Over the course of the last couple of years, we have seen grocery store prices on the rise. I remember going to the Food City grocery store and buying the off-brand sour cream for only $.99 last year and this year it is $1.39 for the same product. At this rate increase, many people are going to struggle to feed their families from week to week. After watching my grocery store bill rise from $80 per week to $140, I made the decision that I need to live more self-sufficiently.
The first thing I decided to do was start growing my own vegetables. Growing a garden is a pretty basic concept and not hard to do for the most part in the spring and summer time; however, growing a garden in the winter can be a bit more difficult. I decided that during the warmer months, I would grow as many vegetables as I could and freeze and can all of my extras, then during the winter months I would start an indoor garden. Being that I did not want to raise my electric bill, which is a constantly rising cost in itself, I made the decision not to use grow lights. I found the window that provided the most sunlight in my home during the day and started a garden. Generally speaking, most homes get the best sunlight on the eastern side of the home, so you need to take this into consideration when starting an indoor garden. Adequate sunlight is very important. Tomatoes, leafy greens, and herbs generally grow well in an indoor garden.
Meat is another expensive item at the grocery store, so in order to lower my cost of meat; I decided I would need to start raising my own animals for food consumption. The first thing I did was buy some chickens. Chickens provide meat, as well as eggs. Eggs have gone up in price over the years and a dozen of large eggs cost well over $2.00 now a days. Chicken legs and thighs can generally be bought for $2.00-$4.00 a pack and breasts are a bit more. If you buy eggs and chicken every week at the grocery store, then the $8.00 monthly chicken feed bill is well worth it and saves you money in the long run. You do not need acres of land for chickens and the feed is relatively cheap when compared to buying chicken from the grocery store weekly. Many cities have even changed laws to let people own chickens within the city limits. In Knoxville, TN, you can own chickens within urban areas. To read about the laws on owning chickens in the city of Knoxville, check out this link http://knoxvillepermacultureguild.ning.com/group/knoxvillechickens
Rabbits are another good source of meat that is easy to raise and relatively cheap in cost. The best thing about rabbits is how often you can breed them. Rabbits do not a have a heat cycle like a dog and the does can be breed within minutes of being placed with a buck. Rabbit gestation takes between 28-31 days, so you can make your own source of meat relatively fast. In order to save cost, you would want to store or freeze the meat as soon as the rabbits were a decent eating size, then repeat the process. This would save you hundreds of dollars per year at the grocery store. Rabbit meat also tastes good and is very similar in taste to chicken. A quick Google search will provide all kinds of recipes for rabbit meat as well.
These are just a few ways that you can save money at the grocery store and start living more self- sufficiently. There are still items that would be easier and best purchased at the grocery store, but by growing your own vegetables and meat options, you will truly save hundreds to thousands of dollars yearly that can be spent on other needs.