Would it freak you out if I told you that we spend less than $40 per week on household food? Some weeks it’s even under $30.
This fact is a huge contributor to how we are able to save so much moolah.
Our household eating hasn’t always been this affordable. Back a few years ago we used to be closer to $100/week. Can you believe that when our grocery budget was double what it is now, we ate worse? A lot worse actually.
Here’s why –
Premade, pre-packaged foods are the devil. To your waistline, arteries and pocket book.
For a long time I was blind to this fact. I figured that it had to be cheaper (and college students need to be cheap) to use coupons and buy all the packaged stuff. Hello discounts and sales! Maybe this is why the American population is so jaded…we are brainwashed into thinking that we have to eat badly because it is cheap. Afterall, you really can’t beat the McDonalds dollar menu…
It’s just not true though. Maybe you can’t affordably eat 100% organic gourmet on a strict budget, but you can eat healthy, and well.
Our current food lifestyle started with my hatred of touching raw meat. My husbands hatred for trans fat fueled the fire. Our discovery of Bountiful Baskets sealed the deal.
Every week we consume huge amounts of fresh fruits and veggies. This is the heart and soul of how we like to eat. Today for instance, my lunch consisted of 2 peaches, 2 apples and a cucumber. It might not be a completely well rounded lunch…but when all I had was a minute to throw something together, this sufficed.
Usually my lunch is a salad with fruit. My husband will take leftovers from the night before. We’ll munch on fruit and nuts for snacks and breakfast and I tend to make at least one baked item on the weekend. Nothing fancy, quick muffins, artisan bread, scones…
Dinners really depend on what we got in the basket that week. Last week we did a pasta/roasted veggies night, roasted veggie quesadillas, eggplant parm, stuffed peppers…
Tonight I did a quick saute of cauliflower and capers with gnocchi. The rest of the week will consist of, crock pot enchiladas, banana pancakes, chickpea curry…You get the idea.
Hopefully you can see, we don’t eat mulch all week long. We like our food…really!
So, are you looking at ways to cut your food budget, and eat little cleaner?
Here are some tips:
-Clean out all the processed crap. Really, truly, get rid of it. Donate it to a shelter or something. If it’s around, you will go back to it. The only way we keep going the way we do is to not even start the domino effect. Once you are cleaned out of all those boxes, you’ll force yourself to get creative.
-Try not grocery shopping for a month. Join BB so you get your weekly produce, but otherwise, skip the store. Obviously you’ll need essentials, those are okay. Just don’t don’t do a full trip. Go when you need eggs, milk, butter. Otherwise scrounge around in the cupboards. See what you have. This will expand your food horizons and use up some of that pantry gold. Believe it or not, this is how I discovered polenta. I had no rice, pasta or other grain…but I had cornmeal. So I googled for some ideas and found out how to make polenta. What a super easy staple to throw some roasted veggies over.
-Use your crockpot. Crockpots are a great way to cheap it up, while still keeping your belly full. This is a great site for ideas.
-Bulk bin it up. We love Sprouts for their bulk bins. It’s so cheap to stock up on dried beans, lentils, rice and other grains. If you’re trying to get away from eating meat, bulk bins are surprisingly full of protein items. I’ll make a mixture of 1/2 rice, 1/2 lentils and use as a base for veggies. It cuts the carbs and loads up on some protein. Dried beans are also amazing. A cup of dried black beans will go a long way, and you’d be surprised about how much protein is in a chickpea.
-Cut out the meat. At least most of it. Meat is expensive, and most people eat way too much of it. If you must eat the meat, do so responsibly. Watch Food Inc so you know where your money is going, and then do your meat research.
-Try new things. This is kind of a no brainer. If you join a co-op, you’ll have no idea what you’ll be eating on a regular basis. But you won’t want to waste all that glorious food either…so you need to cut out that fear of new things, and just try it. Clean eating is not boring if you open up your hinges a little bit.
If you need some literature to get you going right, check out You On A Diet. I read this years ago, and it changed my mentality of eating forever. It’s a great explanation of eating to live, not living to eat. I also enjoyed a lot of Skinny Bitch, although I’m most definitely not a vegan, and I don’t follow their food lifestyle. The book did teach me a lot about food though, and really got me into research what I put in my body.
So there is a brief rundown of how we keep the food budget minimal in our house. I’m sure I’ll give some more detailed looks at our foodstyle as the days pass, but for now, that was a good enough intro.
What about you all? Any other food budget tips out there?