Sometimes I look around the web and get bummed out by how little people are able to pay for groceries. One blogger asked her Facebook followers how much they spend on groceries and answers ranged from as little as $60 a week for a family of 5 to as much as $300 a week.
The super couponing range seems to have faded, and I’m glad to see that. Much of that food is not nutritious and can lead to long-term health issues. Of course, if a family is very short on cash, being able to buy food at a deep discount is a blessing, but eating the kind of food you can buy at that price shouldn’t be a long term plan.
We’re aiming to spend equal to or less than the USDA’s allotted amount for the low-cost food plan for a family our size. That equates to $203.30 a week. Our diet is fairly specialized right now: the whole family is dairy free and gluten free, and I’m on a Paleo auto-immune diet as I heal from a leaky gut. I have a lot of food allergies, so the foods that I can buy are fairly limited, meaning I can’t shop the sales as much. Still, we’ve found ways to save. Here’s our strategy:
1. Pay in cash or use a prepaid card. Since we’re paying down credit card debt and don’t want to add to it, we pay in cash. That makes me much more conscious of how much we’re spending. For online purchases we use a prepaid card. Visa Prepaid makes it very easy to load money on the card through direct deposit. To learn more,
2. Buy on Amazon. I selectively buy things on Amazon. For instance, a few months ago, Amazon had old fashioned gluten free oats on sale at about 40% off the price I could find at the stores. I bought a case, and we just worked our way through it. Next time it goes on sale, I’ll buy even more to last us until the next sales cycle.
In addition, I became a Prime member so I get free shipping.
I also get some of my Amazon purchases for free by redeeming Swagbucks points for Amazon gift cards.
3. Use discount codes. U.S. Wellness Meats offers a 15% discount every 2 weeks, so I wait to make any purchases until I have that discount code.
4. Get a CSA. Our vegetable CSA saved us plenty of money last year, and the food was locally grown and organic. Bonus! This year we’re getting an even bigger CSA share so we can freeze and preserve more of it to last us through part of the winter.
5. Grow it yourself. We had a square foot garden in the community garden, and this year we’re hoping to secure two plots so we can grow more of our own vegetables and save money.
Saving money on specialty foods is a bit harder than if you can buy whatever the supermarket offers, but we’re committed to investing in our health and spending a bit more on groceries. However, by using these strategies, we try not to pay more than we have to.
What are your favorite strategies for saving money when buying specialty foods?
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