This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

The Agriculture Department is raising prices on your dairy products. (How they have the authority to do this is beyond me, but for now, it is what it is.)

breaking-news-milk-cows-istock000003721058Farmers claim that it costs more to make milk than they get to sell it. Guess what that means? Can you say milk shortage?? In June of this year, The National Milk Producers Federation said they would PAY farmers to slaughter diary cows in order to manipulate the prices higher based on “supply and demand.” (Despicable, I know.)

Michael Swanson, chief economist at Wells Fargo, told Bloomberg, “The milk price remains well below the total cost of production.”

Cheese is expected to increase in price SIGNIFICANTLY as is butter. What does this mean to you? Start buying cheese and butter while you can afford it, and then wax or can it so that you can have it on hand!  

breaking-news-challenge-butterBy the way, on the internet you’ll find .50 cent off Challenge Butter coupons, $1.00 off coupon of any two pounds of cheese, plus a .75 cents off coupon of a gallon of milk. (There’s also a .75 cents off of any kind of yogurt.)

To capitalize on these coupons, go to coupons.com. If these offers don’t work for your zip code, enter in 84097. You may also want to use zip code 19542.  Albertson’s has a double coupon out this week making your cheese, butter, yogurt, and milk VERY affordable. Limit is printing 2 coupon per computer.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

Yes, You Can Afford It

By Kellene Bishop

Photo c/o chathamjournal.com

Photo c/o chathamjournal.com

Let’s face it.  Watching your bags of groceries get smaller and smaller while the price goes up and up will overwhelm anyone–especially if you have food storage on the brain plus providing food for your family.  I don’t care how wealthy you are, paying more money for less groceries is upsetting, right?  Two nights ago I taught a class specifically to aid individuals in obtaining MORE groceries and other items for less.  To emphasize the message I created several dishes for the group of 40 people with serving sizes plenty for each person to try several tastes of each dish.  I made a dessert and two main dishes all for a total of $4.92.  I often tell people that it only costs $1 per person per day for a year’s supply of food.  But with the benefit of couponing, I find that price to be quite generous.  Why?  Because I am able to obtain so many items for FREE or even better, for less than free. 

Here’s an example of how I get something for “less than free.”  Albertson’s recently had a sale on General Mills cereals.  My husband enjoys Cheerios and I consider them relatively healthy.  I had a coupon for $1 off of a box of Cheerios.  They were on sale for $1.99 a box.  However, Albertson’s also distributed one of their own coupons which allows me to double the value of any coupon presented, up to a $1, on any product purchased.  I had my $1 off, Albertson’s doubled it, which made my box of Cheerios cost me negative 1 cent.  ($1.99 – $1 – $1 = $ -.01)  This kind of scenario happens in the stores I shop over and over.  To be honest, I never shopped at Albertson’s or Walgreens or Rite-Aid before because those stores were “too expensive.”  Now I can’t afford to shop at the warehouse stores!  Who needs to rob a bank anymore?  Taking groceries from a store is much more lucrative, legal, and fun.  And I have not yet been shot at trying to do so. 🙂

These kinds of discounts aren’t isolated solely to groceries.  I’ve purchased pain relievers, cough medicines, deodorants, toothpastes, feminine needs, razors, paper goods, bandages, and even rat poison at a deep discount.  In fact, I’m no longer impressed with “50% off” sales.  I tend to focus on “free,” “almost free” or “hey, we’ll essentially pay you to take this product out of the store for us.” 🙂

So here’s a question for you.  How many times would YOU want to get that kind of a deal?  If you could consistently get these kinds of deals on first-aid, medical supplies and groceries do you think you could easily accumulate your necessary food storage and some emergency preparedness supplies?  Of course you could!  The numbers of times you can get such a deal is limited only by your willingness to be aware of what’s going on around you in the form of sales, coupons, specials AND the number of newspapers and online coupons you’re willing to obtain.  I personally subscribe to five Sunday newspapers and regularly check 6 easy coupon websites.  More importantly for you to consider, I look at this as a part-time job.  I make my own hours, determine how much I make per hour (which turns out to be about $50-$100 an hour), work from the comfort of my own home.  Try getting a part-time job under those terms any other way today. 

