So, you’re ready.
You spent the weekend cleaning out your pantry, realizing nearly everything was fake and processed. The fridge and freezer are empty and yearning for fresh food. Your kitchen is ready to be stocked.
Prepped with your mean plan (which, of course, you found here at Live Simply) you embark for the grocery store. The kale, honey, and grass-fed beef are carefully inspected and placed in the cart. Proudly you walk up to the cashier, feeling good about the contents now sitting on the belt. Ring, ring, ring. “That will be…” Suddenly, the grass-fed beef and leafy greens look a bit less appetizing. Gulp.
Trust me, friends, I’ve been there. My first year of real food sounded very much like the story above. Today, years after making the real food switch, I still struggle with staying within a food budget. Over the years I’ve learned a few simple secrets to saving a few dollars and nourishing my family with the very best food.
Saving money on real food requires change. A change in the way you shop, think, and cook. Continuing to purchase similar products with the same convenience attitude often leads to frustration in the budget. With just a few simple changes you can ease the money frustration and eat delicious, healthy food.
Three Secrets to Saving Money on Real Food:
1. Get out of the store. It’s time to ditch the big ol’ conventional grocery store. Conventional stores are catching on to the organic and natural trend, but it’s all at a cost. The small amount of “real food approved” products are expensive. It’s time to venture out and save money.
Find a local farm for meat. I’m able to purchase 100% grass-fed beef for $5/pound. That’s a $3 savings per pound (compared to shopping at the conventional grocery store), plus I’m confident the product is truly grass-fed. I shop a local farmer’s market every Saturday where I buy fresh veggies. I usually walk away spending $40 for two large bags.
Even shopping a local health food store can save money on dry goods. (Read more about saving money at a health food store, here.)
2. Purchase ingredients and, if possible, buy in bulk. Gone are the days of buying pre-made meals. Nearly every pre-made convenience food on the market is processed, even when advertised “organic” and “natural”. Getting rid of convenience food saves money.
Instead of the pop-tart, purchase: flour, butter, salt, and fresh fruit (or good jam). These ingredients allow you to make your own mock pop-tarts, multiple times. Plus, the same ingredients can be used in a variety of recipes. The homemade goodies will nourish your family’s bodies, leaving them full and satisfied.
Purchasing ingredients in bulk, if possible, is also a huge savings. Five pounds of flour (or grain) is usually much more costly than buying twenty-five pounds. When I purchase meat, I always purchase a large amount direct from the farm (quarter or half a cow or pig). The allows me to save significantly on the price per pound. Ample room and planning are needed to make bulk purchases.
3. Shop seasonally. I’m an apple addict, but apples aren’t in season right now. Purchasing produce that’s out-of-season can add-up quickly. Buying seasonal produce saves our family money. Instead of one bag of apples, I can buy a couple pounds of strawberries and citrus. Plus, seasonal eating benefits the body with healthy variety.
I believe real food should be a priority. One which may call for sacrifice in other areas (such as entertainment or that new car). I also believe it’s possible to pay too much for real food, simply by not knowing how to shop or cook. With the three “secrets” above, eating real can be more affordable and enjoyable.
What are your best “secrets” to saving on real food?
I must admit am in the process of cleaning out my kitchen of the so called “food”. It is definitely a price shocker, but I think or hope to believe the reason is that am starting from scratch. I encountered your blog and I want to say thank you. Am hooked! Two days ago I tried the face cream with coconut oil and my face is glowing. Next is the body lotion since am a moisturizing junkie. Am having a blast with your blog. ♡
What a blessing! Thank you for sharing. I’m thrilled to have you here at Live Simply. I’m so happy you love the moisturizer.
You’re right, the transition is always expensive, but once your stocked with good ingredients the cost comes down.
i have been getting other moms to split bulk purchases with me.
Bernadette, That’s a great idea!
Or grow it!!
I would also say prices depend a lot on where you live. I live in Southern Ohio where grass fed beef at the grocery store is only $5-6 per pound and fresh organic fruits and vegetables are usually very cheap (.29 per pound for bananas, 3.99 for apples etc) Plus my grocery is constantly sending me coupons for organics I use since they track my purchases with my shoppers card. It’s very economical and usually more convenient, for me, to head to the grocery store than to a farmers market. Not that I’m against farmers markets at all, I think they are great and you’re supporting small business but they unfortunately are usually not the cheaper option in my area of town. I think saving money takes a lot of investigating, trial and error.
Very true, Amy. It’s a great practice to shop around and know the best price for the best products. Thanks so much for sharing :).