Monday…This and that

Finally, I have been up since six, my morning list of chores before being allowed to write is always just a bit longer on monday, I had cooked up some yummy steel cut oats for breakfast and for bread making. Wanted to get the morning chores out of the way and as always I am grateful that I don’t have rugs in the house, sweeping and floor washing is much easier then if I had rugs to try and keep clean.

New Recipe I made this weekend, it turned out excellent but I need to try and figure how to make it without my canned goods being used

Lamb Chili with barley

  • One pd of ground lamb (now this one was my older ram yearling so I wanted to make a dish that could cover a heavy intact meat smell and taste)
  • One Quart jar of my homemade diced tomato mix -Tomato’s, Onions, Green Peppers and Celery, spices
  • One Pint Jar of Tomato Pasta sauce-Sweet and Heat Mix
  • One Quart Jar of homemade Tomato Juice
  • One Pint Jar of homecanned Baked Beans
  • Half a cup of Barley
  • Added in Half A cup of Chili powder and simmer till the barley is tender

This wa a sweet/spicy thick stick to your ribs meal, the barley worked really well in the chili, replacing some of the beans that I didn’t have ready (need to can more different kinds of beans to have at a moments notice)

This morning on the CBC which was cranked up so I could hear it across the house, had a interesting local story, it was about food and food prices, turns out that locally they go out X amount of times a year and go shopping at the local stores to see what the average cost would be for a family of four, now I stopped to write this down to get it right.. Family of four counts as two adults, one 9 year old and one 12 year old, they figured that the average family would need to spend 175 per week! or 700 per month in order to buy what is considered the basic’s required to feed the family, that didn’t include household requirements (laundry, dishes, soap etc) nor did it include any eating out, or even extra that folks would buy like cookies, icecream, however it did include breakfast cereal’s, which they consider something that would be bought to meet the healthy (according to the goverment) feeding of the family.

Out of this, they said that it meant a 5% increase over last year, however they did say that they didn’t take into account the smaller packaging that company’s have done, so while they said bread increased in price by X, they didn’t figure out that there was 20 percent less bread the package that was also increased by 10 percent, also she said something were much higher then the 5 percent, the example she gave was Broccoli, which was 50% higher then last year when they did their checking.

Beyond being stunned at the idea that they believe that the average person spends 700 a month on the basics of what is required for feeding a family of four, was the statement that they didn’t think that the “5%” raise was to hard for the typical family to be able to deal with, now she did talk about the folks that are on the line and who that amount would indeed be a issue but she made points of saying, low income, and those that use the food banks

Now I would be surprised if the average middle income family spends 700 on the basic’s per month, let alone a low-income family, and considering the amount of traffic and talking the higher prices on food these days, I think its safe to say that they are indeed noticing! the increased prices that are everywhere on darn near everything other then “toys” which are about the only thing I see going down.. want a new laptop, its dirty cheap folks.. want a roast of beef, its worth top dollar, now don’t get me wrong on that one, if more of that money was going into the farmers, local towns and country communities that would be great but far to much of that profit is paid by the little guys and profit earned by the big guys.

Well, this little gal who stepped left a number of years ago, is now going to go out and do some more farm chores, I also need to dig up my beets for my beet challange and get a post done on them, they have been under cover but with snow coming this week, its time to bring them in and see what I got.. and then track down the other girls that were doing fall planted beets and see how their grow outs went.

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19 Responses to Monday…This and that

  1. Michelle says:

    We in no way spend that $700 a month and we are feeding a family of 7 – we are blessed to be able to provide enough food on about $550 a month and that does include household items. We also stepped left and are now growing a majority of our own food and it feels so wonderful to know that my family is eating the freshest food possible. We are just beginning on our homesteading journey to self sufficiency – next spring I’d like to try my hand at raising meat birds.

    • Hi Michelle

      Thank you for taking the time to let me know how it is going in your neck of the woods, I did wonder if it would change depending on where in the country and which country it is on the food costs.

      Question for you, If you had to buy the food you are eating from your own garden/barn yard or backyard, do you think that the price would more of a true reflective of your costs or do you think you would still be less because of shopping loss leaders, only buying on sale or in season or bulk prices?

      I have been raising meat birds for a number of years now, so please feel free to come back and ask questions if you want when the time comes and I will do my best to help if possable.. They are so worth it!

  2. Andrea says:

    Yeah, I read those numbers too…of course that’s considered a more liberal budget plan. A family of 4 on the “thrifty plan” spends around $700. Wow. I just wonder what that budget would break down to in terms of what they actually buy. Of that $175, how much is dairy, meat, veg, fruit, processed, etc. That’s what I’d be curious to read.

    My family of 4 spends about $80/week, give or take. And I think we eat scandalously well. Of that $80, $10 goes directly to a local farm for milk, approx. $15-20 on meats, $20 on fruits/veg and the remaining on dry goods, staples, grains, cheeses, etc. Of course it fluctuates according to the season and what’s on sale. If I find a particularly good sale on something, I buy a ton of it and we sort of balance it out the following week.

