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Buy in bulk/stock pile tribe - Page 5

post #81 of 360
Oops, this got long, sorry!

1. What have been your biggest challenges/downfalls/failures turned successes with stockpiling and bulk buying?

Learning to estimate how much we really use of things (and psychically anticipate what the kids will suddenly refuse to eat, LOL). I keep getting better at that while I go, but I have failed miserably at times.

Refusing to admit that we just aren't ever going to use up certain things, and hanging onto them way too long (but then gifting them to a friend feels good).

Underestimating how perishable some things are. I hate it when I buy too many bags of carrots on sale and they start getting slimy before we use them. (And do I ever learn? I just bought 6 5-lb bags of carrots on sale yesterday! I think I need more of those green bags to repackage them in.)

Learning to keep the stockpile off limits to pets. I lost an entire bushel of potatoes and two nearly-new bushel baskets last month. I will spare you the details.

Keeping our diet interesting while eating from pantry. Finding varied and acceptable recipes that use only or primarily the ingredients I consider standard in my pantry. The more recipes you find that can do this, the more successful you'll be at pantry-eating. Also I have learned over time that the more flexible you can be in your cooking, the easier you can eat from pantry. If you are stuck following recipes to the letter, you'll have to shop when you're out of an ingredient.

Not buying stuff simply because it is a good deal. That took a lot of practice for me. Unless it's exactly what we use and like, and I know we won't go through it too slowly or too quickly, I won't buy it in bulk.

Learning the hard way to NOT stock certain ingredients that might make me use up other spendy ingredients too fast. If I have cocoa or lemon juice in the house, I use up way too much maple syrup (spendy) making hot chocolate and lemonade. I stopped buying boxes of soymilk/ricemilk/almondmilk because I was making yummy mama-drinks with them like there was no tomorrow. We don't otherwise drink boxed milk and we can easily get by without it, so we do - but I used to buy a case when it was on sale, until I realized I was wasting that $$.

More below under treats...

2. Where do you keep your stash?

Garage (bins, buckets, and shelves), under the bed, clothes closets, laundry room, downstairs playroom (like a basement), behind the living room easy chair (kittycorner to the wall). The garage gets too cold in winter for some things.

3. Do you have a goal?

I want to learn how to rootcellar carrots and cabbage and work that into our pantry plan. Unfortunately, we don't have a spot in the house that has root cellar conditions. Our garage freezes in winter, our basement is musty/warm, the laundry room can get very cold (high 40s) but it's full of sunlight, and our bedroom walk-in closet is stuffed pretty tightly (also I'm not sure I'd want to keep buckets of sand in there, or cabbage).

Also I want to learn to contribute more from our garden to the pantry. More canning and freezing this year.

About storage: I get 5-gallon plastic buckets from our co-op deli. I line them with those gigantic ziplocks, which I am pretty sure are food grade. That way if the grain/flour spills it isn't just loose in the bucket. I keep a lot of things in regular Rubbermaid totes (stacked up high) and so far have not ever had a problem with mice getting into those or the 5-gallon buckets, though we definitely have mice in the garage.

Are gamma lids worth buying? I use the regular lids and they are a bit of a pain to get off sometimes. Also, I wonder if the gamma lids are significantly more airtight?

About treats: This is another thing that I have learned the hard way, and mostly it has to do with assessing my own self-discipline, because even if I buy something "premium" and keep it mum, *I* still know where it is... If I buy a treat for DH, it has to be something I don't like at all. If I buy a treat for the kids, we have to eat it, all together, that very day, or it will get nibbled at by...er...someone. The good thing is that eating from pantry and imposing this kind of necessary self-discipline means we eat healthier. If it isn't in the house, we don't eat it, so I'm more careful about what I bring into the house.

Just before DH got laid off I bought a case of wine. I never did that before, and it was an experiment to see if we could still drink it as infrequently as usual if I bought what for us amounts to a year's supply all at once. I am finding the my willpower on that front is strong, but DH says "If we have it, let's drink it!" and I think he's missed my point. I should have completely hidden it from him! I think we've gone through a bottle a week for the past three weeks, and that is way more than we ever ever ever drink. To my thinking, it would be better to pay full-price to buy the wine by the bottle once in awhile than to buy a case, even at a discount, and go through it faster. Eating from pantry means (for us) that the premium items are that much more tempting, and I'm still learning how best to ration them.

Another thought on treats - I find that if we have to pay full price for a treat, we are less likely to buy it, or less likely to buy more than one serving's worth (or a family's serving's worth). Since DH's layoff, if he wants to use his own pennies to buy himself chocolate or beer, he can - I'm not spending my precious resources buying that stuff for either of us.

