small sticks and tie them into bundles for your fire starting needs. 

Build a micro economy despite what is happening globally.


After a big dinner there tends to be a lot of food leftover with the host begging people to make plates to take home.   I pressure-can split-pea-soup with big chunks of free ham.  

When we were sick with Covid and no one had strength to make meals, we ate from our jars.   Split pea soup was fast and delicious.

Even with inflation today, stores will put the seasonal stuff on clearance.  Some grocery stores give away their holiday chocolates for free. 

I place these confections in a jar and remove the oxygen (using the 'Food Saver' Products).   Chocolate stays perfect for many months.  


You can throw expired food to the chickens.  They’ll give you  eggs in return.  If you don’t have chickens, a neighbor does.  Trade for eggs. 

How many pounds of wasted food are you throwing away?  Give it to a chicken owner.  Right now, they worry about feed that is rumored to be tainted and affecting their hens.   

Say, “My family needs eggs, and you might not like buying questionable feed”.  Strike a deal.  It’s time to get creative and barter.  Let’s govern our own food supply.

It is not convenient  to do any of this.  But those who are setting up their trade systems with neighbors will only thrive if we descend into further constraints.

Potato flakes that taste a bit 'meh' - Throw these into a potato flour bread recipe.  It makes the fluffiest bread.  The taste and texture is excellent.

Rancid oil becomes oil lamps.  take a glass jar.  drill a hole in the metal lid. thread some yarn through it.  Pour unusable cooking oil in.   Light it.  Voila--oil lamp.


Big Island Candies, located in Hilo, Hawaii, bake a shortbread cookie that are dipped in chocolate.  

These are shipped all over the world.  We were gifted a box and I put them in a jar, removing the oxygen.  We ate them a year later and they were perfect. In fact, the flavors intensified.  

We dis on chocolate.  Oh, it’s fattening, sugary and unhealthy.  My people…Store chocolate!  It’s calories.  It's variety.  It’s currency.   It will bring you sanity if you have to live from your home store.

America is diet crazed.  People throw away chocolate all year long.   Intercept.  We've got Easter on the horizon.  It will be raining candy.  


High quality food is everywhere and you can get it for free.  Yes, even during the beginning time of this inflation.  And no, you don't need to dumpster dive!

There is a  Law of Attraction that  will help you find food.  Or it will find you.  I was gifted a whole freezer of the finest beef, pork, bacon and ham.   

If you've got the budget for it, order a bucket of our Legacy Food Storage!  It has a 25 year shelf life.

Keep on!  Come visit us:



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