coupon-binderThe biggest question I’m asked when teaching people about couponing is how much time it takes.  Usually this question is asked in an overwhelmed tone by the person, already anticipating that it will be yet one more thing on their massive list of things to do.  I usually spend about 2 hours on a Sunday night hunting and gathering my coupons.  I use a guillotine-style paper cutter to cut them so I can usually cut out 5 to 10 at a time.  Sometimes I have to cut the coupons down a bit more, but I use spring-loaded scissors for the task as not to wear out my hands.  (Of course, I purchased the scissors and the paper cutter on sale.)  Then I organize my coupons in a heavy, zippered, three-ring binder, divided into all of the categories of interest to me.  Then I insert the coupons into heavy duty baseball card holders.  I’ve researched a LOT of other methods for organizing coupons and I assure you that I’ve found this to be THE best way by far.  (Please take my word on this matter. You can go off and try to be a pioneer, but you know that they always come back with arrows in their back.) 🙂 I never have trouble finding or seeing the coupons.  They never fall out as the result of an errant slip, and as a result of my organization, I’m not a nuisance to someone who’s in line behind me. 

savvy-shopper-avatarIn addition to my own efforts, I’ve found a great ally who does all of the “watching” and accounting of the coupons for me—Amy at www.savvyshopperdeals.com.  Twice a week, Amy tells gives me a gauge as to what’s a good sale, a great sale, or a kick butt sale on her website.  I can go on her site, tell this amazing software what I’m looking for, what percentage I want to save, what store I want to shop, etc., and create my grocery list right there.  What I end up with is the perfect grocery list that tells me what stores the items are located, what coupons I need to have on hand (plus where they can be located, whether it be a website or a newspaper ad) and she even tells me what AISLE the products are in.  Best of all, this service is completely free.  This way I don’t have to waste time hunting through all of the ads.  I simply spend a little bit of time on her site after I’ve got my coupons organized, and I’m off to stealing…er, I mean buying groceries.  (Note: Right now Amy is local for Utah stores, however, she’s in the process of going NATIONAL very soon.  I’m excited for the rest of you.  Know though that there are similar services and forums online in your area as well.)

Couponing has several benefits.  Not only can you feed your family every day for cheap, but because you ARE feeding your family every day so affordably, it makes you think twice about going out to eat.  With easy recipes you don’t have to feel the need to “escape” to a restaurant for a break.  On those rare occasions when I do go out to eat now it’s only for something that I probably don’t know how to make like those dang biscuits at Texas Roadhouse.  I almost always have a coupon when I go out to eat now.  Even then I’m looking at my food and telling myself, “Do you know how much in groceries I can get for the price of these two meals?!”  Yes, I’m officially “coupon corrupted.”  But seriously.  Couponing really does change your perspective on money.  After you’ve had the experience of ringing up over $100 of groceries only to pay $4.92 for them, you sure think differently about paying for those “extra upgrades” in life.  When I see a quarter on the ground now, yeah, I’ll pick it up—‘cause that could pay for a couple meals if I use it right! 

There’s the stigma that couponing isn’t worthwhile and that it only saves you money on junk.  Part of the reason why I made great food for my class the other night was to dispel this stigma.  Here’s two great recipes that I used last night to show them just how yummy “cheap” can be.  (By the way, due to couponing, I got over $30 in free pork for this recipe the other day!)

Easy BBQ Pork (My total cost: $3.49. Serves 10-12)

In a saucepan over medium heat mix 2 jars of chili sauce and 1 regular sized jar of grape jelly.  Warm through. 

