In the last few months, I have been working on making healthier meals. Switching to eating more organic, less processed foods has been an ongoing learning experience. Much of that is learning how to afford all these changes.
Coupons don’t really work for me. Every once in a while I’ll catch one that is actually something I am going to use that week, but it isn’t often. That is just about the only drawback to planning weeks of menus ahead of time.
Here’s some basic ways we are saving on groceries:
Mac and Cheese once a week. For just $2.50 I can feed all four of us one night a week. That really makes a difference in our weekly food budget. It’s quick, easy, and I’ve found a version at my favorite store that doesn’t have any of the really bad ingredients I try to avoid.
Stretching meat. By only adding half a pound where I would usually add a pound and bulking up with veggies, we save money. Also, we are eating meat less and less as I find recipes for vegetarians that are perfectly filling! We still love our meat, though. No plans to become vegetarians anytime soon, I just like to borrow their ideas to save some cash.
Watching portion sizes of our main dish. If I divide a dish into 8 servings and have seconds on the side dishes only, we can eat that main dish the next night. This doesn’t always work with a hungry hubby and two hungry girls, but I find that if I have fruits and veggies on the side, we have more of our main dish left. Fortunately, my husband loves leftovers.
Menu plans and shopping lists! Any sort of plan will help you to save money. I am partial to my shopping system, but there are so many available. When you shop with a list, you save money. Period.
When your budget is really cut short – some more ideas
Be boring. That’s right. Variety is the spice of life and all that, but when times get tough, it pays to be boring! Buy a favorite cereal in bulk and have it daily for breakfast. Or get some peanut butter and jelly at a warehouse club store and eat it every day for lunch. This is not ideal, but if you’re really strapped for groceries, it helps.
Buy a week’s worth of groceries for $30! Check out Angel Food Ministries. There’s no applications, no income requirements, and no obligations. You just order a box and pick it up at a local site. Check into this ministry that serves over 500,000 families a month! I have not used this service yet, but friends have and they say it is awesome!
Ways to save on produce
I’ve found a few ways to save money on organic produce and now am spending no more than I did before! We are blessed to have many options where we live…maybe you have some of these, too:
- An organic booth at our local farmer’s market.
- An organic produce buying co-op.
- Organic farms that sell direct to the public.
- A local store that sells health food items and has a great organic produce section that is reasonable priced.
- A CSA farm (Community Supported Agriculture) where you can purchase a share in the farm and get weekly deliveries.
Check out Local Harvest to find some of these opportunities near you!
Don’t think that just because you have to tighten your budget, you can’t bless others with food! Next week, I’ll post about creative ways to share food with others.
What ideas do you have for saving money at the grocery store?