Welcome back! It’s so nice to see you again. Starting this blog has been one of the biggest thrills of my life. Of course, my marriage and children are up there at the top, but this blog has been more thrilling than I could have imagined. I have met people from all over the United States (where I live) and all around the world. This has really allowed me to learn so much about food. We all eat differently and use different preparation methods. I cherish the wonderful friends that I never would have known if it were not for the creation of this blog. I hope you all know who you are.
OK………I’m done being sappy. Time to get practical. One of the things I hear over and over and over is, “I can’t afford to eat real food.” My easy answer is, “How do you think you can afford not to?” Illness and disease are expensive. Missing work because you are sick is expensive. Easy enough for me to say, right? I’ll be real up front with you. Money is tight for my family. Super tight. We make a decent buck, but the cost of health insurance, our mortgage, 6 mouths to feed, and college tuition for my oldest……….there is no extra money in our budget. I can’t afford to waste money on expensive food.
Today I am sharing 7 Ways to Save Money on Real Food. You may think one of them is couponing. That is a great way to save money, but not one that I utilize. I can never remember to take the coupons to the store and I’ve found over the years that coupons often lead me to buy things I wouldn’t normally buy. You couponers out there have some amazing skills that I do not have. These are the ways that I use to save money for my family.
1. Buy in Bulk – Oats, beans, flour………there are lots of things that you can buy in bulk that will keep for quite a while in your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. Find a store that sells food in bulk and you will easily see a substantial savings.
2. Eat Seasonally – This one was huge for me to learn. Food in season costs less and is more flavorful. Learn what foods are in season where you live and stick to those as much as possible. Bonus Tip: Preserve the harvest. Look into buying extra foods in season to can or freeze for the off-season. I’ve been enjoying my summer tomatoes all winter since I learned to can tomato juice.
3. Shop at More Stores – Buying everything at one store can be a real time saver, but it does not save you money. Look at the weekly ads, make monthly trips to the whole-sale club, visit your local farmers market, join a CSA. Shop for the best prices. It may take more time, but it will pay off big in savings. It takes a while to develop routines, but with time…….this will get easier.
4. Shop Less Often – This one kind of contradicts my advice above, but stick with me here. Less trips to the store means less temptation to buy foods and other items that you don’t really need. Plan your meals for the week or the month and that will result in less trips to the store to pick up the “butter, olive oil, chicken” that you need for a recipe. My kids can talk me into almost anything. The less trips we make to the store, the better we will be at sticking to our budget.
5. Think About Your Grocery List – And if you go to the store without a grocery list, you need to stop that right now. We all like to toss things into the cart that we don’t really need and that will certainly happen without a list. Think about all of the money you would save if you quit doing that. Do you really need 4 different sodas and 3 juices? I saved a ton of money by switching my family to drinking water and milk on a regular basis and………. it’s healthier for us.
6. Use What You Buy – When I first started my real food journey, I bought every produce item that looked good to me without a plan to use it. As a result, I was tossing out food like crazy. Talk about a waste of money! Make a meal plan that uses up your most perishable items first. Only buy what you need. I shop for a week at a time. When it is time for me to shop for the next week………..the cupboards are pretty bare except for the bulk items that I buy in quantity. And that is a good thing.
7. And now for my favorite…………..Make your own junk food. Junk food is expensive and void of nutrition. Make your own microwave popcorn and snacks and you will be happy with the cost savings and the added nutrition. Both will make you feel better!
These are 7 ways that I save money on real food. These ideas really work for me. I don’t have money to throw away. College tuition is expensive and I’ve got 3 more to put through college after this one is done. I don’t see “extra” money in my budget for quite a while.
What are the ways that you have found to save money on real food? Do you have a favorite real food junk food recipe? What are some of the items that you buy in bulk? Tell me I’m not alone…………have you thrown out a bunch of food and cried about it?
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