Last year, we spent way too much on groceries.
We eat an exclusively grass fed meat and organic produce diet. Because we put a high priority on quality food to heal our leaky guts, we skimp on other areas so we have more money for groceries. (Our car is nine years old, for instance, and besides lap tops and Trac Fone cell phones and a Nook, we don’t have any tech gadgets).
Because we have many food intolerances, we can’t consume some of the cheaper healthy foods like beans and bread. (We can only have gluten free bread, which isn’t cheap.)
Those are our parameters, so my husband and I both accept that groceries will be our highest monthly bill after rent. However, now that we’re more familiar with this way of eating than we were last year, we’re on a mission to lower our grocery bill. Here’s how we plan to do it:
1. Look at alternative produce sources.
I spend a small portion of my grocery money at Whole Foods and a larger portion at Trader Joe’s. I’ve also used CSAs. This year, I’ll still do that, but I’ve heard that Aldi has an organics line, so I plan to check that out. I also plan to take advantage of the uber cheap frozen organic veggie staples like peas, beans, and corn at Costco.
2. Begin freezer cooking again.
A few years ago, I used to have a freezer cooking session every month. I slowly dropped that habit, but I plan to start again this year. (I already had my first session on New Year’s Day!) This should save on groceries because I’ll buy all my ingredients for dinners in one shot at the beginning of the month.
3. Shop every other week.
Shopping is getting to be a drag. I think I’ll save money and time if I only shop every other week. My only concern with this is that we eat A LOT of fresh fruit. Those of you who already do this, how do you handle fruit and veggies? What do you do for the second week?
4. Buy produce in season in bulk and can or freeze for the rest of the year.
We did this last year with grapes, plums, apples, strawberries and blueberries. I’d like to find a way to expand this and process even more fruits and veggies. My challenge is finding reasonable sources for organic produce near us that I can buy in bulk. I’m also not the world’s best canner, so that’s another skill I have to work on.
5. Serve filler items with the rest of meals.
My husband is Japanese, so his go-to filler is rice. I’ve also learned how to make Gluten Free Banana Bread, which isn’t that expensive. Still, I need to find more fillers that are allergy friendly.
By using these strategies, I hope to keep my grocery bill for our family of 5 between $700 to $800 a month, instead of the $800 to $1000 a month we paid in 2013.
What are your favorite grocery savings tips?