I have most everything I could buy at the grocery store stocked in my own home: cereal, ketchup, crackers, sugar, flour, juice, pasta, oil, vinegars, honey, syrup, pancake mix, cornstarch, soy sauce, salad dressing, snacks, chips, pudding mix, rice, oil, mayo, bbq sauce, spices, herbs, bouillon, peanut butter, etc. I could go on, but I think you get the point! Depending on the item, I have anywhere from a 1-12 month supply with a goal of having a 12 month supply of everything.
I also have a large supply of a few items that you may not expect. It would seem difficult to have a 1-12 month supply of things such as fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, milk and butter wouldn’t it? Yet, no grocery store would be complete without these items would they? So, I also have a large supply of fruits and vegetables, meats and shredded (not powdered) cheese. These are freeze dried, so they contain the same nutrition as fresh, but will last 25 years (and yes, they taste great!). I have milk, butter, shortening, eggs, sour cream, and sauces in powdered form. These too have a long shelf life. The milk tastes just like fresh skim milk and the butter, shortening and whole egg powders work great in baking! The scrambled egg powder tastes just like freshly scrambled eggs and the 4 basic sauces I store can be used to make hundreds more with just a few spices / herbs.
Intrigued? The idea of having a grocery store in your own home is a new concept to many. Yet, it brings so many benefits, I think it is something everyone should try! There are 5 main reasons why I believe YOU want (or soon will want) your own “home store.”
1. Having a Home Store Saves Money
Initially this surprises a lot of people when I first mention it. How does having extra food save me money? Well, there are a few ways. For example, say my family goes through 5 bottles of ketchup every year. If I buy each bottle when I run out of the last one, then I have to pay whatever price it is on sale for at the grocery store that week. Let’s say that price is $1.50 / bottle or $7.50 total But if instead, I buy all 5 bottles at once when they are on sale for say $0.75 each or $3.75 total, I save $3.75 over the course of a year. Do that with everything you buy and you’ve saved a lot of money over the course of a year!
In addition, having a grocery store in my own home keeps me out of the real grocery store more than most people which results in less impulse buys. I also eat out less b/c I always have the necessary ingredients to create a home cooked meal for my family.
Plus, my freeze dried foods don’t go bad. I don’t waste food. For example, when I buy celery (or a bag of onions or a couple of bell peppers or any number of other things) at the grocery store, I rarely use it all. I often end up throwing a good portion out b/c it goes bad before I can get to it all. So, when buying produce at the grocery store, I may spend $1 on a bunch of celery, use half of it and then have to spend another $1 on another bunch 3 weeks later for a different recipe. I’ve spent $2, but only used a total of one bunch of celery. When I use produce from my “home store,” there is no waste. I open a can of celery and use just what I need to for that particular recipe. Then 3 weeks later, I open the can again and use just what I need to for the next recipe. Freeze dried foods have a 12-24 month opened shelf life! So every dollar I spend on freeze dried foods is used in our family’s meals.
2. Having a Home Store Saves Time
How much time do you spend at the grocery store each week? You have to plan for each trip, right? That takes time. Then, you spend time (and gas money) driving there, time shopping, time waiting in line and then time putting all the food away. Typically, you forget something so you have to go back again at least once (sometimes more) during the week. That is more time (and gas money) in the car, at the store and in line.
But what if you already had everything you needed for your family’s meals in your own home store? There would be no pressing need to get to the store often. You could instead go when it is convenient for you. I go to the grocery store every 2-3 weeks when the right things (whatever I need to stock up on) are on sale. I spend about an hour there, plus 30 min or so planning my trip, time in line, and a bit more putting away the food. I also make a trip to Costco every 2 months or so. In all, I spend about 3 hours or so a month shopping.
Plus, freeze dried produce is already chopped and diced, and the meats are already cooked and shredded. That saves an enormous amount of time in preparation! Imagine making a beef stew without peeling potatoes and carrots, chopping onions and celery or browning your meat first. Just throw it all in a pot, add water and enjoy. It tastes just like you used fresh ingredients and is just as healthy! I love having my own home store!
3. Having a Home Store Lowers Stress
Let’s face it. Meal time (especially with kids) is stressful, right? We all want to feed our kids healthy foods and we’ve all been told that family dinner can be a great time to bond with our kids. But life gets hectic and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. We forget to thaw out the meat or realize at 5:00 pm that we don’t have any potatoes or carrots for that stew we were planning to make. Or maybe we get stuck at work, or the doctors office or soccer practice and we just don’t have a enough time to put together a real meal. That is stressful. I know that meal time is important to me and many other good parents. When we can’t make it happen, we stress. We feel guilty. We stress about how we can do better.
Having your own home store can help! Putting together quick, healthy, meals becomes simpler. Planning becomes easier. Avoiding unhealthy fast food drive thrus is no problem. When I teach people about creating their own home store, I recommend that they pick a month (or more) of their family’s favorite meals and make sure they have all the ingredients for those on hand. That way, you can easily create a meal your family will enjoy even if you are out of fresh potatoes or forgot to defrost the meat! And the time that freeze dried foods save in preparation also helps lower stress! On crazy evenings, it is far less stressful to spend 5 minutes making that stew instead of 45 minutes!
4. Having a Home Store Brings Peace of Mind
Most people typically assume this is the #1 reason that I have a home store. And it is an important one, but it isn’t the only one! The three reason above affect (and improve) my lifeevery single day. I would have a home store for those reasons alone. But I also very much appreciate the peace of mind having a home store brings. I know that if there is a bad storm and the actual grocery store runs out of food, I can still feed my family. I know that if we lose our income for any reason, I can still feed my family. I know that if food prices sky rocket and I can’t afford to shop at the grocery store anymore, I can still feed my family. I have so many types of insurance: health insurance, car insurance, home owners insurance, life insurance. But the truth is, my family and I would not survive very long without food. It brings a lot of peace of mind knowing that I have “food insurance.” I know that come what may, I can still feed my family.
5. Having a Home Store Allows for Easier Service to Others
In my opinion, one of the things that can bring us as human beings the most joy is serving each other. There are countless ways to do this, and I don’t pretend that all of them are related to having a home store. (-: But, I have found that having a home store makes it much easier to give what I can to others. I can quickly and easily prepare a meal for a new mother, or sick or busy neighbor. I am able to fill boxes of food when I hear of a food drive. I am able to regularly donate to my local food shelter. I can skip a week of grocery shopping entirely and donate the funds to charity. You can’t share what you don’t have. But when you have a 1-12 month supply of food in your own home, it is much easier to share with others!