Using What You’ve Got and Can Get

This post although the title is similar to the previous post, isn’t about psychological stuff, it’s about saving money. I’ve said before that the only way to save money is to spend less, and that’s still true but there are resources to help you that most people don’t use.

The USDA publishes predictions of retail food prices for the coming year. The predictions for 2013 are that food prices will go up about 2% or more overall. The predictions work out like this:

  • 2-3% fats/oils, processed produce, sugars
  • 2.5 – 3.5% fish, non-alcoholic beverages
  • 3.0-4.0% all meats, all produce — especially fruit
  • 3.5-4.5% dairy, most fresh produce
  • 4.0-5.0% fresh vegetables

In other words, if you like preservative, GMO, pesticide laden, oil intensive food because it’s cheap (or you manufacture same) you’ll have the easiest time financially dealing with the increases. On the other hand, if you’re like me and love your fresh veggies & fruits and want to process your own, you’re going to be hit hardest.

For me that means the vegetable garden this year is less of a luxury. I’ve been asking myself: What do I do well? Can I do more of it? What do I need to work on?

I’ve been working hard at this the past few years, and the garden has been consistently getting better as I put more effort, time and thought into it. One of my biggest faults is that I tend to be inconsistent.

My end goal is to provide at least six months’ worth of fresh vegetables for us: late spring – early fall in the garden and early fall to mid winter in storage. I’ve never managed it. I’m lucky if I can get us a few things early spring. We eat pretty well mid-summer, and then it tapers off.

So new plan: toss less & grow more.  No problem, right?

I wish! I make GREAT plans, if I say so myself. My follow-through leaves a bit to be desired however. I am getting better though. I found my house notebook today along with the coupon binder and keeper. 😀 Things are getting better, just not as fast as I’d like!

I have a long (incomplete) list of questions for various people at the USDA because of the reports I’ve got. Given the current political idiocy, I’ll just hold off on that, even when I get all the questions formulated, find out who I’m supposed to ask. etc.

I wish Congress had taken their own f’n salary/benefits away before they inflicted their nonsense on the rest of us because they can’t do their jobs. If someone asked me to sign a petition to that effect and made it a constitutional amendment? I’d sign it!

I don’t know when Congress became a pulpit, the last time I heard their job wasn’t to preach at each other/us about how to live and enforce one view or the other, but to get the people’s work done. If I could, I’d fire the bunch of them! [Isn’t that what you do when people don’t do their job?]

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4 responses to “Using What You’ve Got and Can Get

  1. I’m thinking that those estimates are on the low side J! If the cost of fuel doesn’t come down the economy is really going to suffer. We will have to have a better garden this year too. And I have to get better at canning and preserving food. And I’m with you on firing everyone! Good post!

    • I think it’s possible that the estimates don’t include fuel!

      Do you know that they don’t include food or fuel when they figure inflation? They’re too volatile! Hah!

      Re saving $ on food? Two easy first steps: eat out less and waste less. Easier said than done I admit. 😀 The average American tosses 25% of their food dollar. There’s a couple of really good use it up websites.

      Re tossing less. I love finding new ways to use up bits of veggies that might be tossed! Broccoli stems and leaves, mushroom bottoms, celery leaves/bases, parsley stems, etc. I try and use as much as I can. I suppose another blog I could do is about what is common in commercial kitchens, that is the as purchased amount vs the as eaten amount. I have the text book used to teach this stuff and I’m amazed at how much food is just figured as waste from the get go

      • We hardly ever eat out and I try to waste as little as possible. Soup is a great way to use those stems and leaves! One my all time favorite things to grow in the garden is winter squash – it keeps well and I just feel like I’m saving so much money! There were years when the kids were little that I hardly ever went to the market during the summer. We grew almost everything we needed. Have to try that again…

      • Hmm. Yep, soup works! I think you probably do better at this than I do as I grew up in the city and raising food was “weird.”

        We had a neighbor, a doctor, who had 5 kids. His front yard was a front yard and the back yard had 2 levels. The top level was a small lawn with a tree fort, for the kids. There was a side yard off the laundry with a laundry line. But the back yard he grew veggies. His wife canned. I remember thinking they were poor maybe? But they never seemed poor, but she made jams, jellies and they raised food year ’round. Seemed really weird. We had a Meyer lemon tree (no one knew what a Meyer lemon was in the 1960s, except my Dad) and dad was weird because he bought coffee beans and ground his own coffee every day. I guess food oddities are where you find them!

        My grandmother raised chickens when they had houses in L.A. around the turn of the century. Huge financial buildings at those addresses now and office buildings. I wonder what the chickens would think?

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