Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

Canning foods seems to be a lost art in today’s culture. However, if you’re looking for some great ways to save money on food, it’s not an idea that should be overlooked. Learning how to can foods can save you a ton of money – especially if you have ample access to fresh produce (perhaps you’re growing it in your home like we’ll talk about in a post later this week). But there’s more to it than that, canning foods can help you to lead a richer life; I’ll tell you why I think that later in this post.

As we do every Christmas, my wife and I made a trip to see her parents just a few short weeks ago. While visiting her parents this year, she decided to ask about how to can foods. We had talked about it before and considered it as an option to save money on food, but were unsure of whether it was something we could do. Knowing that her parents had done it for years, my wife wanted to ask their advice.

After our festivities during the Christmas celebration, her parents talked us through the different ways of canning – using a pressure cooker or a hot water bath. They showed us the tools they used, talked to us about safety, and told us what types of recipes worked with each canning technique. Her parents explained what the startup costs would look like and helped us to think about whether we thought it was worth our time (we did).

We left their home excited to learn to can, but knowing that it was going to be a lot of work. With our Christmas money, we took a trip to the store and purchased a pressure cooker, some cans, and some tools and excitedly went home to try our first ever canning experience. We spent an entire day learning how to use our pressure cooker and enjoying some homemade foods – and it was *hard,* I won’t lie. However, it was well worth it – for our budgets, our health, and our lives.

Save Money on Food

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.

Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

If you’re anything like my wife and I, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to figure out if canning is really worth the effort.

The reason I say this is – canning does take a lot of effort and commitment, but I also know that it truly does save you a ton of money. While there is a pretty hefty startup cost, there’s also great reward (and it’s not just saving money, though that’s definitely part of it).

Now, I can’t exactly do a cost analysis because there are so many different things that you can learn to can to preserve. However, when we whipped up our homemade spaghetti sauce using ingredients that we had gotten super cheap, free, or grown ourselves – we saved a ton of money (almost $20) with just one batch.

How crazy is that? $20 for a batch of spaghetti sauce. Now, that batch made about 10 cans of sauce, so we don’t have to worry about making it again for quite awhile, but if we get an influx of veggies again, it only makes sense!

The other thing to note with canning is that it only saves you money if you have access to affordable produce. If your plan is to head to the store, buy a ton of produce at cost, and can it from there – you’re likely going to spend more money than if you had purchased pre-canned foods.

However, if you are great with coupons and can save a ton of money on produce, if you grow your own vegetables, or if you often come upon free produce, canning is an excellent way to preserve these deals and save money on food.

I know what a lot of you are thinking: canning can save money on food, but with the large startup costs, the fact that it only saves money if you have ample access to super cheap produce, and the amount of work / time needed to can, why is it even worth it?

Save Money on Food (1)

Well, much like many things we make here on DIY Jahn, it’s important to realize that money isn’t everything. Yes, I am saying that even though I know that we focus on money a lot here. The thing is: money is something that we are struggling with at the moment, but it does not change the fact that living life to the fullest is the most important thing we can do. Canning foods gives you access to high quality produce without the large intake of sodium and chemicals that pre-packaged, store-bought foods provide.

My theory is this: if there are more words on the “Ingredients” label than the actual ingredient needed (or words I can’t pronounce), it’s probably not something I’m going to buy. When a can of green beans has more ingredients than I can count on my fingers, is that really a healthy way to live? And living life to the fullest (even on a frugal budget), means learning how to live a healthy and rich life physically too – which means watching what we put into our bodies.

I’m not saying that all store-bought items are bad, but I’m saying that canning can give you a chance to save money on food while leading a healthier and happier lifestyle. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

So, most times I would give you some great tips on how to do exactly what I’ve just said, but I’m going to be honest with you and let you know that we are just learning to can. I don’t know that I know enough yet to teach you, but I do know someone who does. I found this awesome blogger, Mavis Butterfield, who writes for her blog titled One Hundred Dollars a Month, you can find that by clicking (HERE). Anyway, she has a *huge* section devoted to Canning 101 and I learned a ton by listening to what she had to say. I encourage you to do the same!

