It’s been a while since I have written about cooking, food and recipes, if you follow me any at all, you know that food is very important to me. Perhaps it’s because I’m old enough to have had parents who grew up during the Great Depression. Perhaps it’s because growing up, we were on the poor side of the financial scale, while we never actually went hungry, there were times when food was scarce, my mother had to be very frugal and creative with what we had, I learned a lot from her.

I’m sure it has as much to do with those two things as it has to do with the fact that I love cooking and eating! Before I had quit both of my jobs, and before leaving the big city behind, I stocked up on foods to bring along on our off grid life. At that time I had no idea what kind of income I might have coming in (if any), since the property was paid for and the sky castle was well on its way to becoming something liveable, I knew we wouldn’t need much in the way of money to survive. I also didn’t want to worry about going hungry in the mean time.

I spent lots of time and money at our local dollar stores, I knew I could get the most bang for the buck there. My favorite store was Big Lots, it happened to be right across the parking lot from my second job, I would go over there every two weeks on payday and stock up.

I focused on non-perishable foods, things that wouldn’t need refrigeration, and things that could be eaten without cooking or with little cooking. Some of the food items I purchased were flavored rice packets, these were already cooked and sealed in such a way that they didn’t need refrigeration, they come in a variety of flavors. Packets of tuna, salmon and chicken, I preferred the foil packets over the cans, but would get the cans if it was a good buy or something I couldn’t get in the foil packs.

Can soups, beans, meats, I wouldn’t just buy one or two of an item, I would clear the shelf of that item and look for more on the overstock shelves above, the foil packs of foods would usually come in a display box that would be discarded once empty, I would just take the entire box, all of them.

I also stocked up on inexpensive first aid items, adhesive bandages, alcohol, witch hazel, hydrogen peroxide, aspirin, ibuprofen, cough drops… the things that everyone needs in their first aid kit.

After doing this several times, the lady at the checkout stand began to remember me, she asked me why I was buying up so much food… well being such a private person, I did not want to say I was prepping, what I did tell her was the truth though, I said that I was moving across the state and there were no Big Lots stores in that small town.

Of course, by now all of that food is long gone, but it served and fed us well during those first few, lean years living off grid. We have local dollar stores that I hit regularly, I also get into the big town (3 hours away) on a monthly basis, I can stock up on the things I need there.

My point here is that you can stock up on inexpensive food and non-food items, you don’t have to be headed off grid like we did to benefit from shopping at these bargain stores.


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