About bugs: I heard that if you freeze your grains/flours for a few days, and then (ideally) thaw out for a day and freeze again for a couple of days, you kill all the buggies. Then you can remove from the freezer and store at room temperature. I think just one freezing will probably work, but to be on the safe side, two with a thaw between is prudent. The eggs are there, nearly invisible, and will hatch if the conditions are right. (Sorry to gross anyone out). But here is my diilemma - I bought 50# of brown rice flour yesterday, and my freezer space is PACKED FULL. It will take some verrrrrrry creative rearranging to get that brown rice flour frozen, if I can fit it at all - I'm not even sure. And just my luck, we're having a "warm spell" in the 30s this week, so the garage isn't really getting cold enough to do the trick on its own. If it was below 20F in there I'd assume the garage was cold enough, but...not so much in the 30s.
post #82 of 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post

Are gamma lids worth buying? I use the regular lids and they are a bit of a pain to get off sometimes. Also, I wonder if the gamma lids are significantly more airtight?
We use gamma lids on the buckets of food that we use frequently (pasta, flour, etc). We buy our wheat and beans in 5 gallon buckets that come sealed. When we open one of those we switch the lid to a gamma lid for ease of opening.

I like them for the convenience of opening and closing the bucket. We really don't use them on items that will store for much longer than 2-3 months so I can't really comment on the airtightness.

We bought ours from Walton Feed.
post #83 of 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmonter View Post

A dream would be an honest-to-goodness root cellar with the only access being from inside the house. Partly because I'm worried about theft, partly because I'm lazy and don't like going outside in the winter if I don't have to. Then I could actually store root crops (potatoes, carrots, etc.), some apples, and winter squashes for a while. Most of our house is too darned warm because of the wood stoves.
That's one of our dreams as well! DH actually had plans to build one last year, and then I got pregnant and the babe derailed that plan (I'm not much good as a construction laborer when I have a newborn - imagine that).
post #84 of 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by KariM View Post
We use gamma lids on the buckets of food that we use frequently (pasta, flour, etc). We buy our wheat and beans in 5 gallon buckets that come sealed. When we open one of those we switch the lid to a gamma lid for ease of opening.

I like them for the convenience of opening and closing the bucket. We really don't use them on items that will store for much longer than 2-3 months so I can't really comment on the airtightness.

We bought ours from Walton Feed.
I've found that for convenience and frugality, what works for us (instead of buying gamma lids) is to keep a 1 gallon glass jar of the grains we store in the buckets. I have to get into the buckets AT MOST once a month to refill the glass jars, and often only every other month (depending on the grain).
post #85 of 360
Are the eggs really always there, or is it only if you get some with it? I've bought oatmeal from costco in a big 3-pack many times and never had bugs appear, and only started freezing it now. In fact I've only had those bugs show up once. I will freeze now as a preemptive measure just in case so they don't infest other things if they show up, but I thought it just depended on the source? I def. don't freeze my bags of flour that I get at TJs. When I did have them I just threw everything out (it wasn't that much at the time) and they never showed up again.
post #86 of 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
I want to learn how to root cellar carrots and cabbage and work that into our pantry plan. Unfortunately, we don't have a spot in the house that has root cellar conditions. Our garage freezes in winter, our basement is musty/warm, the laundry room can get very cold (high 40s) but it's full of sunlight, and our bedroom walk-in closet is stuffed pretty tightly (also I'm not sure I'd want to keep buckets of sand in there, or cabbage).
How cold does your garage get and how big is it?
Because if it's big/deep enough that you could partition off a corner of it and just insulate it from the super cold and the heat of the house, you may be in business. Just need decent air flow and drainage and you'd be in business. There's lots of groovy ideas in the book Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel, and all the temps/humidity and such that many crops need for live storage. If I could turn a corner of the garage or basement into a root cellar without a building permit, I'd be all over it (but I don't really want to put a cold root cellar by the breaker box, house water main entrance, water heater, or outside faucet, go figure).
post #87 of 360
I'm in. Just got back from a fill-in trip, or the first part anyways. Need to go to dollar general for some canned goods and seasonings but other than that we're pretty well stocked. Hubby just went back to work Monday, after a two month paid 'vacation' courtesy of multi-deployment leave from the Guard. Our income was tripled while he was gone last year, but as we all know the price of gas tripled, and the prices of just about everything else went up as well. We put a lot into paying off debts as well.

I used to be an expert at stockpiling, couponing etc. But now that we're working at eating healthier, most of the things we eat don't hold well for long periods of time. so I'm having to re-learn what we can eat and how to store it.
post #88 of 360
I'm here. Busy lately. I'll do the first question for now.