    • Hi Andrea,

      Well, I googled in every which way I could think of to see if I could figure out that break down, the closest I got was that it was 67 items at the store but which ones, I could not find a list on but I agree it would have been interesting to know and worth its own post if I could find it..

      I will ask you the same question if you had to replace what you grow, how much extra do you think it would cost you to fill in that blank?

      I’m the same in regards to loss leader sales, I had to laugh at Dh, he said, Look one of our required reguliar items on sale, should be we pick up a case of them, and I was like.. no, its ok, got enough for this many month, this store will have them for a better sale price in another two months and we will pick up a case or two then.. it makes a big difference to track those prices and stores that offer the best loss leaders on things.

      • Andrea says:

        Only just now getting around to responding to you. Bad. Bad me. LOL .

        I couldn’t begin to guess how much it would cost to replace/buy what we grow.

        All I can tell you is the only produce we buy during the winter is fresh stuff; salad greens, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, bananas, oranges. Everything else comes from the pantry. With the exception of 2 half pints of jelly (that were a goodwill gesture) I haven’t bought any jellies, jams, fruit butters or anything along those lines in 3-4 years. We produce all our pickles, chutneys, chowchows and such so that the only thing we have to buy are olives…cuz baby girl LOVES olives. This year, we replaced all our usual tomato products with homegrown…so that’s going to really knock the budget down. No more buying spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, canned tomatoes. If I had to give you a totally random figure, I’d guess we save at least $100-$125/month by growing our own, sometimes more, sometimes less.

        Even if we didn’t grow a garden, I still don’t think our food bill would be that high because we don’t live on processed foods. With the exception of the $.25 boxes of powdered cheese mac and cheese, processed foods aren’t cheap!

  3. caroline says:

    I have been reading your post for a while and love reading it each day 🙂
    We are a family of 5 and unfortunately I do not have a farm or land to be able to provide my own food as i would love to do and sadly I think they are right on the money with an average of $700 a month. For my 3 growing monsters we spend $200 a week easy and that does not include the once in a while splurge.

    • Hi Caroline

      Welcome to the blog, hope you will comment often and so glad you are liking it! Thanks so much for commenting, interesting that you see it being correct in pricing, Can I ask in general if you are living in a typical area of the country for prices or if you live in a more remote or rural area that has higher prices on general?

  4. Deb W says:

    Hey FarmGal, First I’ve gotta say that your organisational skills and self-discipline are an inspiration and having a life half as orderly as yours would seem like heaven to me. Have always thought of myself as a closet farmer – by that I mean a “real”/family farmer; with a mix of animals in the barn, regular chores to do and gardens set to produce all we need to be happy and healthy. Only managed to get halfway there so far (and you’re living MY dream life on the farm; )
    Wish I could be there to help out. Thanks for sharing. xo D

    • Thanks for giving me a chuckle, I wish I was more able to be organised, some days I feel like I have things figured out and a order to things and then life throws me a curve ball and I am suddenly trying to figure out how to find time, energy and money to fix the next.. NOW that went to the top of the list.. Sometimes Dh and I tease each other that we should call our little place the half-a*s farm, as some things were done really well here and some where done half-a*s, I think it depended alot on which owner did what to tell the truth, aw the joy of a close to a hundred year old farmstead.

      I do hear you though, there is something so wonderful about being on a mixed farm on how the parts all fit together..

  5. Well, in our area, they said that in 2008, that family of four (two parents and two teenagers) would need about $635/month. I have absolutely no doubt that it would be higher now – the price of sugar and flour have doubled since 2008! The Nutritious Food Basket for 2011, though, says that that same family can get by on $735! Only $100 more, even though the prices at the grocery stores have gone through the roof.

    There’s a lot wrong with their figuring. Starvation, who is just under 2, wouldn’t be included in the cost at all, but eats more than Explosion does. They say it should cost us about $475 to eat if we don’t feed Starvation and $571 if we do. (Seriously – kids under 2 don’t eat????)

    We certainly spend a lot less than that but only if the cost is averaged over the year. This month, I’ve spent $45 on milk, $9 on eggs, $18 on a chicken and $11 on a bag of potatoes. BUT – and it’s a big but – I buy in bulk, from local farmers, preserve, etc.

    • Hi C,D.

      Under two don’t eat, what world are they living in? hmmm, I agree that I do think it could be done for less but I think it does take work to make that happen, either by buying in bulk, in season and preserving, growing a garden if possable, buying loss-leaders etc.

      I remember when I lived in Yellowknife NWT, the price of meat was quite high, well not the hunted or fished protein but all other kinds of meat was, and what Dh and I did was buy a small freezer, filled it with bulks meat at 30-40 percent savings(enough that it payed for the freezer on the first year) and hauled it home, we didn’t even make a special trip for it, it was done on a planned visit home to see family in alberta.

