Right now gas prices and grocery prices are at an all-time high and everyone is feeling it! How do you make your same grocery budget stretch a little farther especially to feed a growing family? It can be a challenge but make it a fun one. By learning a few new skills and changing the way you shop you can save hundreds of dollars a month, heres how:
1.)Buy Whole Raw Food: Although the snack aisle or the already prepared food section are the busiest in most supermarkets they are fluffed up with oversized packaging and actually have much higher markups than whole food when you weigh out what you’re getting. This pre packaged food is also designed to leave you unsatisfied and feeling hungry so that you eat more! On the shelves as they sit raw fruits, vegetables and meat may seem more expensive but when you prepare a hearty meal with them the calories actually go farther in your body leaving you satisfied. They are more efficient in your body. Not to mention that you and your children will feel better on a whole food diet.
2.)Bake/Make Your Own Snacks: Most of us have mastered the art of 30min meals and one pot dinners but what about quick snacks? Snack packs from the grocery store along with bakery items are the second highest marked up item (next to soda which is just water, dyes and HFCS). Making your own snacks can be super simple when you make it part of your routine. My husband loves granola in the morning (I call it his pre game breakfast) when he first wakes up. I used to buy those organic granola bags for $4-$6 each and it felt like they only lasted a few days. Making granola at home is as simple as turning on your oven and mixing oats and raw nuts with oil to roast on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes. When the oats are done I toss in dried fruit, chocolate chips or other treats and pour a little maple syrup into it all. I mix it together and store it in a pretty glass jar and for that same $6 I can make two weeks worth of granola in minutes. Now baking is not my favorite task but since we homeschool I like to make it fun by including my children who really enjoy it. Twice a week we bake scones, muffins or other treats with clean organic ingredients for pennies on the dollar.
3.)Shop the Sales: This is a simple thing that doesn’t require much effort and can sometimes help guide that creative flow in the kitchen. Next time you sit down to meal plan, instead of coming up with recipes off the cuff check out the sales at your favorite place to shop and build your menu around those. You might even choose to stock up on things you know you use often like ground beef, potatoes and onions.
4.) Make Your Own Butter, Cheese and Yogurt: You might read this and laugh, thinking to yourself ‘easier said than done.’ Making your own cultured dairy might seem intimidating but 50 years ago it was common practice in American homes. For just two hours of your time you can make a months supply of butter, cheese and yogurt! However, you don’t have to take on supplementing your whole dairy consumption at first, just pick one thing. I find butter making to be so easy if you have a blender or kitchen aid. If you have access to fresh milk from a farm you can simply separate the raw cream from your milk and stick it in your mixer for 20 minutes. The result will be butter curds and butter milk. Strain the milk (and reserve for future baking) and then wash and salt the butter. Its so simple. When properly washed, homemade butter can last a month in the fridge! For more info check out our youtube tutorial just search “sunny cove farm butter” online.
5.)Shop Local and Buy in Bulk: Shopping local got a bad rap for a while as being more expensive. This may have been a result of subsidized pricing and mass manufactured items found in box stores versus handcrafted goods or unsubsidized food. Now that the reality of our broken food system has started to sink in to mass industry you will find that local pricing is often less or on par with box stores but you are still receiving a higher quality product (and positively impacting the environment). The best part about shopping local is that you are going right to the source so you can often stock up with bulk discounts. In the summer when veggie farmers have a bumper crop they will often offer boxes at a great discount that you can preserve for future use at a fraction of the cost. Buying meat in bulk can also get you a 50-75% discount off retail prices and allow you to speak to the butcher directly about how you want it cut. Having the convenience of bulk food on hand saves so much time when prepping and planning your meals!
I hope these tips encouraged you to take your grocery budget back. Even when things get tight you do not need to compromise your health or the health of your family with cheap processed food (although the system is designed to make us think that way.) Instead learn a new skill or change how you shop and be empowered YOU CAN DO IT!