Why? Um. Lots of reasons. One, I grew up with it. My grandparents had a farm. My mom always had a full pantry/freezer/fridge. I was actually shocked when I read that most people don't have more than a two weeks' supply of food. Even at my first job, where I made 11K/year (not a typo, and this was in 2000, so, not that long ago), I had a good 2 weeks of boring food in my miniscule pantry. About the only time I don't have that much food is in the middle of a military move (and, yes, they will move canned goods if you ask ). We live in snow country, and, for example, last week, the roads were NOT safe for me to get out for a few days - they weren't horrible, but, I live on a slick hill (two, actually), and it was good to know I didn't *have* to go out to get food.

Two, I'm a sucker for a good deal. Now, I don't mean I'll buy, like a gross of grapefruit juice if it's on sale, because, we don't drink it. But, if I can get something much cheaper than usual (say, meat on sale, or fruit in season, or whatnot), I stock up then, as much as I can (I am limited by the fact that I only have an over the fridge freezer - for now). Plus, I will use good deals to buy stuff I won't buy at full price but like to have around if they're cheaper. Example: Our store has decided to discontinue stocking Cascadian Farms granola bars. So, they were on sale in the bargain carts for $1.20-1.40/box. Same with imported whole wheat spaghetti - $1/each. I bought all of them. (They also had a certain style of *ahem* prophylactic in there, with an expiration of 11/2010. After confirming that they were just being discontinued, not defective, I bought all of those, too ).

Third goes along with my second reason. If I buy 16 quarts of strawberries, well, we're not going to eat them all right away, although DD may try . I have to process them somehow (and I enjoy doing that), so, I inevitably end up with tons of jam, syrup, frozen sliced berries, etc. Or apples (dried! buttered! sauced!). Etc. They're also handy to have on hand if we get invited to someone else's house or something (I come bearing jams!).

Fourth, I like to cook and the stuff I make is almost always healthier than what I could buy (certainly cheaper than the healthy stuff). And, I like to have the ingredients for just about anything I might decide to cook on hand, barring some wildly exotic recipe. I get panicky when I get down to my last few pounds of X, or my last couple bottles of W, or I realize I don't have enough of Y to make Z. Cooking is a hobby - I don't want to have to run out to the store to buy ingredients, especially if it's 10pm on a Friday when I decide to whip something up (I may also not be in any condition to drive at 10pm on a Friday, anyway )

Finally, a little bit of "doomsday" scenario stuff. I dunno if we'd last, but, I'd hate to survive the initial "fallout" and then starve to death.
post #89 of 360
our local bulk amish story had 5lb bags of wisconsin cheddar cheese for 9.36 a bg. I bought three bags, 15lbs and am dividing it up into 4 cup amounts and vaccum sealiing it. I am going to try freezing some of it and see how it keeps. the amish ladies there said they freeze it and it comes out perfect.
post #90 of 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
Just before DH got laid off I bought a case of wine. I never did that before, and it was an experiment to see if we could still drink it as infrequently as usual if I bought what for us amounts to a year's supply all at once. I am finding the my willpower on that front is strong, but DH says "If we have it, let's drink it!" and I think he's missed my point.
My ex almost completely broke me of buying in bulk. I tried so hard (with no car, and carrying everything back to the house on foot!) to stock up on certain canned goods (mostly tomatoes and tuna) and various other things. I was willing to play pack mule if that was what it took to keep food and other basics ("oh, look! Toothpaste is on 1/3 price, if I buy two - in they go, even though I'm at max carrying capacity...hey - tomatoes, too - okay, two cans!") in the house when we were so broke. In his mind, if we had it, we had to use it. He actually used twice as much toothpaste because we had a bunch. He snacked constantly on things that I had laid in so we'd have them. It drove me crazy, and I actually stopped shopping smart for a while, because it cost too much.
post #91 of 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
But here is my diilemma - I bought 50# of brown rice flour yesterday, and my freezer space is PACKED FULL. It will take some verrrrrrry creative rearranging to get that brown rice flour frozen, if I can fit it at all - I'm not even sure. And just my luck, we're having a "warm spell" in the 30s this week, so the garage isn't really getting cold enough to do the trick on its own. If it was below 20F in there I'd assume the garage was cold enough, but...not so much in the 30s.
I would spoon out as much as will fit into your freezer... put in a package, freeze for 2 days, remove and set aside. Repeat until it has all been frozen, then put it back into the original packaging if you want (or keep in smaller batches). I've had to do this before when buying flour right after packing in a side of beef. It took me only about 2 weeks... not long enough for the nasties to grow.
post #92 of 360
So does anyone have a favorite online shopping spot? Besides Amazon? I'd love to find 50 lb. of flour somewhere online with free shipping. (Dreaming, I know...)

Thanks!
post #93 of 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsjtc View Post
So does anyone have a favorite online shopping spot? Besides Amazon? I'd love to find 50 lb. of flour somewhere online with free shipping. (Dreaming, I know...)

