Friday, September 19, 2014

Store what you eat... Eat what you store!

I just spent the better part of two days going through my pantry and cold storage trying to find out what I have and what I need.  The stores around me have been offering "case lot" sales.  If you haven't heard of that, you probably don't live in Utah.  We Mormons are famous for several things, but large families and food storage may be two of them.  So the stores around here offer cases of canned or storage items at a discounted price.  Most of the time you have to buy the whole case to get the deal.  If you don't have sales like this near you, you can often request a full case of a sale item.  When I lived in the midwest, grocery managers would often grab me a case from the back.  I've also been known as that crazy woman who marks 48 under the quantity of a raincheck item!  ;)
My kitchen pantry.  Staples like flour, rice, sugar, and oats are in 5 gallon buckets with gamma seals.
I wanted to see what I had and what I needed before heading to the store, so thus the clean-out and organization with the help of my lovely 20 yr. old daughter.  It turns out that I have a perpetual feeling that I am out of tomato soup and buy it whenever it is on sale.  Consequently, I may have a two-year supply. And in contrast, I feel like I have plenty of canned corn, when actually I am completely out.

My can rotation shelf "The Harvest".  
I have struggled with figuring out a system to know what I have and to rotate it to minimize waste.  Just a few days ago I printed out a twenty page inventory system... that I just know I won't use.  Since I have a smart phone, I decided the best system for me was to keep a picture of my food storage in my phone and update it every month or so.  I can zoom in on my canned storage and see that I have absolutely no cream of mushroom soup, so I should look for a sale on that.  I can also plan meals from what I have because I can see it!  I am aiming to have a year supply of food that we can live off, but a three months supply is a good goal to reach for if you're just starting out.  A three day supply of water for drinking, washing, and cooking is also a good goal to aim for.  In most natural disasters, a three day supply would avert disaster for your family.
This is a great video showing how you can store food even in a small home or apartment.  It doesn't have to be overwhelming.  Even a couple extra cans or items per week can help you get started.  The other part of this challenge is to eat what you have stored.  Make sure you are eating the older food first, in order to rotate the items.  If you are concerned about expiration dates, call your local extension agent and get another opinion.  My goal is to try not to waste, but "when in doubt, throw it out".  Happy Case Lot sales, everybody!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Extreme Hoarders: Fridge Edition!

After: a fridge that you can find food in! (The before was too gruesome for a primetime)

You guys, I wanted my next post to be about meal planning.  About how planning out your meals and shopping just once a week (or month!) was going to save you and me time, money, gas, and would provide healthier meals.  

But this fridge just wouldn't be ignored!  The bottom shelf (the thing that is also holding the crisper drawers) broke and I was faced with the choice to replace or repair.  Of course, I was going to repair it! This model is perfectly functional and only 8 years old.  Of course, if they made a residential fridge that makes that pebble ice, I'd be tempted...

So I ordered the part from  As you can see, I have broken tops to one crisper drawer and the deli drawer, but I decided those weren't "must haves".  The part arrived and I pulled everything out of my poor fridge and realized. 

1)  No one needs a half gallon of relish
2)  Four kinds of syrup is maybe a tad much
3)  No more buying every sauce that they are sampling at Costco! (hint for Mr. D!)
4)  What exactly was that once?
and finally-
5)  We waste a lot of food when we can't find it.  

After a thorough purge and cleaning, I snapped the above picture.  I have room now to see and eat delicious leftovers, I can find what we have before it goes furry, and I can see what we need to buy at the store.  Organizers from the dollar store corral small items and keep spill contained.  I am super happy about this and resolve to keep it up as I attempt to save grocery money by meal planning and food rotation.  Who's with me?!?

Monday, September 8, 2014

What is Simple Abundant Living?

Frugal Schnoodle with the SAL inspiration pillow.

Simple Abundant Living (SAL) is all about trying to live in harmony with the values of:

Financial Independence
Green Living

This blog is my journal as I aspire to be on the journey of SAL.  So who am I?  I am a mostly stay-at-home-mom.  I live in a very Happy Valley with Mr. D, six kids, and our frugal schnoodle.  I'm a backyard organic gardener, a budding food preserver, a home and clothing DIY-er, a frugal bargain and thrift store shopper, and a green juice maker.   I work part-time as a healthcare professional.  I am committed to health and proper health care, although exercising regularly and eating healthy is a work in progress.  ;)  

This blog will also be committed to the idea of FIRE, or the Financial Independent Retire Early school of thought.  I was first introduced to this concept by a blog called, and I recommend you spend some time on his blog if you've never been there before.  I am not personally interested in retiring early, but I am interested in having the kind of financial independence that would allow Mr. D and I the option of not working for money.  If you're looking for a blog where the writer has it all figured out, this is not the place!  But if you're willing to follow and help me on the journey, please read on!!!