We are nearing the end of the year, and I’m so ready for it! I want to organize everything, be a minimalist (my definition), and donate items to live with more peace. For now, I start with Shelf-Cooking, again.

I’m not particularly eager to waste food. I’m creative—those things I can say with complete confidence. I am not a food prepper/hoarder. We buy what we need, and we use it up. I do not have the funds to go and stockpile things like Jordan Page.

Faithful Viewer

I was a faithful viewer of hers, but over time, I realized she was not on the same playing field as I was. Yes, she has eight children. Yes, as she states CONSTANTLY, they are “hers” and “biological,” and she has “given birth to all” of her children.

Congrats to you. For some reason, that rubs me the wrong way. Why do you have to stipulate how your children came into your family? I mean, regardless, my kids are my kids. I gave birth to them one way or another. There is no difference in how they came to my family.

I digress. Her overabundance of all things is not mine or my life.  

For the Normal People

We are not big grocery bill spenders. In the past, we did buy a cow and a pig once a year to help with meat costs. Plus, the meat was excellent, lasted all year (and then some), and we got it at a crazy good deal because it was my granny’s cattle.

That hasn’t been an option for us the last few years, so we have had to add that back into our budget. There are also times when (like during the holidays) we have gone overboard in what we have bought. That isn’t often, but with seven kids, two sons-in-law, and 1.5 grandchildren, we have a lot of birthdays.

I cook for a minimum of 5 people a night, but we usually have my oldest kids and their crew over or my parents. There are always a lot of people. I do think about when it will just be my husband and me. Like, how do you even cook for two people? I struggle when I only cook for five people.

Take Inventory

I take a complete inventory of everything in my small chest freezer, my kitchen freezer, fridge (we only have 1), and my pantry. I combine what I need to. I write down what we are low on because I will forget.

I get my list, make it, and then create it. For every meat I have, I can come up with a meal. This meal is either a staple (spaghetti, chili, hamburgers, chicken noodle soup, or breakfast) or a bit more complicated.

I try and use everything I have and only purchase the items I am completely out of or what I need to complete a meal. However, there is that list of things I’m running low on. That is a running list for when I do my extensive shopping.

Large Family Budgeting

That occurs when I have completed all my list of suppers. We take the bare minimum of what we have (cream of some soup, veggies, 1/2 boxes of this or that), and I create a menu for a week.

Before, I would cook for a month. Right now, we do not have the freezer space to do that. So, until we buy another freezer, I will cook for a week. I have room for that. Sometimes, I cook for two weeks if I have the space.

A lot of things can happen in 2 weeks, and a lot of scheduling changes can occur. I have had to learn to be flexible and move items around. It isn’t easy for my Type A personality.

My Goal in Realistic Shelf-Cooking

I aim to have an area where I can have my staple, easy meals on hand. Having easy meals is for when I go to hospitals, on road trips, extremely busy, or things like that. These are meals my husband can quickly cook and knows how to cook without me in his ear telling him to step by step. It also will prevent us from eating out, which saves money.

I’m not quite there (lack of space), but I hope to be there in the new year. For now, I’m cleaning out, organizing, making lists, and preparing for what I hope to be a new habit in the new year. I’m all about saving money, not wasting food, and creating enough to feed my family.

You will be amazed at what you can create with what you have and how that can save you money at the end of the day. We are finally at a point where we have more money at the end of the month instead of more months with no money.

We have come a long, long way.