Monday, August 18, 2008

Grocery Deals

Looking for grocery deals?Check out these links:

I'm trying The Grocery Game for 4 weeks (cost me $1)

Pinching Your Pennies is free!

Want to get multiple Sunday AZRepublics (more coupons) at a discount?

Also, found this blog which describes local deals in detail.

Buying groceries on sale, in conjuction with coupons, and stocking up when items are at their cheapest, is the best way to save on groceries!

I did Couponsense ($15 a month for all store lists) for about a year, and now I'm giving The Grocery Game (10$ a month for one store list, $5 each additional list) a go. I am also going to see if Pinching Your Pennies is as good. If it is, I'm switching. It is FREE!

These services match the sales with my coupons, so I don't have to. While I did it, I saved more than 50% on my groceries. I bought more, and built up a 3-6 month supply of non-perishable food, cleaning products, toiletries, etc.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Storing Water

From: Allyson
To: Me
Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 11:23 AM
Subject: Hey food storage lady

I have an EMPTY 50 gallon water barrel that's been camping out on the side of my house
for way too long. I want to fill it with water but don't know the proper water/bleach ratio. Also,
where can I buy a new pump for it. The last one was used as a slingshot by a small boy named Alex.


Dear Allyson,
I was just looking at the website of a new store that just opened here in Mesa (Mesa Drive)and I saw the pumps on their website.

I don't know if the prices are good, but they do have the pumps ($17.99)! To treat your water, make sure you wash out the barrel very well with a chlorine solution (1 teaspoon chlorine/1 gallon water), then fill the barrel and add 6-8 drops chlorine per gallon in the container (your barrel might be 55 gallons) or about 1 teaspoon for 10 gallons. You should dump it out and refill it again annually. Also, if you are storing it outside, make sure you keep it under an opaque tarp. One of my barrels got crispy in the sun and broke.


P.S. I also store some water in flats of drinkable bottles. We use these, and rotate them into our drinking water. It is a good idea to have some water in smaller containers in case you need to transport them.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Building a three month supply of food: stocking your pantry

Check out this article from yahoo finance. An interesting take on this whole food shortage thing. It asserts that stockpiling food is actually a good financial investment, because the prices of food are going up faster than our money market accounts. Which isn't the point, of course. Interesting, though.

While the cannery is closed, we have been encouraged to work on building up our three month supply of food. Food prices are still going up. Get it now and save $$$$!

Where can you start? What can you buy? This is all about you. What I buy, your family might not eat! Make a list of meals you normally eat. Which of them have a basis of frozen or shelf-stable foods? Some ideas: Pastas and sauce or ingredients for sauce, chili (canned or homemade from dried beans) and cornbread (from a mix or grind your own corn), Rice and chicken with frozen veggies. There may be items you can't store for three months. Ask yourself if you could still eat the meal without those items (sour cream, fresh veggies) if  there was an emergency where fresh food wasn't available. If the answer is yes, store it! 

I don't like eating the same thing every week, or even every two weeks. So when I make my plan to store food for 3 months, I plan foods that will last at least a year. I plan 6 each of 14 dinners, but we eat those meals over the course of a year. You might want to plan to eat your meals every night. In this case, your foods need only last 3 months. In my family, we need to go to In-n-Out and order pizza occasionally. Don't judge me. I may be the Food Storage Lady, but I like my burgers with the pink spread.

I also store basic pantry items in three month quantities. I don't store white flour in my long term storage, because it goes bad and smells like metal cans if that's where you stored it. I buy a big bag of flour from Costco and store it in a big food grade bin in my pantry. When it starts to smell not-so-fresh, I dump it and buy another. There's no use using the best sugar cookie recipe in the world if you are using nasty flour. That's what I always say. Okay, not always. But sometimes. Most spices, cereals, canned goods will last three months easily. Usually much longer.

I store oatmeal and pancake mix and syrup, and cold cereals for breakfast. We don't eat this every day, but we could if we needed. The kids like them.

The problem is how to remember to replace what you have used. I determine a number of units, 1 unit higher than I actually need, and replace the unit when 1 is empty. For instance: I store 8 jars of peanut butter, because I need 7. Before I throw out the empty  PB container, I write it on my list for the store. I always have nearly 7 full jars on the shelf.