In a casserole dish, Dutch oven, or the sauce pan, place your cooked pork. (Canned, Hormel, Spam, etc.)  Drizzle the chili/jelly mixture over the meat and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the meat is warmed through.  This tastes better if you are able to have sliced pork simmering in the mixture instead of whole large pork roast, etc. Y ou simply can’t get enough of the bbq sauce flavor.

Serve over cooked rice.

tuna-roll-coupon-cooking-Tuna Roll (My total cost: $1.11. Serves 8 – 10)

2 cans of tuna, drained

½ C Miracle Whip

½ C of Italian shredded cheese mix

½ package of cream cheese, cut into cubes

1 can cream of celery

½ T. granulated onion

1 T. Italian seasoning

2 cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls or crescent rounds

***

1 can cream of mushroom

1 C of parmesan cheese or 4 cheese Italian cheese mix

1/4 C of milk

Sprinkle of parsley

1 stick of butter

1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed 

Mix the tuna, mayo, cream cheese, cheese mix and celery soup together in a bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Roll out the crescent rolls until they are in a flat rectangle.  

tuna-roll-first

Spoon the tuna mixture over the bread dough.  

tuna-roll-two

Carefully roll the dough like a “jelly roll”.  Place in a “Pam sprayed” casserole dish.  Bake at 350 for 12- 15 minutes.

tuna-roll-finished

In another bowl mix together the cream of mushroom soup, the cheese, and ¼ C of milk.  Stir consistently until nicely thickened.  Then spread over the cooked tuna rolls. 

Mix together the crumbled Ritz crackers and the melted butter. Top the dish evenly, then sprinkle a little parsley on top.  Return to the oven for about 10 minutes.  Serve warm.

I have so much more that I’d love to share with you on this topic, but that’s simply not practical on a blog.  So I’ll keep chipping away at different components on couponing and hope that in the meantime you’ll think twice about embracing this way of affordably gathering in your supplies.  

I’ve known folks who have been on food stamps who have been able to stand on their own two feet thanks to couponing.  I also personally know of a family of 7 that spends only $100 a month on groceries and HALF of that is for food storage.  Given that the value of our currency is in question and inflation keeps rearing its ugly head, I can’t think of a better way to fight back than to take advantage of couponing.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Why don’t I believe someone who says they don’t have food storage because they can’t afford it?  Because chances are, these are the same folks who wouldn’t focus on food and water preparedness even if they had the funds.  Sad but true.  Why do I say this?  First of all WATER STORAGE is FREE and yet I rarely see a person who has even a semblance of the amount of water they need.  Surely they have empty 2-liter bottles that they can use to store clean water in the event of an emergency.  And if they don’t, they sure as heck know someone who does.  I even see some folks who have EMPTY 55 gallon drums just sitting in their back yard or in their basement.  But the second reason I really don’t buy this excuse is because FOOD STORAGE is FREE.  That’s right.  By paying attention you can find PLENTY of instances in which you can obtain FREE food storage and in some instances even get PAID to acquire it.  Perhaps you think I’m nuts to state something so bold.  But not only will I PROVE this to you, I will show you how using this strategy can help your entire personal budget as well, and earn your part-time efforts an average of $40 to $75 dollars an hour—AT HOME!  

Nope, this isn’t some multi-level marketing schpiel.  It’s called being aware of what’s going on around you and taking advantage of it.  More simply, it’s called using coupons!  Before you roll your eyes at the thought of clipping a 25 cent off coupon for a store that’s 5 miles away, allow me to clarify, because that’s certainly not what I’m talking about. 

Yesterday I obtained enough groceries for a couple weeks worth of meals in an emergency.  While these meals would be minimalist perhaps, they will bring me peace of mind in the event of a crisis.  I traveled a total of 2.25 miles.  I was PAID $20 to acquire nearly $100 worth of food storage and other perishable items for my home.  I don’t care what kind of income you make.  Free food storage is GREAT. And getting paid to do it FREE is even better!  

