I receive lots and lots of emails. Lots. Too many to keep track. Everything from, do you weigh 300 pounds? Are your eyes really brown? Can I use light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar? Can I spend time with you and your family (okay those are really creepy). What's going on with the fence? Did Willie wash his truck? What kind of camera do you use? How's the packing going? It's a complete smorgasbord of questions. I am constantly entertained.
However, I have noticed a trend in emails over the months. A continuous issue keeps repeating itself and is a sign of the times. The email usually goes something like this..."You obviously buy a lot of food. Do you have any tips or tricks on how I can continue to eat like a rock star on a background singer's budget." (Yes that was the actual email.)
My witty response...become a rock star.
Kidding. I'm totally kidding.
Believe it or not I do have some advice when it comes to saving money while continuing to feed your family well. However, I wish I followed my own advice more often. I do try. Many times it's the impulse buys that wreck my food budget. I need to stick to my list and go into the store with a plan. Easier said than done.
I do believe changing food buying habits slowly have a better chance of sticking rather than making drastic changes overnight. Those never work.
Anyway, I am not reinventing the wheel here, but I do feel doing just some of the following things will help you pinch your pennies twice before you fork them over to someone else.
So here it is....
How to Save (Some) Money With the Rising Cost of Groceries
My number one piece of advice when it comes to saving money on groceries is to cook seasonally. When foods are in season they are much cheaper. Off-season food has the built in cost of being shipped from far-away. Now, I have been known to convince myself I NEED the 6 ounce container of raspberries for $6.99 because I am craving them. I'm trying to curb that behavior. It takes knowledge and awareness to know what's in season and plan meals accordingly. I'm trying but sometimes I really want asparagus in January and apples in March. Ugh.
Buy local. Food produced close to your home requires less fuel to get to your table. Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) or shop the farmer's market. I have been wanting to join a CSA for a long time now. I've put it off since I'm moving but I am also worried about not being able to use the vast amount of produce, especially all the greens. It would kill me to throw it away. Do they give recipe ideas with what you get? I need to look into this more.
Okay, here's one of my most hypocritical pieces of advice, do your own prep work. Pre-chopped produce and bagged salad mixes eat away your dollars. Yes they are time-savers but you pay big for it. One thing I love to buy is pre-sliced jicama. It's outrageously priced. I think $5.49 for a medium-small tub of it. I need to stop buying it. But peeling jicama is not fun.
Fill up your cart when prices are good. Stocking your freezer with meat when it's on sale is a great-money saver. I am somewhat good at this, until my freezer is full. So then it becomes, eat what's in your freezer before buying more.
Here is one I've never done but can't wait to try. Plant a garden. This is a great way to enjoy top-notch produce for pennies on the dollar. I am so envious seeing everyone's garden they are blogging about this time of year. I am dying to put some raised beds on our land in Oregon but I need the deer fencing to go in first. And then there's the pesky elk. I will do it though.
Check your local stores weekly ad and use coupons wisely. Don't buy something with a coupon you don't need. Most likely you will not use seventeen jars of BBQ sauce this summer. Don't buy them.
Reduce your waste by using your chicken bones to make stock. I have the pot. There are always whole chickens in my freezer. I just need to do it.
Eating out is fun and a nice treat but eating at home will help you manage your food budget more realistically.
That's all I've got. Did I forget anything? What do you do?
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