Any new venture requires some sort of investment. This can be your own time, supplies to start your business etc.
In order to become more self-sustained, I need to invest some money in supplies, which are items that can help to achieve sustainability. I am going to be keeping a tally of how much was spent for this whole effort.
Having extra food, and a pantry that lasts more than a week, always helps. Scheduling purchases results in significant savings, while keeping extra food for a rainy day.
I have been purchasing freeze-dried food for a few years (more on that in a later post), but my new focus is canning. The idea is simple:
- Purchase items when they are dirt cheap (vegetables, meat etc.)
- Can them in mason jars, which will keep them stored for a year or more
- Reap the benefits of not spending crazy money, but also having food for more than a week (aiming for a year or two)
The first thing I need to purchase is mason jars. These will come in two sizes, quart and 1/2 gallon. There will be different usages for the sizes, but I will need quite a few of them. Since they are made from glass, the only thing I have to worry is fro them breaking. Other than that I can reuse them pretty much indefinitely.
I wanted to get around 50 of these, because they can be used for temporary as well as long term storage (canning). I can use them to store:
- Rice (with oxygen absorber or using the vacuum sealer)
- Meat (canning)
- Soups (canning)
and other uses that I cannot think of right now.
I was checking Amazon of course to find the best price for these items. The fact that we get free shipping does help but the prices and offerings were a bit high for my taste.
Enter Fleet Farm. By chance, I found their website, and their prices were extremely low, really tough to beat. The only caveat was that I could not purchase anything online, I had to go to the store. That presented a small problem. Fleet Farm stores are concentrated mid-north of the USA, in states such as Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin etc. Since I was not planning a trip up there, I had to go the delivery route.
Alas, no delivery option available. With the current situation (WuHan Corona virus), a lot of stores have switched their operations to store only.
I did not give up, I was checking the page listing the jars pretty regularly, once or maybe twice a day. A few days later, the page updated, and I was able to purchase the jars with delivery!!
The delivery was less than $10, and the price was a whopping $7.99 for 6 1/2 gallon jars. I stocked up of course!
For the quart jars, I found a reasonably good price on Amazon and ordered 4x12 Ball quart jars. I am usually not a stickler for brands, but I have been using Ball for a few years now, so I just stick with them. I paid $58 for these with free shipping. A bit on the high price, but it was OK.
Lo and behold, the Amazon seller sent me Kerr jars, and they were sent from Walmart. Pretty much the seller was using what is called drop shipping. I was not that enthused by getting the Walmart box, but where I just stopped was when looking at the jars themselves. The advertisement was for Ball jars, and I got Kerr. Who cares you might say. Well, I do because Kerr seem to be cheaper, and they are not what was advertised. Plus, I have a bit of OCD with how jars should look, etc. so I sent the jars back and got a refund.
Visiting Fleet Farm, I found an excellent offering of $9 per 12 jar pack. Excellent!. Alas, again store purchase only. I guess they want to stop people trying to drop ship from their store also….
I searched quite a bit on the net, and the prices were hovering between $12 and $15. One of my last pages to visit was Target, where I found the jars for $11.99 each (12 jar pack), so I got 4 packs. That also came with free shipping, so it was a no brainer.
I also purchased a couple of food storage lids, which are needed when you use the mason jars for other uses than canning. For instance you can store salt, sugar, spices etc. and using the metal lid and band is not ideal.
Finally, I ordered two 128oz jars. This was really an impulse purchase - they looked cool. However, I can think of a lot of uses for them, from cereal, to almonds, snackies and all that. I am sure they will not be collecting dust somewhere in the house.
|Ball Half Gallon Wide Mouth 6 pk||7.99||4||31.96|
|Ball 32oz Wide Mouth 12 pk (lid/band)||11.99||4||47.96|
|Ball Wide Mouth plastic lids (Gray)||4.89||2||9.87|
|Ball 128oz mason jar with lid||10.69||2||21.38|
It is going to be a bit difficult to pinpoint what savings we achieved because of the mason jar purchases. However, we can get a good idea on whether money was saved or not by looking at these factors (example using canned meat):
- How much did the meat cost initially
- How long did it last i.e. not having to go to the store and get more
- How much money did we save, had we purchased the same meat from the store (possibly more expensive)
- How much was the time saved by not going to the store (the meat is already canned)
Stay safe! G-Redneck