I get lots and lots of questions about how I am able to eat Real Food on my budget. I hear lots of, “You must be rich.” Let’s just be clear. I am not rich……..unless you count my kids as being rich. I fondly call them my mansion, my Porsche, my boat and my motor home. All things I do not have, but probably would if my kids were not so expensive. LOL! You know where I am coming from.
What I do have is priorities. My priorities include feeding my family the best possible food I can find for them. I don’t eat Real all of the time, but I try for at least 80% of the time. I am pleased that I probably eat Real closer to 90% of the time. I feel that organic foods are not only good for my family’s health, but also good for the environment and good for farmers. I make organic foods another priority because of these beliefs. Still………not rich.
I do rearrange my budget to include a higher grocery bill. However, one of the biggest budget savers is that I do not eat out like I used to. I have to keep reminding my husband of that as he is looking over the grocery receipts. My family would spend about $60 to $100 just to eat out at a sit-down (not fancy) restaurant for one meal. I can buy a lot of groceries with that money. Since most restaurants don’t meet our Real Food rules, we eat most of our meals at home. For the record………I have really enjoyed the switch to eating at home. I feel like I’ve gained more quality time with my family as an added benefit.
I promised you some tips to help your budget if you want to join me on this Real Food Journey. Here are 8 tips to get you started.
1. Plan ahead. I have talked a lot about how important meal planning is to sticking to a Real Food diet. I have found that it is also important for sticking to a budget. I create a weekly menu and then purchase only the items needed for those meals. I usually throw in a few extra emergency back-up items, but I am not tempted to buy extras that are not on my list. I have found that this really helps to avoid wasting food which is a real budget breaker.
2. Eat before you shop. This one is an oldie, but a goodie. It is true that if you shop without eating, you will buy more. I’ll add this one. Don’t shop thirsty either. I once went shopping when I was thirsty and bought every juice and 10 different versions of milk. Yikes! I didn’t need all that.
3. Shop your farmers’ market first. Fresh, local produce will last longer since it doesn’t have to travel across the country to get to your store. This helps with reducing waste. I have also found much better prices at my farmers market. I am often able to buy organic produce at conventional produce prices. Many smaller farmers use organic farming methods, but can’t afford the organic certification. Ask questions and your budget will thank you.
4. Buy produce in season. You will see much lower prices when you buy produce in season. Berries, melons, asparagus, green beans and others will be at a huge savings in season. Others like bananas, carrots, celery, and apples are available at a pretty low price year round.
5. Buy in bulk. You will see a large savings if you are able to purchase and store bulk items like flour, oats, quinoa, rice, honey and maple syrup. Avoid convenience sizes wherever possible. I buy a large container of plain yogurt and avoid individual serving sizes for lunches. I save a lot of money by avoiding all of the extra packaging.
6. Shop around the edges of the store. That’s where the healthy stuff is anyway. Think about it……….you know I am right. The middle aisles have more processed and junk food which are a big drain on your budget. I can’t even tell you how much money I save because I kicked my diet soda habit.
7. Try store brands. I have found that my local grocery store is stocking more and more store brand organic items. I can buy a gallon of organic store-bought milk for only a little bit more than a half-gallon of the non-store brand.
8. Keep an eye out for sales, specials, and coupons. This is just basic money saving advice whether you are buying Real Food or clothing. I have found that a lot of the organic brands have coupons available through their websites and through social media. Take a look around and save money. Also, make sure you sign up for your grocery store discount card. I also have a frequent shopper card to Great Harvest where I buy my bread. They send me $5 gift certificates for buying bread with them. A free loaf a bread is great for my budget. I’m sure other places have similar frequent shopper programs.
I hope these ideas help you save money shopping. Don’t let price be the reason you are not eating a better diet. It can be done on a limited budget. You just need to be more careful about what you buy. What tips do you have for shopping on a budget? I would love to hear them. I have much to learn.
Thank you for all of the love and support. Don’t forget you can join us on Facebook for more fun and support along the way. You can also follow us on Twitter@Jugglngrealfood if you are interested in learning more about the Real Food Movement. You can also follow our boards on Pinterest.