***I scour blogs for tips on healthy eating and grocery savings all the time, never have I ever read one single post and thought, "I'm going to do it exactly like that." I just pick up what works for me and skim past the rest. That's what this post is for, an opportunity to share what works for us in case some of it might work for you too*** Living on a single income is definitely not for the birds and it seems like grocery budget talk keeps coming up lately. We could do better, but we actually do this pretty well. We keep in mind two main goals:
1. Healthy/Whole Foods - I'm into good ingredients and no creepy stuff
2. Cheap - Cause we're on a budget
These two things (despite what it may seem at first) actually work really well together due to this little formula:
Less someone else does for you (processing)=Less cost=More Healthful (less processed)
For example, if you go get pancakes at IHOP you are going to pay a pretty penny. Drive through at McDonalds? A little less. Buy Bisquick? A little less. Get some whole wheat flour and add the stinking baking soda yourself? A WHOLE lot less.
Now everybody has to know his or her personal limits and here are mine:
1. Coupons- I know I could. I know I should. Never. Gonna. Happen.
2. Guilt- Some weeks/months are busier than others. Currently I have two little girls with colds that are teething and a Women's Conference I'm helping plan. This week I had to go buy bread and yogurt instead of make it. No biggie.
Okay now onto the actual information I want to share with you.
-Buy in Bulk
We eat steel cut oats for breakfast every weekday morning so I buy our oats at bulkfoods.com and it saves us a lot on both money and trips to the store. I soak my oats overnight for a quick fix in the morning; all I have to do is throw on some fruit. Since no fruit is native to where I live I also buy fruit in bulk from a farm in Oregon. They fast freeze it and deliver it fast to retain nutrients. Last time we got somewhere around 75 pounds of various fruit and berries that would cost a fortune to buy around here because they don't grow here. I also buy rice and flax seed in bulk.
- Slow down on the Variety
Yeah, this is a tough one, but it makes life a lot easier. You will be more inclined to use the groceries you buy and also make from scratch if you limit yourself to just a few simple recipes. Here is what this looks like for us:
Breakfast- Steel cut oats or whole week pancakes (weekend treat)
Lunch- Confetti Eggs (Free range eggs with whatever veggies need to be used) or Pasta Salad or Chicken Salad
Dinner- Pizza (homemade crust, and you can do a million varieties of this one), Healthy fried rice, Quesadillas, Chilli
-Meat is Expensive
Look, my husband is a meat 'n taters guy and I myself love some good healthy protein which is why we try to use our meat wisely. When I make chili I use lots of beans to bulk it up and make it stretch (I don't actually agree with putting beans in chili, but Hey, you do what you gotta do), or I use eggs in my rice to add a little protein. Also, we go ahead and eat steak but we limit to once or maybe twice a month.
-Shop the Perimeter
I said it once and I'll say it again, processed foods are expensive and you get a lot of stuff that isn't actually food.
Yes. It is more work to make it, but do things in bulk, plan ahead and have somethings on hand to make in a pinch. It can be done.
We were spending a fortune on cereals, boxed meals (it almost killed us to give up mac n cheese), and snack foods. Now we snack on fruit and make food from scratch, once we found our groove it worked out well.
Also if your paranoid like me knowing what fruits and veggies fall in the Dirty Dozen Catagory helps me to know where to spend money on produce and where to save!
-Sandwiches aren't Cheap
And they usually aren't that healthy. Bread, deli meat, cheese. All of those things are expensive and have additives and preservatives. I bet there are some other misconceptions that need to be addressed. Chips? Candy? Juice?
Fruit is sweet and water is free. Stock up.
Whole Wheat Tortillas ( May I suggest you just keep some mixed up and add water when you need a batch)
***Also if you cut up about twelve apples and throw them skin and all into a crockpot with 1/2 cup of water, leave it overnight, toss it in the food processor in the morning you can have a pint and a half of applesauce with less than 45 min of hands on time***
Y'all have any tips? I'm always tweaking my system!