You can shop grocery sales (there is a link to sister savings over there. She collects grocery ad info every week, and posts the best deals online, free. I did Couponsense (costs about $10 a month plus cost of newspapers) for about a year, and I really stocked up on shelf items. It did take a lot of time. I went to three stores a week, got three newspapers for coupons,  and spent about 10 hours a week on it. There are other programs that are less involved. Now I mostly buy in bulk at Costco. It isn't the cheapest way at all, but I like it. There isn't one right way to do this. There are cheaper and more expensive ways to do it, easier and harder ways to do it, tastier and not-so-tasty ways to do it, but no one right way. 

What it requires (that many people don't want to invest) is time and thought. 

Why not start now? The items you need are only getting more expensive. If you are eating food you purchased 6 months ago, you are saving money! The wheat I put in buckets in 2004 is worth 3 times what I paid for it. Not that it matters. Wheat is still not so expensive most of us can't afford it. Trust me, when you fill your house with food, you will be repayed easily in peace of mind. Not to mention the blessings that come from obedience to this temporal law. 

Did you know that we are supposed to be our own welfare program? In case of catastrophe (personal to worldwide), we should be prepared with food to eat, water to drink, and money in the bank. The greatest strength of the Church welfare program is what we, the members, have stored in our closets.

What sorts of meals do you store in your three months' supply? Leave me your ideas and recipes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mesa Home Storage Center (temporary) Closing and policy changes

Um. Ignore all the stuff I said before about how to get food from the Mesa Home Storage Center. Salt Lake City (Church Headquarters) has changed the policy on how we will can our products at the Home Storage Center. Intrigued? Yes, I thought so. Read on!

If you haven't already heard, the Mesa Home Storage Center is closed for refurbishment until the end of June. That means our Stake Canning Days will resume in July. When it re-opens, there will be some significant changes.

Here is the new procedure:

We still place our orders through our ward specialists (that's me) one month in advance. So orders for July canning will be due the last Sunday in June.

We no longer pay for our orders through the Ward! You will need to come to the Cannery on Canning day (every 4th Thursday morning at 8 am), where we can our own orders and pay for the food ourselves. If the individual who placed the order isn't there, the order will be cancelled. Personal Checks or Money orders are accepted, but not cash.

We will be canning only a few items per month. Here is the schedule so far:

July – milk, regular oats, macaroni and carrots
August – potato flakes, fruit drink, sugar, black beans and rice
September – white beans, refried beans, cocoa, flour and onions

The Home Storage Center is still currently open for bulk sales (bags of food), pre-packaged sales, and checking out canners will go on as normal.

Everything else- the Storehouse, Cannery, LDS employment, and LDS Family Services are NOT effected by the Home Storage remodeling. They are all open for business.

I also heard there will be prepackaged long term products available for purchase. These will be sold in cases of 6 cans: Hard red winter wheat, white rice, pinto beans and quick oats.

So there it is. It seems confusing, but it really isn't. Watch to see if what you need is being canned, then sign up. Then, show up on canning day and bring your check book. That's it!

Do you have any questions?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Need plastic buckets?

This is where I got mine.

Friday, March 14, 2008

"Dear Food Storage Lady," questions and answers!

I'm no expert, but I'm fairly resourceful.

I'll tell you straight, I'm no good at making end tables out of refried beans.

Leave me your questions in the comments section. Please address them to DEAR FOOD STORAGE LADY.

I'll post and answer them for your entertainment and information. Happy squirreling!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Your food storage questions: Answered!

What are the product changes for the new year?
Check out the new CANNED and BULK food forms here in the book. There are some changes! Many of your favorite foods are back! You can order REFRIED BEANS and WHITE FLOUR in cans again, and there is something new called POTATO FLAKES, which have a much longer shelf life than POTATO PEARLS. The beloved POTATO PEARLS are also back , but only in bulk (21 pound bag). Also available only in bulk: PANCAKE MIX (16 pound bag) and SPAGHETTI (25 pound bag). Sadly, APPLES are unavailable for the next little while. I will put them back on the forms when they become available.

