The days are still warm, but we know Fall is around the corner as the temperatures begin to drop at night. The last of the gardens are being picked, the berries are near their end, and we see the squirrels starting to hide their nuts. With the cost of groceries and gas rising, the question for us is how can we do better to prepare for the winter. What things could we do that would help us save some money? Here are my tips for helping you and your families get through the winter with good food and hopefully a few more dollars in your bank.
Pick and buy all the local – I hope like us you picked all the berries you could fill your freezer with. We picked all the berries. It’s much cheaper when you do it yourself, it’s fresher and if you can store up enough it will get you through the winter so you aren’t buying from other countries come December. Sometimes we have to, but I find they aren’t as fresh and the cost is outrageous. If you like blackberries, you know in British Columbia it’s free food. There are many food items that you can store in your garage. Garlic and onions can last in cardboard boxes until almost springtime. Squashes and pumpkins can last quite a few months too. Buy as much as you can and store up. In a few months, you probably won’t find the local stuff. Apples, peaches and pears are currently in season. This is a good time to buy the apples under a $1 a pound. Apples are quite versatile, you can make sauce, store them in your garage or fridge for some time, can them, and freeze them. Once they are gone, the price goes up and you may be less likely to buy them. With all the local items you can make loaves and muffins for the freezers. Pumpkin and zucchini muffins are some of our favourites.
Take advantage of the sales – case lot sales are great because you can get cases of canned goods like beans for about a $1.20 a can. This will be cheaper than all your stores. Check the expiry dates, but if the item is something you use regularly it is a good time to stock up.
Clothing items – it may sound early, but you can already find the gloves at the Dollar Stores. By November they seem hard to find, so we buy a bunch now so that we have them. If you need snow pants, coats, boots etc., start looking at the thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, ask a friend so that you have all the items you need. Many stores will sell last year’s make for a lesser price; this is the time to take advantage.