Thanks!
If you join the Frontier co-op (I think it is a one-tmie charge of $10 or something like that), you get their wholesale prices and free shipping if your order is over $250 (I think that is the right figure). They don't sell lots of bulk food but they do sell organic flour and sugar.
post #94 of 360
Thread Starter 
I used to buy the organic flour from frontier but it went up in price and how we blow thru flour, I buy the regular flour now. I buy all the organic sugars and teas though in bulk.

I have to order this week and yes its $250 so I usually combine orders with others (hint hint) and when its $250 I order.


I need to find a place to buy Soy Dream in the 64 oz. All the bulk orders seem to be in 8 oz. I buy it at TJs now as its the cheapest in my area.
post #95 of 360
I'm going to call myself a MINI-stockpiler, compared to some of the pros in this group. I've enjoyed reading this thread. I build my stockpile mostly a bit at a time. I hate dealing with large quantities of food, but I do like getting things at a good price. And I do a lot of cooking.

I like to have a goodly amount of staples like rice, flour, sugars, certain canned goods, etc. I have a closet pantry in my finished basement and a separate freezer down there as well. Plus a couple small fridges in our basement bar area. I always have supplies for cookie-making like various chocolate chips, white choc chips, etc. I bake bread and go thru lots of flour also. I don't like to be caught out in a snowstorm or something, so I try to have a decent pantry.

My daughter used to go through peanut butter like crazy. She had it for lunch everyday and for snacks. After YEARS of this, one day she just stopped eating much peanut butter. I had a good stockpile of peanut butter, and ended up donating several jars. I have many opportunities to donate food, so that was just fine. It's just odd that she went off peanut butter out of the blue. First, peanut butter...what will be next??
post #96 of 360
Novice stockpiler here.

For those of you who use Frontier, how are the wholesale prices? Specifically for flour and sugar?

Our story: I started stockpiling/buying bulk in late 08. We don't have a ton of stuff but we could probably eke out a month of meals with some items leftover.

I have mentioned this in other threads, but sitting down and listing every recipe/meal I routinely make and then calculating how often I make it helped me figure out what to buy and how much.


V
post #97 of 360
I am a sporadic stockpiler. We have been aggressively paying debt and eating more out of our stockpile, so our pantry is getting pretty empty. But! I have dreams of rebuilding a 3 month supply of all food and household goods and maintaining that.

We buy most of our goods in 25 pound sacks -- rice, beans, oats, sugar, spices (1 pound at a time) and I have been loving this method of food shopping.

My problem right now is that I am spoiled. I have started buying organic canned goods and they are so good, I much prefer them to the cheaper versions and now I really can't see going back. DH agrees and our budget has been suffering from our new found love of Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes and ketchup. I have canned my own tomatoes and they are no where near as good as what I can buy.

So, I am at a crossroads -- when we start refilling our stockpile, do I buy what I love even though it costs more or buy what is cheaper and stockpile more quantity? I know, I know, store what you eat, eat what you store. Guess I know my own answer...I'll have to take it slowly.
post #98 of 360
Subbing for now... I'll catch up on reading later
post #99 of 360
I buy the Muir Glen diced tomatoes with a $1 coupon that comes out every once in a while. It is good on any Muir Glen product. In fact, I think you can sign up on their website and they will let you print a couple coupons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post
I am a sporadic stockpiler. We have been aggressively paying debt and eating more out of our stockpile, so our pantry is getting pretty empty. But! I have dreams of rebuilding a 3 month supply of all food and household goods and maintaining that.

We buy most of our goods in 25 pound sacks -- rice, beans, oats, sugar, spices (1 pound at a time) and I have been loving this method of food shopping.

My problem right now is that I am spoiled. I have started buying organic canned goods and they are so good, I much prefer them to the cheaper versions and now I really can't see going back. DH agrees and our budget has been suffering from our new found love of Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes and ketchup. I have canned my own tomatoes and they are no where near as good as what I can buy.

So, I am at a crossroads -- when we start refilling our stockpile, do I buy what I love even though it costs more or buy what is cheaper and stockpile more quantity? I know, I know, store what you eat, eat what you store. Guess I know my own answer...I'll have to take it slowly.
post #100 of 360
We started eating a lot of our stockpile.. for Xmas my MIL bought us $100 in bulk foods through the LDS church, and my mom got us 2 food storage kits from Costco. We still have all of those.. my MIL is going to get us some more from her church next month.

Our biggest problem is we are maxed out on space. We live in a condo, on the 3rd story. All our cabinets are jampacked and full. all of our closets are full, our pantry is 100% full... Right now we are storing some things at MIL's... but she lives 30 miles away.
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