Finally, here are some products that can help you to get started in the canning arena! Click here to see some canning products you should try from Amazon.

Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

There you have it, the reasons why you should learn to can. Here’s a little overview in case you want to skim:

  • Canning is hard work
  • There is a hefty startup cost unless someone gifts you what you need
  • You need ample access to produce
  • Canning helps you to save money on food
  • Canning also helps you to live life to the fullest
  • Once you start canning, you’ll love it

Today is DAY 13 of our No Spend Challenge and we are well over a third of the way done. Today’s quote is by the infamous John Lennon.

Quote - Day 13

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

Living life to the fullest means understanding that happiness is the key, not saving money, not being healthy, but choosing to be happy. This other stuff – learning how to save money on food by canning, getting healthier by eating your own canned foods, and even paying off debt – it’s all important, but it’s not what makes life special.

What is the most important thing in your life today?

Leave your response in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

9 Replies to “Save Money on Food by Learning to Can”

  1. You read my mind, “My theory is this: if there are more words on the “Ingredients” label than the actual ingredient needed (or words I can’t pronounce), it’s probably not something I’m going to buy” 🙂

    I stopped buying canned food a long time ago, I hate that we live off of so many chemicals. Its excellent that you are writing about canning at home, I am going to put those mason jars to good use now.
    When you find time, do read my post on 15 healthy resolutions and I am sure you will agree that you and I share a lot in common 🙂
    xx, Kusum |

    1. Thank you for reading, Kusum – I agree, it’s so much healthier and better to use your own canned goods. Time and effort are worth it for a healthy lifestyle (plus, I think it’s really fun). I’ll go read your post now! I think we DO have a ton in common. 🙂 Thank you for sharing / commenting

  2. I am canning. I have space for 15-20 jars so I use it. I put: boiled cheap fruits (perfect for breakfast), jams, some pickles, some dried condiments and some plants for tea. Next year I will try to dry more (apple chips). I can oooonly what is really cheap, if I made mistakes to not cry :).
    I am looking too from what plants I can collect from the local forests: I combined the summer walks with free food. For the start I participated to a class where we walked with a “teacher” – she told me the laws, reconfirmed the plants that In knew and recommended where to identify. There are books too.

    I cannot estimate how much financial economies I have but I can tell you the taste of homemade is best! And we almost finished all the jars so… I noticed the weekly budget is going a little upper: so yes, canning is a good think. Just you need a little study (price of products in winter, price in season, where to put, how much storage to allocate, some days to training with your parents to re-learn how to can etc)

    1. That’s a great idea to can dried condiments and plants for tea! I had never tried that. In fact, I haven’t tried canning anything that has been dehydrated, but that’s a great thing to experiment with! 🙂 I sure love apple chips. Like you said, you save a ton financially, but even without the savings – the homemade taste is truly the best. Thank you for your comment!!

  3. I canned tomato juice & whole peeled tomatoes, all I added was a pinch of salt. When I had a yard, I had bushes of berries and a veggie garden along two sides. I planted cucumbers and beans on my fence, it made more space. I used miracle grow, 3-4 times the yield. Use a fish emulsion if you can, that does even more if you can find it. Corn, peppers, & fruit I freeze. I buy green & red peppers & onions, we don’t have a yard or a patio where we live now, so I buy them when they are really cheap, wash & cut them. I cut some in strips and the rest in small chunks for spaghetti and other dishes. I place them in large freezer bags. For berries: wash & dry them & pop in the freezer (on trays or cookie sheets, strawberries will crush if you don’t freeze them on a tray first, blueberries don’t crush unless they are way overly ripe), when frozen, place them in freezer bags. (Make sure you take off the stems!) Then you have berries all year. You really can save a bundle, especially if you grow your own.

    1. Having a yard with tons of veggies can make canning so much better – then you KNOW those veggies will be delicious, plus it saves you tons of money. I love the info on freezing things as well – thank you for that, Dee. It sounds like you really have this down! Thank you for sharing 🙂

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