  6. CallieK says:

    We are just two adults and we spend less than $200/month on food but my friends who are also just 2 easily spend double that and they buy most of their food at Costco. Then again their cupboards are full of crackers and chips and pancake mix, etc, none of which I buy.

    And I thought I was the only person left in the late great beet challenge! Mine were planted in July but I still don’t think I have any beets, just long roots and greens in my bin. I’ve left them there since we’ve yet to have a hard freeze and they are still chugging along but I should probably empty it just in case.

    • Hi Callie

      I would ask if you are just eating the basics at that price but I have read your blog long enough to know that is not the case, I know that you are preparing different and interesting meals on that budget.

      Nope, still in the great late beet challange, mine turned out great, got a mix of sizes but most are good size, I will roast some off, thought I might find a few different recipes to use with them,, lost the greens,to a good hard frost, which is why I knew it was time to pull the beets now. Are you going to be able to make a dish with them, I know of a number of dishes that you can use the greens in, but there must be some that can use the little root to?

  7. jj says:

    I have no idea what we spend on groceries. $700 for a family of 4 seems a bit crazy, though – our monthly budget of $800 is for groceries and hygiene stuff, PLUS gas for my 30-mile (each way) commute to work, PLUS any clothing or shoes we might need, PLUS goat and chicken feed (not the hay, though), so I can’t imagine we spend more than $200-300 per month for the two of us, and we also feed three large dogs and five cats out of that – I know the dogs cost us around $70 to 80 per month (combined), though that will go down some when the chickens get serious about laying, as I’ll make up a sort of eggs-and-porridge dog food for them part of the time. We don’t eat much meat, and produce eggs and milk here on the acreage (well, the goat is dry, so we’re buying some milk now, but still), and also had a big garden where we grew probably all the squash and root veg we’ll need for the whole year. I budget extra in the late summer and through the fall, and buy in-season stuff in bulk, then can or freeze it for winter, which would also skew our costs.

    I would love to know what was in that basket, though. We buy a lot of barley, rice, lentils and beans in bulk, and get wheat in bushel bags from local farmers, so we’re not buying flour very often. We rarely buy meat at all, and we buy cheese on major sales and freeze it, which probably helps us keep things cheap. We mostly cook from scratch, with the odd bag of potato chips or crackers, and we don’t drink pop – we hardly even drink coffee anymore, since the price doubled. I’d hate to see what our grocery bill would look like if we ate a lot of meat or packaged stuff, though…

    • Hi JJ

      Thanks for your great write up and overview, sounds like you have a very good plan in place and buying bulk from the farmers locally can make such a difference. I am a buy cheese on sale and freeze is girl as well, it works great for when I run out of homemade cheese or need a hard sharp old chedder in the dishes I am making, The dogs will love their porradge/egg mix that is the stable for my old girl and she does very well on it, I do make her porradge often with leftover cooked veggie water for extra vit/minerals.

  8. mom says:

    Good morning Farmgal, finally home. Have no idea what I spend on groceries. Last month we ate out of the pantry. This morning i am going to make veggie soup out of everything DH did not use up while I was gone with a can of diced tomatoes. DH ate out a lot while I was gone so that adds up. It would be different if we had children still, but last night we shared a can of tomato soup and two slices toast as I didn’t get home til seven and was exhausted.I always buy lots of groceries if the kids are coming but often we eat a large stew and a large pot of soup off and on for a week. I could certainly be a lot more frugal than I am but that is not Dh’s way.Love mom

    • Hi Mom,

      I am glad you are home safe and sound if tired and sore, you certainly do buy alot of food when the kids and grandchildren are coming home LOL, stuffed to overflowing would be the way to talk about it.. I know you are able to alot more frugal, I was raised that way but enjoy this time in your life that you can afford to spend a little more on food, its worth paying for the higher qaulity local food for health alone. Wish I lived closer and could just share the farms bounty with you!

  9. Daisy says:

    When I hear these averages on what a family spends on groceries I always wonder what the people coming up with the numbers are considering “staples”. The price differences between Corn Pops vs. oatmeal or boneless skinless chicken breast vs. chicken legs are drastic, but both would be considered “cereal” or “chicken”. Maybe I’m skeptical but I always think that they are basing the figures off of the higher end goods. I budget around $50 a week for us (three adults, though Dad buys his own extras), and that includes toiletries, household things and cat stuff. In reality I’m not even spending the whole $50 on the week because I almost always stock up on a loss leader or two, and we eat pretty darn good. To be honest though, lately it’s been more like $60 a week because I’ve been too tired/grumpy/frazzled so I’ve been buying things like bread and granola bars, and we buy a side of beef every year so that would probably add another $10/week or so if I averaged it out. I don’t know what I would be spending if I didn’t have the garden, but it would probably mean less fresh stuff and less variety.

    • Hi Daisy,

      That is right in line with my spending for two before I had the gardens etc up and running really well, I was about 50 per week for us an the household costs, but now that I have everything else going, for a couple years it was more like 50 every two weeks, but this fall so far, I would like to see if I can keep it 50 per two weeks for this winter as well or even less, we will see..

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