Photo c/o squalorsurvivors.com

Photo c/o squalorsurvivors.com

So I’m going to spell out for you how I did this.  I printed out several coupons from Kraftfoods.com.  In addition to this I receive the Sunday newspaper.  In fact, due to the value I get in following this productive strategy, I actually purchase FIVE Sunday newspapers each week.  Believe me, it’s worth it even to the most ardent penny pinchers—you’ll see why in a minute.  I’ve even known some to buy as many as FIFTEEN Sunday newspapers each week just to maximize their coupon benefits.  (Check with your local newspapers to find out if they have a special multi-paper price and what their maximum allowed number of newspapers per week is.)  So in the Sunday newspaper, Albertson’s had several “double the value of your coupon” specials.  This meant that any coupon I presented up to a dollar, they would recognize it as double that discount. 

So, off to Albertson’s I went, armed with my coupons and a strategically prepared shopping list.  While that may sound annoying to you to think of taking all of that time to create, you should know that I actually subscribe to a FREE service in my area where I can simply click on the specials that I want, in the stores that I want, and for the product types that I want, and when I’m done it automatically prints off an itemized shopping list for me.  (For you Utah folks visit www.savvyshopperdeals.com)  This kind of service or similar to it is available in other regions of the country. 

Upon arriving at Albertson’s, I went to the condiments aisle.  Let me break this down for you:

  • A large box of Ritz Crackers was on sale for only $2.89.  I had a dollar off coupon of any size Ritz.  So if I doubled it, making my Ritz crackers 89 cents. 
  • In addition to that I had another coupon that gave me a FREE box of any kind of Wheat Thins with the purchase of a box of Ritz Crackers.  Yup.  My 89 cent box of Ritz Crackers qualified me for my husbands free Multi-Grain Wheat Thins.  And of course I had two of each of these coupons. 
  • kraft-bbq-sauceI also had $1 dollar off coupons for any Kraft BBQ sauce, which was already on sale at Albertson’s for only 68 cents.  And yes, they applied the difference to my other purchases. 
  • I also had a previous coupon, courtesy of Johnson and Johnson for any grocery purchase of $10 or more the next time I shopped at Albertson’s.  I used that to buy some canned chicken which was also on sale. 
  • I also purchased Kraft Ranch dressing, on sale for 99 cents, with my dollar off and $1.50 off coupons.  
  • I got Chinet brand paper plates for only 9 cents after my coupons.  
  • That day I also got celery on sale, eggs on sale, Kool-Aid and jarred Planter peanuts—all dramatically reduced. 

Bottom line, when I was done purchasing everything, I paid a whopping $8.92.  But wait, there’s more.  I also had $20.00 worth of rebates from a couple of beer companies redeemable if I purchased “salty snacks” and other kinds of goodies.  (Note: in the state of Utah it’s illegal to require a purchase of alcohol in order to receive a rebate.  So no alcohol purchase was necessary.)  My total money spent that day for so much in groceries?  NEGATIVE $11.08.  Total time spent with coupons, driving and shopping—3.5 hours.  Average value of that time–$40, and to think I’m actually rather new to this whole process!  I could have saved more time if I’d been more aware of where things were in the grocery store, if I had invested in a better binder for my coupons so when they fell on the floor they didn’t fly everywhere, etc. 🙂

So, my emergency preparedness menu based on yesterday’s shopping will consist of canned chicken mixed in either BBQ sauce or Ranch Dressing, served atop crackers, (warm or cold), with some Lemonade on the side.  Of course I’ll supplement that with the hugely discounted peaches and green beans I have previously purchased, and viola!  You’ve got an easy emergency meal while conserving your own energy and money.

Now tell me again how you can’t afford to gather food storage?  I’d say if you can get free food storage or nearly free, you can’t afford NOT to.  And please fill up those water barrels!

Other good coupons sources: Boodle.com, pinchingyourpennies.com, grocerysmarts.com.  Be sure to subscribe to your local grocery store’s e-mails for unadvertised specials.  There’s an average of 1,000 unadvertised specials EVERY week in your grocery store!   

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!