Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Food Glorious Food...Saving Money

It is RIDICULOUS how much money we can spend on groceries! RIDICULOUS!!!! We don't even have teenagers yet. There are a lot of reasons that I've realized WHY we spend what we spend. Some of the reasons are important to me and there are places that I know I can improve and MAYBE save a few dollars along the way.

I am a food snob. I like good food. I like as natural and fresh of foods as I can buy. I'm not going to chose the cheapest brand to save money if it tastes bad. I had the years when I did buy cheap food to survive....that was called college. Good food is something we have chosen to invest in because ultimately we are choosing to invest in our health.

I also prefer organic food. However, buying organic is EXPENSIVE so I've had to decide what is most important. Milk and meat and fruits and veggies whose skin we eat. Shopping farmers markets and growing your own garden is another way to get organic fruits and veggies. This past summer we did a little better planting the right amount of veggies and eating them. I only made it to the farmers market once last summer.

Wanting good, organic food makes saving money a little bit of a challenge. But I believe that there can still be a way to save some money along the way.

There ARE lots of GOOD quality store brand foods, I will buy these. I don't buy the pre-packaged or frozen foods, these are expensive and loaded with salt and fat. Planning my shopping and meals will keep me out of the store in between trips. This will save me money also. How many of us have gone to the store for "just one thing" and come home with several bags??

One of the things I'm REALLY going to try to do is be a better coupon/sale shopper this year. This all has to tie into my planning in order to work. I have set coupon boundaries. Only buy items that I will use and make sure it's really a good deal. Buying 5 of one item to save 50 cents is NOT a good deal to me. I also need to think outside of the box a little bit. Walgreen's seems to have GREAT deals and coupons.....last week I saved over $20 by using coupons!!

The other thing that will save me money is to check my cupboards before I shop. Don't buy things I already have and create my meals around ingredients that I have. This will be especially helpful as I do coupon shop and stock up on staple/pantry items.

This is an area in which I hope to improve on this year. I hope that I can find a balance between buying foods that are healthy and taste good and saving some money. I hope to be better about farmers markets and our garden. I will continue to look for ways to save and cut corners. I'll keep you updated if I come up with anything brilliant and if you have any suggestions, I'd LOVE to hear them!

4 comments:

Nicole Schneider said...

I'm with you, Becky. I refuse to make junk to eat. It costs a fortune for groceries, but what are you gonna do? I have planned meals every Saturday morning for I don't know how long. It does help to curb food expenses. I only do it for a week at a time, though. I'm not sure where you shop, but I sucked it up a few months ago and started shopping at WalMart. Not only are the prices significantly better, but they offer a much better selection on whole wheat, whole grain, organic, free-range, etc., products than even HyVee. AND they are cheaper! The produce has come a long, long way and I will buy the free-range (or whatever it's called) chicken breasts. My parents get a 1/2 beef each year from my dad's cousin in Minnesota: grain fed, no hormones, pastures, so that's where we get the beef. Mom and Dad won't let us contribute, so our beef is free. Tremendous savings, even though 3/4 of our meals are chicken.

I freeze leftovers. Helps to take the 'ugh' feeling from leftovers. Also can make swim class night a little less hectic when all I have to do is nuke dinner and make a quick salad.

I also pay bills and such at the same time. I'm in my office for about 90 minutes, and I do sometimes feel selfish, but I'm keeping stuff up for the family. I can't function if I'm not organized!!

I know this is long, but one more thing: Caine and I plan to join a growing consortium (sp?) this Summer. Every week, you stop at the Farmer's Market and get a selection of the freshest fruits and veggies. Here's a website:

http://www.localharvest.org/

Enter your zip and it shows you local growers who participate, or where you can go and buy fresh/local meat and produce. I'm really into buying local, Wal Mart for staples notwithstanding.

Sarah said...

Well, hard to believe, but FROZEN! Frozen veggies are blanced and it removes debris and pesticides and your better off with those than fresh as opposed to organic. There is no need to buy organic frozen.

You could always try Sam's and buy in bulk.

When Erik and I were doing our hardcore vegan diet, we spent $250 a week on groceries (that was just for the two of us because, well you know, Emery hates food and stuff). It was ridiculous. Also, if you are going to buy fresh just cut the skins off of them. Red peppers are supposedly the worst for pesticides but peeling them is easy.

Woops, back to cleaning. Blech.

Stacy said...

You guys and not alone. I think about all the same things. I recently read a book called Food Matters by Mark Bittman and it a great and interesting read. I highly recommend it if you busy mothers ever have the time.

Misty said...

Becky- there are great coupon resources on Organic food, as well as other stores in your area at hotcouponworld.com and also I love the babycenter coupon thread. They both help me with my shopping.