I don’t know what I need. What foods should I get first?
Remember, the new Church Family Home Storage Guidelines emphasize getting:

1. A three month supply of foods you normally eat. Rotate this regularly.
2. Drinking Water
3. Financial Reserve
4.Longer-term Supply
(You can see a more detailed discussion of this program in “All is Safely Gathered In,” which you can find at

Also, give me a call or email me. I can help you make a plan.

What about that other order form we were using? Can I still use that one?
Yes, you can also use the food storage order form located on the Church website at You can print it, fill it out and give it to me, or just email me your food order. AZBEESON@HOTMAIL.COM.

Example e-mail: Kelly, I need 5 cases (30 cans) of regular oats.
Sister Jones

If you use the form from the Church website, remember our Mesa Cannery policies still apply. You cannot order food in pouches or canned spaghetti on Stake Canning Day (even though the form allows it, the cannery does not).

I’m in Primary. I don’t get the book or I don’t have time to fill it out during Church on Sunday.
I know some of you in Primary and Young Men’s and Young Women’s don’t get to see the books on Sunday. Using the other order form at, or grabbing one from my book to look at during the week and emailing me the info might be easier for you than trying to get it all done on Sunday.

What are these new sections, labeled “Basics, Others, and Shorter Term Storage?”
The foods listed under “Basics” and “Others” on the new order forms have longer shelf lives (all 30 years or more, except carrots at 25 years) and will be a part of your LONGER TERM SUPPLY. The foods listed under “Shorter Term Storage” should be used and rotated into your THREE MONTH SUPPLY. You probably shouldn’t buy the shorter term items if you don’t like them or don’t plan to use them. They will go bad more quickly (between 1 and 10 years, depending on the item).

Do I need to buy cans in multiples of 6, so they fit into the boxes?
No, you don’t, but it does make it simpler for me to transport and for you to store. If you fill the box with cans, the box is free. Here’s a little ditty to help you remember:

1,2,3, a fee. 4,5,6 it is free. The fee for a box is 57 cents. Divide your total cans by 6. If the remainder is 1,2, or 3, add 57 cents to your total. If the remainder is 0, 4,5 or 6, your boxes are free. Confused? Just order in multiples of 6. Example:You can order 2 white beans, two black beans and two pinto beans to make six. You don’t have to order 6 of a kind. Plus, for every 6 cans, I’ll throw in 2 free plastic lids, because I’m just that kind of nice food storage lady. (No, really, that’s the policy).

Do I have to go to the Cannery if I order food?
Actually, yes you do. This is the new policy, which goes into effect when the cannery reopens in June. You will need to come and pay for your order yourself, with a personal check or money order. We will no longer turn in money through the wards.

So, do these new forms in your books tell me everything available at the cannery?
You can get everything except canned spaghetti or food in pouches. These updated forms (like the old ones) are applicable for STAKE CANNING DAY. If you make your own personal appointment at the cannery, you can buy food in bulk there and can it yourself. Or you can buy pouches there and fill the pouches yourself.

Beginning in July, there will be only a few products available each month. See April 24, 2008 post for tentative schedule.

I bought my own rice (or other foods) from another source that I need to store. How can I do that?
You can no longer bring outside food into the cannery during scheduled personal canning appointments. If you are interested in canning food you purchased elsewhere, you can buy cans and other equipment (like pouches) through me (on the bulk order form) or directly from the cannery, and use the Stake Canning machine at your home. Or you can buy plastic buckets to store them. Call me for resources.

What about the wheat grinders?

One of my books disappeared with some of the names of those interested. I will list the names of those I have. If you don’t see your name, please sign up again. I will call you with the total.
Update: I ordered and received the grinders. If you are still interested, I have a link to the coupon up on the right.

Hey, Kelly, I know where your lost food storage notebook is. Do you have a reward for the person who finds it?
No, just bring it back, okay? That sounds like blackmail. Or extortion.

I’ve read all this, and now I feel even more confused!
Call me. Or email me at I’d love to chat about your food storage!
No, really. I actually like it.